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Sailean Croft, Lismore, in Loch Linnhe, at full tide in July. Photograph by Roger Dixon-Spain   How did I come to be on an island off mainland Scotland? Easy. After so much travel soil searching I needed to know what was happening in the UK. For the most part I had travelled in brittle rain deprived areas, from the bush in Zimbabwe, to the soil denuded desert in the NW Territory in Australia, to the green but not lush Oregon. In Patagonia I was buffeted by wind. Travelling from the tip of the South to central Patagonia, desertifying soil, for mile upon mile, got worse. It was created by historical overgrazing but taken to extremes by a three year drought.  I saw how planned


This is all about why being prejudiced against drugs could stop you helping yourself or a friend or relative from beating cancer. We are not talking about chemotherapy and overkill. But off label 'old' drugs, no longer requiring kickbacks to their makers, and used for a different purpose than they were originally made for. This is groundbreaking. Please read on. Your life may depend on it. Tragically, its likely that this information is too late for many of us, who have lost to cancer close relatives, and dear friends and acquaintances. Yes, this information was out there 20 years ago! Buried to all but the most persistent searchers. And out of sight because of the reluctance to shift course amongst cancer professionals,

From Paternalism to Partneurship: Pigs, Poultry and Moving on from the Past

The idea for this quest, I have to be honest, was not just to write about soil. I could have done that sitting at home with reference books and Skype. But I wanted to directly experience, and to travel, and in so doing tell the stories of those I met along the way. They would be stories about people and the soil. All the people would in some way be working to restore the soil in situations of drought, or plenty. Whatever the conditions they would be adjusting how they used animals to help the soil stay alive with improved grasslands, microbes and fungi, and to sequester carbon as part of that process. But sometimes you stumble across something you did

A cowboy’s story of personal growth: acknowledging emotions as a force for change.

So as I near the end of the first phase of my journey looking at grasslands, the focus moves from the soil to people. I set off on this mission to find out how we can rebalance our carbon output, not just cutting it, but also by holding carbon in the soil. That needs people to manage animals, moving them appropriately to allow forage regrowth, ground cover and water retention, and providing mulch and nutrients to feed the soil. Hidden Treasure I walked with herders and their cattle and saw them heal the land in Zimbabwe. I saw pigs and chickens do the same in South Africa. I saw sheep and cattle farmers move into financial prosperity in Australia, when others

Managing Cows for Land Restoration: an Australian experiment in transforming the soil

KACHANA from the air I am travelling for three months for my next book, on grasslands (and their link to the health of the planet, and therefore us). See the Allan Savory TED talk to understand what is involved. I started in Zimbabwe at the African Centre for Holistic Management, and moved through Botswana to S. Africa, and I'm now in Australia. I have met so many fascinating people, all profoundly concerned about how to restore our soil, not just from the effects of GM and chemicals. At the centre of this management system is animals, who when applied holistically, in each individual environment, can heal the land with the effect of their hooves, mulching, evenly fertilising and pruning plants.

Blogging as I travel: soil, roots, animals and health

I am using this blog, ‘habits for health as we grow older’ to write up my travels for my next book, on grasslands (and their link to the health of the planet, and therefore us). See the Allan Savory TED talk to understand what is involved. As a writer, I could have stayed at home, regurgitated some facts, expected others to share my passion, and written something to be ignored, as the soil continued to die. After all, aren’t books old hat? Who reads them now? I chose instead to see for myself, and if its an excuse to travel, what is wrong with that? I wanted more connection. As a single woman in her late sixties, I was not

Health, Soil, Carbon and Cows

  Zimbabwe landscape of well fed cattle on the move: healing the planet one hoof at a time When I read that whilst staying at Dimba Ngombe Ranch (African Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe) I could experience what it was like to go out herding in the bush I immediately booked. If you are here as an ecotourist with a sketchy understanding of what Allan Savory means when he says livestock properly managed can save the planet, opt for this and you will ‘get it’ whilst on the move. As well as much more. You will reach the kraal at dusk as the cattle come home for the night, and stand there for many minutes as they patiently enter the kraal

When it comes to the Thyroid …..

  The thyroid and where it is in the body It seems that Thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the US. And there are epidemic levels of glandoid tissue cancer, over and above the thyroid, such as ovaries, uterine, breast and prostate. Other problems with the thyroid that should concern us are hypothyroidism as in Hashimoto's Disease, where the thyroid is under performing. This is an auto-immune disease where the body attacks its own tissues, in this case causing thyroid hormones to be reduced. Thyroid hormones have receptors in every tissue in the body, and if there are not enough of them or the wrong proportions, its no wonder that the problems they cause are fundamental to how


Man's dependence on animals for survival: no seven a day fruit and vegetables here!   SEVEN A DAY Here in the UK we have just been told to up our fruit and veg to seven a day, if we want to be healthy! This is based on 'science' of  course. No mention of where we get Vitamin D from, or essential fatty acids or protein. I guess its taken for granted that 'animal fat' is bad, or at least that used to be what 'science' told us before it was proved wrong. For a really excellent analysis of the whole debate around 7 a day (read first or after this!) go to Zoe Harcombe's blog. LOOKING AT OTHER

Why Kefir is a Habit to Maintain

Kefir grains with raw milk kefir Kefir: make your own and reap the rewards! I have been making kefir for the last four years. Kefir is a fermented drink, most often made with cows milk. Its similar to yogurt, but even better for you: 1) because of the broader range of beneficial bacteria it contains 2) and the greater ability of those bacteria to colonise your gut. 3) no need to heat the milk, as you do with yogurt, so better if using raw milk. 4) more beneficial bacteria in kefir than in sauerkraut. 5) bacteria adhere so you have a greater chance to improve your digestion, your intolerances, and your overall health. Kefir was my first entry