# Tuesday, 19 July 2011

_54026035_012428936-1This is interesting, its a selection of photos showing the imprints left by birds that have flown into windows. This one shows an owl that crashed into a window in Kendal. The print would have been left by the powder down substance that protects the birds feathers.

posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 09:36:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

corn 2Oliver 015The allotment has been somewhat neglected recently as we have been concentrating on decorating but the vegetables we have growing are coming along nicely. The corn is is now waist high as you can from this picture of me scythe in hand creating a scene from Children of the Corn. A closer picture shows the developing cobs. I am hoping for lots of sweet corns and it looks encouraging so far.





PotatoesBeansThe beans are growing well and we are just starting to see the first little beans appearing so hope to be eating them soon. The potatoes are also going well. I couldn't remember what varieties we planted but on digging a few early potatoes we have a mixture of white potatoes and a red almost purple variety which taste yummy.






VegetablesWe also have a few courgettes coming along at the allotment although my main crop of these is in the vegetable patch in the garden. Here are a few potatoes and a courgette we harvested for dinner. The allotment and garden combined are certainly keeping us in vegetables at the moment. It has been several month since I had to shop for vegetables. My salad leaves from the greenhouse are picked daily for sandwiches and the potatoes, courgettes, turnips and peas and gradually being eaten or processed and frozen as they are ready. My initial investment of £40 of seeds finally seems to be paying off. I believe I have already saved that at least just in salad.

posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 09:33:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 18 July 2011

article-2012543-0CEBBB6F00000578-576_634x913These interesting looking glow in the dark mushrooms have recently been rediscovered in Brazil. Originally found in 1840 they had since been lost but have now been found again on a more recent expedition. The mushrooms create a glow that is bright enough to read by. It is believed that they make the the light in much the same way as a firefly, through a chemical mix of a luciferin compound and a luciferase, an enzyme that produces a compound which reacts to light. They certainly look impressive and on a more decorative note would look great lining my garden path at night.

posted on Monday, 18 July 2011 10:25:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Personally I am not surprised to read this article which suggests airlines charge a huge mark up on food and drink. The article claims that drinking water on the budget airline Ryanair is 12 times more expensive than if you were to purchase it in a supermarket. In many ways it makes good business sense for the airlines, particularly with the current liquids ban. I wonder how many people have thought they have stocked up on water for the journey, usually seduced by the two for one offers before checking in, only to find that it can’t be taken through security. Whilst there doesn’t seem, to be a way around this, packing a sandwich seems a better plan that paying too much for airline food which is often poor quality for the price anyway.

posted on Monday, 18 July 2011 10:13:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 17 July 2011

This is interesting it’s a snail that can survive being digested by birds. A study of the diet of Japanese white eyes on the island of Hahajima has found that 15% of the tiny snails eaten by the birds survive the digestion process and are found alive in the birds droppings. The evidence could be a key factor in how the populations of snails are able to spread. Previous research had found that pond snails can survive being eaten by fish but this is the first time that land snails have been found to survive the digestive process.

posted on Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:50:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1310400591060-0CF5B43700000578-728100_636x365If you are planning a trip to Iceland, then you might want to check out the Icelandic Phallological Museum. It currently has the largest collection of penises in the world and has recently added a human penis to its collection. Over 200 specimens are preserved in test tubes and glass vessels whilst some larger ones are displayed like hunting trophies on the wall.

posted on Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:30:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 16 July 2011

wall strippingIn a moment of madness I decided it was time to start decorating the house. We have been here two years this weekend now, and so far the decor is as it was when we purchased it. As it’s the room we spend most time it seemed most logical to start with the living room. The wallpaper was very easy to take off and just peeled away nicely. What we were not prepared for, was the layers of old emulsion behind it. Unfortunately because it is peeling we can’t just paint over it so it has to come off. We have tried a number of techniques to do this so far with limited success and it really is progressing slowly. Three weeks into the project and we have managed to remove the paint from one wall, with the other three still to do. So far the only thing that really works is to wet the wall and scrap it off. We could be here some time. The plan is to remove the old paint, then plaster any holes and prepare the walls for painting. Once painted we intend to put wood flooring in the place of the nasty pink carpet. With time limited to weekends I estimate a good 2-3 months of work ahead but in some ways it’s nice to have made a start even if it’s taking longer than expected.

posted on Saturday, 16 July 2011 09:44:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Gynandromorph-butterfly-007This is interesting, it’s a rare gynandromorph butterfly that has recently hatched at the Natural History Museum. The butterfly is half male and female and has both sex organs fused together. The insect is almost black on the male side with the female side being paler with specks of blue. red and tortoiseshell. It is possible for insects for born gynandromorphs when the sex chromosomes fail to separate when the fertilised egg divides. Only one in every ten thousand butterflies is a gynandromorph. The butterfly is expected to have a normal life span of around a month, although it is infertile so will not produce eggs. It will become part of the museums collection when it dies.

posted on Saturday, 16 July 2011 09:40:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 15 July 2011

According to this article some beauty products could contain chemicals that can make you fat. Dubbed “chemical calories” they can be found in products such as shampoo, body lotion and soap as well as household cleaning products. The chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol-A have been shown to disturb the body’s natural weight control system. Research suggests that daily exposure to them could be linked to childhood obesity and weight problems in adults. Studies on animals have shown that the chemicals depress testosterone levels and can also mimic the effects of oestrogen, both of which can cause weight gain. It is possible to purchase products that do not contain these chemicals but I must admit at being a little surprised to find that beauty products could have an affect on weight gain.

posted on Friday, 15 July 2011 10:45:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article it is possible to train the brain to forget embarrassing or bad memories. Scientists have found that selective memory does exist and it is possible to train your brain to forget. It seems that when you actively try to forget something and repress it for long enough you will eventually forget completely. Mastering the technique could be useful for people suffering from depression or post traumatic stress disorder particularly if it is caused by dwelling on traumatic memories.

posted on Friday, 15 July 2011 10:39:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 14 July 2011

An Italian company has become the first to create halal mozzarella. The firm La Baronia, based in the town of Castel di Sasso has recently been awarded halal status by an Islamic culture association in Italy. It makes the mozzarella from the milk of water buffaloes, with the key difference to regular mozzarella being that no alcohol based chemicals are used to cleaned the machinery in which the halal version is made.

posted on Thursday, 14 July 2011 10:32:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1309961489073-0CE2996000000578-950808_466x322A rare zebra donkey crossbreed has recently been born at a zoo in China. The foal is the offspring of a female zebra and a donkey who shared an enclosure at Xiamen Haicang zoo. The creature has been nicknamed a zonky.

posted on Thursday, 14 July 2011 10:30:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I am always looking for ways to save money on the shopping bill, however, one thing I don’t compromise on is the quality of the meat I buy. Despite choosing the more premium cuts of supermarket meats it does tend to be quite tasteless and often the quality is not great. If I could afford to do so I would buy all my meat from an organic scheme, such as Abel and Cole, however, whilst the quality of the produce is always excellent, the reality is that it exceeds my monthly shopping budget and as such I only buy meat from here on special occasions.

I recently came across a website called Westin Gourmet who claim to sell gourmet meat at budget prices. You do need to be able to buy in bulk but if you have the room to do this it seems a good way to order. I placed my first order which included a tray of 25 chicken breasts, a large pack of chump chops a bulk pack of 10 steak burgers, gammon steaks and 1kg of beef mince. This came to just over £75 with free shipping. You are able to choose the day but not the time of delivery but Saturday delivery is available at an additional charge. The meat is delivered by DHL and comes in a well packed insulated container so that everything arrives well chilled.

I was impressed with the size and quality of the chicken breasts which are larger and less fatty than the supermarket equivalent. The lamb chump steaks are at least double the size I would usually buy in Sainsbury’s and the beef burgers and steak mince also look fantastic. The chicken when cooked requires very little seasoning or flavouring and has much more flavour the supermarket alternative. We are yet to cook the other meat but I am hoping to BBQ some of the burgers at the weekend. So far I have been very impressed with the quality of my order and the flavour of the meat. I have also received an offer code to save some money off my next order. I will definitely we ordering from them again, particularly as it suits me better to order a months worth of meat in bulk and freeze it. They also have a loyalty points scheme where you receive points every time you order to redeem against their products which is a nice idea for regular customers.

posted on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 10:00:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I tend to steer well clear of shop brought sandwiches because they are often not only tasteless but also full of preservatives. For these reasons I prefer to buy fresh bread in the morning and make my sandwiches on the day I want to eat them. This new idea, then is probably not for me. According to the article scientists have found a way to make a sandwich last longer. The concept which is likely to be rolled out across convenience stores means a sandwich can be keep “fresh” or edible at least for anything up to two weeks. The sandwiches have a shelf life of 14 days and supposedly taste as good on day 14 as they do on day one of being made. Launched by Booker, the secret is to suck all of the oxygen out of the packaging. The fillings are also preserved with a slightly acidic mayonnaise which acts as a preservative. The flavours available will include chicken tikka, chicken and bacon, tuna mayonnaise and cheese onion which will all be available on oatmeal bread. They will be aimed at the budget shopper with a price tag of £1.49 per packet.

posted on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 09:55:55 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 12 July 2011

3,156 baby lobsters have been released off St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly. They have been released by the National Lobster Hatchery as part of a sustainability project. The young lobsters were released directly on to the seabed where they will bury themselves in the sand for the first two years of their life whilst they grow. 13,000 baby lobsters were also released last year and there are plans to release another 20,000 during 2011. It is thought that fishermen  should start to notice an increase in lobster numbers in the water in about three years time.

posted on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:29:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article a glass of milk can contain up to 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. A team of researchers analysed 20 samples of cows milk brought in Spain and Morocco. They found traces of anti-inflammatory drugs, niflumic acid, mefenamic acid and ketoprofen which are commonly used as painkillers in animals and people. Whilst the doses are thought to be too small to have any effect on the person drinking them, the report does highlight how man made chemicals have found their way into the food chain.

posted on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:09:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback