Our journey towards self sufficiency and living more deeply in tune with nature began many years ago. We moved here having already lived and worked on the land for a long time, we had grown our own food and been part of a community. A permaculture course, in 1992, brought things more sharply into focus and was where we first learned about forest gardening.
Being here has meant we have more potential for growing a wider variety of fruit bearing trees, something which excited us about this area. The scope for including other edible and useful shrubs and plants to meet more of our needs is vast. We could see the possibility, in this place, for coming much closer to our ideal of self sufficiency.
Produce and Skills
This land already provides us with a huge variety of produce: apples, pears , peaches, plums, cherries, figs. apricots, nectarines, persimmons, loquats, oranges, kiwis, grapes, hazelnuts, walnuts,chestnuts and olives. Many of these are solar dried, bottled or turned into jams or chutneys and we make olive oil and juice from the grapes and fruit.
We have a variety of the more unusual fruits, berries and other crops as well, and are constantly adding to the diversity of the farm
Chickens and a goat provide us with eggs, milk and manure. We have a solar and wood fueled shower, solar energy and compost toilets. All our wood is supplied by rotation coppice on the land.
Most of our food is provided from the land and we have many herbs growing which we use both in our food and medicinally. Herbs are made into tinctures,ointments,infused oils and teas. One of our interests is in gathering and eating wild food and we have experimented with a raw food diet which ultimately seems to suit a forest garden lifestyle although winter is still a bit of a test.
Having always had an interest in craftwork, with skills in leatherwork, carpentry and jewellry making ,we continued here and developed further skills in rustic furniture making, basket weaving and green woodwork using the willow and wood we grow on the farm. Some musical instruments have also been made. We love to experiment with other crafts and have dabbled in mosaics, weaving, spinning, knitting, metal forge work, and papermaking,
Interests and Community
Living this lifestyle is full and busy but we still manage to find time to pursue other interests and community ventures.
Between us, these include participating in music, drumming, singing and dancing groups, womens groups, Family Constellations, Journey work, Deep Ecology, a psychic development group, and different healing groups.
Over the years we have also been part of a local work group; this a group of people who meet, work and share, on a rotating basis at each others farms, something which is always fun and very productive.
We are very interested in community networks that establish and foster strong links with each other, and through work and skill -sharing empower us all.
More recently other like-minded people have moved into the surrounding properties and we now have the possibility of working much more closely together and developing and protecting the entire area as an eco-village and association.
Another work group has now been developed by the inhabitants of our valley and meets every two weeks to help with work or projects on our various farms.We take it in turns to host the work days, which always include sharing a lovely meal and a lot gets done.