Autumn Leaves and Hearth Fires

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The leaves are falling off the trees today. The wind isn’t particularly strong, the day not much different from the last few, it’s just a combination of things that tell the trees it’s time to go to bed. My oldest son climbs up the apple tree to harvest apples, I never see him happier than when he’s harvesting fruit and vegetables, he used to harvest potatoes with me and would jump up and down with excitement whenever one was unearthed.

Today we’ve lit the fire for the first time this year. It’s only for the warmth it brings to this house and the wonder of watching the flames dance and hearing the quiet roar of the fire. There is nothing quite like working with wool on the couch with the flames in the background and listening to the noises that it makes. In the house we build fire will be more important, it will cook our food and heat our water, as it did for our ancestors in more sensible times.

I am working on a jumper for the son I wrote of earlier. I’ve never knitted a pullover before, or anything in the round, or anything beyond the simplest of patterns, but the body of it is finished and I’m part way through the first sleeve, learning this from books. I learned to knit through internet videos and library books, and it gives me hope for other traditional skills, that if we put our hearts and minds to it there are enough resources around to teach us how.

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On work

“I once knew an old lady who lived by herself in the Golfen valley of Herefordshire. She was one of the happiest old women I have met. She described to me all the work she and her mother used to do when she was a child: washing on Monday, butter-making on Tuesday, market on Wednesday, and so on. “It all sounds like a lot of hard work,” I said to her. “Yes, but nobody ever told us then,” she said in her Herefordshire accent. “Told you what?” “Told us there was anything wrong with work!”
John Seymour

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A Chemical-Free Milk Bucket Sterilisation Routine

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Geraldine’s milk

Raw milk is an important food to my family, so much so that we don’t mind buying all of our goats’ feed in while living in suburban sized blocks with no grazing land. To make the most of this precious milk, and to make sure that there’s no chance of us getting sick, I am careful about having a milking routine that minimises the chances of the milk getting contaminated.

This is what I do:
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