Wild Washing

Our house, being a random and teetering pile of half-completed refurbishments and ancient farm, has drainage that can only be described as unpredictable. Like most houses in the rural areas of France, we have a septic tank rather than mains drainage. When we moved here, we had to replace the old septic tank to be in…

Read More

On Chestnuts, Oyster Mushrooms, and Ancient Mutants

One of the attractions of foraging is that it is possible to find flavours and textures that are unavailable in the shops.  Most wild mushrooms are so complex in their relationships to the land, to the other organisms that share that space, that they are difficult or impossible to cultivate.  You might find penny buns…

Read More

An Autumn Lunch

After a long hot summer here in France, autumn has finally arrived. The sun has calmed its fury, and retired behind the clouds. Rain is forecast and will be relief to the wildlife and the farm animals alike. Three young roe deer flit daily across the fields behind the house, buzzards and kites fill the…

Read More

Capturing a Taste of the Wild

An early lesson I learned when I began foraging was this: there is a difference between “you can eat it” and “you should eat it”. Depending on your tolerance for bitterness, hairiness, or astringency, there are some wild foods that are technically edible but also technically horrible. Conversely there are some incredible and unique ingredients…

Read More

The Apocalypse Pantry

It’s not the end of the world.  As I write this, I am listening to the radio, where sombre voices are speaking of madmen rattling their swords, about missiles, about poisoned eggs, about droughts, floods, forest fires.  Stay indoors.  Cover the windows, cover your eyes.  Be afraid. And I am afraid. Yet, outside the open door,…

Read More

The Hive, Part Three: Epilogue/Prologue.

The bees are dying. All was, or seemed, well.  We had weeks where the bees were busy busy.  Collecting nectar, the clover in the field surrounding the hive a-buzz with 40,000 tiny beating wings.  Bringing in pollen, little globes of yellow and orange and chestnut brown attached to their legs as they arrived home from…

Read More

The Hive, Part Two: Tea With the Queen.

Read part one here. Note: bees are complicated, wildly so.  I am not an expert, not even close, and much of what follows is knowledge I have gleaned from books and courses, and some is still controversial in the beekeeping world.  I have provided links to further reading for those that wish it.  I cannot…

Read More

The Hive, Part One: A Boot Full of Bees.

Note: bees are complicated, wildly so.  I am not an expert, not even close, and much of what follows is knowledge I have gleaned from books and courses, and some is still controversial in the beekeeping world.  I have provided links to further reading for those that wish it.  I cannot take responsibility for external…

Read More

Locavore Magazine.

Some exciting news – in between wrangling chickens and running away from wasps, I am going to be writing a regular column for Locavore Magazine.  “Who?” I hear you cry. Well, in their own words: “Locavore is an editorial-led magazine, defined by beautiful photography and intelligent writing. Firmly based in the British Isles, we’ll also…

Read More

Spring.

Spring, it seems, may finally be here. It’s been a long, hard winter.  I have spoken of winter at length (thank you for your patience), but now my thoughts and my hands turn to warmer work. We are still battered by the occasional gale, and in fact a great many trees in the area have…

Read More