Posts in Northumberland
JUNIPERUS NOT SO COMMUNIS

Just as the sun’s warmth begins to tease the spring worm from the ground, this blog is also emerging after a long winter absence. Three weeks ago the lapwings returned to the valley, rolling in the thin sunshine with their lovely peeee-WHit calls, strutting around on the haugh in their fabulous head-dresses and generally calling the Spring forward. Today they were out in force. It was not a day to stay inside, so I walked out to the moor spring.  This is the heart of the Hepple estate, cocooned in heather, cupped by the sandstone hills and hushed by the sound of wind in the pines.

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ON THE TRAIL OF THE DOUGLAS

The strawberry-sweet scent of the Douglas Fir needles is one of the most important components to our gin and as the frosts are just around the corner we need to bring enough into the distillery to take us through winter – which could easily last until next May. Sales of Hepple Gin have started well, really well, and the big question from my compadres is simply – will we have enough? 

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Harvest, NorthumberlandFlynn W
DISTILLERY CONSTRUCTION

Job for the remainder of 2014, sort the distillery site out. This is the view from Walter’s office… to be.. While outside, the store room is beginning to take shape. The Old Coach house, Mouse Metropolis, Banqueting hall for Owls and Commune for Summer swallows…

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NorthumberlandFlynn W
JUNIPERING WITH THE GUYS FROM THE PARKS

Sean and Mary from the Northumberland National Parks have come today to help set up a number of temporary guards at the juniper stand by the spring. These guards prevent rabbits, deer or sheep from grazing young junipers. In time we will add some of our seedlings to the areas where the self-set youngsters are found. The intriguing thing is how very much better the Juniper do on ground watered by the springs that emerge at this level from the moor.

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HARVESTING THE DOUGLAS

The fresh Douglas fir smells extraordinary: a bit like grapefruit with a hint of melon. This is not so surprising given that the young shoots are filled with citric acid – the very same thing that is found in grapefruit. We will pass this through both the pot still and the Rotovap to compare the two distillates. For the moment though, Chris seems to have gone into a reverie in the woods as the needle-perfumed air holds him hostage.

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