Wednesday, 30 March 2016

I love a day in the garden!  Last Wednesday, it was overcast, with a chilly breeze and some drizzle so was the perfect day to clean up the summer tomatoes and prep for winter crops J.

The harvest:

Japnut self sown pumpkins (these are so super sweet); basil that broke off, hot Paprika capsicum/mild chilli; one cucumber (pulled that vine out); dried out red-flowering broad beans to save the seed; the very last of the tomatoes and rhubarb.  I picked the rhubarb mostly for the leaves so I had some green to compost:

That green layer had a bit of everything I could grab – what is abundant in the garden right now – so that would be self-sown dill, clover, dandelion and rhubarb leaves!  And some sort of amaranth weed looking thing…
I was in a bit of a lazy mood yesterday, so it is lasagne compost, but it will change to bolognaise when I turn it in a few weeks, eh? 

Oh, and I cooked up the rhubarb with apples and some unhappy plums – they added such a lovely pink colour to the fruit – hmmm, should have thought of that when I was making jam last time!  I call soft, semi-bruised fruit unhappy – because my go-to recipe for them is to make “Happy Fruit Crumble” – just take all your unhappy fruit and quickly stew it up, top with your crumble mix and bake for some very deliciousness J.  My crumble mix is a very simple brown sugar, butter and oats – with a little bit of muesli if there is some.

And finally, Mum and I were looking at the lavenders and saw there were plenty of flower heads on the Sugarberry Ruffle blossom – so we picked those and the perfume was divine!

And, I just looked up Stickleberry lavender on the internet (because that is the name I always think they are called – wrong me…) and the most gorgeous recipes for frozen yoghurt and a buttermilk sponge cake came up!   I am inspired!!  (NB - culinary lavender is probably different to my Stickleberry so I will be searching out some to grow too).

Monday, 21 March 2016

Chickens are coming and going around here:

Meet our new Silver Laced Wyandottes – 13 week old pullets (= girls!).

To replace chicken dinners...

Remember the one time when I said I had suspicions our first chookens were 6 out of 6 roosters?  Sadly, it is looking like I got it right…Fred, Twilight and Sunset all crowed.  At this stage only Midnight is getting the benefit of the doubt – she is the only one without saddle feathers, though she does have the longer neck feathers, sigh….!!!

Rosey Roger has a reprieve (because he is still gorgeous and still gentle – and I am on the hunt for some Brahma girls so some babies might happen).

(hmm, not his best side by the looks of this photo :-/)

Big Al has a reprieve so some baby Bantam Faverolles might happen, but then he will be re-homed because he is our earliest crow-er!!

And Peggy has a reprieve because (s)he is a Brahma and the breed is not common so I feel happier preserving it.  Peggy is yet to crow but those feathers are giving him away!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Now, where was I?  Ah, yes, thinking I would entertain you and myself with some photos of our recent happenings.

The garden bounty on Friday included some rhubarb – and I didn’t feel like pie (GASP!), so I made apple/pear and rhubarb jam instead.

You could see that our rhurbarb is very green instead of red?  Anyone know why?  Anyway, I realised that would make quite a green jam – which I am fine with – but as I was researching recipes on the ‘net, one mentioned adding red food colouring – so since I had some natural pink food colouring in the cupboard, I thought I would do a couple of jars – because I am thinking the kids will find that more ‘palatable’.  You can tell which ones, can’t you?

Oh, and maybe I can redeem myself for adding food colouring by saying that those 2 cups of sugar you see in the pot are actually a raw sugar/stevia mix – to ‘healthy it up a little bit’ ;-).

Sunday, 13 March 2016

So I have been thinking about arrogance lately – I decided I had a problem with arrogant people – mostly myself!  Hmm, that was a bit of a shock so I looked up the definition of arrogance:

“offensive display of superiority or self-importance”.

The problem I had with myself was that I had an epiphany when I was putting plastic in the rubbish bag and I thought to myself “How arrogant you are to expect others to deal with your (unnecessary) waste!!”

So that was a bit of an eye-opener and has made me focus a bit again on being plastic-free.   Luckily I had a bit of an easy week to start my actioning - Michael was away so I could get-away-with very little food purchases, basically just enough fruit for the kids and I for the week and that was easy to choose from the loose piles and use my fabric bags.  Milk was use up what was left, then go to the UHT/powdered milk supplies; bread was keep on making our own – too easy; dinners were use up whatever was in the cupboard/fridge/freezer – no problems (we ate a lot of pasta ;-).

As soon as I planned to be plastic-free for the week I also had a bit of a think about being zero-waste.  Zero waste has a bit more of an all-encompassing ring to it I think – but when I thought about how I have read it is implemented as a life-style, a lot of it is making sure you recycle what you can – including plastics – so you have an absolute minimum in refuse.  Now plastics are getting easier to recycle – some supermarkets take back the plastic shopping bags and plastic food bags (did you know that – soft and crinkle plastics can be recycled?) – and our council has even implemented recycling of all ‘numbers’ of plastics into the recycling bins, so it really has got easier for us too.  But – and it is a big BUT to me – recycling plastics doesn’t stop you purchasing them in the first place now, does it?!!  So, for me, being plastic-free was actually a better way to think about being zero-waste than my interpretation of zero-waste.  Make sense – no? 

I am sure my interpretation of zero-waste was/is too simplistic and I probably missed the bit about it being plastic-free in the first place.   I think the intent in zero-waste is to purchase as ZERO waste, not just to switch your purchases to be “recyclable” waste.  That makes a lot more sense!!  Maybe the recycling bit is just to get people to take account of their waste – and then they can see what they purchase as waste – recyclable or not – and get it down to ZERO!  Wow, another epiphany folks – yay!   Ok, I need to think about this some more – what do we tend to buy that feels ok because it is in recyclable waste?  Are there any things that can be switched to zero-waste for these products?  

From my quick thinking, it would actually take a change in my cooking to change our “staple dinners” that I buy as recyclable waste.  Yes, I can buy zero-waste pasta from the bulk bins (ok, could probably even make my own – been meaning to give that a go), but buying pasta sauce is recyclable waste (glass jar) and non-recyclable lid (except for home re-use)!  Yes, I can and do make my own pasta sauce from our home-grown tomatoes – but this doesn’t last long (ie, at the end of summer we now only have 4 jars left) – we eat a lot of pasta - and we are not even Italian!  To zero-waste the pasta sauce situation – that would actually take finding someone else who would sell me masses of their home-made passata, or making up a year’s supply by purchasing in toms (and probably equipment) and having a passata day (this idea has merit! – maybe except for the bit about storing approx. 150 jars of pasta sauce – hooley dooley!) – or changing our menu!!  Arrgh – more thinking required!!

And this now brings me to my tangent of “Of course, traditional cultures are zero-waste because they eat locally sourced (wild) fresh food – and save on the washing up by cooking and eating from leaves!”  I think I will save that tangent for another time!!!

PS – I roasted up what will be close to our final batch of tomatoes on Friday – made another few jars of pasta sauce ;-)