July 2009


I’ve bought the book a while ago and didn’t really find time to read it until now.

The book handles a large variety of lost, or at least “endangered” crafts that are largely replaced by machinery or plastics, and usually both. Some of the crafts featured are cow milking, spoon carving, coppicing, coopering, basketry and smiting.
It typically talks about a craft for 3 pages supported by photo material. Your not going to learn any craft from this book fully, but that is not its purpose.

Its purpose is to let you discover some crafts that you wont see much or are unknown to a large part of the population. And that purpose is met, and very well too.
Obviously a craft like smiting cannot be truly described in a couple of pages but for every craft there are one or more web links. The links are usually pointing the a worshipful company of some sort. For example this one of the worshipful company of farriers, the guild for people that put on horses shoes and exist since 1356! From there you can get more information.

Since this book has short stories about every craft it is ideal if you have a 3 year old running around.

Here is the link to amazon.


Alltough not uncommon at all in our area this is one of the few frogs we’ve seen in our garden. blog-frogthis is a European Common Brown Frog trying to escape trough the fence after eating a lot of slugs and snails I hope.


Yesterday a big storm hit our area, all tough there was no serious damage like flooding it seriously hit our apples. And mind you these are very small hard unripe appels. I would say 50% of our apples are gone.

One of the hail stones went straight trough the one onion flower I was keeping for some seeds.

The hailstorm laid waste to our  pumpkin patch, by chance I made photos before and after the storm.


pumpkinsafterIt looks like somebody tried to shoot it with one of those WWI machine guns.

Today it seems that the plants recovered a bit,  they are getting new leaves and the flowers where open. The root system is still in its place, I think they will recover and we might enjoy some pumpkins in the end.


Here is one of the stones, the biggest ones where 4-5 cm.

This is a picture of a small field near our house. Altough it is a very small field there is a lot of intresting stuff going on.


This field is seeded with green manure which are plants that improve the soil. These will be later cut down and ploughed into the soil, or just left to rot away after the season. The plants that you can see are Phacelia the blue flowers, Buckwheat the white flowers in front and White mustard the yellow flowers. I also saw, but these aren’t in bloom yet, cornflowers and poppies.



The name buckwheat (boekweit) comes from the middle dutch word “boecweite” boec = beech and weite = wheat. The relation to beech is that the triangular seed resembles a beech nut, alltough a beech nut is about 3 times the size.

This seed can be grounded and used as a wheat. Technically it is not a wheat but it has more or less the same properties. Buckwheat has no gluten, and can not be used for leavened bread unless mixed with wheat or rye. The yeast needs the gluten to produce the gas that leavens the bread. Traditionally in the Netherlands buckwheat is eaten in pancackes with bacon.

Buckwheat was grown by poor farmers in the 19th century because it needed little investment in machinery or cattle and still had a good yield, however, early frost could ruin the whole harvest. Because of this, it was also called “jammerkoren” which could be translated as “corn of sorrow”.



The flowers of this plant can be used to make perfume, and the bees seem to like them too! The farmers seed  it  to suppress weeds.

White Mustard.


Dispite the obvious yellow flowers it is called white mustard. The seeds can be used to make mustard which is very yummy. Each yellow flower makes a seedpod that contians 6 seeds and they should be harvested just before the pods are ripen. The mustard plant can also be used as cattle fodder.

Well that’s it for todays botanics lessons. I have to wait a couple more weeks for mustard especially because I broke the pot this morning, and I think I’ll just buy the buckwheat in a shop.

This bumblebee is enjoying the nectar from a thistle in the field behind our house.


Bumblebees are of the same family as normals honeybees. They pollinate plants same way a bee does. They are social insects with a queen and workers. They can sting but they don’t have a barb on their stinger so they will survive the sting – unlike a bee. Bumblebees can, because of their longer hair, survive colder temperatures than normal bees. Therefore, they can also be found in the tundra and higher altitudes such as mountains. There are 400 kinds of bumblebees, this one is a Bombus terrestris.

We grow several french bean sorts in the garden, 2 of them are comming in to season.  The middle one are common dutch “sperciebonen”, the left ones are a type that we bought in France last year. They are much thinner and have a black pattern on them. On the right, the last snap beans of the season. In probably  2-3 weeks the butter beans are going to be ready, butterbeans are more or less the same shape but yellow, buttercolour.

French Beans

French beans are eaten just like this, boiled in a pan with plenty of water and a bit of salt. In Dutch they are called “spercieboon” which comes from “aspergieboon” or aspergus-bean because they are served with molten butter and nutmeg, like asparagus.

Yummy there they are! Couple of weeks more!



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