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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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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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Making time

Today is about making time to do things. Over the winter I’ve let things slip, rested back on habits and conveniences that aren’t ideal. We’ve eaten ready meals, far too much junk food, and fallen asleep on the sofa way too often.

Then on lottery, or euromillions, day, we sit and play the what if game. If we win, we’ll have this house, we’ll move and live there, if we have more time to do stuff we’d write, grow things, etc. But would we? really? If we’re not making time to do those thing now, why would a bigger house or more money make that much difference?

I fancy having a go at lino printing, so why wait? Recently I wanted to get back into writing but I find that despite having hours in which to write, I don’t.

I think it’s time for a change in attitude. So, yesterday I loaded up the slow cooker and make a batch of what I call mince mix. It’s a tomato base with onion, courgette, pepper, mushrooms, which is blitzed smooth using my hand blender when it’s cooked. Then I add in a large pack of beef mince and let is cook for a couple of hours. That gets made into pasta bolognese when it’s fresh. Once it’s cool, I make lasagne, or freeze portions.

But my freezer is over-full and needs defrosting. So, 2 of us had pasta bolognese last night, 2 of us are having cottage pie or pasta bake tonight. I like cottage pie, my daughter doesn’t, so I made individual dinners. And I made a 4 person lasagne for when my son and his girlfriend visit at the weekend, and a 2 person lasagne for my daughter and I another day.

My point is that I am making time to cook more healthy food from scratch, in advance. It makes meals easier.

It’s far too easy to fall into habits that don’t actually help us. So, I’m trying to change that, at least a little bit.

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Success comes in many forms, and we don’t always recognise it when it arrives. A promotion at work, exam results, all are often celebrated as success.

But what about the smaller things that happen every day in our lives?

This is a snowdrop, the flower just about to open, tucked away in a flower bed at the back of my garden. I’ve never been able to grow snowdrops before, and I love them.

Last Autumn I bought another pack of bulbs and put them in 3 different spots in the garden. Determined to succeed! In one of the three places there are snowdrop plants coming up and one has a flower! I count that as a success.

There are times when you can feel like a failure. But I was told many years ago to train myself to look for the positives, to look for the smaller achievements that happen in our lives every day.

So, you might have got that promotion you were after. That pay rise might not have happened. The new recipe you tried might not have gone to plan.

But look at the day, what did go right? What went well? What did YOU achieve? Did you make someone smile? Some days, for some people even being able to say I was able to get up and go to work would be a positive step. For some, being able to feed their family would be a success.

I’m certain there is something you can be proud of, even if you have to look really hard for it, it is there. It just depends where you measure it from.

For me, today it was my beautiful snowdrop. There were other good things that happened, other successes, but that tiny flower was the one that really made me smile.

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