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Laying the Foundation for the Cob House

Laying the Foundation for the Cob House

We have finally started on our house renovation and hoping to get enough done before the rain sets in.  We’ve done lots of clearing, laid foundations and dug a huge pile of clay for the cob.  It will be mixed with straw from our field and local sand.  Our neighbours can’t understand why we want to build a house out of mud!  Most of the houses around here are made from stone and part of our house will be stone…

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Outdoor Shower Construction

Outdoor Shower Construction

We made an outdoor shower because it’s such a lovely thing to do – showering in nature!  We looked at lots of options for outdoor shower construction, but the key issue is location and access to water. We decided to put it just outside the fenced area to the cabin, so any early risers using it don’t get startled by the dogs.  Izzy can jump the fence, but she is much smaller than the dobermanns.  The area we chose is…

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Homemade Natural Toothpaste

Homemade Natural Toothpaste

I probably wouldn’t have bothered with homemade toothpaste if organic, fluoride-free natural toothpaste was easy to get here, but it isn’t and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the commercial stuff.  So, I started to look for natural, easy options for which I could find all the ingredients. We used plain baking soda for a while.  It’s certainly easy, reasonably effective and not unpleasant, but I thought we could do better.  I found a recipe for baking soda with…

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Goodbye New Year 01-01-14

Goodbye New Year 01-01-14

To my dear friends: Let’s celebrate this ‘New Year’ by ditching it altogether! If New Year feels like such a pressure to go out and spend loads of money chasing a good time that ends up being such an anti-climax, when you would rather be holed up at home.  RELAX, it’s not really New Year anyway!  If you feel this way, honour it.  You are not a killjoy, unable to enjoy yourself or (Goddess forbid) getting old.  You are AWAKENING…

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Greenhouse

Greenhouse

We have a greenhouse.  It came in about a thousand pieces with only pictures as guidance to put it together.  The instructions said, two people could put it up in a day!  It took about a week and we had to keep propping it up so the wind didn’t take it away.  We had planned on putting up a poly-tunnel, but thought this might last longer. We’re  going to try heating it with tea-lights under terracotta pots.

Natural coconut milk shampoo

Natural coconut milk shampoo

I’ve been working to get as many chemicals out of our lives as possible.  Every other day a report comes out about cancer-causing chemicals in shampoo, toxic ingredients in the laundry detergent or asthma and allergies triggered by common household cleaners. We’ve been programmed to think that these synthetic products do a better, more thorough job than their natural equivalents.  Is this true?  No, it isn’t, but there are so many ‘natural’ options that it helps to know what actually…

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Rosehip syrup

Rosehip syrup

This week I made rosehip syrup.  Our hedgerows have masses of wild roses and at this time of year the hips are bright red.  Rosehips are an excellent, natural and local source of vitamin C through the winter, much of which is retained in the syrup if the hips are prepared immediately after picking. It’s been raining here for the past week, so I picked the hips in the rain and quickly stopped being too selective and just picked bunches…

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Lessons from water

Lessons from water

In the developed world we take water for granted; we don’t appreciate it and we brutalise it, alternately contaminated it and then treating it with harmful chemicals.  We barely stop to think that without it we would not exist, many of us don’t even like to drink it.  This is the result of our deep disconnection from nature, from life and from ourselves – we are after all at least 70% water, just like our planet.  This disconnection has allowed…

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Free Finca Philosophy

Free Finca Philosophy

Life isn’t to be studied, it is to be lived! The other night I dreamt I was at a wedding and some one said to me, very clearly, “It’s just like Plato’s cave.”  I can’t remember much about the rest of the dream, but that remark stuck with me.  So much of our experience is performance that we can’t even recognise what is real anymore and, just like the people chained up in Plato’s cave, we resist it when it’s…

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Chamomile/manzanilla

Chamomile/manzanilla

Chamomile/manzanilla grows wild around here and I’ve been picking and drying it.  It smells beautiful and fresh and tastes much nicer than any of the commercial versions.  Only a few heads are needed for a cup, which I sweeten slightly with local honey.  I also use it when it’s cooled down as a compress for tired or irritated eyes – especially for the dogs.