Three Things Thursday: 14 July 2016

Joining with Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As “Nerd” says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

Bear with me this week… I’m just recovering from my first cold in about eight years, which explains the lack of posts in recent days.

First… the big pile of cotton hankies that belonged to my dad. Mum gave them to me when he died and they have been of enormous value this last few days.

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Just a few clean ones left!

Second… the beginning of the courgette glut. I know I’ll be sick of them by the autumn, but it’s lovely at the moment to have such an abundance… and to know that the financial investment in seeds and compost has probably already paid off, not to mention the absence of packaging.

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Just five, and I’m trying to harvest them before they get too big!

Third… locally produced tonic water. I spotted these drinks mixers the other day and couldn’t resist: glass bottles and no artificial sweeteners. Hurrah for Llanllyr Source.

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Yum!

So that’s it for this week. What are you feeling grateful for?

Three Things Thursday: 7 July 2016

Joining with Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As “Nerd” says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, soft fruit – possibly my favourite harvest from the garden. Specifically I love raspberries, still warm from the sun. What’s more, the surplus can be frozen and brings a wonderful taste of summer to dark winter days. Right now, though, we are enjoying them with home-made ice cream (using eggs from the garden). I’ve also been picking red currants – ruby gems that add a bit of zing to recipes. I think a cake combining the two is in order.

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One day’s haul

Second, Blacker Yarns. Having decided to make a felted version of the bird roost, I went on the wonderful Blacker Yarns’ website and was able to find a suitable British wool in perfect colours almost immediately. Not only that, but it was delivered less than 24 hours later. Hurrah for well constructed web sites and great customer service.

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Just the job

Third, swapsies! I’m just in the process of bartering some of my knitting for some lovely yarn. How fabulous is that?

So that’s it for this week. What are you feeling grateful for?

Three Things Thursday: 30 June 2016

Joining with Nerd in the Brain (and others) for Three Things Thursday’. As “Nerd” says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, home-grown fruit and vegetables. In the past week we’ve had herbs, leeks, potatoes, raspberries, peppers and tomatoes, plus our first courgette. There may be rampant weeds and rampaging slugs (it’s been wet recently) but we are harvesting.

Second, sensitive plants. The seeds I sowed that came from The Eden Project germinated well and I’ve now got lots of plants. They need potting up, but before I do that, here they are in action:

And I just want to assure you that I don’t regularly molest my plants like this!

Third, happy hens and lots of eggs. The new girls have settled in well. Oldies and newbies are still choosing to sleep in separate houses, but Aliss is laying in the main house. Mags has not yet started to lay, although she’s grown well and is becoming calmer and more sociable with us. It’s good to see them functioning as a single flock.

So that’s it for this week. What are you feeling grateful for?

Let us grow lettuce

These were planted a couple of weeks ago in a planter measuring 40cm x 60cm

These were planted a couple of weeks ago in a planter measuring 40cm x 60cm

In the past I have extolled the benefits of growing your own (gyo) lettuce, but now I’m even more convinced that if you want to eat the stuff (and I’m not saying that you should) it’s a great idea to grow it yourself. I read a piece in the Washington Post today outlining some reasons NOT to eat lettuce (and other components of salad), but to me they are just reasons not to eat commercially produced lettuce:

  1. It occupies land that could be used for more nutritious crops.
    But if you gyo, it takes up hardly any space – grow cut-and-come-again varieties in progression in containers and you can have fresh salad leaves from spring to autumn (or longer)
  2. Weight-for-weight it has little nutritional value compared to other vegetables because it contains so much water.
    No matter if you gyo, you will be getting fresh green stuff on your plate whatever space you have… it’s a challenge to grow broccoli in a windowbox, but no problem to grow lettuce.
  3. All that water makes it delicate to transport, requiring refrigeration and packaging.
    So transport it a few metres from your garden/balcony/windowsill to your plate and there’s no need for packaging or any special treatment.
  4. All that water makes it expensive to transport (calorie per calorie) relative to other vegetables and uses relatively more fossil fuels.
    See 4.
  5. Salad is the top source of vegetable food waste, apparently accounting for 1 billion pounds (weight) of waste globally each year*.
    Again – gyo, pick what you need and nothing goes to waste except that which keeps growing and photosynthesising and can eventually be composted to turn into more lettuce next year.
  6. Green leaf vegetables (of which lettuce is one) accounted for 22 percent of all food-borne illnesses in 1998 to 2008*.
    Freshly picked leaves washed and served straight away will have had little chance to pick up many nasties and certainly won’t be covered in chemicals to make them last longer or ensure that they don’t have bugs on them. If you gyo, you know where they’ve come from and what they’ve been in contact with. Yes, soil contains all sorts of pathogens, so make sure you wash your salad leaves.

On top of all these things, having started, it’s now impossible in our garden not to grow things that go in salads (although not necessarily lettuce):

Growing like weeds... Calendula (petals look very pretty in salad) and Blood-veined sorrel (yum)

Growing like weeds… Calendula (petals look very pretty in salad) and Blood-veined sorrel (yum)

-oOo-

* According to the article in the Washington Post, although the link to the source of this figure did not work, so we’ll have to take them on trust on this!

** Again this is from the Washington Post article and although the link did work it just took me to the Centers for Disease Control web site and I couldn’t be bothered to search for the actual page that would confirm this figure.

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