Stuart Whitby

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since Dec 07, 2015
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Recent posts by Stuart Whitby

Hi Rominte,

I can't say for sure regarding Lyme disease.  I've done a quick search and found this article which links consumption of raw milk with tick-borne encephalitis (maybe no relation?  I'm not a disease specialist).  However, from the extract available, it appears to me that this is one of these cases where correlation does not imply causation (just because the goat had TBE in the milk doesn't mean that those who consumed it got sick *from the milk*).  From everything I've seen of the CDC's publications regarding raw milk, it seems that breast feeding is inherrently safe in nearly all cases, yet consumption of a glass of raw ruminant milk will cause the loss of 50% of the human population.  Maybe an overstatement, but in this case there's nothing in the article at this location which addressed the fact that these people live in a TBE area, yet there is no mention whatsoever of whether they suffered tick-bites themselves or not, or whether there was a possibility that they had TBE before drinking the milk, or that the sickness that they experienced was directly caused by TBE.

I do note a number of articles online of how someone (maybe the same person, maybe not) cured themselves of Lyme disease by drinking nothing but raw milk.  However, I personally give little credence to the idea that raw milk is actually a cure for Lyme disease without a lot more evidence.

Regarding how you make sure raw milk that you purchase is safe, go to the farm and speak to the person providing it.  They're probably getting at least occasional lab tests done on their milk, and unless there's a problem, the farmer will probably be happy to pull these out to prove that there's *not* any problem with their milk.

Best of luck,

2 years ago
I'm not sure about the effects of centrifugal separation on the fat globules Xisca.  As regards the yoghurt going pink, are you brewing nearby, or keeping unwashed apples?  I've seen cheeses washed in cider that get a pink tinge to the rind - I assume it's the same yeast causing the issue.

As regards constipating effects of raw milk, I've heard of this, but I wonder about whether this is down to being nearly 100% absorbed by the body.  I know that if I down 2 litres of goats' milk in one sitting that .... it's certainly not a cause of constipation  
2 years ago
So I just got directed to this article by my wife (who only heats our goats' milk for yoghurt to body temp btw, no holder pasteurisation involved, and it's excellent).  I figured I'd drop in a few additional comments regarding raw milk vs pasteurised milk along with sources.

The CDC records and reports the numbers of oubreaks of foodborne illness due to raw milk vs pasteurised.  However, they don't generally report numbers affected.  Raw milk is responsible for more outbreaks than pasteurised milk, but the numbers involved tend to be much smaller as the milk generally doesn't travel too far from the dairy.  So where an outbreak caused by raw milk might affect 5-20 people, there are 2 notable outbreaks caused by pasteurised milk in the US which affected a total of 400,000 people (source: The Raw Milk Answer Book, by David E. Gumpert (available on Kindle, and a great source of info generally)).

There have been numerous studies linking the inverse relationship between consumption of raw milk and asthma.  This has generally been put down to "the farming lifestyle" and have not directly attributed raw milk as the protective factor.  However, a 2017 article shows a very strong direct correlation between the consumption of raw milk vs pasteurised milk in induced asthma attacks -

A recent Japanese study tested the effects of enteric coated lactoferrin on obesity.  In this case that's live lactoferrin in an enteric capsule (one that dissolves in the gut, not the stomach) which resulted in a significant reduction in median obesity.  The same enteric properties are provided in raw milk by the fat globules, which protect the lactoferrin from the stomach acids on the way through in order to provide the infant with a healthy gut biome.  The study used quantities of lactoferrin equivalent to that found in 100g of raw milk cheese.  The study can be found at:

Regarding e-coli, I've got the results of the investigation into the last e-coli O157:H7 outbreak in Scotland.  This occurred via raw-milk goats' cheese, and e-coli was found throughout the farm, including in the faeces of the goat that provided the cheese, and in the fridge that the cheese was stored in.  However, it was *NOT* found in a milk sample taken directly from the animal under controlled conditions.  This fits with the CDC's breastfeeding guidelines which show that raw human milk is safe with the exception of the following diseases: ebola (just don't breastfeed if you've got it), herpes simplex virus (similar to coldsores - don't breastfeed *if you have active sores on the breast/nipple*), and HIV (Which has a 0.17% chance per week of breastfeeding of being passed to the infant, with a significant increase in likelihood of infection due to cracked/bleeding nipples (blood transmission, not milk) or if the infant has sores in their mouth).  As per

On a further note on STEC infection (including e-coli O157:H7), one of the benefits of raw milk is the improvement in gut health, specifically the improvement in integrity of the intestinal barrier from drinking raw milk.  The Shiga Toxin produced by O157:H7 causes lesions in the intestinal barrier (hence blood in the stool etc) and can go on to cause renal failure if it gets past that point.  So the best defence against e-coli 0157:H7, ironically, seems to be drinking raw milk.

Note that 2 of those articles relate to getting bovine lactoferrin into the gut.  Raw milk does that.  Standard 15 second @ 72 degrees C pasteurisation kills around 30% of lactoferrin and reduces the activity of the remainder by (iirc) 0-70%.  Homogenisation destroys the integrity of the fat globules which would transport it to the gut.  So while pasteurised milk contains the same stuff as raw milk, that's like saying the cat that I stuck in a blender is still a cat.

I also have a theory, unproven, but which fits with the CDC's statements on human breastmilk, that the preventative effect of raw milk on disease is significant, and that in many cases the idea that milk can contain pathogens so should be pasteurised is similar to the idea that you'd boil live vaccines because they contain pathogens.  However, that also depends on the dairy - a commercial dairy that plans to pasteurise it's milk is unlikely to pay enough attention to excellent animal health and milking parlour conditions to ensure that the pre-pasteurised raw milk is actually safe to drink.  Drink from the bulk tank there and you'd probably be a statistic.
2 years ago
Technically, the difference between stock and broth is that stock is the liquid resulting from roasting bones and passing the results through a seive, where broth comes from having meat in the pot as well, which is used in the resultant drink.  

Personally, being raised in Scotland, I've always considered "Broth" to be "Scotch Broth", whiich is made with stock/broth, peas, lentils, carrots and whatever meat came off the bones.  Seasoned to taste of course
3 years ago
Chickens are also aggressive to chickens.  It's a pecking order thing, and will always go on with birds.

We've been keeping a couple of guinea fowl for about 5 years now.  We had a lockdown due to bird flu recently and figured we wouldn't catch the guinea fowl - they could just stay out while the rest of them were stuck in a stables behind netting.  Once they figured out where the hens were they wanted in with them, so they're entirely sociable with chickens in my experience.  We also hatched one along with some duck eggs, as they're the same incubation period, and it lived as a duck - apart from just shouting at them when they went into the pond.  

I have found them terminally stupid as far as breeding goes.  Our guinea girl has gone broody twice and both times lost all chicks within 48 hours of hatching by doing things like flying over a fence and expecting them to follow, or just walking them through long wet grass until they get chilled and die.  

Ours have roosted in trees, stay in the hen house, or sit on top of the gates at night.  We haven't had any problems with them flying off.  There's enough food around our place for them I guess to give them no reason to go elsewhere.
4 years ago
You can still give it a waterproof wash.  Just make sure that the roof extends well past the edges of the walls.
4 years ago
From my personal experience, our fences were done by the previous owner using diagonal braces, as per your top picture.  With the water sitting on top of them so regularly, and our ground generally being pretty wet, most of these are rotten after 10-12 years.  

None of the fence posts themselves seem to have rotted much.  Maybe I just haven't noticed as I haven't the opportunity to stand on them to step over the electric fence ... which really hurts when you get it wrong!  
4 years ago
I think this would very much depend upon how you're looking to layer up using a digger and compact it, how much time you're looking to take to build it, what kind of dirt you're digging, and what the atmospheric conditions are like in the location.

You can't just put dirt on top of dirt, stick a couple of tons of digger weight on it and expect it to solidify into a squared off wall.  What you'll have in that case is a bucket shaped divot in the middle of the bit that you wanted to be a wall.  Looking into solidified rammed earth building historically, they'd use a series of molds, which were flat plates held a set distance apart by long bolts (2 or 3 at both top and bottom), to bring the wall up a section at a time.  You'd tip the earth into those molds and use a manual packer to ram the earth down inside them, keep filling and packing until each section was full, then shift the plates up one bolt and continue the process.  Ideally, you'd take the plates off and give each section time to dry out and strengthen before you added any more earth on top of it.

If you want to knock up something like that quickly then you may be able to do something similar using the right kind of dirt and the right kind of pallets.  Build up walls, a layer at a time, with pallets which are largely covered top and bottom, and set them up so that you can drop sloppy dirt down between the batons so that it will fill the entire depth of the pallet, then "plaster" the inside/outside of your pallet frame as it dries out.

I originally thought that your "earth from a pond" was stuff that was from the bottom of a pond rather than earth that you're digging out to form a pond.  Having ducks, and having to dig out the same pond on a regular basis since they keep filling it up, the kind of stuff that comes out of the bottom of *that* pond is absolutely great for forming solid walls - even if ours is on a hugel bed.  
4 years ago
Bit late, but I'm currently having a terrible time with Hoegger.

I got a machine from them (, delivered in March this year. It's damaged in transit, and they're apparently unable to get replacement parts from the manufacturer. They also didn't send out the full order (though they billed for it), and are still selling things that (they tell me) are out of stock on their website.

The customer service reponse time is the worst I've seen anywhere; maybe 2 weeks between when I email and get a response - which tends to get basic stuff wrong or missed. The machine isn't quiet (maybe due to the bash to the pump which I told them about when I received it but that they haven't mentioned since), and the handles of the milking pail are really badly designed for carrying - the point you'd normally carry it at has a chunk of steel sticking up between your fingers to keep the seal tight.

I regret ever having dealt with them. Sadly, I'm still in regular "contact" to them ("with" would mean 2-way communication) trying to get this sorted out.
5 years ago