Planting for Summer, the Boom Season

This season looks to be a cracker, I can say now that I have the most fruit on my tress since planting them, I have suffered some curly leaf here and there but not enough to stop bud set.
its early days and I am yet to net my fruit trees, every time I hear a cocky swooping overhead, my heart races. It’s going to get Hot, like real hot and I might lose a lot due to that intense 40 odd degree days. I am using my Gray water every day on my fruit trees and about to get some loads of sow manure and put all around them.

I have the veggie garden going full noise, full of corn, tomato and potato, with smatterings of silver beet, pumpkin, zucchini, chilli, cucumber, and squash still to grow. I am more connected this year, we are staying home to reap the harvest and my intention to eat 3 times per week, plant-based meals, I might actually us some of my Veg, instead of giving a lot of it away, which I still intend doing.

I have been busy collecting wood from everywhere I can, mostly done with a good friend of mine, hard work and sharing the spoils is good for the soul and cements friendships

Full loaded apricot tree, they seem to do better when its drier

Apricot tree

I have decided to plant more spuds this year

Potato’s

corn glorious corn, notice the spacing, jam them in as much as you can, and they will love you for it

Corn

I am growing standard Roma this year, my dream is to plant San Mazarno, plum tomatoes, they are the best for passata

Tomatoes

Toamtos and silverbeet

Woodage

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Spring Has Sprung

Woo- Mind blown- its September and months since I posted. Started out as a pretty good Winter, got a few deer on the ground, freezer has been full of protein. No pressure there. Got plenty of winter Veg, Broccoli, cabbage and as you can see, my largest ever cauli. Done my Garlic planting and now looking at preparing the beds for the summer crop planting.

check this link out, the best ever cauli you can eat.
https://www.taste.com.au/recipes/southern-fried-cauliflower/3bj4qzl6

September/ October are my Wood season months, the plan is to fill the sheds before it gets too hot and plenty of time for the wood to dry out.

Autumn has wooshed by, got a few garden beds resting and will give them love soon. As you can see from the photos I got onto our usual property that we hunt rabbits on, Mushrooms lots of them, Horse Mushrooms, they are big and Bloody- Vegan Steak! and smashing, I love them very much. Nothing at all like store mushrooms, which are bland, bland bland.

The fruit trees are already flowering and lets hope that I have sprayed them enough to stop the curly leaf. They are all pruned since winter and I will start to give them some compost material in the next few months

Its almost time to dust of the boat and get back into some squid fishing.

Pumpkin

Cauli

Cauli

Bucket o Mushies

Horse Mushrooms

Pan frying

Better much

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Autumn, here so soon

Wow, its early April, well I have been very slack and busy at the same time. Being part of the fire response in Gippsland has seen me spend a lot of time away. Thats time away from what I do best and that is to find or grow and share food.

This blog is predominately based around collecting food, but its undercurrent are to share the way that I live. I have started using Boomerang Bags, locally sourced cloth bag, made from used cloth. Washable, light and strong. The current “Green” super market bags are still made from plastic!!!.

Boomerang Bags

Plus the photo of my Biome products (https://www.biome.com.au/), inside the box are stainless steel pegs, that will last a lifetime, dish brush, toothbrush and some steel straws for the kids. These are up there for being 100% recycled. But its not about finding the best, its about starting to look for better options that what we currently have.

Biome

Calamari

Its been a good year for wood and sadly as the climate changes, there will be more and more tree death, its a hiding to no where really

Wood

This little babies, came up all by themselves, I have about 10, so looking forward to eating soup, scones and roast, but then sharing

Pumpkin

Seedlings

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Things to Ponder for a Harvester

Sometimes I would not wish on my worst enemy what goes through my head, every time I start my car, buy something, drink a coffee, purchase food. Just how much is enough, what is acceptable for sustainable living, is it even possible?

I look around my house, I see all the plastic, all the resources all the Stuff that has gone into making what I own or possess and its not forever, the legacy is but the use could be a day, year, lifetime but then what.

I did go fishing for enjoyment, I try to quell my fears for the planet so i can just enjoy something without all the questions of sustainability running through my mind, so Yep, I used my diesel car to get my fiberglass boat, fill it with unleaded petrol, buy some bait! then drive for an hour and a half to go fishing for the day, taking my tin of tune and drinks. hmmm – whats so bad- oil is in my diesel, petrol, boat, they all exhaust carbon monoxide and Co2, I got some bait, that in itself is unsustainable, blue bait should be left in the ocean to feed the food chain. Not to mention fishing line, plastic in my rod and reel, where do i start and stop. Do I stay home and be miserable knowing the planet is going down the gurgler anyway or add to its demise or I am just way to serious?.

All was not lost, I brought food home for my family

Flake

Squid

What I have been doing and yep, still filled with emotions is cutting wood, not cutting down trees, but cutting up fallen timber to heat my home and heat my water, wood that is shelter and food for critters of the earth. This only matters without population at billions and having a major effect on the planetary system, maybe I should not sweat the small stuff, we will go extinct as all other earth creatures before us.

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Butchers Journal

Good times were had recently, 3 Sambar deer hinds from the farm, not only are we controlling introduced animals, but providing meat for many families and friends. Taking ownership over the meat that you consume should be high on your priority for a sustainable life.

Sambar deer were introduced into Australia in the 1860s, near kinglake Victoria. Since then they have increased in huge numbers, some say to well over 1 million in the wilds of Victoria, with such huge numbers, hunting alone cannot control the numbers, and farmers are generally too busy farming to deal with pest species. Deer in Victoria are a protected game species, which is an old law but actually provides a lot of revenue for the government to employ officers to protect the species and make sure hunters are doing the right thing.

https://austdeer.com.au/deer-in-australia/sambar-deer-rusa-unicolor/

Many farmers are more worried about hunters rather than the deer species. Mostly they are worried about their own stock being shot or wayward bullets wizzing past their homes. Having a farm to hunt on is a privilege and should be respected. It can form a really great relationship, hunters controlling pest animals on farms when farmers dont have the time and resources and in payment, hunters can take many, many kilos of meat home to share amongst their family, friends and neighbors. This precious meat is from an animal that has grown up without fences, paddocks and penned up, till one day without fear they are shot dead, this death is very quick and painless.

Put this up against the kind of farming that is taking place across the globe, animals that dont see sunlight, that are not cared for, that are penned up and fattened, not knowing freedom, in strak contrast are free roaming deer, that have a life that is carefree till death. Most hunters care very deeply about the animals that they hunt, as do I.

I hunt with respect for the animal that will provide for me and my family. In death its still respected, using all the animal and not wasting it.

I cut deer up completely differently to a beef, pigs or sheep. They are somewhere in between, the structure of the animals is the same but they are more like beef than sheep.

Start with gutting the animal in the field, hang over night in coolroom preferably, but not essential in winter

Whole carcass and two boned sambar in cool room

Pull the front leg back and cut down along the body of the animal

shoulders taken off the carcass

By breaking it down into 3 main primals, its easier to remove the hair and to break it down. This barrel now has most of the hair removed from the front legs. Then its easy to follow the spine and remove the backstrap.

hanging barrel

Boning part 2

boning the backstrap ( scotch, porterhouse and T bone)

The shoulders are tricky and really the most difficult part of the process, removing the shoulder blade and humerous bone are possibly the hardest part. This meat is tender and loves to be slow cooked, roast or casserole.

Shoulder


Boned and rolled shoulder ( the best roast)

When these are hung you may choose to H-bone them or cut them into 2 seperate and bone them out on the bench, I will post videos of this process.

hind legs, cut off at the rump (


Almost boned leg

Round, with top and bottom cap taken off the primal

Round, primal- good for schnitzel

Back leg boned into primals ( note the light colour of the meat) Perfect

Tray of backstrap (porterhouse)

The bullet of choice (30-06)

I love having a skill that others find handy, that I can help others, teach others the skill that is a life skill. I identify with my past, very strongly and have considered to run some butchering classes, possibly, if hunters shoot an animals and bring it over, I can teach them how to cut it up properly, that way less meat will be wasted.
What do you think, would you pay for some lessons?

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Time to valuate

Its been a long time between drinks, seasons roll in and roll out, I keep thinking that I am repeating myself with my blog, but I guess if your new then, you may have not read my other posts and also reminders for people what season we are up to and what we should be doing. So my plan is to blog less content but more often

I have included some images of my chooks-These were raised by myself, costing $1.60 each for 20 1 day old chick. I kept them in the shed, under a heat lamp and fed on chicken crumble, bought from Traralgon stock feeds (Rodwells), great place with good staff. Once a few weeks old, I started feeding them on minced venison, I call it protein conversion. They grow very. very fast and were ready by 12 weeks, which is actually very large. I still supplement their food with chicken crumble and in the latter part with bags of pollard ( each bag lasts about 1 week and only adds on about a dollar. The venison mince is fantastic and they go crazy for it.

Chooks

I then killed them over a period of a week, skinning them, I find it easier thats all. I bury everything that I dont use into the veggie garden.

Chicken

These were the first heads of brocoli for the year, i planted about 10 plants and will leave them in the ground for the next few months, harvesting the new leaf bud heads as they grow. These were planted march with sugar cane mulch.

brocoli

The cauliflower is not like the brocoli and will only grow 1 head. Both of these I blanch, drain and freeze on oven trays overnight, then bag up the following morning, so you have separate frozen piece.

Cauli

The next few images are of minced venison, that when not feeding the chooks, I use to feed my cat and dog, making them almost sustainable pets. Simple- Kill deer, bone out and mince the primals ( whole muscles). ( Topside, rump etc). Then roll into handful burgers, place on trays and freeze, once, frozen bag up, fo you can give each pet one per day.

mince

Mince

Mince

Around the yard, I have pruned the fruit trees and fed them with fertilizer, I have also got a whole trailer of cow manure and put 2 barrow loads per garden bed, layed down like a blanket over the beds, I will let these beds rest then dig it in about September, before summer planting.
Each Winter is a good time to review, learn and shape how I use the garden beds. I will be planting less onions and maybe start planting more leafy greens.
Its a good time of year to rest, take stock and valuate what your doing, feed the fruit trees and change beds if you need. I would like to get out squid fishing, although I have plenty from some swapped vension. I am watching the wood pile go down slowly.

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Feb 2018

Well its been a while and Feb 2018 is already here, blackberries are ready and I havent even got out yet. The tomatos are gone wild, cord already harvested and the pumpkins are taking over the yard. Its time for storage and eating tomatos everyday.

Preserving fruit is really easy and almost a lost art- fruit is everywhere, if you dont grow your own trees, get friends with people that do, find them on roadsides or swap for it. Most fruit will preserve, apricots love to be preserved for use later in stewed, turnovers, in custard, icecream or if you want turn it into Jam.

the 4 step process- wash fruit, pip and cut- break open the stone to get to the Kernal, its packed full of flavour and will help the preserves. Put into washed jars, fill with sugar syrup, remove all air bubbles, put on rubber and lid with clip- water bath for 1 hour in preserver and wola!- fruit for years to come

http://www.canning-food-recipes.com/canningfruits.htm

Apricots

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4- finished product

Its Passata time as well- there are many ways of doing this- I wash tomatoes, put through the tomato passata machine, boil down the flesh to remove excess water, wash and heat jars ( dishwasher and oven) – put hot product into hot jars, put on lids and as it cools, it will seal and you are done.

flesh in and skin and see out

Passata making by an 8 year old

Soem Tips for blanchign corn, remove husk, cut in half, put into water, bring water to boil and simmer for 5 minutes, put into cold water ( sink with iced water) to stop cooking process, then let drain, put onto oven trays and freeze, once frozen, pop into bags and you have blanched corn that you can choose 1, 5 or 10 when you need them.

Blanched Corn

Freezing options

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