More Buzzy Bee Information!

big_beeHave you heard of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust?

It was established because of serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee’. In the last 80 years our bumblebee populations have crashed. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically. The Trust aims to support the conservation of all bumblebees and to raise awareness and increase understanding about bumblebees and the social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits which they and other pollinators provide.

So what can we do?

We can plant a bumblebee-friendly garden! This means planting a variety of flowers that are rich in pollen and nectar which bees can easily access from spring until late summer. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s website has a handy online tool for you to determine how bee-friendly your garden is. Give it a go!

And if you’d like to get more involved, the Trust is always happy to welcome volunteers to help spread the word.

The Trust’s website also includes some lovely recipes using bee-pollinated foods. Here’s one:

Lavender Scones

Ingredients:
375g self raising flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
80g butter
250ml milk (may also use lavender infused milk)
2 teaspoons fresh or 1 tsp dried lavender flowers

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 220 C
  • Place the lavender flowers in a blender/food processor/herb grinder for a few seconds to turn them into a course powder.
  • Combine the flour, sugar and lavender in a medium size bowl.
  • Add the butter, and with your fingertips, combine until the mixture reaches the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the milk, and blend the mixture together.
  • Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently until it forms a soft dough.
  • Flatten dough until it is approximately 2cm thick.
  • Using scone cutter (or glass) cut the dough into shapes.
  • Lightly dust baking sheet with self raising flour, and place the scone shapes onto the baking sheet, placing them 1 cm apart.
  • Lightly brush with milk
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 14-16 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Place on wire racks to cool.
  • Enjoy!

AGM Update

Time to TalkJust a very quick message to let you all know that the organ donation resolution passed at last week’s AGM in Leeds with a resounding 98% majority.

You can read all about it on the NFWI blog (‘Behind the Door of 104’) here.

As you probably know, our link delegate for the AGM this year was Sheena Thomasson from Germoe and District WI. Sheena will be attending our meeting on Monday evening and presenting her report on the AGM to us then.

Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!

HoneybeesCCD_m_0503There’s been a lot of buzz lately about the WI’s 2009 resolution about honey bees.

During the last year, the NFWI has worked hard to help persuade the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that a joined-up, comprehensive Bee Action Plan is needed if we are to tackle bee decline effectively. The Plan is currently out for public consultation, providing a key opportunity to tell government what should be improved, as well as remind them that the WI and wider public are behind an ambitious pollinator strategy that will make a real difference to bees in the long term.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Sow seeds for bees. Plant a range of flowers so that bees can have access to pollen from spring to late summer. 
  • Support local honey. There’s a lot of beautiful local Cornish out there! Not only does it taste delicious, it’s also reputed to help prevent hayfever
  • Send a postcard to the Minister for Bees. If you didn’t get one at last night’s meeting, we can get more! Email us on crowlasludgvanwi@gmail.com.
Egypt-bees
A picture of a beekeeper taken from an Egyptian temple from 4,500 years ago.

Have you read Martha Kearney’s Bee Blog? It’s really great! And what about tuning in to see her on BBC 4’s The Wonder of Bees? If you’ve missed it, you can always catch it again on iPlayer.

If you prefer your bees in real life, why not go on the CFWI ‘A Day at an Aviary’ event at Lanhearne Aviary near St Eval in June? You’ll have a chance to don a bee suit and visit some working hives! The cost is £17 per person. See Alison or email us on crowlasludgvanwi@gmail.com if you’d like to put your name down. The deadline is 7 May.

Finally, why not try a recipe using honey?

Honey Granola
Granola is like a slightly sweetened roasted muesli, which gives it a lot more crunch and chew, as well as some baked nuttiness. It’s the honey that really brings this together: as well as being a preferable form of sweetener, it binds the ingredients to make fun clusters. Try blossom or heather honey for a proper taste of the British countryside in your breakfast bowl. Once you’ve made your own granola there’s no going back to shop-bought.
(Makes around 1kg)

150g honey
60ml sunflower or groundnut oil
250g rolled oats
100g bran
150g sunflower seeds
100g hazelnuts
150g dates
100g dried apricots
100g wheat germ
100g sultanas

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

2 Pour the honey and oil into a pan and heat gently until the honey has melted.

3 In a bowl, mix the oats, bran and sunflower seeds, then pour on the liquid from the pan and mix well. Spread out on a big baking tray.

4 Roast for 20-25 minutes, turning everything three or four times, then leave to cool.

5 Meanwhile, roast the hazelnuts until they turn a golden brown (which takes about 10 minutes), then roughly chop, along with the dates and apricots.

6 When cool, mix everything together with the wheatgerm and sultanas. Store in an air‑tight container; lasts for about a month.

Recipe from The Guardian, 9 February 2013.

Keep the honeybee buzz going!

Menu of the Week

If you don’t often take a look around the NFWI website, you might be interested to know that every week a new ‘Menu of the Week’ is published!

chick-pea-burgerWIE-Trad-Favourites-cropped-and-CompressedThis week, it’s an antipasti starter, chickpea burgers with salsa for a main course and American chocolate pie for dessert. In addition, there’s a good index of all the recipes that have been published in the past, conveniently sorted by course.

I like the sound of those chickpea burgers!

Have a look around and see if there’s anything there that strikes your fancy.

Save the High Street – Do Your Part!

5961266-largeThorne’s Fruit & Veg in Penzance is doing its part to help save the high street! If you spend £10 at Thorne’s on any visit in the month of April, they’ll give you £1 to pay for two hours’ parking in town.

Malcolm Hendy, who has run the shop with his wife Sue for the past 18 years, says, ““It would be great if we could encourage some of those who currently do all their shopping at the big supermarkets to come into town to do their shopping.”

This is right in line with the WI’s efforts to encourage people to shop in their local high streets.

You can read the full article about Thorne’s in The Cornishman here.

2014 Subscription Rates

For those of you who missed last night’s meeting, you won’t have heard that subs for 2014 are increasing from £33 to £34.70.

Of that amount, the portion our individual WI keeps is going up by £1, which means that our funds will get an extra £40-50 next year (so it’s not all bad news!).

Many of us find it a bit of a hardship coming up with the full amount when subs are due in the new year, so why not start contributing to our Thrift Club? You can put in as little or as much as you want each month. By the end of the year, you may withdraw what you want to pay for either or both your sub and the cost of your Christmas meal. For instance, if you put in £5 a month all year, at the November meeting you’ll have £55 to draw from – which should cover both subs and the Christmas meal.

If you’re interested in joining the Thrift Club, see Jane Twose at our next meeting.

Excess Baggage

groceries in a bagDo you always bring your own shopping bags when you go to the supermarket? Do you sometimes forget, even though you have the best of intentions?

The WI’s latest campaign is an attempt to reduce plastic bag use in England.

England’s plastic bag use is almost six times that of Wales, due to the 5p a bag charge introduced by the Welsh government in 2011. Northern Ireland and Scotland are following the lead set by Wales and are now also charging for single use plastic bags.

According to this month’s WI Life:

Plastic bags can remain in the environment for hundreds of years. In the Pacific, an area one and a half times the size of Europe is covered by a ‘soup’ of plastic debris. Unable to biodegrade, the plastic simply floats with the currents. Many birds and other marine life mistake it for food, even feeding it to their young, and die from the effects. On land, plastic bags pollute waterways, block drains and cause flooding, as well as posing risks to animals and livestock.

With so many gorgeous re-usable bags available at the moment, there’s no reason to keep using plastic.

Why not stop by our stall at the Penzance Farmers’ Market on Friday 4 October. We always have lovely handmade shopping bags for sale! You’ll be supporting Crowlas & Ludgvan WI as well as doing your part for the environment.

News from the AGM

Lis Davies, our delegate to the NFWI Annual General Meeting held in Cardiff on Saturday, reports that the High Streets resolution passed with an 87% majority.

If you’ll recall, the resolution reads:

The NFWI notes with concern the continuing decline of our high streets and the damaging effect this has on local communities. We call on every member of the WI to support their local shops and make the high street their destination of choice for goods and services. We call on decision-makers to work collectively, at all levels, to help bring an end to the decline of our high streets and to ensure that high streets flourish and provide a focal point for local communities.

New NFWI Chair,
Janice Langley

Yesterday, NFWI Chair Ruth Bond stepped down after four years in the role. Our new chair is Janice Langley who has served as an NFWI Trustee since 2002, and most recently has served as NFWI Vice-Chair and Chair of the Membership Committee.

Speaking about the resolution, Janice said:

“This resolution has strong support from across our membership.  It’s clear to WI members that the value of our high streets and town centres is much deeper than their economic value alone.  It is not about turning back the tide, boycotting the internet and abandoning every other shopping channel, rather it is asking them to support local businesses and to think about what is on offer in their local community, and the difference their custom could make to local business survival, before turning to out-of-town shopping centres and online retailers.

“Local high streets are the heart of communities and we want to use this resolution as an opportunity to take a fresh look at what we can all do to help them adapt to meet the needs of communities and ensure they are fit for purpose in a rapidly changing world.”

Lis will make a brief presentation about her AGM experiences at our next monthly meeting on the 17th.

NFWI Competitions

Get those competitive juices flowing and enter!

Lady Denman Cup competition 2013

WI members are invited to write a piece starting with the line, ‘If I were … for a day, I would …’ Members are asked to fill in the blanks with a fictional account of who they would like to be for the day and what they would get up to. Entries must be no more than 500 words and the competition line must be included in the final word count. For more information and for an application form, write to CFWI (Chy Noweth an Conteth, Truro Business Park, Threemilestone, Truro TR4 9NH). The deadline for completed entries is 1 July. The Cup will be presented to the winner at the 2014 AGM and book tokens will be given as prizes to the national winners: 1st prize: to the value of £75, 2nd prize: to the value of £50 and 3rd prize: to the value of £30.

PhotographerPhotographic Competition

Photographs must be based on the competition theme of ‘Inspirational Women’ and may be entered under two categories:

1. Colour
2. Black and White

Photographs must be of a print size 10″ x 7/8″ and must be mounted on mount board using double sided tape. Mount board must not exceed 12″ x 10″. All photographs must be the original work of the entrant and taken between 1 January and 30 June 2013. Judging will be based on the individual image, interpretation of the theme and overall presentation. Entrants must send their work to CFWI by the deadline of 15 August for initial judging. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen, your entry will then go forward for national judging. See Helen Kestle if you’d like an entry form.

The WI Centenary Fruitcake Competition

xmas_cake_mixSubmit your recipe for a rich fruit cake – either with, or without, spices and nuts – that has good keeping quality of at least three months. The recipe must demonstrate that consideration has been given to using British ingredients. All entries must be original and the member’s own work.
Submit your recipe to CFWI for initial judging by 28 November. One recipe will then be selected to go forward for the Regional Heats which will take place in May 2014. The winners of the Regional Heats will go forward to take part in the National Finals which will consist of a one-day ‘bake-off’ at Denman in November 2014! See Helen Kestle if you’d like an entry form.