I’m sure that to almost all reading this self-sufficiency and gardening are subjects close to your heart. It’s something I am always striving towards in any small way I can and am grateful for the opportunity to do so.
Home grown courgettes; possibly the only vegetable that is producing anything in my garden. August 2013
On Wednesday I found out that ‘the country’s cupboard was bare’ – if all of the harvest grown in Britain was stored and started to be eaten from January 1st we would have run out on Wednesday meaning the UK has to import over a third of the food we need, an increase on the amount of food that we had to import 1991 according to the NFU*
As the NFU has worked out these figures I don’t think it will include freshly picked, home grown, back garden food which shows that even so long after the the original ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign growing your own is still am important part of this Country’s ability to provide for it’s self.
The government last month announced that it is investing 160 million pounds in farming technology to help make Britain a “world leader”. I really hope that some thought has been given to sustainable methods and won’t just be ploughed into GMO’s, pesticides and fossil fuel hungry machines.
* The radio 4 report I heard on this did not give exact figures for the increase just that in 1991 Britain produced 3/4 of it’s own food and that this figure has now fallen to just 62%
I found this short film being shared around facebook and had to share it here…
Three Meals That Matter (this link takes you to the youtube film)
It makes so many thought-provoking points right from the start and has a very simple way of explaining some of the changes that have happened between people’s relationships to and with food and it’s production
First picking; new potatoes - 15th June 2011
On Tuesday I noticed what looked like it might be the start of blight on one of the sacked potatoes growing at home. I checked the other sacks over and it seemed to be just the one sack that had it and so there was nothing for it but to dig them up and eat them before it spread (if in fact it was blight…)
Home grown dinner; new potatoes with omelette - 15th June 2011
We’ve been holding off on starting on the home-grown potatoes as we still have half a sack of stored potatoes left that need using first but it was nice to be finally starting on the home-grown crop.
The potatoes weren’t a bad size and we collect 1.2kg of them. I can’t remember what verity they were but they were planted on march 1st. We ate half of them boiled with a cheesey chives and garlic omelette.
Today is my 25th birthday; I have been on this earth for a quarter century.
May blossom - 26th May 2011
It’s been a lovely weekend starting on Friday with more seed sowing (peas, beans, toms and the first squash) and then a lovely dinner cooked by lovely friends. Yesterday we started work on my plastic bottle greenhouse, the first two posts are in and ready for the back wall. It is finally becoming really!
Today I booked myself a slow start, mother let my chooks out whilst I spent some time having a shower, a cooked breakfast, including birthday cake and hot chocolate topped with whipped cream, and poking at things in my garden where things are taking off fast now. This was followed by a ‘party’ lunch at mothers with jelly and Cornish Clotted cream ice cream then this afternoon we bought a chicken pen back to my house so as I can bring some hens back to clear some ground before planting squashes and rounded the day off with some potato planting and roast potatoes with gravy for dinner.
I have been away for the weekend, visiting my grandmother in Devon. I have been promising to go for over a year now but there has always been too much to do. There still were lots of things to do but last month I decided there would always be lots to do and booked the train tickets any way.
Even though I don’t often take them I do enjoy train journeys, and bus journeys but train journeys more. There are so many interesting back gardens, allotment sites and smallholdings along railway lines, and it’s always nice to ‘have a nose’ and gather ideas, which is not something I really ever get chance to do being the boring stay at home that I am, but that is where I am happiest.
On the journey down I started to keep count of the interesting things I saw, there was many, of the different types of livestock there was. I always feel uneasy about the thought of keeping any of our animals so near to a trainline or busy road but people do and it seems to work out fine.
So I have been to the beach. Paignton is a nice sandy beach with lots of beach huts which I loved, I don’t remember them being there last time I went to visit which must have been about four or five years ago now. Beach huts seem to hold a promise, a promise of something interesting behind each door all done up in shiny coat of white paint and a brightly coloured door. Or to me they do. The beach was busy even though it was a dull day weather wise, I guess I should have expected that in the middle of the summer holidays, and the tide was in so there wasn’t much room for people to spread out. I don’t like crowded beaches as much as I could, they don’t seem to be as thoughtful or healing as an empty wind swept beach. And the rubbish… But I still had a nice walk.
We visited Torre Abbey to see the Antony Gormley Field for the British Isles exhibition. It visited Gloucester Cathedral not long ago and I thought about going to see it then but never got round to it. The exhibition was laid out in an old barn on the out skirts of the grounds and the little figures filled most of it. It was interesting standing infront all of the little clay figures, the pencil holds that they have instead of eyes look strangely human and questioning.
The abbey seemed to have mostly been turned into an art gallery, there was a big felt mobile hung on the stair way all the way up through the building which I guess had been made by a school. It was made up of white felted people with natureal black wool felted in for the hair and face and a letter on the front. It was very simple but I would imagion that it was a great community project. The garden was nice, it had a big glass house which I would have filled with vegetables or fruit of some kind.
And that was all there was time for. Being away did make me realise how picky about food I am but as I’ve been writing this post for a few days now (it is very busy at work this week) I will just post it.
I tried out a new recipe that I found for nettle soup last night, Rhys and mother both like it but I’m not so sure, I think I will like it with a little tweaking.
Pick half a small bucket of nettles, wash them and pick out any bits of grass or hay that have come along for the ride and any leaves that don’t look so nice. Chop large onion and fry in some butter with black pepper until soft(-ish), add the nettles and cook until wilted down. Add vegetable stock and bring to the boil then put through a wizzer.
The recipe said to add cream, which I didn’t as we didn’t have any, and I think next time I’m going to try adding a load of garlic with the onion and see if I like it better that way.
Seeing tonight’s Sunday Roast in the oven reminded me that I still hadn’t posted about the mutton we had back last Friday. We’ve had our own mutton before but this mutton was special as it was the first time it was butchered at home.
I bought mother a ‘how to butcher’ book and DVD for Christmas, and it had been hung for two weeks instead of one (not completely sure why, but I get the impression that this is a good thing) and one weighted 28.8KG and the other 29.6KG which doesn’t sound bad and it looked like a lot of meat.
Today was the local food festival; it’s a nice little event. The weather wasn’t so good for it, it rained all day and then started to brighten up just as it was time to start packing things away. It was still busy though.
I was working as a Play Ranger, drawing and making snow flakes, so I don’t really get to see much of the event but it was a good day. I always enjoy events more if I’m there doing something than if I’m just there visiting. I like to watch people, that’s the most interesting part of events for me and sitting drinking hot chocolate and watching people, in between drawing and snow flake making, is a very pleasant way to spend a day.
When I got home I watered all the plants in the polytunnel, in the bucket of carrots you can see little baby carrots forming they’re about the thickness of my little finger, they don’t look very purple though, more a pale pink colour. There is still a couple of months to go until they need to be ready so I guess they will get darker. When I get time I think I need to earth them up.
I don’t normally read the Path to Freedon but mother sent me this and it looks like a really interesting idea.
I don’t think that there is enough produce in the garden at the moment to be able to join the challenge but it’s something to aim for, and hopefully by this time next year then most of meals coming from things we produce will be the norm.
This morning on breakfast news there was an interview with a woman, it was something to do with the Labour conference, and she was talking about the credit crunch and how it was effecting her and her family, prices for things have been going up, interest rates are rising and how bad it was, etc., all reasonable points but her main point seemed to be that she was now having to think more carefully about her food shopping, where she is going to do her shopping and only buying the basics, which is surely a good thing?
I think it’s a good thing, if people are ‘only buying the basics’ then they won’t be wasting so much and they will be thinking about what they are eating more, it might even start a few more people thinking more seriously about where they’re food comes from and why it costs what it costs. If you are thinking more about what you’re buying then hopefully people will be cooking more, or at least thinking about what they are cooking.
I know the credit crunch isn’t a good thing, and some people are finding it hard but I really can’t understand why having to think about your food shopping is a bad thing. When she was asked by the presenter if she’d had to make cuts backs she said yes, they had. When she was pressed on this she said they no longer eat out or buy take-a-ways as often as they use to. Also not something that I think of as a ‘bad thing.’
Each year the number of people, mostly older people, who die from lack of heating increases. That is a bad thing, that is a terrible thing, and that is only going to increase with fuel costs rising. Surely that should be the main focus for how the credit crunch is effecting people, not whether or not people can afford take-a-way for dinner.
Food prices are a concern, and they are affecting many people, but I can’t help taking it all with a pinch of salt. There was no way food prices could stay as artificially low has they were/ still are, if it costs more to produce something than you can sell it for then that product is either going to be discontinued or, when it is something that is needed, the price will have to rise, surely that is just common sense.