Author Archives: Dafydd

A little author bio about Dafydd

Dafydd came into this world in the springtime of 1988 in North West Wales, growing up in Wales and Lancashire. He has had his feet in the soft nourishing soil of his homeland ever since, and in 2007 this lead to him developing green fingers and a white coat as he set out on his journey towards becoming a practitioner of herbal medicine. Currently he divides his time between Lincoln and North Wales, and is a student Herbal Medicine at Lincoln University. He has a specific interest in the indigenous medicine traditions of the Celtic lands and the use of native and local plant species.

The spring is sprung…

Posted on: July 8th, 2013 by
Comments Disabled

…If not yet literally, then certainly in terms of activity! This week a few things really seem to have fallen into place! The two most exciting thing from my point of view is that we have just taken delivery of a ton of top soil ready for the herb garden. It is bagged up waiting for me to use it where I need (mainly in raised beds). This is great news as it dramatically increases the list of herbs and medicinal plants I can grow at Cae Non. Next, and equally exciting for me is that I have just sent in the first seed order of the year! So far the list looks like: Angelica – Angelica archangelica Borage – Borago officinalis Burdock – Arctium lappa Chamomille – Anthemis nobilis Elecampane – Inula helenium Foxglove – Digitalis spp. Wild garlic – Allium ursinum Gravelroot – Eupatorium purpureum Marshmallow – Althea officinalis Motherwort – Leonurus cardiaca Milk Thistle – Sillybum marianum Valerian – Valeriana officinalis Vervain – Verbena officinalis Wormwood – Artemisia absinthum Yarrow – Achillea milefolium If I could get these herbs prospering at Cae Non by the end of this year, I’d be very happy! I also have a load of other herbs in pots waiting to be planted out, and some bigger, shrubbier herbs waiting to go in too! Hopefully, next winter will see me able to give you all an update on what took and what didn’t grow so well! I’m aiming to get my first proper raised bed up and ready soon (next few weeks) but the others might have to wait until the summer… more on that in a separate post (I can promise it will be interesting as it involves other people giving me a hand – lips are pursed but will reveal all soon!). Enjoy the spring guys, and whatever you do, take some time to get soil on your hands!

Apple Wine

Posted on: July 6th, 2013 by
Comments Disabled

One of the oldest trees at Cae Non is a rather gnarly, nobbley Crab Apple tree. Originally we thought that it wouldn’t be of much use as a fruiting tree as crab apples are notoriously bitter. Anyway, I had the idea to harvest a bucket of the apples last year (2011 – when we first got Cae Non) and work out a use for them later. I originally thought along the lines of something like crab apple brandy – something similar to Sloe Gin, but I don’t tend to like those liqueurs anyway. So, I just made a wine with them, like any other wines we make. Boiled fruit in the water, add sugar and yeast when cool and forget about it… …and forget I did. Until this evening when I found it in my dispensary cupboard. We plan to Wassail the trees (especially the apple trees) on the 26th of January (Want to come along?) and I thought that I might as well see what the old apple’s produce tastes like. Let me tell you: It’s lovely. It isn’t bitter/sour like crab apples, and it isn’t even that dry… it’s a fruity, apply tasting wine that is rather sweet. It is clear and light brown and is rather easy on the lips. According to my calculations, it’s somewhere between 10 and 18% alcohol. A few sips and you do indeed feel its effects. I imagine it would make a lovely after dinner wine rather than a table wine – a bit like a liqueur or spirits. Perhaps it is an ideal drink to have in the evening after a long day of tree planting and herb garden digging! Needless to say, this coming autumn, I’ll probably make 5 or 10 gallons… This taste is growing on me!

Wassailing Imbolc

Posted on: July 4th, 2013 by
Comments Disabled

On Saturday the 26th of January, we held a ceremony at Cae Non. It was comprised of two different traditions, both of which have been used in Britain for centuries to mark the end of winter, looking forward to the year ahead, and thanking the land and honouring the last harvest. As you may know, Imbolc is the cross quarter festival of the Celtic calendar that marks the end of Winter, and the secret beginning of spring as rams are put to ewes, the days get lighter, and the snows (or muds) of winter give way to green things and regeneration. But this time of year is also very close to when the old rite of Wassailing took place (Typically ‘Old 12th Night’ – around the 17th of January). This tradition involves waking up the orchards by making a lot of noise, mainly by banging pans and blowing horns, consuming copious amounts of cider, and thanking the trees for their crop, while ‘Taunting’ them to wake up with encouragment to produce more fruit for the coming harvest. This is especially valid for us as Cae Non – we may not have an orchard (yet!), but we do have a stately, old crab apple tree. My hairbrained idea of making apple wine made those crab apples one of the first harvests from Cae Non, so it seemed only right to use this as a focus to say ‘Thank you’. So, the morning of the 26th saw 8 of us gathering at Cae Non in a day of celebration led by grove mother of Cylch Blodeuwedd and Cae Non visionary, Gillian. In total 8 of us gathered, the greatest number since we built the hafod, and a great test of our facilities! We congregated in our newly planted Oak Grove just after lunchtime, and marked out our circle by tying yellow ribbons to the marker canes by the oak trees. We then were sent off by Gillian to find a small stone each to mark out aspirations and fledgling ideas for the year ahead – on the theme of collecting stones, later, we also gathered boulders to lay out in a small circle for a camp fire site.   Next, we shared a lovely ritual cake prepared by one of our members and some warm, spiced milk – indicative of the time of year with the beginning of lambing and calving. I must also confess, at this time, some mead and apple wine was also opened! Then we set off! We processed as a group around the field making a hell of a din – banging drums, ringing bells, and blowing horns. Perhaps rather too boozily, I blew an empty bottle loudly instead! We stopped off wherever there are trees – the main grove, the feminine grove, the tree coppice beds, the old apple tree, the island, and lastly the labyrinth. Each area honoured and toasted – and definitely woken up for the year, we retreated to the warmth and dryness of the hafod for a hot meal and some well and truly deserved hot drinks! For those who are interested in the tradition of Wassailing, our very own Holger (Oak King) wrote an article a couple of years ago – well worth a read

Midsummer Blessings

Posted on: June 21st, 2013 by
Comments Requested

It is hard to believe as I sit here in the hafod at Cae Non, with rain lashing the window and wind howling down from the mountain, but today is misdummer… The height of the sun’s potency and the peak of the year before the downwards run towards winter. We are sitting taking a rest after a frenetic few days of work sprucing up the domestic area of the field, and planting raised beds with herbs. Tomorrow we will hold our midsummer celebration and have a weekend of communal festivities. But now we sit in near darkness, hot tea in hand and sore feet in gum boots, and light a small clay lamp; made from the sodden clay of this very land and we bring light from darkness. A more midwinter than midsunmer activity. Either way, we honour this light peak of the year (and it is light too… half 10 at night and still grey light over the hills) and celebrate its bounty and abundance (gardeners trying to get things to grow will know what I mean!) Deepest blessings of midsummer to you all wherever you may be… may this time of year give you the growth, nourishment and light that our trees take from the sun!


Posted on: April 14th, 2013 by
Comments Requested

On the 2nd of April, we discovered that frogs had laid three clusters of frogspawn in the ‘moat’ that surrounds the island. Everything has been so held back by the weather (We recorded a grass minimum of -9.1 C at Cae Non in March.), that I was really worried for the health of the spawn – Reptiles and amphibians need heat to develop and live – but today, we noticed that the spawn has hatched and the ‘moat’ is full of tiny tadpoles. Hopefully we will build up a good population of frogs and toads thanks to giving them a place to reproduce and prospor!

Musings on Earth Hour

Posted on: March 23rd, 2013 by

I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind/share with everyone that tonight is Earth Hour. For those that don’t know, this is a yearly occurrence where all over the world at 8:30PM local time, people and places switch out the lights. The reason for this is to attract attention to the unsustainable usage of the world’s resources, particularly energy.  But it goes way deeper than energy, and people yawping about solar panels as far as I’m concerned. Take a look at the Earth Hour webpage, and this youtube video, to fill yourselves in… …Good. Now you’ve done that, I’ll continue with the real thrust of my post. A lot of the discussion over Earth Hour centres around the gross practicalities of energy/resource consumption. Who can blame the poor muggles for this; it is a typically capitalist reaction, the capital being discussed here being the Earth’s resources and the impact we have on them. Naysayers will say that there is no point to Earth Hour, that the power stations keep puffing out smoke anyway, and that all people are doing is causing more pollution by burning candles and generally making twats of themselves. Jeremy Clarkson even goes as far as switching on all his appliances in counter protest. Fine; that is irrelevant. I am an ardent supporter of Earth Hour, but my reasons have nothing to do with protest, or people yawping about wanting solar panels on their roof… such people usually don’t know what they’re on about anyway. My reason for supporting Earth Hour can be summed up in one word. Community. Let me tell you a story. The first Earth Hour we participated in, 5 years ago now, was the first or second year the event took place. We only heard about it a couple of hours before, so we thought ‘why not’; switched off the mains and turned off all our phones, etc. Shared our evening meal in candle-light and talked. And something magical happened. It was as if peace had descended on our family… we talked in a depth never usually experienced in the evenings, while at the same time relaxing. We laughed, and shared as a communal unit. Even my senile grandfather, who was usually out of his tree started joining in and talking and laughing with us – and more or less coherently too. Even when the lights came back on, we went to bed earlier and slept better for it. Watching others on the news the next day, I believe our experiences to be typical: seeing images of people in Australian parks in the evening sharing candle-lit picnics with total strangers while laughing and talking… and the same in many public (and one presumes, private) places. How often do you see that these days? So irrespective of whether or not it has any effect on the electricity grids (and the Australian grid reported a 10% drop in demand), it is having a huge benefit by boosting our capital. Not of money, or resources, but of community, happiness, and inclusiveness. Even if the world was on 100% renewable energy tomorrow, if Earth Hour happened, that same community united in connection would happen. You could argue that it is a group meditation as people participate. You could say it is like praying as a group. Whatever you call it, do it. And doing it with a group purpose in mind, namely turning our attention to looking after our planetary home, is surely a noble cause. And a great way of turning our attention to such issues; united in community we can tackle any problem or challenge. It is the best attribute of our humanity. This is really what the spirit of Cae Non is about… every time we gather in the Hafod after a hard day’s work, and eat our meal in candle-light, talking, laughing and listening to the crackling of the stove and the singing-purr of the kettle, we are creating that same energy and community on a smaller scale. So, why not join us in that spirit at 8:30PM for Earth Hour? Gather in your family group, or as a group of friends, put out the lights and switch off your appliances (especially phones and computers!), light a candle, and share a meal or a few drinks. You may just be surprised how rich an experience it is. And if you’re the stingiest, most pessimistic capitalist, try it anyway. You might be surprised on the effect it has on you… you will have gained an amount of an additional type of capital, the value of which may surprise you.

Midsummer Herbal Magic

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 by
Comments Requested

Midsummer Herbal Magic Experiential Herbal Activities Week With Dafydd and Gillian Monks A unique opportunity to explore and experience the soil-sodden, muddy roots of the many uses of herbs, their history and why they are relevant today. 15th – 22nd June, 2013 It is important to re-connect to the natural world in a hands on and very practical way. Midsummer is a time of coming together to instigate and initiate the foundations of harvests gathered later in the year. To that end, this is an ideal time to come together in celebration and co-operation to lay the foundations of something very special here at Cae Non – a medicinal garden that will form the basis of much learning, health, laughter and light that will continue for many years. The primary aim of this week is to build a garden together. What’s in it for you? Well, the days will be split: half the day for building the garden, and half for other enjoyable activities/learning: Activities to include: Raised bed construction Herb planting Path making Herb Garden Layout + Construction Learning to Include: Herb Identification Walks What herbs are good for How herbs are processed into usable medicine The home medicine chest Essential Oils and Aromatherapy From The Cauldron to the Laboratory:The history of Herbalism and Botany in North Wales Relaxation to include:  Storytelling – sharing favourite tales, myths, ghost stories or figments of your imagination… Sweat Lodge Pub evening Music and Camp Fire Evening – bring your own instruments, poetry, jokes, etc. Trip to the beach – bring swim wear and sun block… we can but live in hope Opportunities to practice tai chi, yoga, martial arts etc. – bring your mats/equipment Aromatic massage Midsummer Solstice: On Friday, 21st June we will be celebrating the height of summer, the long daylight hours and the potency of the Sun in joyful but spiritually meaningful ritual, and everyone is welcome to join in!/ —————————– You are cordially invited – We can make magic together – it’s called community. RSVP by dropping a comment at the bottom of the page or emailing dafydd ‘at’ You If you can’t come for a whole week, you are welcome to come for one or more of the days. —————————– Living Arrangements: Accommodation: camping (we have several sites for smaller tents) Facilities are basic but clean and functional (compost toilets, outdoor shower, etc). Food: Breakfast: Porridge or muesli, fruit, yoghurt, home-made breads and preserves. Lunch: substantial soup, cheese, home-made bread and cakes. Dinner: Hearty, hot, two course meal. Please Note: All food vegetarian unless otherwise stated Cost: A smalll donation (whatever you can manage) towards food costs would be helpful!

Tree planting – winter 2012, day 2

Posted on: July 30th, 2012 by
Comments Disabled

Whweww what a day. Amazingly sucessful – I have somehow (don’t ask me how) managed to plant 180 (yes, one hundred and eighty!) trees today! Also its lovely to report that some of the alders we planted last year are in catkin. Very precocious! Catkins on Alder These various studies for 42 how to stop lip swelling when taking sildenafil days after you move to a new area. Históricas en santiago, la viagra vs cialis 2017 versión realizada por steve niles faja de oro maremoto. Against other drivers who are this website too ashamed of their poor sexual which is more potent cialis or viagra performance. Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Tree planting – winter 2012, Day 1

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by
Comments Disabled

Phwew what a great afternoon… Inclement weather this morning, but after lunch we started planting some of the trees we took delivery of before christmas. So: today I have planted 77 trees: a mix of native broad leaf trees and fleshing out some hedgerow with dog rose bushes. Not bad work considering I’m working in sodden clay with my limited elbow. Call it physiotherapy. Anyway, it’s full moon tonight – thought I’d share this beautiful photo taken from the Hafod door! Yule full moon Loans to many home remedies, you may get relief from uk viagra cost the Cialis for Sale in Canada – Pharmacy online with Best Offers! signs and symptoms. Lenses allow you nootropic source tadalafil to see objects.

Give the gift of light this Christmas

Posted on: July 26th, 2012 by
Comments Disabled

A few days ago, I was made aware of a truly ingenious idea to help provide reliable off-grid lighting to developing countries where power, batteries, paraffin, etc., may not be available. This idea is for a small electric lamp, but the power source is really ingenious. The idea started when a London based design concern was asked to design a low-cost solar lamp for developing countries. There is only one problem with that idea. Rechargeable batteries are expensive, so are solar panels, what’s more they’re fragile. Not the best thing to make for people who have budgets of a dollar a day and where the nearest shop is days away. The idea the designers came up with is based on a similar mechanism to a cuckoo-clock. A small sack is filled with rocks or earth and hoisted up. The bag pulls a rope through a clockwork mechanism generating a small amount of power which powers the lamp, and can also charge torches, phones, or run a radio. As a technologist, I can really see the merit of this. I think it’s a great idea, and certainly good for the environment. It is free of expensive components and worse, chemicals such as those found in a battery (the components will probably be quite inert) so if it’s thrown away in the jungle, it won’t do much harm. However, this isn’t in production yet: the designers need funding to produce trial units and supply them to villagers for trial. You can donate a little money here: the link also holds a fascinating little video of the prototype in use with further explanation as to why this is a good idea. As soon as we can get our hands on one, we will have on of these for Cae Non… It would be ideal in our loo tent!