Recent goings on!

Well, I did promise a longer post to let you know what I’ve been up to!

I’ve spent a lot of the last couple of weeks doing what I can for the current refugee crisis. I took it upon myself to get fundraising started in my local community. We had a community meeting and decided that we would support Oxfam and the excellent work they are undertaking in the refugee camps out in Lebanon and Jordan (amongst other things).

We kicked off our fundraising with a coffee morning and bake sale in a local church hall last Saturday where we raised £600 and enjoyed some delicious cakes too!

My cakey contribution:

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It was pretty busy all morning, we estimate there were at least 100 people which was an excellent turnout!

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The lovely group of volunteers who helped me to run it:

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We’ve also been having some tasty home baking at our mother and toddler group and have raised another £20 this way so far.

I’ve also been having a rummage through the house for suitable clothes and things I could donate to the charities taking supplies out to the refugees. I’m pleased to say I was able to find quite a lot, including: 2 sleeping bags, 3 roll mats, 4 coats, trousers, jumpers, wellies, backpacks, vac packed food, matches, water purification tablets. And my mum and I combined it with a few things bought specially including: underwear, socks, toiletries, medicine, stationary, nappies. It felt like a lot of stuff, and yet not a lot at the same time.

I also wrote little notes and put them in pockets and under straps. I hope whoever receives my donations can take some comfort in knowing that people still care about them. My lovely big boy also insisted on doing some drawings “for the people who had to run away from their homes”.

And because, as my dad always says, you can be sure your good deeds will not go unpunished, some charming person decided to key my car, also last Saturday.

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Very kind… I’m not sure who I’ve offended to quite that degree but to attack my car in my driveway like that, it must be bad. And it goes the whole way from the headlights to the taillights. Great.

But, to end on a more positive note, we have finally finished our front garden transformation! We had grey pebbles which just looked so… bleh. Now we still have the veg patch, and we lifted the remainder of the stones and created a curved corner flowerbed and laid turf:

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I’m so pleased with the finished garden, it looks so much more alive and inviting! I feel like we actually have some kerb appeal now!

My Veg Patch

So this year I have created a little veg patch in my gardern. I was a little worried for a while that nothing would come of it as the soil had been under gravel and one of those anti-weed mats for a long time. We first had to remove all the stones, then the ground needed dug over three times before we could even think about planting anything in it. Lots of hard work, which we hoped would be worth it in the end, but if nothing else was a lot cheaper than joining the gym!

As you may remember it was still cold very late on in the spring this year, so for a long time none of the seeds I planted wanted to poke their little heads up through the soil, and I was feeling kinda sad that my project hadn’t worked. But finally the nice weather did arrive, with just enough rain to keep everything healthy, and all of a sudden things began to happen. We came back from our family holiday to find not the tiny seedlings we had left, but this:

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Which was a nice surprise! I’m not quite sure why some of the plants had already gone to seed (I’m not claiming to be any kind of expert gardener!), maybe it was the strange seasons. So out they came to leave more space for the healthy plants.

This gave us our first taste of the crops we had put all the effort into planting, caring for and finally picking. And, in a word: delicious!

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Now, it’s been three weeks since that first photo of the patch, and look how much it has come on:

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The curly kale seems to be trying to take over the world, but then the cabbage, turnip, broccolli, brussel sprouts, beetroot and peas aren’t exactly being too shy about coming out either! This next picture is the kale after I have chopped a huge amount off it. You can hardly tell the difference!

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The peas are incredible. Young sir was so delighted with them we just popped open a pod and had a snack of fresh peas, just minutes off the plant:

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The first of the yellow beetroot is looking ready too. I’ve never tried it before so I’m not really sure what to do with it! But it’s one of these ingredients that people like Jamie Oliver always use so I thought I’d give it a try. If you have any suggestions let me know as I’ve got lots of it!

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And I’m really excited that the broccolli is starting to … erm … broc? He he, you see what I mean: the edible part is beginning to grow.

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Even the rhubarb, which is a cutting from my parents’ garden, is doing well. We actually ate this tasty lot for pudding last night, a little tart but still yummy 🙂

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The only down side I’ve found to home grown veg, and it really is a minor one, is having to find and remove all the little bugs before cooking. My mum thinks I’m mad as I insisted on rescuing and rehoming the catterpillars, but as someone who likes butterflies I don’t really understand her complaint! And as someone told me: it’s better to be washing off bugs than chemicals. Very true!

So basically what I’m trying to say is: here’s to summer, gardening and growing your own!

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