Category Archives: Home and Family

Becoming self sufficient in some manner along with my gardening updates.

Gardening was a help

My depression was getting better and the suicidal thoughts were abating on a huge scale three years ago, because of gardening.  Last year my neighbour has got into a new relationship with a man who is creepy and weird and likes to harass and make me uncomfortable when in my garden to such an extent I haven’t touched or been in my garden to do anything since September 2020. 

The thing is, Paul says there is nothing we can do about a neighbour who is like that unless he becomes an actual physical threat, unless we record him on film doing things.  We don’t have the money to set up cameras with microphones to keep tabs on his behaviour so Paul more or less has a shrug it off attitude about it.  So I don’t garden anymore.

I miss it a lot and I wish we could move away, but Paul just can’t.  We can’t afford to for one thing and for another, this house is suffering from rising damp and the roof is broken in two parts.  We also have persistent black mould, which we have to constantly clean away.  The house is worth good money, but we have to knock 40k off it because of its condition, there are no houses in this area we could buy with what would be left for us, on the sale of this.  Well, not a house in which I could have a garden, there are houses but their gardens are literally 10ft by 10ft, they are basically courtyards of townhouse terraces.

It wouldn’t be so bad but this neighbour is also wilfully destructive, he will lean over the fence and literally cut anything he sees peeping up, whether it is leaning into his garden or not.  He has leant over the fence quite a lot on some cases and nearly fell into our garden to do so in order to cut branches of our pine and ash.  He has started to do something I don’t like as well, which is he is trying to reach over to get my blackberry and train it on a chicken wire netting he has placed on his fence, but Paul keeps going out to snip it just as he thinks he has a chance to get it.

He is a rotten man, there are other things but I won’t mention them.  He also accidentally on purpose stumbles off our shared garden path in the front garden to stomp all over my forget-me-nots, dahlias, lilies, nasturtiums and I have caught him trying to take tomatoes, strawberries and mint from the garden too.

He doesn’t like birds sitting on the fence; he will scare them away or spray them with hoses.  He knows we have two bird feeders and like birds in our garden, but he makes sure they don’t stay long!

My cousin taught me a saying once and I laughed at it, it really does apply to this man “that I can’t believe he was the sperm that won”!

Ugh

I miss gardening and I miss lounging in the garden for hours on end reading from April to October every year.

I really have a strong desire to create a food forest garden, but with a nature hating neighbour like that, it is not going to be easy.  Our gardens are 30ft wide and 50ft long in the back garden; he has decked three quarters of his garden and terraced it making the other bits just lawn. 

He is also an insect squisher.  It is hard for someone like me who loves nature and wants to protect it and rewild spaces with my silly hippy idealisms, to see that someone like that exists only to be destructive as it would seem. 

I am particularly sad that I am very passive and I am not known for being particularly assertive, for me to live with a man who is the same.  I feel there is no defence against such a rotter and I have heard him loudly proclaim in big raucous laughter to his brother and friends that we don’t care what he does to our garden and that makes me feel very hurt and angry and sad.

I asked Paul to get some kind of advice about this, but he seems to think it’s all hopeless, there is no one and nothing we can do against such a person.

So I don’t know what to do.

I hope he doesn’t stay there, but it looks like he might be there for a long haul.

Happy reading I suppose.

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Gardening is creative too

Some of my favourite YouTubers and some of my online friends seem to garden all year around and for much of the winter I have been learning about what they have been doing; because I want to be an all year round gardener too!

For my American readers I live in the UK and my zone is approximately a zone 7 – gardening zones are determined by your climate and can determine what plants will do well for you and also soil is important too, but the zones do not tell you what kind of soil you have!  I have heavy clay with the acidity of 7 and I live on a valley edge in East Warwickshire.

For the first time in my life I have decided to sow some plants now; I usually do no sowing at all until the end of March, weather permitting, but after seeing an inspiring Swedish gardener called Sara Backmo sowing things a month ago which I thought were too cold sensitive, I felt that maybe I will have a chance too as it is a little warmer in the UK at the moment than it is in Sweden.

The Late Bloomer, Kaye has also set up a large homestead all on her lonesome in Tennessee and she is very inspiring to me because she shows me that women can be independent. That’s important to me because I was raised that a woman really needs a man around for that kind of life to work and she proves that’s just not so! What’s more, you are never too old to try something new!

LongMeiMei lives in the mountains of China and she does everything herself from smoking meats and butchery and fishing and she does it seemingly tirelessly, I am rather jealous of her life if I am honest. I know its bad to confess that, but it looks like a really good life.

I have just sown some yellow delight tomatoes, ridge cucumbers, basil and Brussel sprouts.  We never had the tradition here to eat Brussel sprouts at Christmas purely because I don’t like Brussel sprouts unless they have been harvested within 3 days of cooking – there is a significant taste you can’t buy from the supermarket!  Paul hates Brussel Sprouts regardless of when they have been harvested at all, but funnily enough my son Henry, who is nearly eleven years old, loves them – so does our rabbit Ray!

I feel that being a creative person can extend to gardening as there is a creation process there!  You sow, you grow, you design, it becomes beautiful and often inspiring for others and it is a productive thing to get into as it can often feed you.  I have a huge interest in paleo lifestyle; I don’t think you can get more paleo than growing your own organically and making your own jams, chutneys and so forth with what you have grown yourselves! 

Until recently, my season was like any other normal gardener, between the end of March if the weather was good, until mid-September, but now things are going to change!

Many people online are inspiring me, friends, but also YouTubers such as Sara Backmo, LongMeiMei and The Late Bloomer, Kaye Kittrall.

I hope my journey into self-sufficiency will grow into allowing me to do things more independently (health permitting) and hopefully I will get my longstanding dream of moving to a home that is large enough to call a homestead.  I have always fantasized about owning a homestead and being self-sufficient, with a large family – well, maybe the large family might never happen now – but I hope the other dreams will come about!

In a few days’ time, if it doesn’t snow anymore, I will take some photographs of what a big mess my gardens are in right now and then update this blog once a month with how I am working towards getting it better.  I will be working mostly single-handedly because Paul hates gardening and Henry is too addicted to making robots and fantasy wrestling matches with his toys to help me as often as he used to.  I am no fool, I know it will be physically tough on me, because I have been sick for too long, but this new diet is giving me more days out of bed lately and I am happy for it.

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Introducing – Ray The Rainbow Rabbit!

My rabbit Ray the Rainbow Rabbit.

Ray was born on the 22nd July 2018 as a Dutch grey rabbit and was adopted by me, his human mother on the 5th October, as part solace for me losing my guinea pig called Truth and part birthday present to me.  Ray was originally named Rainbow by Henry my son, but the rabbit was so deeply embarrassed and depressed by this name that we tried many various names to console the poor chap – until one day it dawned on me that Ray could be a shortened version of Rainbow and Ray has loved us ever since! 

When we first told Ray that his name was going to be Rainbow when we got him home, he did in true rabbit style drama collapsed on his side and was sulking for the first 4 months of living with us.  When I said to him I will now permanently call him Ray near the end of March he was so happy he literally did circuits around his cage and now licks and purrs at me whenever we snuggle.  Whenever I remind Ray that he is called Rainbow, he instantly gets shy, lies down tightly with his ears pinned firmly back to his neck and refuses to acknowledge anyone. 

Ray is toilet trained and is a house rabbit that coincidentally is a huge fan of Peter Rabbit from Cbeebies – my former rabbit Rozzy liked Dr Who.

Ray doesn’t like carrots in fact all rabbits I’ve ever had hates carrots, so I don’t believe in the carrot munching rabbit myth.

Ray has been trained to say “Hello” and “Yes” by using his ears as sign language – yes I know you are probably getting your phones ready to send the men in white coats to me right now aren’t you?  But it is true and someday I will get a phone I can work out and prove it to you on YouTube!

He is a very talkative and responsive rabbit with a temper – I have never known such an aggressive self-assured rabbit before and he will bite!

But he is a loving soul really; I also think he is rather mystical; he has done many strange and unexplained things since living here.  Such as managing to push an entire corn on the cob out of the narrow prongs of his cage by himself, flattened his wooden hut and often high fives Henry.  Not to mention the household Nisse is his best friend!

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