Vegan Scene

It’s Happening!
April 4, 2011, 6:49 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, recipes | Tags: ,

Hello again.

This is yet another tardy post but what can I say? The pace of our lives is  fast, too fast, lately!

But guess what? We’re doing it! The vegan house share!! And we are psyched but also overwhelmed with the ominous and never ending list of DIY that we incurred upon arrival at the sweet May Cottage nearly three years ago. Oh, well. We’re working on it and now we seem to have lots of helping hands.

We’ve had nearly a dozen awesome, inspiring vegans write to us and tell us they want to check this place out and possibly move here.  From the feedback we’ve received so far, there seems to be a real need and desire for some kind of affordable vegan community living and we’re thrilled that there are like-minded folks out there with whom we are able to share our time and space.

We can only  accommodate a handful of those folks at present, but we’ve got a big plot of land and a few dilapidated dwellings onsite that, with a bit of love and a few fun days working together in the sunshine, will be perfect homes for more people.

I’m just a little bit sad that most of my time will be spent working in London. Part of me wishes I could stick around here all of the time, but alas…I will be up when I can!

Switching modes entirely, I wanted to share a really healthy and delicious food we’ve been making every week as of late. Thanks to a local green grocer that somehow gets massive shipments of just-out-of-date organic goods and then sells them for extremely low prices(!!!!!!!!), we have had a steady flow of ridiculously cheap hemp seeds. Usually hemp seeds are like four quid for 250g, but right now we are getting about a kilo’s worth for £1!!!! So while this recipe might not be as cheap for you, wherever you are in the world, it is still worth every penny.

Hemp seeds are good for you. They are probably one of the best sources of complete protein on this earth, full of vitamins, minerals, and an amazing ratio of omega 3, 6, and 9 fats. Just google them if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Raw Hemp and Pumpkin Seed Butter


250 g raw hemp seeds

big handful of pumpkin seeds

sea salt to taste

2 or 3 big cloves of fresh garlic

half of a small onion

lemon juice from 2 or 3 wedges

tablespoon or two of cider vinegar

maybe a tablespoon of water


Blend hemp and pumpkin seeds in the food processor to a paste-like consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend some more. Keep in a sealed tupperware container or sealed glass jar for up to one week. Eat with crudites, crackers, and other dishes. Just make sure it doesn’t get too hot, otherwise you’ll damage the omega fats.

Also: for a really creamy raw hemp and pumpkin sauce/salad dressing/yogurty-dip, simply add more water (probably about a cup more).



Vegan Scene @ May Cottage
March 15, 2011, 4:31 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, gardening, health | Tags: ,


Many apologies for the delay in new postings on this weblog. There is so much going on here and I’m very excited about our new projects and opportunities.

I’ve got several updates in the coming weeks about delicious new foods and recipes we’ve been inspired by lately, as well as what we’re sowing; as the light and warmth come around again, it’s obviously time to get our hands in the soil!

Today, I want to share our proposal of opening our house to other vegans. We want to make it a living, breathing vegan community!

Daley and I have both stumbled upon unique career opportunities in London, which is 120 miles away from our current location. Unfortunately, these opportunities don’t seem to be cropping up locally at the moment, so we feel we’ve really got to move down into the city for an undisclosed period of time. I’ve been studying and certifying in naturopathic therapies, and have found work in a brilliant naturopathic clinic as a colonic hydrotherapist. Daley has found a gig as chef in vegan restaurant that specializes in raw food.

Rather than sell up and ship out, we want to keep our cottage going with the spirit of nonviolence and progression. We’d love our place to become a beacon and haven for like-minded individuals where projects can thrive, where it is feasible for vegans to join together in a residential community to spread awareness, grow and cook vegan food, and look after nonhumans that are in need of support.

We’re not doing this for profit, but rather out of a deep-seeded need to not revert this place back to the status quo simply because we can no longer be here.

To an extent, we’ll be sharing our lives with one another so this project needs to be based on trust, respect, and thorough vegan ideals.

If you’re interested in joining us or know someone in the UK that might be, check out our website for details.

Thanks all, and look out for more postings here very soon! We’ll take several big leaps of faith and sow many seeds in the coming months!

Home Sweet Home: May Cottage in Nottinghamshire, UK

earthships 4ever
January 11, 2011, 10:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

A few years ago, my love and I travelled through the USA and made it to one of our flagship destinations: Taos, New Mexico, home of the earthships! I fell into a deep love with them; they are 100% off the grid, self sustainable eco houses made out of garbage! The bulk of the material used to construct an earthship home consists of spent tires, aluminum cans, and glass bottles. All of the water needed for drinking and bathing is collected from the roof and stored in an indoor cistern. Bath water and waste water are treated through gardens both inside and outside of the house, which filter and condition it.  Electricity is obtained from the sun and wind. Heating is easy since the south-facing walls are all glass; the sun passively heats the interior of the house. There’s also a powerful thermal mass of tire opposite the glass wall that soaks up heat in daylight hours and radiates heat at night. Most of these homes are also equipped with wood burners.

Here are some pictures of an earthship we saw while visiting Taos:

About three nights ago, we watched a documentary entitled Garbage Warrior, and watching it has made me obsessive all over again! The video’s about the history, community, evolution, and technical aspects of the mighty earthship, and documents the political struggle the creator Michael Reynolds endured in order to keep the making of their structures legally viable. Then there’s a lot of footage of the earthship crew building these phenomenal homes in India after the horrible tsunami.

All in all, this is SUCH an uplifting project and the documentary will certainly inspire even the most hopeless that there must be some hope left in this world.

I want to live in one of these BAD. Once I get $140,000…

No Wonder the Kale Isn’t Growing.
December 25, 2010, 7:34 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, gardening

This is one of the coldest winters on record in the United Kingdom. An article published today on Sky News reports that,  “with the icy weather set to continue, the UK could be heading for one of its coldest winters since 1890.”

I was glad to bump into a gardening acquaintance from our village last night as we were grocery shopping. He said that all of his crops were dying in these uncharacteristically harsh conditions, just like mine! It may sound silly, but I’ve been feeling lately like I’ve let my garden down since many of the annual “winter hardies” started keeling over. The truth is, they are meant to forge on through the cold without any protection, but obviously The Big Freeze has been extremely crippling! Sad but true. I’m still interested to find out if they resume activity when a major thawing out occurs.

All of this leads me to speculate on the term “self-sustainability.” Because the kale (and chard, leeks, turnips, Brussels, lettuce, etc) won’t grow due to the weather, we are buying it from outside sources. But what if the big food giants were to cease existing? We’d need to be ready with preserved and stored foods. If we depended on the very land we lived to feed us, our lives and diets would be different. Our ideas of sustainability would need to be rooted much deeper. We’d need to grow more to store more, and we’d spend lots of our time with these activities. I often wonder about the rhythms and truths of that sort of existence; sometimes it seems strange to me that we are so far removed from that kind of reality.

the cat that lives here
December 13, 2010, 10:32 pm
Filed under: ethos/philosophy, health | Tags: , ,

His name is Taco and I don’t feed him meat. I don’t get his dead people for him; he does that for himself. I think it is wrong for me to eat dead people, and I don’t want to go feeding them to Taco, either.

A lot of people, vegan as well as meat and secretion eaters, think that providing a plant-based diet for Taco is unnatural, that it’s wrong. However, if the standard of “natural” is meat-based kibble, then I think it may well be more natural and certainly contains less chemicals and a much more consistent moral judgement!

The truth about meat-based kibble is that it is a processed, chemically altered product created from by-products of the meat industry deemed “unfit” for human consumption (and obviously somehow fit for nonhuman animal consumption!). Many people claim that animals need the nutrients in meat-based kibble, however, because of the extremely poor quality of meat and the over processing of it, this kibble is nearly always fortified with vitamins and minerals that come from (WHOA) plant-based sources! This includes that much debated amino acid, taurine, that cats must obtain from an external source because they cannot produce their own. Yes, Virginia, the fortified taurine in meat-based kibble comes from a plant.

So, anyway, Taco is a two and a half year old cat and he is healthy and active. He’s an “outdoor” and “indoor” cat because he has access to a cat flap that’s always open. I am happy to provide as much of a free and comfortable home to him as possible, but I regret the too-frequent times he brings home a dead or near-dead creature and I despair in the actuality that he wreaks havoc on the local wild life population. Just a few days ago, he brought in a traumatized sparrow that thankfully did not appear to be physically wounded. We had to help this deeply perplexed creature by picking her/him up, and placing him/her outside to fly away. The point of  this story is to explain that I don’t know and I don’t suspect that Taco only eats 100% plant-based foods. To the contrary, I think he regularly supplements his diet with murdered nonhumans.

I’m sure he’d engage in this deeply ingrained behavior regardless of whether he ate meat- or plant-based kibble, and it is important to me that I make sure NOT to engage in any murdering myself, other than to provide a home for a murderous cat, which I can justify, because he is a victim of domestication, like so many other souls on this earth, and deserves not to be abandoned.

Taco does alright on plant-based foods. Besides kibble, he is regularly offered chickpeas (mashed and whole), sweet corn (he loves), seaweed, lentils, tofu, and anything else he expresses an interest in.

I wholly recommend trying your cat on vegan kibble if you don’t like slavery.

(By the way, we use a brand named Ami.)

snowed under
December 1, 2010, 7:53 pm
Filed under: gardening, recipes | Tags:

Today, I couldn’t get into the city to work. There’s about nine inches of snow on the ground…

…and on the kale, the broccoli, the turnips, the beet root, the roof of the greenhouse…

I don’t think anything is going to survive. We didn’t expect a blizzard and don’t have greenhouse heaters or clotches…so we’ll see what happens, but I think the plants are dying. We will have to take this as a lesson. We’ll need to figure out some sheltered growing conditions for next winter and in the meantime, I’ll keep thinking that maybe the snow will melt away soon and everything will rebound.

I’m  glad we got in a few crops of purple brussels before the major snow storm.

Hands down, the best way to cook brussels sprouts is roasted in the oven, after a coating of olive oil, freshly minced garlic, and salt!

useful flowers, part one
November 20, 2010, 10:30 pm
Filed under: gardening | Tags: , ,

We’ve discovered  that these dark and bitter evenings  are good times for detailing next year’s garden plan. What to grow and where to grow it are two subjects that require renewed attention from year to year. It’s productive and pleasant to spend a chilling night pouring over colorful books by firelight and jotting down occasional notes. Each season, as we learn more, observe more, and take on more responsibility and creativity, the crop is bigger and the garden’s physical boundary expands, but there’s always much to improve upon and new species to incorporate.

One thing we’ve learned is that veggie growing is compatible with flower growing. We need certain flowers, herbs, and veggies to attract a diverse range of pollinating and predatory insects, and to repel pests by means of scents and/or chemical composition.

I’m fascinated by the way we can take tiny seeds the size of pinheads and create an abundance of life, green foliage, wild colors, food, and habitation for other creatures. And at the end of the season, flowers give us  free seeds to grow again next year.

Here is the first installment of a series of posts that focus on the flowers Daley and I’ve had success with and that we’ll happily sow again. The posts won’t be continuous or in back-to-back episodes; instead the series’ll be a kind of on-going conversation, to be updated as the seasons go by and more flowers are grown and discovered. I’ll tag all of these related posts with the words ” useful flowers.”

Useful Flower 1: The Marigold

This flower has a long growing season, as it will start blooming in June and outlast many other flowers, well into autumn. It can be grown in partial or full sun. The earthy and cheerful Marigold is widely known for its nutritional and medicinal properties, but it also provides a few very important and interesting services for surrounding plants. The scent of the green foliage deters insects and the roots of the Marigold plant release a chemical that repels nematodes in the soil. They also attract hoverflies, whose larvae prey on aphids, thrips, and other plant-harming species. Marigold flowers are excellent planted in the same bed as any consumable for this reason. I had a row of marigolds next to the climbing beans and another patch with the peas. Next year I will be sure to have many more of these growing.


Useful Flower 2: The Mesembryanthemum…mummumum


this is an unaltered photo of the loud mesembryanthemum basking in the sun

This is a wildly multi-colored plant that’s extremely vigorous and starts life as a very hardy, springy seedling. It is not likely to suffer from transplanting. It very much prefers full sun, and in fact, it closes its neon-colored heads during rainy weather and at night! It is pollinated by and attracts a variety of  beneficial insects. There is always a buzz of activity around the mesembryanthemums. I’d recommend growing this flower to a new gardener for its fast-growing and tough nature, loud colors, and peculiar contraction of the heads.