Saturday, November 5, 2016

Label reading.

First of the Hellebores.
We try very hard to be ethical shoppers, this means we read labels, anything the slightest bit suspect goes back on the shelf, this means we buy hardly any processed food, by processed I don't mean these suspect packs of ham or sliced anything, they are not something we would ever have bought. I am referring to baked goods, such as biscuits. We do make some biscuits but it's always handy to have a pack of digestive biscuits or cream crackers on hand. Digestive biscuits would have been my preferred choice for a cheese biscuit, also for  a cheese cake base, cream crackers again go great with cheese, however, here is our problem, both of these biscuits are now made with palm oil. Knowing how harmful the palm oil plantations are, from cleared tropical forests, with the loss of so many species which haven't even been identified yet, and the loss of land to the indigenous people, who have no say in where they get moved to, forced to live in shanty towns, their way of life gone. Many become workers in these plantations, the word worker to me means someone which is paid for his/her work and is free to leave is they so wish. Not for these workers though, they are modern slaves, and receive little if any money for their work, and certainly do not receive any compensation for losing their land. For this reason we will not buy anything that contains palm oil. I have found an alternative for cheese cake base, shortbread makes an even better base, however there is no alternative for cream crackers so we will just have to try and make them ourselves. If anyone has a good cream cracker recipe perhaps you will share it.
OK, I'll stop moaning now.
Kiwi, now pruned and planted in the soil.
The new tunnel is now home to our Kiwi vines, in the older tunnel they were kept in large pots, and although they didn't die on us they were far from happy, so they have been transplanted into the fruit bed along with the fig tree which was not happy outside, there is still room for the new peach tree when it arrives.
The end bed has been planted with broad bean seeds, the theory is that these will be in flower the same time as the peach tree, thus encouraging any pollinating insects that might be around in March, saving us the job of hand pollinating the peach tree. This bed is the one destined for the Tomatoes, so by the time we have harvested the early beans it will be time to plant the tomatoes.
The last of the summer crops have now been harvested,
Possibly the last of the tomatoes and beans.
a few late tomatoes and probally the last of the French beans,
  the Calabrese is still going strong.
Just right for a warming winter stew.
The winter veg are looking good, we have plenty of carrots which hopefully we can leave in the ground, hoping that they don't get eaten by slugs, the swedes are also looking good and we have had the first of the parsnips. The celeriac has done well for us, but apparently it doesn't stand well for the winter.
About half of the new bulbs have now been planted, a lot of what remains are dwarf variety's for the rockery. The rockery has become very overgrown and has lots of weeds, I have rather neglected it this summer and let it do it's own thing, probally not a good idea, it just makes more work in the end.
Early or late? it's certainly out of season.

And chives should not be in flower in November.
As I was surveying the rockery I was surprise to find  cowslips and  chives in bloom,
plants are well muddled with the weather. there are even some Lupines' still flowering and I spotted a Clematis flowering.
Winter Jasmine, at least this is the right time.

This little rose has been flowering for six months.
And still the Albertine flowers.
Hypericum, this should be well over.
There's still plenty of colour in the garden.
2700 + stiches later/
At last I have finished the tapestry I was doing, it's taken me six weeks to complete, now I have to find some suitable material to turn it into a cushion cover. I've made start on the next project, another cushion cover but this time I'm doing it in Bargello also known as Florentine stitch, it seems to be far slower to work, but maybe as I get used to the new stitch I will get faster.


  1. I too became concerned about Palm oil and eliminated it from all my soap making recipes, using coconut oil instead. Now I use coconut oil for most of my cooking as well, cakes, breads, cookies and of course for oral hygiene. LOVE my coconut oil!

    1. When I was making soap Donna I managed to get Organic palm oil which was also Fair Trade, we used organic rape seed oil for our cooking produced just fifty miles away.

  2. The situation with Palm oil is really bad, but the sad fact is that if we avoided all the "bad" things we would hardly ever buy anything! The obsession with "Growth" that dominates the world of business is responsible for the destruction of large parts of our planet, and for bringing misery to millions of people.

    1. We are in that category Mark, we hardly buy anything and what we do is nearly always Organic, if we cant get Organic we are inclined to not buy it at all, biscuits are the one exception as we like our cheese especially at Xmas and I like making cheese cake. Still looking for a good cream cracker recipe.

  3. There seems to be more things flowering out of season these days than ever before. The tapestry is beautiful, it will make a fabulous cushion.

    1. Yes Jo, nature seems to be out of sink. I'm pleased how the tapestry turned out, have started the next one using Bargello stitch, much slower than tapestry.

  4. I too would love to hear of a good cream cracker recipe. I shall watch your comments with interest.

    1. Not too many cream cracker recipes on the net, I will try a couple of them and see how they work out. Seeing your latest blog I'm suffering from apple envy.

  5. Palm oil production is so destructive and it seems to appear in a growing list of everyday items; from toothpaste to biscuits. We avoid it where possible but it's sometimes listed under different names; glycerin or even vegetable oil. What I hate is the family friendly wholesome image that is carefully cultivated for marketing from labels such as Dove, Colgate whilst at the same time they are destroying the planet.

    The tapestry is really impressive, well done! xxx Lauren

  6. The problem is 'trade' change the name of things to make them more acceptable, for instance, not all glycerin comes from palm oil, it can also come from soya, but there is no way of knowing it's origin.
    I've now started the secondd project, hope it works out as well as the first one.