FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 26 August 2016

Lavender's Blue Dilly Dilly

Yesterday we went out to visit Prittlewell Priory again specifically to go through the lavender walk. As lavender walks go its quite an impressive one:

Lavender always reminds me of my Great Nan and my Nan who both loved lavender and I recall both of them often singing the rhyme Lavender's Blue, there are many versions but the most common one goes:

Lavender's blue, dilly, dilly, lavender's greenWhen I am king, dilly, dilly, You shall be queenWho told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me soCall up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to workSome to the plough, dilly, dilly, some to the forkSome to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to cut cornWhile you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warmLavender's green, dilly, dilly, Lavender's blueif you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs playWe shall be safe, dilly, dilly, out of harm's wayI love to dance, dilly, dilly, I love to singWhen I am queen, dilly, dilly, You'll be my kingWho told me so, dilly, dilly, Who told me so?I told myself, dilly, dilly, I told me so

We ha loads of fun runnin around the grounds of the priory, watching the honey bees and the bumblebees and butterflies and seeing how many different coloured leaves we could find

At Lunch Fast-Momma treated us to a fig, bean and serrano ham salad

Then as if by magic a fortress appeared in the living room

so we spent the afternoon colouring in the poncho tent

Dinner was a home made spag-bol which I forgot to take a photo of but I think you can tell from the look of Aurora that it was DEEElicious

then just before we put the kids to bed we had one last thing to do

Logan has been having a bit of trouble sleeping and waking with nightmares regularly in the night so we made him a little "snuffle bag" with some lavender we picked that morning. Since it is calming and supposed to help with sleep we put a bunch of Lavender and a piece of amethyst inside (said to cure nightmares and insomnia) 

All tied up it smells amazing and Logan loved it and took it to bed with his teddies, he settled down to sleep in record time!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend

Thursday, 25 August 2016

How To Make A Herbal Salve

You may remember that last week I was lucky enough to win a copy of the E-book How To Make A Herbal Salve by our lovely Leigh over at 5 Acres and a Dream

I've finally managed to get around to reading it, it's a great little book and a perfect introduction for people new to the topic. The book is part of a series of other little "Homestead How-Tos" with topics such as how to preserve eggs, how to make amish whitewash and many others, you can find the full list HERE.

I'll definitely be buying some of the other titles just as soon as I finish reading the couple of books I have on the go at the moment. Leigh is an amazing author, an inspirational person and buying her books is a great way to support her and what she does so she can keep churning out great content on her blog and in her books, they are very inexpensive and you certainly won't be dissapointed.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Quick Update

Edit: If you follow this blog you should already be fully aware that I am a foul mouthed hairy biker. If my use of expletives on a flyer that helped us raise over £1000 for charity offends you then kindly FUCK OFF

Still no date set for when we will be moving out of the house!

I'm quite impatient so this is killing me, hopefully we'll find out within the next week

Here's a couple of  photos from the weekend,
On Saturday me and the guys held a charity fundraiser at the clubhouse and raised £500 for Cancer research UK and £610 for a local toddler named George who has stage 4 Neuroblastoma
This was the flyer:

and a pic of Carly and Logan at the fundraiser, all the club's partners and kids were there for the BBQ at the start of the evening, it was a great family atmosphere

On Sunday the kids were at nanny and grandads house so me and Carly went out to see Slim Pickings play at the Leigh Maritime Festival

As always they were awesome and half of them ended up coming to party at our place until the early hours, we've become quite close friends with them since we first bumped in to each other at The Pagan Picnic

Our Breakfast this morning was crushed avocado and chopped tomato on sunflower seed rye bread nom nom nom!

and dinner was pretty much thrown together from what was hanging around in the cupboards, vegetarian sausages, roasted potatoes, home made baked beans and fresh bread from the bakers served with the very last of our quail eggs :( 
I can't wait til we're keeping quail again once we get to Spain!

On the subject of Spain, I've posted my initial layout design for the land, anyone interested in permaculture can check it out over on Wyrdwood Acres Blog

I'll be getting a design for the Kitchen Garden done this week hopefully so watch this space :)


Friday, 19 August 2016

Foody Thursday

Sorry Kymber, more food stuff!

We had some fantastic food on thursday so thought i'd share some of it here:

Breakfast was a scrambled quail egg muffin:

Carly went on an artisan bread making course last week and one of the recipes was for a super easy delicious pizza base so we've been having a few home made pizzas, this one was an olive/veggie pizza that the kids had for dinner:

Then our dinner was a bit of an experiment as we've never tried it before, "No-Fish Veggie Sushi" which turned out great :

So we had some excellent food yesterday, but the highlight of my day was when the postman dropped off the new book I bought, "The Market Gardener"by Jean Martin Fortier. You might say I was a bit excited about finally getting to read it

 I'm about a quarter of the way through reading it already and so far it is a fantastic book detailing how they supply around 200 families with fresh produce every week through their thriving CSA and manage to make $180,000 a year in sales from their Bio-intensively managed 1.5 acre market garden without the used of tractors/machinery. 

They've really got their layout nailed down for maximum efficiency, both for crop efficiency and minimizing human down time. The book has really got me thinking about how I will lay out the Kitchen Garden when we move on to our own land.

Everywhere I look I am seeing new designs and new ideas, I suppose it is the observe and interact aspect of permaculture that has been instilled in me, I'm so excited about being able to put it all together! not long now I suppose,

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Wednesday Mendsday

Yesterday the new fan came so I was able to fix the Fridge freezer

Here's the old one that had given up the ghost:


It cost £18 delivered for the new fan, far cheaper than even the callout charge for an engineer would have been. I'd guess it cost us more in the food that had to be thrown away because the freezer was defrosting and the fridge was freezing due to the fan not distributing the heat correctly.

And the new fan fitted before the grill went back on, took about 5 minutes maximum to fix and it was so simple the cat could have done it.

Carly came home from the shops with a real haul, she went treasure hunting in a local ethnic shop and most of the ingredients she bought were a quarter of the price they would have been in the supermarket, or were the same price but in MUCH larger containers so far better value for money

Then I cut the buttons from all of my old work shirts since I won't be needing them again and made a start on cutting the zips and buttons from some of my work trousers, decent YKK zips, no point throwing them away since they always come in handy for making your own things or mending ones that still have life in them

Which leads on nicely to our new patch:


Monday, 15 August 2016


What a whirlwind of a day!

Today was the day that I handed in my months notice at work, and what is more, I have been put on gardeners leave for the month!!
It's a gardeners dream, especially in this weather, although with everything else that's going on I doubt I'll be doing much in the Garden.

I didn't phone and tell Carly about the gardeners leave and rode straight home to surprise her. As I turned the corner of our road I saw Carly and the kids waving and cheering out of the window to greet me, they had heard my bike coming from a mile off and guessed what had happened.

I'm truly blessed that I've been able to spend the day with my family and can't get my head around the fact that I'll be with them every day, it's such a weight off my shoulders and all the stress from work has just melted away and I've been able to have real fun with the kids today without getting stressed out.

For lunch we had Sweetcorn and Cheese Savoury pancakes with courgettes, red onion, cherry tomatoes, podded peas, rocket, watercress and topped with little fried quail eggs. It sounds like a feast but really we were just using up odds and ends from the fridge!

The reason we were emptying out the fridge was because the american fridge freezer has packed up. the fan has stopped working so the top of the fridge and freezer are starting to get warmer than they ought to be, so in true F.A.S.T style I have ordered a new fan and will fix it myself when it arrives.

After Lunch since it was such a beautiful day we headed out to play around in the park and scare away the locals with my milky whites

Then I had some more good news for the day when I found out we had won a free ebook of our choosing from the lovely Leigh over at 5 Acres and a Dream
We opted to receive her book How to make a Herbal Salve so since I've got a lot of time on my hands all of a sudden you can expect a review in the very near future when I've finished reading it.

To crown this glorious day, We've added a new patch to the Etsy store

Hope you all have a wonderful week!


Saturday, 13 August 2016

September Kitchen Garden Free Book

Just a quick heads up,
We all know that usually the free books you get palmed off with on the front of magazines are a right load of old drivel.
Well, the book that comes with the  September edition of Kitchen Garden is surprisingly good! Worth buying the magazine for the book and seeds alone in my opinion

Here's a quick peak:

3 packets of seeds, the magazine, a veg harvesting bag and this book all for a little less than a fiver, good value for money if you ask me!

Recently I think Kitchen Garden has consistently outshone Grow Your Own Magazine, which seems to always be full of the same old same old. If you haven't had Kitchen Garden before now is a great month to give it a go


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Wyrdwood Acres

Wyrdwood Acres is the name we all decided to go with for our new homestead, which now has it's own facebook and blog:

We'll still be using this blog as our main blog, FAST blog is about us and the family and what we get up to whereas the Wyrdwood blog will be exclusively about the land, the house build and the plans we have for the homestead, although no doubt there will be some cross over here and there.

Also since we will be inviting as many like minded visitors as possible to come over and help with the building/ set up and get involved we also have a community group for people to share ideas etc and keep up with plans as they emerge:
One of my friends has just started an internship under THE Geoff Lawton at Zaytuna Farm for the next year, so  by the time we get the house built etc he'll be just finishing up there and will be able to come and stay with us and help us to implement some of the knowledge he has gained.

The latest post is up on Wyrdwood at:

It's very permaculture oriented and may be a bit heavy which is why I don't want to fill the FAST blog up with those type of posts, so I'm keeping them more as a journal for myself but if anyone is interested they're more than welcome over there.


Lucky Sew & Sew

Carly's blog is back up and running now, its been down recently as we were having some IT troubles with the other domain name so have switched it back to blogger until we can sort it out.

Theres a new post up about the new collection, head on over to:

to see some of the photos of the amazing items my very talented wife produces.

Speaking of being lucky, our solicitors estimate that we will exchange on the house within the next 4 weeks, it's all coming along now!

Monday, 8 August 2016

The Skulls Of My Enemies

Behold this display of the skulls of my enemies!

Dragon skulls, or the dried seed heads of snapdragon. This weekend we were collecting the seeds of some of our wild flowers so we can try to take some of them with us when we move, for their appearance and also for the bees we hope to keep once we settle in.

 We have a beautiful yellow snapdragon that came up of its own accord on the front drive and I don't much believe in removing beautiful things just because they came up in the wrong place!

Another culprit on our drive is a dainty little perfect red poppy that comes up every year so we made sure we saved a good few handfuls of seeds to give them a try out there.

We also collected some seeds from the apricot foxglove, I'm planning on taking the plant with me but just in case it doesn't survive he journey at least we have the seeds as a back up. 

What wild flowers do you have around the place? Do you actively save flower seeds yourself? 
We'd love to hear from you

Also if you head over to 5 Acres and a Dream the lovely Legih is doing a Giveaway on her new book "How to bake without baking powder"

Friday, 5 August 2016

The Ten of Cups

I can't believe I forgot to mention this!

When I opened one of my birthday cards last month, inside was a miniature tarot card. Now I love this kind of thing, so couldn't wait to look in to the meaning of the card. I thoguht I could incorporate this in to my Fast Five and show you 5 different designs of the same card.

The card I got was the 10 of cups and WOW! check this meaning out, I don't think I've ever read something more relevant to my life at this moment:

On the Ten of Cups we see a loving couple united by the bonds of true, everlasting love. They not only have each other but all that they wish for in life as well, represented by the two children frolicking at their side and the small but comfortable home in the distance, surrounded by trees and water. The family home symbolises stability and homely comforts, while the green garden symbolises fertility and the river symbolises a free flow of feelings. A rainbow of cups is overhead, blessing the scene. The cups symbolise an abundance of heavenly gifts and the rainbow signifies the end of hard times and is also is considered to be a highly spiritual omen in many of the world’s religions. It is a sign that the idyllic scene we see represented has been blessed from above and reinforces the idea that the achievement of perfect love is one sure way of experiencing the glory of the heavens here on earth.

The Ten of Cups embodies happiness, joy, contentment and emotional fulfilment, particularly in the area of your relationships and family. It represents almost an idyllic state of peace, harmony and love where all your dreams and wishes have come true and you are delighting in your good fortune. Given it is a Ten, this card indicates attainment of this idyllic state so stop for a moment to appreciate everything that you have accomplished and be incredibly grateful for the blessings that fill your life right now.
With the image of a happy family and a comforting home in the background, the Ten of Cups is indicative of a harmonious and loving family life. All family members are getting along with each other and there is a lot of happiness and love shared. No-one is fighting or causing any tension. Instead, it is an environment of peace and happiness that lends itself to warm and loving relations. The presence of the Ten of Cups may even reflect an upcoming family holiday where you can rest and relax together, creating fun and happy family memories. There may be a family reunion or a family celebration where members of your extended family come together. This is a wonderful time to bond with your family and lay the foundation for a happy and harmonious future together.
The Ten of Cups is also a very positive card in terms of romantic relationships and may indicate either the beginning of a new, very happy relationship, or the ultimate satisfaction of a long-term relationship. Commitment and love are the requirements of such satisfaction, yet this card promises that with the required effort a lasting love can be built. The time will also be made for the enjoyment of pleasures, which may be shared with another person whom you love.
Outside of relationships and the family, the Ten of Cups is also reflective of your personal values system and what you believe will bring you the ultimate fulfilment and happiness in your life. This card represents a time when you are very clear on where your personal beliefs and values lie and you have successfully created a life that is aligned to those values. It may reflect a spiritual or religious person who lives in peace and harmony. It may also reflect strong family values that were instilled within you early in life which are now helping you to create a fulfilling lifestyle.

The Ten of Cups encourages you to follow your heart and go with your intuition about where the best opportunities lie. As an intuitive person, you know that you can trust your gut feeling to guide you. When you feel truly happy and inspired about something, you know that that is the way to go! Aim to seek out opportunities that make you feel fulfilled and that are aligned with your personal values, rather than simply following the path that others expect you to take. You have to do what feels right to you and you only. 

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the words gave me great comfort and reassurance that we are on the right track.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the card/meaning or the whole divination topic. Do you believe?



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