Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Global Warming

Dodging the rain showers, I went out to feed the alpacas this afternoon and saw that the lily of the valley had opened. So much for being the flower for May and this on the day that another large part of the Antarctic ice sheet broke away. I would give more details but I am limited to what I was able to glean from the French news broadcasts, as my Internet has not miraculously returned.

Last year I started logging the rainfall here and I have just completed the first full year, so starting April I will be able to compare the current year with last. Everyone here has told me that last year was not a ‘normal’ year though. I think we are all going to have to redefine what we think of as normal. It is an interesting and slightly worrying thought that if the climate is shifting, large areas of crops will be growing in places that will not be able to sustain them, either through lack of water, flood, insufficient heat or excess heat. The possibility of food shortages then arises especially as the development of bio fuels is gobbling up increasing amounts of the staple crops.

It is very easy to envisage the scenario of Soylent Green, especially with the domination of one or two agro companies supplying the seeds for cereals, maize, rice etc.

I think the depressing weather has definitely dragged me down today.

On a much brighter note, a friend, P, I met a few weeks ago returned from the UK and on her return she brought a goody bag for Ann and one for me. It was such a sweet thing to do, she had included Hot Cross Buns – something I had really missed and will be baking myself now I have the oven-, a Sunday newspaper and for me, a copy of Smallholder magazine. I read most of the smallholding magazines when I was in the UK but hadn’t read one now for 15 months. I read it from cover to cover; just about every article had some relevance to me here and I could understand every word too :-D

As working outside was not really practical I decided to try making bread. I’ve been using the bread maker since getting here; the bread is OK but the top of the loaf usually collapses and the bread maker paddle invariably get stuck inside the loaf and always leave a hole. I’d read somewhere about using the bread maker just to mix and do the first rise and then doing the final bake in an oven, so that was what I did.

Is it worth doing the first bit in the bread maker? I’m not totally convinced, it does mean that the work surfaces stay clean and you have one and a half hours you can do something else while it get through the first rise. On the down side I found it quite time consuming getting all the dough out of the bread maker to knock back and reshape. The loaves however look good even though I don’t have any loaf tins and the taste and texture are much better than the bread maker equivalent. As you may have guessed I’m really enjoying having a full sized cooker again.


Adam Cope said...

alot of worry about climate change...

Debra in France said...

Hi dnd, I never knew that you had alpacas!!!! How cool is that! My lily of the valley is only about 2inches above the ground at the moment, but my irises are going to flower any day now. Bizarre isn't it?

Debra in France said...

Hi me again, I have been making my on bread since since the start of the year. We prefer granary bread and the shops do not always have it. I buy multicereal flour from Netto (under 1 euro a kilo) and make up 4 loaves at a time and freeze them. I make the dough in the morning, leave it all day to rise, knock it back early in the evening and put it in tins, leave it rise again and bake it for 45 mins when the electricity is on cheap rate at 10pm! Not that I am a cheap skate or anything!

On you list of books at the side of your blog, you have one by Micheal Wright. He lives just north of me in Bellac which he has named Jolibois. St Juste where his plane is, is actually St Junien, and Douglas the giant plasterer is a very good friend of my closest friend, and his name is actually Stuart, and yes, he is a giant!

dND said...

I read his, Michael Wright's, articles in the Expat telegraph before I left and then bought the book. I really loved his description of living in France. I knew the names were made up and had a rough idea where he was from times he gave to get to places.

I suppose, his must be an ultimate blog since we know so much about his life out here. Every time the Expat Telegraph hits my inbox, the first thing I do is scan it to see if there is another piece from him!

Thank's for the tip on the multigrain flour. I've not been into Netto's yet so I really must. Do you read Money saving expert OS forum? I'm into that and the debt free wannabe - loads of ideas on stretching every last penny (or in my case, centime) - as a peasant farmer it's something I'm really into :-D

Debra in France said...

Hi Deborah, I have not come across that forum. Now that we live a more simple life here, we don't have the money that we used to earn I am very aware of saving centimes anywhere I can.