Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Animal Tales - 89


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

Piglet Pictures


The piglets that were born on Dec 1st are now old enough to go out in the field and you cannot believe how much fun they are having dashing around - I will put a blog post together later but in the meantime here's a picture to show you how cute they are:


Monday, 16 January 2017

Weekly Green Tips #38 - Keeping Old Clothes out of Landfill


Week 38 - Keeping old clothes out of landfill


Many people add decluttering to their New Year Resolutions which may well include thinning down the contents of the wardrobe ... or maybe with all that weight loss you've achieved some clothes are too big now!  What-ever your reason for getting rid of clothes though, there are far better things you can do with them besides chucking them in the bin where they end up in landfill.


Friday, 6 January 2017

Weekly Green Tips #37 - Plants to feed the birds


Week 36 - Bird attracting plants


With large areas of the countryside put over to agriculture with the associated loss of natural habitats and use of pesticides to kill off insects, our gardens are now more important than ever as reserves for wild birds.  Growing plants that feed the birds can really help maintain and build populations.


Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Animal Tales - 88


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

Hello 2017


Welcome to the first Animal Tales of 2017.  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.  Saari, our dog, had a great time with a total of 8 dogs staying over the festive period: Perle, Min, Pip, Izzy, Freya, Charlot, Syrah and Oscar have all been here but luckily for us not ALL at the same time!  They have all been very well behaved although I am not sure Min should have been on my computer chair!


Monday, 2 January 2017

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in January

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Going Green #2 - Jan 2016


Welcome to the second Going Green linky.  This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world.  If you are not sure what posts would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find al the details about the linky >>> Going Green Linky.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Green Happy New Year and all the best for a planet saving 2017.


Monday, 26 December 2016

Think Green - My Resolutions for 2017


As the sun sets on another year many will have thoughts of those New Year Resolutions.  Will it be to get fitter or maybe lose a few pounds?  You might want to save some money or bake more cakes.  I have made all of these resolutions and more but this year I am taking a very different approach ... please find below my Green New Year Resolutions for 2017:


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Animal Tales - 87


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

Farewell 2106


This is the last post for 2016, a year many might well be glad to see to the back off.  However there has been lots of good news too, including some great conservation stories.  Panda bears have now officially been moved off the endangered species list although their population is still classed as vulnerable.  As some-one who is old enough to remember a panda called Chi Chi at London Zoo and wondered if the species would ever be able to recover this is fabulous news.


Friday, 16 December 2016

Weekly Green Tips #36 - Reducing your heating bills


Week 36 - Reducing heating bills


Whether you get your heat from gas, oil or electricity, reducing your heating bills is great for the environment.  Gas and oil are both fossil fuels and by burning them,CO2, a major greenhouse, gas is produced.  Only about 25% of the UK's electricity comes from renewable resources with over 50% from burning gas and oil and over 20% from nuclear.  Nuclear may not produce greenhouse gases but it comes with potentially devastating problems should a meltdown occur and the environmental damage from mining the uranium needed to produce nuclear power is huge.  In most cases, therefore, using your heating less and at a lower temperature will be good for the environment.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

10 Great Environmental Stories from 2016


How often have you heard what a terrible year 2016 seems to have been?  Too often I suspect.  However, buried under all the dross there have been some fabulous good news stories about our beautiful planet that maybe you missed. Angus Hervey, a political economist and science communicator has compiled a list of 99 Reasons Why 2016 Was a Good Year and these are some that caught my eye:

In March, President Obama banned proposed oil drilling along Atlantic coast - let's hope this is not reversed under the next regime. 

Oil rig

Friday, 9 December 2016

Weekly Green Tips #35 - Avoiding palm oil


Week 35 - How to avoid palm oil in food


Palm oil is something you won't find on the supermarket oils aisle but once you start looking at ingredients lists in foods you'll see it is is so many products.  Palm oil is grown in tropical regions on land that has been cleared of rain forest to then grow the palm plantations.  The forests are home to thousands of animal and plant species, the most notable in Asia being the Orang-outang whose population numbers are now plummeting.  Clearance of the rain forests also contributes to climate change through increased CO2 levels and many palm oil workers are paid incredibly low wages and work in hazardous conditions without adequate protection.  

This is a subject I will be returning to over the coming months.  If you now feel you want to reduce or stop eating products containing palm oil here are 7 ways to go about that.

Avoiding palm oil in foods helps save the habitat of creaures such as ourang-outangs

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Poultry in the polytunnel? A Bird Flu post


You may have seen in the news that there have been outbreaks of bird or avian flu in France and other European countries and that all poultry owners in the UK have been ordered to keep their birds (chickens, ducks, turkeys etc) inside or in covered runs as a means to protect them from infection by wild birds.  The same edict has now also been announced in Normandy.

Luckily for me, my poultry numbers are at a minimum in winter.  The turkeys headed to the freezer on Monday and my meat birds went the same way several weeks ago.  I had no ducklings this year so just have 3 adult ducks plus my 14 laying hens.

I have put my thinking cap on and hope to have come up with a solution.  I thought about putting the chickens in the polytunnel as there is very little in there at the moment and I would be happy to sacrifice my few little leeks, scraggy chard and oriental greens if it meant I cold save my birds .... but I then decided it would not be fox-proof and as I have seen fox poop in the veg garden I know M. Renard is around.  However, I could put the ducks in there and at night, as there is just 3 of them, I can shut them in a fox-proof dog cage.  Quite how I will get them in there remains to be worked out, though!

Polytunnel in winter - about to become a duck pen
New duck home aka my polytunnel

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Animal Tales - 86


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

Happy Birthday Animal Tales!


Gosh, I have just realised that it is Animal Tale's 2nd birthday.  What a great 2 years it has been reading so many animal related posts, the happy bits and the sad bits all sandwiched together with plenty of informative posts too.  So for a bit of fun I thought I would randomly re-read a number of the linkies over the 2 years and pick some posts for you to read again.  You can find this random collection by clicking here - Happy Birthday Animal Tales.

Before you head off I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has linked up.  I can't give you an actual hug but I can send you a Henry and Saari paw holding moment, as we found them in front of the fire yesterday!



Monday, 5 December 2016

Animal Tales 2nd Birthday Compilation


My little linky #AnimalTales is 2 years old!  It may not be up there with the huge linkies getting loads of people linking up every week but I still find our little animal community it great fun.  I have met some wonderful people through it (at least one in real life too!) as well as got to know your pets and I have read some fabulous blog posts.  Thank you everyone who has linked up over the 2 years and made the Animal Tales the best linky ... IMHO.

So to celebrate here is a random selection of posts from the 2 years.  I am sorry if one of your posts is not there and had I been able I would have included one from all of you.  Mind you I do have a small grumble .... there are not enough HIPPOS in Animal Tales.  I need hippos posts in 2017 please!!!


10 random posts from 2 years of Animal Tales


Wild boar problems for Phoebe at Lou Messugo in Provence, France

Wild boar

Friday, 2 December 2016

Weekly Green Tips #34 - 7 Foods in season at Christmas


Week 34 - Christmas Food with Seasonal Ingredients


Christmas is a great time for sharing some lovely food with family and friends ... and there is plenty of seasonal  produce to choose from.  Here are my top 7 seasonal Christmas foods and some great recipe ideas.  Foods in season relate to the UK and northern France.

Foods in Season at Christmas

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Going Green #1 - Dec 2016


Welcome to the first of the monthly linky - Going Green.  This is the place to promote all your green, sustainable, environmental, seasonal, local, organic, fair trade, ethical etc posts ... basically any post that helps or inspires readers to preserve and improve our beautiful world.  If you are not sure what posts would be good or need some ideas have a look here where you'll find al the details about the linky >>> Going Green Linky.



I had been mulling over starting a "green" linky for a while.  Anyone who has read A Green and Rosie Life before must surely know my passion for all things green however I have realised there must be a lot of other bloggers out there writing on similar subjects and I am simply not seeing these posts.  Hopefully The Going Green Linky will help bring together all theses great green posts and inspire other people to start going green.

Before we start, can I remind people of a couple of the "rules":

  • Please can you include my badge (preferably) or a link back to A Green and Rosie Life.
  • This is a blog link so in order for us all to benefit please comment on at least two other blogs in the link up, ideally including the one in front of you and my host post.

If you share your posts using the hashtag #GoingGreenLinky and I will RT you etc.

Need to find me on Social Media?  Here you go ...

Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google + | Instagram (coming soon)

Thanks for visiting and I look forward to reading all your linked up green posts.


A Green and Rosie Life



The next Going Green linky opens on Jan 1st where I am hoping to see some Green New Year's Resolutions!

Monday, 28 November 2016

New Linky - GOING GREEN

I think we all know in our hearts that we could do more to help our environment but sometimes it all just seems too much.  Often we don't know where to start or maybe you think your efforts won't make any difference.  Well now help is at hand through my new blog linky:

"GOING GREEN"

There are so many things that we can all do to help the world we live in and yes, each individual small thing adds up to make a BIG difference.  GOING GREEN will share your blog posts that help inspire people through great tips and fabulously simple ideas as well as informative posts to help us all make the best green decisions.  

The linky will open on the 1st of every month and stay open for a week.  The next #GoingGreenLinky opens on January 1st.

What type of posts am I looking to share? 

  • Recipes using seasonal or foraged ingredients
  • Organic gardening tips
  • Attracting wildlife to your garden
  • How to shop like a green pro for the best ethical, fair trade, organic, local produce and goods
  • The 4 Rs and a U - Reducing, Re-using, Recycling, Repairing and Upcycling.
  • Crafts reusing materials that might otherwise end up in the rubbish bin.
  • Waste reduction - how to slim down that bin and reduce your plastic use etc.
  • Energy saving ideas.
  • Conservation posts - helping wildlife, wild flowers and their habitats.
  • Nature posts
  • Connecting kids to Nature
  • Discussions on green, sustainable, ethical, organic, environmental subjects such as:
    • Green hobbies
    • Green technology
    • Green politics
    • Good environmental practice

.... and lots more besides.  If your post has a theme that is green, sustainable, ethical, organic, fair trade, environmental, seasonal or local please do come and link up.

I will promote all posts on Twitter and if you use the hashtag #GoingGreenLinky I will retweet you.  I will start a Pinterest page once we get going. 

The boring bit:


> Linked posts must have a green/environmental etc theme.
> Please add the GOING GREEN badge to your post or sidebar and link back to A Green and Rosie Life.
> One post per person per linky.
> Old and new posts welcome.
> Read and comment - please read and comment on the host post, the post ahead of you and at least one other.
> If you tweet with the hashtag #GoingGreenLinky and @greenrosielife I will retweet  you.
> By adding a link you give permission for me to use any images from your post in future GOING GREEN link ups. Photo credits will be given.

If you have a suitable post then please do come and link up here on January 1st and let's help everyone by GOING GREEN.


A Green and Rosie Life

Friday, 25 November 2016

Weekly Green Tips #33 - 7 Tips to Reduce Christmas Waste


Week 33 - Tips to Reduce Christmas Waste


Christmas is a time for giving and receiving but the downside of this is it is also a time of huge waste.  Unilever estimated that in 2014 the equivalent of 4.2 million Christmas dinners were chucked away i.e. around 263,000 turkeys and over 7 million mince pies.  Each year some 1.12 billion cards are sent in the UK with no way of knowing how many end up in landfill.  There is more ....each Christmas the UK public throws away:

> 226,800 miles of wrapping paper
> 125,000 tons of plastic wrapping
> 10 million items of turkey packaging.
> 25 million Christmas pudding packets

And this is just the UK - multiply these figures up across the world and we are looking at an unimaginable amount of waste.  So what can we do to reduce the amount of waste each Christmas generates?  Here are my top 7 tips to reduce Christmas waste.

Tips to Reduce Christmas Waste


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens, Tramore, Waterford


On our recent trip to Ireland I was keen to visit a few gardens.  As we were there in October many were closed for the winter but a few were still open.  I have already blogged about Cappoquin Gardens in Lismore and today I give you a very different style of garden: The Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens in Tramore, Waterford.

The gardens reflect the life and travels of Patrick Lafcadio Hearn who was born in Ireland but who travelled extensively in America and Greece before finally settling in Japan.  They are split into 10 individually themed gardens where plant structure, rocks and water play more important roles than flowers.  There are however flowers to be seen, including one when we visited, that most certainly should not have been in flower in October, a Japanese Iris.  Irises grow wild in Japan and are also cultivated widely in gardens there.  The Japanese attribute meanings to their flowers and the Iris means Good News.

Lafcadio Hearn Japanese Gardens
The American Garden

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Animal Tales - 85


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

Autumn Storms


Autumn has been making its presence know over the last few days and after weeks of very calm weather, here in northern France, we have taken a bit of a battering.  Most mornings I have had to go and look for blown away food bowls and on one morning part of a chicken shed roof was dislodged.  Luckily there were no chickens in that one and it was easy to fix.  Henry, our elderly cat has now also decided it is far too wet to go outside, although in fairness a light shower is enough to deter his outdoor forays and together with Saari they are vying for the best spot in front of the wood burner.  Do your pets dislike going out in the winter?



Friday, 18 November 2016

Weekly Green Tips #32 - 7 Green Christmas Present Ideas


Week 32 -7 Green Christmas Present Ideas


With the festive season fast approaching and many people being far more organised than me when it comes to present shopping I thought a post in my Weekly Green Tips series about the types of presents you can give whilst helping the environment would be a timely idea.  Rather than listing specific green items I am, instead, suggesting how you can switch your whole buying ethos to one that moves away from the huge excesses that currently seem the festive norm.  Can we work together to make this a Christmas where you still give generously but not excessively?


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Hip Hip Hooray - A Happy Hippo Post.


With the news a seemingly endless trail of bad news it is lovely to wake up one morning to a wonderful piece of conservation news. The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Pigs, Peccaries, and Hippopotamus Specialist Group has announced that, thanks to tireless conservation work, Hippopotamus populations have now recovered from the decimation brought about by poaching. 

More details can be found on this page from Nature World News where ...

Quote:

"The hippo is one of Africa's iconic species, one that is becoming increasingly threatened by hunting and other factors," said Deo Kujirakwinja, Wildlife Conservation Society Scientist and the author of the report. "Our findings that hippos are on the increase is encouraging and evidence that efforts to protect hippos and other species are working. "
 I am a happy hippo lover today.





For more hippos images do head over to the Hippo Pinterst board I have with Eco-Gites of Lenault.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Oven Dried Chillies


I have had a fabulous crop of chillies this year despite trouble getting them to initially germinate back in the spring.  I ended up with 9 plants plus one ornamental chilli I had overwintered.  So now I have a lot of chillies to deal with.  I usually freeze them which is fine for many recipes but sometimes I want chilli powder or flakes and for that I need to dry them.  I have air-dried them before but I find they collect a lot of dust so this year I have had a go at oven drying my crop.


Friday, 11 November 2016

Weekly Green Tips #31 - 7 ways to tempt you outside in winter


Week 31 - Tempting you outside in winter


As the seasons move forwards it can be harder to get outside once winter arrives along with its often miserable weather and short daylight hours.  However it is well known that getting outside has many positive benefits such as reducing stress and combating illness, creating a positive outlook on life and helping us to think clearly.  And all these have advantages for our environment.  Not being ill means we are not pulling on medical resources, having  a positive outlook on life and good thought processing capabilities helps us to make the right decisions which will help the environment.

But what if you are not an outdoor person.  How can you be temped to step outside when your urge is to hide under the duvet and watch the latest box set on TV?  Here are some ideas that might help.


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Cappoquin Gardens, Waterford, Ireland


Over the half term holiday we managed our first family holiday with all 4 of us together in six years and we headed off to Ireland.  I have family there so in between introducing Simon and the boys to my aunts, uncle and cousins we also managed to fit in plenty of sightseeing.  Cappoquin Gardens in Co Waterford were one of the few gardens still open in October and it looked like we picked a perfect autumn day to visit.

Cappoquin House was built in the 18th century on the site of an old castle.  Its imposing Georgian Manor is also open to the public at certain times but we only wanted to visit the gardens ... which besides the gardener we had to ourselves.  A leaflet detailed what each part of the garden was used for or represented but we actually enjoyed just walking along its grassy paths through areas of woodland, herbaceous borders and shrubberies all exhibiting their delightful autumn colours.

For anyone like me who is rather fond of hydrangeas this garden was a veritable treasure trove of pinks, blues and whites:

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Violence and anger are not the the way forward. Choose kindness


Today the world enters a time of uncertainty.

A lot of people are scared.

My social media channels are full of disbelief and a feeling of helplessness.

Whilst we cannot change the bigger picture we can all make a difference.  We need to show the world that we are decent people.  Yes, we are all different and we all have different views.  For goodness sake there are some pretty big things that my very best friends and I differ over but we respect each others' opinions.  If we have nothing nice to say we don't say anything but overall we agree to disagree and move on.  We never resort to name calling and certainly not violence.

Violence and anger are not the the way forward.
Choose kindness.

So today I write this to you.

Today, be nice to people:

Smile at a stranger.
Help someone with no expectation to receive anything in return
Build bridges not walls
Help those less fortunate than yourself
Contact a friend you have not heard from in a while 
Hold the door open for someone
Check on an vulnerable neighbour


Choose kindness today and every day.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Animal Tales - 84


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

I'm back


Apologies to anyone who looked for Animal Tales 2 weeks ago - I was on holiday in Ireland and so Animal Tales also took a little holiday too.  Sadly, when I was away we were to lose one of our regular contributors and I am sure all #AnimalTales readers will have been saddened to hear that Lisa's darling dog, Stella, lost her battle with cancer recently.  Stella often put paw to keyboard and I will greatly miss her canine shenanigans.  So, with Lisa's permission, here are a selection of pictures of Stella to remind us what a great dog she was and what wonderful memories she will have left with everyone who met her, both in real life and through Lisa's blog.

Dressing up

Friday, 4 November 2016

Weekly Green Tips #28 to #30 - 21 ways to cook efficiently


Week 28 to 30 - Cooking Efficiently 


Apologies for the lack of Weekly Green Tips over the last 2 weeks but I have been away on holiday.  So to catch up here is a triple bonus post with 21 ways you can cook more efficiently and thus reduce how much energy (gas/electricity) you use when preparing meals.  I hope you enjoy them as much as the food you prepare. 

Image from Pixabay

Monday, 31 October 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in November

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Animal Tales is on holiday!


If you have popped in to add a post to Animal Tales then "Hello and thank you".  I am on holiday for a few days so am not running it this week.  Sorry about that and the next one will be on Nov 8th.

In the meantime here is an adorable cat I met yesterday who seemed to have the run of the local church!


ANIMALTALES



Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Bees in the Polytunnel - Part 2


Last week I found my polytunnel full of about 300 bees and had no idea why they were there.  It was a mystery but now I do have a little more information.

I posted questions about the bees on Twitter and a Downsizer, a forum I am on.  Several bee keepers came back to me and 2 thought that the bees may well have been attracted to the warmth which makes sense as we were having lovely sunny weather at the time with daytime temperatures in the tunnel in the mid twenties.  They also thought they might be coming in to feed on the honeydew produced by aphids - but there are no aphids in there.  A third thought was they were coming to drink the condensation on the plastic but again this did not seem likely as none were drinking, just bashing into the plastic.  In fact the only thing I saw a few of them do (other than fly into the plastic) was to feed on the French Marigolds I have on there.

I then received some ideas about the species and I now believe the bees to be Ivy Bees.  This species was only identified as a separate species - Colletes hederae in 1993 and has been in the UK since 2001 (longer in France).  It is a mining bee that lives in the soil as a solitary bee but there may often be many hundreds or thousands of them in the same place.  They are on the wing between September and mid November when their main food source IVY is in flower, hence their name.

Male Ivy Bee By Charlesjsharp (Own work, from Sharp Photography, sharpphotography) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, 14 October 2016

Weekly Green Tips #27 - 7 Great Green Hobbies


Week 27 - Great Green Hobbies


Have you thought about green hobbies you can take part in?  Here are my top 7 leisure activities that are great for you and the planet.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Bees in the Polytunnel - Part 1


I know with Halloween approaching "Bats in the Belfry" might be a more topical post title but to be honest, I don't have a belfry, although I did see a couple of bats when I went to collect older boy from athletics last night ... and one was huge!  But I digress as this is a post about weird goings on in the polytunnel at Eco-Gites of Lenault.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Animal Tales 83


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

Advance Warning


I will be away at the end of the month so the next Animal Tales will be in FOUR weeks on November 8th.  Feel free to add 2 or more posts if you want to.

Pinterest -  I am sure some-one asked to join the Animal Tales Pinterest board recently but I have forgotten who - please do let me know if it was you.



Monday, 10 October 2016

Litter and Wildlife - It is our responsibility


I recently tweeted this picture:


... and it got a lot of retweets and comments.  A couple of people tweeted, quite rightly, that they would never throw litter so they could not be responsible for the plight if this poor bird.  I have no doubt they that they do never chuck plastic bags into the wider environment - or any litter for that matter - but that slightly missed my point.  My point is that we all use plastic but we actually do not have a lot of control over what happens to it once we stop using it.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Weekly Green Tips #26 - 7 ways to attract birds to your garden


Week 26 - Attracting birds to your garden


Gardens, especially small urban ones, are an incredibly useful habitat for birds and if you provide the right features you will be surprised how many birds you can attract.  Here are my 7 tips for attracting birds to your garden.



Monday, 3 October 2016

Veg, Fruit and Foraged Foods in Season in October

What is seasonal food? 


If you grow your own vegetables the packet will tell you when you can expect to harvest the crop and this is when it is in season.  If you see vegetables for sale outside of this time then they are not in season and may well have been imported or grown under heat in a greenhouse.

Why eat seasonal food?


Food that is in season has many advantages over imported food or that grown under cover:
  • It will have the best and freshest taste.
  • It will have a higher nutritional value.
  • It is good for the environment as it will have low food low miles and less energy will have been used than glass-grown plants to produce it.
  • As a result it will be cheaper.
  • Finally, as a consumer, you will get seasonal variety and the excitement of the first taste of a just in-season food is hard to beat.  A strawberry in winter may look appetising but it has minimal taste compared to a summer one.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Weekly Green Tips #25 - 7 Green Halloween Tips


Week 25 - A Spooky and Green Halloween


I am the first to admit I love Halloween but not the overtly commercial Halloween that has appeared in the UK over the last few years.  For me (and the boys) it's all about the ghoulish food, the dressing up and the not having to dust away the cobwebs in the weeks preceding Halloween!  It is NOT about heading to the shops to buy stuff  from the shelves that bear ever increasing amounts of plastic Halloween merchandise that we actually do not need.  Here then are the 7 ways I have a Spooky and GREEN Halloween.



Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Animal Tales 82


Welcome to Animal Tales, the blog linky that brings together all sorts of animal blog posts from all over the world.  It runs every other Tuesday to the following Thursday evening.

We are back down to just having Saari here again after all our canine shenanigans at the beginning of the month ... but she is making her presence known as she is in major moult mode.  I totally understand why some people get bald dogs LOL.  She is missing having some playmates though and hopes some of our gite guests will bring dogs with them!  



Monday, 26 September 2016

Musical Fields


At the end of September you would normally expect the Normandy countryside to be green but this summer has been exceptionally dry.  That might have been great for guests in our gite but not so good on the smallholding side of things with grass being a rather rare commodity this year.  So this weekend we played the animal equivalent of musical chairs i.e. musical fields!

Mojo and Pupmkin before they moved fields - can you see them both?

Our 4 turkeys
Our table chickens had already found themselves taking a one way journey to the freezer so that gave us one extra small field which started off a chain reaction of animal movements:

The laying hens are now in the field where table birds were and can still get back to the hen house by some clever gate design.  Although Bianca has decided she doesn't like her new field so is currently running round with the sheep.

Bianca

The 2 older sheep (she who had lambs and our own ewe) had pretty much eaten down the grass in the small pen by the veg garden so they are now in the hen run eating down what the hens had ignored ... and we will swap the hens and the sheep once the sheep have munched everything down and after we have made a shelter for the sheep as they don't fit in the chicken house that is there! 

The piglets were in the orchard field but Mojo, who is in season, had got through into the adjacent ex-sheep field in an attempt to get to Boris, our boar and her father!  So she and her sister, Pumpkin, were moved into the larger front field as this has newer and more secure fencing and a bit more of that rare grass.  But the turkeys were there so they have been shifted back into the small pen behind their shelter.  That also meant Mojo and Pumpkin were nearer to Boris and Coco so we moved them to the other pig pen, further away! Oh and we couldn't leave Peardrop, our final pig, in her pen as that was now next to the piglets and they fight through the fence so Peardrop went into the orchard field where she is too lazy to try and escape and being a little on the rotund side does not need loads of grass!

Are you following this?  Maybe this summary will help:

> Chickens to freezer
  > Hens to chicken field
    > Sheep to hen field
      > Piglets to turkey field
        > Turkeys to small turkey pen
          > Coco and Boris to the other pig pen
            > Peardrop to the orchard field

And we managed it without losing anyone although the sheep, as usual, gave us a bit if a run-around before deciding it was OK to go through the scary gate to a new field with more grass in it!

Ducks!  I forgot the ducks ... probably because they stayed where they are!  Actually I might let them out to free range whilst we have no guests in but we lost one to M. Renard recently, when she got out and didn't come home to be shut in at night, so I am a touch reticent to let them out.  Or I could put them in the front pen where Peardrop was ....

If you would like to come and meet our animals please do head over to our gite page - Eco-Gites of Lenault - where you can book a farm holiday in the beautiful (if currently slightly less than green) Normandy countryside.

ANIMALTALES