25 June 2017

Mini Harvests - June

Pretty and edible nasturtium (Tropaeolum) flowers and some fascinating purple poded mangetout "Shiraz". These are some of the crops that make the garden colourful and interesting.

June has been incredibly warm. This week was probably the warmest one of year so far. Even though the garden is only about eight minutes uphill from our place, I don't go there much, except for the weekends. When I do it is just to check that everything is ok, fill up the bird feeder and give the plants a thorough watering. 

Ours is a small-scale garden, it doesn't feed us much except for potatoes but it keeps me entertained and outdoors and I am thankful for it. Occasionally I get to pick something that wasn't eaten by birds or slugs and I do a bit of jumping around with joy and then a bit of eating :)

My first actual harvest of gooseberries! They are ripe and sweetly tart as they should be. My last year's crop got eaten by birds. I believe this year's one survived because of my neglect - the bush was overgrown with weeds and nettles and not so visible to the hungry birdies. I bought the bush from Poundland just to give it a try and it worked out!

More mangetout Shiraz. The youg flay pods can be eaten raw or steamed or it can be shelled and eaten like normal peas. I think the mature seeds will go purple as well, because the original dried seeds from the packet wee very dark. 

More nasturtium and mangetout. You can never have enough (especially if they are this tiny :)) Both of these ended up in my afternoon salad.

The lavender bush is gradually producing more and more flwoers. I dried a small batch for our living room but kept the rest for the bees.

18 June 2017


For the past couple of months I have been realising more and more that life is somehow unnecessarily complicated. There was too much stuff, actual physical items (the books I have read and will never do again, the "hobbies" that I have abandoned yet the clutter remained, the still unpacked things that I brought with me when moving but never really found place for) and also the thoughts in my head, the feeling like I want to take better care of me, my family, my surroundings and want to live in a place that promotes joy and happy thought and is comfortable and where I could do my work without thinking "oh, I must do the dishes" or "that corner really needs sorting out".

So I decided to start simplifying by changing a few small things.

  • I have closed down my Etsy shop. Occasionally someone would buy something and it would make my day but overall financially and time-wise it wasn't worth it. And I hated the thought that I am making my hypothetical living by creating items nobody really needs and using up resources and then the finished projects just sit in a box and wait for someone to buy them. With the rules changing so often I am a bit hazy on what they are at the moment and then the email saying that if I want to keep my status as a seller, I have to update my payment method to direct checkout/Etsy payments otherwise my account will be suspended, the best thing to do was to just let it go. It didn't make me feel unhappy at all, which means it wasn't really important to me.
Knitting a blanket for my friends' baby. Knowing that I am making it for someone seems more purposeful.

  • Changing the way I blog. It can be so time consuming! Especially editing all the photos (which believe it or not I was still doing in paint). I decided to watermark my photos (I am using free software called uMark which allows you to watermark photos in batches) rather than add the border and signature by copying and pasting. It is much faster and hopefully will encourage me to blog more often because it makes it so simple. And who knows, I might start experimenting with some simple collage apps in the future and make the most of what is available out there. That way blogging will not be cutting into my personal time.
Sorting out yarn bits. Turns out takeaway containers are great for this!

  • Having a massive sortout. I have a whole board on Pinterest called "Organising and De-cluttering" where I have collected ideas for a cleaner and more organised home and office. I have already organised my craft supplies, seeds and electronics (chargers, memory sticks, headphones) in 9 litre Really Useful Boxes that I got from Hobbycraft and used a shoe organiser (which already came with useful hooks) to put our cleaning products into order. Some of these have been here when we moved in and really need using up. This way they are all in one place and we know exactly what and how much of it we have.I also organised my work resources in a similar way and it is amazing how much space it freed up - not only in my classroom but also in my head.
The much needed organising.

  • Gardening without getting frustrated. Our garden has it's own life. Not everything grows and the things that do vary in harvest from year to year. It is shady and full of weeds, slugs and voluntary plants. Last years tiny forgotten potato tubers are now growing - through the nasturtiums, through the peas, amongst tomatoes and broad beans... You know what? I gave up fighting it and I embraced it. It gives the place a rather permacultural mixed-up vibe. I also like the fact that you have to be there and interact with the garden in order to get to know it. I garden because I love it - so what's the point of getting frustrated? 
The nasturtiums while they were still on the windowsill. Now they are growing
in the garden, winding their way around some potato plants.

  • Mindfully enjoying the little things. They are what makes life so great! Whether it is a cup of tea, good book, cool breeze in the middle of the day, sun shining in through the window in the morning, having a short chat with a neighbour or a new leaf growing on a pot plant, they are all worth being happy about. Discarding them as too small and unimportant makes days gloomy. Little things can bring a lot of joy.
Homemade bundt cake made with eggs from my friend's chickens and a cup of hot coffee. Isn't it joyful?

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