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


  1. Chickpea - can you lay your hands on some diatomaceous earth? Sprinkled round your seedlings it should help stop the slugs. Also, doesn't a shallow bowl of beer also sort them out - or is that only for snails?

  2. I am so glad to hear that your son is doing so well.....that is brilliant news.
    Take some time to look after you for a while now.

  3. I hope that your life gets a bit easier from here on in!

    Re vegan nutrition, these are two great blogs: and There is a lot of terrible pseudoscience out there that can be quite harmful.

  4. Good to see you back. I dont seem to be able to give up eggs. Sometimes I am in such a rush with dinner, that only eggs will be quick enough. Plus I am a bit rubbish at meal balancing. Getting enough protein as I dont eat any dairy.

    So glad to read that your son is on the mend. Time to focus completely on your self now.

    Is it completely crazy that I am super excited looking at everyones pictures of what they are growing!

    Great to see you are doing well!

  5. A shallow bowl of beer also sorts me out, if it is wide enough

  6. A mushroom walks into a bar. "Drinks are on me!", he says to the bartender.
    The barman replies, "why is that?"
    The mushroom says, "Because I am a fungi"!! Sorry, I see this one of those jokes you have to SAY and not type! (Fun guy).
    Sorry for the slug problem, the beer worked for us, but of course, we have American beer! :-)

  7. It is good to hear your son's health is stable and that he is able to enjoy friendships and outings again.
    I totally agree with you, let people make their own eating choices. Militant vegans/vegetarians/carnivores/etc make me uncomfortable.
    Look after yourself and enjoy the granny naps when you have a chance, best way to make a hard day less tiring. x

  8. Your veg plants look really healthy. You could always go looking for slugs and snails at night by torch light? I find they are a problem if you have veg near grass or foliage for them to hide in.

  9. Thrilled to hear your son is on the mend. Beer really does work with the slugs, so certainly worth a try.

  10. glad your son is doing well, that recipe sounds fab, will give it a go.And I love your first pic..

  11. Good to hear your son is doing well, hope you get some you time now and win the slug battle xx

  12. There are a couple of organic slug treatments on the market, one is 'Sluggo' certified by Organic Farmers and Growers, the other one is Slug Defence Gel. Made by Doff. Do you have any sheep farmers near to you? if so ask them if they would let you have the wool shoddy when their sheep get sheared. There is also wool pellets on the market but I haven't tried them as they are rather pricy. Going round at night with a torch also works well, but not if you are trying to have some down time.

  13. Great news that your son is now on the mend and getting his strength back again. Your muddy adventures sound a bit scary, but at least you've now learnt the technique of getting out of that tricky sort of situation. I've found that putting copper strips around pots always keeps snails and slugs away. The sticky strips you can buy aren't particularly cheap, but they do last year after year. Otherwise, with a bit of improvisation, old bits of copper pipe might to the job too

  14. I am trying the 'meatless Monday' feeling but aiming at a vegan dinner as often as I can.
    Today - potatoes, quorn bits, curried cauliflower with red onions and two clementines.

    We ditched eggs long ago, but I battle to get around cheese for lunch.

    Husband has discovered a German vegan travel agent. Looking at a week travelling with them, for an opportunity to try full vegan food. Sometime next year??

  15. It looks like you are making great progress, it will take time as you get experienced at growing your own food. I'm very impressed. It is great news your son is getting out and about. I know what you mean about the whole vegan thing, I say I'm vegan as my diet is, I also try to buy all vegan friendly toiletries, make up and shoes. However like you I didn't rush to the bin with my old shoes when I became vegan a year ago, I also didn't rush out and dispose of my old leather sofa (shock, horror!). I also care about the environment and as these things are already in our possession I don't see what good throwing them out would do. So I do my best, I eat and live vegan to the best of my ability and I accept the decisions of others(my husband and one of my sons are carnivores, their choice). I tend to get hassle off carnivores though about why don't I just eat meat, people are funny.

  16. Love seeing what you're up to in the veg garden ....dont give up more chickenwire ! :)


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