The rain is here again but thats okay, I can feel it washing away the debris of the winter allowing fresh growth to spring up in its place. I’ve been busy getting ready for the new planting season. I finally devoted an afternoon to cleaning out my greenhouse which turned out to be an exhausting but satisfying job. If you own a greenhouse, I recommend you do the same as soon as you can as a clean greenhouse means healthy plants. It was only when I was inside the greenhouse, bucket of hot water, foaming cleaner and scrubbing bushes in one hand, that I realised just how bad it was. There was green mold on one of the plastic walls, remains of plants stuck to another, dead leaves and slugs…I washed everything down and scrubbed away all dirt and plant remains, washed away the suds with clean water and then did the same to the outside. I was disturbed to say that there was a long tear on one panel so going to buy some heavy duty cello tape and seal that as soon as I can. The metal frame of the greenhouse had become slightly twisted and joints had shifted out of place so I pushed everything back together as if the frame gets out of place, it puts pressure on the plastic which could cause it to tear. I scrubbed down all the plastic trays for holding water and the long wooden shelves. Finally I dried everything with a old towel as too much moisture will encourage mold and harmful bacteria. Its great to see it looking all shiny and new and ready for a new season of planting.
I was delighted to discover that Aldi had 5 foot fruit trees for sale at the incredible price of 4.99 each so I bought four:
1 Conference Pear
1 Opal Plum
1 Morello Cherry
1 Red Haven Peach
This means that I now have seven fruit trees for the start of my orchard as I already have:
1 Doyenne De Comice Pear
1 Conference Pear
1 Julian Graves Apple Tree
I also have:
7 Blackcurrant Bushes
6 Raspberry Sticks
1 Raspberry Plant
4 Gooseberry Bushes
3 Redcurrant Bushes
2 White currant Bushes
1 large Blueberry bush
12 Strawberry Plants
So, doing pretty well as regards fruit, of course I don’t expect to have fruit this year but in another year or two, I am very hopeful of large harvests of many types of fruit which will be heavenly!
I want to buy some more apple trees, another fig tree, 2 Golden Hornet trees and maybe some more peach and plum trees. I also want to buy 2 Cherry Blossom trees for the front garden to replace our three large clumps of palm trees which were killed off by the snow need to be cut down and their roots dug out. We never liked the palm trees anyways as they look out of place in an Irish garden but they had been planted by a previous person and we don’t like to cut down anything living but its now time for them to go. The Cherry Blossom trees will look gorgeous in the front garden.
I still have quite a lot of work to do to get ready for spring, I have to dig over my vegetable beds, plant all the new fruit trees and bushes, buy some potting compost and work out what seeds I have and what I need to buy before march.
I decided yesterday to try out a new hair treatment that I came across in my book on natural beauty which involved putting half a bottle [about 100g] of melted coconut oil into my hair and scalp. I left it on for a hour and then rubbed in shampoo first [apparently it helps remove the oil faster this way], rinsed it out and then shampooed it again. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to remove all the oil and my hair looks distinctly oily this morning so not thrilled with that so will be washing it out again tonight and hopefully that does the trick. To be fair, my hair does feel softer and maybe with regular treatments, it will make a big difference to the shine and texture of ones hair but from now, I’m only going to do such treatments at the weekend when I know I’m not going anywhere!
I managed to tear some muscles across my lower back a few days ago which was seriously painful, so rather then use Deep Heat or something similar from a chemist, I rubbed in some St John’s Wort Oil which was quite cheap at about e6 for a small bottle and is amazing for muscle injuries, arthritis and general aches and pains. Its the most lovely shade of red and has a pleasant scent and even better it doesn’t stain your clothes!
This is what I’d recommend you would include if you wanted to make your own first aid kit:
Natural First Aid Kit
- For mild burns: cool first with lots of cold water, apply neat st. Johns Wort oil or Lavender, distilled Witch Hazel, Calendula tincture or fresh Aloe Vera Juice
- For Cuts and Grazes: clean first then apply neat Tea Tree Oil or Lavender Oil or diluted tincture of St John’s Wort. Bandage if necessary.
- For Insect Bites and Stings: bicarbonate of soda made into a paste with a little water is great for neutralizing bee stings or ant venom. Cider Vinegar or Lemon juice is great for wasp stings, horsefly and mosquito bites. Antihistamines will also help but if you or the person is starting to have a severe reaction, get to a doctor or hospital straight away.
- For Sunburn: use Aloe Vera juice on burnt skin several times a day, take 2-3 cool baths a day adding up to 8 tablespoons of cider vinegar to help soothe the skin and cool it down.
- For Muscular Strain: place a cold compress on the area until the swelling has subsided. Baths with Epsom or Sea Salt after will help speed up the healing process. St John Wort’s oil rubbed in afterwards is great too. Comfrey oil is great for after you have broken a bone [once you have the cast off] but NEVER take this internally as it is highly poisonous if swallowed. Don’t forget the skin is your largest organ and by rubbing oil onto the affected area above the bone, the oil is harmlessly absorbed though the skin and aids recovery. I have found it very helpful for the time I cracked three ribs, or more recently when I broke a bone in my wrist doing yoga!
Make sure you have lots of plasters, bandages in a wide variety of sizes, lint, muslin, antihistamines, painkillers, first aid cream and a good pair of sharp scissors for your first aid kit. Keep the number of your doctor or emergency doctor on your fridge where it is easily seen. A bottle of Rescue Remedy is invaluable for any kind of shock or trauma and is essential for any first aid kit.
I recommend that you attend some basic first aid classes or at least learn CPR and remember the signs of a heart attack or stroke. You many never need this knowledge but it could save someones life someday. In a serious emergency, remember to keep your calm, ring 999 and make sure to state the situation clearly and give your location as distinctly as possible. If you have to give CPR, don’t stop doing what you are doing but make sure someone else rings 999 and keep doing CPR until the ambulance arrives. Remember to keep checking for signs of life and consciousness. There is so much I could say about this but the best thing I can say is do a course and always call 999.
I hope this helps you to create your own first kit, if one with a more natural focus. Every home and every car should have some sort of first kit. You may not need it today but chances are you or someone you care about will need it someday. If you live in the countryside many miles from a hospital, my advice is to be as self sufficient as possible, to be prepared for the worst and to have a plan ready for emergencies. Lastly, make sure to keep your Tetanus vaccinations up to date, wear gloves when handling rusty metal, cover any cuts if working in the garden or with animals and if you are trekking over mountains or in remote areas, bring your mobile phone fully charged with credit and let someone know where you are going.
I will have more on camping and hill walking later in the year when the weather gets better and I can finally break out all my new camping gear! 🙂
To get you in the mood for spring, here is a poem by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.