Monday, 16 January 2017


"Drifting Clouds and the Illusion of Science"
I've been revisiting this wonderful book. It's partly about the practical aspects of a way of natural farming, about growing rice, other grains and clover in a rotation without ploughing or using chemicals. It is indeed revolutionary, not only are the yields just as high as in traditional Japanese farming but it also eliminates a lot of the work. Also, compared with chemical-industrial farming, Fukuoka's way continually improves the quality of the soil instead of degrading it.
But I think the even more important revolution that the book describes, in his charming style, is Fukuoka's internal journey. Moments of insight, the alienation from the modern industrial consumerist approach to life, the gradual deeper understanding of natural processes, all leading to a simple life looking after fields and orchards, growing and eating simple natural food.
 It's poignant that this book has been around since the 1970's - all my working life. Fukuoka's insights have been influential, widely read and talked about yet here's humankind still entangled in the terrible web of supermarket consumerism, cars and fossil fuel addiction and the shallow information of mass media, internet and TV; the harder we dig ourselves into the industrial way of life the harder it is to escape, the situation now so bad that we are endangering all life on the planet. I've understood all that for years, I helped friends on an organic small-holding way back in 1976, and have been actively looking about and living on ecological projects for ten years. Yet in all that time I've never found people living as naturally as Fukuoka and Ruth and I still use a car and get the bulk of our food from supermarkets...
Here's some of Fukuoka's last words, "There is nowhere better than this world. Years ago I realized that we human beings are good just as we are and I set about to enjoy my life. I took a carefree road back to nature, free from human knowledge and effort."

Monday, 26 December 2016

2017, Your Inner Trump & You, The Triune Brain, Global Consciousness... and more...

It's easy, and such good fun, to ridicule politicians and don't they, mostly, just thoroughly deserve it? What an extraordinary amount of scum seems to have floated to the top in 2016...
"Anyone who wants power shouldn't have it."
But hold on a minute, what do they represent? Don't they actually represent us? At least a part of each of us that we pretend isn't there, fearful, xenophobic, kept hidden deep down, like an embarrassing monster relative. It's well explained by the Triune Brain model,

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Ten Years After...

It's coming up for ten years since my first post on my original ian's eco blog, though I'd been concerned about environmental issues and followed them since the 1970's I hadn't actually done an awful lot in a practical way. Reports of the sudden loss of ice in Arctic made me suddenly realise that many of the predictions were coming true, and a lot quicker than had been anticipated. So what could anyone do? What was sustainable living exactly? Was anyone doing it?
And here we are, ten years later, with a report in the Guardian today, "Next year or the year after the Arctic will be free of ice."

Looking for the answers to those sorts of questions has led me on a fascinating and fun journey, also challenging at times, through Portugal and the UK, meeting people and working on lots of different projects. Back then, I was living in a terraced house on the busy seafront road that runs from Brighton westwards along the coast. Now I'm living in a timber clad caravan, "the LogCabavan", in an orchard on a hill farm, with another move, back to Scotland, just around the corner...

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Oak Trees - Ships of the Landscape

We've been planting lots of trees here on the farm, hazels, willows, cherries, rowan, blackthorn, hawthorn and, mixed in here and there with them all, some oaks...
How amazing to hold in your hand for a moment a baby oak, which might grow into a mature tree and live for anything up to a thousand years, like the old oaks just found on Churchill's estate. How much human nonsense have they lived through? It also made me think just how wonderful these oaks are, like ships of the landscape. True treasure ships, roaring in the wind as they travel through time, sheltering such rich abundancies of life. True gold, not the vain gold of oligarchs, bishops and princes. Even after death these golden-hearted oaks go on serving us with their stout timber, in framework that can last for hundreds more years...

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Towards a Deeper Reality

I often find myself encouraging people to be a wee bit more open minded.
The accepted, establishment, "scientifically proven" view of the world takes us through life like a train on tracks. We're supposed to sit docilely, like well-behaved children in class, looking out of the window, only seeing what we've been told we can see, so we'll be good little cogs in the establishment machine.
Well I for one sometimes want to get up onto the roof of the train or even get off the train altogether. So how do we do that?

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Willow... it's so easy!

We've been planting hundreds of trees here on the farm over the last few years, fruit trees as well as oaks, birch, rowan, hazel and also willows which all started from a bunch of sticks that our friend, Azzi, gave us. We are planning a lot more tree planting this year so I've been getting some propagation on the go. Willow just must be about the easiest thing to grow so a great place for anyone to start. If ever you want to see the power of nature first hand just pop a fresh willow cutting in some water. Willow has lots of uses, as a fast-growing fuel, (maybe the fastest:, ) as well as a material used in all sorts of things from baskets to guitars. It has a lovely graceful bambooish look to it too.
The willow grove at the foot of of our plot, these ones are just a couple of years old and had a difficult start due to rabbit attack. All the same, some of them were reaching twelve foot tall. I've pruned them back and saved the cuttings to propagate more trees.
It's easy: you stick your cuttings in a jar of water and wait for a few weeks... which time they start to sprout various shoots...
...and rootlets, ready to go into a pot or into the ground.
It's still a bit cold out so these ones have gone into pots in the polytunnel.
It seems to be working a bit more slowly with hazel too, which is a bit exciting as it's not the recommended way of propagating hazel. As Chris Dixon says, "The plants don't read books."
Lots going on in the polytunnel already.

Sunday, 7 September 2014


The bigger picture
Pollyanna Lacey messaged me about her wonderful plans in Swaziland. She has about 200 acres of land there including perennial gorges and a river with the beautiful name, Umfula wo Thando, or “River of Love”.
Umfula wo Thando, "River of Love"
Her project really resonates with me as she’s connecting ecology and healing - she has a vision of self-sufficient, sustainable off-grid living, biodynamic gardening and farming, and a holistic healing retreat and Reiki school. She has no experience in building and is looking for help, ideas, contacts, and useful organisations for funding and information.
The best designs I've seen for low-impact, self-build homes are really the roundhouse-with-Earthship-features buildings of Simon Dale and friends at Lammas, I wonder how they compare with traditional local building in Swaziland.
Simon Dales house at Lammas - Simon's site here
Anyway, get in touch with Pollyanna through the RegenoScot Facebook group if you've got any ideas, useful contacts or would like to lend a hand out there.