Food and Drink

Grow your Own

I've been writing this daily blog 'One Day at a Time' now since January 1st and if you've been following me you'll know I set out on this journey really just to encourage me to write more.

I am a writer, that's how I define myself I think, but with full time work I have to admit sometimes I have struggled to get writing properly every day, so committing to a blog was one way of ensuring that I get thinking and put pen to paper, or at least fingers to keyboard.

Sometimes I wake up with an idea of what I want to say, other times I'm out of ideas which is when those 'On This Day' websites have been useful. As a result I've found out so much about so many different people who were born/died on a certain day, or events that happened on a particular day in history.

And then there are those 'landmark' days and weeks and months across the world which have been set aside to mark a particular initiative or campaign. You know the sort of thing I'm talking about ... World Health DayInternational Mother Language Day (I featured that on February 21st), Mental Health Awareness Week, which was last week in the UK - May 10th to 16th - and so on and so on.

Actually you don't have to go far on your internet travels to discover that most days and weeks of the year have been given a designation or are associated with a campaign somewhere in the world.  And some dates are more popular, and obscure than others.

Take, for instance, today - May 20th.

Did you know that in some parts of the world today is World Bee Day? A few years back, the United Nations designated May 20th as World Bee Day to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development. An important day, even if like me you don't actually like bees. I was stung rather badly several times when I was a child and I have to admit I do have a bit of a phobia when it comes to things that buzz.

So today I'm turning to a subject I'm more comfortable with - Strawberries!

Strawberries 1Because today is also - National Pick Strawberries Day

Yes, it's a new one to me too and to be honest I think it's only in the USA. National Strawberry Day is actually February 27 ... yes I know it's very confusing ... but in my opinion we don't do enough celebrating of soft fruits! 

Don't worry, I'm not going to wax lyrical about the little fruit. Just to say, I love them!

In the past I've even grown them but since returning to Jersey some years ago I haven't done that. And I've missed it.

I've missed watching the little fruits appear and ripen on the plants in my terracotta 'strawberry planter' - it's a pot with holes on the side where you can plant lots of strawberry plants which hopefully gives you lots of produce.

This year I found my strawberry planter and I have put in a few plants. And I'm delighted to say the fruits of my labour are already appearing.

So a few days ago I made a little video and I put it on my YouTube channel. Which is also a work in progress.

 

OK - so it's not Hollywood - but who cares?

I'm not sure I'll be able to PICK my strawberries today, but in a week or so I might have one or two fruits to enjoy. And there's something about growing your own which is empowering.

The strawberry planter is just on my doorstep so I'm watching the little plants grow. 

And although, with just six plants,  I'll probably only manage to harvest a bowlful of strawberries, I'm going to enjoy every single delicious morsel.

 

 

 

 


A Sugar Beet Press

On Sunday (May 9th) here in the Channel Islands  we will celebrate 'Liberation Day'.

It's the day back in 1945 when the islands were liberated after five years of enemy Occupation.

If you know your history, you'll be aware that between 1939 and 1945 the world was at war with the 'Axis' powers headed by Nazi Germany.

By summer 1940 Germany had managed to take large parts of mainland Europe including France, and just a hop across the water Hitler had the Channel Islands in his sights. On July 1st 1940, with no resistance from British forces because the islands had been 'demilitarised', German troops landed in the islands and so began five years of occupation. The islands were the only part of Great Britain to be occupied by enemy forces during the Second World War.

The Occupation of the Channel Islands meant islanders were largely separated from the rest of the world, and certainly England and Great Britain. Under Nazi occupation, islanders were forced to conform, although not all did. Some, including those who resisted the enemy, were sent to internment and work camps in Europe never to return. 

Life was never easy for the islanders but when the Allies re-took France in June 1944 in what has become known as 'D-Day' - landing just across the water from the Channel Islands in Normandy - Jersey and the other islands, and the remaining German troops, were cut off from the main German army and supply routes. 

The final year of Occupation, especially, was dire. But even before food and medical and other supplies became sparse after the connections with the French mainland were cut, islanders had experienced years of rationing and restrictions.

Object 15 sugar beet pressAll this week in my blog I'm dipping into a series I recorded for BBC Radio Jersey and Jersey Heritage. I started recording in spring of 2019 and we ran a feature every week from May/June 2019 right through to and beyond May 9th 2020 when we celebrated Liberation75.  Our focus was 50 Objects held in the collections at the Jersey Archive and the Jersey Museum which tell the story of the Occupation and Liberation of Jersey.

There were documents, official and personal, posters warning people against opposition, toys created for children out of nothingness, tales of how the population entertained themselves, stories of bravery and of day-to-day survival and ingenuity as people made use of anything they could lay their hands on to just keep themselves fed.

And so we come to today's 'object' ... just one of the stories we heard about how islanders found ingenious ways of feeding themselves and their families.

The story is told by Val Nelson, Senior Registrar at Jersey Heritage ... 

50 Objects - No.15 from Jersey Heritage Vimeo on Vimeo.

If you wish to listen to the audio feature on the BBC Radio Jersey website please click on the link below

Ashlea Tracey - 50 OBJECTS - the story of Jersey's Occupation and Liberation 1940-1945 told through 50 objects held by Jersey Heritage - BBC Sounds - Object 15 - 20 September 2019