Sunday, 25 July 2010

An evil place where men and women were once hanged

We've seen a love nest now a place of evil. Hardly visited by people now, this was a meeting of 5 old tracks. Two would have gone to local market towns and the others to villages. The photo doesn't show that they are ancient 'drove' tracks with hedges to keep the animals in line as they were walked miles to market.

It was the site of a gallows. Someone who would have committed what we would now call a minor crime would have been driven by cart from Dorchester and hung at these gallows on a market day then left so that everyone could see and be warned not to upset the Lord or the squire.

A love nest in deepest Dorset

This is a 'love nest' in deepest Dorset countryside by the side of a stream and well hidden by overhanging trees.

A nice spot, makes me wish I was 40+ years younger.

Diamonds in a hedge

diamonds in a Dorset hedgerow

Redcurrants and Gooseberries

Some years ago an unknown person planted about 50 or more redcurrant, gooseberry and raspberry bushes.

It's possible that I am the only person who knows where they are.

Have stopped smoking

Not directly relevant I know but I stopped smoking almost exactly 48 hours ago and am using Zyban as an aid. Yesterday was OK and I thought nicotine withdrawal was going to be easy but the withdrawal syndrome is just kicking in today. Anxiety, irritable, headache, general feeling of missing something, confusion and lack of concentration. Oh what a lovely three or four weeks to look forward to, but is has to be and will be done.

I hope you don't mind me keeping a diary of this experience.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

a disadvantage of Dorset

These things fly very low down valleys and along roads without consideration for people at all times of day and night.



This plant has a subtle but beautiful smell.

I'm going to try and make a potpurri from the dried flowers.

Aspirin was developed from this plant.

All the plant is edible but I'm not sure about it.

de-seeding cherries

The hand de-seeder works well but it makes a mess. Wear a cook's apron and gloves. Put the cherry in position and then place it in a large bowl in a sink and cover the punch with your spare hand while you punch the stone out of the cherry. This will stop cherry juice splashing everywhere.

I've put some cherries in the oven to dry. This is a learning curve and an expensive way of preserving them. Next time I use the oven I will dry the cherries at the same time as cooking a meal but this isn't always convenient. What I am doing now is learning things to put into good use next year.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Deer eat cherries

I was in discreetly in a hidden cherry orchard near Cerne Abbas in Dorset and picking delicious black cherries when I became aware of a large fallow deer also in the orchard. Deer normally run away before you get anywhere near them but this fellow didn't. He stood his ground and moved round me at a distance of about 30 metres making a barking noise. I thought he might attack me for stealing his cherries but he didn't. More fool him, he should have acted in a more threatening and aggressive way, just like he will with his fellow stags in a few weeks time, and I would have left the orchard.

I now realise that it is not foxes that are eating the cherries but deer and I also note that they only eat the ripe cherries. OK, I can buy cherries in the supermarket, so it is not fair to take food from wild animals. I'm going to make a hook arrangement to fit on a walking stick so I can take the cherries the deer can't reach.

Bike thieves in Dorset

I locked my bike to a gate on a track in Dorset near a farm before going for a walk around the hills. When I got back the front light had been stolen. Hardly anyone walks around this area, and those people who do are of the middle class twit variety. Very much a sign of the times in Britain and with worse to come.

Monday, 12 July 2010

I'm not the only one who likes wild cherries

It seems foxes like wild cherries too and I don't blame them because they are delicious. I notice that the fox is eating the cherry seeds inside the fruit, I thought these were poisonous along with the leaves, bark and sap.

2010 harvest has begun in Dorset

July 9th 2010 and the harvest has begun. Farmers don't hang around these days, unlike when I used to help out on a farm over 40 years ago when it was very labour intensive.

Black Cherries

Black cherries have been out for a few weeks and they are delicious.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Foods rich in apigenin

Foods rich in apigenin include apples, endive, beans, broccoli, celery, cherries, cloves, grapes, leeks, onions, barley, parsley and tomatoes, while plant-derived beverages containing apigenin include tea and wine. Apigenin is natural flavonoid present in the leaves and stems of plants, including fruits and vegetables.

No wonder people who eat a lot of fruit and veg live a long time.

Luteolin 1

This entry is for my own reference and does not claim any accuracy and the information is drawn mainly from Wikipedia.

Luteolin (Lt)) is an antioxidant and anti-inflamatory, an inhibitor of PDE4.

Found in celery, swede, carrot, oregano, carrots and olive oil. High levels in celery and parsley.

Inhibits inflammatory response in the brain see


If you suffer from gout...

If you suffer from gout look at this web site, it is one of the best on the internet

First fruit 2010

About a week ago I noticed the first green blackberries. This year flowers seem to be turning to fruit very quickly. Today I noticed that the flowers on an elder tree in Dorset had almost all turned into green berries.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Tea tree oil and inflamation

It's impossible to say for certain, but I think it is possible that using too much tea tree oil can cause an inflammatory response.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

nettle and dandelion tea

Tied nettle tea yesterday with no noticeable pick me up effects. However had some dandelion this morning and this may have given me a lift. 2.30pm and trying nettle and dandelion tea.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Any quick benefits from nettle tea?

Last night I went to the pub and this left me very groggy this afternoon. So groggy that I nearly watched 'Countdown' but I managed to drag myself up and go for a walk. I have picked some nettle tops and have made some nettle tea. I wonder if it will act as a 'pick me up' in any way.

Friday, 9 April 2010

white bread, turkey and gout like inflamation

About a week ago I ate turkey sandwiches in white bread. Within half an hour I had gout like pain. I am fairly certain it was linked to food. So in a few minutes I will try turkey, but with wholemeal bread.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The Bookham dust

I was foraging around Bookham and everything was covered in a fine dust. I have no idea what the dust is but it covered everything deep inside woods as well as on the verges.

Purple garlic soup

A good handful of wild garlic, lots of red cabbage, a beetroot, carrots, spring onions and anything else you like. Boil until soft, mash and pour through a course sieve. Purple but delicious.

Wild garlic and cuckoo pint

Wild garlic and cuckoo pint growing close together. It would be easy to pick them both at the same time. Cuckoo pint leaves are poisonous so always be careful when foraging and check leaves before preparing them for eating.

The village still in winter

The village in mid March. Still in winter mode when there should be signs of spring.

An old gate

An old gate on a disused drover's trail

Sunday, 21 March 2010

effects of eating wild garlic (anecdotal)

I have no way of quantifying these observations.
Based on a good handful of wild garlic leaves, about 2g/day.

Wild garlic seems to:
Relax muscles
Slow the heart rate
Drop blood pressure
Acts as an all round calminative
Keeps you 'regular'.
Has anti inflammatory and mild painkilling effects

Could it also relax arteries?

It definately:
Clears - drains - sinuses
Makes you cough up phlegm
Helps you sleep well

Possible disadvantages:
Might make you feel a bit tired rather than relaxed
You are aware that your heart is beating slower
About half an hour after eating wild garlic your chest feels irritated for a few minutes as it makes you cough. Once you've had a cough it wears off.

I cycled hard up a long steep hill to see if it would make me feel faint but ironically I seemed to have more energy and physical ability seems enhanced. Sometimes if I exercise really hard, like cycling up a long hill, and then stop; my heart misses the odd beat unless I keep moving. This happens especially if I sit down after hard exercise. This doesn't (seem) to happen after eating wild garlic. I cycled up a long hard hill today and stopped for a phew minutes when I got to the top and the old heart kept ticking away quite happily without any missed beats.

storing wild garlic (ongoing notes)

It takes about 200grams of processor chopped wild garlic to fill a 175ml jar.
A plastic shopping bag holds about 500g of wild garlic leaves.
I would guess it would take about 500g of chopped leaves to fill a jam jar.
Chopped leaves are stronger than whole leaves.
When making pesto you probably don't want to add to the natural strength because it is quite hot.
Make sure you wash the leaves to remove any woodland grubs, tiny snails etc - unless you don't mind eating them. As you wash the leaves pick over them to make sure that they are all wild garlic because the plant grows alongside poisonous plants such as cuckoo pint.
A handful of fresh leaves that you might put in a salad, or any other meal, or even in sandwiches weigh hardly anything 2 grams at the most. A teaspoon of pesto would equal something like a really big double handful of fresh leaves.
Unwashed wild garlic leaves dry very easily in the oven and breakdown easily with (clean) fingers and when dried they have a slight but noticeable smell of sulphur.
When left to air dry the leaves turn yellow but when oven dried they stay green.
I haven't measured quantities of dried leaves yet.
I wonder if oil can be extracted from the leaves?

Monday, 15 March 2010

owl barn office

This is my office for an hour or two. The fluffy weather presenters were raving that the temperature in southern Britain would reach double figures but it is still tooooo cold to stay here for long.

I used to have a small sailing boat and sold it because of the deteriorating weather in Britain. But I was waiting for the day when I could work on the boat and stay connected to the world via the internet in a useable and affordable way. Now that I don't have a boat I am looking for alternative odd places to work. This is an old barn complex – complete with barn owls. So, one day when the weather warms up I will be able to sit, think and work here. For today, it is an experiment to see if everything connects and even in the middle of rural Dorset over ten miles to the nearest town it works OK. Picture taken with a tocco lite phone camera on a dull afternoon.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Wild garlic pesto

This is my first attempt at wild garlic pesto and I followed recipes on the internet. This recipe is good but strong.

Take a good handful of leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and a small amount of sugar. Blend it all together. It's that easy. I'm sure it is just as easy to play around with different ingredients. In order to get enough jars to make enough to last most of a year I'll have to buy lots of shop bought pesto so that I can store my own, but this will only happen once.

Two disappointments in one day Argos and Russell Hobbs

In order to start making things this year I decided to buy a mini food processor from Argos.

When I was given the box from the Argos counter in Dorchester Dorset. The box had clearly been opened several times. I should have asked if the item had been used previously but I didn't. When I got home I found the processor was just wrapped in a plastic bag inside the box. It is probably a returned item and it may have even been used and cleaned up. This is not good and I am going to make some more purchases but not from Argos.

When I tried the Russell Hobbs mini processor with some wild garlic to make some pesto. The blades just threw everything onto the walls of the plastic bowl like a centrifuge. In less than a second the mix was splattered round the side of the bowl. I had to shake it like a cocktail shaker for it to work. Pretty useless piece of equipment which is difficult to put together when in use because you can hardly see the markings.

I get far better results from a £3 hand held blender from TESCO so that was a waste of £17 especially as it is probably 2nd hand. My guess is that someone else bought this item, found it was useless, cleaned it up, took it back to Argos who sold it to me because I looked like a mug.

Monday, 1 March 2010

While waiting for a very late spring 2

I'm sure in times gone by and in some circles today, people would have revered this tree.

While waiting for a very late spring

It's hard to see but there is a dead deer in this picture that has been eaten back to its skeleton. Whatever has eaten it has removed the fur first and its leg was about 15 metres away and has been torn from the hip.

What killed this deer?

Sunday, 28 February 2010

timing a walk to Plush 2 1/2 miles

Set off at 1.50pm. 20mins to stables, 30mins to bridge, 45 mins to Plush, 55 mins to church which was locked. Return bridge 15 mins, stable 30 mins home 40mins total return from Plush. Total time for 5 miles = 1 hour 50 mins. Approx speed 2.7 mph. Pain level moderate.

Goal 1hour 40mins.

Photo of gargoyle taken with a Samsung Tocco lite phone in dull weather.

Disappointed that Plush Church was locked on a Sunday.

Monday, 22 February 2010

First wild garlic shoots 22nd February 2010

A slightly warmer day yesterday and lots of rain rather than frost may have brought the first wild garlic shoots. As these are the first edible plants of the year to emerge, perhaps today is the first day of spring 2010.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Cherries and gout

Its not often in my nearly 60 years that I have found something that really works. This can only be anecdotal, mind you, if enough people post anecdotal stories to blogs about a subject the evidence becomes more and more empirical.

I have painful joints in my feet, I don't know whether this is mild gout or wear and tear. I read that cherries and cherry juice cures gout so I gave it a try. It didn't work overnight but today I noticed about an 80% relief. I can say with reasonable certainty that cherries and cherry juice cure joint pain that might be gout.

Sorry that I can't be more definative.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

This spring

Experiment drying and storing wild garlic, making wild garlic pesto and finding other ways to enjoy this delicious and abundant spring delight.