I haven’t been struck dumb…

… but my computer was. My “C” drive imploded last week and had to be replaced; we’d had a little warning but I hadn’t quite got round to archiving and preparing for the inevitable. So I was caught on the hop and had to get it professionally replaced & cloned. More expensive than the DIY option, but far cheaper than a new computer & well worthwhile, although I am now left with the job of sorting out all the rubbish that’s accumulated in my Inbox & Documents folder over the last 4-5 years, not to mention all the half-deleted games.

So my online shop still isn’t fully open, which is probably just as well as my bank have yet to divulge my business account number, which is fairly vital. But we have been recycling away in the background, as usual; I’ve just finished planting up my containers & hanging baskets, every one of which is reclaimed from the Tip. Even some of the plants have come from the same source, particularly the fuchsias; last spring I rescued 3 willow baskets full of fuchsias “past their best” which wasn’t surprising as there were up to 8 in each basket! Those that had survived were thinned out, given new soil and replanted in the baskets and elsewhere in the garden, and gave a fine show at the end of summer & up until the first frosts.  Some are showing tiny leaves again already, though others seem to have given up the ghost. As they didn’t cost me a penny, it’s easy to see losing a few as part of life’s great cycle.

This year my baskets have been lined with “dag ends” from the Freecycled fleeces I’ve picked up. I haven’t felted them first, & probably should have, but they  look amazing, especially the white ones. I gather that the fleece and its contents will nourish the plants, as well as holding moisture, rather than just holding the soil in place like traditional liners. Many of the plants are cuttings from last year’s rescued geraniums, though I have bought some new to give variety, and given some of the cuttings away, as well as growing some from seed.

Hanging baskets are wearing natural wool this year...
Hanging baskets are wearing natural wool this year...

And our container kitchen garden is flourishing; some of the potatoes are flowering and will be on our plates before long. They haven’t been earthed-up but have been provided with woolly jumpers from yet more dag ends. There are lots of herbs, and a reclaimed water tank full of beans, which I hope will be well-fed by a whole fleece that was very badly matted; basically it had felted itself on the sheep’s back & wasn’t any use for spinning.  I’ve planted out some of LIDL’s “living salads” in lovely wide terracotta pots, which the slugs don’t seem to have discovered yet, unlike my own lettuce seedlings.  All is watered by rainwater captured from the kitchen roof in butts rescued from the Tip; we’d like a big rectangular storage tank there, but haven’t found one yet, and I refuse to pay £150-odd for a new one. You can see one last bag of well-rotted horse manure, waiting to feed the autumn crops as the summer ones get harvested & their containers are freed up.

Our container kitchen garden, on the driveway...
Our container kitchen garden, on the driveway...

We’ve had guests this week and the weather was good, so evenings have been spent in the garden, toastimg marchmallows around the pot-bellied BBQ stove, fed by snippets of pallet and small offcuts gleaned from the Tip. This week I’m sure I’ve taken more down there than I’ve rescued, thanks to two of the boys swapping bedrooms and taking the opportunity to purge years of accumulated schoolwork, guitar strings (you can only re-use so many) deodorant bottles, odd shoes and outgrown holey jeans on the way. The jeans are in the pile for my next denim apron, but I parted with the rest without a backwards glance.

On the Freegan front, I’ve just polished off a plateful of Aubergine bake. Two lovely aubergines with minor dings were nestling in the bag of “unfit for humans” goodies I picked up at the market so they’ve gone into the oven peeled, sliced & layered with sliced onion, covered with a tin of chopped tomatos and a sprinkle of home-grown rosemary & topped with grated cheese and crumbs off the bread board. Scrumptious! There were also three bruised bananas which have made a banana custard for pudding (made with some of our own home-laid eggs) some watercress with little roots on which got popped into the pond and the chickens got the rest. And DH, now recovered from his bout of pneumonia,  is happily constructing fences with palletwood, to keep the chickens off his new “Nispero” (loquat) and olive trees, bought with the money we haven’t spent on everyday things, so for the moment our recycling efforts are mostly outdoor – long may it last!

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