Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Tuesday 21st September 10

A good day for me...  up early and then at 10.30 I headed off to St Nicks to meet Peter, whom I met yesterday.  He was very interested in our local eco centre, as he believes that to spread the message of how to keep our Planet habitable, we need a network of similar places for people to be educated and be inspired, find information and hold meetings.

So I showed him the various 'bits' of the Environment Centre, the passive solar design, Sedum roof, rainwater harvesting, compost toilets/waterless urinal/strawbale urinal, photovoltaic and hot water solar panels, the energy balance display, woodstove and the York Rotters stuff.

Then we went out onto the nature reserve and looked at the John Lally Wood, the original mature trees in their dips, where the clay cap on the landfill wasn't put.  And to the stone circle, the kids playground where a very friendly little boy was playing on a swing with two women with him, and then back to the Environment Centre.  Here I had a brief chat with Catherine and left Peter chatting with Ivana.

I came home via Freshways and picked up a sack of wilting greenery and sad foreign vegetables.  I had the usual sandwiches for lunch.  Whilst eating lunch Gill and I spotted the very persistent squirrel leaping over to the walnut tree and leaving with another nut.  It (or they?) has had about half of the crop so far, and I'm getting increasingly annoyed as I really want a crop of walnuts.  The live trap is being ignored... fresh walnuts are obviously too much of a pull.  A few days ago, last week, I rang the RSPCA about their advice about squirrels and how to deal with them.  Drowning them is illegal, as is releasing them elsewhere, as they are officially vermin.  We're talking about the American Grey here, introduced as a novelty by the Victorians, and they've pushed our native Red Squirrel to the brink of extinction due to competition for habitat and because of the Squirrel Pox virus that they carry, which kills the Reds. The RSPCA told me that I ought to get a pest control person out to kill the squirrel in the trap.  They'd either do this with a gun, or release it into a hessian sack and hit it on the head when it was in the corner of the sack.  So it's a bit of a problem, as I don't fancy the clobbering method and I understand why drowning them is inhumane, and I haven't got a gun.  Still trying to work out solutions, and a second phone call to the nearest vet didn't get any results either.

But I'd heard that squirrels don't like chilli so Gill mixed up some curry powder with Vaseline, and we spent half an hour wiping as many nuts as we could with this, just a thin smear, to get the taste onto the nut.  I have no idea if this will prevent them getting taken.

At about 2pm, a Freecycler called Chris called, and delivered a stainless steel sink which he's taken out of a kitchen he's doing up.  Our white enamel sink is horrible and stained and Gill's been asking for a while about replacing it.  This one seems to be the right size, although it needs the tap moving so the drainer is on the right. 

I did some chainsawing, to keep on top of the bits and bobs I regularly bring home.  I also did a bit of compost management, and some weeding, and picked the three remaining Winter Squash.

For tea I had a stir-fry of courgette, home grown sweetcorn and green beans, the pakora from the Sheffield Freegle Ceilidh and a couple of felafel, which Gill bought.  Gill had made a delicious chocolate and banana cake so I had a small square of that... yummy!

In the evening I made up my muesli, made some carrot and tromboncino squash soup, and did another large batch of fruit for drying...

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