Thursday, 25 August 2016

Colour in my veg garden


I have gardened since I was a child when I discovered a box of old seeds in my grandfather's potting shed and since then it is growing fruit and vegetables that has given me the most satisfaction.  However I love flowers too and with not much in the way of a flower garden here in Normandy (Eco-Gites of Lenault to be precise) I do try to include as much colour as possible in amongst my fruit and vegetables.  In many cases, the produce itself is really pretty ...

... like my blackberries turning fast from green to red to delicious black.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

10 Cracking Courgette Recipes

Are you beginning to get fed up of the site of home grown courgettes? 

Every year I await with great eagerness as the first small fruit swell at what seems such a slovenly rate and then - BOOM - such a short time later you are suddenly drowning in courgettes accompanied by howls of "Not more courgettes" from the boys at every meal!  If that is you or you simply fancy ringing the courgette changes here are some recipe you might like to try  .... and one additional use for these summer beauties.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green back to school tips

Week 20 - Green back to school tips


For some the new school term has already started although for others there is a bit more time to get organised before children head back to school.  So have you thought about how you can make this Back To School a bit greener?  It's a great way to instil some environmental values in our kids and could save you some money too. Here are my 7 was to make your return to school a green one.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

August Garden Round-Up


I am sure many gardeners will nod away in agreement when I say that 2016 has been a difficult gardening year.  For us, in Normandy, a mild winter was followed by a long cold spring (in fact we almost had no frosts until March and they continued through April) and then a summer that just took an age to get going.  This all meant a very late start to the growing season.  Usually by now I have been harvesting summer vegetables for weeks but this year I am only just reaching "glut time".  However I am not too worried and so long as we get a nice autumn with no early frosts (I have known them as early as September 28th) then with luck I will be OK - especially as some crops in the polytunnel are looking like being the best I have ever grown.

But first a few pictures from outside the polytunnel:


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Animal Tales 79


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  

My post for this week shows a cunning way to help pigs keep cool on hot weather which is slightly cleaner than their normal way of mud wallowing:



... and did you hear what that naughty piglet did at the end?

Monday, 15 August 2016

How to cool down hot pigs!


We have had some hot weather recently and who doesn't love an ice lolly to cool off.  Not just humans it would seem.  Apparently pigs are very fond of carrot and apple ice blocks too ...








Friday, 12 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 random Green things to do this week

Week 19 - 7 random green things to do this week


What green things have you done this week?  Maybe you have done lots or maybe you need some inspiration - in which case read on as I give you 7 random things you could do this week that are good for the environment.


Friday, 5 August 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Non-supermarket Food Shopping

Week 18 - 7 places to food shop that are not supermarkets


When supermarkets first appeared they were seen as such a boon to the busy housewife.  She could get all her groceries in one place with plenty of choice and as they grew in popularity they also they rapidly grew to the monster enterprises we see today.  But as I wrote in this blog, supermarkets are perhaps not all as wonderful as their advertising would have us believe.  So if you feel you wnt to spread your whopping wings and support other businesses with your food shopping, where can you go? Here are 7 non supermarket places you can get your supplies.

Image from Pixabay

The Negative Side of Supermarkets


The concept of supermarkets started in America in the early 1900's but didn't take off in the UK until after the second world war as rationing was removed.  In the few years since then they have grown exponentially and now sell every conceivable foodstuff as well as all sorts of other goods and services.  They are seen as cheap, convenient and most people use them on a regular basis for most of their food shopping needs.  However are they really as good for you, the consumer and the environment as all their advertising would have us believe?  I think not.

Image from Pixabay

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in August

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.



Animal Tales 78


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  

Please note that for a while I am gong to run #AnimalTales every OTHER Tuesday.  I am at my busiest period with the gite and garden and I know a lot of you are busy with children home on holiday.  After this week the next Animal Tales will be on Tuesday Aug16th but feel free to add up to 2 posts.


Friday, 29 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - Saving Paper

Week 17 - 7 Ways to Save Paper


I did my recycling earlier this week and the if state of the paper recycling bin in our village was anything to go by yesterday we still get through A LOT of paper.  It was full to overflowing!  Whilst paper can be recycled its quality decreases each time to a point when it can no longer be recycled and so new paper needs to be made to replace it.  Also the energy needed to both produce and recycle paper is a contributor to CO2 production.   It all therefore makes sense to reduce how much paper we all use.


Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Animal Tales 77


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Favourites from Last Week ...


It was my birthday last Tuesday and you all gave me wonderful posts.  If you haven't had a read please do pop back now and you can see:

Friday, 22 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Vegetables you can sow in late July/Aug

Week 17 - 7 Vegetables you can sow in late July/Aug


If you have decided rather late in the year that you would like to grow some vegetables or you find you have some gaps in your veg patch there are still seeds you can sown in late July and August.  At this time of year the soil will be dry so do ensure you water seed drills well before sowing and continue to give the seedlings plenty of water once they have germinated.  This blog post gives 15 tips for successful watering which you might like to read. 



Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Animal Tales 76

Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


  Favourites from Last Week ...


Thank you to everyone who linked last week and it was particularly hard to pick favourites.  I loved reading all your posts especially the puffins from The Early Birder and the monkeys from Family Makes but my absolute favourites had to be the new arrivals.  There was Deb's new puppy, Zola Budd and Susan's new kitten although it had to be said Susan just gave us one cute picture so I am hoping for more feline photos in a later post!



Friday, 15 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green House Renovation Ideas

Week 16 - 7 Green ways to renovate your house


When we moved to France our idea was to open a gite (holiday cottage) by renovating an old building thus breathing new life into a derelict building.  We also wanted to do the renovation in the greenest way possible within our budget.  The result, Eco-Gites of Lenault, was the result of our work and now welcomes families from all over the world who can come and to our quiet corner of Normandy, knowing their holiday will not cost the earth.  If you are doing looking to do some renovation on your house here are 7 ideas you can use that will help the environment at the same time.


Combating Potato Blight


There is no denying the Spring of 2016 has been both cool and wet which has meant I have been really late getting things going in the garden.  That said, so long as we get a good Autumn (fingers crossed) this should not be a problem and plants will simply be ready a bit later in the year - there is one notable exception to this though and that is my potatoes.   My potatoes went in late and now have succumbed early to the dreaded disease that is blight thus giving them no time to grow tubers of a decent size. 

So what is blight?  It is a fungal airborne disease that affects potatoes, initially killing the foliage and then passing down underground and affecting the potatoes which can rot to a black slime when stored.  If you  know your (Irish) history you will have heard of blight as it is the potato disease that caused the Great Potato Famine in the mid 1800's when it decimated Irish potato crops leading to an estimated million deaths from starvation and a further million peasants leaving Ireland to try and find a new and better life in America.

Healthy potato plants in the polytunnel

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Bees, Brexit and what you can do to help them


I blogged recently about some of the benefits that the UK environment has experienced under EU membership but there was one noticeable absence from the list - bees.  Bees are responsible for pollinating a large amount of the food crops that find their ways to our plates and whilst experts may argue over exactly how much, in a world which is struggling to feed large amounts of its people, I think it is fair to say we would be better off with bees than without them.  In the UK there are over 250 species of bee but since 1900, 20 species have been lost and a further 35 are endangered.

Image from Pixabay


Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Animal Tales 75

Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


  Favourites from Last Week ...


... were about "pets" with Bob the Spider from Dean at Little Steps and the goat kids, Chocolate and Chip from Emma at Farmer's Wife and Mummy.

Chocolate ans Chip from Farmer's Wife and Mummy

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Brexit and the UK Environment


One of the arguments for voting Leave in the EU referendum was that EU bureaucrats exerted too much control on the UK, forcing member states to accept too many regulation that maybe they would better without.  Too much red tape.  Too many stupid rules.  In some cases, yes, this may have been true but when it comes to the environment the EU has been instrumental in getting some pretty good cross-European policies adopted.  Let me give you a few examples

What has the EU ever done for the UK Environment?


Wildlife

Natural species do not understand man-made boundaries and therefore having environmental policies that stretch across Europe has helped to protect vulnerable species.  High environmental standards and a legal framework across Europe together with EU funding has protected many species in the UK; the bittern is a good example.  This large but secretive bird was on the brink of extinction in the UK due to loss of its habitat - reed beds.  Funding from the EU via the EU Birds and Habitats Directives enabled reed beds to be re-established and now the bittern population is rising.  And not only has the bittern benefited - other reed bed species are now thriving and this in itself encourages green tourism that helps the local economy.

Bittern - Image from Flickr

Friday, 8 July 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 tips to make your pet sustainable

Week 15 - 7 ways to make your pet sustainable


It is quite possible that we look at our lives and wonder how sustainable they are but how often do we think about the pets we own?  Pets, like their human owners, come with a carbon footprint and have a surprisingly high negative impact on the environment.  Did you know the average cat uses 0.13ha of land just in his food production and bearing in mind there are as estimated 7.4 million cats in the UK alone that makes makes just short of a million hectares of land being used purely to produce cat food which incidentally is almost the same amount of forest that Indonesia is losing every year or an area about 1/3 the size of Belgium.  It is also estimated that 2 German Shepherds use the same amount of global resources per year as one Bangladeshi.

So pets do come with a heavy environmental load.  Now I am not, for one moment suggesting we should stop having pets.  Over 80% of UK pet owners say there pets are part of the family and they provide them with companionship, exercise and teach younger family members about the responsibility of caring for others ... but there are steps you can take to reduce the impact your pet has on the environment.




Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Animal Tales 74


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Apologies ...


... for not hosting Animal Tales last week and for the even worse crime of not getting round to commenting on everyone who linked up the week before.  I had to dash to the UK for some family business that has taken up more time than I had expected so I am still playing catch up.  So a HUGE thank you for linking up and I will get round to reading all the posts soon.  Feel free to add an extra post this week if you want to.


Original image from Flikr

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in July

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.


Thursday, 30 June 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 ways to have a sustainable fish dinner

Week 14 - 7 ways to eat fish and be sustainable


Oceans cover over 70% of the surface of the earth and can supply us with vast amounts of food in the form of fish. However overfishing has decimated some fish populations so we need to reduce fishing of these threatened species to allow populations to recover.  Indiscriminate fishing methods such as bottom trawling which catches everything is also very destructive to fish populations.  

Image from Marine Conservation Society

Monday, 27 June 2016

No Animal Tales this week


I have had to go to the UK unexpectedly and so there is no Animal Tales this week.  So sorry but please feel free to add more than one post next week.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a picture of Pumpkin and Limbo Mojo who have spent most of this week breaking out of their field - extra fencing has hopefully foiled their attempts ... for now at any rate.



ANIMALTALES



Saturday, 25 June 2016

Why the public should never have voted in an EU referendum


Tomorrow Great Britain will wake to the day after the EU referendum with the majority of the population possibly nursing a hangover but for such different reasons.  I wanted to take a moment to think about the referendum and why I think it should never have taken place.

Every British citizen in the UK from the age of 18 upwards had a right to vote, including those who had left the UK less than 15 years ago - so that included me as I left 9 years ago.  Democracy is a right not afforded to everyone in the world and for that we should be grateful.  So why I am I saying we should not have had an EU referendum? 

This is why:

The public was been given the chance to vote on something where the outcome would have far reaching effects on the social, political and economic future of Great Britain yet I fear many had no understanding of what remaining or leaving would actually entail.   The information fed to the public, on both sides was, in a mixture of half truths, misinformation, confusing statistics, propaganda with just a spattering of good factual information tucked underneath if you took the time to hunt it down or even knew where to look.  Add then add to this a scary amount of hate propaganda to really spice things up.

So what if you based your vote on the half truths, misinformation, confusing statistics, propaganda or hate? 

A few days ago I was talking to a friend, a lady in her 60s who has worked hard all her life in low paid jobs and brought up 3 children (one with learning difficulties) without state help. She was thinking about voting out because she believed Great Britain puts far too much of HER money into the EU and this will only increase as other countries are allowed to join who she believes are in financial difficulties. Immigration was not an issue to her and she is not a racist.



Our EU contributions amount to just 0.6% of the UK's annul total expenditure and the amount each person pays per day is less that the price of buying The Sun every day.   Her husband reads The Sun. She has no internet and her only source of information will be The Sun, the ITV news she sometimes watches and her friends.  She admitted she didn't know the effect of voting in or out but she was swaying towards out for financial reasons. 


Already since the result we have seen the pound fall by the single biggest amount in 31 years thus making goods imported into the UK more expensive.  Look around and tell me how much of what you can see around you was imported?  Clothes from China, car from Europe, food from around the world?  I would hazard a guess and say not many British made goods.  With a weak pound I now reckon the higher price of imported goods will cost each citizen more than the money the UK puts into the EU per head.  I hope I am wrong but I fear I am not.  Oh and as for £350,000,000 per week (or 78p per person per day), apparently that was a half truth as it did not make any mention of the money we got BACK form the EU.  But hey, who needs the whole truth when you are voting for your country's future?

My friend thought she would be financially better off out of the EU and on that issue alone she put a cross in the leave box.   Her vote counted towards all the votes and now the UK is leaving the EU.

I very much doubt she was alone. 

Some, it would seem, did not even know what the EU is and Google reported that 8 hours after the polls closed searches for the term "what happens if we leave the EU" had more than tripled.   A woman was also reported on the ITV news as saying she is:  "very disappointed" by the results.  The woman continued by saying that "reality" has now hit her and that given her chance again she would vote to remain.  She based her decision on the (mis)information she heard and saw up to the time of the vote.

The public was asked to vote on something that will have long and far reaching effects yet many people had no idea which way to vote as they did not understand the implications of either staying or leaving.  In a general election if you vote in a party you don't like you get the chance to chuck them out again in a few years time.  There is no chance to return to the EU now we have voted out.  Is this really something that was fair to ask the public to vote on? 

And I have not even discussed the hateful xenophobia whipped up by certain right wing parties and individuals nor the fact that the greatest percentage of leave voters were in the over 65 age bracket and will not be around to see the long term effects of their vote because there will be repercussions for many years to come.

I did plenty of research before casting my vote and my feeling, based on what I read and what I saw in this video leads me to feel that the future may not be as rosy as many leave voters expect.



But I will finish on one note.  The decision has now been made and whilst there are calls for a second referendum the British public must live with the future they have voted for.  Like fledgling chicks thrown from the nest by parents who no longer wish to feed and look after them, the UK is now on its own.  Some fledglings flourish and fly high.  Others tumble downwards to a painful end.  How the newly fledged UK manages over the coming years rests, not only in the hands of the politicians, but also in the hands of the British public ... but do they know what they can do to help their country fly high?  Let's hope some-one feeds them facts from now on and not that diet of half truths, misinformation, confusing statistics, propaganda and hate they have been fed to date.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

How the foxglove got its name


Well the long and the short of it is, no-one knows!  There is a child's story that tells how a wily fox placed the bells of a foxglove flower on his pads like gloves so he could sneak up on his chicken prey silently.  But this is simply that, a fairy tail born from the name foxglove rather than being the reason it was thus named.  And apparently no etymologist has manged to find why the Anglo-Saxon's first named this plant, foxglove but it would appear that Christina Rossetti knew it was all just a story.


The Peacock

The peacock has a score of eyes,
  With which he cannot see;
The cod-fish has a silent sound,
  However that may be;

No dandelions tell the time,
  Although they turn to clocks;
Cat's-cradle does not hold the cat,
  Nor foxglove fit the fox.


Image by Kelly Louise Judd

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Animal Tales 73


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Favourites from last week ...


As ever thank you to everyone who linked up last week.  I really enjoyed Leta's post on Attachment Mummy about whether our cats pick us ... because Moo DEFINITELY picked us!  And if you fancy getting up close and personal to butterflies Karen from The Mad House of Cars and Babies has a butterfly house give-away still running.

 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Influence, Indoctrination and Murder


Jo Cox and the man who killed her had 2 things in common.  The same 2 things that we all have in common no matter what the colour of our skin, our gender, religion, lifestyle, sexual preference etc.  We all came into this world with nothing and we will all leave with nothing.  What we choose to with our lives between birth and death is what makes us the person that we are and what makes us all different.

Jo Cox chose to work for people she saw as in desperate need of help and worked to make an equal society.
Her killer chose another path.

I have no idea exactly why he killed her, whether it was for political, personal, religious or other reasons.  I do know that the idea to kill another human is not something he was born with but something he learnt as he went through life.  Things he heard and saw poisoned his mind and led him to have so much hate within that it became acceptable to him to kill a fellow human being.

When I was at University a friend asked me to get him some paracetamol when I was in town.  Later that week, with all the paracetamol he had asked all his friends to get him, he killed himself.  If I had said no, if all his friends had said no, he may well not have killed himself.  He used each of us to help end his life and our help, whilst well meaning resulted in his suicide.  We were all, by default, connected to his death.  Our one small action led to a far greater negative action.

The same is true each time someone says something that berates another human being for simply "not the same as us" - each statement on its own may have no discernible effect but add all these voices together and it is enough to turn to hate.  And hate can lead to a man to take the life of someone who simply stood up for everything he was indoctrinated into believing was wrong.  And why did he believe she was wrong?  Because enough people had told him what she stood for was wrong.

And this is true of any fanatic.
Muslim extremists were not born that way.
Misogynists did not come into the world hating women.
Gay bashers didn't hate the gay community from day one of their lives.
No young child hates another just because they are not from the same country.

For every one of you who has ever railed against immigrants or Muslims or anyone who simply is different, I say that your hands now bear the blood of victims, of whom Jo Cox is the latest in a long line.  You didn't pull the trigger, you didn't plunge the knife but your rhetoric led others to believe it was right to kill.

Each murderer comes into this world with nothing and each will leave with nothing but in between they grow to believe that not all humanity is equal and as such they can kill those whose views differ from theirs.  They would not have come to that conclusion on their own but through what others said and did.  Influence and indoctrination can lead to murder.

Today Jo Cox leaves behind a family who could not have believed yesterday that she had seen her last tomorrow.  And for that I ask you to stop and think about this one thing - YOUR influence.  Murderers are influenced by what they see and hear and for that reason some people will murder tomorrow and the next day and the next or for as long as they are influenced and indoctrinated by others?  And this influence covers everything - religion, race, sexual preferences, gender.  When will it end?  Please do not be part of that influence.  Hateful words breed hate but words of love, understanding and acceptance breed a society that does not kill those simply for being different.

My friend at University may well still have killed himself, even if we had not all bought him the means to do it.  Jo Cox's killer may still have committed murder but I say this: if had had not been fed the far right wing propaganda and instead he had had a life of support, understanding, tolerance, kindness then maybe Jo Cox would be alive today.

Without knowing it, all of us who bought our friend a packet of paracetamol were in each a bit responsible for his death.  Anyone who has talked about hating Muslims or gays or immigrants or women helps to fuel murder.  Do not be part of that hate. Do not be guilty of helping others believe it is acceptable to kill.

Post Comment Love

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Best bee attracting plants

Week 13 - 7 Best bee attracting plants


We need bees.  It is not just honey that bees give us.  As I mentioned in my Weekly Green Tips last week (7 beneficial garden bugs) bees pollinate over 30% of all our food stuffs and without them the future on mankind is believed to be at risk.  As guardians of the open spaces we call gardeners, we therefore owe it to everyone to do our bit to help bee populations by planting a variety of plants they can feed from.

Bees can fly in cooler temperatures than other insects as they are able to generate their own body heat in some way, rather than having to rely on the warmth of the sun to get going.  They can therefore be on the wing from early spring to late autumn so we need be growing plants that provide them food throughout the year.  There are also different species of bees and their tongue length varies so growing different flowering plants to cater for both long and short-tongued species is important.

Generally bees prefer single native flowers rather than complex or non native ones flowers but they also adore wild flowers and weeds so leaving some wild areas in your garden in great for bees.

If you are thinking about growing plants that will best help bees the following list will serve our flying friends well - it offers food plans all through the year and caters for different species.

2 bees feeding on  a passion flower

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Animal Tales 72


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 


Favourites from last week ...


Thanks to everyone who linked up last week.  As summer rolls on (I hope you've been having some lovely weather) it is vital we care for our pets as the temperature rises and Liz Burton's blog on caring for your dog in hot weather, with this info-graphic, was very pertinent.



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Harley Davidson Motorbike for sale


Sorry - Now Sold

OK this is something COMPLETELY different to what I usually blog about but a friend has asked if I would help sell his motorbike.  It is a Harley Davidson Dynaglide FXDS Convertible 1340cc.  It is sold with a camping trailer, transporting trailer, wheel clamp and paniers.




Friday, 10 June 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Beneficial Garden Bugs

Week 12 - 7 Beneficial Garden Bugs


It can be all too easy when out in the garden to squish every bug that passes your way, assuming it ill be damaging to your imminent harvest.  Now admittedly there are a lot of bad beasties out there who want nothing more than to eat your harvest before you do but WAIT- before you squash everyone you need to know which are the good guys, the bugs and beasts that actually HELP get that harvest from garden to plate.



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Tips for Growing Carrots


Fresh carrots really are the best and nothing you can buy at a shop or even a farmer's market will come anywhere near the taste you'll get eating a just-pulled carrot from your own garden.  They are not difficult to grow if you follow these simple steps.


Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Animal Tales 71


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 

This week Moo is modelling ...


... a plastic lampshade!  

She went to be spayed, chipped and vaccinated on Thursday so is now wreaking havoc with her veterinary accessory.  She is doing really well but we'll all be glad when she can have her stitches out and we can bid farewell to the lampshade.  It has not stopped her getting up to tricks though.  We had Perle, the dog from Guadeloupe, staying over the weekend but Moo thought her bed should be requisitioned for recuperative purposes and she successfully managed to get Perle to leave it with a combination of feline stares and gradual forward creeping.  Poor Perle looked so put out especially as she lost her bed to Saari on her last visit!



I would like to add a huge thank you to a local cat charity, Lécole du chat and the members of their local bracnh La compagnie des chats sans maître, who work tirelessly to get abandoned cats off the streets, neutered and re-homed.  Because we took in Moo as a stray they were able to give us a grant towards her spaying.  Merci :)

Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Future of our World is in our Hands


Today, June 5th is World Environment Day.

We only have one world - THIS world and it is our responsibility to protect it for our children and all the generations to come.

Everything we do has has impact on our world but there is plenty each and every one of us can do to reduce the damage we do.

Here are links to blogs I write every Friday in my series called Weekly Green Tips giving simple positive steps we should all be taking.

So starting today, on World Environment Day, let's work together to make the earth a better place.


Friday, 3 June 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in June

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.



Weekly Green Tips - 7 Green Driving Tips

Week 11 - Green Driving Tips


Car driving is not good for the environment.  The fuel cars use produces greenhouse gases such as CO2 which contribute to climate change, something that is also true of electric cars where the electricity they use is likely to have been produced by burning fossil fuels.  Then there is their manufacture which also produces pollutants and environmental damage from the mining of the materials needed to make the car and its parts though the process of making these raw materials into a car and transporting parts and cars from factory to customer.   Work is being done to develop less polluting cars but even these will have an impact on the environment.  I am however realistic enough to realise we are unlikely, in the foreseeable future, to stop using cars, so as a next best step we need to look at ways of driving our cars more efficiently that means we use less fuel and and we need to replace them or their parts less often.

Traffic Jam in New York with a yellow haze of pollution

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A Garden Rethink


As anyone who has read this blog probably realises, I love gardening and in particular growing my own veg.  It was one of our aims, when we moved to France, to be as self sufficient as possible in fresh produce and over the years this has been pretty successful with the exception of cauliflowers which I just cannot seem to grow!  This year is, however, all turning out to be a massive failure on the veg front.

It started with a cold spring that meant I lost tender tomatoes etc to late frosts and it was too wet and cold to get going outside ... and when it was I was away on holiday.  Then my Mum sadly died so I have been back and forth to the UK giving little time to spend in the garden and the only thing flourishing out there is the weeds.  Why why why do weeds grow so well what-ever the weather??!!



Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Animal Tales 70


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 

Thank you so much ...


... for Karen from The Mad House of Cats and Babies for stepping into my shoes last week and hosting Animal Tales as I had to go to the UK again.  Here's a box of kittens by way of a huge thank you, Karen.

Kittens


Saturday, 28 May 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 things you should not be buying

Week 10 – 7 things you do not need to buy


There has been an explosion of self storage units over the last few years which says to me that, as a nation, we are buying far more stuff than we did a few years ago to the point that we have to store it elsewhere as our houses can't cope with it. Come on – stop and think. How much stuff to you realistically need? Separate want from need and you'll probably find it a lot less than what you actually have now or might buy in the foreseeable future. We might now live in a buying culture - yet this culture of buy buy buy is harming our environment?  They take energy to produce, all to often quickly end up in landfill or are simply illegal.  Here are 7 products you really should do not need if you believe in helping the planet become a better place:

1. Overly Packaged Goods


Everything from individually wrapped swedes (Why?) and peeled oranges in plastic pots (WHY again??) to all sorts of goods in cardboard and plastic galore, much of this packaging is unnecessary and all too often it ends up in landfill as it cannot be recycled.   As for those pre-peeled oranges I feel another whole, somewhat ranty, blog post coming on … So come on, let's ditch the unnecessary packaging. Go for products you can buy without all that gumpf around them and let companies know you don't need it.  If we all started removing the packaging from what we have just bought, leaving it in the shop for them to deal with, retailers would soon start pushing manufacturers to reduce levels of packaging.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Animal Tales 69


Animal Tales 69  is being hosted by Karen over at The House of Mad Cats and Babies this week - please do head on over there to add your link and see what animals posts we have for you.

ANIMALTALES

Friday, 20 May 2016

Weekly Green Tips - 7 Ways To Not Waste Bread

Week 9 - 7 Ways to not waste bread


Did you know that in the UK alone 24 million slices of bread are thrown away EVERY day?  That is an obscene amount of waste that landfill cannot keep taking.  Now I know we all fall victim to that odd slice of bread that gets left in the bread bin and gathers an interesting population of mould but overall I am not talking about that.  I am talking about the millions of slices of slightly stale and/or dry bread that are chucked away when, with a little imagination they could be used to create tasty meals.  There are also some simple things you can do to reduce how much stale bread you end up with.  Read on for my 7 tips.



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Animal Tales 68


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs from Tuesday morning through to Thursday night and showcases a wide range of animal related posts. 

My favourites from last week ...

... were from opposite ends of the animal kingdom with Mummy Travels writing about giant manatees and Martyn updating us on his stick insect "flock".  I have no idea what you call a group of stick insects as swarm doesn't seem right.  Any ideas?

Manatee - photo by Mummy Travels

Pigs v Sheep


On our small holding we keep a variety of animals including pigs and sheep.  In the last week I have had to move both our new ewe and lambs and two of our pigs.  The two events sort of went like this:

Moving Pigs


"Oooh, look" said Coco Chanel to Peardrop "the 2 legged one has arrived with a bucket of food and is walking away - we had best follow her then."