Monday, 30 April 2012

Turn up the heat!

Well, the rain seems it will never stop, every time you look out the window the sky is leaking.

Now, anyone who has arthritis will tell you cold, rain and arthritis just do not mix. My hips are so painful and I am pill popping to try and get some relief. A warm house and lovely warm food go a long way to make life more bearable.

We have a wood burner and an open fire which heat the lounge and kitchen which works to a point but the open fire is difficult to keep alight and smokes badly. We have managed, but things took a turn when our son in law came back from his late grandmother's house and offered us her wood burner to replace the open fire. We jumped at the offer and when it arrived we could see it is very solid. The burner is 150 years old and really heavy. We are cleaning it up and arranging for installation. Our son in law said that it took three of them to lift the wood burner and that was after taking out the bits and pieces that are loose inside.  It isn't what some people would call 'pretty' but perhaps I am from the generation that feels as long as it is functional then that is fine!

For us the weather is stopping us getting out in the garden and sorting out the planting. With me, the problem is the wheelchair won't roll over the soggy grass and when it is in position it sinks into the mud. I don't like my husband getting out in the rain, for a period of time anyway, as I can't risk him getting ill. That is for his sake as well as mine. We have seedlings to go out as well as stuff we have kept over the winter. We do have some herbs in pots and are using those for herb salads as well as in cooking but they will need to be replanted soon too. Planting and growing your own produce also saves money, something we are all trying to do nowadays.

We need to get some vegetables planted out very soon or they won't be ready when we need them. Even though we have a small garden we can grow potatoes, beans, onions, lettuce, rhubarb, tomatoes and anything else we can fit i, as well as the herbs. Pots are a brilliant way of growing salads, herbs and tomatoes. I have seen ingenious methods of utilising space and am keen to try them out. Some materials are close to hand or by recycling which of course is encouraged.

I have looked into getting plants, both floral and vegetables, and am in favour of sharing plants between friends and neighbours. We have furnished our gardens many times by cuttings from other people and have given them cuttings in return. Car boot sales are another good place to get plants as many people take cuttings, plants and seeds to sell alongside other goods. We have been lucky enough to grow some plants from seeds or pips in vegetables and fruits we have eaten. It doesn't always work but unless you try!

I am especially keen to get children involved in gardening. Our daughters were always involved in gardening and they were so proud when they saw things they grew on the dinner table. Our grandchildren now show an interest in what is grown. So many children have no idea where food comes from, except the supermarket. I feel they are more likely to eat food they have been involved in producing.

There is nothing more satisfying as planting a seed and watching it grow into something you can pick and incorporate into a meal. In this day and age when people are so busy and use prepackaged goods it is no wonder children are ignorant of where their food originates. I admit that there are times when I am lazy and use a packet or tin  but I try very hard to use fresh food and try to eliminate preservatives and colourings.

People who have illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis and other auto immune diseases react to certain foods and it is imperative to try and keep triggers to a minimum. If I make dishes from scratch, using fresh foods, I feel I am doing my best in reducing the risk of triggering a flare of the arthritis. I know what is in the meal and can monitor much more easily the foods that may trigger a flare.

So come on weather brighten up so we can get out in the garden and make the best use of the space we have available.

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