Welcome

Thanks for dropping by. There is a variety of stuff on my website mainly because my life has been a mixture of IT and Walking. Walking is the latter bit as I had been stuck in an office for 18 years and did little adventuring over the weekends. That has now changed and I get out as often as I can, there is so much to discover. This website is quite new so please pop by again soon for updates. Thanks.

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Local farm conservation & ecology tour

It was wonderful today to be given a tour and plenty of information on farming, ecology and conservation. There is so much to take in but every week my knowledge increases. I have today joined the Devon Wildlife Trust and an envelope will be posted tomorrow to join the Axe Valley & District Conservation Society. Another walk planned for this Thursday, not sure where yet though.

Kidneywort

Not seen this Kidnewort before.

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Dandelion Coffee

Dandelion coffee. I have wanted to give this a go for a while. It is a way for me to begin reconnecting with the natural world and what it has to offer. To start foraging one really does not have to trudging through the countryside in search of those edible plants that most of us simply ignore on our walks, our very own back garden can be a great source and this is how I got started on the dandelion coffee.

My partner who does most of the gardening, OK, all of it actually. He shouted through the door “Would you like a dandelion root?”, “Yes please”. I needed no more persuasion and by the time I was off to work it was sitting on the kitchen worktop awaiting my attention.

The jug in the picture is just my preparation of peppermint tea, I take a flask to work daily. So, according to the SAS Survival guide that I’m slowly reading the root should not be peeled but simply washed and scrubbed to get rid of the mud, trim the green bits off and that’s it. Ready to bake

I popped this onto an oven proof dish and baked it in the oven at 150C for an hour. The SAS Survival Guide says it should be cooked until brittle and after and hour this is what I got. I tested it by pressing against the hot baked root with the back of a spoon, it cracked and crunched with relative ease, I was happy. Left to cool I then transferred it all into a bowl and began slowly crushing with the spoon. I did not want to use anything more sophisticated because in a wild camping situation you are very unlikely to have a blender with you.

The result was more pleasant than I was expecting, the more I crushed the root the smell of coffee began to emerge and once I was done it both smelled like and had the look and feel of coffee. This is completely caffeine free. I don’t drink coffee but I was willing to give this a go. I would say it could be improved with a drop of honey but that really is a personal taste, although very palatable in my opinion it had a slightly bitter edge but nothing I couldn’t put up with.

Making the coffee is simple, make it just as you would an ordinary cup of coffee with just the same amount you would have on your spoon but keep it black for now. Once made it then needs straining into another mug because the bits do not dissolve. That’s it, just add whatever sweetener or milk you want and enjoy. I have put mine in a small airtight container for next time i want it but next spring I intend to make more.

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Do you need professional email?

It’s all very well using a free email service but when it comes to business and efficiency you may want something a little better. Fastmail is that something better. One of the most popular file sharing services is Dropbox, a service that many businesses and professionals use. Fastmail gives you access directly to your Dropbox files so you can easily attach anything.

The user interface is very well organised and complimented by a fabulous search facility so finding past emails is very quick. I have used this service for the last four years and would not think of changing, it costs nothing to give it a go.

Do you have a domain name? you can integrate the email part of it into Fastmail in order to keep continuity of your business.

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