Thursday, November 16, 2006

Home work

What can I mean by that? Not the kind you did at school. Today has been quite a productive day. I have been organising the kitchen and looking at what tools I have for the job of cooking. I found quite a few things that I have not used in years so made a decision to part with broken crockery, mugs and plates that are being smashed down to go in the bottom of our claypots for next year.
We went and chose the mini peach tree for the sun facing front garden. It was great to go and dig that hole, mixing the earth with some compost made last year to give the tree a good start. I am uncertain what sort of crop of peaches it will give us next year, but it promises to be pretty in blossom and hopefully some fruit on it. I did not go for a maiden tree ( single branch) but for a tree that is about 3 years old so that the prospect of fruit will be greater next year.

The central heating is installed and we have opted for an overall temperature of 19 degrees during the day with a slightly higher one between 7 and 9 pm, when we would normally sit in front of the fire. If we do have a fire then it just simply does not click in. The thermostat is an all singing dancing, remote thing with different heating patterns for each day so that in principle if you work 5 days per week and are home at weekends you could not have the heating on during the week. In that way it is effective. Still, we deliberately have set the thermostat at a lower temperature that is comfortable and may still reduce it further if needs be.

I put the last of the dried seeds in an envelope, labelled for next year and have put all the pots ready to be washed out. This will be a job for a sunny day with bucket and brush. I wash the pots out each year with some vinegar in the water to stop bugs from overwintering and eating my seedlings in the spring. The mangetout peas are coming up in the guttering as are the broad beans and if the frost holds out for a while we will be able to plant them outside. They overwinter well. The cabbages are still a disaster but can provide good green chicken food. The chickens look a bit sorry at this time of the year but are working hard at giving us some excellent fresh eggs. Today’s news shows that eggs imported from Spain to the Uk have salmonella present. I have no worries about that as we have our own chickens and fresh eggs on hand but it highlights the ridiculous miles and packaging these eggs have to do before they reach the supermarkets.

One article which makes fun reading is about eco activism, people going shopping and unwrapping their goods at the checkout to show how much packaging the supermarket is generating.This week environment minister Ben Bradshaw urged shoppers to teach supermarkets a lesson by dumping wasteful packaging at the cash till. It's not often a member of the government recommends direct action. What would the big chains make of it?

The rest of the day has been spent working in the food factory, making some chilli for tea, home made ice cream, blackberries slowly cooked with a dash of rum and soaking the fruit for the Christmas cake. Recipe will be posted separately.

I managed to argue with the bank and speak of discrimination and they have backed away from the fee for 12 months. That will give me time to see what can be done about it. I argued that the product they wanted me to take out was not suitable as I do not drive, go on holiday and spend much of time at home. Sometimes challenging the charges can be worthwhile.

Evenings are spent playing board games, knitting that sweater which is this year’s warm new piece and spinning yarn from local sheep.

I am looking at my home as a lovely place to be and encourage the family team members to voice what would make it lovelier, nicer and a more pleasant place to be and what has come out is heartwarming. You may have thought that is was about new videos, going out etc, but no, they love the new home cooking from scratch, eating canned peaches with ice cream in November and tasting the sun remembering last summer and above all they want to play board games and have old fashioned fun. That is good, because Santa has been barred from bringing electronic toys.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there

I found your blog recently and am really enjoying it.

I have a quick question as I recently tidied up the garden a bit and have put the pots aside (which I grew courgettes in this year) to be washed out. I wasn't sure whether to just use water or soapy water or water with a bit of tea tree oil. Do you just use a bucket of water with some vinegar added to it? About how much? Any particular kind? Sorry if these seem like silly questions but I'll take advice from anyone who's already done something I plan on doing!

And board games are the best. It sounds like you raise your children much the same way my sister (who's married to a Frenchman and lives in France) does. They love to play board games and have some fantastic ones - some of the ones for adults are really good fun and it's a fantastic way to end an evening after a nice dinner.