Hay Hay Hay Yeah

Comment

Hay Hay Hay Yeah

The sound of horses chewing is a vivid childhood memory. Often I would remain in the horse stable in the evening, just to enjoy the sound of the animals munching away on their hay.

In the video, when you turn up the volume, you can hear that lovely sound; the donkeys peacefully chewing away on their oat straw. Even though donkeys don’t take well to nutrient dense feed, this straw is too poor to truly provide them with all the necessary nutrients. I try and make up for it by also providing them with olive branches and outings to pastures where still a little grass may be found.

And here I am again, again asking for your help and support to get the animals through Winter. Asking for help is not an easy thing to do, but this year it really is necessary.

To provide the animals with enough hay to eat and straw to keep them warm through the Winter, we need to raise an amount of Euro 2.300,-.

Under “Support Us” you’ll find an easy and quick way to make a donation. Thank you very much, indeed.

Comment

Join our communal bid to do better.

Comment

Join our communal bid to do better.

Mostly everyone knows about Black Friday, that is to say, the day after the US feast of Thanksgiving which is regarded as the first day of christmas shoppping.

We even have Black Friday here in Italy; Chiusi, a nearby town (in Tuscany) had its own Black Friday sale. Cross cultural fertilisation is a rich tapestry yet it seems that in this case, we have succumbed  to an endless entreaty and enticement to buy more and more things. Arguably, these are mostly things we do not need. Who's to say? We are to say! But are we able to do so, given the increasingly disconnected, distracted, on-line, stressed out lives we lead? Stress makes us liable to make impulsive choices we later regret. Not to worry, throw away the things - or hoard them somewhere - and buy more things! This cycle damages the planet. It also damages our relationships to others and to the world community at large. For those of you who haven't yet had a chance to see "The True Cost" film we urge you to see it; or if you have seen it,  watch it again. The main message about the perils of consumerism and fast fashion applies to other forms of industry and how we live our lives. Its message is universal. And it is unequivocal. We must act. We must engage. Show up for your own lives as well as the lives of all others. Today is Giving Tuesday, a day of giving, of donating time, or money or goods. A day to reach out and engage in your glocal community. Help us at Campogrande to help you to curate this beautiful, one time only, exhibition of a planet. Help us to encourage all of us to be better caretakers. Join us by making a donation (small, medium or large!). Join our communal bid to do better. Because we are capable of so much more than being mere consumers. 



Comment

Countdown to Giving Tuesday

Comment

Countdown to Giving Tuesday

It is so easy to become overwhelmed by the reality of climate change.

The more we learn about it, the more we observe and experience it in our own communities not to mention in the global community as a whole, the more we also risk remaining paralysed in a state of helpless anxiety. At Campogrande, we are dedicated to educating people to engage with climate change in a proactive way. We urge everyone to make informed choices about the way we live our day to day lives whilst being sensitive to the longer term impact on the planet. We have also found that by working on the farm and by taking care of the donkeys in particular, we are forced to be present in this here and this now. The donkeys are part of our purpose. They show us how to participate, to engage, to be present. This also fosters community both in real time (visitors) and with our on-line community of friends and supporters. Who knows, maybe a  classroom of inner city children would like to learn about donkeys. E.g a year in the life of a donkey and thereby learn about eco-systems, another species, and also the sheer fun that donkeys provide e.g write a day’s diary entry as though you were a donkey..! Join us in being proactive about climate change and about learning about the beautiful bio-diversity of this planet of ours which is currently under threat. Make this donation participatory, designed to avoiding climate change inertia. And perhaps in so doing, you will start to notice other causes in your local community which align with these values and which you could commit to through donations or by volunteering time. Transform the anxiety generated by the challenges of climate change into a cause you believe in. Make it your purpose to do so. And if we have inspired you to do so, we'd love to hear from you. And to all you teachers out there, if you would like to create a writing project using our donkeys for inspiration, let us know! 

In order to be able to continue to inspire, we need your help; especially this Winter. Under “Support Us” you’ll find a quick and easy way to make a donation. Thank you very much, indeed, any help is needed and most welcome.

Comment

High Tea for Donkeys

Comment

High Tea for Donkeys

When we harvest our olives, we also prune some of the trees.

We give some of these branches (once we have removed the olives of course!) to the donkeys to eat. (Think of it as a cycle of nature). The other day, after we had laid out a feast of olive branches for the whole family of donkeys, we realised that one of our younger members was missing. We quickly located her and enticed her back with promises of a special "Donkey High Tea", so to speak. We added that it was all very well to run away but preferably not before tea time, and perhaps best to avoid doing so during the olive harvest when special treats were on the menu.

To keep this donkey paradise alive, we need your help; especially this Winter. Under “Support Us” you’ll find a quick and easy way to make a donation. Thank you very much, indeed, any help is needed and most welcome.



Comment

Donkeys and Nutrition

Comment

Donkeys and Nutrition

Donkeys and Nutrition:

Many people don't know that if donkeys eat too much fresh grass, they are in danger of developing high sugar levels which may cause a condition called laminitis, an extremely painful inflammation which affects their hooves and may be lethal. We are only now starting to realise the impact of high sugar levels in human beings which can lead to diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other inflammatory diseases. Indeed, the statistics are shocking and reveal the need to address this head on. At Campogrande, we ensure that our donkeys have a good, balanced, diet and that their sugar levels are kept in check, and in so doing, we are reminded of the need to do the same regarding our own diets, a lesson we share with all of our visitors and friends (check out our delicious recipes!). By looking after the nutritional needs of our donkeys, we are also (re) learning to do the same regarding our own diets. As the saying goes, "All  good things in moderation!"

Under the menu “Support Us” you’ll find an easy and quick way to make a donation directly online. Thank you to being a counterweight to Black Friday and supporting us on our countdown to Giving Tuesday.


Comment

hug a donkey

Comment

hug a donkey

HUG A DONKEY! Donkeys are not only intelligent but they are also highly attuned to others.

They are therapeutic to be around, (indeed, an entire branch of therapy has been developed with donkeys) and are great for kids (young and old!)  to learn about the dynamics of non-verbal interaction and a great way to entice them away from their screens.  Hanging out (and hugging!) donkeys is a great way to develop communication skills which can strengthen connection, empathy and community. Visitors to Campogrande who have had a chance to spend some time with our donkeys have spoken about an amazing, unforgettable experience and have come away transformed. During the holidays school children in summer camp come to the farm to learn about nature and connect with the animals. Help us share this transformational experience as a gift to our donkeys, to all those who wish to visit us and to meet the donkeys and to strengthening the connection and community of humanity as a whole.

Holistic Empathy for nature and Holistic empowerment & engagement to nurture (education) -transferable skills that are overarching about how we nurture nature.

Under the menu “Support Us” you’ll find an easy and quick way to make a donation directly online. Thank you to being a counterweight to Black Friday and supporting us on our countdown to Giving Tuesday.



Comment

To bee or not to bee

Comment

To bee or not to bee

Traffic accidents happen in the countryside just like they do in the city. Last night the wild board drove into the living quarters of the bees.

The bees are not only good neighbours (of the donkeys) but  are also needed as part of a balanced eco-system. Looking after bees is also an act of thanksgiving for all that they give us and for their role in contributing to bio-diversity. Unfortunately, they are also an endangered species which is a threat to our entire eco-system. At Campogrande, we are committed to looking after our bees, which includes general upkeep and even helping them to rebuild their hives when they have been damaged by a wild boar (probably on the look out for a sugar high!)

Donate to our Winter Aid Campaign which will help us look after all of our family of animals at Campogrande and will also contribute to a healthy eco-system and biodiversity.

Under the menu “Support Us” you’ll find an easy and quick way to make a donation directly online. Thank you to being a counterweight to Black Friday and supporting us on our countdown to Giving Tuesday.

Comment

Comment

Winter Aid for our animals

The first frosts in the morning are a harbinger of Autumn changing into Winter. 

We still have not finished the olive harvest, but a spell of rainy days keeps us locked up in the house.


Our little sanctuary has 17 donkeys now and maintaining so many animals is starting to become a very challenging activity, mainly for financial reasons. In eleven years we managed to have everybody fed in happy more or less by ourselves; now, however, we face some rather big projects where we desperately need to raise funds. For this Winter we urgently need a new and bigger stable to keep all animals dry and warm. 17 donkeys need quite a lot of hay and straw during the Winter. And as not to let them procreate, we have to castrate seven stallions, which amounts to Euros 2500,-, which is however the smallest sum needed. We are asking for your help. Please help us to keep the animals safe and healthy and allow us to provide a home for other animals in need.


On the website, under “Support us” you’ll find a button “DONATE”, which allows to make a donation comfortably through PayPal. If you choose to donate directly through a bank transfer, contact us via e-mail.

It may be a good counterweight to Black Friday’s spending craze.

Thank you for your help, it is desperately needed.

#givingtuesday #whitemonday.        

Comment

Gratitude - a strong kick of energy

1 Comment

Gratitude - a strong kick of energy

Farm life is always busy, there is constantly so much to do, mostly more than two hands can actually accomplish. The grounds, the animals, the veg garden and, of course the herb pharmacy and the production of cosmetics require a lot of dedication and time.

Than I feel a strong responsibility towards the community I live in; to have a functioning society one must take an active part its wellbeing. Voluntary work is one of my ways to give something back to a community that has provided me with a home; I am on regular shifts doing ambulance duty.

Than there is family, the wish to build something up together, seeing a project thrive and to provide for the future.

An enormous amount of energy is required for all this. But where does it come from, what is the source of inspiration? I believe it is gratitude. I am so thankful for all the wonderful things happening in my life, for all the fantastic people who are part of my life - in gratitude I feel love.

And right now the feeling of gratitude is almost overwhelming, thank you. However, so is sleepiness and the need to rest the body.

My twopence for tonight.

1 Comment

Fasting, food and plant talk

2 Comments

Fasting, food and plant talk

It’s been more than three months now, that I’ve been fasting. Well, no, it may feel like it, but it has only been nine days. Yes, the first three /four days were, as always, difficult: fatigue, headaches etc. But then everything was fine, I felt great, light and full of energy - until yesterday… my thoughts were all about food. I could only think of all the lovely dishes I wanted to prepare and working in the veg garden was pure torture: ripe strawberries, fave beans, deliciously smelling herbs. The thought of taking a bite of something green, fresh and crunchy was more than sweet, I was longing for the feeling to chew and swallow.

Fasting is something I do regularly to give my body a sort of reset. When I am preparing for something new, when I need clarity in my mind or when a different sort of energy is required for healing work. Well, this time I am missing the aspect of focus a little and I am observing myself behaving like a teenager. Mind you, I am still on the fast, lets see where it might lead to.

Food is our first medicine and it truly is able to perform miracles (and disasters if the wrong type and too much of it is consumed). However, what people consider to be food, has changed drastically in accordance with the desires of a rather superfluous industry. Rule of thumb: be hesitant of foods that come in packaging, when food is a product sporting ingredients and perhaps an advertisement - it is not food anymore. Highly processed and refined foods are dead. Try to look at food like your great-grandmother, anything she would not have used or known is probably wise to refrain from.

Preparing fresh food from scratch surely is the healthiest way for your body, community and the planet. If you cannot grow your own, buying your groceries at a farmers market or directly at a farm is possible even in the biggest cities of our planet. Like this you support directly local farmers without giving money to big corporations, get fresher and truly ripe produce.

And when at the market, go for the leafy greens that have already been nibbled at by insects. Why? Because they are amazingly good for you:

I strongly advocate a 100% plant based diet, 51% of which should even be raw food. And now I am telling you to go for the ugly and damaged veg as well. Because plants talk, they communicate with each other and also with insects by the means of so called plant volatiles, a phytochemical released normally in small amounts in the leaves.

When a leaf is damaged by herbivorous insects, many more plant volatiles are released. Exactly which plant volatiles are produced varies both by the plant species and by the species of insect eating it.

But why do plants do this? Well, these volatiles attract both parasitic and predatory insects that are natural enemies of the herbivore insects eating the plant, it is the plant's way of recruiting help to defend itself. The plant attracts other insects that like to eat the very insects that are eating its leaves. Plant volatiles can even signal to neighboring plants to increase their defense responses too. 

Plant volatiles are known to have very strong anti-cancer and antioxidant properties - meaning, it boosts our health to eat them and protects our cells; we’re getting more antioxidant goodness when consuming those organically-grown leafy greens that have some insect holes in them. And most probably you can even buy them cheaper. Enjoy your food, I will have to wait for another week, but will surprise you with some dead easy and nutritious recipes then.

 

2 Comments

Mechanics, magic, maintenance

1 Comment

Mechanics, magic, maintenance

My blog entries will vary, sometimes they will be some concrete writings on plants, a sustainable lifestyle, maybe building, the Campogrande Agricosmetics or whatever thought occupied me during the day and I feel valuable to share with you. Like this my readers get to know Campogrande in a truly organic way.

 

Do you have some favorite items, things you care for and do not want to part with? I have lots! In fact, I try to have only those. Things that are of high quality, things that can be repaired, mended or given new life with a different use. 

 

My car is already 50 years old and can basically be mended with a screw driver. I did so just yesterday. It does not have a catalytic converter and no electronics that regulate the exhaust fumes. But it uses very little petrol and ran for all these years without producing waste. Only a car that has never been built may be called environmentally friendly. Considering that the average lifetime of a car in Europe is 9.65 years, calculating the grey energy of producing a car that is certified as eco friendly - I must say my trusted Fiat 500 is doing very well in comparison.

 

The idea of discarding something because it is faulty and replace it with a new item, has become very foreign to me since I moved out here in the green heart of Italy. In the beginning it was just an idea, which went along with the concept of a sustainable lifestyle. It made sense. But then something magical happened and it became love. There is such great beauty in maintenance, in caring, it opens up a completely new world. Many things have to be learned first, not as in acquiring a new taste, more as in knowing something from the roots up; like this, one develops a passion for caring and a wonderful ability to use one’s hands, to create and renew life. It may be a broken branch from a plant that is mended to heal or potted to grow new roots; an old, metal watering can that can be soldered to give it many more years of life - love comes with knowing, caring and creating. Isn’t this already a big slice of what life is about?

 

To use the notion of mindfulness has become very fashionable, there are millions of coaches offering workshops on the theme. You learn to walk in a mindful manner, speak or eat - I am sure their are workshops on many actions you can pay money for and learn in four days how to do them in a mindful fashion. Sometimes I find these ideas rather foreign and abstract, why not adapt them to everything you do and just call it your life?

 

Nine years ago I chose to live a life I would not need a holiday from. And truly I haven’t seen the need for one. My mind and my heart are so full, inspired by the contact with nature, giving birth to so many ideas - often I wonder how much time will be left to transform all of them into reality. Life is so short and for many years I was not following what my heart truly desired. No regrets here, but just such an incredible love for life and to create and grow.

1 Comment

Thank you for your feedback. And eat your porridge.

Comment

Thank you for your feedback. And eat your porridge.

The feedback to the launch of the website was tremendous, I thank you all for your kind words, criticism, enthusiasm and interest in what I am doing here. It was heartwarming to receive so many e-mails from all around the world. And yes, there will be an Italian version of the website, just give me some more time. I love Italy, the language - it is my home like no place has ever been before. 

We had heavy thunderstorms last night with lots of rain. The rain is desperately needed, as winter was far too dry. 

When I got out of the house this morning, looked at the clear, blue sky and took the first breath of fresh air, all clean and filled with the aromas you only get after the rain, it felt as if I would see and feel all this for the very first time. It was a blessing and filled me with joy, a joy which will guide me through the day.

On my morning run, I enjoy to run barefoot, it felt like being a child again, running in the mud and getting really dirty. The air was fresh and cold, but the earth under my feet felt warm - this planet is alive!

The oldest person alive in Scotland, 112 year old Gladys Hooper, once said the secret to longevity is "eat your porridge every day and stay away from men". Well, she surely is right on her oats, whether keeping men at a distance helps, will need further research, I believe.

Oats (Avena sativa) do indeed have numerous beneficial properties for your health and beaut care. Just one cup of oats have 10mg of readily available protein, they are a nutritional powerhouse - the right way to start your day. Beta-glucan, a unique fiber in oatmeal, has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, it contains plant lignans, which are converted by the intestinal flora into mammalian lignans, one of which is called enterolactone, which protects against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease. Eat your porridge every day.

But oats are fantastic in skincare as well. And remember the skin absorbs everything you put it in contact with, as if you were actually eating it.

I produce creams and soaps using oats and oat milk, but there are terribly easy, cheap and effective ways you can integrate oats in your daily skin care, leaving your skin silky, well nourished, hydrated and firm in a way no commercial product can compete with. And it is dead cheap. Naturally, when I write about the benefits and use of oats, I refer to organically grown oats.

Facial Tonic

You need: rolled, organic oats, a teaspoon, fresh non chlorinated water, and a little jar with a lid.

Add a teaspoon of oats in the jar, fill it up with water, close the lid and shake vigorously. let it steep over night. In the morning (do not shake the jar, just use the almost clear liquid), after having cleaned your face, dab the tonic with a cotton pad on your face. Beta-glucan forms a fine film on your skin and penetrates deep into the skin to provide deep moisturizing to your skin. Be careful to just use a small amount of oats, to not shake the jar before using it, you do not want to have a sticky porridge on your face. The tonic will keep in the fridge for about three days, then it will start fermenting.

Facial mask and remedy for rushes

Make a small amount of porridge, just oats and water, let it cool down then add crushed fennel seeds and a teaspoon of honey. Apply all over the face and neck, leave for approx. 20 minutes before washing it off with warm water.

This mask will also give relieve with skin rushes, neurodermatitis, dry and flaky skin, replenishing the skin moisture, removing dead skin cells. It enhances wound healing and improves collagen deposition and activation of immune cells within the skin.

Bath and shower with oats

You need: a small, white linen or cotton bag and organic rolled or crushed oats.

Often, I use the oat paste that remains after having made oats milk, so nothing goes to waste. Fill the little bag with a generous amount of oats, soak it well under the shower and rub it all over your body, soaking it again and again to get that nutritious oats milk all over you. massage it well into the skin before rinsing it off. Naturally, you do not wash it off using soap.

If you prefer a luxurious oats milk bath, attach the cotton bag right under the water tap when you run your bath and it will act like a tea bag. No need to rinse it off after the bath.

Have a good day

Comment