Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Not So Good Life

I sort of had visions of this idyllic self sufficient life wandering around my garden full of home grown veg and wildlife.......the reality is somewhat different.  I have spent weeks covered in compost and manure as I make my no dig veg beds only for the wildlife to eat everything I'm trying to grow.  I go out in the morning to watch the beautiful sunrise only to find rabbit fur and birds feathers scattered across the garden where the wildlife are eating each other.

 I love seeing the foxes but not the smell of fox poo when the dogs have rolled in it everyday.....yes you two!

I loved seeing the stag but he has killed one of the trees and I don't think another will survive.

Badgers and rabbits are digging holes in the garden and I have millions of ants making impressive mounds in the middle of my veg beds.

To top it all my tomato plants are looking sick and probably about to kick the bucket.  I think our hunger gap is going to last all year.

The saddest looking tomato plants you are likely to see

and some little sods are eating the strawberries as soon as they ripen

Hey ho as they say, I still love it here.

..... and in other news, I have a school reunion next month.  Anyone know how to lose lots of weight and look 10 years younger in a month?

Chickpea xx

Monday, 1 May 2017

Growing, Eating and a bit of a rant.

I can't believe so long has passed since my last post, I have lots of 'drafts' of posts that never got finished and were then irrelevant as things had moved on.   Life has been busy as usual, my head is full of plans but the body is just not keeping up at the moment.  By the evenings I'm worn out, I've got to the age where I'm having 'Nanny Naps'  yes it comes to us all, though there are still many nights when insomnia plagues me.

Thank you for all your good wishes for my son, and thank you to Doris for sharing her experience.  He is on the mend, getting stronger everyday and going back to work this week.   He is coping with it incredibly well and just getting on with life as usual, he has been out and about with friends all weekend which he hasn't been well enough to do for a long time.  As long as he stays well the next  major surgery can be delayed until next year so at least we have time to catch our breaths.  Before my son, I had not personally known anyone with a stoma, in a sad twist of fate my friend has just undergone treatment for cancer and now also has a stoma.  At least I have some knowledge and can support her a little better and my son has offered to talk to her about his experiences.  Life can still throw the unexpected at you!

I now need to concentrate on myself and my health.  As I'm sure like many, while I'm caring for others my own needs seem to go straight out of the window.  I survived on whatever food was easy and quick, not always the healthiest however I have stuck to a plant based diet but eat far too many crisps and chips!!!!  I do not call myself a vegan as there is so much more to it than what you eat.  As I still wear leather shoes and boots and wear my own hand knitted wool items and don't intend getting rid of them I don't meet the strict criteria set by some, but I can live with that.  I will gradually replace them with 'vegan friendly' items as and when.  I have joined vegan Facebook groups and signed up for a Vegan Nutritionist Diploma to learn as much as I can about the vegan diet to ensure I am getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need to stay healthy.  What is getting on my nerves .... here comes the some vegans views on vegetarians.  I have been a vegetarian for over 25 years and brought my sons up as vegetarian and will not have someone who has been a vegan for all of 5 minutes ( and will probably only keep it up for a short time) looking down at me and saying   vegetarians don't care about animals!! what twaddle.  I won't be made to feel like I'm lesser than them.  Vegetarians can be just as snooty about pescatarians or meat reducers.  Why can we not just give people credit for what they have achieved and cut out the whole elitist snobbery crap.  You do not further your cause by pissing off people who are making an effort.  *steps off the soapbox*

Having said all of the above, I had a thoroughly lovely time at the recent Vegan Festival and stuffed my face with gorgeous food, I ate as soon as I got there luckily, as they ran out of food by early afternoon.  I think they were surprised by the number of people who attended.  There was a particularly interesting talk on feminism and veganism.

I don't actually miss eating cheese and eggs but do find it hard to think of alternatives for lunch sometimes, I love hummus but you can only eat so much.  I decided to make this for my packed lunch.  Along with rice cakes and salad it makes a nice change and tastes lovely and fresh with the herbs picked out of the garden.  The recipe was in the Vegan living magazine and is really easy and quick.


2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1/2 lemon (I used a lime)
1/4 bunch dill,  1/4 bunch mint, 1/4 bunch flat parsley all with stalks removed
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A few mixed seeds of your choice

Heat the oil in a small pan until hot.  Remove from the heat, stir in the garlic and leave to cool completely.

Place the garlic and any pan juices, beans, lemon juice and 2 tbsp water in a food processor or use a hand held blender.  Blend until smooth.  Stir in half the herbs and season to taste. (I actually put them in the blender as I didn't read the instructions)

Cover and chill until ready to serve.  When ready drizzle over some olive oil, the rest of the herbs and seeds.

Poly ready for the tomatoes.

Squashes, courgettes and lots of piquant peppers

Sue (Beachcomber) asked how the growing is going.  Well after all my hard work making veg beds I have very little to show for it.  Garlic, a few rocket plants and 4 spinach plants and ready grown herbs.   All the rest have been eaten.  I have very fat happy slugs.  As I am growing organically, pellets are not an option and they are turning their noses up at the beer traps preferring the plants so I have had to change my plans.  I am starting plants off indoors and hoping they will be big and strong enough to survive attack by the time I plant them out.  The indoor plants have been very successful, too successful you might say as I have more tomatoes and pepper plants than I have space and have been trying to give some away.  My conservatory and windowsills are full of plant pots and trays, I can't wait until it is warm enough to plant them out.  We are in the process of putting up a rabbit proof fence so at least one predator will be kept out.  It is exciting seeing what is growing in the garden, the orchard has various trees in flower but I haven't got a clue what they are.  Apples so I'm told but I don't know what else.

We haven't had much time to explore the area but ventured down to the woodland adjoining our field which is extremely muddy but very pretty.  I got stuck up to my arse in mud on several occasions and had to crawl commando style out as the bearded one found it impossible to pull me out.  The more we struggled the deeper I sank! At least I have learned the knack for getting out of quicksand.

I hope you are all keeping well and will try not to leave it so long next time,

Chickpea xx