Wasabi Peas

A Subsiduary of 'The Wasabi Monologues'

the book of love.....
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Hands up who cried?

Yeah...I always cry. This will be the first dance at my wedding if I ever get married.

The garden in summer
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Swallowtail moth. Quite rare. This one was on the house wall beside where the ivy climbs up the front of the house. The insect book says it likes to hibernate in ivy thickets and feeds on ivy flower nectar. The reason it's becoming rare in britain is because people think ivy is bad for stonework and stuff and so they hack it all down, removing a really inportant habitat and food source for lots of insect types. Keeping ivy under control is a bit of a hassle but it's worth it. It's even fine on trees provided it isn't allowed to take over.

Pink rock-rose.....not a rose at all, it's from the family cistaceae. Not sure the variety of this one, but it's very lovely.

Blue geranium...I think it's called 'Montgomery'.

The rose trellis has been taken over by the 2 kiwi fruit vines.......neither have given us any fruit yet even though we made sure to have both male and female vines (kiwi's have gender!). We can't bring ourselves to dig it out because it's really decorative. It gets pruned every year but is a very vigorous grower. I think it's just too cool a climate here for it to fruit. Can't remember the rose variety but it smells lovely.

More pictures...because they are lovely and I want to share!
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Rambling cottage roses. They smell amazing :-)

Gerald our tame frog - he lives in a giant pot-pond in the veggie garden. He's quite happy to be talked to up close and even likes his chin tickled!

This is our backyard squirrel he's called Stopthief! because, not content with eating the nuts we put in the squirrel feeder he also steals our strawberries.......and we've had to drape wire over the top of the chicken coop because he'd learned to creep in and steal their grain!

The results of all the bugs, grain, grass etc. Really delicious they are too.

Cluck cluck update.
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So we've had the chooks for about a month now. I'm back home for a couple of weeks while I continue to proof-read and edit my thesis.
It's so good to see the feathery bug-wranglers :-) They are such pals and still go everywhere together, cuddle up close on the perch at night and lay in the same nestbox despite us providing two!
I took some photos to show you all how they've grown up.....

Greta in the vegetable garden....unfortunately they quite like eating our veggie leaves so we keep having to shoo them out!

Ingrid...Our Lady of the Flowers!

In the herb garden.............

...and there are lots of snails hiding in here!

A perfect day for a walk in the garden with your best friend.

Hope your weather is better than ours wherever you are! It's rain, rain, rain here.

What the...
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So I was having my evening treat of watching USA Legal drama/comedy Boston Legal (Season 3). I was watching the episode The Nutcrackers.
So, one of the plot points centered around a teenage girl suffering from anorexia who wanted to get legally emancipated from her mother who was trying to get her to seek help and get well. The girl in question was involved in something called 'Pro-Ana' or 'Thinspiration' which is basically a social media (blogs, tumblr, facebook) phemomenon where  anorexics believe that it's a perfectly good way to be, and that's it's a positive lifestyle which should be promoted. I thought it was made up for the show until I googled it.
No folks, it's real.
Horrifically, painfully, terribly real.
Just google it and you'll find a host of websites offering dieting tips, best ways to purge - ie vomit, use laxitives etc, where to get diet pills no questions asked, hide your eating habits from your parents and doctors and how to stop hunger pangs.
People - mainly young girls to judge by the tone of the posts- comment about how little they eat daily, the kinds of 'persecutions' they are having to suffer from terrified parents and teachers, and boast about how they excercise until they pass out.

I could hardly believe what I saw in only about 10 minutes of trawling. They post photos to 'inspire' others....basically pictures of how thin they are. Some are practically skeletal.
They say it's not a disease
They say it's not mental illness, it's a choice
They say it's made them popular, got them dates, some even have been given modelling jobs because they were so thin.

Now some of you may know that as a teen I had a borderline eating disorder, and that my relationship with food can still suffer periods of....discomfort. At 18 I was just 6 stone 3 pounds (about 41kg) and...since we're all girls here I can say that I had my period only about once every 3 months, was constantly anemic and lethargic.
It's an illness folks. I knew I wasn't in good shape and I started to fix it, 10 years later I'm 7 stone 2 (45kg) and a lot healthier....not noticably much fatter really, only an extra couple of inches (1 dress size - (27 inch waist instead of 25). But it never really goes away, and sometimes I dib back into old habits of not eating. (I lose a couple of inches and when my UK size 8 jeans (26 inch waist) need a belt I snap out of it!)
For many it's not so easy as snapping out of it, it's a real-deal illness, and having it be seen as positive, seeing websites to promote it...........it is a disgrace.

Seriously, keep your kids and impressionable friends away from these poisonous sites.......in a world where body image is the single biggest concern for teenage girls, pro-anorexia groups are an affront to womanhood, and they put kids lives at risk.


On a more upbeat note, Greta laid her first egg today. It's pale brownish-pink. She seemed quite surprised. Mum said she was just getting out of the nest box when she went in to collect the eggs.....Greta was looking at it with a ' what the...? ' expression....you know the one, it's the same one a cat, used to wet food, gives you when you give it kibble.

YFCz etc.
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AWWWW I'm going to miss them! I will never forget that concert in London July 2010! Best. Night. Ever.

However I will be looking forward to G's new exploits.
I feel so sad that I've been missing out on so much of his doings these last months because I'm too busy to check Livejournal all the time. I used to log on every day, now I maybe do so once a fortnight :-(

In a couple of months I will be finished and then I can resume my little obsession with all things GACKT tee hee hee.

I'm staring down the throat of a super-stressful and busy week once again. Last week I basically was on holiday :-p and now I must PAY for all that lazy lemonade-drinking, chicken-watching, garden-pottering and getting 7 hours uninterupted sleep every night!

We are...
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The Backyard Bug Appreciation Society.

" We are Greta (Grey - Barred Rock hen 18 weeks old) and Ingrid (Black - Black Rock hen 20 weeks old).
We arrived in this strange new green world on Tuesday, after having spent all our young lives indoors. According to our new owners this green springy stuff is called grass, it's pretty tasty and has all kinds of bugs in it too! We'd never seen real bugs either until this week and had only heard rumours of their deliciousness, but wow - slugs are beyond anything, and those crunchy snails, well, our flock mama, Oli, says that even humans eat those in France but there they cook them first....we find this incomprehensible, I mean, the slime is the best bit!
Me, that's Ingrid up there....I'm already laying a fine brown egg every morning. Greta says she thinks she feels nearly ready to start laying too, and her comb is getting a little bit redder every day. Mine is, as you can see, already a lovely rosy red.
So far there are only two of us, but flock mama says that soon we will be joined by some very special friends called 'ex-battery hens'. Battery farms are evil places that put hens like us in teeny, filthy cramped cages with no room to move around or stretch and then after only 50 weeks those poor exhausted hens are destroyed to make pet food and commercial fertilizer. Flock mama gets very upset about this and is determined to help a local battery hen rescue charity by buying and re-homing some of the 'discarded'  hens here with us to save them from being killed and minced up for catfood. Luckily flock mama's parents live in lovely countryside with a big garden and lots of grass, so we will all be able to run around together in freedom and safety, with lots of food and a big warm hen-house filled with straw to nest in at night. The battery hens will be in very bad condition when they arrive due to how they have had to live...sore legs, bald patches, cuts and bruises and we will have to be very kind to them while they get healthy, and teach them how to perch, how to scratch the grass for bugs, and how to flap their wings properly. I do hope they realize though, that as the head-laying hen and chief slug-finder that I'm in charge of this flock! "

So now you've met my new 'Girls'. I have been at home this past week and while there, my family decided to start keeping hens again. When I was a kid we always had hens, 10 at one point...producing an average of 70 eggs per week! I sold the delicious organic free-range eggs at a local farm shop for pocket-money. Anyway, since I've been at university my parents stopped keeping chooks, and as I'm able to spend some time at home now....and as mum is sick of the mass-produced so-called free range eggs, they decided that it's time to re-stock.
I choose the two ladies above from a local hen breeder. They arrived pretty nervous, but within 3 days were being hand fed, cuddled, petted and very happy to come when called.
Their favourite place in the whole garden is the patch of dry leaves and earth behind the greenhouse, and they have spent hours scratching happily finding all sorts of hen culinary delights. Ingrid's eggs are quite literally the best eggs I've had since...well, since the last time we kept hens!
Greta is a couple of weeks too young to lay, but my July she should be up and going. Ingrid is actually Scottish by birth...she was hatched at a specialist breeder's in Muirhouse and travelled to Northern Ireland by Ferry along with 50 of her sisters and cousins when she was a few days old. This is because Black Rocks are a specialist breed and there are only 2 liscensed breeders in the UK, one of which is in Scotland. Several of these chicks were then raised to maturity by John at 'Hens 'n' Huts' where I bought her and her good friend and coop-mate Greta. They go everywhere together, Ingrid is quite determined and outgoing, has to be first at everything...first out the door in the morning...first at the feeder...first to get a cuddle...first to head up the garden etc, and Greta who is a little more nervous, follows happily along behind and never out of chirping distance. Greta talks incessently and Ingrid isn't so chatty. It's funny...even hens have personalities!

To find out more about Battery Hen Rescue charities visit:
http://www.littlehenrescue.co.uk  - England
http://www.nuthousehenrescue.co.uk - N.Ireland
http://www.animalplace.org - USA

Any of you who think about keeping a couple of chooks, do please consider ex-battery hens. They are very friendly and adapt quickly and joyfully to their new loving homes. Generally they begin laying for their new owners within a month or so, basically as soon as their legs get stronger and their feathers grow back. A friend of our family has a flock of 16 ex-battery birds, all tame, friendly and laying every day. The hybrid used in battery farming live about 3 years, and you will get them at about 1 year old....so that gives you 2 more years of egg production.
I kept hybrids for a few years, and they are lovely birds. The reason farms cull them at 50 weeks is because the birds are so unhealthy and exhausted that the production drops from about 350 eggs per year to around 280 at which point they are deemed 'inefficient'.
It is totally disgusting the way in which some of our food is produced.

All our chooks are part of the family and get to live in peaceful retirement after they stop laying, and when nature eventually takes its course they are buried in our pet graveyard.

So if you oppose the mistreatment of beautiful chickens, please be mindful of where you buy your eggs...never buy 'caged hen eggs' of 'barn eggs' at your supermarket...I know they are cheaper, but they support a horrible industry which in the case of the USA in particular, is not subject to any animal welfare or animal cruelty legislation. Please always buy free range or from local farmer's markets if you possibly can.

Here in the UK we have the wonderful 'Happy Egg Company' who were started up specifically to produce eggs from healthy, happy, free ranging, long-lived, well cared for hens. http://www.thehappyegg.co.uk
These are my supermarket eggs of choice when I can't get to the farmer's market.

celebs in the shop...
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Stephen Fry was in our bookshop yesterday!!!!

*fan flail*

Love this man.
Alas I was not in the shop at the time, but Boss informed me with great excitement today.
He bought an expensive antiquarian book of Arabian Nights...ONE THAT I HAD DONE THE COLOUR RESTORATION AND WAX&POLISH ON.
*he owns something i worked on...SQUEEEEEE!*

Progress report and beautiful pots....and makeup :P
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Hi All,
Just a note to say that I'm surviving the last few months of study quite well so far.... 3 more months and I'll be finished!

I was back-checking lots of my ethnographic pottery resources today, and also bimbling on youtube and found this video taken in India by UK based potter Jane Perryman, who happens to be a heroine of mine.

I love Indian water pots, and now I'm really worried that when I eventually make it to India in a few years, the number of potters will have decreased by a lot and thousands of years of craft tradition will have been lost. Sad thing is, it's happening here in the UK already....I know so many potters who simply can't make a living at it any more because people want plastic or mass-produced stuff from Ikea (Blegh).
It's why I'll likely never be able to be a full time potter either.

One more thing, ( asliceofthemoon will probably have notice this too) 10 years ago when my friend Elf was living in India all the chai sellers used clay cups. Now many use plastic or paper disposable ones. I always wanted to buy a few of these chai cups as souvenirs when I eventually made it to India, because to me they are beautiful even if they are just little clay disposable pots. Perhaps when I get there, they won't exist anymore :-(

Sooo lovely. A 4,000 year tradition of pottery drinking vessels might disappear. Also traditional skills that date back to the Harappan culture...I mean, that's a long long lineage of skill and expertise. Making pots is much harder than it seems, I couldn't believe how good a job of firing those pots in the video could be done with so little fuel, it's flippin' genius!

The government should start promoting these low-fired cups - they are still quite 'soft' so they biodegrade over time and don't cause waste or pollution. It would also keep lots of potter's jobs i.e. good for economy.

The world's mantra should be 'pots not plastic, pots not plastic, pots not plastic!
Come on folks, say iy with me!!!


In other news:
The British Institute at Ankara - I wrote to them to ask if I could come volunteer for them in the Autumn and they said YES!
Looks like I'll be headed straight to Turkey after Bulgarian archaeology trip. I'M SUPER EXCITED!

I discovered kajal eyeliner. So much better than eyeliner pencils and even better than my regular Barry M tipstick kohl stick. Liquid eyeliner and I are not on friendly terms after numerous *epic fails* ....I was on the look out for a replacement or upgrade of eyelining handy-ness. I tried gel pots, almost failing as badly as liquid application. Laura Mercier caviar Cakeliner works well but seriously? £18 plus having to buy 2 kinds of eyeliner brush at further two digit cost? No...not until I become a millionairre.

So. Blue Heaven kajal stick from my local asian store...£1.20. I thought I might as well try it because all the Indian Ladies I see here in Edinburgh always have goregously made-up eyes, maybe this was the secret :-P
This stuff is magic. It doesn't smudge, has no nasty chemicals, has cooling and soothing properties which means that for the last two days I didn't leave my computer with sore and tired eyes...it must be the kajal.
It's so easy to put on. No smudge, not hard like a pencil, perfect lines, even doesn't easily smudge off the inner rim (water-line) of the eye....where with Barry M etc. I had to re-apply there every 2-3 hours. The colour is a richer carbon-black too. All that for £1.20! I'm so very, very pleased.
I know I just used the word 'smudge' a bunch of times but I rather like the sound of it. It makes me think of fudge...or chocolate brownies, I know that should be 'squidge', but both words sound kinda yummy. Maybe I'm just hungry.

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Well, I can't believe I've been absent from LJ from Christmas eve until now....that's like, 3 months or something stupid like that.
Since then I've been locked in various book-lined rooms in 2 countries drafting my thesis. I now have a complete 1st draft including appendices! It's like, 400 pages long. I still have a shed load of work to do in the next 4 months before handing in....so I shall probably be absent some more until then.

Anyhow, in 'life-stuff' I'm also planning what to do after PhD.
Japan trip will be probably next spring...so that's a whole year away :-(
The reason it will take me that long is because I have all the PhD stuff to wrap up, and then graduation etc.
I will also in between all that be going to Bulgaria in September to do a course on restoring an curating Ancient Greek pottery. I also might be nipping over to Turkey. I'm a menber of the BIAA (British Institute at Ankara) which is an archaeological research institute focusing on Turkey and the Black Sea region. I'm hoping I will be able to do some volunteering with them for a few weeks, doing something useful while I detox from PhD!

So that's all I've been up to.
not much I realize, but that's what it's like just now.

Oh, and check out my friend's (adopted baby brother more like!) blog www.cupcakewarrior.co.uk
He's posted awesome cupcake and muffin recipes......many of which I've been present for the taste test!
Seriously yummy. He even invented a mint Aero cupcake specially for me :-)
I've known him ever since I moved to Edinburgh almost 10 years ago when we were all so young and silly and student-y......
Good times.


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