Monday, 22 May 2017

How to lose weight organically:



A lot of people spend a lot of money and a lot of time trying to lose weight and most of the time without success.

What if I told you there is an easy way and the joy of it is that it will not cost you anything and further more you can do it from the comfort of you own home.

The main thing is to remember the main thing and do it. 

Weight lose program:

As soon as you wake up in the morning----before you eat anything or even brush your teeth: Drink 1.5 liters of water.

It is very important that you do not drink or eat anything before or after for one hour.

This is the only dietary related suggestion; the purpose of it is to clean the body so that it is easier to burn your body fat faster. Other than this you can eat whatever you want when ever you want.
PLEASE do not ignore this simple approach. Try it for 100 days and you will lose weight.

You can use bottle water or filtered or boiled water if you like. If you find it hard to drink so much water at once, start slowly with one liter and add a little every day.. This will soon become a nice habit.

If you really want to go for it: repeat this process in the evening.

One hour before you go to bed, drink  one and a half liters of water. Make sure you do not eat or drink anything before drinking the water and nothing from the time you drink it till you wake up in the morning and repeat the process..




Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Bees!

I was sitting on my allotment seeing how peaceful and beautiful it is, how lovely the birds are and how perfectly it has evolved.
I fine it all very sad because I am seeing it all die. There are fewer birds...some species no longer come to the allotment to nest, there are fewer fish and I never hear a frog anymore.
The one good thing is that there are still plenty of bees. 
I have been reading about bees and they are truly amazing. If they get sick,they go of into the bush to die alone so as not to bring disease into the hive......If they are out at dusk and to far from the hive to get back before the sun goes down; they lie down on their back to keep their wings dry so that they can be off collecting pollen as soon as the sun rises. If there is a wind the bees will put little stones on their back to give them a steadier flight. Always look to the bees because if they die we all die!

Beware the fruits from the West: When you bite into a strawberry the last thing on your mind is childhood brain development, however from here on out you should think of it.
 The reason for this is that the USA is rescinded a proposed ban on chorpyrifos and a lot of others.


I have got all my crops in and at last it is raining here in Oxford, the first time since the first of March. Thank God for that! 

Monday, 15 May 2017

All about Garlic

Garlic 

Garlic (Allium Sativum) is not only one of the oldest herbs but one of the most valued plants. It has been used extensively not only in cooking but it has been prized for at least 5000 years for it's medicinal, healing properties. In fact in ancient civilisation the strong potent qualities of garlic were thought to have supernatural powers. 

Garlic has long been known to reduce blood cholesterol levels and that possibly the plant can reduce the risk of further heart attacks in cardiac patients. It is also a stimulant for the immune system and used as an a powerful antibiotic. 

One of the main characteristics of Garlic is it's strong odour. Allicin gives the characteristic smell. This is largely due to sulphur containing compounds which also accounts for many of it's medicinal properties. These compounds are excreted through the skin and lungs, eating fresh parsley is often recommended to eliminate this odour from the breath after consuming Garlic. If new to using Garlic it is best to use it sparingly to start with.

Medicinal Uses of Garlic


Before modern medicines and antibiotics Garlic was commonly used to treat wounds and is still widely used to treat antibiotic- resistant infections. Today Garlic is commonly used in the treatment of infections, such as: chest problems, digestive disorders as well as fungal infections like athlete's foot. As already mentioned it is widely believed to be a good long-term remedy for cardiovascular problems, helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels and the risk of thromboses. Garlic can also help to dilate peripheral blood vessels resulting in the lowering of blood pressure. It can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, therefore being helpful with those suffering with late onset diabetes. If used topically, the cloves can be used to treat acne and other skin infections. Extracts from Garlic are also often used in remedies to prevent colds, flu, catarrh and bronchitis and to reduce nasal congestion. For medicinal purposes, Garlic is always best used fresh.

How To Use

For treatment of acne, warts or verrucas, rub fresh garlic cloves directly onto the affected area. It can also be mashed to make it easier to apply. 

To reduce high cholesterol, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar levels and improve the cardiovascular system, the cloves should be added to the diet on a regular basis. 

For intestinal parasites, steep 3-4 cloves in water or milk overnight and drink the next day.

If the idea of using fresh Garlic does not appeal to you because of the odour, commercially bought Garlic pearls can be taken. However, the less odour they contain, the less effective they are. 

A word of warning, Garlic is very heating and can irritate the stomach. While safe to use in cooking, do not take Garlic for therapeutic reasons during pregnancy or while breast feeding as it can cause digestive problems such as heart burn. 

How To Grow Your Own Garlic

Garlic is extremely easy to grow and produces numerous bulbs that can transform your cooking as well as be used for medicinal purposes. To successfully grow your own Garlic a warm sunny location is needed to ripen the bulbs. The bulbs need to be grown in rich water-retentive soil, but with good drainage. It can be planted any time from mid-Autumn to late winter, but to get the best yields, planting before Christmas is recommended. 

Buy a head of Garlic from your local store and split it up into individual cloves. Just before planting, thoroughly rake the top of the soil and add a general fertilizer. Plant them directly into the soil 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart using a trowel or dibber to plant each one with the pointed end upper-most. The tips of the cloves should be hidden just below the surface. Firm the cloves in gently. 

As Garlic is shallow rooting it cannot compete with other plants such as weeds, so the ground around them should be regularly weeded. An occasional watering during dry spells will improve the yield of your Garlic crop. However, do not water once the bulbs are large and well formed as this could cause them to rot. 

The earliest varieties are ready from late spring to early summer. You can tell they are ready to harvest when the stems begin to yellow and bend over. Loosen the bulbs from the soil with a fork and spread them out in the sun to dry. They should be stored in a net bag in a cool dry shed. 

Apart from Garlic's  culinary enhancing flavour, it has many medicinal uses and has recently been the study for it's anti-cancer properties. A diet rich in Garlic appears to lower the incidence of stomach, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Perhaps the 'old wives tales' about the supernatural powers of Garlic were not so far fetched as people once thought after all.  

Friday, 12 May 2017

Weed management

Sat down on my allotment, the other day  drinking a cup of coffee, I saw the most amazing sight. I saw, perched high in a tree top, a heron guarding a nest. With its long beak and hunched shoulder, the prehistoric looking bird just sits in the eggs for hours while the tree swings in the wind.However the next thing that happen was that the heron was attached by five or six crows who chased him round the sky and then amazingly another heron came and saw the crows off and the heron went back to siting on the nest as if nothing had happen.  

Weed management
Most weeds are still slow going as it is very dry now. Except dandelions which love the dry. Please dead head or mow and put the seed heads in a bag to rot down. Once the rain arrives the weeds will go made so be prepared as weeding little and often is far easier than letting things go. A good sharp hoe makes short work of most of them. 
Allowing the weeds to grow will influence growth and yield of your crops, particularly early on. Weeds reduce the available nutrients, water and light that your plants need to grow. Once crops are established they'll shade out some of the weeds but some say allowing weeds to affect crops in the early days could reduce the eventual yield by up to 50% even if you weed properly later.
 The weather is challenging ....very dry and alternately beautifully warm and cold. Weeds are valuable green bulk so aim to manage them on your plot. Non-seeding annuals are fine on a good hot compost heap. 

Perennial or seeding annuals can be managed most easily in a thick plastic bag and left sealed until rotted. The green compost bags are perfect. This works with dandelion heads too! When black it can be added when building or turning to a compost bin. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Courgettes

I have just put my  courgettes in, hoping for another year of a bumper crop. I find them such an easy plant to grow; all they need is water and  with some ‘feed’ once a month and your are well away. The only thing that they do not like is frost.
I grow mine from seed and then plant them out this time of the year.

If you do not have the time or the space to start your crops off from seed, you can always start with ready grown plants.
Not everybody has the time or patience to grow from seed, so mini plants are a great speedy way to get going.
All types of plants can be found at a good garden centers and now is the time to get going.

If you live near a sheep farm now is the time when farmers start to thing about shearing their sheep. It is worth while going to have a word with them to see if you can get a bag or two of shoddy or dages as they are some times called.

This is the dirty bit of wool around the sheep's rear end. It makes a great use as bulky manure for incorporation into your soil or compost. The nitrogen content varies from 2per cent to 15 per cent.  The shoddy acts like a sponge and helps to hold moisture. It is slow in action ( meaning it does not break down very fast ) but well worth having if you can get hop of some.

Another great cheap and valuable manure for those who live near the sea is sea weed. It is comparable to farmyard manure, though slightly deficient in phosphates. A big advantage is that sea weed is free from weed seeds and much better then anything else. Seaweed, you will find ferments very quickly. To my mind, seaweed is an ideal organic manure and should be used at a similar rate too farmyard manure. 
If you are going any where near the sea this summer, it is worth while bringing home a bag or two of fresh seaweed.       


it is on the allotment where the simplicity of life is not obscured by lies that men tell themselves to believe that they are masters of their own fate.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Ten Ways To Use Herbs

Ten Ways To Use Herbs

Herbs have been used throughout history for their medicinal properties and some are highly prized for this such as Garlic and Basil. However, today we use herbs more on a day to day basis to enhance the flavours of our food or as ingredients in essential oils and perfumes. Here are ten of the most popular ways to use herbs.

Herb Oil

Herbs steeped in oil can be used for salad dressings, marinades, stir frying etc. This can give a huge boost to the flavors of your dish. Olive oil is best used for this but sunflower oil can be used. Add one or more of your favorite herbs to the oil and leave to steep for about a month. Strain the oil then bottle it. Basil is well suited to this and is a favorite ingredient in Italian cooking. Rosemary, fennel and garlic  also make excellent herb oils.

Bouquet Garni

This is a little parcel of herbs made up to put in stock, stews or casseroles and should be removed before serving the dish. To make, gather a bunch of several sprigs of parsley, thyme and bay leaf and tie with fine thread or string. Other herbs can be added to your preference. Place in with the other ingredients and remove at the end of cooking time. If using dried herbs, these need to be placed in a muslin bag and tied.

Herb Butter

This is a good way to add flavor to your food at anytime as it can be made and stored in the fridge to use when wanted. Herb butter is simply butter in which finely chopped herbs have been mixed. For this herbs with strong flavors should be used such as garlic, chives, rosemary, thyme or sage. Parsley although a mild herb, makes an excellent herb butter to accompany a fish dish. Mix about a tablespoon of herbs to about 4oz of softened butter, beat until they are evenly mixed. This can then be put into a mould or shaped into a roll between greaseproof paper. It should then be put into the refrigerator until firm. It can then be either sliced from the roll or served straight from the mould. A variation of this would be to use cream cheese instead of butter. This makes an excellent spread for sandwiches.

Herb sachets

Herb sachets can make wonderful presents to put into drawers and cupboards to make clothes smell fresh and clean. One of the most commonly used herb sachets is a Lavender sachet. Lavender is well known for it's relaxing and sleep inducing properties. One tucked under the pillow at night it will aid sleep.

Herbal Teas

There are many well known commercial brands of herbal teas on the market such as chamomile which is commonly used for relaxation. But it is very simple to make your own herbal tea. A drink made by steeping the leaves of herbs as well as the flowers or fruits in hot water is known as a tisane. Mint and Chamomile are the top two favorite herbs for this. To make use fresh or frozen herbs rather than dried and pour boiling water over the leaves and allow to stand for 5-15 minutes. For most herbal drinks 3 teaspoons of chopped fresh herbs to one cup of water is sufficient.

Herb Vinegar

As like herb oil this is very simple to make but can make all the difference to the flavor of your cooking. One or more herbs can be used at a time. First slightly crush your herbs and place in a jar. Pour over 500ml of tepid white wine vinegar. Cover tightly and place in a warm place for 2-3 weeks giving it the occasional shake. Strain the vinegar and then bottle. Include a sprig or sprigs of your chosen herb. Suitable herbs for herb vinegar include: dill, rosemary, bay, basil, mint and time.

Pesto

This has to be one of the most common uses of Basil in cooking. It is very versatile and easy to make.  Pesto is an Italian sauce which is used with steak, poultry, pizza and most importantly with pasta. It is a blend of Basil and Garlic with parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil all blended together. It can be used on it's own drizzled over dishes such as mozzarella and Parma ham, for dipping bread or used as an ingredient in pasta dishes etc.

Pot-Pourri

This is a mixture of dried flowers, leaves or herbs that remain fragrant for a long period of time and used as a room fragrance. Often flower petals such as rose are used because of their wonderful scent. However many herbs can be used to make your own pot-pourri such as Lavender which is a very popular herb to have as a room fragrance. If using fresh Lavender, it can be dried first in a warm place such as an airing cupboard for a week or two. It can then be placed in a bowl to release it's scent.

Salad Flowers

Flowers from herbs can be used to both decorate and add flavor to salads and other cold dishes. These included the purple flowers from chives, the attractive orange nasturtium flowers, basil, thyme and pot marigold.

Fines Herbs

This is a mixture of very finely chopped herbs with a delicate flavor. Three or more herbs are required for this mixture such as; parsley, chives, chervil, and tarragon. This mixture is used fresh or dried and is mainly used as an ingredient to egg dishes.

As can be seen herbs are incredibly versatile and provide a vital ingredient to cooking as well as household uses.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

How to make a bottle cloche

 We were told, here in Oxford, that there would be a -4 frost. So I went down to my plot to protect my crops form this frost.

I was mainly concerned about my apple blossom. So I covered the trees with netting. They are all small trees, so I could do that.

I have tomatoes growing in my polly tunnel, so I put plastic bottles over them.

Large large plastic bottles are very good to use to protect seedlings and young plants from   early spring frost, as well as damage from pest.

To make a bottle cloche carefully cut off the bottom of the bottle, then place the plastic tube over the plant, pushing it gently in the soil. Put a short cane in the top and push it into the ground to help hold the bottle in place and stop it blowing away.

What I am doing on my plot

Not a lot really, keeping the weeds down, trapping rats. I caught three this week and watering.

I have also spend a lot of my time up at the local hospital. A family member has been ill and we have sat up there for hours.

As far as I am concerned, the NHS is the best. The staff are so caring, day or night.
The UK government, to their shame, treat the NHS staff, as less then human.
There are two doctors who have an allotment near mine and as they have so little time, I try to help them when I can. I feel that is the least that I can do, as a sort of pay back..

Thoughts while working


I am disgusted at people who are moaning about another UK election. People died for the right to vote. 
Lets get on with it.