Our back garden after having lived here a year and plans for next year.

Even though we are having a mild October thus far, it cannot be escaped that winter is coming.

We bought the house in February 2016 and our first summer here was spent just getting the house together and coming to terms with that my mother is terminally ill, after we received the news in May 2016 that her cancer is now too far advanced to treat.

So I didn’t do a lot in the garden. I hung washing in it on the line, and that was it.

So this summer I wanted to at least try to grow some things. I decided to try growing some herbs, and I wanted to try some nasturtiums as well. I was also gifted some plants before term ended at the college.

Safe to say, the nasturtiums did very well! But interestingly the ones that did the best were the ones we planted right into the flower bed rather than in the pot. I bought two packs of seeds for £2 and didn’t even use the other pack. I have been eating the leaves in salads and in sandwiches all summer so a very worthwhile investment.

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Nasturtiums just taking over the garden now.
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Look at it! Even the savage sage plant is a dwarf in comparison to the nasturtiums.
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Our bounty; a lone tomato. Gave it to Husband so he could have it in his salad, he said it was lovely and sweet.

Although tomato plants are not perennial, I have decided to try and winter them. I’ll take them to the top floor of our house and cover a section of the floor with newspapers – because they did grow tomatoes eventually and I want to give them a chance.

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Looking a bit forlorn now, I wonder if I can winter them?

For next year I think I will do the following:

  • I have managed to grow nasturtiums (probably through sheer dumb luck); I will try lettuce next year, and sow them as soon as it’s warm enough outside to do it. If my niece can inadvertently grow some by sprinkling some seeds in an unused sink in the garden, then I can do it too!
  • If wintering the tomato plants and pepper plant doesn’t work out I will buy some plants from the garden centre as soon as it’s warm enough. I may also try some cucumber plants next year.
  • Maybe get a fire pit or brazier? We have two deck chairs we have been gifted and it would be nice to sit outside with it in the back yard in the evening.
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The acer in the back yard is starting to turn, looking lovely ^_^

 

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A Sundry September.

September has been an interesting month.

Good points about September were:

  • We finally had the PIP assessment and grievance meeting for Husband.
  • Husband has become more confident in cooking and is thinking about more and more recipes he wants to try.
  • We got some lovely bargains reduced at the shop.
  • We were under budget on the old grocery shop. No large part due to the meat and food my sister and her family send with us when we were home in August.
  • We sold some things on eBay, everything helps for the Japan/Good-to-Have Fund!

Things that could be improved about September were:

  • Husband still has not been given any hours at the job where the grievance is. And we’ve had two letters from them which are the most unprofessional ‘professional’ letters we have ever seen, so with support of the union we will appeal their decision. This impacts on Husband’s mental health a great deal.
  • PIP still drags on. We rang them on the 10th of May to get this started so it seems to take a long time. DWP sent us their decision letter on the 28th of September. Their decision is to not award Husband PIP, and in each category, they have scored Husband 0 out of 8 or 12 points, meaning they don’t feel he needs support in these areas. I am changing between feeling tearful and incandescent about this. We are having the mandatory reconsideration and then going to tribunal about this. It does make me wonder what happens to people who don’t have anyone to advocate for them.

 

 

 

Catch of the Day: Delicious reduced food.

Went by the Co-Op yesterday as I had a parcel to collect and found these little babies.

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Got all of this for £1.46! I love the reduced section! Some we had with our soup for dinner and some has gone in the freezer. Bottom Left: The Cat inspects the Catch of the day.
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The Cat enjoyed the Sun yesterday ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The unknown of trying new things. And the delight of finding you can manage.

Husband did something that’s not quite like him this week, and managed it as well.

He made dinner for me! And, he made something that he hadn’t made before, and he managed to do it.

For the uninitiated: Some people who have Asperger’s Syndrome struggle with things that are new and different, and encountering these things make them anxious. Some may also need very clear instructions and support with doing tasks.

For Husband, saying ‘just cook it until it’s golden all over’ for example is not helpful as he won’t understand what that would mean. How long is that for? And what shade of golden? Instead, you say ‘preheat the oven for 5 minutes. After the oven has preheated for 5 minutes, put the food in at 180 degrees for 45 minutes. Set a timer on your phone for it.’

Husband does cook but it has to be things he knows and has made before. Even then he will ask me to come and check the food and check it’s going ok.

I asked Husband if he could cook dinner on Wednesday as it is normally the hardest day at work for me, as it is so busy. He said he would and then said he would cook something new, try something different. I said that was ok and to think about what to buy and to check the cupboards as well, and I said if it didn’t work that we could have a takeout, that that would also be fine.

He said he would try making what he had in mind, and asked me to buy some crusty bread on my way home.

Well! I came home from work and we had this!

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Husband made dinner! Potato, carrot and onion soup with mixed herbs, garlic and bacon.

He was so pleased with himself that me managed to do the recipe first time around with no support. It was delicious and he has said he will make it again for us. He explained to me in great detail how he’d researched recipes, gone up to the Co-Op to buy the ingredients and then peeled and chopped everything.

It might seem odd for some to celebrate it. But I am so proud of him for giving it a go and I can tell he was pleased with it, and that it’s given his confidence a boost. It is a big deal for him and I will continue to encourage him to try new things in future.

 

Sharing Sherwood – meeting new people in our community and avoiding food waste.

Sharing Sherwood hosted their meal again and Husband and I went along – this will be the last one I will be able to attend for some time as I work on a Sunday while the event is on, term time. It’s a shame as I have really enjoyed the previous two times we have been. We are meeting people in the community where we live, and some people who we’ve seen previously came and said hello to us which was lovely as well.

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The menu – All delicious. The French onion soup was lovely!

The food served at Sharing Sherwood is given to them by FareShare; this is food they have collected from Supermarkets that would otherwise have been thrown out. Diners pay a donation when attending and they can also for a donation have some of the surplus food there. The money made from donations and the entry fee is then given to foodbanks in our local area.

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My dinner! Clockwise from noon we have rice, mushroom pasta, onion bhaji, vegetarian curry with quorn.

The next dinner will be held on the 8th of October – maybe Husband and Neighbor will go along.

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Got some lovely food for our donation; think the leftover bhajis will be part of our dinner tomorrow.

 

Catch of the day: Dining out again at the Sharing Sherwood project.

It’s the second Sunday of the month again, so this evening Husband and I took our neighbour with us and we went to have dinner at the Sharing Sherwood project again.

At the Sharing Sherwood project volunteers cook food given to them by the organization FareShare (they collect food from supermarkets that they would have binned and distributes it to soup kitchens and food banks) and people can come and eat for a donation. The money collected goes to foodbanks in Nottingham.

We had such a lovely time when we went last time and were determined to go back again as it’s such a lovely idea. Last time the donations made plus the entry money totalled £155 – this is a great help for the project as they are hoping to donate at least £100 to each foodbank in December this year from what they’ve made from the dinners.

Hard to imagine that if the food served there had not been snapped up by FareShare it would have been binned by the supermarkets! I have already pencilled in that we’re going next time it’s on in September.

There were fewer people there than last time. We guessed it was because it’s school holidays now and so many of the families who brought their children last time are away on vacation.

 

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Tonight’s menu. All delicious.
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The donations table. You make a donation and then you can help yourself to the food. Someone had also brought in a basket of rhubarb and several giant marrows from their garden to share.
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My lovely dinner! Going clockwise we have a vegetable bake, asparagus, red cabbage, afghan pilau rice and vegetable curry. Topped with fresh chopped coriander. I may have gone back for seconds…
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Our haul from the donations table today, plus one of the marrows. So glad we could go along this time. Need to look up what to do with a giant marrow now!

Avoiding food waste: Dining at the Sharing Sherwood project.

One afternoon I had a look at the library notice board after collecting some books, and I came across this notice:

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It said that for a suggested donation of £2.50 per adult and £1.50 per child, anyone was welcome to attend and eat food that would otherwise had been thrown out by the supermarkets. Food is collected by FareShare that supermarkets need to get rid of due to their use by/best before dates, and Sharing Sherwood cooks the food and serves it to people who donate to eat. The funds are then donated to food banks around Nottingham.

Husband and I have lived here for a year now after we bought our house but want to get more involved in the community so we decided to go.

In addition to this, I am very passionate about food and food waste – wasting food is criminal in my opinion is a waste of precious resources and labour.

We have a food, toiletries and clothes bank at the college for hard up students – it is surprising and shocking to see how deprived some of our students are. As a department we also collect food for the food banks every summer as children who normally get free school meals have to be fed in the summer as they aren’t at school putting extra strain on people’s household finances.

Sharing Sherwood meets at the church up the street on the 2nd Sunday of every month at 6pm.

Husband and I went along, and paid at the door before finding a seat.

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Our menu for the night.

We had a lovely time there, trying the different food – there was loads of food to be had and everyone could have seconds if they wanted. 70 people attended and it was nice to see how varied the group was, from people with families to students to pensioners.

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Delicious food, rescued from an untimely end in the bins! Going clockwise from 12, we have carrot and parsnip fries, tortellini pasta bake with tomatoes and feta, asparagus and edamame beans, salad cream, green salad with feta and falafel. All delicious.

Everyone pitched in with cleaning up and putting stuff away afterwards, and this session we were told raised £155 for the foodbank. People are encouraged to bring a drink and a container when they come as they hand out the leftovers afterwards, so as to not waste food.

The food was delicious and there was plenty of it; we wouldn’t have realized this food was ‘out of date’ if we hadn’t been told. We think this is a brilliant idea, and husband and I said to each other several times how unbelievable it was that this food had not been snapped up by FareShare, it would have gone in the bin as it was past it’s ‘use by’/’best before’ date.

I spoke to one of the volunteers and they said that the only thing they did not get a lot of was meat as it’s hard to store and keep fresh until they use it. But with all the food that was available, it didn’t even occur to me that the meal needed some meat, it was fine as it was.

They also had some food laid out on one of the tables where you could help yourself, for a donation. We made a donation and took this home:

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More food saved from the bin! We may or may not have already quality assured the Special K biscuits. Can’t wait to try the soups.

The next dinner will be held on the 13th of August and I’ve already put it in my calendar so husband and I will go again!

If you want to read more about the project and join their FaceBook page you can do so here.