Hairy Bittercress

Until ten years ago, I walked everywhere – or for long(er) distance journeys, took the train. Then circumstances changed and I got a car.

Over time, my life evolved to make use of the car more and more frequently. For example, I could live further away from my job and have days out at places which would be all but inaccessible on public transport. And of course, I now make excuses to get in the car even when I could walk instead.

However, yesterday evening I thought I was going to lose the car. The engine oil pressure warning light came on and we had to be towed home. Thankfully, it turned out to be a simple fault and the engine had not been damaged. I also had a new battery fitted because that decided to die overnight.

Good news for me in the sense that I am now able to continue with my plans for the festive period. But not so good for the environment or my cardiovascular health (in terms of exercise, though lack of a social life would be a health risk as well).

Having heard this evening, on the other hand, that my sister is in hospital with low blood oxygen levels and deep vein thrombosis, I am doubly determined to make some adjustments to my car usage. In order to pick the car up this evening, we had to walk to the train station (only about twenty minutes, as opposed to ten in the car, considering how much faffing about the latter usually involves). It really wasn’t demanding, so tomorrow we should do the same again instead of driving to the station. Especially as short journeys also happen to be bad for the battery and bad for the environment.

Anyway, you may ask: what has any of this got to do with Hairy Bittercress?

Well… the other day I received an email from a foraging organisation with news about what can be foraged in the month of December. Most of the foods appear to be mushrooms, which I’m not inclined to touch with a barge pole, but one of the other items actually grows very happily in my garden.

Now, Hairy Bittercress might not fulfil all our dietary requirements but I am going to stop pulling it out the ground and taking it to the municipal waste disposal site. Since it is a thriving visitor to the garden, it makes sense to take advantage of its nutritional properties rather than driving to buy something which undoubtedly will be less fresh and possibly sprayed with something I don’t want to know about.

Sadly, I had pulled up a lot of the better specimens before the aforementioned email arrived, so I might need to wait a while to find out if I like the taste. I have found one small plant, though, and will harvest that when it gets bigger.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
This entry was posted in foraging, Gardening, Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Hairy Bittercress

  1. I, too, have had to make the adjustment from feet to car. That’s life, as we say, even before we really know it. πŸ™‚

    • Helen says:

      The car is certainly a positive as well as a negative, if I think of the good things it has brought to my life. I can see why we all keep doing it, even if it is killing the planet!

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your sister’s poor health. Is she doing better? When I was traveling through Europe and the UK back in 1989, I was impressed with the efficient public transportation. I also walked a fair amount, too, since I was staying at youth hostels, which were often in out of the way places. Of course I was traveling, not going to a job everyday, so that does make a difference. Uber and Lyft, both rid-sharing programs, have really taken hold here. A lot of young people opt for that instead of incurring the expense of car ownership (fuel, maintenance, insurance, parking fees, not to mention the actual cost of the car). The Bay Area grew too quickly, with housing on one side of the valley and jobs on the other, with mediocre public transportation in between.

    You are more conscientious than anyone I know, Helen. I have no doubt that if we all made the effort that you did, everyone would benefit.

    • Helen says:

      Thank you for your thoughts for my sister, Alys. She’s actually got several blood clots on her lungs and will be in hospital for the rest of the week at least.

      Anyway, cars certainly are expensive! I know someone who now uses taxis rather than owning a car but that only works if you are going short distances. I wouldn’t like to try to get to some of the places I go to on public transport – day trip would need to become a weekend away lol.

      I am impressed that you managed to go youth hosteling here without your own wheels. As you say, many of the hostels are in out-of-the-way places and I wouldn’t relish trying to access them without my car.

  3. Clare Pooley says:

    I hope your sister is improving. How very worrying for you all. We drive such a lot here because there is no public transport to speak of and the nearest shop/town is 5 or 6 miles away.

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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