Saturday, 28 January 2012

A Week's Rubbish

At the end of this week I can say that mostly what we have thrown away to go to landfill is plastic wrapping, which I'm fairly sure I can't recycle. There was also a disposable face mask and a few scraps of cooked food, which should not be put in the compost bin because they are likely to attract rats.

I believe our council will provide separate bins for food waste later this year.

Friday, 20 January 2012

A Rubbish Challenge

Karen Cannard aka Amost Mrs Average is throwing down the gauntlet again and challenging us to slim our bins. If you think you need to go on the Rubbish Diet to find how just how much you can recycle and cut down on excessive packaging not to mention to see if your bin can be as slim as Karen's then pay a visit to her Rubbish Diet Blog. Take a peek now to see how to prepare for the kick off on Monday.

I made a start last year, but seem to have given up after the first week. Perhaps I'll do better this year.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Facebook Group

If you read this blog you might want to join the Green and Generous Facebook Group, so I thought I'd write this to let you know about it.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

The Week That Was

It's been quite a week, hasn't it? I weren't badly effected by the gales on Tuesday and Thursday. I was lucky that I didn't have to work until things had calmed down a bit on Tuesday and Thursday I had no reason to go out. The downside was that between the weather and returning to work I haven't been out walking much, although I do walk around the library, especially when shelving.

This weekend hubby and decided to enjoy the sunshine on Saturday by taking a walk on St Martha's hill, somewhere we haven't been for a couple of years. It is on the route of the ancient Pilgrims' Way and has a little church, St Martha's on the top, although it is thought it may once have been called Saints and Martyrs Hill. I'm not sure which came first, the church or the name of the hill. The church is thought to have been built in the 13th century, but much of it has been restored as it had become a ruin.

Today we walked around the RHS gardens at Wisley. We were greeted near the entrance by a robin singing his heart out and there were flowering plants such as snowdrops, primroses, camellias and rhododendrons here and there. There was also the hot house with some very colourful specimens.

On the ground level there was a fascinating display about roots. Apparently there is a strangler fig that grows in rainforests which grows around a tree blocking it's light and sucking up all the nutrients out of the soil until the tree is just a hollow shell.  The mesquite tree can grow in arid areas because it's roots can go down 30, and sometimes even 50, metres into the ground until they find water.  Then there is the mangrove, which can move up to a metre a year to find more light. The mangrove swamps in parts of Asia are important to prevent flooding, but the lure of cash from tiger prawns has resulted in some of the mangrove trees being chopped down, leaving the surrounding areas more vulnerable to flooding.

Monday, 2 January 2012

A Brighter Day

Hubby took daughter back to uni town today as she had to work this afternoon.  That is the downside of her Christmas job, but at least she now has experience of paid employment to add to her CV.

I washed all the jumpers and woollen walking socks that have been sitting in our laundry basket for some months, plus a few hubby had in Switzerland and brought home recently.

I also managed to defrost and clean our fridge freezer, which is something I've been meaning to do for a couple of months, but not managed to get round to.  Freezers run more efficiently if they are defrosted every few months.  Once the ice had melted I gave everything a clean with bicarbonate of soda followed by a good wipe to rinse it all off. Bicarbonate of soda is the best thing to use for cleaning fridges.

After lunch hubby and I returned to Winkworth Arboretum to take some photos of the unseasonal flowers we'd seen yesterday, now the sun was shining, although it was getting low in the sky by the time we left at half past two.

Early daffs

For dinner tonight we made borscht with the frozen beetroot plus a potato and carrot mixture and some tomato sauce I also found in the freezer as well as a quarter of a cauliflower and similar quantity of swede left over from last Wednesday's vegetable curry.  Soups and stews are a great way to use leftover vegetable.  As we'd bought more double cream than we needed for the holiday we used that instead of sour cream to swirl in our soup.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

A New Year Begins

A Happy New Year to you if you are reading this, and to everyone who has read my blog over the last year.

I find that the trouble with New Year's Day is that it follows New Year's Eve and subsequently, a late night, which makes it so much more likely that we will break our New Year's resolutions on the very first day of the year.

So, I am sitting here with a cup of rooibos chai, trying to stay awake long enough to write my first blog post of the year, as we stayed up until half past one this morning watching 'It's a Wonderful Life' on DVD. It's the first time I've ever seen the film and we all enjoyed it, hubby, daughter and me. As daughter had to work New Year's Eve she wasn't able to join her friends in Plymouth, so came out to dinner with us and then joined us for the evening playing charades and watching the aforementioned DVD.   We had a very pleasant New Year's Eve and toasted 2012 with the last of the bottles of bubbly we were given for our Silver Wedding a couple of years ago.

A wet start to the year
Today I ate an apple and a clementine for breakfast, as well as my cereal, did not eat between meals and managed to go for a walk in Winkworth Arboretum even though it had started raining by the time I was ready. So I can feel I have done something to make this a healthy year and to start to get fitter for 2012, although I have no Olympic ambitions, let me hasten to add.

After the walk we had a lunch mostly of Christmas leftovers but with a little smoked wild Alaskan salmon to mark the first day of this new year. Then we played scrabble after which, as we had started the day so late, it was time to start cooking the beef for our roast beef dinner with all the trimmings.  That was followed by the last of the Christmas pudding.

So, this year I am going to be healthier and fitter than last year.  I shall take more exercise and spend more time in the garden so that we manage to grow more of our own fruit and veg, and generally save the planet.  I could go on with the list of all I hope to achieve.  I would need to be Superwoman to have any chance of achieving it, and I am definitely not her.  What about you, what do you aspire to achieve this year?

Experience has taught me that life has a habit of showing just how human we are, but these days I don't tend to see that as a reason for guilt or despair. Being human means that we cannot be perfect.  We all have to settle for our best in any given moment. As Don Miguel Ruiz says,
 "Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgement, self-abuse, and regret."
 If you do not achieve all that you hoped to achieve today you may need to modify your plans for tomorrow.  Another trait common to most people is to be over-ambitious and unrealistic about what we can achieve in the time available. Of course it's not a good idea to give up to easily, but we need to be realistic about what we are capable of so that we know when to try harder and when to realise we have done our best and need to readjust our expectations.

So let us not be discouraged this year when things don't go entirely according to plan or that we couldn't manage all that we wanted to do.  We may need to review our plans from time to time, make a reality check or work out strategies to help us do better.  Most of all we mustn't give up because of set backs along the way.  They are to be expected and will help us develop character and experience.

At this time of year we are subject to the effects of darkness on our bodies to which our ancestors responded by slowing down and only hunting or working during the daylight hours.  Now is not a good time to expect too much of ourselves, but rather a time to respect the natural rhythms of life remembering,  as this New Year begins, the seeds of hope and potential which lie dormant in the Winter darkness, waiting to come to life in the Spring.

As the petals of 2012 unfold may a happy, healthy and fulfilling year blossom for you.

As for me, right now, I'm off to bed to catch up with my beauty sleep. After all a good night's sleep helps us all to be healthier and to have more energy.