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

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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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November 2017

Its the start of the busy season for the garden. Fruit trees are full of leaves and I sigh as I have curly leave again. I am still gathering form the wilds of Bountiful Gippsland, I have been out only once in the boat so far. I am still gathering venison and rabbits when I can, I was gifted 30 large carp, What for you ask?- protein for my meat chooks of course!. I call it protein conversion- converting something that you may not eat into something that you will. Easy Peasy. Its a committment, but worth it.

I am torn between the breed being more like Frankenstein and me sleeping at night knowing that I have provided them a life outside of a cage and a bit longer than cage meat birds.
I have done a few sheep this year already, so plenty of meat in my freezer, and am doing another beast soon.
I will get wood instead of meat, wood is what i am after at the moment. I average about 10 to 12 metres per year. Compared to last year, I used significantly less wood this year even though the winter was cold, it wasn’t long. October/ November is my wood collecting time, whilst its not too hot, but dry enough to get around the properties. It also gives you 6 months of dry wood ready for next winter. I have noticed lots of trees dying across the landscape ( I think there is a major die back: lack of water and warmer weather).

We have incorporated soft plastic recycling in the household system- its not hard- separate bag, that goes to green collect bin at the local supermarket. Our rubbish bin is almost empty each week- can I please be charged on weight?

Believe it or not these chickens are only 5 weeks old!, they are already the size of bantoms

Meat Chickens ( Mini Frankensteins)

These arrived one day, someone has been over producing- massive eggs.

Giant Eggs

These photos are how I set down the beds, planting reasonably close and using sugar cane mulch to create a layer hard for snails to travel across but also to keep moitsure in the soil. It rots down and builds the soil.The photos are of corn and tomatos and some cucumber plants

Little Corn

Baby Tommies

The Garlic is growing well, all things going to plan I might sell some at the end of the year.

Garlic

my own minced beef, add some herbs and spices and amazing meal- Lebanese Kebab, served in flat bread with Tzatziki sauce.

Lebanese Kebab

This is what happens when you have good soil, compost with rotting pumpkin and add mulch and water- I think I have too many plants, i will see if I can pot them up and take them to work and of course give to friends

Pumpkin anyone?

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Freezer Filler

Well its deep into winter time and although we have not had much rain, its been reasonable cold which is great for broccoli. I have started harvesting and since learning a few years ago, cut the top off and then leave the plans in the ground. They will then grow more broccoli next to each leaf node, this more than double what you would get form just harvesting the main flower head.

Broccoli flower heads

As usual, I cut it up, blanch it ( bring to boil for 5 minutes) then put into cold water, till its cold then drain. I then lay it out on oven trays and then put into freezer over night. Next day bag it all up and you have separated broccoli, easy to plan meals for 1 to 10

blanced broccoli

I still have lots of pumpkin left over, I have given about 10 to the school for their kitchen garden program and plenty to family an friends. I also organsied a Pmpkin day at work, just to celebrate this wonderful vegetable. We had pumpkin pie, roast pumpkin salad, pumpkin fruit cake and pumpkin scones, served with home made Jam form my sister (” janey’s Kitchen”)
Pumpkin scones rock, I did make them the lemonade scone recipe.

Pumpkin Scones

Left overs- you can put them int he worm bin or cook it up and mash it, then it becomes a wonderful chook food and they will give you back eggs!. Protein conversion.

cooked pumpkin skins

That brings me to a successful hunt- I went tot he farm to do some butchering for friends and did some sheep- the same applies for all my food- freeze it separated so you can bag it up the next day, this will make your life easier and less chance of wastage, its bad enough we kill an animals for food, and if so then for gods sake do not waste it.!!!

lamb chops

After about 13 km of walking and on the way back to the car, we managed to down a young hind (female)- This is without a doubt the best and sustainable meat you can eat- it has grown up without knowing what a fence was, lived in the bush beside its parent, then when the day comes- it doesn’t even know its happened. No trucks, abboitiors to stress it.
As you can see, its very lean meat.

Sambar deer, becoming venison

Almost fully boned, down into the primals that we will make into roast, steak, schnitzels, mince, sausages and what ever else we can think of.

Almost boned venison

On the block are the back straps or in butcher speak, the loin, where porterhouse, t Bone and scotch fillet comes from. Behind them is the Blade roast, with bolar and Oyster blade still attached.

Venison backstraps

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Winter – no time to slack off

Well Winter is here, yes, its meant to be cold and wet and crappy outside, but winter brings a time to rest when you can, clean up your garden, prune fruit trees and sit back and reflect on the Garden. Dining on Pumpkin soup, you can be happy for your efforts during the warmer months. Everytime I open a jar of passata, not only do I think about growing the tomato’s but making the passata with my Sister and kids. Family is how we judge whether you have had a good life, its not the STUFF that you slave to posses or the new Bling that you think makes you fit in, its family and friends that you wished you could have spent more time with.

So what to do in the Garden now.

Prune fruit trees: http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/gardening-tips/how-to-prune-fruit-trees-in-three-simple-steps?gclid=Cj0KEQjw7dfKBRCdkKrvmfKtyeoBEiQAch0egcfU3eWlTSS5vNibLtNTSkPEpfuorU4BC3lXuuHImFQaArR38P8HAQ

Pruned fruit trees

Your brasscias should already be in the ground, but its not too late to plant some broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other winter veg.
My main winter planting is onions & garlic, this year I have planted some 700 hundred cloves this year as I hope to start selling it. GlenGarlic

Cabbages, Cauliflower & Broccoli

These are some pumpkins that I got this year, i have already given 10 or so away, some to the local primary school for their kitchen garden program. Given more time I would try to make more products with them, scones, fruit cake etc.

Pumpkins

I like to put some photos of the yard in here to show the change from jungle to not much, let it rest, put in fertilizer and dont give away all your nutrients.

Backyard

Turning the composting plant material into topsoil

I dont like turning over the soil, all the reading that I have done points to not digging up the soil too much, i do this once per year, before winter sowing, the soil is wet, clods break down easier and digging holes to put the rotting materials back into the system

Planted onions

My other ventures are to do some deer hunting, hopefully I might get one soon, not that I need the meat, but I will share it with family and friends. Giving food to another human is the most important thing you can do.

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Fin, Fur and Fungus

Protein and sugar can be found in many places in the wilds of Gippsland. I cannot do this all alone, which is why my networks of family and friends are so important to my lifestyle.

This blog is not for the squirmish, its about real life and real food. I like most humans on the planet are omnivores, we seek protein and animals provide that protein for me and my family. I take an interest in looking after the animals I take for food and try to best to honor them with no wastage.

FIN: comes from a fishing day that I had recently, I have shared that with 3 families so far. Every bit of these fish will be used. Fillets for me, smaller pieces will go toward the cat and the rest will be minced back into burley and used to attract other fish next time, we go fishing, putting most of it back into the system where it derived.

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FUR: The next adventure out was to collect some protein from the land “free”, in fact its a service that we help out farmers with bunny problems,  10 rabbits can eat as much as 1 sheep and its not hard to find 10 bunnies where we go. Whilst rabbit shooting I noticed that its mushroom season and I am not afraid to grab them as well, its more protein and I don’t need to kill an animal to get it. The rabbits were cared for, killed outright with a swift bullet, they did not hear nor feel, they are merely free in mind and spirit then they are not.

Below are the photos of how I turned this protein into cat food, its a waste not eating it myself, but maybe 1 day. I do provide 1 family with rabbit meat and get HOT chilli sauce in return. They are cleaned and kept on ice, cut up and minced bones and all for cat food.

FUNGUS: As I was saying, its MUSHROOM Season- please do yourself a favour, go and get a field mushroom and eat it, then go back to your supermarket and try them, they are not anything a like.

I went on my bi monthly expedition tot he farm, way the mountains of Gippsland, where my butchering skills have become sought after. I can swap my trade labor for fresh meat from the farm, enjoy the farm life, have holidays and get my kids to experience a real life. The farm, just calls me (metaphorically)  and I get the urge to go up the hills. After cutting up 5 sheep, I enjoyed driving around with the kids ( Chloe is 10) I let her get behind the wheel of the car and drive around the paddocks with me in the passenger seat. Its not dangerous, its only perceived danger, its more important for her later in life than me trying o keep them locked up. What is danger, the planet is well overpopulated and here we are trying to keep every human on the planet alive. Life, its made for living!.

This was break this morning and will be breaky till they are all gone!. Man I love autumn. I have planted my winter veg, no weeding, no watering, why people don’t embrace this time of year?

Below is inside my kitchen shed- some tummies that are now in jars and what you can see is empty jars, garlic, onions, jams, passata, home brew apple cider and some odds and sods of goodies. I have added some apples to the shed now and will soon have pumpkins inside as well.

My first butternut for the season went to my parents, it seemed fitting.

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What I am doing inside the house is using my empty fowlers preserving jars to start storing my food in and remove most of the plastic from my life.

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Seasonal Eating

I am a busy little beaver at the moment, about to go and surrender myself to the blackberry bush. I am also booked in to go shooting on a farm, bunny are what I am after. If your felling squeemish then dont!. I for one can debate that killing another creature is not right or is it?. This is earth land of the plants and animals, its war out there, its survival of the fittest. Dont take yourself so seriously, we live and we die, and no one cares in the long run, no one will remember you and that is just life on earth. I am trying to protect Australia’s wildlife, plants and animals from one of the most destructive invasive animals on the planet and because I dont like waste and my family owns a Cat. I dont want to part of the rest of society that feeds their cat fish form the ocean, that should be left there or possibly fed to starving humans ( another debate for another time).

My big take home message is use your food first,

Below is a series of photos- Corn- harvested outside with the kids, then cut up, blanched for 5 minutes in boiling water then placed in the freezer on trays. Once frozen they can be put into a large bag so its easy to get later.

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The below photo is of tomatos ripenng. I pick them orange to red, then put them in my kitchen shed so they can ripen in the Dark ( NOT ON THE WINDOW SILL). I will pick for a week and process them at the end during the weekend.
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I use my passata fixing on my little mincer, puree tomato comes out and I then boil it for a while, add a touch of salt, then using washed jars, put them in the oven on low, once they are hot, I fill the hot jars with Hot tomato puree, I will add 1 fresh basil leaf per jar and tighten the lid, as it cools it seals and thats it. Easy Peasy
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No rest for the Wicked

Its definitely the growing season, garden is looking great. My Little shed is starting to fill up, Garlic, Onion, homebrew and also the tomatoes that I am storing whilst they turn red.
Here is the thing- pick your tomatos, whilst they are still orange and put them in the DARK (Not the window sill)- they ripen in the dark- hence when you pick tomato’s, the red opens are in the middle where its most darkest.
I have my favorite San Marzano tomatoes in this year to get the best passata.

Garden Jan 2017

Garden Jan 2017

What I relish about this year, its Harvest time, in the garden but also out in the wilds, fishing is good, blackberries are starting to ripen and lost of animals and produce is around. MY Car is still eating what I can find- Rabbit, fish (Carp), Deer and left over fish that we dont use when filleting the fish. The idea for feeding the car pest animals make sense to me, I am not going to be part of feeding the cat food that an be used for humans or should be left in the ocean for the food chain.
The Meal below is a huge bonus for me- nearly everything on the plate comes from me.

Gummy shark, tomato, cucumber, lemon...

Gummy shark, tomato, cucumber, lemon…

All my Garlic and onions are no win storage and will get used as the year goes by. My Wood shed is full- thats 12 meters of wood, cut and drying under cover to use during the year. I will be out picking blackberries as well very soon

Garlic

Garlic

My Weekend was spent getting baby carp ( Pest fish) out of some small flooded land next to a river and move some native fish to safer places as it dries up. I will use some of the fish for cat food and some more for garden fertiliser. I have also empted the worm farms from work into my veggie garden and yes it stinks to high heaven, but in a few weeks the smell will be gone and the garden will thank me for the nutritious input.

Now is not the time to rest, now is the time to work hard, gather food, store it, preserve it, so during the winter you can feast on the harvest and sit by the fire and not have to worry about going out into the cold to forage and gather when the season is minmised.

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