Sunday, 19 February 2017


Salmon Leaping - photo by Phillip Colla
The focus for this week's Thursday Group session is Clearing. All are welcome to join in through the Facebook page or the event itself. I'm going to focus on clearing through the past, present and future - going back in time to our first entrance on the world stage as a few cells and sweeping through our entire life-learning, tragi-comic performance, clearing as we go all the unhelpful residues from the crazy toxic fog in which we've existed from even before we're born, learning the lessons we need to learn as we go.

Sunday, 5 February 2017


garlic doing well - planted back in december

chillies and tomatoes sprouting away - it's cool having the propagator in the cottage so we can watch plant power in action
If you grow plants and haven't already tried following biodynamic principles I highly recommend you give it a go. The ideas work very well for us and for every other gardener I know who follows them. It's to do with planting, sowing, harvesting, pruning etc in tune with various natural cycles such as the phases of the Moon. I don't think it's hard to understand that the Moon has an effect on plants, after all it has an obvious effect on the sea so it surely must act on all water on the planet. I know many people find some of Steiner's ideas hard to get their heads around, but I'd just say, as our teachers said when I was studying musical instrument technology, "If it works, use it." You're never going to progress unless you keep exploring and trying new stuff. Come down from the trees... or maybe, get back into the trees...
We planted the garlic in the photo on a good garlic-planting day and, sure enough, up it came beautifully. I was interested to notice, by the way, that Stewart and Helen's saved-from-last-season garlic came up much more strongly than some bought in this year, even though it was top quality. Similarly, the chillies and tomatoes we planted have come up well though it's also interesting to notice that the chillies were planted on the ideal day and have come up better than the tomatoes which we planted the day after. So give it a go, Ruth works with Maria Thun's Biodynamic Calendar, easy to get hold of and just a few £'s. At the end of the day it's simply about working gently and cleverly with Mother Nature rather than trying to bend her to your will with brute force and dumb chemicals - so what's stopping you?

Monday, 16 January 2017


"Drifting Clouds and the Illusion of Science"
I've been revisiting this wonderful book. It's partly about the practical aspects of a way of natural farming, about growing rice, other grains and clover in a rotation without ploughing or using chemicals. It is indeed revolutionary, not only are the yields just as high as in traditional Japanese farming but it also eliminates a lot of the work. Also, compared with chemical-industrial farming, Fukuoka's way continually improves the quality of the soil instead of degrading it.
But I think the even more important revolution that the book describes, in his charming style, is Fukuoka's internal journey. Moments of insight, the alienation from the modern industrial consumerist approach to life, the gradual deeper understanding of natural processes, all leading to a simple life looking after fields and orchards, growing and eating simple natural food.
 It's poignant that this book has been around since the 1970's - all my working life. Fukuoka's insights have been influential, widely read and talked about yet here's humankind still entangled in the terrible web of supermarket consumerism, cars and fossil fuel addiction and the shallow information of mass media, internet and TV; the harder we dig ourselves into the industrial way of life the harder it is to escape, the situation now so bad that we are endangering all life on the planet. I've understood all that for years, I helped friends on an organic small-holding way back in 1976, and have been actively looking about and living on ecological projects for ten years. Yet in all that time I've never found people living as naturally as Fukuoka and Ruth and I still use a car and get the bulk of our food from supermarkets...
Here's some of Fukuoka's last words, "There is nowhere better than this world. Years ago I realized that we human beings are good just as we are and I set about to enjoy my life. I took a carefree road back to nature, free from human knowledge and effort."