chicken care in icy weather

preparing for arctic weather, with chickens to care for? here’s how we protect those beautiful big rooster combs and wattles from frostbite, here at appleturnover in winter where the temperature is plummeting and the snow is beginning to fall. stay warm, one and all.

charcoal-fired earth oven

cooking outside in a charcoal-fired earth oven while we gather to make biochar to nurture the soil is primal joy. we can all contribute something, and in working together, work becomes play. like many hands round the biochar kiln, collaborative cookery lightens the load, shares the wealth and makes much more than the sum of … Read More

plumbing lessons

in seven years on this land, we’ve seen hundred-year windstorms fell trees and electric lines, floods sweep away roads and through houses, wildfire smoke turn sunrise to sunset. the fierce cold of last winter burst pipes and froze well-houses so widely that it became hopeless to reach any of the plumbers on the island. these … Read More

stacking boxes

transforming an old fence into simple, stackable box frames gives us a flexible solution to multiple needs in the garden. we can make compost in place, right where the soil wants more life and organic matter. if we time it right we could use the heat of the compost to start seedlings as if in … Read More

elderflower oxymel

elderflower oxymel stops time, pausing june and savouring it. vinegar and honey ferment, infused with the floral i first fell in love with while foraging in the wilder corners of london. i figure it must be medicinal like its late summer counterpart, the elderberry, but what it heals is a deep longing to attach to … Read More

greywater hazel tree mulch bed

meet the greywater bed, a snippet from last month’s farm tour as we get ready for saturday’s watch party and q&a.  this bit of may’s tour looked at the hazelnut tree greywater mulch bed design. what happens when we redesign the outflows (wasted materials) so that they stay circulating within the system and meet its … Read More

gardener ducks

as collaborations go, working with the ducks in the four-season kitchen garden meets multiple needs. timed well, all of us, plants, soil, people, duckies, are happy and well fed. (okay, the slugs are not happy…but they certainly lived their best life in the potager!). if you missed the long-form film, ‘running ducks’, you’ll find everything … Read More

dividing to multiply

we can become fluent in multiple ways to make more life, and one of those is to learn to divide our plants in the springtime. some plants don’t mind at all if you split them up, in fact they thrive for it and will multiply to take up the space, grateful for the assistance, particularly … Read More

quince espalier

the espaliered fruit tree fits into a small garden or a tiny farm so neatly. we like to train them against the tall fences here like it’s a victorian walled kitchen garden, facing the south in a warm, protected spot. this is ideal for peach, apricot or nectarine, essential for most citrus here, and i’ve … Read More

neighbourhood grapevines

to make new grapevines from the old grapevine and share them with our neighbours feels like magic. it’s the edge of pruning season so i took some dormant cuttings for a bicycle ride in the community to swap and share with neighbours. it’s a humble model for resilience, bonding us to each other, to the … Read More

haybale potatoes

haybale potatoes in a mulberry tree guild, a small work* experimenting with meeting multiple needs in concert: protecting the growing spuds from marauding ducks, chickens, goats and geese; offering continuous nutrient-rich mulch for potatoes and the mulberry, comfrey and self-sowing wildflowers to share; no-dig to reduce labour, allowing us to grow potatoes near the roots … Read More

propagating plants

to rapidly restore a world in great need of regeneration, small actions grow up quickly. one of the most magical projects in the garden is to make more trees and shrubs from the plants already growing around us. one of the easiest ways to propagate many new plants quickly, to create food forests that feed … Read More

coldframe (the carpentry remix)

a remix of building the coldframe from the journal of small work* episode four. it’s a great time to knock one together, whether you are heading into spring or fall.  now the snow is melting i’ll be starting some cool-loving seeds and then hardening off seedlings in mine. it’s a particularly nice pairing with the … Read More

seed blocks

to reduce plastic in the garden one of our favourite practices is to use a tiny press called a soil-blocker* to make cubes of soil to sow seeds and raise seedlings in. we make up a very wet mixture of potting soil with the consistency of cake batter, which always makes me crave chocolate cake. … Read More

the sweater

what if we expected our clothing to be a relationship for life? the sweater i’ve been living in (you may have noticed it playing a supporting role in a couple of minute-films of late) took me a year of small work, stolen between tasks, usually at the end of long days, while traveling to see … Read More

spoon butter

we have a tremendous impact on our world when we re-culture an ethos of taking care of what we have. late winter here is on the verge, before mad spring energy bursts forth. it’s a fine time to potter about tending to things not urgent yet important. just the moment to get around to restoring … Read More

plan a kitchen garden

we can plan our kitchen gardens even when there’s snow on the ground. we plan for successive cropping, overwintering spring-cropping purple-sprouting broccoli which give way to summer’s tomatoes, which then make way for another winter’s garlic. last autumn’s garlic will yield to this autumn’s brussels’ sprouts and the next spring’s parsnips and carrots. the kales … Read More

lawn to kitchen garden

the small work* only looks small on an individual level, microscopic. it is repeated in a network of interrelationships that circumnavigate the earth and reverberate across time, compounding, small to the power, of the people, of all of life. exponential. growing our own food within our communities could look like this.   some of the … Read More

wood ash + biochar

the wood stove is a gardener’s companion, highly valued for its production of wood ash for sweetening acidic soils, charcoal to inoculate in deep litter for biochar, and even bone meal for minerals.  this is stacking functions at its best. the many concurrent uses for the wood stove multipy the benefits of heat we’re already … Read More

three-legged cook-pot

a three-legged cast iron cook-pot baking potatoes inside the wood stove was something of a revelation to me. this is appropriate technology at its best. it multiplies the benefits of heat we’re already producing, reducing our energy use; it’s simple and waste-free to use with little to repair, it’s that rare breed: a lifetime tool … Read More

winter morning chores

if lending a hand with farm chores after a snowstorm appeals, here’s a wintry morning’s worth squeezed into a single minute, with a goat walk tucked in at the end (to bring another round of wood-stove-melted snow, when the pipes froze.) by request, a chore-time farm-tour. this is the twice-daily tour i take, with a … Read More

enamel cup

time for a cup of something hot off the wood stove, twice-warmed-up, but no matter. i hope that you like this new minute-film on the small work of reducing our requirements as we adapt to a lower-energy-and-material future, a just one, one that we would love to live in. it is of course a dear … Read More


if a toaster longed to live a simple life, this would be it. unplugged, pared down to its acoustic self, reincarnated as a plain, double-sided rack that hugs its toast close, resting cosily atop a trusty cast iron wood stove of a quiet winter’s morning next to the tea kettle and perhaps a pot simmering … Read More