Urban Craft and Mindfully Connected

I have now moved urban craft under the umbrella of mindfully-connected.com sites.

You can see both historical and future posts at urbancraft.mindfully-connected.com.

Many thanks for being part of the urban craft community.

Best

Julian.

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Offgrid-ish

Full Monty

I had a chat recently with a couple of great bush-craft guys who were incensed that bush-craft has been adopted by people who are less than committed to the ‘full monty’ of bush-craft. My view is that there will always be a spectrum of adherents, and that’s why I adopted the term urban-craft to mean the use of bush-craft principles and techniques in a partial, yet still meaningful way.

Less On-grid

In the same way, offgrid-ers can get very vocal about people who only partially go off-grid. My response is ‘offgrid-ish’  for those that want to go at least some way, but not necessarily all the way, off-grid. Any move towards less dependency on on-grid services is better than none!

I will be publishing a few blogs about my views on becoming more and more offgrid-ish. Feel free to contribute your own views.

 

Up-cycling from Drier to Washer Tub Wood Burner

I’ve stored an old washing machine at the back of the house for years. Today I decided to have a look at it and see what to do with it. It got damaged in a flood and was full of gravel and mud – so basically a write-off. But thanks to to some inspiration from some surfer buddies I met this year (they had a wash drum burner), I though it would make a nice little wood burner. A couple of crow bars and some socket wrenches were all I needed.

Two hours later said machine was transformed to a pile of useful bits and a pile of junk.

The useful bits included two drums , a glass bowl ( from the front door) and some nice weights – one concrete and one cast iron.

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The inner drum was perfect – it even ended up with it’s own special base (the drive wheel)

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It is significantly smaller than its predecessor (the drier drum) and has significantly more holes in it, making it burn better, give out more heat and look prettier!

The end-effect is superb!

Link to previous burner posts – previous-burner

I’ll post a blog on the tripod separately.

Yummie, Snails!

snails

Snails were  introduced to the British isles with the Romans, as food source. So along with paternalistic sexism, straight roads and socks we can thank them for snails. The British Isles has lovely climate for snails, wet, not cold with plenty of vegetable gardeners to annoy. They don’t eat as much slugs, and I have found I can tolerate a reasonable population in my garden, without the large loses that slugs can inflict. There is several other species of snail like the banded and sandhill which are smaller and stripy, that although relatives of which like the chocolate snails are eaten in Europe the species found here aren’t edible. We wild food to make up for the knowledge through the industrialisation of people.  I have tried eating banded snails, and they had a seriously unpleasant texture. Slugs aren’t edible either, they cook up into a mucusy goo.

Full Article here:

https://stupidlysimplelife.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/how-to-cook-garden-snails.html

A Good Day’s Foraging

Walking down by Chichester Harbour – we came across a wild apple tree with some delicious, small cherry red apples – about half the size of a normal apple. This couple of kilos will make us a very nice crumble.

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And on the way home, some friends asked us if we could shift some oak from a tree that they had just cut down – yes we can!

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I couldn’t fit much more in the bus weight-wise! This must have weighed around a ton. I drove home slowly! That’s next year’s wood sorted.

Well Prepared for Winter – A Lot of Wood In-front of the House

In German, ‘A Lot of Wood Stacked In-front of the House’ can have a whole different meaning! But it is also traditionally a sign of being well prepared for winter in the Black Forest.

Old habits die hard – so I have been stacking wood in-front, behind and at the sides of the house. Two cubic metres (loose) worth.

It was a couple of hours of good solid work: I’m pleased with the results. That should keep us nice and toasted over the winter!

 

 

Japanese Wine Berries

These are delightful little berries – heavy cropping and with a sweet sour taste to them. Thoroughly recommended if you want something slightly different from raspberries or blackberries. This is the second batch this summer; the first one at the beginning of July ; this one the beginning of August.

 

Sun Canopy That Converts Into A Drive Away Awning

I have a large heavy drive-away awning that works very well and I use that when we travel with the boys and they sleep in that. But, when there are just the two of us … well, it’s a bit of a palaver. So I looked for something that I could use with our roll-out canopy and without it if I want to leave a standalone awning or if it is just too windy to risk £500 worth of aluminium and pvc canvas!

I looked at the quecha base seconds – but just couldn’t get my head around using it with my existing kit.

This arrangement gives me three configurations (numbers match picture numbers below):

  1. Sun canopy attached to side channel (on rollout awning)
  2. Sun room using sun canopy and attached as above (#1)
  3. Drive away awning using #2 above plus an attached tarp and a candor strip to de-couple the awning from the bus (the attachment clips are clip on grommets).
  4. Attach the sides and front of the sun-room to the roll-out awning using velcro tapes

I think I now have all the canopy combinations and permutations I need for travelling light – and at a price that is half the price of the specific, add-on sides and front for the roll-out awning.  I’ll report back after our next trip!

Fructaholics Anonymous – Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Thanks to a reference from Jonathan Gittos (many thanks Jonathan), I have just watched this video. It really is worth watching the whole 1.5 hours – you will NEVER look at sugar the same way again. I had heard of much of this stuff before, but the missing bit for me was just how dangerous fructose is to your health. I, for one, used to drink gallons of orange juice thinking I was doing myself a lot of good – nope  – real damage!

Incredibly enlightening – if you want to do one really meaningful thing today, this week, this month, this year – watch this video!