The Simplicity of Soap Making

1 Feb 2019 | 0 comments

Here at Trill Farm we pride ourselves in making the best organic soaps we possibly can; using traditional cleansing and medicinal herbs grown at Trill and delicately scented with essential oils. 

It is actually a very simple (and old) process, with the first evidence of soap making from nearly 5000 years ago in ancient Babylon, where archaeologists have found a clay tablet inscribed with the earliest known soap recipe - a mix of animal fat, wood ash and water. 

The basic formula has changed very little, as we still use a mix of fat (nowadays more commonly plant oils, such as sustainably sourced palm, olive and coconut), an alkali (lye, also known as sodium hydroxide, created through electrolysis of salt), water, and optional essential oils. It is so simple that you can easily make soap in your own kitchen. The only important part is the proportion of oils, lye and water.

Alexandra Dudal, our resident soap maker, will be sharing some simple soap recipes with visitors in March on our Introduction to Soap Making courses. For those wanting to discover more about the alchemical magic of soap making, Jonathan Code will be running an in depth weekend course looking into the Art of Soap Making, considering the various different methods and science behind the process, 23rd - 24th March.

And of course, if you can't make it to a workshop, you can always order Trill Farm soaps on our website.

Writing the Landscape and Walking the Seasons

3 Feb 2019 | 0 comments

The night before visiting Trill for a seasonal walk in preparation for this piece, I read two versions of an Inuit story about the powerful goddess of the Arctic seas, Sedna, and then fall asleep and dream. 

I dream I’m having my hair cut, washed clean with a waterfall of hands and flowing taps, but I’m irritated. After some time the hairdresser admires my long sleek hair and carries a mirror to show me the view from the back where I can’t see, lifts my hair and screams - huge ugly knots remain beneath the surface that need cutting out in chunks. I feel much lighter once they are gone.

And I remember the times that knots of chaos and anger in burning clouds of ice have surrounded my head, blocked the way forwards creatively and emotionally. Tangles that needed combing out with magic and love, ritual and intention, and with time outdoors in nature. The pen is a very good tool to dive deep under sea with.

I sit up at the Trill Farm Campsite the next day in a bright moment of February sunshine, rain clouds gathering in the blue distance of the Blackdown Hills. I think about knots and how hard they are to loosen if you don’t know how they were tied, and I think about the healing power of relationship to the land, re-connection. I think about the writing retreats that I am running here. The first is in just a few weeks. 

I sit and listen to the Spring song of birds and watch the shimmering wet grass, I’m surrounded by all manner of beings sharing this moment and space, this breath. I feel smooth, unruffled, and utterly alive. Excited and ready to teach, ready to unfold my own story here, combing the way as I come with song and story and the stillness of beholding.

Trill is a very special landscape. Ancient rural land with traces of the industrial age (a once railway line, now permissive byway), wild woods, working farm, kitchen gardens, lakes and reed labyrinth in more cultivated grounds near the house. It is wide and vast enough to find space for both head and imagination to immerse and explore sensory ‘other’ perspectives of field, sky and woodland-being, yet close enough to walk home for a cup of tea, and a desk to write.

The upcoming creative writing retreats will be fun, playful, creative and stimulating. The guesthouse has a warm farmhouse feel to it, one of community and nourishment; this is our hall, our comfort and our indoor classroom. There is a large lounge and wood burner. We’ve also planned study areas in the Craft Room and cosy reading spaces. After intense mornings in workshops, you can daydream, wander and muse your way through afternoons exploring nature’s portal of wonders, and the page. Or rest, restore, and nourish yourself however suits you. The retreat is a chance to get away from daily distractions and focus in a dynamic creative environment, fuelled by fresh and delicious meals from Trill’s chefs, and with tea and cake always at the ready.

The retreats are aimed to spark and fan the flames of imagination at all levels and abilities, whether you are in the middle of a writing project or need a boost to get started again. With prompts, discussion, community and the land, you’ll organically absorb fresh seasonal energy, find confidence in your authentic voice, and create new work. All you need to bring is a pen and paper, your curiosity, an open mind and heart….and wellies!

Written by Sarah Acton, Jurassic Coast Poet in Residence.

Discover more about our Creative Writing Retreats & Walks led by Sarah.


A New Culinary Calendar in the Old Dairy Kitchen

3 Feb 2019 | 0 comments

A big welcome home to Chris and Anna, who have just arrived back on the farm, fresh from a few weeks travelling around Vietnam collecting recipes, inspiration, and some winter sun! (We're not jealous...)

They will be sharing some of the culinary highlights of their trip at their Vietnamese Feasts on Thursday 28th February and Friday 1st March (second date added due to popular demand) - book fast to avoid disappointment! The Old Dairy Kitchen Feasts will continue throughout the year on the first Friday of every month.

The ever popular Wednesday and Saturday Farm Lunches start up again on Wednesday 20th March, featuring produce fresh from the garden, farm and surrounding land. New for 2019, Chris will also be offering fortnightly Sunday lunches from 20th April - we encourage you to book with your family and friends to share the experience. We can't wait to try them!

Coming up in February and March are the first Old Dairy Kitchen courses of the year.

We hope to share a meal with you on the farm soon.

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