Thursday, 24 March 2011

Our new visitors

Well littleun wanted a pet and has a huge interest in the unusual so instead of going for a dog or cat he wanted Stick Insects. We have 4 at the moment but having had these as a child I am well aware how quickly this type, Indian Stick Insect - Carausius morosus, can breed. They seem to like the ivy but apparently will eat bramble too, which is just as well as that stuff is going mad on my allotment!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Earth Hour 26th March 2011 8.30pm (local time)

Earth hour started in Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million individuals and over 2000 business turned off their lights for an hour to challenge the increasing problems of climate change.

Over the years more people, more countries and finally Governments started to join in with this. Though has it made a direct effect? If you listen to David Cameron he says he supports this and is intent upon becoming known as the Greenest Government this county has had to date. So why then does his government keep coming up with daft ideas? I know the forest sell-offs were reversed but “we” have just decided to go to war in Libya, supposedly to help with freedom but coincidently in a country that is oil rich. I am not a fan of this move as I am not convinced that the Government is being honest in its dealings with it. We need to hunt out renewable sources not kill people to retain old and non renewable methods. Ok an over simplistic view perhaps and I am sure that there can be debates on all sides forever about it being more than oil, but you get my point?

So rather than being a clone and just thinking “I know I’ll do my hours bit” on the 26th why not do what Earth hour are hoping for and make greater stands with more pronounced changes? In this house we try and turn lights off, things aren’t generally left on stand-by and we don’t use the car for just a five min trip. But how can we improve our impact on the world? We already recycle and try hard to eat within seasons so that the food we buy is only from local areas (max 30 miles) the exception to this is Littleuns bananas, a greedier monkey you’ll never meet!

Well we have decided that although the lamps use energy bulbs we don’t really need them, so have for the next month decided to pack away all lamps and see if we can live without that form of light. We have chosen to block the switch on the fridge to stop the small waste through that and instead of using ordinary torches we are starting to change them (as they break) into wind up torches. Lastly Littleun and I have agreed to cut back on the use of the TV and radios. Instead of just putting it on then wandering out of the room to switch the radio on in the one we end up in we are now going to choose one or the other and actually turn it off if not in the room as well as cutting out the dross which really is wasting an hour at least of our lives each day!

So what will you do? If not a lot then do at least do the hours switch off and make the lantern in support (follow link here). But if you can do more, then please do, little things will lead to bigger savings if we all do it.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Sundried Tomato Bread

Last year some friends of ours gave me some jars of tomatoes they had dried. Yummy and tasty they were too. And gone in a flash. or so I thought until Sunday when in a bit of a need to cheer up mood I went hunting through the cupboard to try and track down a lost bar of chocolate. There in the back corner was one remaining jar. Problem was I had nothing except cheese to eat it with. So after hearing a certain Someone say how well their loaf had turned out I thought well that's what I'll do, use some in a loaf and scoff the rest with the cheese.
Rather nice with the chutney and cider it was too:
Sundried Tomato Bread Recipe
you will need;
425gms of strong white bread flour
1tsp salt
40gms Parmesan Cheese (though I used the strong cheddar and that worked fine)
50gms Sundried Tomatoes chopped and drained
3tbsp Sundried Tomato Paste
2tbsp Oregano or Rosemary finely chopped
7gms Yeast
225ml Warm Water
Put the flour, salt cheese, tomatoes and paste into a large bowl. Add the chopped herbs and yeast then pour in the warm water.
Mix together with your hands until mixture combines to make a rough dough ball.
Tip dough ball out onto a lightly floured surface and stretch and knead the dough four about 10 mins till smooth ad elastic.
Shape into greased tin press indentations and scatter the extra herbs, drizzle with some of the oil from the tomatoes and sprinkle with salt.
Cover loosely with clingfilm. Leave in a warm place until doubled in size (about 30-40 mins).
Preheat oven to 220c/gas 7. Remove clingfilm from dough and reduce temp to 200c/gas 6. Bake for 35mins till golden.

Monday, 14 March 2011

7 weeks to go

Ok I know we have Ostara/Eostre first yet to come but for this house there are two main events in our nearby community in the year which are very important to us.

The first is Beltane/ Jack in the Green. In 7 weeks we will have the busiest weekend of fun, music and laughter. It’s a great time for friends to catch up, for new friends to join in and for the community as a whole.

The gowns and robes from last years have come back out and alterations are on the way. Littleun is prone to this irritating habit of growing out of things! I am on the hunt for new shoes (well perfect reason to buy some) but seem to be having no luck so far. They need to be green and suitable for dancing as well as long term wear. Fingers crossed something will pop up soon.

This year is promising to have a fantastic lineup with the programme to be found here. Looking forward to the Ceilidh and hoping to get the Fella along to it (He foolishly said He could dance!).

The ivy for our decorations has started is re-growth with vigour recently, so that is looking like a good crop can be had without damaging the main plant. We also planted some wild flowers in a section at the allotment so that I can use them in the head-dresses and there are shoots sprouting through the earth already.

But first there is as said above Ostara/Eostre to come and as that is only around the corner I had better get going with those plans, egg blowing and chocolate making at the ready.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Has it really?

Been over a month since my last post? Oh my how time has gone quickly.
Well a brief update then. We have been slogging away at the allotment getting it all ready for the planting out of things. The onions went in and the borders were made with some old wood from a builder friend. Trenches dug for the potatoes and the herb area cleared too.
We have managed to get a lot of daffodils from littleuns bulbs and the house is smelling fantastic with them all around the place. Bright and cheerful yellows peeking out from every corner.
We have also had a half term break and took the time to go visit friends up town and catch up. Visited the Greenwich Maritime and observatory. Which was lovely, the first warm day of the year and we were wandering about in just t-shirts, no need for jumpers or coats for us brave bunch.
The observatory was great as littleun is fascinated with the sky, stars, Moon and Sun as well as clocks so this was a good mix of things he could look at as well as some hands on fun. Ties in nicely with the steampunk that he has now discovered and got me making (Captain Nemo anyone?!).
We've also been making the new clothing needed for this years Beltane festival whilst at the the same time writing petitions and letters to stop the governments plans of scrapping May Day Bank Holiday. Somewhat nervous we will lose this one and that will have a huge impact on us both as Pagans and the local communities across the Counties here.
So as you can see not a lot of time for my ramblings. A balance which needs addressing!