‘Friends of WildGuernsey’ Solstice Gathering

The invite (http://wildguernsey.wordpress.com/about-us/friends-of-wildguernsey/) read “A fire to gather around and to encourage the sun to shine on the crops after its zenith.  Celebrated at a slack time between sowing and haymaking, not that we are making hay, but a great time to get together anyhow and take in the heat of the sun at its peak and the fire as it falls. Bring a log/driftwood and any finger food or drink to share.  We’ll provide hot drinks, Kelp Krisps and a sweet treat. Emma from BeInspired will give a free yoga session….” and our Friends came.  Thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

The first of many ‘Friends’ gatherings, bringing like-minded people together, benefitting from fairshare and getting involved in ‘workbee’days.

Seaweed for the soil, skin and soul.

Thanks to my Dad,  seaweed now dresses the ground and plants in our greenhouse.  He has spent his retired days with fork in hand, turning the ground and barrowing in fresh seaweed.  Community Services with the Probation Project have also helped by wheeling back and forth with wheel barrows and mounds of vraic (our local name for seaweed), after spreading it on the fields.

Vraic has been used in this ways for years, to fatten the ground for crops. There is an old saying, ‘Pas de vraic, pas de haugard’, which translates from the local patois to ‘no vraic, no stackyard’, as there would be no crop without it. There were seasons when you could collect weed and two types: drfit seaweed (vraic venant) and cut seaweed (vraci sciai).  Rakes were used to collect drift weed, up to the waist in water which was dangerous work, with the waves grasping their rakes and hurling them back.  People didn’t go alone. Cut vraic was taken twice a year, to conserve the stock, which was then dried for fuel or burnt for potash. Gathering seaweed and seeing it as a resource to use and value would be a great thing for more to revive .Principle 5: Use & value renewable resources & services. Proverb: Let nature take its course. http://permacultureprinciples.com/principle_5.php

Seaweed contains alginates which break up the soil. Being a primary producers, like plants on land, they use the energy from the sun and convert it, by photosynthesis, to a useful yield of chemicals from the sea that we can utilise. We can catch and store these minerals by making a liquid feed, mulching, eating it and putting it on our skin.

We offer a seaweed bath at WildGuernsey so that you can relax in a silky hot amber seaweed soak or foot bath. It will detoxify your body and enrich your skin with vitamins A—K, giving you a natural glow.  Or try my herbal balm for your skin with bladderwrack in it.  Bladderwrack is known for its anti-rheumatic properties aswell as an appetite suppressant, although the Kelp krisps we make on the WildFood workshops are cooked in oil and a little tasty! It’ll soon be warmer when we can bathe in the sea amongst the weeds of the water.

Barefoot beekeeping

‘The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams’ , Henry David Thoreau.  Something I read this morning from an inspiring book called ‘The Barefoot Beekeeper’ www.biobees.com , a book I have wanted to absorb for awhile.  Finally beekeeping makes sense to me.  A friend likened the type of hive with removable frames (national, WBC)  like beekeeping in a block of flats. I’m discovering Top Bar hives again, and sustainable bee keeping that I first read about in a Permaculture magazine and then when we stayed at Embercombe on one of their ‘Friends working weekends’ (we celebrated the solstice with them which moved both myself, D’Arcy and Liz, a friend looking for land in the southwest to establish a permaculture holding). Observing, not disturbing, the bees lies at the heart of it, which is something I’m learning with Hugo (our son who’s 5 weeks old now), needing to observe his little ways and meet is needs as a new mum. This reminds me of the first permaculture principle of ‘Observe and Interact’ (http://permacultureprinciples.com/principle_1.php). If anyone has any experience of Top Bar hives, I’d love to hear about it. I will gather wood, a little time and make myself a hive, to sit alongside my National and then I can observe which bees are happiest!

Principle 1: Observe and interact. Proverb: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

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