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Blogging can be good for your health

Tulips in April

Tulips in April

When I started blogging, five years ago this August, I had no idea what I was doing or what to expect.

Danny had installed the WordPress software on my laptop. The sample words for the first article were.
“Hello world.”
Just two words that had me scuttling for cover immediately.

“Well what are you going to write about?”
Danny’s eyes were bright and expectant as he peered under the duvet.

He had taken so much trouble. I felt I couldn’t just say.
“IknowthatIwantedtoblogbutI’vechangedmymind.”
Basically I couldn’t think of anything to say. If I’d had any idea where blogging would lead me I would have been happily tapping away within seconds.

Within a few months I’d got the blogging bug.

Blogging has taught me so much and introduced me to new ideas and ‘cyber friends’ all over the world. Coming from a high stress environment, dog eats dog (and anything else moving on competitive legs) it was strange to move into a world where sharing is natural. If I need help, support and encouragement are there. Criticism is generally constructive. It’s an interesting journey, sometimes bumpy but always surprising. It is an environment that constantly grows and unfolds.

So imagine my joy to be invited to lunch by Celia to meet her friends Jackie, Sian  and Terry Golson. Jackie and Sian both keep hens in their gardens and were easy relaxed company. Terry is not only a skilled horsewoman and dog agility trainer. She has trained hens to perform too. This is no circus caper – the hens love it and the children that she goes to see adore them too.

Apart from making massive inroads in bringing the joys of chicken keeping to thousands of adults and children she has written several cookbooks and a book for children Tillie Lays an Egg . This book is charming. Every illustration has as many chicken themed items that she could fit in. Even a jacket hanging up in one photo, has chicken buttons! It took a year to collect all the props for the book. This would be a super present for a chicken keeping child.

Terry’s website has a hen cam, chick cam and a goat cam. So you can see realtime footage of her hens and goats. The chick cam is especially intriguing – the youngsters have got to the baby vulture stage and are fascinating to watch.

It was good to meet Terry and hear about her life across the pond. Petite, pretty, full of energy and joie de vivre – she was a joy to talk to. The conversation ranged from homesteading, cheese, dogs and chickens to the two Labardoor sized pigmy goats that live on her farm. Of course we soon got onto growing vegetables too – I had no idea how short her growing season is – just June to mid September. We are blessed over here.

The lunch was delicious. Traditional British tongue and ham salad lunch with a cream tea to finish. Having grown up in Devon – I’m a real sucker for clotted cream teas. We sampled Celia’s 2009 pickled walnuts – Terry wasn’t overly impressed with these but she was able to tell C how to crack black walnuts.
“Lay them out on a very hard surface. Cover them with a bit of plywood and drive your car over them.”

When I left Terry gave me an unexpected and exciting pile of presents. A pack of collard seed – a very special green leafed biennial vegetable that is not available in the UK. I was thrilled as I’ve been longing to try these since I heard about them a couple of years ago.

Next on the pile were some beautiful chicken gift cards. Featuring a white Leghorn hen – just like our special hen Paris – and three more favourites from her flock.

Best of all was her book The Farmstead Egg Cookbook. The superb photographs are by Ben Fink and were all taken on Terry’s farm and in her kitchen. Now sadly out of print – St Martin’s Press would be wise to reprint this book with the growth of hen keeping exploding across the globe.

This is just the book I need. Our new hens are laying well and we are awash with eggs. With this beautiful book at the hip I can branch out from omelettes and frittatas to the giddy heights of strata, cakes, tea eggs and much, much more.

Thank you Celia, Jackie, Sian and Terry for giving me a lunch to remember.


8 Comments

  1. Layla @ A Green and Simple Life

    I only started my blog a couple of months ago’

    I’d just created a website (for my very small decluttering business) and was starting one for the WI that I belong to. With the success of learning new technical skills I decided to start a blog and see how it went.

    And I love doing it! I totally agree that it’s very good for your health. I really enjoy writingthe posts and I’m absolutely thrilled to look at how many peopl have read them, and delighted when people take the time to comment.

  2. Terry

    And it was a pleasure to meet you, too! After telling my family about my trip, my son asked me, “does everyone in England have chickens?” Enjoy the collards. In the American south they are slow-cooked with ham hock and seasoned with a touch of vinegar.

  3. Pamela

    Sounds like the perfect afternoon.

  4. Paula

    Blogging can be very good for you, but not if you stay up way past your bedtime to get caught up, as I am doing now.

    I laughed at the black walnut instructions.

  5. Joanna

    Your blog and the forum it has spurned are indeed an inspiration. It has generated a community of warm, caring people – a joy to know.

    My blog has had unexpected consequences too, one of the people who has followed my blog for three years is coming out to see me in September, flying all the way to Latvia to do so. I’m so excited!

  6. Sue Burton

    Your blog is so good for your readers, too! It always cheers me up, your lifestyle is inspirational to me and I love reading and re-reading old posts. I’ve used recipes from you and other contributors and they are all great. Like you, I like to feel as if I’m part of a wider community and I think good blogs like yours bring people together and forge online friendships. Long may it continue!

  7. Sarah

    I don’t know if you are aware, A range of different collard seed is available in the UK via moreveg.co.uk We got a lot of our seed for this season from them and have some great plants growing now.

  8. Veronica

    Only 5 years! I can’t remember a time before your blog 🙂 I’m glad it’s rewarding for you, and long may you continue, because I’d hate to wake up one day and find you weren’t blogging any more!


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