FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Friday, 29 September 2017

What's Going On This Week?

Happy Friday! 
I hope the week has been kind to you all :)

To say that we have been very busy bees again this week would be somewhat of an understatement!

Last Week I showed you the Pallet Gate that we made.....now let me introduce our new pallet bath:


Reclaimed Pallet Bath

It isn't completely finished yet, we're going to paint it and then sand it down a bit again to give it the shabby chic distressed look, but as you can see it's already looking pretty good.

Next up, since Halloween is just around the corner here is a photo of our Addams Family patch and pin combo (coincidentally this photo is taken on a board we made from old pallets, maybe I'll do a post about this soon)

Addams Family Pin and Patch Combo

I'm sure I've mentioned that the pin badge glows in the dark, but did you know the patch glows too? how cool is that?!

Not the easiest thing to take photos in the dark but you get the picture :)
This week we took the kids out to Petrel Castle, we like to make sure they aren't cooped up in the house. Unfortunately when we got there it was closed so we couldn't explore inside but we still had loads of fun pretending we were defending the castle from all the dragons and trolls that turned up just after we got there.

Petrel Castle
My bike has been looking very sorry for itself recently. I've had it for almost 6 years and up until now it has been a rat bike, that is to say whenever anything started to get rusty or broken I just sprayed it matt black and forgot about it! 

My old reliable Vulcan

This was partly due to necessity since in the UK I rode to work daily all year round through the British winters, so it would have been impossible to keep it "shiny", but partly I suppose due to laziness. Since moving out here and not having to ride through the wet salty UK winters I have the opportunity to restore her to her former glory, so this week I've been stripping her down and giving her some TLC.

Front Fender

When I first bought her she was red and shiny, then I turned her matt black and fierce, this time she is going to be a royal blue tribute to the club that I belong to, White Wolf Brotherhood Motorcycle Club





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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 22 September 2017

Five on Friday - A Busy Week!

Happy Friday Folks!

Many thanks to those that are still taking part in Five on Friday, summer is always a busy time of year and I know a lot of people struggle to keep up with blogging due to commitments outdoors at this time of year so well done those of you that are still managing to find the time to get involved :)

Wild Blackberries
When we go on our hikes we try to keep our eyes peeled for edibles as we go, knowing where things are and keeping tabs on them for when they are ready is a great thing to teach to the children and they love learning about plants, particularly Aurora who has the appetite of a herd of cattle so is very fast to learn anything food related!  Recently we picked probably the last of the blackberries from along the trail as the birds will no doubt take the rest before we get a chance to hike up there again. The blackberries in the mountains are very small due to the harsh conditions and scarcity of water but the flavour is immense and far better than the bloated flavourless rubbish overpriced in the shops.

Fresh Almonds
The almonds are all ripe and ready on the trees so we have been spending countless hours cracking almonds. The kids love to eat them raw from the shells but we've also been trying to use them up in our baking as well, and of course making Almond Butter is a real bonus of having access to abundant fresh almonds. It's incredibly easy to do and without any ingredients other than roast almonds you end up with a delicious creamy Almond Butter, way better than Peanut Butter and without any nasty additives at all.

Pallet Wood Gate
As you may know we recently adopted two rescue puppies and they have just learnt how to climb stairs. The main problem with this is that they haven't learnt how to come back down! To stop them from constantly getting themselves stranded in the upstairs bedroom we needed a gate at the bottom of the stairs, but we left our old baby gates behind in the UK, so rather than fork out for a new one we decided to come up with a homemade DIY pallet gate. It works like a charm and only cost us a couple of euros for the latch and hinges! It will certainly come in handy when we start building at Wyrdwood Acres to be able to make picket fences and gates out of pallets. Our next pallet project is to try our hand at building some pallet furniture :)

Hand Tooled, Hand Painted Leather Belt
Another one of the things we've made recently is this custom leather belt. It was the anniversary of our friends in the Rebels MC Hispania so we made this belt as a gift and took it down to their clubhouse for them. I think it has come out beautifully and have decided to start selling this type of thing in my shop Thor's Threads soon. We already do small leather patches but I think these belts will go down a storm with other bike clubs and people in general!

Berries and Herbal Tea
So after a very busy week all that was left to do was sit with my feet up eating delicious natural snacks and drinking Hierba Luisa Tea, I feel as chilled out as my Little Tea Strainer Man looks!

I hope you all have a blessed weekend, thanks for stopping by for Five on Friday!








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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 15 September 2017

Hierba Luisa - A Must Have Plant For Any Garden

Having recently been introduced to this plant I am now a total convert!

Hierba Luisa (Aloysia Citrodora)


Hierba Luisa (Aloysia Citrodora), more commonly known in English as Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush, can be successfully grown indoors and out. In places with harsh winters it is best grown in a container that can be moved into shelter during cold months.

It may not be the first plant in the garden to catch your eye but once you get to know it there is a subtle beauty to the plant and its small pale flowers. The real magic happens however when you take one of the leaves and crush it in your hands. The scent is surreal, the most powerful citrus smell you are likely to find in any plant, not to mention the leaves and the flowering tops are used to make medicine.

It can be used as an ingredient in herbal teas, medicinal tinctures, perfumes and even alcoholic beverages. The essential oil of lemon verbena, when extracted, contains a high concentration of powerful antioxidant compounds that can be used to aid in weight loss, strengthen muscles, reduce inflammation, boost immunity, aids in digestion, reduces fevers, treats congestion and can also have a positive impact on anxiety and nerves.

The easiest way to take advantage of these powerful properties is to steep the leaves flowers and stems in hot water to make a fragrant herbal tea, but you can also harness the power of Lemon Verbena by adding it to your bath water for a relaxing and calming soak.

Hierba Luisa Tea
I've been drinking it as a herbal tea almost every day this week and I'm even considering giving up "normal" tea and switching to herbal every day as i'm enjoying it so much!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, thanks for stopping by once again for Five on Friday :)

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 8 September 2017

Five on Friday Blessings

Happy Friday Guys and Gals!

Life has been super busy at the moment so this week will be a brief one, here's some of the little things that I have not taken for granted recently:

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis
This little visitor stopped by to say hello and I managed to get a snap of him perched on the mother-in-law's shoulder! We're blessed to have predators like this living on our land, a great natural pest controller and sign of a healthy eco system.

People & Permaculture 
People and Permaculture - A Brilliant Book
I was gifted a copy of People and Permaculture recently by a good friend that thought it would help me, she was totally right! The book is fantastic and working through the activities in the book has been an amazing experience so far, I look forward to finishing it soon.

Men & Motors
Wild and Free
I've had a bit more time out on the motorcycle recently doing "club things" which has done me the world of good, it is my favourite form of therapy as you can probably tell!

Play Time
The Pirates Life Is The Life For Me!
Spending time with my family, learning to be more present and living in the moment more has been the best! Here is a snap of us being pirates yesterday morning just because we could :) Apologies for the quality, the photo was taken in low light.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, Thanks for joining us once again for Five on Friday

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Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



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Friday, 1 September 2017

Permaculture Eco Build

It's been a while since we shared our plans with our awesome readers here so I thought I'd spend 5 minutes to bring you all up to speed.


This was our initial basic layout for the plot when we very first bought the land:

Wyrdwood Acres Permaculture Retreat Initial Layout Plan
Starting from the road access on the left, we will have:

Farm Market Stall for fresh produce and products with an honesty box

The first box will be parking for residents and visitors

The second blue box will be the kitchen garden which will supply annual crops to the house
Then we will have the tool shed for storage
Next is the geodome for starting seedlings and extending the growing season
The four blue boxes next are the fields that we will eventually rotate our chickens and goats in
Everything after that will be allowed to go somewhat wild as a food forest, with the classroom and yurts for visitors among the trees. We'll be running courses and workshops for visitors so the classroom area is essential for us. Each yurt will have it's own outhouse with compost toilet but the shower block and kitchen areas will be communal.

We've also included a pond although we are not sure that there is enough rainfall in the area to sustain it, we'll have to wait and see.

We hope that over time we'll be able to establish a living fence around the entire perimeter as a shelter belt and another source of edibles. It will be interesting to see how the layout and plan changes as we go forwards, one of the reasons we're going to be posting it all on here is so we can look back on it in the future. Hopefully we won't have too many mistakes to learn from!

Carly has painted a beautiful watercolour impression of the initial plan:

Wyrdwood Acres Permaculture Retreat - Watercolour Layout

Where Wyrdwood Manor will be located on the land

We've shared these plans before in the past, but one thing we haven't shown you all yet is what we're designing for our forever home. We already had our hearts set on building with straw bales when we moved out here and were lucky enough to find an architect that specialises in sustainable building particularly with earth and straw and with her help we have been able to create a one of a kind plan for the house. Our land is planted almost exclusively with Almonds, so we thought it was only fitting to honour the spirit of the land by drawing inspiration from the patterns in nature that are right in front of us, afterall humans are not designed to live in tidy little boxes, there are no straight lines in nature. For the shape of the main house we drew inspiration from the almond tree flowers,  for the separate work studio we will build it in the shape of the almond nut:


Design for the Almond Flower House and Almond Nut Studio
When it is built it will be truly unique and a stunning example of what can be done with natural materials. The walls will be built using straw bales and then lime rendered on the outside and earth rendered on the inside. All grey water will be directed through a reed bed filtering system and put back into the land, the house will take care of all of its own waste and electricity needs and be as self sufficient as possible.

Wyrdwood Manor Design Layout
 There will be a three bedroom house on the eastern side of the building for my family, the west side is a self contained 1 bedroom annex for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. The are both connected by the central pentagon, this will be a library /study/ meditation area with an open roof covered by a geodome at the top.

South and North Elevations of the house
I think the central area is what I am most excited about, being able to see the sky during the day and the stars at night will make it quite a spiritual place, sheltered within the house but still connected to the natural world.

Cross Section Of The Centre Of The House
The roof will be an earth covered green roof planted with wildflowers to provide additional habitat for all important pollinators, I'm hoping to put a bee hive or two up there as well eventually.

3D Artists Impression
 So you see it will all be really quite stunning once it's finished. We're planning to do all of the building ourselves so will be inviting anyone that wants to come and help and learn to join us in this undertaking. The roof of the Studio will house all of our solar installations so as not to impact on the aesthetics of the main house, so the studio has been specifically designed with this in mind to house batteries and such at one end.

Work Studio

Studio elevations

At the moment we have submitted plans to the town hall, they have already told us they have no problem with any of it as our architect is in constant contact with them so we expect to have our building permission back by the end of September so we can really get moving with the project physically. Now to design a kitchen garden that will be worthy of such a project!

We will be sharing a lot more of the in depth details of the designs and the build on our Wyrdwood Acres Blog

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, thanks for joining us again for Five on Friday

*******************************************************************

Five on Friday Weekly Linkup



Welcome to Five on Friday, a weekly opportunity for the community to link up and share 5 things with us or take 5 minutes to talk about one topic. We’d love for you to join us and add a link to your own Five on Friday blog post! It’s a great way to make new friends from around the world and gain some motivation to keep your blog updated. Every Friday we'll be sharing a Fast Five and look forward to seeing yours.

How To Join In

Your 5 things can be all on a related topic or 5 totally separate things of your choosing, it's totally flexible and up to you. You might choose 5 photos, 5 quotes or use it to recap 5 things you've done this week, you have the freedom to exercise your creativity!

All that we ask is that you link back to Five on Friday using the button below (just copy and paste the HTML code in to your blog) and try to share the love by visiting & commenting on the other participants blogs. Each week the post will go live at 6.00am GMT on Friday and will close for new link entries at 10.00PM on Sunday



Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML



Share:

Etsy

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