Friday music! ‘Devon is Heaven’ from Ollie

It’s Friday. It’s been a long week, but it seems like Spring is truly on the way. Here’s some music from Ollie to celebrate, sent from the bright Dartmoor sun. Have a great weekend and thanks for all your support so far. We’re so blessed in so many ways.


 


Remember, you can watch our film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page. For more about this part of the campaign to save our community and homes, read this blog post.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – together, we can make an amazing breakthrough for low-impact living in the UK!

Film night in Chagford – tonight at 6pm

Tonight, we’ll be presenting the film at Endecott House in Chagford at 6pm – do come along if you’re in the area, as we’ll be talking about the next steps in the Save Steward Wood campaign and answering some of your questions about the project and its future.

chagford-night-scw


Remember, you can watch our film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page. For more about this part of the campaign to save our community and homes, read this blog post.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – together, we can make an amazing breakthrough for low-impact living in the UK!

Making fire – using the bow drill

Today, Ollie and Lorna show us how to make fire using the ancient bow drill method. You can get your own bow drill kit, made from materials from Steward Wood, over in the crowdfunder, or get a place on one of their courses, if you’re quick…

Continue reading “Making fire – using the bow drill”

Living off-grid – the dark times

Today, we’re returning to blog posts from the community. We want to show you how it is to live off-grid – the highs and lows and the unexpected joys and frustrations. Today’s post is from Mel, who featured as the main voice in the Save Steward Wood film.

Continue reading “Living off-grid – the dark times”

Save Steward Wood – part two

Last week was a whirlwind. The degree of media attention (not to mention press cameras) that we experienced was overwhelming, and the fact that we reached our first target of £38,000 in the crowdfunder caught us drop-jawed and amazed. We’ve taken stock this weekend and after all the high drama, are back to the business of trying to save our community from eviction, to save our homes and this existence on the land we own and love. Continue reading “Save Steward Wood – part two”

For the bees…

Today’s post from Daniel highlights the place of bees in the ecological web that is so rich at Steward Wood.


Bees arrived at Steward Wood on 26th January 2016. ‘What do you mean?’, I hear you say. ‘Weren’t there bees around before then?’ Yes there were – bees of all kinds: bumblebees, solitary bees, and of course honey bees (apis mellifera). But all the honey bees were visiting from their homes in other places.

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Now we also have our own hives – three in fact – generously given to us by our friends Ian and Alex who, after 8 years of beekeeping, have decided to take a break. However, they will be guiding myself, Son & Mel through our first season as the main bee guardians in the woods. This has already been a fascinating journey of discovery and delight and it will, no doubt, continue to be so as we care for these magnificent creatures. Bees hold a critical place in the ecological web and are so threatened at this time by habitat loss, pesticides and other chemicals, disease, and exploitative beekeeping practices.

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I love watching at the hive entrance, seeing the comings and goings. The bees, in the cold winter months in this country, would normally be clustered in the centre of the hive preserving their heat and gradually eating their stores of honey. However, due to the mild, well actually warm, winter we’ve been having, the bees have been flying most days throughout this time. At the moment, they can forage on ivy, snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, and other random plants in flower due to the balmy temperatures.

On the day we brought the hives over, we unplugged the entrance hole and out they came, performing a spiral orientation flight and exploring their new environment. At Steward Community Woodland, they have available lots of tree flowers, apple blossom, all the flowers of the woodland, flowers in our gardens, and in the pasture and gardens around. We will be planting more bee friendly plants such as lavender and herbs such as thyme which the bees love and use the essential oils (which are ant-bacterial etc) in their propolis (the bee’s medicine).

bees in the woods - web

As well as their obvious role in pollination, bees bring bee consciousness to the place where they live. There is a fascinating book on this topic called The Song of Increase – Returning to our sacred partnership with honeybees by Jacqueline Freeman. Bees enrich and harmonise the environment each day, helping Nature in so many ways to fulfil the evolutionary directive. Humans and bees can care for each other and sing the song of shared awareness. Love, of course, is the key ingredient in our relationship with bees and all of life.

The bees at Steward Wood are in National hives at present, the standard hive used in this country. After the first season, we are likely to begin trying out Top Bar Hives and Rose Hives. These latter hives are more suited for a natural beekeeping approach, although it’s certainly also possible to keep bees in Nationals and use a natural approach.

In any event, our keeping of bees is bee centric. We wish them to thrive and thus perform well their vital function in the ecosystem. We also wish to sensitively harvest hive products – honey, pollen, & propolis – when there is a genuine surplus. Tasting our first Steward Wood honey will be an exquisite experience.


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!

Sunrise memories

Today, before we get into today’s post, we’d just like to share the fact that over at the crowdfunder page, we’re now more than 60% funded, after only a week!

Thank you all so much for all your support so far – it is going so much better than we dared to believe when we were wondering in the autumn how we could possibly raise the money for our legal fees, and that’s all thanks to you. We are really deeply moved by all your donations and messages and efforts at spreading the word, and we give hearty thanks to all of you!

Meanwhile, this morning, Sonny remembers words from her eldest daughter, spoken 10 years ago…


sunrise behind Ollies DwellingThis beautiful morning view reminds me of something my, now, 17 year old daughter said when she was about 7:

“Mummy, when I opened my eyes and looked out of my window from my bed this morning, the wood smoke was lit up by the suns rays coming through the trees, I felt so lucky and it was so beautiful, I cried…”

Our three children have lived here in the woods for 11 years, most of their lives – we feel so much gratitude for this wonderful life and can’t imagine living any where else in any other way.


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!

Asha’s story: learning in the woods

Today’s post is from Asha. She has lived almost all her life in the woods!


My name is Asha. I’m 13 years old and have lived at Steward Wood since I was 1.

The people here are not just people I live next to and pass by occasionally, they are my family and friends.

When I was younger I spent most of my time playing pretend games in the woods with my friends here, Rowan and Ash, and that in itself has taught me so much and I can’t imagine living any other way.

 
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I have such a close bond with the little ones here. I always used to nag Mum about having another baby so I could look after it but when I think about it, I already have that in Sky (6) and Wren (3).
The other day, lots of us were down in the growing area and Sky, Wren and Myself were all chasing each other around and I just thought how lucky I was to have such a close connection with them and Sky once asked me if I’d be her big sister in my next life.

 
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When I get annoyed or need my own space all I have to do is go outside and climb a tree and I’m transported into another world of my own.
I have learned so much from living here in the woods with all these amazing people. It’s allowed me to have the choice to be home schooled, and learn in the way I want to learn.
I tried school for six months for 3 days a week when I was 10, but then I realized I was missing out on so much at home and I was always too tired to hang out with my friends here and I stopped doing all of the creative stuff I used to do before I began school.

 
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My mum teaches me about plants and herbal medicine and my dad has taught me how to make fire the primitive way.
I love this way of life, it’s amazing!


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!

Teaching the children

In today’s post, Sonny writes about teaching the children in Steward Wood. Not everyone here is home-educated, but for those that are, and for those who visit, the community is a powerful resource for education in many arenas.


Here is Merlin, our resident wizard, holding a Mad science day for the
wider community of home ed families here in 2012. 7 of our community children have enjoyed school-free living here at the woods over the last 14 years. Over this time we have held many home education sessions and gatherings for groups and our own children and covered a large number of fun and exciting topics…

69.resizedFor me, Home Education is about raising empowered, free thinking
individuals to become who they truly are. Who know and trust themselves and respect and care for the natural world around them, taking responsibility for their impact on the environment with an understanding that they are capable of anything they put their hearts to. Living as we do at Steward community woodland has made it possible for our children to grow up together and also given them a deep sense of connection and belonging to this land and mother earth in a way that would not be possible living a conventional lifestyle. Please be a part of making this possible for the next generations of children here and nearby by supporting the fundraising effort to save us from eviction – click here or on the pictures to find out more…

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Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!

Nettle-infused cider vinegar

Today’s post is a simple recipe for you from Sonny – just in time for the young nettles of Spring!


Nettle-infused Cider vinegar

Nettles infusing in cider vinegar

Cram your spring nettles into a jar and cover with live, organic cider vinegar. Leave in a cool place out of direct sun light … After a few days the nettles will have reduced down and you can add more nettles.

Repeat as much as you like to make your vinegar tincture good and strong.

After 3-4 weeks Filter the vinegar through a sieve and feed the nettles to the compost heap. Take 2 table spoons 3 times a day in half a pint water for a spring cleanser and vitamin and mineral boost! In-Joy!! x Oh and this elixir will last for a year or more!


Remember, you can watch our new film and read all about our project and the current situation over here at the crowdfunder page.

Thank you for your continuing interest and support – we cannot do it without you!