Category Archives: internship

February 2020

In this newsletter:

February stew
Woodgas cookstove
Klaudia
Lily
Alex
Evan
Josh
Geeky technical tinkering
Community Woodland work day

We’ve just looked at the blog and realised how ridiculously long it’s been since we wrote anything! We knew it had been too long but the more we thought about it, the more we panicked because so much has happened and we didn’t know where to start. Thankfully, one of the bonuses of the recent stormy weather is that we have been unable to do quite so much work outdoors, so here we are with a bumper edition as 7 of us will be contributing!

Hannan, Ros, Alex and Tim from last year have all moved on but are still very much a part of our lives. The new crew are now all installed. It feels like they’ve been here for ever! Each of them introduce themselves in a bit…

February Stew (Ele)

I got so excited serving up 8 bowls of steaming stew last week when I realised that all of the ingredients were from Pentiddy (except for the flour in the dumplings). Feeding lots of hungry mouths day-after-day on home grown/produced food at this time of year is a challenge and something to celebrate when it’s achieved!

Hearty Pentiddy Stew.
Hearty Pentiddy Stew

So, here’s the recipe for the stew:

Borlotti beans (dried last Summer then soaked and cooked in pressure cooker)
Onions (From Francis’s allotment here. Mine were not great!)
Garlic (hanging, dried, in the kitchen)
Jerusalem artichokes (still in the ground)
Yacon (still in the ground)
Parsnips (still in the ground)
Perennial greens (Daubenton kale from the forest garden)
Shitake stems (grown on logs here then dried and ground)
Mixed seaweeds (kelp and sea spaghetti harvested in the Summer, dried and ground)
Nettle and treen spinach powder (dried and ground)
Chillies (fresh from the plant over-Wintering in the kitchen)
Rosemary (fresh from the polytunnel)
Sage (fresh from the garden)
Parsely (fresh from the garden)
Thyme (fresh from the planters on the veranda)
Damson wine (last Autumn’s)

Dumplings:
Organic wholemeal flour (how I wish it was at least locally-grown!)
Lard (grated. From the pigs that Tim butchered last Summer)

…Kelp lasagne tonight with meadow waxcaps…followed by an apple and blueberry crumble with a yacon topping…

Wood Gas cook stove (Anthony)

A couple of years ago I was given a small portable wood gas cooking stove. Testing it I was impressed and realised it worked really well, but due to its size it required regular re-fuelling and a lot of attention. At this point ideas formed and designs were hastily scribbled to build a larger more useful cooking stove using the same principle.

The stove works by heating wood to release the wood gas and then igniting the gas to produce an incredibly clean and efficient burn. The principle is fairly simple- light a fire in the internal chamber, once it is hot, air is drawn up between the inner and outer skins and pre-heated before being fed into the top of the chamber where it combines with the unburnt gasses and helps them to ignite. I worked out that by using two gas cylinders of different sizes (one 13kg, one 7kg) the larger version could be made.

After removing the valves of the cylinders and purging them by filling with water, the first step was cutting the top off both bottles and the bottom off the larger one. Then came the process of drilling many holes around the top of the smaller bottle and in the base of it too. I then sat the whole thing off the ground so air could enter underneath and lit a fire inside to test it… and it worked!

My task now is to mount it on legs to put it at a better height for cooking on. I might even give it a coat of stove paint! The stove will be used as part of our outdoor kitchen, with the eventual aim of shedding the reliance on our bottled gas stove. With this we are one step closer to the goal, and I’m a happy man!

Anthony’s sketched plans are available here.

Klaudia

I have been living at Pentiddy for over a year now, joining in with some of the work and community life and also looking after a neighbour’s field. I bring some permaculture expertise and am currently teaching a design course in Plymouth, which 2 of the interns attend, as well as facilitating a design for St Ive parish for a zero carbon future. I’ve been bringing groups of permaculture students to Pentiddy to see one of the best examples i know of permaculture in action.

Lily

Hi, I’m Lily. I’ve been at Pentiddy since October as part of my placement year for my Geography with Forestry degree at Bangor Uni.

I’m particularly interested in food production and sustainable woodland management, with emphasis being on the regenerative practices of leaving the land in a better state of being.

The forest garden is the perfect opportunity for me to learn the basics as it is still in it’s developmental stages. All of this links to my dissertation subject of biochar as a pathway to regenrative culture with improved food security.

Finally, during my time here I’ve developed a keen interest in Ki-Aikido and green woodwork, both of which I plan to do a blog post about.

Currently, I am excited to get on with making my chair and willow basket under Anthony’s and Ele’s direction respectively.

Alex

I’m Alex, a gardening enthusiast from the south west! Having spent a lot of time at my allotment over the past year and dreaming of a more practical and holistic way of growing food I decided to join Pentiddy as an intern.

I’m, excited to be learning more about trees, and their management in coppice, charcoal burning and hedgelaying as well as building on my gardening knowledge with some crafty bits and bobs too. As an artist I’ll be recording some of my time through my print-works and trying to build a series of seasonal inspired prints. You can take a look at my work here www.alexgoodman.bigcartel.com

Evan

Evans the name. Life’s the game. I enjoy many things, not really having a specific area of interest – I prefer the big picture. It’s clear to me that there are many more desirable aspects of living the Pentiddy way, compared to modern (especially urban) lifestyles. So I am looking to learn as many of these ways as possible so I can apply them to my LIFE. I have a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and like to think of practical solutions to problems. I practice ashtanga vinyasa yoga and consider myself a fairly metaphysical fellow. My favourite group activities include, going to the pub, deep conversations, games and eating.

Josh

I’m Josh. I’m doing a three month internship at Pentiddy Woods. Before coming to Pentiddy, I was earning my living as a green woodworker, handcarving wooden spoons and making wooden bowls on a foot-powered pole lathe. During my time here, I’m hoping learn about coppicing and woodland management (which includes going on a chainsaw course), whilst also expanding my knowledge of greenwoodworking. Stonewoodcraft.com

A garden planning session…

Geeky Technical tinkering (Anthony)

Over the last year or so I have re-discovered my (never quite dormant) interest in electronics, computers and programming, and have ended up being absorbed (sorry Ele et al!) in two projects.

The first of these came from upgrading our solar controller to a Morningstar Tristar TS-45. Now this controller happens to have a com port and so I just had to explore connecting it to our laptop…

 Esp32 Datalogger in development.
Datalogger in development.

The upshot of this was managing to get it to talk to my Linux based system, learning a little Python programming language and eventually getting current data from the controller displayed on the desktop using a program called Conky. (I know, I know… your glazing over now aren’t you!)

The second project came from discovering a development board called an ESP32 (catchy name!)

This little board is really cheap, has wi-fi and bluetooth on board and can be programmed to do all sorts of things. I concieved the idea of building a real-time data-logger, tracking power in and out of the house, as well as temperature, humidity and pressure. This is still in process, but is working in part. I might even end up combining the previous project and get the logger to store the info from the TS-45!

I am sharing this mainly because I found it difficult to find the information I needed and I’m happy to share my findings with anyone interested.

Community Woodland work day

A brief reminder that Sunday 23rd Feb will see us back out in the community woodland for a work day. Please come and lend a hand if you can make it.

Internship opportunity – 1 place left!

Due to a change in situation we still have one intern place left.

This would now run from January 2020 until July 2020

It is an opportunity for a fully immersive experience in an off-grid, land-based, regenerative community.
Learn a diverse range of skills from harvesting seaweed to baking in a wood-fired oven, from making hay with a scythe to managing a coppice.
Please pass this on as widely as possible- share it on social media (we’re a bit backwards in this department!)

www.pentiddy.co.uk/internship

e-mail us: volunteer@pentiddy.co.uk

Spring 2019

In this blog…

Coppicing is officially finished!

We’ve talked about the coppicing at Pentiddy before, so I won’t go into great details. Suffice it to say we bit off quite a large chunk this season, and we are grateful for the fact we have actually now finished it. The Chestnut is now sprouting new shoots and looking healthy. Once again we have decided not to protect against rabbits and deer, so we’ll be keeping a very close eye on progress…

Chestnut regeneration

Whilst the coppice was down we also took the opportunity to pollard the Alder along the southern edge of the area. These trees were planted as a nitrogen-fixing shelter belt- but they had grown so tall and had thinned out so that the wind whistled through the lower branches and the canopy was shading the coppice. By pollarding them, and hoping for them to re-grow lower down, we will be re-instating the shelter but without the shading aspect. The timber from these trees has already been split and stacked to dry and will make high quality firewood for next winter.

You might also notice walking around this area that the willow that was around the central chestnut area has been coppiced too. The rods that will re-grow from these will now be cut annually and will provide basketry and hurdle materials, or will be bundled into faggots to fire our bread oven.
All in all we will be getting a large volume of very useful products every year. Our next challenge is to find markets for these…

Hedgelaying completed

Newly layed hedge
Newly layed hedge

After managing to secure a grant for hedgerow restoration and hedge-laying last year, we also embarked upon a lot of hedgelaying amongst the winter work this year. Many of the hedges here were planted with this in mind and we laid them West of England style with stakes and binders supplied from the coppice. The laying itself is a pleasure to do. The more tedious bit was the removal and re-instatement of the fences on either side of the hedge. As part of the requirement of the grant we had to make sure the fences were at least 1.2metres from the centre of the hedge… it did however give us the opportunity to replace failing tanalised fence stakes with cleft chestnut ones (unfortunately not yet from our own coppice).

Regenerative Silvopasture Experiment

The ‘Ash slope’ was planted mostly as ash coppice about 12 years ago. The intention was to sustainably harvest wood for furntiture, tool handles, firewood and charcoal.
Unfortunately however, ash dieback disease (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) is very likely to kill them all in the next two to three years. This is a problem for ash throughout Europe, for more information you can visit https://www.forestry.gov.uk/ashdieback
We are looking at this as an opportunity to experiment with silvopasture, the combination of grazing and forestry.
As a start, we have felled and extracted an area of ash near the roundhouse and planted a mix of Hazel, Oak, Whitebeam, Cherry, Willow, Poplar and Douglas Fir. We will replant the rest of the slope over the next few years with a diverse mix of trees.
As those trees grow, we will pollard many of them (cutting them at around head height) on a regular rotation like the rest of the coppice. We will harvest a mix of basketry materials, fodder and tree hay for animals, kindling, firewood, weavers for wattle hurdles and many other things from these pollards.
Underneath the pollarded trees, we will graze our sheep in a style often called “management intensive rotational grazing”, moving them little and often to benefit both the pasture and sheep.
Over time, the slope should develop more diversity of structure and species and become a more resilient, productive and beautiful part of the land here. Having just finished removing the last of many thousands of tree shelters from earlier planting, we are reluctant to put too much more polluting plastic back onto the slope. Because of this, we are experimenting with using very few tree shelters and encouraging brambles to protect the natural regeneration and replanting from rabbits and deer. If you notice that the slope looks untidy and chaotic at times, this is the reason why.
We will monitor it closely and intervene if the brash and brambles choke the trees more than they protect them during the establishment phase.

If you are interested in finding out more about our plans here you can email Tim : tim@pentiddy.co.uk

Sheep update

Sheep in hurdles
Sheep in hurdles

The sheep have just started a new regime where they are in a fairly small enclosure and being moved two or three times a day. This gives us a lot of flexibility about where they can graze, benefits the grass and the sheep, and means they become more used to human interaction which will help come shearing time and when we need to work with them in other ways.

We have been making lots of chestnut gate hurdles to make this possible, and have refined the design and now pin the timbers together with oak pegs instead of very expensive copper nails… they are incredibly versatile and beautiful too!

Milking sheep

In the next month or so we are getting two new Ewe lambs and these are a milk breed. The plan is to grow them on through the year and then put them to the Ram in the Autumn.
If all goes well they will lamb next spring, and we will start to milk them alongside them feeding their lambs.
Tim plans to practice cheese making before then so at the peak of the yield we can be making stores for the half of the year when they will not produce milk… Watch this space!

Ki Aikido drop-in taster day

Anthony has been teaching Ki-Aikido for a little over a year, and is still looking for new students.
On May 4th (no jedi jokes being used here) he will be having a free drop-in taster event to give anyone interested a chance to look at Ki-development, ki testing and Aikido.
If you are interested just pop along to the Liskerrett centre, Varley lane, Liskeard, PL14 4AP any time between 11am and 2pm to chat with Anthony (1st Dan), Mel (3rd Dan), Ian (Green belt) or Alex (White belt).
The weekly lessons are on a Wednesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Liskerrett, cost just £7 and new students are welcome at any point- there is no requirement to start at a particular time of year as lessons are in no particular sequence.

So… what is Ki-Aikido?

Within us all is a singular point of calm. Here we find we are relaxed, clear and sharp and time seems to expand allowing considered actions to follow. In this state we are strong, resilient and flexible and can allow ourselves to invest fully in our endeavours. This place is our ‘one point’ and the result of finding it is the co-ordination of mind and body.

Ki-Aikido is a fun and compelling way to help us understand and develop the one point through specific practice and dynamic exercise. It can be practised by anyone willing to learn, of any age, size, ability or gender.

Rather than fear, violence and hate, we learn calmness, tolerance and respect.
Ki-Aikido is the Art of Peace.
For more information visit www.setsudo-ki-aikido.co.uk

Dying matters day

As part of national Dying Matters week, Pentiddy Natural Burials and Confortia are offering a Dying Matters day here at Pentiddy on Sunday 19th May 2019, 11am – 3pm.
The day will be an opportunity for us to explore together our choices around death and dying with the hope of bringing death back into the heart of our communities and empowering us to make the most of our (finite) lives. View (download and share) the poster here.

Guest spot- A request from Lee Dodge

Lee Dodge
Lee Dodge

Six years ago I spent one glorious Summer doing an apprenticeship at a bakery in the woods near Wellington in Somerset. Since then I have dreamt about building my own wood-fired oven and sharing my love of sourdough. While I have the skills to make the sourdough my building skills fall into a very different category. So I am looking for people with building skills and experience to help me convert a field shelter on my off-grid smallholding into a bakehouse along the lines of a crowdfunding campaign, I am offering all-you-can-eat sourdough in return for helping me with the build/conversion. I could also offer some training in sourdough making for any budding dough-heads.
So come on and help me make my dream into a reality.
Thanks.
Lee

Lee lives near Liskeard on his off-grid smallholding which he shares with his cat Jelly, and lots of hens and ducks. Contact him on 07563 542274 if you are interested.

Internship applications

We have been advertising as far and wide as possible the opportunity for the next internship which will start in October.
We have had a flurry of interest and have had telephone/skype interviews with some applicants already.
If you know of anyone who might be interested, or indeed have a channel to advertise this opportunity we would love to hear from you.
More information available at www.pentiddy.co.uk/internship.

Products from Pentiddy

Over the last couple of years many aspects of our project have started to show the fruits of our efforts. From this point onwards each year should see an increase in diversity of products and an increase in the quality too.

The list below should give you an idea of what we will expect from the land here. We are pretty rubbish at marketing, so this is a little start at trying to let people know what’s available. Markets for these products is our next challenge… please get in touch if you can help.

  • Firewood- Alder, Ash and Chestnut.
  • Charcoal- for those summer barbecues.
  • Bio-char- as a soil improver.
  • Hazel poles- for hurdles, beanpoles, pea sticks, benders etc.
  • Chestnut poles- for fence stakes, hedge stakes, furniture.
  • Willow rods- for basketry, living willow structures and oven faggots.
  • Furniture, gates and other beautifully hand-crafted items from these materials- Heartwood Creations