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Saturday, 15 January 2011

Baby steps toward my goals!

You thought you'd got rid of me didn't you? But here I am again like the proverbial bad penny! These lovely daffodils are this week's fresh flowers - I refuse to buy flowers which have been air-freighted from sunnier climes and am finding it difficult to find many with the Union Jack on the pack just now but these fitted the bill nicely and serve to remind me that Spring is coming. I did actually see some in bud along the side of the road this morning too.

You asked (well some of you did!) me to let you know how I got on with my resolutions so here goes:

Gardening: Well I did spend an hour or so outside this week mainly doing what you might call outdoor housework - tidying up and removing leaves etc but most of this week's gardening was of the indoor kind - reading the seed catalogues and books...

DH has been busy in the garage with timber and tools making one of these compost bins to replace the ugly green plastic ones which were here when we moved in 2 years ago - it keeps him out of mischief and leaves me to get on indoors on my own.

The Sarah Raven catalogue arrived this week and lo and behold she is selling a similar compost bin for the princely sum of £180 - mind you if DH charged for the hours of labour he has put in no doubt ours would be even more expensive!!

Meanwhile I planted some peas in pots of compost indoors in the hope that we will get some pea shoots for salads etc - I did this last year and they were successful but as you will see from the pack the peas are not a recent acquisition having been bought when we lived in France so whether they will germinate again this year I don't know as it says best before August 2010 on the box - watch this space!
Exercise: I have walked to town 3 times this week so hope that will count towards being more active!

Next up Cooking: Well I made a couple of loaves of soda bread - Nigel Slater's recipe from his Simple Suppers programme - the first of which was very successful but the second not so although we did eat most of it. I had a couple of ends of loaves of bread in the bread bin and in the spirit of waste not want not I made the apple pudding shown in the pic. The topping is made with breadcrumbs from a sunflower loaf and it's delicious.

Again in waste not want not mode I used up the leftover veggies in the fridge along with a tin of red kidney beans and one of tomatoes and made this casserole which we had with dumplings. Sorry photo is a bit yellow but I took it in electric light in the kitchen. Today I have bought some oranges for marmalade too so will let you know how I get on with that later.

Have you ever noticed how once you start being interested in anything it seems to pop up everywhere? Well having got back on my (slightly) green bandwagon I have found this week filled with books and TV programmes etc along the same theme. One such was a news item regarding the new European law coming into force in 2012 banning conventional battery farming of chickens along with news that some eggs which had been laid in Germany contained dioxins - said eggs had come into the UK food chain having been processed in Holland and then sold to manufacturers in UK. Now I suddenly realised that whilst I am carefully buying free-range eggs I had also been buying occasional items containing eggs and of course these would be unlikely to be free range or organic. So if I am serious about going for free range I will in future need to read labels! (Another reason to make food from scratch as then you have a better idea of what goes into it)

Did anyone see the TV programmes Hugh's Fish Fight? I saw the first and third ones and was horrified at the apalling waste of fish so many of which are thrown back into the sea dead and also the very high density of fish in the fish farms from which so much of our salmon comes. I really do feel that if we all truly knew what we were eating we might easily starve!!
Have however been to the Farmers' Market this morning and have some lovely fresh salad leaves along with a nut pasty(?) for me and a pork pie for DH (he is as thin as a lathe so no need to cut back for him) and some fresh baked bread all locally made for supper and will not get too bogged down with all the horror stories - we can only do what we can but as the ad for one of our supermarkets says "Every little helps"!!!


  1. Good to hear your update Jane and look forward to seeing pictures of your new compost bin! That is something we need to build this year...I just worry about attracting rats though.

    The daffodils look lovely, haven't seen any available round here yet.

  2. I saw some of the H-FW programmes - what a waste throwing all that fish back into the sea :(

    I do enjoy making things from scratch and am lucky enough to have the time to do so each day.

    I'd love to keep chickens in our garden and am working on o/h - what this space ;)

  3. It looks like you have had a jolly and productive week! The wooden composter looks lovely. I have those horrible green plastic ones but they are hidden from view. The daffodils are so nice and cheery and I love the gleamingly clean window behind them!!!

  4. You have been busy this week! I know what you mean about garden tidying being like outdoor housework - that's how I think of that type of work too, with mowing the lawn being like hoovering! It's so nice to get the seed catalogues and make some plans, and to see some lovely yellow daffodils. How lucky you are having a pretty composter built specially! Enjoy your green and garden-y weekend. Helen x

  5. You've been a busy lady! I bet it feels good to be working towards your goals!
    Your homemade compost bin will look fantastic!

  6. You're off to a flying start Jane. Good on you. All your plans sound do-able. Love the daffs - one of my favourites and I imagine a real encouragement that Spring is not too far away.
    Keep up the good work, you're inspiring the rest of us to get off our backsides and make the changes we've been promising ourselves.
    Thanks for your thoughts and concern. We are fine here at our place - hardly affected at all- and the army of people out there cleaning up is astounding.
    There seems to be so many disasters happening all over the world!

  7. Good for you Jane, I so love your attitude. I mostly buy seasonal food and produce and always try to support local suppliers rather than the Tescos of this world. I bet your daffs came from Cornwall, which come to think of it is almost as far away as certain parts of Europe for us! We have a beehive composter, thankfully we didn't part with £180 but I seem to remember it wasn't cheap. I will look forward to seeing your DH's creation, I'm sure it will be fantastic - what a star he is! x

  8. Lovely daffs - they're such a cheerful flower, aren't they? Like the beehive composter :)

  9. You're doing well Jane and so glad you have found time to update us on your activities.
    Here we do try to create most of our main meals from scratch, but I am afraid I have given up on a lot of my previous principles, especially on reading how Kenyan grown beans were helping lift families out of poverty and reliance on aid. We don't think about bananas and oranges coming from around the globe as much do we? Life is so complex these days, so much to think about. Thank goodness for folk like you Jane, to prick our consciences.

  10. I do like the compost bin!
    Daffs are so pretty and sort of herald the Spring...whenever it chooses to arrive.
    I too saw the HughFW fish fight and am horrifed too. I did sign up!

    Sandie xx

  11. Hi hunny
    Love those daffs! I always think they are a bundle of sunshine that we all need to get us through these dark and dreary winter days.
    I saw Hughs programmmes and think it's absolutely appaling too.
    We have afriend who used to be a trawler fisherman in Dawlish and he was appalled that since he stopped ten years ago that we are wasting so much more fish since the legislation has been introduced.
    I've got as many people to sign up as poss!

    Karen x x x

  12. I go without flowers all through the winter too. It's hard, but I have sat with the seed catalogues this weekend and shall putting an order in. Well done on the cooking and gardening fronts, I haven't ventured out between jobs.

  13. Glad your doing well with your goals, I like the look of the compost bin - our landlords won't let us compost here in case we get rats! :( I'm also looking at seeds for this year, the garlic was planted last autumn, so I'm now thinking about companion planting and how much I can fit into our small patch.
    I saw the H-F show too, it's worrying how much fish goes to waste, I think I will have to think more carefully when we're buying fish... :) x

  14. Lovely signs of spring, and that compost bin is really too decorative for compost!

  15. Full marks Jane, you are doing really well sticking to your resolutions. Alas I never do!

    I try and buy local and seasonal wherever possible and are fortunate to have some excellent farmer's markets close by. It feels so good to welcome flowers back into the house again doesn't it!

    Look forward to seeing DH's handiwork.


  16. Daffodils already, you are lucky! I'm already checking the garden daily for signs of buds, but I'm probably a bit early :-) Love your new composter, I might have to ask my DH to make one for me. We're already planning our veggie patch for this year.

  17. What resolve Jane. You're doing really well. I'm glad I never made any otherwise they would have already fallen by the wayside. How lovely to see daffodils already- harbingers of Spring I hope! Lesley x

  18. Lovt the bee hive composter, I look forward to seeing that, what a clever Husband you have!

  19. Enjoy reading your post (and thoughts) as always. Like you, I bought myself daffs this week! Lizzie x

  20. I'm not that into flowers, but when daffys come on the scene I'm in there. I am just waiting for the daffys to appear here, they are a sure sign that spring is near.

    The beehive composter is lovely, it will blend in with the natural enviroment better. I make do with the green ones for now.

    Also liking the lookie of your dumplings, so big. Don't worry about the yellowish colour though, just sign of the dark season.

    I also like you egg rack. Very unusual.


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