Changing the way we live

We’ve been watching the Sir David Attenborough Netflix series, Our Planet. The filming is stunning, as you would expect from an Attenborough series. While we laughed a little at the whole concept. Look at the lovely/pretty/magnificent/abundant life, which humans are destroying… It did make us think. So we’re going to be changing the way we live, a little at least.

In the Garden

I already grow stuff in my garden, but it is still mostly grass. The soil underneath is poor and full of rubbish. It would be a mammoth task to dig it all out, dispose of it, and deal with it that way. We’ve been here over 7 years now, and I know I won’t do that.

changing the way we live

But my chickens love the weeds, give me eggs, and produce plenty of fertiliser – so I’ve been using that and home made compost to create raised beds. That started last year and I had reasonable success in growing things.

We’ll be growing more of our own fruit and veg. I have leeks, onions, and garlic growing. There are strawberries, apples, and pears forming. The first few carrots are coming up. The windowsills in my house are filled with trays of compost and seedlings for peas, beans, courgette, pumpkin, tomato, pepper. We grow what we like to eat.

But, in changing the way we live and do things, I need to look at the balance of the garden. My garden is lacking in flowers, other than the fruit blossoms, and veg flowers. So, I’m planning to clear a patch for a small meadow type area filled with colour and variety. I have a small buddleia to put in the ground somewhere. There’s a sage to add to the herb garden, and another shrub to go in somewhere. I think it’s a japonica of some sort? Spirea, maybe? The label got lost…

Pink foxgloves

That’s the outside.

In the house

We are increasingly frustrated that we have to recycle such a large amount of waste. Don’t misunderstand, I’m all for reusing and recycling. But there is so much that comes from our regular shopping trips that is completely unnecessary.

I compost most of our food waste. Any garden waste goes to the chickens. Card gets used in the garden as weed suppressant.

So, it’s the plastic, glass, and tins. The plastic is my biggest issue. Why do you need to plastic wrap everything? Do you need to wrap carrots, broccoli, apples? Why not have all fruit and veg loose, and have paper bags for us to use?

I will do my bit, and more, because I care. But the greater responsibility lies with big business, with producers and suppliers. Come on, sort this out!

We’re also committing to eat less meat. Not going totally vegetarian, sorry, we like meat too much and don’t like the veggie alternatives. But we’ll be trying to have 3 or 4 meat free days every week. This will be day 3 in a row for me.

That’s where we are right now. Making small changes, and hoping it makes some difference.

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Rubbish at blogging

I think I can safely and confidently say, I am rubbish at blogging. I start out with great intentions. In between working, running errands with my Dad, and family life, I should be able to fit in 1 or 2 blog posts each week.

But I don’t. I run out of ideas for posts, and I get disheartened when there is no response to anything I write.

So, I’m feeling like there is little point in having this as the main first page for the site. Perhaps the shop should be at the front?

As always when I feel like this, I am debating a site update. Redecoration and redesign. It’s the part of maintaining a website that I love.

Instead of erratic rubbish blogging for the sake of posting something, I’ll move the blog part to a back burner somewhere, and post now and then when there is real news.

Well, there it is. I’ll start tinkering about tomorrow. In between gardening, cleaning out the hens, rearranging the car’s MOT….

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Sun is shining!

It’s Valentine’s Day today, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. The air is almost warm, garden is starting to think about coming to life after winter. I am still happily single, and will receive no flowers, no chocolates, and no I love yous.

And that is perfectly fine.

But Spring is coming, and it’s time to get outside again, camera in hand, and see if I can capture some of the things I see.

sun is shining

The moon always fascinates. At an average of 289,000 miles away, I find it incredible that my eye can see so much detail. Even more so that with a few tweaks to the settings, my camera can capture that detail so well.

For that shot, I used my Nikon D3300 with the Sigma 70-300mm lens – fully extended, and set to manual focus. Autofocus on the lens will never cope with that distance. The camera is in fully manual mode (M), with the settings as follows:

  • ISO 200
  • f11
  • Shutter 1/250

I didn’t change anything else. So there’s no exposure adjustment, white balance is set to Auto.

It helps if you have a tripod to steady the camera as the slightest bit of shake will cause problems. A tripod will remove that, if you have one. I’m lazy, and I lean on my washing line to steady my arm and hand. I’m pleased with the result.

While the sun is shining, and the moon is bright, I’ll be playing with the camera again, and that feels great!

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Happy Birthday

Today would have been my brother’s birthday. He would have been 46. I can’t imagine him being 46. And through his own choice, he never will be. He will be forever 22. Happy Birthday, little brother.

In a month I’ll turn 50, and I can’t imagine that either – but it’s happening anyway.

Birthdays can be hard days.

The world turns, moves round the sun, and life goes on. We lose people, we gain people. We have good days, the best days, and bad days, and the worst days. And everyone’s best and worst days are peculiarly special for each of us. My worst day might seem like nothing to you, and your worst seem like nothing to me.

But we all need to appreciate that we are all different, and are affected by life in different ways. We each need to be kind to one another, to try to listen and reach out. Not to fix, not to interfere, but just to be there, to support.

If you need help, if you’re having one of your rough days, reach out. Someone cares, someone will listen. I promise.

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Snow days

Snow days

Across the UK during the past week or so, we have had snow days. It’s nowhere near as problematic as in some places, but it does disrupt things. I suspect, mainly because we’re not used to it!

So, with closed roads and school, advice is do not travel unless absolutely necessary. But mostly, life carries on as normal, just with an extra sweater, and added gloves!

But the Nikon camera struggles with all that white. When you’re faced with a large expanse of very bright, such as snow, the auto exposure settings can struggle. You end up with images that are over exposed and too glaringly shiny. The sea on a bright, sunny, day can have the same effect.

Fortunately our snow days haven’t been a total white out, and I did get some reasonable pictures.

On most DSLR cameras there will be a way to compensate for this. On the D3300 there is a tiny button with + and – symbols, near the on off switch. Press and hold this and thumb the wheel on the back of the camera to turn exposure up and down. This only works in manual or semi-manual modes. The function is not available in the auto modes. You’ll need to play around with it and see how much difference it makes for you.

A hood for the lens can help too, it shades the sensor a little and blocks some of the glare.

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