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.

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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

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.

 

Ramsons, Ramsons Everywhere

We had to pop down to the area around Swansea for a quick visit. The place was carpeted with wild garlic. Walking though the woods it even smelt like you were immersed in a garlic scent bath. The ramson buds were particularly tasty. Here I fried them with our breakfast of ham and eggs – absolutely delicious!

Standing Desk – Giving My Back Half a Chance

Gardening Peril

Spring was in the air and I managed to do my annual trick of pulling my back while gardening. It happens most years and it’s not only annoying but very inconvenient and embarrassing.

On My Knees

I had a trouble-shooting workshop up in London that I had to keep, so had to conduct half the meeting on my knees. Thankfully that was with some lovely clients that I know well.

Need to Change

I have virtually no problems throughout the year – just the first foray into the garden when my body hasn’t got used to extending the way gardening requires. Apart from banging my head on the wall while chanting, “I will exercise first before I do gardening”, I’m putting some other changes into place. I’ll be doing some remedial yoga and I’ve changed my office desk system around.

£600 – No!

There are  plenty of standing desks available online, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with upwards of £600 for one.

My wife had a great idea. Why didn’t I plonk the top of my desk onto a waist high bookshelf?

Standing Desk Come Bookshelf

The result is a lot more than impressive, it’s highly functional, very stable, doesn’t look half bad and cost me the sum-total of about an hour of my time to get in place including clearing off my old desk. See what you think.

 

 

OK Guys – let’s make a run for it!

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I’m just about at the end of my tether with slugs. They have decimated anything I have grown in the garden. I get a crop like this most nights despite spraying nemaslug around a few weeks ago. Some of these blighters are over 4 inches long – that’s all my radish, beetroot and spinach in there!

A prize for anyone that comes up with the best or most original way to remove these pests. A pity you can’t eat them otherwise we would be feasting every night!

Hop Shoots

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I recently went on a foraging course with Robin Harford and Olya Maiboroda. It was very good and I picked up a load of useful principles as well as some great specifics. One of those specific examples was Hop Shoots – the 4 inches or so at the tip of the plant. I was walking back from the pub the other day and found, to my delight, a wild or naturalised hop plant growing in some bushes. Quarter of an hour later I had a fist full of shoots and couldn’t wait to cook and taste them. Robin had said that they are a particular delicacy so my expectations were high. We first of all blanched them for a couple of minutes and then sauteed them in garlic butter. I have to say they were very nice but not as spectacular as I had hoped (no pun intended). Next time, I will saute them in normal, non garlic, butter to see if the taste is too delicate to take the garlic. Nonetheless I would give them a 8/10 as a very good, unusual side vegetable.

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From Foraging to Feeling Connected

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It was just last autumn that I met Julian and was introduced to the fascinating subject of Threnergy. Julian and I share a common interest in foraging wild food and fungi and met to explore the woodlands in search of some tasty finds. During the day the conversation turned to the subjects of mindfulness and Threnergy. Julian guided us through some basic exercises that we could use as we walked.

I’d not heard about Threnergy before, but have tried various mindfulness techniques in the past. Often I struggle to engage in the exercises and find it hard to feel a benefit, but this new concept I was being shown felt very different. The simplicity but power of the techniques was immediately noticeable and I was keen to find out more, so I was very excited to read his book. Julian uses his knowledge and experience throughout his book to guide you through the principles of Threnergy in an easy to follow manner. I’ve found these principles easy to incorporate into my day to day life in a way I’ve not been able to do before. These exercisers have been great in helping me to refocus and reflect no matter where I am, whether at home, at my desk or walking in the woods where this journey began for me.

Steve Thornton

http://www.threnergy.com