Sunday 19 August 2012

Animal, Mineral, Vegetable? Even a chemical free Dock weeder.


Greetings folks.  That's a photograph of one of my conversation pieces that I sometimes entertain visitors who visit Northsider Towers.  I bought it from a German gentleman who informed me that it was invented in Germany and Austria during the Second World War.  Mr Hitler and his pals decided to confiscate or even collect any chemicals from the German households and use them for ingredients to drop on the enemy.  

No longer could farmers use artificial fertilizers or weed-killers so they had to go organic or even chemical free.  I am told that smallholders went back to farming methods that most farmers had been using for thousands of years.  

I would love to be an organic smallholder but there is so much red tape and if you want to get any organic knowledge about vegetable growing or keeping organic livestock you have to pay to go on a course or something.  

I haven't used any chemicals on my garden vegetables for nearly twenty years now and never will.  But when it comes to the farming side I'm afraid I have to use some chemicals.  The cattle need dosing for Fluke and Lice and stomach worms.., and the soft rushes seem to be everywhere this year.  So it looks like the chemicals are going to have to be poured into the knapsack sprayer.  You just can't win can you?  

Why is the sun  always shining when I watch England play at Lords?  

See you.


  1. Don't know what that German conversation piece is.

    I think organic is the original method of gardening / small-holding / farming that's been practiced since man first started growing crops then domesticating animals.
    All the modern "organic" producers are just turning the clock back a century?
    It's also a way of thinking and a huge dose of common sense, and all the courses and pieces of paper in the world won't change that.

    Difficult nowadays to be completely chemical-free, I suppose even sheep-dipping is the use of chemicals, and that's a requirement for everybody who keeps sheep.
    And you're not going to lose a beast for the sake of an injection.

    Didn't know the sun was always shining on Lords, it's pouring down here, keeps warm though.

    Raggy cat been in, gone out, been in again, gone out again.

  2. Thanks Cumbrian.

    It's for pulling the Dock weeds. You need soft ground (no problem here in Ireland at the moment)and you place your foot on the wooden crosspiece and press the prong into the ground and 'hopefully' extract the dock and its root without breaking any off. It can be laborious work but it works.

    I have heard that the Dock plant stores lots off exceellent nutrients and if you compose them for a few months they make excellent compost full of nutrients to feed the soil.

    I agree with you Cumbrian that a lot of "organic" courses and farmers are doing what our forefathers did. My great grandfather never had no artificials and used to grow his crops and grass with sea weed and good old farm yard manure.

    You can even buy "organic " FYM these days. So even though I say I don't put man made chemicals on the veg plot there is probably drugs in the manure. People who have organic allotments often use water that's been treated with chemicals to water their veg. You can even purchase organic ale and wine. Apparently they use any fish in the finings. It can make you organic neurotic if you let it.

    We have just bottled the Scottish Heavy this afternoon.

    Think London is the warmest place in the UK?

    Stove lit. Wondering whether to have a pint or two of the Yorkshire bitter we made the other week.


  3. Should have known by the heading shouldn't I. It likely didn't take off, I've never heard of such a thing.

    The seaweed, a lot of local gardeners collect it from our beach, they reckon it can't be beaten for soil improvement, it contains all the trace elements.

    Organic courses, yes and it's only taken 2 generations to lose sight of reality?
    However, I like my ale just fine as it is, can't see the benefit of adding fish to it; even if I could, how do they know the fish aren't contaminated?
    All very nice in theory, and I disagree with wholesale (mis)use of chemicals for evrything, but I do think some people get carried away; I think you've put your finger on it - neurotic.

    Dunno about the warmest place in England, I do know where it isn't though.

    Scottish Heavy fermented out quick, try and leave it a few days to develope a bit of head; keep drinking the Yorkshire bitter. You'll soon get into the routine so you always have plenty in stock, try and hide a couple of bottles from each brew for Christmas / New Year, see how it matures, keep it somewhere cool and dark, don't forget to label them.

    Stove lit? It's damp and miserable here, but not cold, in fact it's stopped raining and the sun's trying to break through. I'll be on the decking soon, pint and cigar.

  4. Hi Cumbrian,

    Yes seaweed is excellent if it's gathered well away from sewer outlets. It's excellent for growing vegetables. You can even buy calcified seaweed in a powder form in a tub. I have bought organic chicken pellets and they are also excellent.

    Apparently they use the swim bladder of the Norwegian fish: Isinglass (lind of Rudd) in a lot of real ale and commercial beers and wines. It's in the finings. A lot of vegetarian drinkers and brewers use Irish moss instead.

    Passed a couple of hours bottling the Scottish Heavy and making Scrumpy with some windfall apples. The recipe said that you shouldn't use a metal knife to chop up the apples. Any ideas why?

    The decking, pint and cigar sounds a great wait to unwind at the end of the day Cumbrian.


  5. Yes, I've heard of all sorts of uses for seaweed, kelp used to be the main scource of something, was it iodine? And there's a lot of health food shop type tablets and powders made from seaweed. Wish we could eat it, I can collect tons of bladder wrack after a blow.

    First time I knew that finings contained parts of a fish, so I'm learning every day. Just goes to show we don't have a clue what we're eating or drinking. I don't intend to get paranoid about it though, everything's bad for you according to somebody, if you listened to them all you wouldn't want to eat anything.

    Never made scrumpy from apples, there's a big apple treee in the garden, but I never got one single apple last year, they all fell off before they got ready. Plenty this year as well, but they don't seem to be falling off as fast, just some of them. I might even get enough to make a batch of wine from, or some apple sauce. Looking forward to hearing how the cider-making turns out.
    No, I can't think why you don't use metal knives, I know that vinegar shoudn't be allowed in contact with metal, so maybe something to do with the acid? But I wouldn't have thought a metal knife would do any harm. what are you supposed to cut them with? Or just crush them, bad bits and all?
    Let's hope the Heavy turns out as well as the Bitter, or even better.

    Pint and cigar on the decking about 8 - 8:30 is my daily treat, gives me something to look forward to all day. Some nights it's in the conservatory, sitting with the door open when it's raining. After a lifetimes nicotine addiction, chain-smoker 60-80 plus a day for a lot of years, I stacked them, but find one small cigar a day doesn't seem to encourage me to start again. Same with the booze, for years my stanard evening was 8 pints Guinness in the pub then a bottle of port or red wine when I got home, and now, despite being surrounded by all sorts of home-produced alcoholic products, I'm happy with a couple of pints or glasses of wine.

    Grey, damp and miserable again, keeps warm.
    Raggy cat came in looking a bit wet and bedraggled again, at present happily sleeping.

  6. There's tons of stuff on seaweed on the T'web and Tinternet Cumbrian. Bladderwrack does contain iodine and it's good for thyroid problems, a laxative, skin complains and I believe you can eat it, but look it up first.

    I have also heard of it been given to cattle for fodder and it's agreat fertilizer for the poorest of ground. In the Arran Isles (The Irish one's) they grow potatoes with it.

    So you could (if you wanted) Cumbrian, make a compost heap with 4 pallets tied together and throw some of that grass you strim and cover it with seaweed?

    It's also supposed to be good for eradicating the slugs and snails because it's full of salt. You just spread it over the soil then dig it after a few months.

    I have made a liquid fertilizer with Bladderwrack and also with Nettles. Just get a barrel of rainwater and fill an old pillow case with bladderwrack or nettles and tie it up with a piece of rope hanging out, then weigh it down in the water with an old brick. If you want to be extra careful. Tie some fishing net over the barrel so no animals drown in or useful insects.

    I found the Scrumpy recipe on: Self Sufficientish. We ended up chopping them up and giving the dodgy looking bits to the pigs. The pigs loved them. Think they are originally forest foraging animals?

    Had some more of the Yorkshire bitter last night. It was excellent- thanks to you. I know now if you can't purchase something you want, don't moan about it, find out how to make it.

    That's an incredible to cut down on the drink and give up the cigarettes. I have always wanted a pipe but don't kow nothing about them. Perhaps it's too much watching my other British hero: Basil Rathbone in his Sherlock Holmes films? Absolutely classics.

    Trying to rain here. A farmer asked me to sell him some of the silage bales the other night. That's twenty sold.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  7. Think I'll give a pass on trying to eat the bladderwrack, doesn't look too appetising at all. Might be worth a bucket full just to spread about and discourage the slugs a bit, the damp weather's seen a lot of them about.

    Yers, I think pigs are forest foragers, not 100% sure, but I beleive they still hunt them in some East European countries where they still have lots of native forest left. I know they love apples, see them in the cider counties, they live in the orchards and I beleive get fed the cheeses left from the cider pressings. Big things, dunno what breed, they always seem to be wallowing in mud. The pork's very nice though.
    Best of luck with the scrumpy.

    Doctor encouraged me to cut down, I never saw one for about 35 years, drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney, can't remember missing a days work either. Went to see him with some minor rash that wouldn't go away, I found out that my doctor had died years ago, and his successor was a young chap I'd never met who said that they'd not seen me for a long time. He then asked me a lot of questions and gave me a bit of an examination. Think I was 54 at the time, and based on what I told him, he gave me 14% chance of getting my pension. I was also 2 points away from needing blood pressure tablets (for life), had high cholerstoral, and an ulcer, also heading for diabetes.
    Since stacking the weed and the booze, I seem to develope all sorts of ailments, including the diabetes (he got that right) but at least my blood pressure is down to normal.
    I sometimes wish I'd never gone.

    Twenty sold, looks like it might have been a profitable crop?
    Sun's trying to break through, breezy and muggy.

    Raggy cat gone out again. Domino arrived yet?

  8. Dear Dave, hello! Dock-weeder, forsooth! When I first looked at the picture I thought: 'Whomsoever pulleth this sword from this stone, shall henceforth be King of all England'!!!!

    And Cumbrian: what are 'finings'??

    1. Hi Carol. It could well be used to rescue a damsel in distress. Thanks!!

  9. Hi Cumbrian,

    Thanks for that. I found an old recipe for apple ale in a book this afternoon. I will copy it out for you if you like?

    The great thing about keeping pigs is you give them a mixed diet and a good life. I have bought supermarket bacon and it's had a fishy smell. I have read that a lot of fish is made into animal feed.

    I once met a nurse who told me that our generation have the profound sadness. She said previous generations didn't realise that somethings got to kill us, be the big C or dementia or whatever else. Perhaps we would be better off we didn't have to worry about everything we eat and drink. I also think a lot of illnesses are hereditary and there's not much we can do about that. Lets hope we are like JS and live until we are 92.

    No profit but the contractor gets paid what he was owed and I don't have to find it.

    The suns shining here and South Africa have just won the cricket at Lords. Never mind.

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  10. Never answered the Domino question Cumbrian. Sorry about that. No the post woman's not delivered the kitten yet. I will take a picture of it and write a blog when it does?

  11. Finings, Carol, are used to clear wines or beers that are cloudy.

    Be interested to see the apple ale recipe, I always like to try something different, last effort was making lemon curd, then lime curd, then orange curd. They all turned out well.

    Yes, your pork should be very tasty, and you're right, some of the supershed stuff is not only rank, but also withers away to nothing when you cook it. And I don't know how they cut it so thin, it's possible to read the paper through it. Nice that your pigs have a varied diet and good life, pity about their last journey though; althogh I'd have no qualms about shooting them myself, I think I'd feel like a traitor sending them to some amonymous abbotoir, I beleive pigs, more than any other animal, know what's coming.

    Maybe the nurse had a point, what we didn't know couldn't bother us. Now we're so knowledgable about all the nasties that can be fatal, suppose we always worry about what will finish us off, and what we eat / drink / enjoy. Strange, everything I like is bad for me, fattening, inebriating, illegal or immoral, and usually very expensive.
    Be nice to live to 92, as long as you can still look after yourself, the granny farms are another of my soap-box rants, I'd hate to become an inmate in one of them. In fact I've given No 2 son instructions, if ever I get into that state, stick the silver needle in my arm, I'd rather go quiety and painlessly than being helpless and incontinent for years and kept alive by a cocktail of drugs administered by some uncaring employee. I really don't know what purpose this serves, except to make the care home owners very wealthy.

    Nice to have 52 big bales free, a winters worth of feed for your beef? (And Bracken)

    Looking forward to pictures of Domino.

  12. Thanks Cumbrian.

    Old English Apple Ale Recipe.

    Get yourself 3 pounds of Cumbrian windfalls, 1 ounce of bruised root ginger, half a teaspoon of cloves and half a teaspoon of cinnamon, and half pound of white sugar, 1 gallon of cold water, add yeast and nutrient.

    What you do:

    Wash the apples and discard any damaged bits, mince or grate, add the water, yeast and nutrient. Cover it with a tea towel or thick cloth. I presume you put in a fermenting bin - it doesn't say. Leave in a warm room (conservatory?)for a week, thoroughly stirring daily. Strain the liquid onto the bruised ginger, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Press out as much juice as you can by squeezing it in a cloth, vigorously stir it, cover and leave for about 5 days. Then strain into plastic resealed pint bottles. Store in a cool place. It should be ready to drink in a fortnight.

    Let me know if it's any good please Cumbrian.


  13. Thanks for that, looks easy enough, I guess the ginger, cloves and cinnamon are to give a bit of taste like hops in the ales?
    Seems like a cross betwen wine and cider, the second period in the bucket being a secondary fermentation to extract maximun alcohol from the fruit sugar.
    It'll probably come in fairly strong, I'd say maybe 7-8% depending on the fruit.
    Sounds like a good one to try, but I'd call it a cider rather than an ale.

    There seems to be a lot of little apples on my tree, not ready yet, dunno what variety they are. I'll give them a bit longer, see if they get bigger, then try and get 15 lbs to make a 5-gallon brew, or as many as I can pro rata, it should go in the keg OK. Cumbrian wind-falls are like hens teeth here, there's not many apple trees.
    If I manage to get some done I'll file a full report.

    Dried up, sun just about made an appearance, still warm.

    raggy cat still sleeping, idle little sod.

  14. You're welcome Cumbrian. 7-8% sounds like hangover material.

    Somebody once told me that they once lived in the Middle East in a country that banned alcohol. So they used to leave a bottle of coffee or tea with sugar, in the sun and it turned to alcohol. Do you think this is true?

    We have had rain predicted all week. Yesterday was one of the best days so far. Think I will stick to watching my terrier. If she starts eating grass, it's sure to rain.

    Does raggy cat sample your brew? I am joking. He seems to be sleeping a lot. He is obviously well looked after.


  15. Only guessing, a beer's normally about 4-5% amd wine maybe 10-12%, so somewhere in the middle at a guess. Proof of the pudding being in the eating, I'll reserve judgement until I've sampled a couple of pints.

    Never heard of the tea and coffee turning to alcohol, but a lot of the ex-pats in the dry Middle East countries make some thing called Jeddah Gin, a couple of recipies here.

    Jeddah Gin
    From Saudi Arabia comes this recipe… Jeddah Gin
    Put 5 pounds of sugar in an absolutely CLEAN 5 Gallon plastic jug. (No soap smell at all…)
    Cut up a grapefruit rough.. just small enough to get thru the opening.
    Put 2 Tablespoons of plain baking yeast in a glass of warm water with two tablespoons of sugar. Let it sit a while to get bubbling. Pour it into jug. Fill the jug up to the neck area with clean tap water.
    Put a plastic baggie over the mouth of the jug, and place a rubber band around the neck to secure it. With a needle, punch a few holes in it. Put the jug on a chair in a warm storeroom for about 22 days. When the bag starts to deflate, siphon the liquid contents out, and mix with fresh limeade to drink… This is Grade A Jeddah Gin, and allowed us expats to cope with the heat.

    Jeddah Gin
    12 oranges
    12 lemons
    3kg potatoes
    5kg sugar
    10 litres water
    1 tsp. yeast
    Wash and slice fruit and vegetable leaving skins on.
    Dissolve the sugar in some of the water and add to fruit.
    Add remainder of water and yeast. Leave for 7 days stirring occasionally.
    Leave to settle for 3 days.
    Remove solids and leave 2 more days.
    Rack until clear then bottle.
    For greater alcohol content, try freeze distillation.

    I've tried them both, one of them turned out excellent, the other not so good, but maybe not warm enough for it. can't remember which was the best one.

    There's tons more recipies from ex-pats living in the dry areas of the world, really ingenious some of them, all made with ingredients from the alcohol-free superstores.

    If they predict rain every week, they'd be right a lot more times than wrong. I beleive it when it happens. I know my wifes complaint is made worse by cold and/or damp weather.

    Don't think Raggy cat samples my brews, it's just an idle little sod, it knows now I keep the fat and rag-ends from our meat, so refuses biccies till it's made sure there's none left.
    Gone out now, sun's shining but it's giving rain for later.

  16. Thanks a lot for the Jeddah Gin recipes Cumbrian. I thought you would know how to make some kind of alcohol in a middle eastern country. I have a friend in Poland and his father-in-law makes Vodka. I hope to sample it one day.

    Managed to pick up of Clarks leather trainers for a Euro today from one of the charity shops. I am well pleased after walking around in a pair that nearly crippled me. All because I thought I had got myself a brand new bargain for 13 Euros. Thirteen Euros for punishment. But like they say here:

    "You will pay Fiffty Euros for a night out but you won't pay ten Euros to cure the hangover next day."

    Charity shops in future for my shoes me thinks.

    Have you ever had a go at making cheese? We would love to be able to make a good northern English recipe like: Lancashire Crumbly - the one my dear old mother would get from the C.O.O.P with the bottles of sterilized milk. That's another thing you can't get over here.

    Still laughing at your 'Granny Farms' description Cumbrian. It's brilliant.

    It keeps trying to rain here. Cat/kitten isn't being delivered by post woman until Thursday. You just can't the staff.


  17. The Polish vodka (woadka as they say), very simple to make, usually comes out at about 55%, firewater, and can be used as the base of many spirit and liquer type drinks.
    Sadly it relies on a natural process called distillation, which our government (although not all countries, unsure about Poland) have deemed illegal. Have a look at to see how it's done in the legal countries. This little device can also be used to produce distilled water if you need any.

    Like that little saying, we say "Fur coat and no knickers"

    Never made cheese, but we have friend in Fuertaventura keeps a couple of goats, from the milk of one of them, he gets a 1kg cheese every day, he showed me how he makes it, and presented us with one to fetch home earlier this year, it's maturing in my pantry.

    Yeah, I have 3 pairs of decent quality shoes, all slip-on leather, 2 from charity shops and the least ones from a car boot, brand new all of them, average £3 a pair and about £35-£40 in the shops.
    Can't beat car boots and charity shops, amazing what turns up there, my 12' beachcaster came from a car boot, £5.
    Freecycle's very good as well, in our rural area it usually means a longish drive to collect, but it's amazing what turns is offered.

    Looking forward to Thursday and pics of Domino.

  18. Thanks Cumbrian.

    So I take it you can't distil sprits even it's just for your self or a sick cow? Don't see why not. Must be the lack of tax revenue or some politician being a kill joy. I also believe you can't sell home brewed beers or wine. Could you sell the just bottles with the contents free?

    I suppose you need a lot of milk to make cheese? Your friends smallholding in Fuertaventura sounds amazing. Just been watching: A Place In The Sun from the Dordogne in southern France. They have over two hundred days of sunshine. If I didn't have sentiment for my little farm I would be over there like a shot. Sunshine is so important especially when you're getting older. Oh to have a little smallholding in Southern France with your own orchards, pasture and a lake full of carp. It sounds like Heaven on Earth.

    I really miss the car boot sales in England. I have collected oil paintings, gardening books and even clothes from them. Probably my best buy is a oil painting of a Cornish Engine House for a fiver. There doesn't seem to be any Freecycle or L.E.T.S here.

    I am looking forward to seeing Domino arrive. Still hoping that Alan the Cat returns.


  19. Rules as I understand them is that you can't distil without a licence, but you can brew beer of ferment wine as much as you like as long as you don't sell it. Probably something to do with the duty the government gets from the distilling industry.
    Have a look at the easystill, apart from distilling water, it might be possible to make cow medicine with it, it looks very simple to operate.
    I heard of one enterprising type who had a home bar and invited friends to sample, didn't charge for the beer, but asked for £1 to hire the glass for as long as it took to drink the beer.

    Yes, I think France has a lot to offer, less incement weather being one of the better things, with cheap locally-produced wines and cheeses being another. I was told every village must have a bakery, and it's an imsult to offer bread more than 4 hours old; must admit when we're there the bread we buy daily is usually warm when we get it, they bake small batches all day.
    The place we like, Argeles, os South-East corner of France on the Med, Langduoc-Roussilon wine region, in the Catalan district which takes in the border between France and Spain, so lots of spicy salami type sausages available. It's also quite a rustic area, but seems to be modernising fast.

    We still have car boots, amazing what turns up on them, I've had some real good buys on our favourite on at Silloth on Sunday in the season from about March - October, depending on weather.

    Raggy cat's about to get thrown out.

  20. Thanks Cumbrian. I will look at the easystill again. I suppose if somebody sold their homebrew to just friends or even better used a barter system offering their labour, vegetable, meat, cheeses, fym, crafts..., nobody could stop you?

    The inclement weather plays a big factor in rural living. There is nowhere nicer to be on a sunny day. However when you're trying to house animals and give them feeding in the middle of a storm and you're getting saturated every day, there's nowhere worse to be.

    I would imagine that you would need to grasp French to survive in France Cumbrian? I like the fresh bread every 4 hours. One thing I really don't like is white sliced supermarket bread. I have heard that the manufacturers bleach the flour. I also wonder what preservatives do they put in the bread?

    Everything seems to be full of salt, sugar and chemicals these days. Even a can of baked beans contains sugar. Think I would really like to live in Southern France but how would you make a living? How can anybody make a living in a rural location unless they have a good pension or a useful trade?

    Two brewing questions may I ask you Cumbrian?

    We are going to bottle the cider kit today. Can I use a jug instead of the plastic tube to fill them?

    How long should we leave the Scottish Heavy before drinking it? We poured it into bottles on Sunday.


  21. Don't really know how the system would handle you trading or bartering home-made alcohol for other goods or services, but if no money changes hands, I don't suppose anybody's going to bother you are they? Swapping a couple of bottles of home-brewed beer for a home-baked loaf sounds good to me.
    Obviously the tax-collectore wouldn't like this approach, they'd have nothing to collect. Suppose we could send them 25% of the beer or the bread. I read about one guy who sent his local tax collector a fish with a note - "Dear sir, I caught 4 of these last week-end, and since you want 25% of everything else I earn, I thoughy I'd send you 25% of my catch".

    Sounds like the Lake District and West Cumbrian weather, nowhere nicer on a sunny day, but not enough sunny days, cold, wet and miserable for too many months of the year.

    Don't think you'd need to speak too much French to live there, communication's usually possible, the hard part would be reading such things as bills, understanding the system, or trying to get answers to things you can't ask in French. A good phrase book would no doubt help for more complicated things, but it's easy to ask, but not so easy to understand the answer, unless the other party has a phrase book with the answers. For everyday stuff, I get by happily my very small stock of French words, it's surprising how far "Please" and "Thank You" can get you, coupled with a bit of sign language which tends to be universal.
    Best way to live there as you say would be on a pension, but even then you're stuck with the euro conversion rates; I can't think you'd be able to compete with locals and make a decent living; but it would be an idyllic life, there's a guy near where we go, lives in a caravan on his little field, grows a few things and sells them at the gate from a big shed, he's got a nice set-up in the back, with table, chair, kettle, sink, fridge and TV, spends his days sitting in the sun drinking wine and selling a few bits off a couple of oil drums with planks accross the top as his counter, and a pair of old-fashioned balance scales. Dunno what he does in winter though? He doesn't speak English, not a word.

    I know French-baked bread doesn't keep very well, it needs to be eaten same day, so presumably our English long-lasting bread is full of addatives to make it keep; it seems impossible the French add things to make it not last?

    Yeah, salt and sugar; when I was first diagnosed as diabetic, I started to read labels on foods, it' just about impossible to avoid them, even as you say, baked beans.

    Can't see why using a jug should be any different, as long as you steralise the jug, I use my plastic jug often, usually transferring wine from first ferment big pan to funnel into dj, it never does any harm; just be careful with the sediment if there is much with cider?
    Scottish Heavy I think would be same as Yorkshire Bitter, about 10 days, but try on day 7 if it looks clear, I think it's a common failing with home brewers, we all want to taste our latest batch a.s.a.p. and it seems to be at its best just as you're drinking the last bottle.

  22. Thanks Cumbrian for that. You raise some very good points. I think that the government should just be called: Revenue Collectors. All the politicians seem to want to do is find a way of taxing people. Think it was far better in medieval times under the old Guilds systems, where any revenue or surplus crops had to be used to upkeep local infrastructure and give relief and labour to the poor. Never understood the idea of central government except for fighting wars.

    I even believe allotment tenants aren't allowed to sell their veg and fruit, which they have toiled and worked for. I love the idea of the fisherman sharing his fish.

    The French way of rural living sounds wonderful and idyllic. Although I believe they use Napoleon's archaic inheritance tax sytem that when your partner dies, YOU the widow/widower have to pay inheritance tax on your property which you have already paid stamp duty when you first purchased it.

    Like you say Cumbrian. I don't think you would be able to compete with the local economy. It's back to that brilliant British comedy: The League Of Gentleman saying:

    "This is a shop for local people."

    I have heard that unless you have both sets of grandparents buried in the local graveyard, you will never be accepted. I think that's a generalisation though and if you employ the locals to renovate your property or cut your hay, you will soon be accepted.

    Think most holiday places are just seasonal, even Cornwall. I adore rural living but there lots of negatives, especially in terms of finding a way of making a living. The Capitalist system is set up for people to commute or live in the city. Read of once city in China with a population of THIRTY Million!! Wouldn't like to deliver the post there.

    Perhaps in stead of organic food we should be aiming for food made with no chemical additives or preservatives?

    Yeah I thought the jug would work Cumbrian. I don't think I could ever make wine because I can't wait 10 days do drink my bitter.


  23. Valid point using local resources for the local good, as you say, anything we give to the government (or is taken by them) is lost for ever to the local economy. I agree as well they all (every party and politician) seem to be more concerned with personal enrichment and how to screw everybody for yet more tax than actually governing and listening to the concerns of their elsctorate, who have to fund their excesses but have absolutely no say in how it gets spent.
    As for fighting wars, I never did see any form of sense in that, but history seems full of them; present days have quite a lot as well. I think they are all the result of greed, jealousy or religion, 3 things I try to distance myself from. Some say they (wars) did some good by wiping out excess population, but nature will do that anyway if left to its own devices, only a bit slower.

    Might be against the rules to sell allotment produce, but giving it away presumably is OK; and if the recipitent happens to have a few pints of ale spare to quench the allotment-holders thirst, or a few surplus eggs to keep his atrength up, where's the wrong in that? I think it's a really bad state of affairs when every aspect of our life is ruled so much by money and bankers.

    Don't know about Napoleans inheritance rules, I beleive it makes every sibling equel in the inheritance, leading to the fragmentation of lots of French holdings into smaller and smaller parcels, until they become too small to be economic. But I might be wrong.

    Acceptance will probably come faster if you fit in with the local culture instead of fighting it, some areas of West Cumbria are very much like the "3 generations in the graveyard before you belong here" syndrome, but that's changing now like a lot of other things, incomers can be accepted very quickly, a matter of 25 years. Or even faster if they drink in the local pub and learn the dialect.

    Yes, all holiday areas are seasonal, but so is farming? (or small-holding)

    Totally organic food is as near impossible as it's possible to get, but it's good to see a return of the old-fashioned way of food production, not using pesticides, insecticides and growth-promoting injections routinely for fastest possible growth, maximum quantity, minimum quality. Then the processing industry does its bit with addatives and preservatives for maximum keeping, minimum taste. No wonder a lot of the supershed stuff looks like pastic and tastes like sawdust.

    Only 9 Scottish Heavy-less days to go?

  24. Thanks Cumbrian. I agree that central government only favours the capital and rural towns are forgotten or ignored. In Dublin there are plans for more and more roads and trams..., whilst here in rural Ireland the roads are full of potholes, very little or no public transport, the closing of schools, no jobs and rural pubs closing every week.

    Dialect or rather the lack of it is also very interesting. I have been reading a John Seymour book this week and he was saying how you don't hear distinctive county accents and even the clothes are no longer different from the towns people. Fifty years ago you could tell how a country person from a town person. Perhaps people should be proud of their accents and dialects?

    If you live in a place like here you have no local pub so you never meet people and have to wait until Sunday for the Scotch bitter to be ready. I am joking. There's a Theakstons delivery to my off licence tomorrow. Only had to wait a week for it.

    Most of my smallholding work is in the Winter when the cattle come in. You're right though it's very seasonal. A lot of hotels close down in the Winter and don't employ the staff twelve months of the year.

    I agree organic is as near possible to get. I also think the Health and Safety people make food processors go over board with the preservatives and especially plastic packaging. I mean you're not going to eat fruit or vegetables without washing them are you? So why can't they be sold loose or in paper - recycled paper at that?

    We really don't know what we are eating when we purchase convenience food.

  25. Dialects are very distinctive when you know them, in West Cumbria we have slightly different dialects in every town, each with their own particular words and expressioms.
    My wife (from Manchester) says she can't understand me and my son when we talk together.
    And the Lake District is also very rich in dialects and words, some of them unique to a particular area.
    But you're right (as was JS) that alot of local dialects are disappearing, something I find a bit sad.

  26. Dialects and accents are very distinctive Cumbrian. Once read that some English university did a study on the wildlife and came to the conclusion that even the birds have regional differences.

    We could do with Professor Higgins (My Fair Lady) to celebrate all the different accents and dialects and aim to preserve them.

    Even the BBC television news presenters seem to have mainly South East accents. The news people even have a :North of England correspondent. They don't seem to need a Southern one do they?

    It's a wonder that the EEC powers that be aren't trying to make us all speak Esperanto.



What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...