Welcome to Harvest Moon, a place where the creatures and landscapes of my imagination take form and meet the world. Nestled in beneath the wild craggy tors of Dartmoor inspiration comes on chilly winds from moonlit landscapes of other realms which share this rugged, ancient land of gorse and granite. Living here I sometimes feel on a bridge between worlds and ages as the land speaks from spluttering streams and wind-beaten tors, telling stories of folk and beast, but only in snatches before the endings are whipped away down the valley with the broad river and out to sea. So here I will share these stories and characters and they can dwell in your own imagination, continuing their stories with infinite outcomes. This is how they live, enjoy them!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Where's the food?

Hello! Welcome to Harvest Moon if this is your first visit, and welcome back to the regulars!

If you have found us via google, after browsing through a certain cook book, or are looking for a permaculture course perhaps, you may be wondering what these strange doodlings have to do with anything. Well, when I'm not writing recipes, or growing odd vegetables, or teaching permaculture, or running a small holding, or being a mother....I like to pick up a pencil......which is why this poor abandoned blog hasn't been posted on for a while!

If you are looking for something more forest-gardeny or foody-growy-permaculturish, try my new blog and website Think.Grow. Eat. Here I will share our experiences here at Tawny Oaks, our experiments in the kitchen and other escapades, and I would like to invite you to contribute recipes and growing tips too. So come and see what we're up to, after you've perused the pictures here.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

continued hibernation....

My goodness, how time passes! The days and nights have blended in to one in the last 3 months of new parenthood. Robin is wonderful and thriving, and we too, albeit a little bleary-eyed and flourishing in our new roles as Mum and Dad.

Much has happened in these past few months, aside from growing a little person, I have fully fledged as a permaculture teacher working with the legendary and wonderful Patrick Whitefield. Teaching is something I have always felt drawn to, and I knew that all I needed was to find a subject I felt passionate enough about to enable me to take that path. It is a huge learning curve, and I feel that I learn as much from each lesson as the students do at this stage! But it is so rewarding, especially when I am approached between lessons by people who want to talk about what they have just learnt, and I see a spark becoming a flame - interest, enthusiasm, inspiration. Wonderful!

This year was an extra challenge as I am breastfeeding Robin, so between lessons I had to dash out and feed him! Doug came with me to look after him during lessons and we all stayed in our campervan with the woodburner keeping us cosy through the night. Somehow, despite the feeding, hormones and broken nights, I managed to string enough sentences together to teach various topics from water conservation to open space technology....and have fun at the same time!

My other major achievement in recent times has been the publication of my first book! Food From Your Forest Garden is a seasonal guide to harvesting, cooking and preserving the crops form your forest garden. I teamed up with Martin Crawford of the Agroforestry Research Trust to follow up his comprehensive guide 'Creating a Forest Garden' with a practical, day-to-day cook book, which would enable people to incorporate unusual food into their daily diet. The book will be launched in May and is available to advance order from Green Books. I spent a lot of my pregnancy experimenting with weird and wonderful new vegetables, finding their flavours and complimentary combinations to create simple, easy recipes. When putting the effort in to raise crops, especially perennials which will be in your garden for several years, its important not to forget that you need to get in to the habit of eating them too! I hope this guide will help people to do that and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

And so, life is flowing pretty fast at the moment! Fast, exciting, wonderful and at times a little overwhelming! I feel very lucky and very grateful for these three babies, and intent to nurture them as best I can. I sometimes wonder where the energy for this will come from, and I wonder whether I will ever pick up a pencil or a paint brush again! But in fact there are some seeds that have been sown on the course of these babies being born, and being fed, that are slowing growing by themselves, and my pencils are trembling in their tin with anticipation....more babies are on the way! It seems that creativity will find many outlets, but for me the pencil tin is always a big one. These great experiences are so inspiring that new ideas are forming, characters are emerging and telling me their stories, and I listen eagerly, asking them to just wait for me, just wait there until I can capture you and tell your tale in all its vivid colour!

I hope you will wait for me too, and in the meantime enjoy the last 2 years of wonderings and doodlings captured in this blog. I will return!

Spring time blessings!

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Well, after 2 long weeks 'post term' Robin Aitken arrived in just the way we had hoped. I had a smooth and trouble-free labour of around 9 hours and gave birth to Robin, a beautiful healthy boy of 7lb8, in the birth pool in our sitting room at home. We felt so relieved after having been told by the doctors that I wouldn't be allowed to give birth at home and would need to be induced as I was so overdue (although 2 weeks over is the norm for first babies!).

We had been called in to the hospital on the monday to have a check up and the obligatory warnings they give at 42 weeks. We had negotiated about when we would go in next, and managed to delay induction. I then conceded to a 'sweep' to help things along a little more naturally and immediately began having contractions....I knew he was ready to come out! So paradoxically Doug and I, on realising that I was going in to labour, were rushing to get away from the hospital! We both really wanted to stick with our plan, and the tests had shown that both Little Bean and I were healthy and well....so we stuck to our guns, and it all worked out perfectly. Robin was born at 11.30 the next morning on beautiful sunny, frosty december day. We realise of course that we are very lucky and are full of gratitude!

Robin is now 6 weeks old already....I cant believe how the weeks have flown by. It feels like we are all finding our feet and gelling as a family in a beautiful happy chaos of love and learning. He changes each day and is constantly gaining new skills....peeing in his own face, smiling, batting the dangling creatures on his bouncer...he's a very clever boy!

A friend asked me last week what my latest creative project was. As he takes a keen interest in my drawing he likes to see what I'm working on. I simply grinned as I bobbed across the room with babe in arms and replied "Robin".