‘Friends of WildGuernsey’ Solstice Gathering

The invite (https://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.

Ducklings, Dads and Sundowners.

Friends have joined us, from their boat in Turkey (http://www.sundowner2.com/) to help on the land.  They have become part of the WildGuernsey family, as have 9 ducklings and 3 lambs so far.  Dennis (left) and sandra (right) have given so much to the land with their energy and creative ideas for all our reclaimed bits’n’pieces.  The smell of resin as they have worked with old wood, dumped from a church, has added incense to the air for days.

It is a little late for lambs but our son Hugo (making it D’Arcys first Fathers day too) has something to do with that as he was born when the ram was due to visit, resulting in a delay in courtship!



Pootle and Ponder are also Dads, fitting since it is father’s day today.  Hugo leans over the cardboard box and stares at the ducklings as they flit from water to crumbs and respond to my attempts of duck talk.

Happy Fathers Day to my dad too as he continues to help us find our feet for the WildCamping season.  I bought him a T-shirt not long ago with ‘Growing Together’ on it and a photo of the greenhouses.  He teaches Me to Grow in more ways than simply  to grow tomatoes.  Thanks Dad.

WildGuernsey gets another Guardian mention!!

We featured again for a new place for 2011  http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/jun/13/uk-whats-new-holidays-accommodation?INTCMP=SRCH mentioning Eco-friendly activities including sea foraging, beach-craft and herbal balm making. And you can even hire your own chicken coop. Clucktastic!

Bargain family summer holidays

See here http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2011/jun/18/bargain-family-summer-holidays?INTCMP=SRCH for an article featuring WildGuernsey.

A Dragonfly or Fairy?

Pausing to answer the phone by my newly evolving edible pond, where you can eat all the plants and use the medicinally or for baskets extra, I saw a Dragonfly.  This may not seem such an unusal thing for some, but it marks a milestone for me.  When I started on my pond design, linking in what multiple functions this one element of a pond could have http://www.permaculture.org.uk/principle/8-integrate-rather-segregate to provide an integrated system, I hoped Dragonflies would come and share the water and their time with us. Such a stunning insect which caught my eye as it darted close to the greenhouse and above the pond, just like I imagine a fairy, or Pouque (local for small folk) would. They only survive a few weeks, which makes them even more special http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/biology-ecology. Magical.

Tread carefully, camping lightly.

We got a mention in The Independent today in their midweek travel section.  Quite a big step forward for us as we quietly evolve during June to accept people to stay Wildcamping  http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/uk/a-perfect-pitch-for-campers-2291372.html. Let’s hope it can attract folk to the ever increasing community of like-minded  people on the Island.  We have had a number of journalists up to the land to have a chat about foraging and Wildcamping.  Today, Ursula visited from Radio Osterreich (http://oe1.orf.at) with a camera man, covering sustainable options in Guernsey.  She loved the views and felt herself, a consiousness of living lightly with the earth.

'Green Guernsey'

“Under the stars” Retreat with Be inspired.

We wanted to creat a place to spend a Saturday night with views of the southwest seascape, overlooking Fort Grey, a space to connect with the land and your self, to embrace nature, to unwind and return to that quiet place within. So we have joined with Emma from www.inspiredby.co.uk on 16th juy.

The elements of this haven are:  yoga in a Tipi/outside, meditation under the umbrella of an Oak tree, a dip in the sea with the falling sun, shared food around a fire, sleep under canvas of a Tipi, wake with yoga before breakfast and the optional extra (option 2 only) of a posh breakfast basket, treatment (reiki/massage/reflexology) and a WildFood wander with brunch.

Please email me or have a look at Emmas website.

The belly of our clay oven fills many!

We have come from throwing lime into the mixer to kneading dough and sharing pizza, cooked in our clay oven. We celebrated the lighting of the oven with friends, toasting ‘To the oven and her makers’, and then just yesterday to D’Arcys first pizza.  It was great.

Crafted by Michael and friends, the making of the oven has involved many who have come to share their time and skills with us at Pouquelaie Vinery and I know she (she must be a she) will attract more with what she offers from her lovely lime belly.

 The inners of her belly, filling the bellies of many!

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