Hello Imbolc

The start of this month was Imbolc, the traditional Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring.

It is about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, as the very first hopeful signs that life will start to return from winters grip start to emerge.

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Goodbye Fossil Fuels

Well mostly at least. Yes, we have gone fully electric on the car front, even if the garden tractor and tools still need the occasional can of unleaded. Our own personal divestment at The Secret Acre.

With the old car in urgent need of replacement this winter, it simply felt wrong in 2020 to still be buying an old fashioned, polluting petrol engine (politicians take note).

Which is not to say we still didn’t um and ah for a long time. Not getting another petrol car was the easy decision, but whether to go hybrid or fully electric much harder. Here’s what we learned. Continue reading

Horse’y New Year

It may be the Chinese year of the Rat, but 2020 kicked off at The Secret Acre with a distinctly horse’y theme.

Before Christmas, fellow smallholder and gardening author, Kim Stoddart, reminded me that we could take a first light harvest of horseradish, just over a year on since we first planted it. Continue reading

Will it ever stop raining?

While the other side of the World burns, here in the UK we have had constant rain and flooding for well over three months now.

The fires are an immediate threat to life, while the crops lost to flooding speak of the future food shortages we can expect as the extreme weather events of climate change accelerate.

Away from human hubris, at least the mushrooms have been enjoying it, with boom in rare mushrooms are appearing across the country.  Continue reading

Multi-Coloured Crop Swap

Earlier this month we went along to our second local Crop Swap.

These were new to us this year, but we’re definitely converts.

The inevitable harvest time surpluses are always a challenge for preserving and dehydrating. So what better than being able to swap some of that surplus for some of the things you don’t have or didn’t grow this year? Continue reading

Climate Change

While Extinction Rebellion are rightly taking to the streets, inside The Secret Acre kitchen this autumn, things haven’t been hotting up, so much as becoming constantly warm.

Our local climate change has been the result of the purchase of a dehydrator, as another bow to our harvest preservation options.

So far our initial tests have involved plums, pears, apples and beetroot. Continue reading