A new raised bed….maybe.

What a busy weekend!  Nearly all of Saturday was devoted to building things.  I found a handy design online from  someone who had made raised beds from pallet trays, borrowed a jigsaw from  Mr EN and got to work.  I’ve never actually used a jig saw before, and have to say enjoyed getting to grips with how to use it.  My least enjoyable part was I think extracting the nails.  Some  were ok, but some were absolute bar stewards, and refused to come out without first receiving a stern talking to for about 10 minutes with a large hammer.  I am a rather slightly built lady, but what I lack in bulk I make up for in enthusiasm, and there was no way a stubborn pallet was getting the better of me!

Here are the results of my efforts with the jig saw and hammer :

Stage2

The next bit was almost simple in comparison, and just involved screwing the relevant bits together,  resulting in a nice 6’x3′ raised bed 🙂

Stage3

A slight concern has been raised since I made it by a colleague, who says he bought one because he heard that pallet wood can be contaminated.  I have done a quick google and there do seem to be some concerns regarding pallet wood.  Mostly it seems to be around pallets that are pre 2005, but I don’t know how old any of these guys are.  All the sites talk about stamps on the  pallets to idenify  them, but I didn’t notice any stamps, and besides, pallets are used for carrying lots of different loads over the course of there lifetime, and there is no way  of identifying all of  them.

So, that has definitely taken the jam out of my donut 😦

Not quite sure what do now :((

On a slightly more upbeat note, on Sunday we went to the local car boot sale, and de cluttered majorly, and made a few bob whilst we  were there.  Most interesting sale was to a Grandma,  who bought my daughter’s Harry Potter cloak (aged 5-6) for her unborn grandchild.  Now there is some forwards planning!

In the spirit of cutting down on packaging and eating more healthily,  I made 2 loaves of bread over the weekend, and also made home made pizzas for Friday night tea.  I used some  locally milled bread flour, which actually tasted a little yeastier than than the flour I got from  Waitrose last time.  The farm shop where I bought it has some flour specifically for pizzas, so will try that next time.

12371259_10153992386107650_1500117647642472880_o

EN

 

Edit – Have found this post which seems to be the best one on the subject.  Will be applying a sealant to my new raised bed this week and then hopefully can get to filling it.

Advertisements

Raised Beds

So, in my quest to grow my own vegetables, a little creativity is needed as the house we are in atm has two disadvantages:

  1. The garden is small.
  2. It’s fully landscaped leaving little room for our veggie friends.

Actually, there is a third disadvantage.  Mr EN thinks that I don’t have enough time to scratch my skinny arse let alone build raised beds and grow food.  He also likes the current low maintenance aspect of it.

However, I am very stubborn persuasive and so currently have this sat in the back garden :

IMG_4608

The lovely farmer where I keep my ponies has said that I can have as many of these as I like, so the plan is on Saturday I’m going to start turning them into raised beds.  Now, the last time I did woodwork was at school, so this is unlikely to be a quick, or pretty process, but I’m hoping it will be worth the effort.  I am also going to be using some of it to make a bird box as we’re trying to encourage more wildlife into the garden and youngest daughter is very keen to be involved in this 🙂

Vegetarianism

So, as you may have  gathered from my first post, I am not your standard vegetarian.  My reasons for going vegetarian have little to do with animal welfare, although that is important to me so I have been buying free range/organic meat and eggs for some years now.  I have also considered going vegan for those reasons, but think that the dairy produced over here have far better welfare standards than the ones  we hear scare stories about so  often in America, so for now I am continuing to indulge my love of cheese and milk.

However, that all said, I haven’t eaten a scrap of meat since Christmas Day 2015, and prior to that hadn’t eaten any meat for  a month or so.  I am  still eating fish, although a post from a blogger I follow, and articles like this one in the Huffington Post are making me seriously rethink this.

Shortly after I decided to go veggie, my youngest daughter watched a video which included some information on the production of meat for consumption, and decided to go veggie also.  She is 10, and has been veggie also for around 2 months.

Since the decision, I have been avidly collecting veggie recipes on pinterest, along with all the sugar free ones I can, as I avoid sugar like the plague since reading books like That Sugar Book and Sweet Poison .  Given my husband is coeliac, it means I have to get quite creative at times in the kitchen, which I don’t always have time for.  I try to make all my own bread, and LOVE my bread maker.  I use rice malt syrup instead of sugar, and it’s  just lush, I’d never go back to buying bread now.  I’m getting into the swing of making rolls also to help out with lunches.

Given how much I love bacon, and how much meat I used to eat, I’m amazed at how much I’m loving being veggie.  It has really pushed me into being a lot more creative, and I’ve found that I really don’t miss the meat at all.  I do need to do a quick check at some point though to make sure we’re getting all the vits, minerals and the like that we need, especially as the mini EN is doing it too, but our diet is fairly varied and getting more so all the time, so I think we’re doing ok.

I think I’ll pin a post with veggie resources (for my own benefit more than anything else, as I don’t know if anyone would ever be interested in reading my ramblings).

Lunch over, signing out for now.

EN

Eco beginnings

Where to begin?  I’ve made what are for me, some pretty momentous decisions recently, and decided I ought to capture them for posterity.  Whether the blog will survive once these decisions have been either fulfilled, or fall by the wayside is another matter, I guess that depends upon the outcome, and whether it looks like anyone is at all interested in what I’m doing/writing about.

First then, a little bit about myself is probably necessary.  I am an approaching 40 mother of 3 girls, aged 10, 15 and 17, trying to hold down a full time job, and cope with the varying angst ridden hormonal disasters which go along with teenage girls.  I ought to add that I do have a (long suffering) husband, Mr EN, who also helps with these matters.  We also have 2 horses and a bunny.

Whilst I have been aware that there are concerns about Global Warming, it is not something I have ever taken much note of, until fairly recently.  I can’t quite recall what finally opened my eyes to the full enormity of it, but a colleague of mine has certainly helped, and it was following reading a book he recommended Sharon Astyk’s ‘Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front’ that I was really spurred on to take action.

So, I wanted to capture somewhere the decisions I’ve taken as a result of my new found knowledge, and then hopefully record my progress with them over the next year or so.

Decisions

  • Become vegetarian – I took this as a result of two pieces of information that came to me in quick succession.  From an eco point of view, this article had a big impact on me : https://www.chathamhouse.org//node/19182  And from a health point of view, this news made me sit up and think, that’s a risk I’m not prepared to take.
  • Not buying anything for a year – Ok, so I don’t mean literally anything.  But I do mean anything not absolutely necessary.  So exclusions are food and basic personal hygiene items.  Also knickers and socks, but mainly for my youngest, as she’s constantly growing atm.  Books I will still buy, but either second hand, kindle version or will loan from library/friends.  If there is something we desperately need, I will source locally second hand, or build/create myself.
  • Growing my own food – I want to grow a good proportion of my own food this year.
  • Buying locally sourced products – I want to try to get as much food that I can’t grow, from local sources.
  • Make as much as I can that we need.
  • Decrease my energy consumption by 25% over the following year.
  • Seriously decrease the amount of packaging/plastics we as a family consume.
  • Pay off an extra 5% of my mortgage this year (more next year as I work my way towards Financial Independence – we have big commitments this year)
  • After this year, not have any further holidays abroad.

So, more blogs to expand on these items over the next few weeks.  I have lots of plans in the pipeline, but a major hurdle is most of my family think I’m crazy, and humour me rather than actively buy into any of my plans.

Posts are necessarily short, as I will be writing them in my half hour lunch…..but hopefully will be frequent.  Watch this space 🙂