I am writing this on ‘Global Climate Strike day’ - did any of our readers get involved, too? This day was all about reducing CO2 in the atmosphere and to confront the growing climate crisis we face and to help secure a better future for all of us...

Limiting our CO2 emissions
October 2019

So, here are some things we can do ourselves to limit our CO2 emissions:

  • Drive less and/or fly less: have a ‘staycation’. Britain has got some really lovely places to visit too!
  • Buy less: before buying something new, consider whether the old one is really broken and/or if it really needs replaced ‘new’.
  • Also; ‘best before’ dates on food products usually means they are still okay to consume, ‘use by dates’ are not.
  • Grow some or most of your own vegetables and fruit: this way you get a free ‘work out’ and you are reducing mileage used to transport vegetables to your home. Or if you haven’t got a garden: only eat British grown fruit and veg; again less transport involved and a more varied diet throughout the year.
  • Plant a native tree in your garden: for a large garden, choose oak, ash or rowan. Or for a small garden choose alder, bird cherry or holly. And enjoy the many species of birds that will pay you a ‘flying’ visit!
  • Eat less meat, no meat or only ‘wild’ meat: It takes many kilograms of grain to feed every 1kg of cow and these guys are big! These grains could be used to feed us too. Besides this, a cow emits CO2 and methane (from you know what and where), whereas plants absorb CO2.

As you know I have been growing my own vegetables and fruit for quite some time now. Some years ago a small plant grew beneath our birdfeeder from oats and wheat that had spilled out of it and fallen onto the ground (those birds are such messy eaters!). I collected the grains from that plant and re-sowed them. I did that for some years and now I can sow my own little bed of oats and wheat. The birds are happy too, of course, but now the birds have expanded their ‘home-grown’ seeds and sowed (dropped) rapeseeds from the bird feeder. I’ve let the plants grow again and they now are huge! I collected the rapeseeds in September and managed to fill a jar full to the brim (and still had some left over)! Busy bees these birds! Or busy birds these birds to be more exact!

The birds aren’t the only creatures that have been busy this month. So have the spiders in our greenhouse! It’s no secret I’m not too keen on spiders (bit of an understatement there!) and the greenhouse at this time of year is a hotspot for the larger sized ‘eight legged freaks’. I asked my husband to kindly ask them to leave while I waited outside, whimpering. We are now the not-so-proud owners of ‘Roxy’ the spider, ‘Harriet’ the spider, ‘Shelob’ the spider and ‘Rana the spider. We named them after our neighbours’ dogs, in order of size, from smallest to largest. Well, except Shelob who is named after the giant spider from ‘Lord of the Rings’).

Poor old Punky! Our neighbours’ new chickens seem to have completely taken over the place and banished our lot far from the house. At long last Punky has stopped feeling broody, but when she came off her nest, she was missing her 2 pals, Caramello and Tufty, who were hiding from our neighbours’ bullying hens. Now she’s too scared to come out of the run. I think she has been picked on one too many times by the neighbours’ chickens and doesn’t quite know what to do about it. Some days she even goes to bed by 3 o’clock in the afternoon! I feel sorry for her because she is all alone in the run, on the plus side it does mean she has access to all the food available and gets extra titbits too, so every cloud and all that. I guess Punky the Punkster is the new star of the newsletter, albeit a completely different one from ‘The Hooligan’ aka the most famous chicken in Stirling. Remember her?

One thing I’m going to try not to do next year is complain about my vegetables not growing before the end of October, because despite the very slow start, everything is now catching up... big time! I honestly thought I wasn’t going to get any cucumbers this year, but the 4 plants are now producing lots of fruit and I’ve been busy pickling them. Also the runner beans I wrote about some months ago are finally growing, nothing like the 6 kg we had last year, but we’ll probably end up with enough for a couple of meals! And the courgettes... they are massive! Sadly, we also had potato blight in one of our potato crops, this is the first time this has ever happened and we are gutted! We are so remote, we are generally safe from blight, but apparently this year it managed to track us down! So, I have boiled, mashed and frozen the tatties which were affected and JP, my hubby, boiled, cut chips and froze them.

The growing season will all end soon and by the time this newsletter goes out I’ll probably have harvested the last of the courgettes and runner beans. Never mind though, because I still have some carrots and parsnips in the ground, waiting to be picked!

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