Kumbucha

kumbucha with lemon vervena leaves
Stefanie’s kumbucha with lemon verbena favouring, just bottled

Our love affair with fermented food is forever deepening and growing stronger!

In the early days, it was just sourdough bread, and gallons of elderflower champagne in June.` Then, in 2005, I discovered lacto fermented vegetables while woofing in the South of France and there was no turning back. After many jars of sauerkraut and kimchi, the arrival of ourĀ  two milking sheep at Macalla farm in 2009 presented us with yet more fermentation opportunities—in the form of yoghurt, cheese and kefir.

The recent visit to our farm by Dan from Australia, another serious fermentation aficionado, expanded our fermentation repertoire even further as he brought with him to the island some live Kumbucha. Read more

Nettle and wild garlic soup

nettle and wild garlic soup

Serves 4

  • 4 large potatoes (about 1 lb)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large bag of fresh nettles tops
  • 1 handful of wild garlic leaves
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or sunflower oil)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

This is a delicious soup to make in the spring, when the nettles are young and the wild garlic is growing.
Wear gloves and pick nettles (just the very top), preferably on sunny morning. Wash them and put aside. Wash or peel the potatoes and dice them. Chop the onion in small bits.
Fry the onion in ghee, (or sunflower oil for vegan alternative) on medium heat until soft, stirring constantly, add the diced potatoes and keep stirring for another 3 minutes, then add the washed nettle tops and chopped up wild garlic leaves. Add 1 litre of water, bring to the boil, add the salt and peppter, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Liquidize and serve immediately with fresh cream as a garnish.

Wild garlic and rocket pesto

Allium ursinum

Wild garlic (Allium ursinum), also known as ramsons, doesn’t need to be wild at all. It’s growing happily in a shady patch in our garden so we don’t have to venture very far to forage for it. However, being “wild”, it doesn’t need any work, other than harvesting–no planting, weeding or pruning, and no need to buy seeds, as being wild, it’s a perennial.

But the best thing is its subtle taste of garlic which includes a vibrant sharpness and a very definite pungency, and the fact that it comes up at a time when there’s not much else to harvest outside.

Read more

Natural worming for horses

 

Using herbal alternatives to chemical wormers to keep your horses worm free

Most horse owners are aware of the need to worm their horse to avoid symptoms such as weight loss, colic and poor condition and indeed, controlling the worm burden of your horses is an important aspect of caring for them. It must be noted, however, that healthy horses can carry a small load of worms without ill effects. It is even possible that in a healthy gut, a small infestation plays a supportive role in maintaining a balance. But there is no doubt that a heavy worm infestation in a horse can be very serious and may lead to all sorts of problems.

Read more

Weaning foals naturally

Freyafoal2

Weaning is a very important stepping stone in a horse life, and it has to be done gradually and carefully. Horses that are not weaned properly may carry the trauma of a brutal separation with their mother for the rest of their life, and might never be happy horses. The brutal practice of taking a foal from his mother, shove it in a trailer and take it away for ever is not acceptable.
There are two aspects to consider when weaning a foal: the nutritional and the emotional impact of the separation from its mother.
The most obvious aspect of weaning is that it entails a change of diet. As the foal will no longer have access to its mother’s milk, nutrients that were supplied by the milk must be made available in its diet. Consequently, foals should not be weaned too early. A foal younger that about four months is getting a very significant part of its nutritional requirements through sucking and therefore shouldn’t be weaned. Only when the foal has started grazing for significant amount of time can weaning be considered. If you are keeping the foal over the winter, it is probably best to wait until there’s not enough grazing and you start feeding the mare (by which time it is more economical to feed the foal).

Read more

Milking Sheep

Over the last number of years we have embarked on many a project to help build (to use the word favoured by Rob Hopkins and his Transition movement) resilience. And while some of these experiments have had dubious results, our foray into milking sheep has been a resounding success. In autumn 2009 we introduced Tess and Frieda, two crossbred Friesiand ewes to the island. They lambed at Easter and we began milking Tess immediately as her lamb died shortly after birth. While both Christophe and I had some previous experience milking (cows and goats for me, goats and a mare for Christophe) it took a bit of practice and concentration to accustom our hands and fingers to sheep udders and teats. But we soon got the hang of it and found ourselves self-sufficient in milk. For a period of seven months (including our very busy summer period) Tess and Frieda gave us two litres of milk each per day. From this we made the most delicious, creamy yoghurt as well as soft cheese and our first attempts at hard cheese. We used the milk raw for breakfast, for cooking and baking, eliminating our usual order of large quantities of organic milk and yoghurt from the mainland. Read more