Monday, 29 December 2008
Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Thursday, 18 December 2008
5. Do you know your carbon footprint for your home? If so, is it larger/smaller than your national average?
I have done a few of these carbon footprint calculaters and as a household we are below the national average - about a third of the UK average. Our total is kept low (although not low enough) by driving a small ecconomical car, not flying, eating seasonally and locally, and also by the fact that there are four of us living in the house.
6.What's eco-frustrating and/or eco-fantastic about where you live?
Eco- frustrating = the reliance on the car, especially having to drive to my allotment, its eco-friendly to grow vegeatables but not when you have to drive to do so.
Eco-fantastic = having a garden even if its not very big and also living in a village with a railway station.
7. Do you eat local/organic/vegetarian/forage/grow you own?
I try to as much as possible. Ideally I would buy local organic produce but this is not always available or affordable. I choose local foods over organic foods which have travelled long distances. None of us is vegetarian although I am not a great meat eater. For family meals I cook meat usually about twice a week, we eat fish once or twice and the rest vegetarian. I don't forage much, just blackberries, elderberries and sloes. I grow vegetables and soft fruit on the allotment. In the garden I have two small apple trees, a crab apple, a grape vine and a plum tree. I also grow herbs and of course we have the chickens.
8. What do you personally find the most challenging in being green?
Sometimes it is easier not to be green and the greener options take more time, effort or money. It can be difficult to maintain motivation when that happens.
9. Do you have a green confession?
I am guilty of using my car for non-essential journeys. Most of the time I plan my journeys carefully, go to the allotment after work, visit the supermarket near to my sons sports practice etc etc but then sometimes I drive off on my own for a few miles just to get out of the house and walk somewhere different. One of the things I would miss if I did get rid of my car is the ability to get to remote quiet places in the countryside that can't be reached by public transport.
10. Do you have the support of family and/or friends?
Generally, yes, friends and family are supportive. Work colleagues think I am a bit mad though!
Sunday, 14 December 2008
Time for some tidying and doing the lunch time washing up which I had left when I had rushed out to pick up after lacrosse. I had just about got everything straight and it was time to cook dinner. Only me and younger son tonight so I decided to keep it very simple, omlettes, with salad for me and with potato wedges for him followed by steamed apple pudding.
Monday, 8 December 2008
It has been cold here although its not cold compared to many winter temperatures around the world. Early yesterday morning the car thermometer registered -5C.
The cold weather seems to bring with it colds and sore throats, so lemon and honey is being sipped throughout the day. Manuka honey is expensive so I keep a pot just to use when we have sore throats. There seems to be quite a lot of evidence that it helps with coughs and colds and I am sure that just because I think it will help, it probably does.
The chickens got special treatment too, not honey(!) but I did make them some warm porridge which they seemed to appreciate.
It stayed cold all day but as it was lovely and bright, I went for a short walk to enjoy the sunshine.
As usual I took far too many photographs.
Saturday, 6 December 2008
I wasn't sure about adding any embroidery with such patterned fabrics so I just played around with some stitching around the seam lines.
The draught excluder is now in position stopping the cold air creeping under the living room door and keeping the room just that little bit warmer.
Sunday, 30 November 2008
It is knitted in garter stitch with a few rows of yfd k2tog to give it a more open feel.
With the scarf finished I have another little project started, this time it involves sewing. I haven't done much sewing (other than mending!) for years but today I am hoping to make some progress turning this little pile of fabric into a draught excluder.
Wednesday, 26 November 2008
We have had some cold weather lately and the transition from autumn to winter is now complete. The cold weather has brought clear blue skies and bright winter sunshine. The sunlight always seems more precious at this time of year, not only do we see it less often but somehow it seems more fragile, low in the sky casting long shadows.
At this time of year I always feel like hibernating. I find it increasingly difficult to get up in the dark mornings and there is a definite fall in my energy levels. I think this is a natural response of our bodies to the shorter, darker, colder days. For most of human existence there would have been a lot less activity in the winter months and people would have stayed inside for safety and warmth.
It is a downside of our busy lifestyles in the 21st Century that we don't have the luxury of slowing down anymore. Working hours are the same all year round and when it gets dark we just switch on a light and keep going.
One thing which works for me when I find myself suffering from the "winter blues" is time spent outside, so while I like to curl up inside on damp grey days, if a sunny days coincides with a non-work day, I'll use any excuse to go for a walk.
Theses photos were taken last week, there is still a lot of light and colour in the countryside when you take time to look at the details.
I spotted these emerging celandine plants amongst the fallen oak leaves. Celandines are such cheerful spring flowers but I've never seen their leaves this early, a reminder that even as we shiver through winter, spring is on its way.
Friday, 14 November 2008
Friday is a work day for me and so it was the usual routine, alarm at 6:15am, a cup of tea, then packed lunches to make, soup to reheat to take to work in a flask, chickens to be let out, washing to be hung on the line, dinner to be put in the slow cooker .... sometimes I feel as if I've done a days work before I even leave!
Work was busy but not rushed and by half past three I was home again. There was a lovely smell of lamb casserole when I opened the front door which was very welcoming. The best thing about a meal from the slow cooker is that I don't have to do anything when I get home and I was able to sit down and chat with the boys while knitting.This is the knitting that is taxing me at the moment. I have an idea in my head of a long skinny jumper to wear with jeans but what I am knitting is not matching up with the picture in my head. I have redone the neck twice and now I've decided that I don't like the ribbing and it might be better looser with some sort of hem. I do like the narrow edging to the neck though
I just haven't got the rest of it right yet. Sometimes knitting just goes right and it turns out as I imagine it, yet another time it just doesn't seem to happen - perhaps I should stop for a while and knit another pair of socks!
After much tea, chat and knitting it was time for dinner, a half shoulder of lamb cooked with potatoes carrots and kidney beans. Lamb seems particularly good cooked slowly, it becomes really tender and just slips of the bone.
Now in the evening I am drinking Rooibos Tea and writing this post. My husband and the boys are watching TV downstairs and I am enjoying some solitary time with the computer.
I'll end with this photo which I took a few hours ago just so I have a record of the wonderful colour of this amaryllis.
Monday, 10 November 2008
The rules are:
- Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Write six random things about yourself.
- Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
- Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
- Let the tagger know when your entry is up.
So, my list of six random things
- I was born and lived the first eighteen years of my life in Somerset. I left to go to university and never went back and although I've lived in Berkshire for over half my life, I still think of the West Country as home.
- I have rented my allotment for twelve years now. When I first started growing vegetables, it was not so fashionable and there were lots of empty plots, now the site is full with a waiting list.
- I don't know whether gardening is hereditary(!) but both my grandfathers grew vegetables and my great grandfather was head gardener at a large country house.
- My father is a keen photographer and had a darkroom at home. He gave me my first camera when I was about five. I still have a little packet of black and white photos that I took at that time.
- I have been knitting for about as long as I have been taking photographs. Both my grandmothers were keen knitters - perhaps knitting is hereditary as well!
- I write a lot of lists, shopping lists, to do lists, menu plans, planting lists - I think that may be why this meme appealed to me.
I now have to tag six people. I have chosen
- gtr at Raising Frolic
- Heather at Blackberry Rambles
- simply authentic
- Diana at Pebbledash
- Val at Woolly Shepherds Diary
- The List Writer at The Philosophy of Lists
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
When the boys were little we always had a few sparklers on 5th November and went to the school bonfire but we have never really celebrated Halloween. I think it has only become very popular over the last few years and the boys have never shown much interest.
So as I have no seasonal pictures of bonfires, fireworks or pumpkins, I am posting photographs which are a bit firework-like!
I took these (and loads more, it proved quite addictive) from the car as we were driving one evening. I was a passenger by the way! I turned the flash off on the camera and then photographed lights while moving the camera. These are a mixture of street lights, car headlamps and brake lights.
Sunday, 2 November 2008
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
I don't ever remember snow this early in the year. According to the news it is the first time that it has snowed in London in October since 1934.
It was cold last night so the snow was still here when we woke up this morning. It was a bright sunny day and the countryside looked beautiful.
When it snows in winter the trees look pretty with their bare branches outlined in snow. Now the trees are still in leaf so there is a strange mixture of autumn colour and snow. This beech tree looked stunning in the sunshine.
The leaves of the oak trees were all frozen, I expect they will fall quickly now.
In the bright sunlight the icicles on the twigs were melting rapidly but the shade temperatures were cold today and there is still quite a covering of snow in the garden.