Thursday 27 May 2021

Bambi Ate My Peas

When B.A. and I got home from Ely on Tuesday, I went at once to the garden to see how my plants were. Pauline (the blackcurrant) had flourished in our absence, so I was really very pleased. Paul (the other blackcurrant) was his quickly growing, sturdy self. The herb garden is coming along, without any sign yet of the chives, however. The broad beans in the veggie trug were looking a bit chewed; I should co-plant some marigolds, I believe, but fortunately the beans are far enough along not to mind bugs too much. The peas had sprouted but---at least two were missing, and there was an actual hole where they should have been.

The hole was odd, for the trug is high enough off the ground that cats can't get into it with a giant leap, and that would mean landing in plastic netting. It was also rather a large but shallow hole. The easiest explanation was a naughty squirrel. However, we learned the truth yesterday when B.A. was out in the garden and our downstairs neighbour called him to her kitchen door. 

Our downstairs neighbour showed B.A. photos on her phone--of a young male deer, but for his horns, barely a fawn. He had somehow found himself in our neighbour's back garden and then, after she had taken a number of photos, he squeezed through the gap between fences to our back garden. Our neighbour watched from her window as he wandered over to my veggie trug and helped himself. Sadly, she did not take a photo of that. 

The news is bad and good. On the one hand, a marauding deer has snacked on my peas! But on the other hand, we live in an area with so much greenery that fawns appearing in the garden are an actual possibility.  

I have never read Silent Spring*, but it was mentioned--along with a number of other interesting books--in Steel's Sitopia. I'm delighted to report that spring is silent neither in Scotland nor in Ely. In Ely the blackbirds were loudly yakking to each other, and the ring-necked doves were positively mooing. This morning I went for a walk and enjoyed all the real-life tweets and twittering. 

If you are interested in conservationism, eating and food, I highly recommend Sitopia. It is not a Christian book--the ending chapters on human mortality make that clear--but it has a goodly amount of Classical Stoicism which makes it at least mostly compatible with Christian reading. It speaks well of traditional meals and mealtimes, and as I mention every Lent, I think our ancestors in faith really knew what they were doing when they banned meat, milk, eggs and oil for six weeks and tightened their belts. (They often did this in Advent, too, which is why traditional Christmas Eve dishes are pescatarian.) 

Personally, I object to feeling helpless about matters that affect me and the society I live in, so I have taken a few radical steps to cut down on my own use of plastics, for example. The most dramatic one was stopping my contact lens subscription--throwing out the little single-use plastic packets every morning and the little one-day plastic lenses every night. My coarse hair, it turns out, has always hated shampoo (a product first invented in the 1930s), so I no longer buy that. Bath soap is still available in bar form, thank goodness, and I can live without shower gel (1865) and its plastic, disgusting shower puff.  My annual makeup splurge--over. Hair dye--never started.

As for the grocery shopping--it's a work in progress. I loved Bea Johnson's Zero Waste Home, and I was sad that our household of two produces more than a quart of rubbish and recycling every few days, let alone a year, until I reflected that cutting down that dramatically takes time and also, to a certain extent, relies on the nearby shops. Pre-Covid, Tesco promised to minimise its carbon footprint by 60% by 2025. Well, let's see. 

*Silent Spring was very influential, but it is quite controversial today. The late Kathy Shaidle frequently accused its author Rachel Carson of being responsible for the malaria deaths of millions. Others defend her.

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