February 5:

The Food Library Spice Rack.

A new acquisition for the kitchen. We bought this little gem from Driftwood Vintage at the top of our Street. It was made from unfinished plywood so we painted it orange, to complement our ice blue kitchen units.


Another moment of perfection, is the bottling of a couple of bottles of, ‘Black Rider’. This is an infusion of blackberries that have been soaked in whiskey for 6 months.

Rather than ditching the fruits we re soak the fruits in a cider. This one is Black Rider.

The infamous Black Rider

We also use the fruits to make Semi Freddo. This is a classic Italian desert, using eggs, Castor sugar, double cream, all whisked together, with the added fruit, and placed in the freezer, creating Semi Freddo … nearly frozen.

February 3:

By products of our infusion process.

Black Rider

February enables for a time to be completing last year’s infusions … Black Rider is a an excellent by product of our infusion process.

Last year we made, Blackberry whiskey. A 6 month infusion of blackberry soaked in whiskey.

Following this infusion process, I use the berry to then soak in cider for 3-days.

This makes a delicious fruity drink.

Catching up with long haul infusions, as well as the Blackberry whiskey, there is Black Currant whiskey, and a Rhubarb Brandy.

Rhubarb Brandy, Blackberry whiskey, Black Currant Whiskey

These infusions have a 6-month infusion period, once bottled they did for up to 18 month to 2 year period of maturing.

In time all comes right.

February 2:

What to do with large pieces of wood?

Recycle & Reuse.

The old decking

This has been removed to make way for a new garden kitchen.

The wood is being reused to make, raised beds on the allotments.

Raised bed.
Raised beds
Our Seed beds are warming up in the forefront of the image.

I am also using the soil that I have to remove from beneath the old decking area, in order to fill in the bottom of the beds.

Removing about 8′ of soil.

I am having to load the soil into recycling bins, carry them through the house and into the car.

It’s a long haul, but not impossible.

Once done, we should have 4 large raised beds, that will enable us to grow a more focused collection of produce, enabling for a more healthy soil.

The soil on both allotments is heavy clay, this makes for heavy digging, messy boots, but excellent water retention.

However, it becomes water logged in heavy rain, the raised beds will enable a more sustainable approach to generating healthy soil.

If it’s bad for you, it’s bad for the environment

if It’s Bad For The Environment

It’s Bad For You

Exposure to weed killing products increases risk of cancer by 41% – study

Evidence ‘supports link’ between exposures to glyphosate herbicides and increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma

The Guardian

Carey Gillam
Thusday 14 Feb 2019 06.00 GMT

This is worth a read

“Around the world, the library of life that has evolved over billions of years – our biodiversity – is being destroyed, poisoned, polluted, invaded, fragmented, plundered, drained and burned at a rate not seen in human history,” Ireland’s president, Michael Higgins, said at a biodiversity conference in Dublin on Thursday. “If we were coal miners we’d be up to our waists in dead canaries.”


This is Worth a read link

Specieswatch: farmers fight to save Britain’s disappearing earthworms

This is Worth a read link

Earthworm Ecology

This is Worth a read

Only 60 Years of Farming Left If Soil Degradation Continues

Generating three centimeters of top soil takes 1,000 years, and if current rates of degradation continue all of the world’s top soil could be gone within 60 years, a senior UN official said

Read more below …


January starts and delights

The gold has arrived

It’s a true start of the year when your marmalade is stacked in the cellar for the year. Even though we don’t grow our own Oranges, we do make our own marmalade, using organic Saville oranges, we knock out enough to keep us going for the year.

Our marmalade in the making.

Apart from the, marmalade making, we have been busy over wintering our allotments, planning our year.

Our crop plan for 2019.

Chitting our seed potatos has started, a bountiful crop of varieties are promised, and when you grow your own, that’s what you can get, variety.

Varieties of potatoes chitting in the shed

We’ve planned for 6 varieties, including, Nicola and Casablanca, as our first earlies, Ambo as our Second early, followed by Record and then Setanta and a bumper crop of Pink Fir.

Feed the family.

Readying new raised beds, on the new allotment.

New raised beds employing recyled wood.

The garlic & onon sown at the end of 2018 are rising well.

Garlic down in November 2018

All the soil has been fed and is covered.

We have been given access to Rhubarb at the back of Ralf’s, local dtsin glass producer, this has been covered, for a crop of forced produce. This will be used to make our, spicey rhubarb chutneys, and a early batch of our rhubarb vodka.

Our rhubarb crop readying itself.

I prepared a variety of liquid feeds last year, using the roots of docweed & dandy lion, plus seed weed. This feed will be used in the early part of the year to boost feed the crops.

Liquid feeds

Plus a couple of bottles of urine to activate the compost.

We are working with Maria Thun’s Biodynamic Calendar for 2019.

It’s been a gentle beginning.