“If the rules are such that you can’t make progress, then you have to fight the rules” 

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Taking it back to the old skool, cos I’m an old fool….For the past month or so our lives have been consumed with making lime putty. Processing quicklime and turning it into lime putty, ready to be mixed with sand just before it goes onto the walls of our straw bale house as render/plaster. An unusually high number of friends and family have been asking just why? Why didn’t we buy it ready made? Why are we using an old-fashioned process at all? Why are we putting citrus fruit on the walls of our house? Classic.

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It was spring 2016, and into the vast world of growing veggies we plunged. Dan and I built raised veggie beds out of recycled pallets during the autumn of 2015, with the wonderful help of our friends Tez and Helen.

Once constructed, we created what is known as a lasagne bed. A layer of compost placed directly onto the untouched ground, followed by a layer of unbleached cardboard. Another layer of compost after this and then a lovely layer of mulchy mulchy (in the form of straw) as the final layer. This was all left to settle in peace over the winter and following spring.

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When an experience is so fundamental it is difficult to express the process, let alone the feelings in words. But that’s what I’m going to try and do. Rare time focused on cultivating consciousness, mindfulness, awareness; call it what you will, it was very precious. This is what Jasmijn and Geertje gave us during their Yoga and Writing Retreat at the stunningly-located Dechen Chöling Meditation Retreat Centre. They gave such love and support alongside a deep and meaningful toolkit for both writing and yoga.

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Once the foundations and box beam of the straw-bale house were completed, we focussed on a quick project to create a beautiful space for yoga, meditation and general chill out. The foundations for this area were made during the summer with lots of help from our friends and they served as a practice ground for the rammed-tyre foundations we used to make the house foundations. Read More

Tyres and gravel have been a consistent theme at Les Vignes Basses over the last few weeks. With a lot of help from our friends, many bad backs and copious amounts of alcofrol (surprisingly, it has come out level!), we have completed the rammed tyre foundations and the structural box beam. Read More

Two weeks work in the Pyrenees is just too perfect. Working with Collett’s Mountain Holidays is such a highlight, allowing us to be in great places and meet such interesting people. We had a magnificent time with fabulous friends and guests, excellent walks and brilliant weather. Panticosa is always a delight to return to and feels more and more like a home from home.  Read More

A major part  of Permaculture is using what is naturally around you with a keen eye on reducing all waste and producing what you need sustainably. This post might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the aim is to highlight an under-talked about issue in the Western world; HUMANURE.

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