Sunday, April 15, 2012

Computer Nerds

Last week we had a small problem with the computer, Java Script was no longer working, after Simon had wasted a couple of hours trying to get it up and running, defeat was conceded and we took it to our local computer shop. I always do this with trepidation, so many times we have called on the help of experts and when we get the PC back we find everything has changed. The exception to this was when we lived in Galica, we had a great guy, Pedro, who despite our poor language skills always fixed the problem, and did not muck up what we already had!. The new guy is no Pedro, screen saver photo gone, two programs added that we had not asked for and worst of all, the program I used for downloading and editing my photos gone. I have spent half the day trying to find a program to do all of the above when I should have been out in the garden, Simon also spent over two hours trying to do the same. We now have found a program that works , but instead of taking just five minutes to do it all it takes forever, well not quite , but I'm sure you know what I mean.
So WHY I ask can people not just carry out the job you have asked them to do, why do they think that their job is to serve the computer rather than the customer? Tomorrow I will ask Simon to contact the shop and ask if it can be restored to it's former self, I better not do it as I will not be as diplomatic , and I'm sure we will need his help at some future date.

Many people view stinging nettles as a menace, however this humble plant is one of natures wonders. It has so many uses, from making beer to paper, liquid plant feed to insecticide, it can be added to bread and makes an high vitamin soup. There are many recipes on the internet for all of the above. For us it has two main uses, one as a foliar feed and secondly as an insect control and it also helps to protect potatoes from blight. Our basic recipe.
Fill a five gallon container ( preferable one with a tap fitted at the bottom) to the top with cut nettles, pushing them down well, add some water, just over a gallon, put on the lid of the container. It helps to push them down further, daily, for a few days. After a week or so, depending on the temperature you should have a lovely stinking mixture, it is then ready to use. For aphids ( greenfly, blackfly) we dilute at about fifty% for a foliar feed 8 to 1, to protect against blight and Colorado beetle 20%. We found with the Colorado beetle that although you would get the beetle and she would lay her eggs, when the grubs hatched they seemed unable to feed, thus our crop was protected. It helps to add some soft soap to the mixture, or at a push washing up liquid as this makes the liquid cling to the plants better.

Yesterday we attended an introduction to Permaculture meeting at friends farm, in all twenty four people came and all mucked in to doing some work. A kitchen garden bed was quickly dug and ridged for raised beds, tunnels got weeded and the bee hive was completed. Everyone brought food and the sun shone, well apart from a couple of quick showers, a good time was had by all. We then had a talk given on what Permaculture is, we left, as mystified as when we had arrived. I guess Permaculture means different things to different people. For us, crop rotation, composting and companion planting are very important. Care of the soil is the basis of good gardening. Shopping and buying local, and fair trade. Surly these things make up a Permanent Culture.

We were delighted to find cowslips growing at the farm, this is a plant that is rare to find nowadays, thanks to herbicides and fertilisers.

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