Last night I finally made it to the Transition Group meeting, having missed all their lovely summer activities on the community allotment. There has been gardening workshops, apple pressings, potato harvests... local people can find out more on their website. I finished cooking dinner just in time to dash off, whilst the rest of the family got to sit down and tuck in. Still, I was rewarded with a bag of freshly dug potatoes and a jar of Mulberry preserve.
The path to the allotment had big juicy blackberries growing down both sides, which served as a reminder that I need to get a move on and do some foraging. Blackberries, elderberries, bullaces, cobnuts and apples are all ripe for the picking now. Normally I would be out walking daily with Lottie, taking different routes and coming home with tubs and bags full of free food. But poor Lottie has a limp and is confined to the house until she recovers. I was hoping she would be better by now, as going for foraging walks is not the same without her L
On the free food note, I have had my most successful bean growing year ever! It is such fun being able to give them away to family, friends and neighbours. In return my neighbours have given me a recipe for green bean chutney, a jar of greengage jam, a large bunch of lavender and a promise of apples, which rather shames my bean offering. I am glad they appreciated them though. I have been known to dash round the neighbours with a large Baked Alaska to give away. (I made 2 for a large party of teenage girls who then all ate the daintiest slices!) It went down like a ticking time bomb!
We foraged loads of cherries this year, so I borrowed the Transition Groups de-hydrator to dry them. Now I have some dried cherries to add to my porridge. I will try de-hydrating courgettes next. De-hydrated runner beans seem a bit dubious though!
I have been avoiding shops and would be doing so well at reducing the ‘stuff’ entering our home if I hadn’t made several trips to the car-boot sale this summer. After buying jars, tins and baskets, I managed to find wetsuits, clothes and large feather cushions all for a few pounds. Some things are brand new with the labels still attached – so I am helping to clear other peoples ‘stuff’ conscience. The worse bit is that most of the items that aren’t bought will end up in landfill, which is why it is so important to think before you buy anything.
My food cupboards have now been transformed from all plastic containers to nearly all glass. I still find it difficult to throw the plastic tubs in the recycling, because surely it is better for me to re-use them instead? Stopping buying plastic is so hard though. Even at the market some of the stall-holders are so quick that they have your produce in a carrier bag before you can open your mouth. Hand soap has been a success – no more hygienic squirty bottle soap in our house. Its bars of soap wrapped in cardboard. Not so easy to replace shampoo, toothpaste, or cotton wool buds though!
Every small step in the right direction is taking me closer to a more sustainable future J