Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Reading Matter

I love books though I rarely have time to read them. I tend to just thumb through some of the more well illustrated publications and gaze vacantly at the pictures like I've just been lobotomised. Saying that though I often get books as gifts and they are much appreciated (keep 'em coming Mum and Dad!) They offer inspiration and ideas, sunny and bright photos to look at when the sky is grey and the weather is gloomy, pictures of neatly tidied and cultured gardens and veg plots to drool over in winter when the ground is muddy and covered in dead weeds.

I buy books on whatever I'm into at the time. Usually the first thing I do is buy a book and devour it's contents, photos and illustrations until I get that spark that makes me get off my arse and actually do it.

So I've added a few titles opposite that I have on my bookshelves that might take your fancy and inspire you lot to have a go at growing your own veg and fruit, fishing, keeping chooks, bees, you name it.

Check out the Grow Fish Eat Shop! for some cracking titles...Now I'm off to stare at some seed catalogues.

Thursday, 13 January 2011


I could do with losing some weight. I dropped a couple of stones last year, possibly through eating all the veg and healthy produce from the plot, or (more likely) through the stress of being self employed in a recession.

Chrismas meant the usual excesses, mainly alcohol. Happily (boo hoo) the Christmas booze has been greedily depleted and I'm now forced to open one of the last two remaining bottles of homemade plonk from 2008 - a good vintage??!!

This one's made from the spare beetroot crop that year. The raised beds were full of 'em. Boltardy manily but also a fancy italian number that was pinkish red and had pretty rings running though it. Anyway it ended up in demijohns in the shed. Despite a couple of initial setbacks i.e. the bottles exploding and redecorating the inside of said shed, the thity odd bottles I managed to fill turned out to be rather quoffable. Elderberry, beetroot, victoria plum and elderberry and blackberry saw me through 2009 without me having to buy much booze from the dreaded supermarket.

I've blanked my 'family' label out here so nobody can sue when they go blind drinking the stuff...

A large proportion of these lovingly crafted fine wines ended up being swiftly emptied one night last year by my partners large family during a 'gathering'. Needless to say there were tears, arguments and the odd fight in the street that night, so it must have been good stuff. I must get a hydrometer this year to see how potent it is.

I had intentions to make some white wines last year but never got round to it. This year I'm determined to re-stock the racks.

Losing weight can also be a struggle when you love baking but everybody in the house is also trying to lose weight. So what do you do with all these...?

I hate to see food go to waste. I'll lose a few pounds next month.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Head Spin

Hello and welcome to my blog. It's been a long time coming - something I'd promised myself I'd get round to doing but never did - 'til now. Yay! My head is spinning with where to start...

...I've been avidly reading other blogs from kindred spirits who are trying to live a simpler, greener (whatever that means) lifestyle and tried to apply myself to changing the way I live, bit by bit.

I couple of tears (years) ago I managed to get hold of an allotment. Yes, incredible though that sounds I managed it. Weeks of badgering the association chairman led to the aquisition of a plot, well, more of a weedy field really that nobody wanted to tackle but a plot of land nevertheless. It looked like this...

Fired up with naive enthusiam and over estimating my energy levels I went at it like a man possessed in a hair shirt until a year later it looked like this...

Then this in July 2009...

There was a crappy strip of land that even the grass struggled to occupy so in went some apple, pear and plum trees and bingo! my very own orchard. But I wasn't happy with that, oh no. I stumbled on Lucy's inspiring blog and found a bit about keeping chickens. So now I've got chooks patrolling the orchard too - even some new born chicks. More about that later.

I'm a year behind with all this so please forgive the less than topical first post. I'll add the history bits in as I go, just trying to cram as much as poss in the first post...

Now I've re-discovered fishing in all it's guises. I don't know why I ever drifted away from it. But I only go fishing for fish I can put on my plate whether that's a juicy Rainbow Trout or a beautiful oily Mackerel, I don't care as long as I can eat it.

So look in once in a while and watch me fumble my way around a healthier, sustainable lifestyle growing veg, keeping chooks and losing fish.