All posts filed under: Ecology

What I know about almonds…

Before I moved here and inherited the stewardship of hundreds of knackered old almond trees, I only knew that almonds were tasty and full of goodness. As they¬†are the wonder-food of the moment and loved especially by those going easy on the grains, many of us will be aware that they’re a ‘good thing’ to try and incorporate into our diets. Specifically, they’re high in monunsaturated fats, (which are believed to lower cholesterol), they’re packed full of protein and contain vitamin E, magnesium and potassium, and have been found to reduce post-meal elevations in blood sugar. Almonds can now claim the coveted label ‘superfood’. I wasn’t unaware of the rise of the almond; I had the Helmsley and Helmsley cookbook, I was ready to replace the flour in my quiche with ground almonds at least once – I’d maybe chop a few on top of my salads and cereal – but that was probably, honestly, the extent of my knowledge of this particular prunus. These days however, as we’ve been on this land from harvest …

Life has been happening

Some time has passed. During this online pause, life has been happening. Here are some of our stories… We stayed a few months with my dad in my childhood home in Liverpool at the end of our travelling year. When I first left my home, bound for Glasgow at twenty one, I felt sure I’d never feel enthusiastic about the place again. The idea of being ‘back there’ in the place I’d grown up had felt uncomfortably retrogressive. Maybe it’s the simple fact of being older and having different values now but this time around I found that there was a satisfying circularity to having my children sleep in my old bedroom, and the sounds of my night-owl dad shuffling around after midnight fixing himself a whisky and raiding his cake cupboard were familiar and comforting. I was able to see my family often and in a casual, popping-round-for-a-cuppa sort of way, which is something I’ve rarely been able to do. Then, in March, we packed up a load of our stuff (gathering boxes and …

The Future is shed-shaped

Before we left last January to travel around Europe for almost a year, there was a big question mark over our future as a family. People often asked us what would happen when we returned to the UK, what were our plans, how would we manage to get a house again having spent most of our money? They were difficult questions to answer because, genuinely, we didn’t have a clue. For a long time, probably since the days of reading about the children of Cherry Tree Farm running wild about the countryside chatting to nature -loving hermits in Enid Blyton’s books, I’ve had romantic longings for a life lived on the land. In recent years however, with eco-systems increasingly under pressure from the continued pillaging of our planet’s resources and the rampant beast of consumerism crushing everything in its path, I’ve felt necessity take the place of romanticism. I find myself unsure of what to do in the face of such global ecological chaos, but with an instinct to return to the land. Overly alarmist …

The Bears of Kuterevo

I’m a bit obsessed with bears and wolves. One of the reasons I’m spellbound by deer is that the idea of something so big wandering around wild in the woods is just so exciting. They’re so big! And they’re owned by no one! So obviously being in places where there are wolves or bears, which are way more exotic and wild and potentially dangerous, is pretty mind-blowing for me. The chances of us actually seeing a bear in the wild though are thankfully fairly slim, so we opted for the next best thing and went to the bear sanctuary in Kuterevo. The Kuterevo bear sanctuary was set up in 2002 by Ivan Crnkovic-Pavenka to give a home to orphaned bears that ¬†otherwise wouldn’t have survived in the wild. It has since grown to accommodate four large enclosures and supports a permanent community of international volunteers. The site provides trees, pools and caves for the bears to live a life as close to wild as they’ll ever know and simultaneously a sense of community and purpose …