What is Permaculture?

Permaculture is a sustainable design system that provides for human needs while having positive effects on the surrounding environment.

It is based on the ethics of earth care, people care and fair share, and provides practical solutions to the global crises we are currently facing.

Permaculture is for EVERYONE, regardless of their education, background, or previous experience.

Permaculture is NOT just about trees, or just about gardening! You don't need loads of land to practice it and it's a design method that can be applied to all social systems.

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We'll use your donations to further our plans to plant more trees and vines.

Officially summer!

With the help of fab volunteers Maria, Madalena and João, the Casalinho natural bathing pool is now full and ready to receive hot and grateful visitors.

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First clearing the winter’s growth of vegetation and the ever present brambles.

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Working by the dam to clear rocks washed into the gate over winter and ensuring it’s clear

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A job well done. Ready to fill.

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Now doesn’t that look inviting?

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Well earned relaxing time!

Come and experience Casalinho for yourself. We’ve still places on our Permaculture Design Course beginning 18th August and for volunteers able to commit to July and August.

 

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Making Memories

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This is what memories are made of. Volunteer Maria helps me by holding Ziggy the Piggy whilst we syringe feed her.

Sadly Ziggy didn’t make it, despite our best efforts. We think it’s likely that the move was too much stress for such young piglets. Reg and Geraldine and settling in well though, and perhaps one day will have piglets again.

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Handsome

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Lambert is SUCH a handsome chap. And he knows it!

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Winter hay

We’ve been working on storing winter hay and bedding today, taking advantage of glorious sun to dry it.
With goats, pigs and sheep as well as poultry, we’re needing to up production this year.

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Weak Piglet

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This sweet little girl, one of our Vietnamese Pot Belly Piglets, is very weak today. We’re wondering if Mum’s milk has dried up as a reaction to the stress of transport. We’re topping her up with goat’s milk as an emergency measure.

Please wish her well.

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Vietnamese Pot Belly Pigs

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New arrivals to the farm yesterday, a lovely little family of Vietnamese pot belly pigs. Two of the the sweetest piglets you ever saw, who sleep on top of Mum and Dad in a big snoring heap! More photos to come when they get to trust me a little more!

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Nice Spot for a Teabreak

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Reasons to be Cheerful: Caterpillar on Lupin

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I’m afraid I’ve no idea what sort of caterpillar this is, but what an amazing colour!

 

 

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Wild Food Walk

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On each of our summer Permaculture Design Courses, we try to mix classroom based sessions with practical. One of the practical sessions Josh and I work together one is often a Wild Food walk, identifying the plants which nature has blessed us with for food and medicine. If you’re a follower of our blog you’ll know I’m passionate about wild / free / foraged foods (see last April’s foraged food’s challenge here), so this is a part of our courses I really enjoy.

Josh Gomez will be joining us again this August for a full PDC accredited by the UK Permaculture Association. See our course listing here for full details.

 

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In the Kitchen: Bottling Elderflower Cordial

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One thing we’re not short of at Casalinho at this time of year are elderflowers. We love to dry them for making tea throughout the year, but I also make lots and lots of elderflower cordial whilst they’re in season.

Recipes abound, but this is my tried and tested one – Elderflower Cordial recipe. Remember that you’ll dilute the finished product, so what sounds like a lot of sugar actually goes a long way.

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Elderflower cordial should keep for ages as sugar is a preservative. However, if you like to make a year’s supply as I do you may want to seal the bottles for longer term storage. My easy technique is to fill hot bottles with hot cordial, screw on a hot metal lid, then turn the bottles upside down until they cool. When you turn them back upright the metal cap should be sucked in a little indicating that a vacuum has been created. Store somewhere cool and dark.

Dilute with water or fizzy water for a refreshing summer drink, or add a splash to white wine or gin.

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