Last Sunday we visited the Hollies, not very far from where we live, this is a centre for practical sustainability. There was an open day, which we enjoyed very much and learnt quite a few things. We walked the gardens and I noticed how much flowers grew bordering the vegetables which were laid out in narrow plots to minimize compacting the soil.
This community offers a variety of courses, I have booked one of them for later in the month. Gardening skills are taught, managing poly tunnels, growing food for the family, wild food foraging, building a baking oven, and how to create a bio-diverse garden to name a few.
What I found most interesting, and new to me is the amount of cob houses that are on the land (around 30acres), some of them half built which gave us an idea what goes on in building them, all the different steps were explained to us on the walk. It is fascinating how a beautiful house can be build just using earth, some lime, clay, pebbles, and straw (I hope that I got that right). But building by this method takes a long time, as layer upon layer has to dry out before one can proceed.
This is what I picked up from going there for a few hours, it was a first introduction to this community but we will go there again and learn more.
Discussing manure in one of the poly tunnels, and lots of leeks growing for the winter.
Some features of a cob house, and one half built.
Dry-lining is not required, this is foundation under wall. And the chimney in middle of room in this case.
A living roof, and some of the clay and straw ready for use.
A roof from the inside of a cob house, beautifully made, and other part of the room.