Thursday, October 20, 2011

Quoi de neuf ?

The Tarot Brothers and friends playing jazz in a boat

What’s been happening, have I fallen off the blog?  So much to do … sometimes too much to do.  The new issue of Permaculture Magazine is out today carrying a five-page article on our compost toilet, with our web link at the end.  So, it’s high time I reconnected with the blogosphere and published our latest news.

We’ve been ‘permacultured’!  A few weeks ago, friends Flo Snook, husband Andy and twins Sol and Jacob came to visit us, all the way from Brighton in their venerable van.  Flo has just completed her permaculture diploma with Brighton Permaculture Trust (congratulations!) and took time out to wander around our Brittany permaculture smallholding, pen and notebook in hand.  She talked to both of us and her leaving present to us was a notebook full of her permaculture analysis and suggestions.  It's an exercise I thoroughly recommend: we found it really useful to have a fresh set of trained eyes take a long hard look.  She picked up on ‘overwhelm’ as a limiting factor to our many projects.
Which is one of the reasons that we’ve made special efforts to have some quality downtime recently, including a picnic on the beach and watching a jazz quartet in a narrow boat. 

For picnic fayre, we turned to Elizabeth David for inspiration and an idea that I’ve wanted to try for some time: 

Shooter’s Sandwich

Take a large, thick, excellent rump steak.  Do not season it, for that would cause the juice to run out, and in grilling it keep it markedly underdone.  Have ready a sandwich loaf one end of which has been cut off and an adequate portion of the contents of which has been removed.  Put the steak, hot from the grill, and—but only then—somewhat highly seasoned, into the loaf; add a few grilled mushrooms; replace the deleted end of the loaf; wrap the loaf in a double sheet of clean white blotting-paper, tie with twine both ways, superimpose a sheet of grease-proof paper, and more twine.  Place a moderate weight on top, and after a while add other weights.  Let the thing endure pressure for at least six hours.  Do not carve it until and as each slice is required.

Instead of the weights, I used a pair of building clamps and a couple of wooden boards, which worked a treat.  It makes a damn fine picnic sandwich.

Normal blogging to be resumed very soon, with updates on the barn conversion and other eco-building stuff; how to (almost) make hot compost the Geoff Lawton way and how to efficiently collect acorns to feed to pigs.