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crash-and-burn

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Everything posted by crash-and-burn

  1. It can take up quite a bit of time, it really depends on what you grow, but if you throw in some perennials or even edibles into your normal flower borders, it doesn't have to add much to any regular gardening times. There are moments when I'm not in the gardening spirit, but once I'm out there it's fresh air and exercise and I really feel the benefits, and obviously the taste of homegrown is amazing. An alternative is to know your edible 'weeds', I'm not adverse to using nettles, goosefoot is always prolific and tastes great, purslane is really high in omega-3 and I like it a lot, blackberries, wild garlic, chestnuts, hazelnuts, dandelions, mushrooms...Last year I had a lot of black nightshade popping up all over the place which worried me, until I discovered that's edible too (obviously not to be mistaken for its cousin Belladonna (deadly nightshade)!
  2. I remember growing up in the UK in the 80's in an ex-council house, and my elderly neighbours would grow all sorts of food in their small backgarden. They'd even tamed the birds to fly into their kitchen and eat from their hands. My friend had the traditional long terraced garden, with the old pig shed at the bottom, his Dad would grow some veggies and his grandad lived nextdoor, and grew lots of stuff. Even then it was really only the older generations still doing it. It largely seems to be forgotten or neglected in the UK these days, but here in France, nearly all my neighbours either grow a little or a lot. Everywhere I go, most gardens have vegetable beds and at least a few fruit trees. It's still very much a normal way of life, even for those with busy lives or who are working all hours of the day. Chickens are very popular too. I only have two left, unfortunately a pine martin cut the heads off most of them a few years ago. The hardy kiwis should do well in the UK. I don't know how well giant bolvian acocha grows outdoors in the British climate, but that's a prolific vine that grows these strange shaped fruits about 6inches long, and they really taste like a cross between a cucumber and a green pepper. Very nice raw, or you can stuff them too. I bought the walking stick kale seeds from Portugal, and they are so easy to grow. My tallest is 6ft 6in now, which is a good height to keep away from most slugs and snails, and provides tonnes of greens in the winter, but it does give all year long. One I forgot to mention is skirret (perennial) - it was an old medieval favourite. I've grown that from seed, and will try for the first time later this autumn. Last year I grew yacon - they are not so easy to obtain here, but absolutely delicious (especially if you store them for a fortnight first and let the natural sugars develop). Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the crowns to take this year. Sounds like you have a good berry mix going on. The slugs have always eaten my young goji's. I grew a pointilla fortunella and amoroso tree a couple of years ago (for cross pollination) and one gives a very nice tasting berry (the other is good but more sour). The bin idea for storage sounds practical. I usually just keep carrots in a box with sand, although normally I just keep them in the ground for as long as I can. The same with potatoes - I sometimes harvest the last ones around Christmas or early January. If you only have a small amount of land, square foot gardening is the way to go, and growing vertically. If you don't have neighbours too close to your fence, making your own fertiliser with either nettles in a sealed bucket of rainwater, or comfrey is a good and economical trick.
  3. I'm in France, so am lucky to have a warmer climate to grow many of these things outdoors. Currently have kiwi's growing (yet to produce), but on their fifth year my neighbours got over 500 of them from just a male and female vine, and they taste way nicer than anything you can get from a supermarket. Earlier in the year I have a good crop of jostaberries, gooseberries, black currants and grapes. I do preserve and freeze, and I also grow heirlooms and save the seed every year. I grow organically - for the brassicas, I just grow at the right time of year. Too early and all those pests become a problem, but delay a little while and grow enough diversity (I do plenty of flowers too) and I have enough produce without having to do battle with them. If it's a particularly wet early spring then I may have to go to war with the slugs on occasion, otherwise its just a question of growing a few extra sacrificial plants. Having cats helps with other pests, and animals like frogs and toads help out too.
  4. Sounds like a good winter mix. Currently I've got figs, apples, pears, persimmon, peaches, tomatoes, amaranth, tree spinach, aztec brocolli, many various pumpkins, summer squashes, Jerusalem artichoke, oca, potatoes, okra, fat baby achocha , giant bolvian achocha, rhubarb, raspberries, sweetcorn, leek, cucumber, chard, various kales, tree cabbage, walking stick kale (a great productive perpetual - mine are over 5 years old and more than 6 feet tall), tomatillo, giant yellow purslane, courgette and many various herbs.
  5. I think I'll stick to eating what comes out of my garden; there's a lot to be said for the quality of the soil and the nutrients contained within.
  6. A 300-kiloton warhead could easily wipe out 1 million+ people and injure a great many more, the world doesn't need more weapons of mass destruction. Why not create deterrents for a tiny fraction of the cost - something that gives off the signature and vibe of a nuclear capable vessel, whilst remaining benign.
  7. I've got an 1820's stone/timber house and a huge garden. Yes it's not efficient to heat, the electrics need refreshing, but I reckon it will be still standing in another 200 years time. I'll forego many modern conveniences for aesthetics, space and tranquility. Everything built these days is made to cut costs, with the use of inexpensive materials - there's no shared aesthetic goal when it comes to most things, but particularly architecture. It's only when you've visited older beautiful towns, villages and cities, that you realise how drab and aimless the 21st century vision is - nothing nice to pass on to future generations, but I guess at least there is modern convenience and comfort.
  8. Each child has a $2 billion foundation funded by Buffett, The Washington Post reported in 2014. Buffett's wealth continues to increase - I believe he's richer now than he's ever been. Billionaire philanthropist is an oxymoron. The only decent ex-billionaire I know of is Chuck Feeney, who really did give it all away. Every other billionaire who pretends they plan to do the same (inc Bill Gates) has simply gotten a lot richer.
  9. I say everything in moderation; if you're privileged enough to give too much to children, it gets taken for granted, and the value of things loses some significance. For example, give them a house, and they'll never really be able to empathise the hardships some people face, or give them a nice car for their 18th birthday, and they won't know what it's like to save hard and value something. You can see the same sort of thing with young children who get given everything they want, especially when it comes to birthdays or Christmas. It doesn't always bring out the best character traits.
  10. I think the lack of emojis has put you on edge... You're probably wondering if anyone could really be that backwards, right? Let's just say as a British citizen, I'm ostricized from ever returning home to the UK as a family because of Brexit.
  11. I think the newly coloured passports more than make up for any promises that haven't been delivered. It's worth the NI hike alone.
  12. You have different coloured passports, and they might be getting rid of those annoying pop up cookies on co.uk sites in the future - what more do you need?
  13. I was on holiday in France, and many of the youth there are dressed totally out of the 90's - 90's haircuts, 90's clothing; I'm talking about the bad side of 90's fashion (which was most of it). T-shirts and blouses are back to being tucked inside trousers too.
  14. I've never been one for cars, as long as it gets me from A to B, I don't really care. My main car is an old LHD citroen Picasso, diesel, from about 2003 I think (possibly 2001). Cost around 3,000 euros - bought from a garage, paid by cheque. I've had it for 8 years, it has 325,000km on the clock, but asides from a needed belt change, it's been cheap and very reliable. It just went in for it's biannual MOT (in France), and I was expecting a long list of things that would need to be repaired and fixed, but it sailed though, so good for another couple of years now. Diesel is still considerably cheaper than petrol here too, and for its age its a pretty fuel efficient vehicle.
  15. I figured there can't be that many coal powered power plants left. The woodchip biomass plants require vast amounts of trees (in some bio plants, I've heard of them burning rubber tyres to increase temperatures), and generate very little in the way of power. Gas, petrol, diesel etc all relate back to fossil fuels as you say. There really doesn't seem to be any alternative apart from trying to pull the wool over people's eyes talking about 'green' energy - most end applications have a bigger carbon footprint, as it's ultimately coming from fossil fuel sources (plus the mining of more minerals/resources). The whole thing is a money-making scam. Whether a truly innovative alternative will come along remains to be seen, but maybe one day we'll end up living in front of open fires, with candles to light our homes at night.
  16. If the UK closes too many of its coal plants, how are people going to charge their Tesla car batteries, and how will the wind farms operate? Perhaps they can borrow a bit more of France's nuclear power to help with their 'green' powered initiatives.
  17. Neoliberal technocracy... Whatever it is, wherever we're heading, the pendulum is swinging too far in the wrong direction.
  18. “Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting." - George Orwell.
  19. In 1910, as an example, there were roughly 23 million less people living in the UK. Also take into account that today, there are more single people, others putting their decision to have kids on hold (sometimes indefinitely) until they can afford something. Prior to the first world war, people generally had more children, in part because there were more nasty things out there that could kill infants. I haven't read the article, but I would be wary about how the information is interpreted.
  20. I'm a British 'immigrunt' abroad. Obviously slang used in a derogatory fashion. It's hard to accept your previous viewpoint if seek the moral high ground but attempt to give offense. Incidentally I am not offended. Immigrant, expat etc - it's only semantics, doesn't impact either my life or the way in which I view myself.
  21. At least my fruit/veg and wood (fuel) costs remain at zero. Across the channel fuel prices are creeping up slightly. Diesel is now at a high price of 1,39ppl euros, (£1.20ppl), but everything else seems to remain static. However I have a builder coming to sort out some roof tiles, and he said prices were about to shoot up 20-30% over the year, but I never caught the reason why.
  22. I would agree with that. I'm not much into alcohol, but on the few times where I've gone way past my limits, I've still always been very self-aware of what it is I'm doing, even when I don't have the best bodily control and inhibitions are down. It's not like my moral compass has ever got overwritten by the drink. Who knows if they would have acted out the same if they didn't have a drink inside of them, but it's surely indicative of their character, alcohol or no alcohol.
  23. It is strange how certain drugs are accepted culturally, whereas others are demonised and made illegal.
  24. Turns out the person who manhandled Chris Whitty for a selfie was an estate agent, now an ex-estate agent of course! Whatever you think of Chris Whitty, I don't think anyone deserves to be humiliated or manhandled in such a fashion.
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