Independence days update and a book!

May 26, 2008 at 2:21 pm 3 comments

Planted: I haven’t planted anything per se, but I have done a lot of work in the garden, tending things and generally furthering the aim of feeding myself – potting on, planting out, weeding, thinning out lettuces, watering etc. The potatoes are trying to escape – must be all the rain. The peas really need some more supports or some mesh. Must get around to that.

Harvested: herbs. Not much doing there yet.

Preserved: I FINALLY got around to making some rhubarb schnapps. My lime vodka is now ready for drinking and is excellent with bitter lemon.

Managed reserves: I found some good bargains in M&S the other day and have lots of organic mince in my freezer.

Cooked: made yoghurt, found something new to do with asparagus.

Worked on local food systems: I started putting together a directory of suppliers, markets and other green things, as well as leaflets on suggestions for cooking with seasonal produce, for FOE.

In other news, Chile Chews posted a trailer for a book about an ‘artificial peak oil’, Last Light by Alex Scarrow, which all sounds very tense and scary. I’ve just impulsively ordered it second-hand through Amazon marketplace, because I’m totally intrigued to see if it’s any good. I’ve long said that while the environmental/ethical/anti-rampant-uncontrolled-capitalism/anti-war counter-culture has produced a lot of good documentaries (Inconvenient Truth, Fahrenheit 9/11, Black Gold, The Corporation, Crude Awakenings to name but a few) there is precious little fiction about any of these issues. A lot of the literature I studied for French was hugely subversive, hugely satirical and hugely powerful – Voltaire’s criticism of the church and the Inquisition, Sartre and the Resistance, or closer to home, think of the impact of Dickens’s works on conditions for the Victorian poor, or the power of WW1 poetry over a textbook.

I remember seeing The US versus John Lennon (another good documentary) about 18 months ago and being struck by the parallels it was making between the Vietnam war and the Iraq war and how all the musicians and artists nowadays who have the highest profiles (and therefore most clout) are people like Paris Hilton, who is, in fact, neither a musician nor an artist, but was the first and most vacuous celebrity who compels the media’s attention to spring to mind. I would be more than happy to be proved wrong on this point, but I don’t quite envisage her leading a movement to cut consumption and start digging for victory any time soon….


Entry filed under: books, challenge. Tags: , .

Doom, gloom and asparagus Last light?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lucy @ Smallest Smallholding  |  May 26, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Lime vodka sounds GOOOOOOD – got a recipe to share?! I want to have a go at making my own wines etc. but worry that I’ll creative corrosive moonshine and…

    being a beatle nut, I watched the US vs. John Lennon with great interest too. The thing is ‘celebrities’ these days are accused of being pious or jumping on bandwagons when they try to do something good. The public is far too cynical…

  • 2. Chile  |  May 26, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    Wow! Thanks for mentioning the lime schnapps. I went back and found your original post on it with the link to the recipes. WOW! I’m off to try making ginger schnapps now. (Bought too much ginger in my enthusiasm to get back into brewing ginger beer for the summer.)

  • 3. sproutingbroccoli  |  May 27, 2008 at 8:35 am

    The lime schnapps recipe basically involved making a few holes in two limes with a skewer, putting them in a jam jar then filling it with vodka. is the website where I found the recipe and it has loads of exciting-flavoured things….

    I realised after I wrote this that Leonardo DiCaprio made The Eleventh Hour – which is still a documentary, but he is a high-profile celebrity. I take your point about the public being too cynical though, not even just about celebrities (though we tend to prefer them decadent and screwed-up, I agree) – it’s weird how saying someone is ‘virtuous’ or ‘a do-gooder’ is generally seen as an insult. I wonder what that says about our values as a society…


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Most recent ramblings

May 2008
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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."

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