Friday, 17 October 2014

Seed Sowing in Da Orchard

A team of amazing volunteers gathered together to sow the first wildflower seeds onto the muddy stripped fields that are to be Northaw Community Orchard …..
The land was dug up n all of the massive brambles and assorted rubbish removed, then it was walked and bramble roots picked out 
 We mixed 100g of wild flower seeds in 2 handfuls of builders sand and sowed a bowlful per 20m squared 

 It is a total privilege being part of a community group and hanging out with people that want to give, be outdoors creating positive change Thank you to everyone involved.

We plan to plant 75 trees mixed fruit and nuts which will go in next Feb, have a community bee project on the land and run educational workshops

We are looking for artists to come and create beautiful natural pieces, anyone any good with a chain saw? Because we'd love some benches…..

Thursday, 9 October 2014


Horseradish     Mars

It’s creeping towards the start of the freezy winter months and all things warming and spicy are the order of the season.  We’ve just been digging up horseradish root with our apprentices in preparation for the winter roots weekend in November.  Its a hot herb of Mars. 

Eva discovers hidden hot treasures beneath the ground

Horseradish is really circulatory and stimulating.  It is so hot that when you chop it up, the enzymes release mustard oil into the atmosphere and sting your eyes.  I was wearing goggles to chop it yesterday. When you chew a small amount, once the heat has subsided, has a distinct bitter taste which is responsible for encouraging the digestion by stimulating the liver and pancreas.  Great for helping to digest rich meat dishes!

It is said that the oracle of Delphi said to Apollo that Horseradish is worth its weight in gold.  She was right; it’s a hugely valuable plant both medicinally and as a condiment.

We use it as part of our Ache Ease balm to bring circulation to a damaged or inflammed joint or as a rub for tired achey muscles.  As you've heard it can be very irritant so it is best to mix with some other oils.  In our Ache Ease Balm we also use comfrey and heather oil.

Making Horseradish oil

Chop it up as thinly and as small as possible soon after harvesting.  If you wait too long and it becomes too dry and it is nearly impossible to chop.  This time I placed the chopped pieces into a brown paper bag and in the airing cupboard for 3 to 4 days to get most of the moisture out.  If you put the root in the oil still moist, the oil will go rancid.

Horseradish slices in almond oil

It then goes into a clean jar and covered in oil.  Almond oil is our oil of choice but any oil will do.  Olive is thicker with more smell, grape seed very light.  As it starts to mix and absorb the oil, the horseradish releases sulphurous gasses which you see as bubbles rising to the surface of the oil.  Every couple of days its important to release the lid to let the eggy gasses out....After 2 weeks you can strain  the horseradish out of the oil through a muslin cloth and store your oil to combine with other oils of your choice.

Foody ideas

We have kept a big lump of the root back to use in stews and on sandwiches.  The root needs to be kept wrapped up so that the air doesn’t get to it (this stops it from loosing its spicy volatile oils and going bitter) and stored in the fridge.  It can just be taken out and a small amount grated into stews or sandwiches.

Conscious harvesting

After harvesting we planted fennel seeds and gave thanks

Charli lovin' the horseradish

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Sugar Free Rosehip Syrup recipe

Rosa canina is a beautiful delicate flower, turning to red sexy hip gracing many of our hedgerows. Growing abundantly often intertwined with her equally protective and prickly cousin Hawthorn. Her pale pink heart shaped petals give us a clear indication of one of her medicinal virtues – to sooth any anxieties especially of the heart and issues of love and grief, her hips full of vitamin C nourishing and nurturing.

Her delicate floral flavours are uplifting and cooling, her scent attractive and calming. It is important to take care whilst harvesting as her barbed shaped thorns can be oh so vicious –we take it as a no nonsense message to move on to another bush. Her sexy fruity hips out right now in Autumn, encompass the reproductive system in their juicy red nourishing shells filled with thousands of seeds – When preparing these it is important to be aware that the tiny hairs are extremely irritant and in fact are the origins of itchy powder.

Rosehips are renowned for treating arthritic complaints with great results interestingly especially the knees.  Perhaps the mode of action for this is through her amazing effect healing the gut, as well as the anti-inflammatory effects she imparts.

Emotionally we have used the the rosehips especially in syrup from to put nurture back in when you’ve been giving out to others.  This is a particularly maternal quality, the constant Giver.

• rosehips
• apple juice concentrate
• spring water

1. place the washed rosehips in a large pan
2. cover with spring water
3. bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 mins
4. mash it all up with a potatoe masher
5. Put it through a food mill (see picture)
6. Pour through a jelly bag/or muslin square
7. Add the apple concentrate at a ratio of 2 parts apple to 1 part rosehips and boil rapidly for another 5 minutes. Pour into hot sterile bottles and seal immediately.