Self sufficiency in isolation



Growing vegetables on the kitchen table

My hairdresser has closed, and I expect yours has too. My husband has (reluctantly) offered to cut my hair. I don't think I'll risk it. I think I'll grow a pony tail.


Thinking about cutting, what are you doing about cutting the grass? If you haven’t a lawn that is one less problem for you. To cut the grass we will need petrol and that would mean a journey out which is not recommended. So, we have decided to let the grass grow and simply cut a path through. We should get some interesting wild flowers.

One interesting flower I found today is the cowslip. The cowslips are early this year. They grow on the bank of the pond in Oak Meadow. They were abundant in old fields, the sort I remember from childhood. I used to pick cowslips in huge bunches and suck the nectar from a pulled floret.


This all sounds idyllic and it is, but the times are serious, and the Government holds its COBRA meetings to decide on action for the crisis. I decided that we would hold our household meetings weekly. Thinking of a snake I thought we could call our conferences ‘Adder’ or ‘Grass Snake’, but they did not sound right so I opted for ‘Slow Worm’ as the name for our meetings. The slow worm looks like a snake, but it is really a reptile – a sort of legless lizard. I used to see them in the long grass in south Shropshire and sometimes the cat brought one in.

We have our Slow Worm meetings on Mondays. There are only two of us at the meeting. I am the chair and the secretary; my husband is the committee. We decide on what we should do each day. My husband has the greatest say and the casting vote, as he does most of the physical work.


We are planning to grow all our own vegetables. I have ordered tomato, courgette and cucumber plants online. They are in pots on our kitchen table now and growing fast. We have also had a delivery of vegetable seeds and we planted them immediately. Remembering the old rhyme, ‘If thou of fortune be bereft, and of thine earthly store hath left, two loaves – sell one, and with the dole, buy hyacinths to feed the soul’, we have sown some flower seeds too. We urgently need the vegetable plants to hurry along and produce food for us.


Spring is hurrying along outside, and a blackbird has nested in the top ball of my clipped bay tree. It is not in a very convenient place for us, but I loved watching the brown female, going in with fine twigs and dead grass and mud. She took about a week to build, as I peeped from my kitchen window. All the time the male blackbird was on guard and ‘shouting’ at me if I went near. It is difficult to keep away as we must go past to get to the garage. We do our best and look forward to the young hatching.


Also hatched this week is frog spawn. Three big blobs of jelly eggs were laid in our pond just like Monty Don’s! There is such hope in these little wriggling black tadpoles for the year to come.



(From my column in the Shropshire Star)

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