Gathered Knowledge

Carving a spoon

This is a series of pictures documenting Ginger’s process of carving a wooden spoon in the Ashdown Forest.

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Please click below to read more.

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Window Tax – an illuminated socio-archaeology

“A year after Waterloo, income tax was repealed ‘with a thundering peal of applause’ and Parliament decided that all documents connected with it should be collected, cut into pieces and pulped.”

Politicians never did like people prying into their ‘private’ incomes. That seems as true today as ever.

So the window tax was concieved as an alternative.

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Winchester cathedral precincts - a wink at the tax laws...

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Midsummer’s herb

St.John’s Wort

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St. John’s Wort flowers around midsummer. If you rub the leaves between your fingers you can smell a back-of-the-nose heat. It is sunshine in plant form, bringing calmness to the nerves and yielding a bright red colour, both in dyeing and when soaked in oil.
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It is of the oil that we wish to speak.

This bright red liquid will help to heal bruises, sprains, burns, skin irritations, or any wound that involves nerve damage.

Gather the top 6 inches of the plant when in flower. Do this as close to midsummer as possible for optimum potency (ie.now).
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Get yourself some good oil that you wouldn’t mind smearing on your skin. Almond oil is good and other nut oils will do well. If you want to splash out use hemp oil.

We will assume you want to make a half pint of the healing unction, but it is your choice, depending on how much you or those around you get injured.

Lightly pound the  flowering heads, leaves included, in a mortar and pestle to release the juices. Put the plant into the half pint glass container of oil until there is hardly any more space, making sure that all plant material is covered by the oil.

Put a cork or lid on the bottle and leave it in the sunlight for 40 days (and 40 nights). Give it as much sun as possible.

Every few days give the bottle a slight jiggle around. Watch it go more and more red.
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When the month is up and the oil is a deep bright red colour, strain the plant matter from the oil and you are left with a healing ointment for applying to burns and bruises and cuts and inflammations.

If you feel it is the type of injury that needs treatment with sunshine, such as a nerve rending cut or a burn on a kettle, apply this oil, coating the injured area.

We were told in a comment below that the oil on skin can cause photosensitivity so when applied it is best to avoid direct sunlight on the injured part.

Make sure you clean the container before you start and you and the injury are clean before applying the oil.

There is much more information in the St.John’s Wort Profile. Please have a look to find out more.

delicious wild strawberries

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They are here right now gracing our hedgerows and rocky ground.

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A summer treat for the sharp of eye.

Leave enough for the birds to spread the seeds around.

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We like them with oats in the morning.

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A Given Blessing

We were sent this Irish blessing from a lovely fellow named Pete. We’ve heard parts before, but never the whole thing, so thought it well worth repeating:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

May God be with you and bless you:
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.

May the road rise up to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

The Baseball Diaries

While staying with Ginger’s girlfriend’s aunt’s friend…we were told a story of sporting history.

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It's older than America

Apparently, a few years back, American research teams had peppered the BBC with requests to find out about the source of baseball, which is a hugely popular sport in the US, but is a poor cousin to rounders and softball in the UK. So it goes.

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Thought for the mile 5

“blocking out the majority of what is going on around us is a modern survival skill which is the direct opposite of the observant attention to their surroundings required by our early ancestors’ ways of living.”

(Helen Frosch)