Fall is around the corner, we already had some cold days and lit the wood stove twice this week, but today is a sunny warm day again, ideal to work in the garden. Our tomato plants are still covered in unripe ones. They don’t taste anything like the sweet juicy red ones, rather acidic and won’t reach full growth or optimum ripeness with the fall temperatures. So instead of admitting defeat, I decided to enjoy them as a tasty green treat: a homemade green tomato chutney. My husband and I are already looking forward to this tasty side dish with its deliciously, sharp, puckering and astringent flavour.
For my daughter’s wedding (table) decorations, even her bride’s bouquet, we used Serpevivum, a lovely plant already growing in one of the stone plant pots in our garden when we bought our house here in the South of France. It soon became my favourite next to Santolina. It is a plant that really lives forever in any condition (except wet soil and waterlogged roots), thriving on rocky, sandy soil with low fertility, its ideal growing conditions, and one that keeps on producing offsets.
We have had chicken ever since we moved to the South of France, mostly for the eggs. I do always like a handsome rooster in the coop too, just for the pretty sight of it. Our Orpington rooster alas, we found one afternoon dead in the coop, so all we had left was our flock of pretty Orpington chicken. Although we read that this breed has good mothering instincts and certain breeds (Orpington!) are more likely to turn broody in the summer months (although it can happen at any time of the year), we were in for the eggs….
She said yes, my youngest! For my daughter, the perfect wedding venue and celebration had to be here on our land, in our outdoor garden: a woodland wedding. As every princess needs her castle, hers was our home. No fairy godmother could’ve made the bride more gorgeous, no castle could’ve been more regal than “home”, no wedding more fairy-tale like than here on our beautiful land in the South of France.
Nature’s great recyclers, really important as without them organic matter would not able to be absorbed by plants, important in pollination of native plants and crops… In compost flies are doing most of the work, eating scraps and then excreting and turning it into a substance plants can use when you put it back in the garden. The Musca Domestica to me however is just a pesky little annoying creature. As we live in an area with a lot of vegetation and thick shrubbery, we are ideal for the growth of flies. And let’s not forget as humans we are covered in dead skin cells, oil and salt which are all delicious to flies, to keep circling around us because to a housefly, we’re a veritable buffet.
When I found my board on a boot fair, I immediately fell in love with its beautiful carving and the lovely seeds. It is the Kalah version, one of the most popular Mancala games for kids: two rows of 6 small pits. It will motivate your school-aged kids to count and think strategically, encourage them to conduct thought experiments, counting tokens and comparing tactics in their heads, before they move a game piece. Grown ups will love it for its high degree of tactical play but watch out it is incredibly addicting for those who need to feel a sense of accomplishment! Mancala offers a nice parallel to real life, forecasting moves and considering consequences can have a real impact on your everyday decisions.
Every year I’m eagerly looking forward to the first burst of spring color, brightening up those showery spring days and bringing the sunshine into my life with a gorgeous collection of daily surprises. Dense carpets of wild flowers appear as spring takes hold of my garden, they brighten up the late-winter gloom.
It’s been a while, but as tons of family paid us a visit, there wasn’t much time to write. So here’s a quick hello from me, now that spring has sprung upon us in full force. I just had to share these dazzling spring flowers and creepy crawlies we’ve encountered whilst crossing the rejuvenation of nature on our path this last month.
The last blog posts told you all about my baby steps to zero waste living so far. Time to start writing about other stuff, but to give you an idea of what we’ve actually changed since reading Bea Johnson’s book, this last post about zero waste living. Enjoy some amazing views of the wonderful region we live in, nature at its best, worth preserving for our grandchildren by a zero waste style of living.
Often gazing at our surroundings allows us to truly appreciate the world, one of the amazing gifts of living here in the South of France. The beauty of nature can have a profound effect on our senses. We have magnificent starry nights but during the early spring days and certainly in summer, we do encounter little “pests”, creepy crawlies or flying little wonders. It’s the stingy ones, we’d rather not encounter in our private little haven or on our dogs. Let’s not try to ward them off with chemical products but give some natural DIY products a go.