Permaculture Gathering

Last weekend we went van camping again, this time to the All Ireland Permaculture Gathering which was hosted this year by wonderful farmers in Co Tipperary.

Wecome Gate at the Permaculture Gathering
Welcome woven into the land at the Permaculture Gathering

There was so much work done by members of the organising group before any of us arrived. Large tents  and marquees were set up for the many workshops that were going to happen over the weekend.

Toilets and hand washing facilities were organised and scrupulously managed for the entire gathering. The facilities were not only kept clean but incense was lit, fresh field flowers were placed there and safe night lights were managed at night.

Kitchen spaces both for serving, preparing salads and cooking over two large fires were build and sheltered eating spaces were arranged.

It is not necessary to be signed up member of any group to attend this event, whilst many of the attendees do know each other from Permaculture courses or from working together in previous years, others attend to learn about growing food or to learn about permaculture systems.

Attending the gathering is a great opportunity to learn something about permaculture as well as meet some really nice people, have fun camping in a family friendly environment, eat some really good veggies cooked outdoors on a fire, sing a song, learn a tune.

Beautiful Bell Tents at the Permaculture Gathering
Bell tents at the Permaculture Gathering

Although we do not currently grow food ourselves (unless you count the basil growing in a pot on the kitchen windowsill) we were welcomed warmly. We were also invited to run a workshop so we choose the subject of Off-Grid Living as a discussion topic and were delighted that so many people came along, we had a lively discussion and hope that we helped shed a little light on the subject.

Workshops were held on many different subjects, people simply decided what they wanted to discuss, to show or to teach and picked a time slot and a suitable venue from the workshop organising chart. We attended some fun workshops, I have still to finish the spoon that I started to carve at the Wooden Spoon Carving Workshop.

I picked up some wood carving tricks as I have never worked on such a small carving project before. I am accustomed to carving the wooden blades for domestic wind turbines so a spoon was a quite a difficult challenge for me and one which I relished. I learnt some good tricks for using and moving a small knife blade and had the opportunity to use a great variety of different carving knives which I really enjoyed.

Some workshops were very practical and others were lively discussions. Some titles that I remember were green building, living in a tiny house, cheese making, hugelbeds, regenerative agriculture and willow/rush weaving.

All the food was cooked on site using vegetables which were grown by the attendees so we were guaranteed that the veg was all fresh, organic and GMO free! The camp cook Sue had many able helpers throughout the weekend to help her with chopping and stirring as she oversaw the large task of feeding everyone on site. We have always asked Sue to cook for our own residential Wind Turbine Workshops and she delights in cooking for large hungry groups and absolutely loves cooking outdoors on the fire. Sue can cater for any event so if you would like to get in touch with her please leave a comment here and I will put you in contact with her. She is happy to cater for Paleo eaters too as she is familiar with no grain, no refined  or processed foods and usually eats low carb herself. Hopefully Sue will soon have a website up and running and when she does I will link it here.

Being Paleo meant that I had to take some responsibility for ensuring that I got my protein fix so I brought along some good quality Irish ham, rashers, eggs, goats cheese, cooked beetroot and tinned fish to supplement the wonderful vegetarian stews. Two nights before we were due to leave I placed two 1litre bottles of water in the freezer at the house I was visiting in for the week. When we were packing for our trip I wrapped each of the frozen water bottles in 2 sheets of newspaper and then placed each one in a plastic bag so that as they defrosted they wouldn’t wet anything. The bottles were placed in my cool bag and they remained partially frozen for two days helping to keep my protein fresh and healthy. The newspaper served the dual purpose of retaining the coolth (is that really a word?) and also to prevent freezer burn on my food.

We slept in a stubble field at the Permaculture Gathering
Our accommodation for the weekend at the Permaculture Gathering

The Gathering was such good fun that we hope to attend again next year. It was great to be surrounded by people who were all interested in doing things, not just talking about doing things as is so often the case.

This was a field full of do-ers which was a delight in itself. The event was drink and drug free and was family friendly. In the evening people sat chatting after dinner, making new friends and renewing old friendships.

There was a noise curfew for the camping/kitchen field and those of us were staying up past 10pm headed up to the large marquee for music, singing, poetry and story-telling with a little dancing thrown in.

There was an outdoor fire circle for those who wanted to sit outside and because Sat evening had such a heavy downpour of rain following the afternoon thunderstorm some people were indeed happy to be outside on a dry night. Keep an eye on the Irish Permaculture website for details of next years Gathering, you will not be disappointed if you go.

Camping at the all Ireland Permaculture Gathering
The Permaculture Gathering

Camping in the Summer

We try to go camping as much as we can every summer, especially near the sea when we can as we love snorkeling and free-diving. This year we have not been to the sea as often as previously however we have still had some great camping experiences.

PaleoIrish camping
PaleoIrish 20yr old tent

Last month I went to the International Taoist Tai Chi workshop in Foxford, Co Mayo and I dusted down my old tent to go solo camping. I really enjoyed sleeping on the ground and listening to the sound of the rain on the flysheet. The fact that the rain stayed on the outside of my tent added greatly to my enjoyment. My newest tent is almost 20yrs old so I wasn’t sure that it would still be weather-proof however buying good gear has always paid off especially when it comes to hiking and camping. I store the tent in a large home-made breathable bag which also helps it to age gracefully.

Nobo Vegan Paleo Ice cream
Nobo Vegan Paleo Ice cream

Last weekend we did some van camping which is our usual habit. We went to Crann Og, a lovely organic farm near Gort, in Co Galway for a small community event “The Lunaghsa Fair.” We arrived along with some others on Friday evening to help with the set-up of the structures for the weekend and the main event was on Sunday.

We brought  a treat with us for our hosts, an Irish vegan paleo ice cream called Nobó which was really yummy. Of course we had to try it out in the rainy car park outside the shop to ensure that it was edible and there was still enough left for six of us to enjoy when we arrived at Crann Og. I love the name of this ice cream, bó is the Irish word for cow so it means “no cow”.

About two hundred people came on Sunday to enjoy the Fair, we had many different workshops on offer ranging from massage and cranial sacral therapy to wood carving with draw knives. There were games galore for both young and old and great food all day with the home made pizza oven and barbecue getting fired up in the afternoon. The event finished with a fiery flourish – a great display of story telling with fiery effects. For the full effect check out Crann Og’s facebook page.


Eating Psychology Conference

Join me for the 2nd Annual Online Eating Psychology Conference 
Sponsored by the Institute for the Psychology of Eating
with Marc David

Are you ready for an approach that honors all of who we are as eaters – body, mind, heart and soul? I’ll be participating in a truly one-of-a-kind online conference with over 45 fascinating experts. We’ll explore leading edge thinking in the fields of eating psychology, nutrition, and personal transformation. Get inspired by speakers from a variety of disciplines who have something unique and innovative to share. We’ll be enlivening the fields of eating psychology and nutrition by creating a truly holistic approach.

Now more than ever, we need a whole new understanding of our relationship with food. The fields of eating psychology and nutrition are at a profound crossroads. Medical science has finally recognized the important role of diet in optimal health, yet something is clearly missing. Obesity, overeating, body image concerns, emotional challenges with food, and diet-related health issues are with us more than ever. We have abundant access to nutrition facts and information, but need to search long and hard for true healing wisdom.

That’s why I’m participating in this amazing FREE online event July 21 – 26. And you can sign up for FREE here: Online Eating Psychology Conference

Speakers include Dr Mark Hyman, Dr David Perlmutter, Paul Chek, Dr Hyla Cass, Amy Pershing, Dr Srini Pillay, Dr Frank Lipman, John Robbins, JJ Virgin, Tom Malterre, Dave Aprey, Dr Tom O’Bryan, Jon Gabriel, Dr Susan Albers, Sayer Ji, Donna Gates, Dr Alan Christianson, Jessica Ortner, Daniel Vitalis, Emily Rosen, Meghan Telpner, and many more!

Some topics include:
A Deeper Dive into Body Image
Neuroscience and Personal Change
A Holistic Approach to Eating Disorders
The Healing Power of Embodiment
Mindfulness based approaches to overeating
Sexuality and the Psychology of Eating
New insights into Weight
Culture, emotional health and metabolism
Hormones, Eating and Inner Health
The Gut-Psychology Connection
Spirituality and Nutrition
The Hidden Politics of Food
New Approaches to Nutritional Health
And much more…

Dates: July 21 – 26
Price: FREE
Where: Online!
Sign Up by clicking Here

How do you eat almond butter?

How do you eat your almond butter? With a teaspoon usually, or sometimes a raw carrot.

I was buying my weekly small jar of organic almond butter from Nature Trail, my local health-food shop in Leitrim and as we chatted by the checkout I was asked how do I eat almond butter? I guess the question didn’t seem so strange because Maire knows that I no longer eat bread, biscuits or crackers and I suppose that most people spread their nut butters on something that was once a grain such as wheat or oats.

She sighed, saying how much she loves almond butter and added wistfully “but isn’t it very fattening?” I grinned and said happily it’s not a problem for me.

I love almond butter and restrict myself to one jar a week – it’s a small jar…

So sometimes I use a teaspoon and slowly enjoy every morsel. If I am a bit hungry I will chop up a few raw carrots and dip them in the almond butter, enjoying the crunch of a fresh raw carrot and the contrast of the texture of the yummy almond butter.

I think that the most decadent way that I eat almond butter is to add a few spoonfuls of dessicated coconut and shavings of a really good, high percentage dark chocolate – I usually do this when the jar is nearly empty. For an extra treat if you are a big coconut fan then you can also add some coconut oil to the mix and put the mixture in the fridge for a while. Happy munching…