Hester Winterbourne

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since Feb 12, 2014
Joined site because whilst browsing for permaculture ideas for my new allotment (it's too wet to garden) I couldn't resist the plant ID challenge...
West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
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Recent posts by Hester Winterbourne

My question would be, why not set up events which are specifically designed for singles?  How would you do that without it degenerating into some kind of swingers event?  Singles cruises are a thing, for example. If word got out that PDCs are a hunting ground for singles, it might become rather off-putting for those who are attending for the course content!  
Russian olive I understand is Eleagnus angustifolia.  The fruits on Eleagnus ebbingei are quite pleasant to eat.  Maybe if the one grows well, the other would be worth trying to introduce.
5 days ago
One year I made old-fashioned mince pies with meat in.  They were fab.  I used roast wild boar because that was what we'd had for Christmas.  Finely chopped meat, currants, suet in roughly equal proportions, not much sugar but still some, spice, salt, moistened with apple juice I think I used because I didn't have rose water or sherry.  Might have used cider.


1 week ago
I sometimes make bunting from wrapping paper and garden twine.  I was thinking this year it would make a small gift to post to friends.  Like others on here I also make gift tags from the greetings cards.  I seem to be building up a stash - it would be nice to bundle them up and sell them for charity.
1 week ago
Darn it, for a minute there my eye skipped over the "New" bit and thought you were in Southern England...
The book that first woke me up to the whole idea of self sufficiency was The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency by John Seymour.  He also wrote a more focused volume on the Self Sufficient Gardener, which I gave away (or rather lent without any real expectation of getting it back, to a homeless project).  It maybe that when I leaf through this book the thrill of inspiration I get is largely nostalgic though!

Another book I would like to recommend is A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander et al.  It's not about permaculture as such, being primarily about architcture and town planning, but it does have some beautiful insights into designing living spaces at many scales that allow human beings to thrive.  

Linda Secker wrote:We can still easily get it here in the UK.... we call it soft brown sugar which comes in light and dark.

Yes but look on the ingredients list for Tesco soft light brown for example - sugar, molasses, glycerol.

I'm trying to work out whether it really matters.  I can buy unrefined cane sugar from a health food store but it's come from Argentina (environmental questions) and costs twice as much.  Whatever it is that's "good" about less refined sugar is presumably "best" in molasses, so does it really make a difference if you get to brown sugar by partially refining the raw product, or making very refined white and then mixing it back in with molasses?
3 weeks ago
Hi Cody

I would say you need to tackle that erosion, your instinct is right, it will be taking away nutrients and soil resources from your land.  Where is the water coming from that is feeding the ditches? Is it good quality clean water or is is loaded with nasties from someone else's actvities?  This might influence what you want to do with it.  If it's loaded with pesticides and you have plenty of water yourself, you may wish to pipe the ditches and get rid of it, but in a way this is just shifting the problem further on down the catchment.  If you want to turn it into a positive thing, you need to slow that flow.  Building swales on the contours will allow anything the water is carrying to settle out and the water itself to infiltrate the land.  

Maybe the ditches developed from when the bulldozing and building work was going on and the water is now captured in other ways before it reaches this hilly spot.  I would still look into creating swales or sediment traps in case it is a seasonal event. Maybe a series of dams to delay occasional floods and allow the water to travel sideways into irrigation channels.

Housing developers here are starting to be required to build SUDS into their plans - Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems.  Basically these take the appearance of ponds which are dry most of the time but catch water from flood events and release it slowly.  Seasonal ponds are good for a lot of wildlife as fishy predators do not get a chance to colonise.  
It sounds like you have maybe only recently started to manage this land?  If you want animals to clear the weeds, you may soon find that the nature of the vegetation changes and another species becomes more ideal.  It depends what sort of weeds these are, as to what animals would be best.  But anyway, maybe it would be better to get someone else to bring their animals for a short time, and then you do not have the problem of being left with animals that are no longer happy/thriving on the land (and that you may have fallen in love with) and that decide their best interests lie on the other side of the fence!

If you are going into owning livestock, there are more considerations than just "what animal would be best/easiest".  How much time do you have to devote to their care, for example? You need to really like the animals you choose to keep, or like the taste of them or their products!

Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:
Thank you for giving the names in English. My cactus is not christmassy, it flowers in November (every year). And that 'jade plant' ... I did nothing to make it flower, it just happened.

See, the reason I often use latin names for plants is that many plants are known by different names in different parts of the world, or even in the same part of the world. Common plant names do not always translate from one language to another. And sometimes, you can have the same common name for two very different plants. I just had an example of this in another thread where I was talking about lime trees, but not the green citrus sort, the Tilia sort which are called lime trees in English as a corruption of "line" because they used to be used for making string!

But with botanic names, anyone in any country (apart from a few pronunciation differences) would know exactly what plant I was talking about, especially now we have google and you can look up what other common names they might have.  And it also gives you an idea what other plants they are related to that might be of interest to you or give you clues about looking after them.  Until the botanists decide to re-classify them with new names of course, but that's another story!