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Burra Maluca

Mother Tree
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since Apr 03, 2010
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Recent posts by Burra Maluca

Oooops. Sorry about that.

I went off on a dragon-journey around that time. Couldn't sleep.

It helps... Try it!

1 week ago
I'd spent nearly twenty years building memories and the garden with my late husband at my last farm. When I found a new partner, it became apparent quite soon that I would be better off if I could move somewhere the memories weren't so powerful. Logically, that made perfect sense, and we soon found a wonderful new home to renovate and cultivate together.

But putting those memories to rest was hard. Covid happened and it there were two years between buying the new place and selling the old one. Two years to fret and feel guilty and cry over every little thing I left behind. But also two years to gather the seeds from the best fruit trees and start them off in a nursery bed. I saved seed from all the vegetables I'd been growing and breeding and got new veggie beds going as soon as I could. I gathered acorns from the Welsh oak I'd brought over as a seedling and have about fifty baby oak trees growing in a nursery bed here. The terraces have been planted with apricot seedlings and left as a STUN experiment. I have cuttings of my prickly pears planted everywhere. And rosemary cuttings. The bay tree had never really grown, and it had been a wedding present. I consulted with me son and we ended up digging the entire thing up and bringing it with us. It nearly died at the end of the first summer here, but it's doing wonderfully now. We even brought the bees with us!

What I can say is that when it's finally done, you have memories that finally move to the 'old memories' box, and you can treasure them for what they are. And then you have living memories in the form of the plants you brought, and plants growing from the seeds you saved and brought with you. The letting go is weird - there's a mix of guilt and sadness and hope for the future. But afterwards it's a relief to be able to draw that line and to give yourself a chance to rest and recover, then start anew with the best of what you brought with you, trying some things the way you always did them, tweaking other ways to fit your new land and new soil, and trying out new ways and new plants. Also getting to know the new wildlife and new wild plants.

When I met the new neighbours here, the woman was a little older than me and was also a widow who had remarried. She understood perfectly what I was going through and agreed that moving to a new life and carrying on with new adventures was absolutely the right way forward. Except for one thing - her fruit trees. She'd devoted decades to raising them, and she missed them. Her new place had loads of fruit trees already planted there, but there weren't 'hers'. It was a strangely bonding experience because that's how I felt too. My new partner and I have been planting many new fruit trees, and he's adopted the job of looking after them. I've found that having plenty of new ones, and experimenting with new varieties, and also having a good supply of seedlings from my old trees has, over the course of about a year, completely removed the sting of losing the old ones. I have all those young welsh oak to plant out in a mini forest, starting next year. And when I look at them I remember both their mother and their 1000 year old grandmother. I see the apricots growing wild on the top terrace and remember buying the mother. I see the prickly pears and remember climbing down the bank to rescue the original discarded pads that we spotted while out driving, and getting stuck trying to scramble back up as I was wearing sandals with no back strap. The memories change somehow - from memories of the individual plants that were left behind, to memories of the stories behind your new ones. The stories become part of your story, as you move forward. And you watch the new plants as they start to fruit and you wonder if it's going to taste like the fruit you used to pick from the parents. It's all good - it fits you into the cycles of life and keeps you looking and moving forward and throws things into a better perspective.

It's just a bit hard on the emotions while it's all happening....
1 week ago
Just bumping this thread up as it seems to me that this stove is one that ticks a lot of the boxes for what is needed to get more people to adopt the technology.  

It's good looking, complete plans and build guides are available, no cob, uses a hollow stratification chamber rather than a solid mass to store the heat so it's lighter...
2 weeks ago
This post might get a bit rambly and I might lose track of any sort of point that I was attempting to make, so please bear with me...

From what little I know of love languages, we tend to give or express love in the ways we like to receive it. And it probably works easiest (best?) if our partners share the same love language.

For me, it's touch. I'm autistic, and like a lot of other autisic people I have certain hypersensitivies. The tiniest touch will get me going, and I love it. I'd hug and snuggle all day long given half a chance. I also used to have hypersensitive hearing.

I've known my current partner since we were at school together. There were literally decades that we scarcely saw each other between leaving school and getting together as partners. He's autistic too. And loud. Very loud. When we were at school, although we got on brilliantly I would develop headaches just being near him. We didn't know about the autism thing then, and I never realised that I was hypersensitive, just that he was loud. Mercifully, over the years my hearing has dropped off a bit to a more 'normal' level. I've also learned about the hypersensitivity thing, and also become much more up-front about my needs so I was quite happy to explain what triggers the headaches and we have a simple, effective hand-signal code now if he's getting too loud, which he understands is not just me attempting to shut him up, it's just that I want him to quieten down so I can actually listen.

What I did NOT realise until after we got together is that he is hypersensitive to touch too. Like, seriously hypersensitive. With me, touch is awesome and I crave it. For him, the touch of another person is like being given a hot mug of tea to hold, but not by the handle. It's ok for a couple of seconds, but then it gets more and more urgent until he's fighting himself to not push the other person away. More to the point, he'd never really analysed it himself, and just thought he 'wasn't really into that stuff'.

But understanding love-languages has helped us work through this.

I *need* touch in a relationship. I don't need much. I'd love lots and lots and lots, but the tiniest bit is so amazing for me that I don't actually need much of it.

He *can't* do much my way of touch, but he knows how much I need it. So I get as many hugs as I need, and I try to make that as few as possible, but enjoy every moment of them. If I'm falling apart at the seams (which has been quite a lot over the last few years) he'll battle with himself to let me linger with hugs, but the cost to him is quite high. If we talk about it, the way he describes is that 'There's only so many hugs in me in a day.' And I have to understand that and not push too much, and understand that his love language is *very* different.

We're both into spending quality time with each other - driving places together, working in the garden together, fixing up bits of the new house together.

But for him the top one is probably 'acts of service'.  He is incredibly touched (ha - that word again!) if I *do* anything for him. And he expresses his love to me almost constantly by doing things for me. Honestly, he'd wait on me hand and foot all day long if I let him. Which is no bad thing as both my mental and physical health have nosedived for the last three years or so and he's been an absolute rock keeping me going and getting me back on my feet. He loves to cook for me, and is utterly delighted when I express any sort of appreciation. Then I do the washing up, and that means so much to him as he absolutely hates doing that.

I just want to share something that happened a couple of weeks ago.

He wandered up to where I was sitting, took me gently by the hand, and rather sweetly compared the size of his hunky great fingers to my relatively petite ones by placing his our hands together, palms touching. I just melted at the touch and was revelling in it.

"Ah, they're so much smaller than mine!" he says.

Aw, what a sweetie.

"Can you come downstairs and fish out the bits of rubble that have ended up in the new shower drain for me - my fingers won't fit."

It's sort of funny, but I get the extra bit of touch (my love language). He gets acts-of-service (his love language) when I go to help him with something. I get acts-of-service too, as he's installing the drain as part of the install-a-shower exercise. And we *both* get quality-time together.  

I really think it's important to figure out each other's love language, and find ways to make them work for you as a couple. And most importantly, to really appreciate it when they do things for you in either their own or in your love language.



2 weeks ago
Glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it inspired you in some way!

I'm still mulling over a post for the love-language thread. Not sure how much to share, but I suspect a few lessons can be gleaned from my experiences that too. Maybe later, if my energy holds up...
2 weeks ago
I've been wondering whether or not I felt up to joining in this thread, but I've decided to go for it.

I've never dated in my life. When my husband died four and a half years ago, the moment I felt 'ready' I browsed a few dating sites, then sent my old best friend from school, who was still (and rather determinedly...) single a facebook message and basically said 'You and me babe, how about it?'

Poor thing was shocked as hell. I gave him time to absorb what I'd asked, we stayed best friends from afar, then shit happened in his life and I ended up dropping everything and flying back to the UK to help him look after his dad after a fall and help get dad's farm ready for sale and keep dad from getting depressed at having to move. It took us a week to bring up the subject of 'Oh yeah, remember that conversation we had about me needing a partner?' By which time I'd taken over the spare room and become a pretty integral part of the family. Plus he was about to become homeless when the farm was sold.

Chaos continued to happen around us, adventures were had, he ended up driving me and my new dog back to Portugal, after finding a house-sitting job which kept us off the streets while the dog's rabies vaccination took effect which meant we had three months to get used to being a couple. And we never did any of that nasty dating business. After spending three days and nights on the road getting me and the dog back to Portugal, he came to the conclusion that if I could put up with him being in that close proximity for three days and nights solid, then it was meant to be and we finally announced it to the world. And the chaos has been happily ensuing ever since.

For the record, we're both aspies/austistic. Neither of us ever to anything 'by the book'. We're both very open and honest and straightforward and a bit geeky, which tends to annoy other people, but around each other we drop the aspie masks and can each be completely ourselves. We have an odd relationship but there's total, utter trust and commitment between us. It's been four years now. Still never dated... ;)  

I think what I'm trying to say is that dating isn't for everyone. But there are other ways. If you don't fit in the dating mold, you will likely find that your ideal partner doesn't either. You just have to be a bit creative about finding and communicating with them.
2 weeks ago
We made a wonderful discovery yesterday. Buried behind the brambles/blackberries by the stream that separates my land from my son's new patch is a fig tree, which ripens later than the others. We hacked a path through so we could raid it. There are grape vines growing all over the place around here, mostly giving the little black grapes shown on the right of the photo below. But then I noticed that there was a grape vine growing up the fig tree, with black grapes that were bigger than the usual sort. So we picked some of those. I have no idea what variety they are, but they are super soft and luscious, almost exploding in your mouth, and have an almost indescribable herby flavour with overtones of licorice.

The strange thing was that my son was unconvinced by them, saying they weren't very sweet and the skins were sour. My other half said they were OK. And I was getting almost delirious on the flavour and eating as many as I could get away with without messing my blood sugars up. They are the ones on the left of the photo below, with a couple of the (unidentified) figs in the middle, and a dragon for scale...



Generally, we find 'nice' table grapes planted near the houses, and the areas further away have more hardy wine grapes. But I suspect this vine was planted near the stream, actually right next to a huge hole that we're constantly in danger of falling down when we harvest them or the fig tree they're growing up, so I suspect it was put there as a 'special' that could access moisture during our hot, dry summers. I'd love to know what variety they are. I don't drink wine so I have no idea about how the flavour might translate into wine flavour, but they are awesome things to eat. I love the flavour of moscatel grapes too, but these are very different. Herby and slightly medicinal, but not 'musky'.
3 weeks ago

The English Shepherd disappeared in the UK with the rise of the Border Collie. They are both ‘cousins’ descending from a common ancestor of many shepherd breads around the world.



The blood didn't disappear completely though - a few years ago the remnants that were still to be found, mostly in Wales, were found and registered as Welsh Sheepdogs.

Check out this thread - Training a Welsh Sheepdog

I have one here, in Portugal.  


And a shot of him working, in very non-border-collie style, before he come over.



They aren't recognised by the Kennel Club as the society has refused to hand over the information to them, believing that the breed would be better kept as working only, and is likely to get spoiled if they are allowed to become show dogs.

Can't help you on the diet - mine needs very plain, dry diet. Anything else is too rich for him and messes him up. Most sheepdogs I knew as a kid (which were welsh sheepdogs in all but name as this was long before the society was formed) survived on a diet of milk, bread and scraps. And probably sheep-afterbirth...
3 weeks ago
I can't find any photos, but this reminds of the special springs I used to have that we used on the donkey harness for pulling logs. They would just soften that initial pull as she leaned in to start taking the weight- about 4 inches of 'give' before the stop on the spring caught and all the pull went to the log, which made getting the log moving *much* nicer for her.

If I find a photo I'll add one later.
3 weeks ago
I find it useful to compare the cost allowing for the different amounts of protein in the food.

Here's a chart I made last year to help me decide which sources are best value. I have to restrict my carbohydrate intake so there's quite an emphasis on low-carb protein sources but I included some peas and beans too. The chart is arranged in order of the cheapest per 100g protein.

protein cost per 100g

yellow beans - €1.40 per kilo,      60c per 100g protein
beef heart           -   €2 per kilo,     70c per 100g protein
beef protein isolate - 22c per dose,  74c per 100g protein.
chicken leg  -   €1.50 per kilo,      80 c per 100g protein
soy beans       -  €3.33 per liko,  83 c per 100g protein
pea protein     - 20c per dose,      84c per 100g protein
soy protein       - 24c per serving, 88c per 100g protein
milk protein      - 24c per serving, 88c per 100g protein
chicken liver  -   €1.50 per kilo ,    88 c per 100g protein
split green peas - €2.50 per kilo, €1.09 per 100g protein
split red lentils - €2.79 per kilo, €1.15 per 100g protein
sardines          - €2.39 per kilo,   €1.26 per 100g protein
flavoured whey - 33c per dose, €1.36 per 100g protein
whey powder  - 34c per dose,   €1.44 per 100g protein
pork               - €4.00 per kilo,   €2.00 per 100g protein
cheese           - €5.00 per kilo,   €2.08 per 100g protein
linseed           - €4.00 per kilo,   €2.10 per 100g protein
whole milk      - 74 c per litre,   €2.24 per 100g protein
frozen fish     -  €4.00 per kilo,   €2.22 per 100g protein
eggs              - €1.89 per dozen, €2.25 per 100g protein
soy milk          - 85 c per litre,    €2.42 per 100g protein
chourico         - €4.89 per kilo,   €2.71 per 100g protein
frozen peas     - €1.69 per kilo,   €2.84 per 100g protein
chia                 - €6.60 per kilo,   €3.30 per 100g protein
tuna                   - 65 c per tin,   €3.67 per 100g protein

I'm eating a lot of beef heart (known in this family as bee-fart, I just checked in case I called it that in the chart...) this autumn, and not much tuna! Some things, like linseed (flax-seed) and chia I eat for the fibre, and mostly I don't eat beans because I can't cope with the carbs.
1 year ago