We are what we eat




Did you know that if the UK tried to be self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, we would run out by this month? We import much of our fruit and some vegetables. There are lots of factors involved, but one thing is clear, we need to eat fresh fruit and veg. to keep healthy.

We have been lucky here because, from lockdown, I have not had to buy any vegetables and we have had enough fruit for the last two months. The only fruit I have bought is a small bag of lemons.

A few months ago, I used the lemons to make Shrewsbury biscuits. The sharp lemon tang was excellent along with old sultanas that I had left over from the winter.

It was at the time when the internet was full of activities for children and one of them told how to grow lemon trees from pips. There is always a warning not to swallow the pips. When I was young, we were told that they would lodge in your appendix and you would need an operation. Or, worse still, the pip would grow inside you and sprout into a tree, presumably with leaves coming out of your mouth and ears! If only it were that easy.

 I followed the instructions to no avail. In the end I gave up and put the pips into a plant pot full of compost on my kitchen window. Then, when we got back from our holiday, I noticed a tiny green shoot. I now have three small lemon plants. Who knows, one day I may be self-sufficient in lemons?

On a sadder note we heard recently that the last golden eagle in Wales has died. She was well known in the area and was apparently a great character. People have been sorry to hear this news and so was I. But also sad for me is that our little tame robin has died. The sparrow hawk caught him. I saw the shadow and swoop of the brown rounded wings. I saw the barred underparts as she flicked towards the house where the robin was catching the flying ants. I saw her talons carry the helpless robin off.

Birds of prey are part of the food chain and of course the golden eagle, that we liked, killed much loved smaller birds – that is how it is. We can’t just focus on one part of wildlife – but I was sorry all the same to lose my robin garden companion.

All through lockdown the wildlife has been a keen interest for me. I have decided to stay shielded as that is how I feel safer, so I am still relying on watching the animals and plants using the garden and fields. Wales may plan a project to try and re-introduce the golden eagle and I am keeping an eye out for another robin. It will be welcome even if it eats our late ripening raspberries.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

The tame young robin eating a flying ant - part of the food chain


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