Our long-term tenant and the former owner of the farm, Steve, has finally left for a new life as a baker in Vienna. One of the last things he did before he left was to orchestrate the rehabilitation of the rear wall of the house. Thank you, Steve. We’ll miss you!

Green manure growing slowly

Earlier this spring we planted 150kg of green manure seeds in the field. Radish, alfafa, clover, sunflowers – that sort of thing. The aim was/is threefold: 1) to improve the fertility of the field; 2) to send down roots that will break up the clay that starts at 30cm down; and 3) to increase the amount of organic material in the field. Added bonuses are that the flowers will attract pollinators and the field will look beautiful. The first signs of life are encouraging but the grass has really taken off in the last week so we’ll have to wait and see if the green manure can compete.

The first external compost loo is nearly finished. This one’s never going to fall down! The design of the roof, another Steve creation, means it’s now called The Swiss Chalet. Cedric, who’s been helping us, looks pleased that his door fits, although we’re a bit worried that he put the bolt on the outside! Alexis has been testing the Feng Shui of the toilet. Just need some floor and roof tiles now. And the toilet!

Over the last 18 months we’ve planted numerous oxygenating plants and hundreds of seeds in the pond in an attempt to improve the quality of the water. But the fish, the water hens and the water rats ate everything. However, we recently noticed one solitary iris waving to us from the depths. Hurrah! It’s a start.

Speaking of starts – it’s nearly time to start swimming again! In the meantime, some of our guests have been putting the diving platform to good use!

Publicity postcard for our courses

Our permaculture courses are starting to fill up which is great. We still have a couple of places left for our Introduction to Permaculture and Meditation in June if anyone’s interested.

By the way, although we don’t run courses in July and August, we do welcome people who are prepared to work 5–6 hours a day in return for board and lodging. So do send us your errant teenagers and unwanted spouses!!!

Other news: CO2 levels go through the roof – Extinction Rebellion paralyse London

CO2 levels over the last 800,000 years

Concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are now higher than at any time since human beings evolved. We’re in a climate emergency and too many people are sleepwalking. Hats off then to Extinction Rebellion who recently brought London to a standstill and generated huge amounts of media coverage about the climate crisis. Thankfully their actions coincided with Greta’s school strike. Now is the time for all of us to stand up and be counted. It’s time to rebel.

Extinction Rebellion protestors block Waterloo Bridge

Here are some articles about Extinction Rebellion (XR) you might have missed:

Solution: M is for Milk (plant-based and homemade)

Homemade almond milk

Would you like to be able to make your own plant-based milk that tastes delicious, that doesn’t contain toxins, that doesn’t overuse scarce fresh water resources, that doesn’t come in Tetrapaks that can’t be recycled and that creates no waste when you put it through a mixer. All those ethical problems solved and it only takes five minutes to make! Read more here.

Lunch at The Big Raise

And finally, we think this photo pretty much sums up our food policy at the Big Raise: vegan, wild salad, fermented foods, local seasonal organic vegetables, plenty of variety, raw foods, protein-feculent-legumes balance. Our next permaculture and vegan cooking course is in October. Do join us.

Wishing you all a warm, peaceful and loving spring,

Alexis & Blanche and Thelma & Louis (who ventured out of the house for the first time this week!)

Thelma + Louis, our cats, venture outside for the first time

P.S. Some of our friends have recently moved to the Perche and more are contemplating it, which is great news. If you’d like help to find a house in the Perche, we have two wonderful estate agents who can help you! Just say the word.