Growing Food

Growing food is as good as printing money – in fact it’s much much better than printing money because there are no printing costs involved and growing food allows you to nourish your body with organic fresh fruit, veg and herbs all year round.

Because of the recent lockdowns and ridiculous testing system, people are finding some supermarket shelves empty.

Suddenly growing our own food and learning how to survive, without some of the conveniences we’ve had available to many of us in recent times, seems almost compulsory.

If you haven’t got a garden or any outdoor growing space don’t despair. Here are 3 possible alternatives.

1.Use pots on windowsills and other bright spots – although be careful of direct sunlight. Buy, or acquire, some pots, compost and seeds and away you go!

2. Invest in a grow-tent. These tents are often sold as ways to grow cannabis plants but they can also be used to grow some delicious food crops. The investment is higher initially but it will pay for itself in organic food.

Grow Tent, Reflective Mylar Hydroponic Grow Tent with Observation Window and Floor Tray for Indoor Gardening Plant Germination

This tent is cute but do your research. You’ll need lights with some tents and not with others.

3.Hydroponics is another way to grow food indoors. See this post Hydroponics to get an idea of the outlay and process.

If you have a garden or some outdoor space though, the possibilities are endless. I lived on an acre of land many years ago and less than a quarter of that land put food on the table for the whole family for most of the year.

I have a very small garden now, by comparison, but at the moment, I’m growing:

Lettuce and mixed salad leaves
Tomatoes
Peppers and chili peppers
Beans
Pea shoots
Carrots
Cauliflower
Spinach
Chard
Beetroot
Dwarf Kale and Tuscan Kale
Cauliflower
Cabbage
Spring Onions
Radishes
Strawberries
Raspberries
Cape Gooseberries
Grapes
Hops

These are a few snapshots of my very busy garden at the moment!

Plus there are various herbs growing:

Nasturtium
Chives
Oregano
3 varieties of mint
Parsley
Thyme
Basil

Admittedly, the garden is now a narrow path amongst many pots and growing spaces, 🙂 but the joy it brings is incomparable. The harvest isn’t huge but it’s very satisfying to be able to pick and eat fresh vegetables on an ‘almost’ daily basis.

Watering and nurturing plants is one of the most peaceful and practical hobbies in the world. Avoiding plastic-wrapped non-organic and perhaps genetically modified vegetables is a big plus for me as well.

Saving the planet while pottering in the garden just works on all levels!

Check out a few of these posts if you’re unsure where to start growing food for you and your family. All very quick reads designed to inspire 🙂

10 Easy Steps to Happy Gardening

Garden Supplies

Gardening by the Moon

My Garden Journal

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. I’ve written quite extensively on growing stuff and there are lots of downloads available in many different online book stores listed here

Natural Pharmacy

The natural health and well-being movements have been growing steadily as we are all realizing the benefits of living with nature rather than against it. There ‘s a natural pharmacy to be found all around us.

While I appreciate the amazing medical breakthroughs and necessary pharmaceutical drugs we have available now, I am also a great believer in looking to nature for a few remedies here and there. Especially since the big pharma stand to increase their profits by billions due to the so-called pandemic and their vaccination rollout.

I could rant on about that all day but for a little calm and peace 🙂 let’s check out just a few of the herbs that we can grow at home….

NB: Please don’t self-medicate unless you’re 100% certain you have the right plants and that their consumption won’t interfere with any prescribed medication or allergies.

BASIL

Culinary: Perhaps the most common use of basil today is its addition to tomato dishes and many people refer to it as the tomato herb.
Medicinal: Basil belongs to the same family of plants as mint and is considered to be a good digestive aid. Herbalists use it to help cure headaches, constipation and sickness.
Cosmetic: It has also been used cosmetically to add shine to dull hair.
Growing Tip: Position basil plants with peppers and tomato plants and they will enhance each other’s growth.

►A small cup of basil tea after a meal aids digestion.

BAY

Culinary: Add bay leaves to stews and casseroles.
Medicinal: Bay is known to have powerful antiseptic qualities. A traditional folk remedy for rashes caused by poison ivy, poison oak, and stinging nettle is a poultice soaked in boiled bay leaves
Cosmetic: Not really cosmetic but laurel was, for many centuries considered to be a symbol of success/prosperity.
Growing Tip: Bay trees will grow up to 15m if they are left to their own devices! Grow in large pots and containers. They need very little maintenance.

CELERY

Culinary: a nutritious and useful vegetable, it will also double up as a herb. The stems can be eaten fresh or cooked and they make delicious soup. Leaves can be added to soups and salads for flavouring.
Medicinal: Celery is used in Ayurvedic medicine for bronchial problems, including asthma, wind and as a nerve tonic. Seed sold for cultivation shouldn’t be used medicinally.
Growing Tip: Some types of celery are best grown in trenches so the plants may be earthed up later in the year, although many varieties will successfully grow on flat ground. Either way choose a sunny spot.

►Growing celery at home means you can make wonderful soups without going shopping. Wholesome, heart-warming and very nutritious. (And, I’ve heard it’s been used as an aphrodisiac!!)

CHAMOMILE

Culinary: Recipe idea: Chamomile tea is widely drunk as a mild sedative
Medicinal: Chamomile has mild sedative properties and has, for many years, been made into a soothing and calming tea. It aids digestion and alleviates symptoms of the common cold.
Cosmetic: Chamomile is also used in cosmetic preparations including hair lighteners and shampoos.
Growing Tip: Chamomile, like most herbs, will be better left to its own devices most of the time. It is also a good companion plant as it tends to repel bugs.
►Chamomile has been found useful for reducing joint inflammation such as arthritis and easing menstrual cramps

Amazing ay?!! And these are just four out of hundreds of herbs that exist on our planet just waiting to help us. Start growing your natural pharmacy today! (quick download Herb Books here)

Peace and good health.

Linda x

P.S.

I grabbed this text from my newly updated Healthy Body Hacks download listed here if you’d like to read more.

Afternoon Tea

This week, I’ve updated and grown my Afternoon Tea & Cakes Book. I’ve been working like a crazy woman to get it done by this weekend because my jewellery making kit is arriving today and I can’t wait to get onto the new project – I’m making crocheted earrings.

They may go up on Etsy or Home of the Mall or I may do a market stall. I’ve never made jewellery before so not sure how it’s going to pan out. Watch this space, as they say, because I’m sure I’ll have to blog about it!

But for now, I thought I’d share a couple of Cheesy recipes that I’ve included in the new edition of Afternoon Tea & Cakes.

It’s up on Etsy now if you’d like to indulge in a few elegant and delicious afternoon tea parties 🙂 or pop over to the Books Section and choose your preferred retailer.

CHEESY CRUMBLES

Chewy, cheesy, bite-sized snacks

Ingredients

115g (4-5oz) Cheddar Cheese
100g (4oz) plain flour
25g. (1oz) walnuts
6 tablespoons butter
4 spring onions
1 teaspoon of wholegrain mustard

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190˚C/375˚F/Gas mark 5.
  2. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets.
  3. Grate the cheese coarsely in a bowl.
  4. Thinly slice the spring onions and finely chop the walnuts. Stir both into the cheese.
  5. Stir in the flour and the mustard.
  6. Melt the butter and add to the cheese mixture, stirring until well blended.
  7. Shape into 2.5cm (1in) balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with a spatula.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown
  9. Leave to cool on the sheets for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a wire tray to cool, completely.
  10. Best eaten warm and on the same day as making them although they can be stored in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days.

CHEESE PUFFS

This recipe includes bacon, but a veggie substitute could be used instead.

Ingredients
500g (1lb 2oz) all butter puff pastry
100g (4oz) cheddar, grated
50g (2oz) fresh breadcrumbs
2 rashers streaky bacon, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg, beaten
Seasoning

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 230˚C / 450˚F / Gas mark 8.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion, bacon and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the breadcrumbs, cheese and mustard and season to taste.
  4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out 12 circles.
  5. Put a heaped teaspoon of the cheese mixture in the centre of each circle, then fold it n half and seal with beaten egg.
  6. Crimp the edges, transfer the pastries to a baking tray and brush the tops with beaten egg.
  7. Bake the puffs for 15 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Variation
Add 100g (4oz) of chorizo cut into small cubes to the filling when you fry the onion

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Chocolate Pecan Pralines

As I’m addicted to chocolate peanuts, I thought I might try this recipe from the old fashioned candy book (published around 100 years ago!). The original recipe is below my translation.

Ingredients

*3 cups of granulated sugar,
1 cup of cream,
2 squares of chocolate, melted or grated
3 cups of pecan nuts, chopped finely
**1 cup of sugar cooked to caramel,
pecan nut halves to decorate

*Maple or brown sugar could be used in place of all or part of the quantity of granulated sugar.
**I’ve found a number of theories about caramelizing sugar but Delia seems to know what she’s talking about so I’ll go with her version. If you’ve never done this before her step by step page here makes it easy! Probably best to make it in a big pan as you’ll be pouring the chocolate mixture onto it.

Method

My translation is as follows:

  1. Put the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Bring to the boil and boil until mixture is at the soft ball stage (put a tiny drop into cold water – if it pushes together smoothly, it’s ready) or, if you have a cooking thermometer, until it reaches 236 degrees.
  3. Add the melted or grated chocolate and beat it into the mixture. Then pour the mixture onto the sugar cooked to caramel. Bring back to the boil and remove from heat.
  4. Add the chopped nuts and beat until the mixture begins to thicken.
  5. When cool enough to hold its shape, drop teaspoon by teaspoon onto a greased board or any clean non-stick surface and place a pecan half on each before it sets.
  6. The mixture sets very quickly so you may want to enroll some help with the placing of the nut halves.

The original recipe text:

Stir the sugar and cream over the fire until the sugar is melted, then let boil to the soft ball degree, or to 236° F. Add the chocolate, melted or shaved fine, and beat it in, then pour the mixture onto the cup of sugar cooked to caramel; let the mixture boil up once, then remove from the fire; add the nut meats and beat until the mass begins to thicken. When cold enough to hold its shape drop onto an oil cloth or marble, a teaspoonful in a place, and at once set a half nut meat on each. Two persons are needed to make these pralines, one to drop the mixture, the other to decorate with the halves of the nuts. The mixture becomes smooth and firm almost instantly.

Enjoy!

Linda x

Growing Kale

Kale is a real honest-to-goodness superfood.

It contains iron, Vitamins K, A and C and is also high in calcium. Well worth growing for use later on in the year, when you want to boost the immune system so you can avoid winter colds and flu.

Kale is part of the brassica family and a particularly hardy crop, tolerating cold better than many other crops. Sow seed according to the growing recommendations on your seed packet and pick leaves when they are young and tender.

A healthy kale plant will keep growing right through the winter and is a wonderful source of vitamins.

Recent research has shown kale to be a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals and, although it’s a fairly ancient crop kale is fast becoming the next ‘superfood’.

Grab a few baby plants from your local garden centre to get them going quickly.

I started some kale seeds in a greenhouse, then re-potted the small plants and put them outside. Because we get a fair amount (slight understatement!) of rain in Cornwall, I’ve not really had to water them but I would suggest they should have a fair amount of water, although never waterlog them.

This is what they’re doing after just a few weeks and in a few more weeks, I think I’ll be picking a few leaves here and there.

I want to keep them going for cropping in the winter. I’ve never grown kale in pots before so we’ll see what happens!

This variety is ‘Dwarf Green Curled’

Starting some winter crop seeds now will give you some awesome nutritious and organic veggies in the cold months of the year.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. Thompson & Morgan (UK) are a well-established company and have a number of different kale seed varieties. I think I’ll go for this one next time. (400 seeds for around £3)

Kale ‘Dwarf Green Curled’
Brassica oleracea

Attractive, dark, tightly frilled leaves

Exceptionally hardy

Organic Garden Party Plan

Whether it’s with good friends or family or both, an organic evening from start to finish will create a warm rosy glow of contentment.

Plan the day out and you’ll be able to enjoy the evening as well. This is a plan for simple nourishing food but substitute other ingredients if you prefer.

During the morning and afternoon prepare some, or all of the following salads. Chill in their serving dishes in the bottom of the fridge.- you’ll have time.

Anything that needs cooking and cooling can be done while you’re prepping other stuff, so here goes…

During the day, prepare some, or all of the following salads. Chill in their serving dishes in the bottom of the fridge.

Potato Salad:

Steam or boil diced potatoes until tender and leave to cool completely. Stir in some chopped chives and a mayonnaise sauce- try half mayo and half natural yoghurt. Taste sauce before adding to potatoes. Chill before serving. Optional extra: mix in some walnut pieces and chopped celery.

Rice Salad:

Cook rice and leave until cold. Put into a large bowl and mix in; sweetcorn, chopped tomato, onion and green pepper. Chill before serving. Add a few nuts and even dried fruits if liked. Can be served with a mayonnaise sauce.

Green Salad:

Finely slice a lettuce and put into a large bowl. Loosen with your hands or a large slotted spoon. Mix in a very finely sliced onion and a tomato. If available, add sliced organic cucumber, sweet peppers and a few chopped fresh herbs.

Coleslaw:

Grate or very finely chop some white cabbage, an onion and a raw carrot. Mix together in a large bowl with a mayonnaise sauce. Chill before serving. If available add finely chopped walnuts and celery

Now you have a selection of salads, prepare the dessert:

Fruit salad:

Chop any fresh organic fruits you have available and mix with a few dried fruits and nuts. Search the market stalls for an exotic fruit or two, such as mango or pineapple, to add a touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your salad! Leave to marinate for an hour before serving. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a cool place.

For the main dish at your home garden party,

you could choose to have veggie burgers or the equivalent, or even organic steak if you don’t want to get too vegetarian!

If you have a few laying hens or ‘you know a man who does’ make a huge spanish type omelette for your guests.

Most of the ingredients can be prepared in advance:

  1. Dice and steam or boil a couple of largish potatoes until just cooked. Drain and leave to cool.
  2. Slice some mushrooms and simmer gently in a little water in a frying pan for a few minutes. Drain and leave to cool.
  3. Slice and gently simmer one or two medium onions – as you did with the mushrooms. Drain and leave to cool.
  4. Boil a few peas. Drain and leave to cool.

While this lot is cooling, clear up the chaos in the kitchen and find a fairly large flat dish – a chopping board will do. When the veggies are cool, arrange them in small heaps on a board and set aside, covering with a cloth to keep them moist and to protect from flies.

The next step is an outside job!

Shut down the barbeque and build a fire instead. You’ll need some space but investing in a fire pit may be a good option. But, if you have the space and some large stones available, have an old-fashioned fire instead.

Side note: If you decide on a fire rather than a barbecue or a firepit like the one below, you’ll need a trivet to go over the fire.

Find a comfortable spot in the garden, away from trees and wooden fences etc; and make a circle of stones. These should be large stones, about housebrick size – but no bigger. The diameter of the circle should be about 20 inches (50cm) or so. Then make another circle of stones around the first one about twice the size.

……………………………………………………………………….

NB: If you don’t have space to build a fire, use your barbeque grill Or invest in a firepit.

This firepit on Amazon (UK) is around £140 at the time of writing

DAWOO Fire Pit with BBQ Grill Shelf, Barbecue Brazier, Table Brazier Garden Patio Heater/BBQ/Ice Pit with Waterproof Cover (3 in 1Fire Pit Table & Grill) (square)

…………………………………………………………………………

In your middle circle, build a fire. You can do this as you would light a barbeque, or collect some paper, card and small dry twigs and some larger logs to keep the fire burning. The next thing to do is find two sticks at least a metre long around broomstick size in diameter. You can use these to control the flame and, to a few degrees, the temperature of the fire. When your fire has got going and the flames are low, place a trivet over the fire, and start cooking…

Use the long sticks by pulling them out and pushing them into the embers. When you push them in, the flame will burn higher. Normally you will need to keep the flame low, but if left too long, the fire will die, so heating it up and removing the pan from time to time will keep the embers glowing nicely.

NB: Don’t use your best pans for this!

If you’re cooking steaks or veggie burgers – throw them in the pan and get frying! If you decided on the omelette, bring your covered board of prepared vegetables to the fire and place in between the circles of stones. Beat eggs in a bowl, allowing two per person. You could do this in shifts if there are more than four people eating. The cooking time is quick so by the time the first shift have dished up their salads, the next servings are cooked.

NB: Enrol some help 🙂

Pour a little oil in the frying pan and add a spoonful of each of the ingredients on your dish: potatoes, onions etc; Stir gently and pour beaten egg over the mixture. Sprinkle on some grated cheese to taste. Add a little black pepper. Cook gently for a few minutes, then turn and cook for a few minutes on the other side. The omelette will probably fall apart during this manoeuvre, but push it all back together -it will taste just as good.

Now dish up your main course on individual plates and let everyone serve themselves from the delicious spread of salads decorating your outside table.

Carefully remove the trivet from the fire, place a few logs on and enjoy your meal to a crackling fire in the night sky!

Voila! a wonderful organic home garden party!

And still later……

after everyone has complimented you on a delicious meal and scrummy dessert, play a traditional parlour game to round off the evening. Avoid card games or word games. They require far too much concentration!

Entertain each other by showing off what a fool you can be by playing charades. Choose the name of a song, a tv programme, a film, whatever, and mime the title – abosolutely no speaking aloud, unless you’re under ten yrs old, then you can have a few concessions! If no one guesses your mime, you have the added embarasment of having another go.

And when all your guests have gone home and the children are in bed, take a few moments to sit by the fire and watch the dying embers, and remember the evening with gladness in your soul and good food in your body!

Enjoy!

Linda x

Grow Parsley at Home

Growing Parsley (petroselinum crispum):
(biennial)

Parsley has traditionally been used as a food garnish and flavouring, for head-dresses and even for adorning tombs during ancient Greek times.

It is probably the most under-used herb in the garden but is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly iron. Gram for gram, parsley has more vitamin C than citrus fruits.

There are a number of different varieties. The most commonly used are the curly leaf and Italian flat leaf types which are added to many recipes, as well as being an attractive garnish.

Parsley originally grew wild in Mediterranean areas, but has been cultivated throughout Europe and America for many centuries.

In recent years, the remarkable properties of parsley have been well documented and the herb is freely used in professional and home kitchens although there is still a temptation to use it only as a garnish.

Parsley is effective in freshening the breath after eating garlic.

Growing:

Parsley likes to grow in a sunny spot, and thrives in a rich soil. It grows well in containers and can be dotted around the garden to grow with other herbs and vegetables. Varieties of parsley differ so much that it’s hard to tell they come from the same family sometimes. Try growing flat leaved and tight curly leaved varieties to compare.

Buy ready grown young plants from a nursery or garden centre to get your crop going quickly. But these plants are often started in forced conditions and are not hardened to cold nights. It’s unlikely the plants would survive if put out too early. Keep plants on a sunny windowsill and keep well watered. They may be transplanted a little later in the year, although a healthy parsley plant will keep green and fresh right into the winter months on a sunny windowsill.

Always ensure pots are well-drained, but parsley needs to be kept moist, so water regularly.

Choose a well-drained sunny spot outside. Parsley will tolerate some shade but the soil will need to be rich in nutrients for it to thrive. Dig over the ground and remove and perennial weeds and dig in some well-rotted manure or rich compost, if available.

From seed:

Parsley will grow readily from seed, but can take more than six weeks to germinate, so it needs to be started in a clean compost where the seeds won’t be drowned with weeds. Some growers soak the seed for 24 hours before planting to speed up the germination process.

Sow a few seeds in pots, and keep warm and the soil moist. When the plants come up, thin to one plant per pot. The seedlings you remove could be planted elsewhere, but consider how many parsley plants you may need. The thinnings may be better off in the salad bowl.

Seeds can be planted directly outside, but not until the weather is warmer. As parsley needs a long growing period, it’s generally better to start them in early spring in a greenhouse, or indoors.

When all danger of a frost has passed young plants can be transplanted into the garden, and containers can be put outside. Parsley is a heavy feeder, resulting in iron and mineral rich leaves. If your soil could be lacking in nutrients, parsley will benefit from a regular organic feed.

Start using the leaves when the plants are at least 8 inches (20cm) tall. Use all through the year. During the second year of growth, parsley will produce flower and seed. The seeds can be collected when ripe.

Parsley has a long tap root and tends to look after itself fairly well once it settles in, but it should never be allowed to dry out. Water regularly in dry weather.

Storing:

For seed collection: Hang flower heads upside down in a paper bag when the seed has started to form. Leave in a dry airy place until the seeds drop from the rest of the plant, then store seed in a sealed jar. Remember to label the jar and store out of direct light.

Parsley leaf can be dried: Hang the whole stems or lay on racks to dry, then crumble leaves and store in sealed jars. Label and again, store out of direct light. Whole stems of parsley can also be frozen.

Medicinal uses for Parsley:

Because of its high iron content, parsley is thought to strengthen the blood. It also has high quantities of vitamin C and is therefore a healthy herb to use as a vegetable. Parsley also freshens the breath and is a must-have with garlic bread!

This text is an extract from Growing 20 Everyday herbs.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x

P.S. Traditional Cornish Parsley Pie Recipe Here

Parsley Pie

Although parsley has been used as a garnish for many years, it’s now being recognized as a valuable food.

High in iron and vitamin C, parsley is a nutritious and inexpensive food – especially if you grow it yourself.

Parsley pie, a traditional Cornish recipe, especially good for using up leftovers.

  1. Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 (350F, 180C)
  2. Lightly grease an ovenproof dish and almost fill with chopped fresh parsley.
  3. Mix in cooked lamb or any other meat or vegetarian substitute (chopped or minced)
  4. Add a couple of chopped hard boiled eggs and any chopped veggies you may have lurking in the fridge!
  5. Season and pour stock over the whole lot. Stock could be meat, chicken, ham or vegetable.
  6. Cover with a pastry top and bake in the pre-heated oven for about half an hour.

NB: If you use meat, always make sure it’s piping hot right through before serving.

Grow your own parsley so you have a constant supply of this wonderful herb.

How to Grow Parsley at Home

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

10 Free Family Entertainments

These Top 10 entertainment ideas will be fun for the whole family without maxing out the credit card

Puppy dog eyes and constant whingeing is often all it takes to spend tons of cash. STOP! The most fun ways of entertaining the kids can still be found for free.

Re-discover the inner child in you and find activities that encourage children to enjoy the moment and won’t cost you a penny:

INSIDE RAINY DAY GAMES

1.Target Practice:

Or magazine destruction. Old magazines have great play value, apart from craft possibilities. Put a wastepaper basket in the middle of the room and each player tears out a page from a magazine, rolls it into a ball and throws it at the target. Simple! Just make sure you decide on the magazines to be destroyed before the children decide for you. This is a great game to encourage children to tidy up.

2.Skittles

Skittles is the home version of 10 pin bowling. If you don’t have a set of ‘pins’ or skittles, make them by putting a little sand in the bottom of empty water bottles or something similar. Don’t make them too heavy. Whatever you use must stand up on their own and not be too heavy to be knocked over.

This game can be played outside on an even surface. If playing indoors use a soft ball, a pom pom, rolled up newspaper or anything that rolls and doesn’t destroy the furniture!

3.Memory Game

You’ll need:

A tray,
A cloth that will cover the tray,
And 10-12 small everyday objects, eg, a pencil, notepad, stamp, coin etc;

Player looks at the tray for one minute then the tray is covered with the cloth. One object is secretly taken away and then the tray is revealed to the player, who then has to remember which object is missing. If they remember correctly, another object is taken away. Repeat until player is stuck or has remembered all objects correctly.

4.Dead Lions

All players except one lie down with their eyes closed and stay very still. The ‘hunter’ walks around the lions looking for signs of life. If he spots one of the ‘lions’ move, he taps that player and they are out of the game and must sit outside the play area and wait for the rest of the lions to be caught. The last lion is the winner.

5.I Went to Market

Players need to be of reading age or close enough to play this game. One player starts by saying one thing they bought at the market – that begins with the letter A. The next player declares something they bought with the letter B. This sounds fairly simple until you add the twist. This is an example of how the game should grow.

Player 1: “I went to market and I bought an apple”
Player 2: “I went to market and I bought an apple and a banana”
Player 3: “I went to market and I bought an apple, a banana and a cup”

You can see where this is going. The first player to forget one of the items drops out of the round. The players drop out as they forget the sequence and the last player remaining is the winner. You can play this game with any number of players, although it gets harder with more players because you don’t need to repeat the sequence so often.

OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES

6.Twist and Tangle

This is an outdoor version of the game twister. Each player has their own die. Using chalks, draw shapes on the ground in different colours. Number the shapes. Create two shapes of each number from 1-6. So you have at least twelve playing shapes.

Players throw their dice in turn and have to place one arm or one leg on one of the shapes representing the number they threw. You can decide on variations before you start. Either one limb has to move, or two, or even three perhaps? Not sure if three would work but maybe worth a try 🙂

The game goes on until players are too tangled up to move! Or, if you want to add a little competition, eliminate players as they fall over or miss their target shape.

7.Rounders

Rounders is the game to play when there are lots of players with plenty of energy available! The official guidelines for playing rounders indicate that there should be at least seven players on each team, but you can adjust the game to suit the players.

You need a tennis ball sized ball, a bat and items to indicate the batting position, the bowling position and four bases. Don’t use sticks as they can be dangerous if a child falls. However, to add a bit of interest, perhaps each ‘base’ could have a bell that has to be rung as a player reaches the base, or a tin lid to bang?

To play:

The bowler stands on the bowling spot and throws the ball to the batsman (positioned on the batting spot). The ball should be thrown underarm and aimed within reaching distance of the batsman. If the ball is way off course, it’s considered a no-ball and bowler throws again.

Whether the batsman hits or misses the ball, he must drop his bat and run to first base, making sure he touches the base or he may be called ‘out’. The player can be called ‘out’ if one of the fielders catches the ball cleanly before it touches the ground and after it has been hit. Or the player can be called ‘out’ if one of the fielders touches the base he’s running to with the ball, before he gets there.

If player manages to run to base two or three before the bowler has the ball back on the bowlers spot, he scores half a rounder. If he gets to base four it’s a whole rounder.

8.Skipping Games

Skipping on your own can be very satisfying. Competing with yourself and trying to beat the number of skips you’ve set yourself as a record is a sure way to keep you fit! Skip at different paces – Note here: if you haven’t skipped for a while, take it slowly and maybe do a few warm up exercises first. Your calf muscles will shout at you otherwise!

Skipping races: Every player has their own rope and skips along a track as in a running race.

Three or more players with a long rope can have fun for hours. Two players hold either end of the rope and stand far enough apart so that when they turn the rope it just touches the ground. Practise turning for a while. When the rope is turning, the third player has to run in and jump the rope.

In case you haven’t got a skipping rope to hand, there’s a cute one on Amazon for around a fiver and next day delivery..

Children’s adjustable sports skipping cotton rope with wooden handles

9.Piggy in the Middle

You need three players and a ball. All the players should be a similar height or this game doesn’t really work very well, unless allowances are made. Two players throw the ball to each other and the third player stands between them and tries to intercept the ball. If successful they swap places with the player who should have caught the ball. And so on…

10.Go for a walk!

Simple but very effective – especially for burning off excess energy – Take a bag and collect fallen twigs, dried leaves and grasses – then when you get home, the children can make pictures from the items collected while you get on with the dinner!

Have Fun 🙂

Linda x

“Gardening by the Moon”

Gardening by the moon isn’t a new idea. In fact new ideas tend to have driven out the traditional ways of gardening that have been feeding generations before us.

Choosing the right time to plant your vegetables can be tricky, but using the moon as your guide will help solve those problems.

Keep a moon chart with your gardening calendar

If you are going to be gardening by the moon this year, I would recommend grabbing a reference book and then perhaps downloading a moon chart for the year. I found this book on Amazon – I haven’t read it myself but it’s on my wishlist!
Moon Gardening: Ancient and Natural Ways to Grow Healthier, Tastier Food

General Gardening By The Moon

*Sowing: always choose a constellation appropriate to the crop you are sowing (i.e. favourable to fruit, root, flower or leaf plants) and preferably sow in the morning.

*Planting and pricking out: choose days when the Moon is descending and also, if possible, when it is opposite a constellation appropriate to the crop that you are growing (i.e. favourable to fruit, root, flower or leaf plants) and preferably in the afternoon.

*Weeding In wet weather: if possible, weed in the morning in a Fire or Air sign when the Moon is waning. In dry weather: weed in the evening, if possible, and in an Earth or Water sign when the Moon is waxing.

*Watering: To avoid plants developing shallow roots, instead of watering little and often, water them generously but less frequently. The ideal time to water is when the Moon is in the descendant and in the constellation of Virgo, Gemini or Libra.

*Mulching: mulch helps to fertilize and protect the soil, and limits the evaporation of moisture and weed germination. It is best to mulch when the Moon is waxing and in an Earth or Air sign.

*Aeration of the soil: This should ideally be carried out when the Moon is ascending Soil decomposes and breaks down more easily (via worms and micro-organisms) when the Moon is descending.

Vegetable gardening by the moon

Green Salad:
Until July, sow in a Water constellation when the Moon is waning in order to prevent the plants from going to seed.
During the autumn, sow green salad in a Water constellation, but when the Moon is waxing.

Potatoes:
Plant on a day favourable to ‘root’ plants.
To raise seed potatoes, plant when the Moon is in the sign of Taurus.
To avoid producing Green Potatoes, earth up when the Moon is in an Earth constellation and when it is waning.
To remove the eyes (buds) from potatoes that have been lifted and stored so that they will keep longer, choose a time when the Moon is waning and descending.

Cultivating the Soil:

The work of ploughing, planting, pricking out and spreading compost or manure is best carried out when the Moon is descending.

On light, sandy soil, if possible, combine the descending Moon with the waxing Moon.

On heavy clay soil, if possible, combine the descending Moon with the waning Moon.

“All these gardening by the moon gems are taken from my annual copy of ‘In Tune With The Moon’ But of course, these kind of books are annuals so a more general approach may be easier (see the book above) and then acquire a moon chart.

Happy Gardening!

Linda x