Sunday 30 June 2019

Bathroom Floor Finished

###This is a collaborative post###

I've finally got round to putting down the floor in the bathroom. 

It's amazing how used to the bare plywood we'd become.

To be honest I'd forgotten how much flooring changes a room! It now feels finished after waiting over 12 months! Why did I put it off so long?

In an ideal world we wouldn't have gone for for something more expensive than the end of roll vinyl flooring that we've ended buying from the discount bin, but it's all our budget would stretch to. We would have much rather gone for something like tiles or some high quality  Engineered Wood Flooring.

Thursday 27 June 2019

Mono Cropping Isn't Always A Bad Thing

Now my garden is a diverse place. And not just because it's full of weeds, but because I grow so many types of veg and crops.

The other day though at a talk I was giving some said that I was mono cropping because I tended to grow the same crop in each bed and don't mix. This is true, but generally they're surrounded by different plants in the beds next to them and the beds are only 10ft by 30". 

This did get me thinking though about how people in certain communities seem to make blanket assumptions about how we currently grow crops. The one that I hear a lot is about how mono cropping is a bad thing.

I have to admit that on the surface I completely agree, if we're surrounded by hundreds or thousands of acres of the same crop that is terrible for the local wildlife and it certainly lends itself to sprays and more modern agriculture, but it is a very efficient way of growing food using the current systems that we generally have. Critics don't always have the growing experience to back up their arguments.

I've often read that smaller patches of crops are better and intermixed with other things but there is certainly optimal sizes, as I'm finding out with my small scale grain growing this year. This will vary massively depending on what crop you're growing and how you plan to harvest it. A 10ft bed of beetroot is a good size to grow and harvest, whereas the same size of wheat means that it has to be hand harvested and processed.

As an example I had a huge tub of hull less barley growing on the patio for weeks and weeks. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was stripped by birds in a few minutes. I couldn't help but feel worried about my other little patches I have growing around the garden.

I contacted a grain breeder I follow on Instagram and asked how he deals with pests for these hull less types of grain on a small scale without using nets and other preventative methods. His reply was simple "Safety in numbers, these crops are surrounded by other grains so the predator pressure is spread".

I had issues with my wheat as well, my triple row destroyed in an evening by a hungry rabbit. But I know the same rules would apply here, you have to expect some losses and grow accordingly.

So, although I'm only building my seed bank this year it's already proving quite difficult but I'm hopeful I'll have something to show for it in the autumn (lots of nets needed!). If I do go on to grow some bigger patches of grain in the future I might have to think about what a viable amount would be to allow for losses and to make processing worthwhile, at the moment I doubt it would work in with my current garden bed system.

If you grow grain on a small scale what's the minimum you'd grow?

How do you protect it?

Friday 21 June 2019

Fill A Jar & Cutting Down On Sugar

One thing no one warns you about with having children is all the "parent taxes" that you have to pay. 

Our school is particularly bad for this. Every few weeks there seems to be a non school uniform day with a charitable donation attached. 

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Bird Feeder For Sale - Is It Sustainable?

As many of you know I make and sell a few items on Etsy.

This has been great for me so far, a great to supplement my income and keep me working from home making items I enjoy making. 

Sunday 16 June 2019

Cutest Fathers Day Note

My eldest daughter almost made me cry this morning with her lovely note she had written me.

It reads:

"You are the best daddy in the world.
You grow food for us to live.
You buy chickens for eggs and meat.
You helped me choose my glasses.
You help me learn lots of stuff.
If something is poisonous then you say.
You are a great Beaver Teacher.
You cook delicious food especially flapjack.
You are an amazing carpenter, you made the whole entire kitchen.
Lots and lots and lots of love..."

She is always so appreciative of everything and constantly tells us how lucky she is. We're so fortunate to have such lovely humble children.

Friday 14 June 2019

Royal Three Counties Show 2019

So today I managed to go to a countryside show all by myself. It was BLISS!!!

I've had such a great day at the Three Counties Show. Being on my own meant I could talk to everyone without having a small person tugging at my sleeve, go where I wanted to, when I wanted to! Something I'll have to make sure I don't get used to!

Wednesday 12 June 2019

What Age Should Children Forage For Food?

When you see the school's number flash up on the phone your heart always sinks. 

"What's happened? Are they all okay?"
 "Erm... It's one of your children, they've eaten something..."

Monday 10 June 2019

Hellens Garden Festival 2019

We've had another great day at Hellens garden festival. 

It's become an annual trip for our family, we love it and really look forward to it. 

Friday 7 June 2019

Fighting Slugs - Feed And Fortify

#### This is a collaborative post ####

Normally when I garden I keep a good equilibrium between my plot and nature but this year nature seems to be winning, and by some margin.

Rabbits keep sneaking in and eating from the ground, pigeons devour from above, but my biggest enemy this year is the slugs from below. They are without mercy and seem to have decided that I can have nothing left when I plant out certain crops. 

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Hellens Garden Festival 2019

It's getting close! It's nearly time for Hellens Garden Festival. 

This has become an annual tradition for us and we love attending every year. There is always so much for the kids to do and there's in such a lovely safe environment.

I'm doing another talk/workshop again this year though so it adds a little pressure!

Saturday 1 June 2019

Zero Waste Shops

As a family we're always trying to reduce how much waste we produce, from using composting toilets to buying in bulk.

I am pleased that it seems to be getting slightly easier for other consumers to be able to do this without buying in the large bulk quantities that we do. Lately there have been a few plastic free - zero waste shops popping up around the country and we're now lucky enough to have one in our local city of Worcester.

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