Sunday, 30 August 2009

A deserted gypsy camp

I came across a deserted gypsy camp but I'm not going to say where.

An old barn falling into ruin

There was a dead deer inside and the place smelled of death. Not somewhere I would venture out to at night.

The fantastic blackberry

I'm surprised that people don't strip all these berries from the bushes as soon as they appear. The pigment that makes them black is called anthocyanin and this is said to be a 'wonder food'. Anthocyanin is under research by the pharmaceutical industry for multiple uses. I'm feezing them for use over the winter. However in reading about blackberries, I read about an even more 'wonder food berry' and this is the cherry which for all practical purposes comes from the supermarket. I recommend those sold at the Co-op.

The beautiful Hawthorne berry

There's something nice about hawthorne berries, when you see a tree full of red berries, it really catches the eye. They have a tint of both Autumn and Spring. They are edible but with a big seed and the berry eaten from the tree is a bit tastleless and 'mulchy'. Just boil them up with some apple and strain the juice for a delicious if slightly tart syrup which has a really sort of deep but sweet after taste. This sauce is tart at first and becomes spicy sweet in the mouth. I add it to yoghurt. I also add elderberry to this sauce but it doesn't taste as nice. If you add a small amount of brown sugar it is delicious and sort of decadant.

Rolling hills of Dorset in harvest time

This is the area where the blog is set.

Elder berries supposed to have strong anti viral properties

Please look up the information yourself as I would only be repeating what I have read. Elder berries and flowers are said to have strong anti viral properties. Hard to prove one way or the other because if you catch a cold whilst eating elder, perhaps they don't work and if you don't catch a cold perhaps its because you haven't been exposed to the virus. I have tried to make some elder cordial to see if it would reduce the effects of a cold (when I get one) but I don't want to use masses of sugar. I have made a delicious elder, hawthorne and apple cordial with no sugar but it doesn't keep very long. Elder berries are OK to eat straight from the tree and it seems to me that they are the only berries that the birds eat an any quantity. On looking closer there seems to be more to the elder berry than first meets the eye, one to investigate.

No more ploughing

I only found out the other day that farmers don't plough fields after the harvest very often any more. The scrape the ground with the equipment in the photo, allow plants to germinate then kill them off with weedkiller before planting the new crop.

Incidently the old part of the barn in the background is where Thomas Hardy's Tess had a hard time cutting up root crops.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Dangerous dogs Piddlehinton Dorset

Having been attacked by two dogs in a week in the Piddlehinton area of Dorset, I researched the legal position. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act a dog is not under control - no matter what breed - if it is not on a lead or does not have a muzzle. If a person has reason to believe they are going to be attacked they can take appropriate action including killing the dog(s). When reading how to defend against a dog attack the best advice seems to be to shoot it. However we are not allowed to carry offensive weapons in the UK, including pepper spray. Second to shooting a dangerous dog the advice is to use a stick and if possible ram it down the dog's throat as far as you can. I'm not sure how easy this would be in practise but we are allowed to carry walking sticks in the UK and I have one of those Nordic type stick that has a titanium tip. I've never used it until now and I have found that the iPod pouch on the rucksack, which is actually too small for an iPod, provides a useful strap to hang hold the walking stick.
Next time a dog attacks me I will retaliate.

Friday, 28 August 2009

2nd dog attack in Dorset in a week

I was walking in the hills behind White Lackington in Dorset when I was suddenly attacked by two dogs. I managed to get them to stop jumping up at me and saw their owner more than 200 metres away. She did call the dogs and eventually they went away. Later on I got behind the safety of a gate to video and photograph the woman and her dogs. As soon as she saw me with the camera she turned and walked away. So the photograph is a maximum range. You can't see the face of the owner but you can see the two dogs. It is worth noting that this woman was able to walk away from me and my camera but I was not able to walk away from her out of control dogs.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Beware this man and his dog. He looks very country and even respectable but the dog looking back at us is not under control and is vicious. If you are attacked by his dog make a report so that something can be done about it.