Blog Archives

News from Rianne, who has returned to the Netherlands

Rianne writes:

Last Saturday I was elected as number 12 on the list for the Green Left Party for the Provincial elections next March; the Provincial Governments also choose the Netherlands First Chamber (Upper House of Parliament)

Link here: Rianne is wearing a red scarf

Also enjoying final weeks of being a Fellow for the Fall (autumn) semester of Soliya and last month locally organised an interfaith & environment evening as part of the ’Sustainable Living Leadership Program’ by GreenFaith in the US.


My house, which was built in 1847, looks newer from the outside because 20-30 years ago a new outside wall was put around – without a cavity space – and an extension was added on the back of the house. It was very poorly insulated and used gas for heating, cooking and water.

It had been empty for a few years before I bought it in September 2017 and the first months I lived there part-time (still in transition from abroad). It needed a lot of love and attention, which included:

  • having a roof replaced (opted for clay instead of concrete roof tiles),
  • loft insulated with sheep’s wool and hemp,
  • solar panels on extension: although the angle and direction of the roof on the original house is perfect, my neighbour lives very close so putting the solar panels on the flat roof extension made more sense to avoid shadows.
  • infrared panels heating,
  • and electric boiler (for shower / kitchen); house no longer uses gas.

Now I am busy isolating walls with lime hemp, which will be checked afterwards. I also plan for sedum/green roof around the solar panels.

I have lived in the house for a year and since April 23 I’ve had a ‘smart meter’ so I can see consumption and generation separately. Of course my electricity consumption will be higher over the winter than over the summer as I only have electricity. I will only know what this will be next year (if it is much higher than I anticipate, I still have room to add more solar panels).

I’m working to turn my garden into a food forest (a forest does not have a gardener either: crops keep each other in state, but I choose where possible edible crops to reduce my food kilometers).





News from Jackie Carpenter and the Trelay Farm Community



On a summer evening:  a few people from the thriving community at Trelay, co-founded by Jackie. There are members of all ages, including the latest arrival born in April.



In the middle of May Roger, Jackie, Paul and Julie visited Maddy Harland, the editor of ‘Permaculture’ magazine and her husband Tim, who have a forest garden in Hampshire. During the course they admired their garden and wonderful wildflower meadow.

Danny intends to create one in the GAP area at Trelay . They look forward to developing more than one forest garden at Trelay (eventually), planting an under-layer of soft fruit and perennial vegetables in the orchard and a wildflower meadow at the bottom of Marks Meadow.

A well-deserved holiday in Norway


 The building of Trelay’s Guest Accommodation is under way

trelay-digging-trenchesGround source heat pumps are being installed: five large trenches were dug for the pipe coils (known as slinkies) which absorb enough heat from the ground to heat at least seven of our houses.

The water passes through two heat pumps, a large pump, which is sited between Hendra and Chylosen (16kW ), and a smaller one sited behind Edhanneith (6kW).

These provide both hot water and heating and are run from the electricity supplied from the solar panels when available. The heating is still electric but we estimate will need only about a quarter of the amount that conventional electrical heating would use.

All Friends of Trelay receive a newsletter periodically.

It is published by SWESE Trelay Ltd, Trelay Farm, St Gennys, Bude, Cornwall, EX23 0NJ and edited by Daisy Walker. Learn more at, 01840 230 482