Monday, 27 August 2012

A little bit of urban homesteading

So a couple of weeks ago I got the Lidls flyer through and cucumbers were on sale! It was time to make piccalilli. I've made it once before a couple of years ago and we'd used up the last of it recently so I needed to make more and august is the time to do it. I know it's not paleo but I love pickles and being homemade I'm sure it's closer to paleo than anything from a shop. I had some problems getting some jars to put it in though. Since going paleo we don't buy stuff in jars anymore. We get gifted things like jams and some pickles from time to time, but jars just don't pass through this house like they once did. It's just struck me actually that in not buying so much stuff in jars there's a reduced need for glass, which is really resource expensive. Anyway. I ordered from kilner jars from Lakeland. I ordered them on the friday and paid extra to get them on the monday. They didn't arrive. I complained to lakeland and got the extra back. But my stuff didn't arrive until the thursday. Long story short I had to throw away some of the veg that I had bought because it had started to rot. Wasteful but it's all done and I have six half litre jars of piccalilli maturing on the side (they'll go away into a cupboard soon).

Here in the UK it's a bank holiday today. I learnt a while ago that one of our local supermarkets does good reductions on strawberries on the summer bank holidays. I wasn't let down. So I bought two punnets. Earlier in the summer I had bulk bought strawberries and they went to waste because I didn't do anything with them fast enough. So today I sat down to some prep them and then freeze them. See the photo below. I will bag them up later (need to cut my hair, shower, shave and have some dinner) and then freeze them. There's so much in the way of lovely fruit at the moment, but I already eat too much sugar so it's breaking my heart to not be able to eat more fruit whilst it's around.

The big urban homesteading news in my household though is that I have chickens! I've wanted them since I was a child. When we were house hunting last night we deliberately picked somewhere that didn't exclude them in the deeds. We moved in and discovered that a neighbour had a chicken and some ducks. I didn't get organised enough earlier in the year so I only just picked them up last weekend.

That's two lohman browns and one amber link. They're still relatively young but have been settling in for the last week. At least one of them has been practising nesting in the last couple of days but judging by their wattles etc they're still a bit of a way from being ready to lay. I need to clip their wings so that I can leave them alone in the garden. I tried it friday and then looked out of the window to see one of them on the henhouse eyeing up whether she could make it to the top of the fence. But so far I think it's been a positive for my mental health being able to stand outside watching them with cup of tea in hand. My mental health is a big rubbish at the moment so this is helpful.

PS I had forgotten that I had Practical Paleo on pre-order and that arrived this week (earlier than expected because it seems brough forward their release date). First impressions are great, but I will do a proper review once I've finished reading.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Health and Happiness

I remember, about 9 years ago I was in York. It was in the middle of my training excavation (archaeology degree) that took place in south Yorkshire and I was meeting up for the weekend with a friend. Actually when I started the weekend he was my boyfriend and before we fell asleep the first night we'd broke up, but that was nothing to do with the location. Anyway. I was in York and we decided to go on one of their ghost walks. It was fantastic although much of it has faded from memory now. One thing that did stick out is a piece of advice the guide gave towards the end of the tour - if you're going to ask for anything from the universe/god/whatever then make it a request for health and happiness because anything else is likely to backfire.

I know disabled people. I know people who have enjoyed either good health or economical success and then lost it. I know people born disabled. I know those born healthy and who then lost their health before they became adult. Whilst there are many people with bodies that differ from the stereotype of a "whole" body who are healthy, health is still a vital thing. There's a difference between having a body that varies and having a body that's broken. Health is therefore very important.

But you can lose your happiness in pursuit of health. It's possible to obsess so much about your health that it affects your happiness. And that ultimately doesn't do you any good. But to always do as makes us happy won't necessarily make us healthy.

It's a balance. And a journey.