Hi there everyone. I have already posted a couple of threads, but figure it's high time I gave this forum a glimpse of what I'm all about, and a window onto the weird... I'm not quite sure what the forum has let itself in for....! A sexagenarian, I am half Italian, and fluent, but also speak French fluently, having lived in France for a number of years... I adore cooking, and make weird and wonderful foods at home, much to the bemusement of my long-suffering hubby, who is not a fan of my successful dabbling...! I make sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, natto, pickled sausages, and am keen on lactofermenting vegetables, including brussel sprouts and mushrooms. I also make ghee, kefir and often kefir cheese. I also made Miso paste a couple of years ago and it's good to use now. It's astonishingly delicious. I add seaweed to many dishes, and love sushi and sashimi, which I create at home... I am an avid and eager consumer of many things Japanese.... I grow turmeric, ginger, horseradish and have a good herb garden, and have numerous cuttings of grapevines, fig and a persimmon tree. I am also cultivating wasabi and perilla or shiso plants. The majority of my precious plants are all in pots: The garden we have is not our own; we rent our accommodation, which I adore, but we're limited to what we may do to the garden, as the owners want a stress-free, easy-maintenance garden, mainly laid to lawn/grass. so transforming it into an oasis of verdant lush and abundant growth may not be feasible. My hubby also adds (quite reasonably) that the garden transformed, would be a sizeable investment we could never fully recoup, and which would add market value to a property we don't even own, so it wouldn't be a sound expenditure; but there are a few flower-beds and those, I CAN focus on, increase a little, and improve on.... I have installed a water-butt, but the layout and exposure of the garden does not beckon a greenhouse... I would love a pond though.... The home is a corner plot, and as such, has a garden on three sides of the property, the front facing East, and the rear catching the Westerly weather, with the side of the garden facing south - so we are well exposed to good light virtually all day. The garden is enclosed by a high hedge, made up of various different shrubs, including pyracantha, hawthorn, berberis, dogwood, plane and (discovered lately) a meandering clematis.... it is a lush, thick hedge, in need of clipping, but it houses several birds, their nests and fledglings, so I'm damned if I'm going to chop it about now....! As is the case with many women of my generation, I still work (needs must) and thoughts of retirement are still a far-off dream... Here endeth today's lecture. Any questions....?