Earth Day 2018

So, today is Earth Day 2018 and what better way to CELEBRATE than with the wonderful Jane Goodall.  

I also want to list My Own 5 Point Plan that I can commit to help in reducing my footprint on this beautiful blue plant.  

1.  Shop at my local Farmers' Market, buy locally seasonally sourced foods.  As I run the market I can improve the accessibility of my local community to the market's produce with a mid-month re-ordering service. 

2. Reduce plastic use, this one kind of informs the rest of this list.  At the market I have already banned plastic bags and I hope to extend this to all single use plastic and non-biodegradable packaging by the end of the year.

3.  Buy a coffee "to-go" cup and use it when I buy coffee, better get a few I reckon!  I've already switched the kid's water bottles to stainless steel, but while on holiday in the US this Easter I saw these great Contigo bottles that seemed pretty well spill proof.  They are also 100% BPA free. They were sold in the US in Costco, but try this link to find them in the UK.

4.  Make beeswax wraps to cover food and so reduce plastics at home.  I have the bees, so I have the wax...

5. Make my own natural cleaning products and buy those that I can't in bulk to save on packaging and choose earth friendly products.  I've been meaning to do this for so long and really need to get on with it. 

Tea and Willow

Victorian teapot

I am a terrible junk shop explorer.  I simply cannot pass a second hand/ vintage/ charity shop without looking in. So much so I am thinking of opening my own shop with at least a smidgen of vintage paraphernalia.  As a paean to this much enjoyed activity I thought I would start blogging some of my favourite finds. 

Above is my proper old Victorian teapot.  I love the hand painted flowers, the simple swirls that make the leaves and stem. She's a grand old lady.  Although she has quite a lot of crazing, a spiders-web of hairline cracks and that little knob on her lid has obviously been stuck back on at some point in her past, she is still quite capable of brewing a fine cup of tea. 

Royal Doulton Pollards Willow

I bought the Royal Doulton Pollards Willow pattern tea cups, saucers and cake plate at the same time as the teapot.  The pattern is unusual, showing the traditional method of growing pollarded willow for basketry.
pollarded willow

I have a bit of a fascination with willow.  I love how they look when grown like this; the knotty trunks contrast with the soft catkins, the straight, spiky, architectural stems that come off the gnarled main trunk can exist in a wide variety of colours; deep red through orange and yellow, to greens and browns that go back to deep red shades all over again.  Below is an image from a fashion magazine (Harpers Bazaar I think) I came across it in a dentists waiting room years ago, loved it so much I took a picture of it.

I attended a talk on basket weaving at one of our gardening club meetings a couple of years ago.  A local basket weaver, Leah, came along to show us the beautiful baskets that she made.  Another thing to go on my ever growing "To Do" list.  

Her talk made me notice on one of my dog walks, that there was obviously another basket weaver living in the village as there were beautifully vivid pollarded willows along the side of a cottage in the fields at the back of us.  It turns out they belonged to Olivia Elton Barratt,the first female Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers.  Olivia was instrumental in recreating the 16th Century, 14ft high guardians of the City of London, Gog and Magog, in willow for the Lord Mayor's Show in 2007.

gog magog lord mayors show 2007

As it turns out I did my bee keeping course with her daughter and so was able to ask to take cuttings of her willow this spring to use in my own garden.  Look at the gorgeous colours:

I intend to create a fence of pollarded willow to protect the flower garden and veg patch that I am moving to the back of house from the chickens.  I'd also like to grow some along the banks of the Ash along our boundary line.  Yet more to add to the "TO Do" list.

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