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Sunday 10 December 2023

Saturday 21 October 2023

Natural soap from plants

 Some plants contain high amounts of saponins and these are basically soap forming compounds, the higher the level of saponins the more 'soap' the plant will produce. This can be handy for basic hygiene when out in the Bush.

Two of the more commonly found ones are horse chestnut and soapwort.

Horse chestnuts ( we call them conkers) contain a lot of saponins, crush them up, and add to soft water and leave for 24 hours, the result is a good soapy liquid 

Discard after 3 days or it will start to ferment and smell pretty bad, this obviously defeats the purpose of the whole idea.

Soapwort, as the name suggests is good too,

It aslo produces plenty of suds but to be honest, horse chestnut is better, again discard after 3 days or it begins to smell like mushy peas! 

Saturday 26 August 2023

Proof that God exists

 So many people deride and mock the idea, but I defy anyone to spend time outdoors and genuinely study creation and not see the hand of the creator in nature, the mere existence of the variety and complexity of life calls out that there is a God.

Sunday 13 August 2023

Poison Hemlock in Northern Ireland

 It's not as common here as it is in the rest of the UK but it can be quite abundant in the areas where it is found.

Probably one of the 3 most toxic plants in Northern Europe and the plant Socrates was said to have ingested. Once you know a little about umbellifers it's quite easy to recognise. It has been said in times past for the root to be made into a porridge and used in the treatment of lunatics! 

It contains a neurotoxin which will stop your heart and breathing and is said to be quite a painful death, study the pictures below carefully and never eat any plant you're not 100 per cent sure of.

Thursday 27 July 2023

Its Samphire Time

 Time for a trip down to the salt Marsh to gather a little bit of samphire, this will be pickled and used for our recipes on courses and events over the coming year, always a nice special addition to a foraged meal. 

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Hawthorn web

 At this time of year you sometimes see lots of hawthorn hedgerows covered in silken webs, on closer inspection you'll find millions of little caterpillars stripping the leaves and spinning the silk all over the hedgerow, this year its particularly noticeable. There are a number of caterpillars that can do this including various species of ermine moth and hawthorn moth caterpillars. 

Its an incredible sight to see and I've seen miles of hawthorn stripped by these little monsters, however it's part of the creation cycle and the hawthorn will replenish.


Sunday 28 May 2023

Lichen dyeing - xanthoria sp.

 Thought you might like to see the result of one of the lichen species we've been working with lately

This jar has been fermenting from September last year and is just about ready to use

What a fabulous colour!!! But what makes this lichen even more special is that it changes colour when exposed to sunlight, so we kept one piece indoors and put one piece outside for and hour, and the result...

Top one kept out of sunlight, bottom one in sunlight for a short while,
What an absolutely stunning thing, creation is utterly amazing.

For more indepth analysis and details about lichen dyeing check out our sister site at