Its been a different kind of year. I feel as though I have slacked end off. I did not pick wild blackberries, plums or apricots, actually i did not make any jam at all. Truth is we still have heaps of jars still to eat. I always found I gave away more than I kept, which is fine but.
Its arly may and I have just planed my brocoli- usually i would have had it in for months. I have moved a few veggie beds around and am trying to raise some Meat chickens
They have grown 5 times this size in about as many weeks, I have bough them food, but also supplement with protein from wild deer or rabbits. Its called protein swapping! and will taste like chicken. If I get myself a smoker I would like to raise some chickens for this purpose as well. Smoked chicken is great, like ham really.
My change of plans came about when i made heaps of sausage mince. I intended for it to be put into skins, my mincer is not really suitable and it became a task that was going to drive me nuts before i finished. So it came about that I made quite a few kilo’s. I froze it all in bags. I took some of it back up tot he farm where I butcher and they made them into sausage rolls- They were fantastic. Thus I came home and did the same. I did what i normally do, get food ready, freeze it individually then once frozen, bag them up and keep in the freezer. these are simple to pull out and bang into the oven and Boom, hot Delicious sausage rolls that i know I made from complete scratch.
start of the process
Frozen snag mince
rolling the babies
Well every time I seem to write something I am blabbing on about the new season that is upon us, but that most likely means I am not writing enough. It’s been a season to learn from, good crop of pumpkins, nearly all butternut, which is fine. I have 3 large greys.
The garden is looking pretty tired- time for a rest. I still have not planted any winter veg as yet, but I am almost reluctant to as I have beans, beans and more beans, maybe I might plant some late broccoli. It’s always a good time to really think about just what you are eating- I actually cut out my thornless blackberry, even though it was going crazy, it’s all about the room, I needed the room, and I can get wild blackberries at the drop of a hat. It would be very different should I have land, that’s a whole other story, what I would not do…….
I have already found lots of wonderful mushrooms, wonderful, much better than the white flavourless things they serve up in the supermarkets. These guys pack a punch!. I like to fry with garlic, served with soft eggs, mmmmmm.
I have done some butchering at the farm and now have a freezer full of meat, no money needed to change hands, just swapped my skill for meat, win win. I have some snags to make and will post some photos of that process, I think I need a cool room- hmmm I do have the room in my shed. Now there’s an idea. I seem to have some little rats getting around my kitchen shed.
I have added some features and started mud bricking up the corner joins, to make it a snug fit. It certainly is a lot cooler already, but that bit extra should help it maintain even better temps.
I love this time of year, but it always reminds me to get more organised. I am having trouble with my Tespade mincer- only the tomato attachments broke, I had a local engineering firm fix it but it broke again the other night, leading me back to my old trusty hand machine. I will persist with getting it fixed and hope they will come to the party and replace the parts.
My tommies did not do so well this year, well what actually happened was the toms that I planted did not grow and were dwarfed by cherry toms- which are not great for passata- too much liquid, small seeds and painful to pick. I found a local grower whom was happy to part with bucket full of Romas.
I always involve the kids, they love it and I know its these memories that will last their lifetime, not what their latest toy is but doing foody stuff as a family. I am yet to change over to the traditional Italian way- I am still doing it all hot- It helps to move off some of the watery liquid that you can get in the jars. Anyway- my goal is to have my machine working and do it cold then a large water bath for the jars of tomato passata. The only thing I put in the jars is a sprig of Basil and sometimes a wee bit of salt. I am in two minds whether to use my fowlers jars for the storing or keep up with the passata jars. I have found a supplier that I can get them off. I think as long as you change the lids over every now and then- they should last for years and years. Oh and Glass wont contaminate you like plastics do.
Food is Free
I am still supporting this group and look after their facebook page. I would like to do some guerrilla gardening a bit more but will get to i when I can.
Just because all good days should end with baking a cake and eating it while its still hot!- Me I love banana cakes as it uses up old bananas.
its amazing just how much resources there are to be had. Everywhere you look, and a lot of things we do, produce some kind of output. What possibilities are there? In this resource hungry life, many of them we just cannot simply off set, however if we are prepared to “get our hand dirty” lots of things are possible.
Pet Food- is a massive global burden, there are starving people around the globe, while our pets are overweight in the western countries, causing global warming with their plastic toys, eating human fit food like sardines from the oceans, robing sea birds and penguins from their daily food. Our very pets put tonnes of salt from the food that we feed them into the waterways in the way of faeces.
I know many will argue that pets re adorable and are good for people, I wont argue that, its we just need some perspective and the ability to take it on board. 1 pet is itself all find and dandy- its just when we put them together and they are in the millions, and we feed them food that is fit for human consumption.
To overcome this I have paired two things together- controlling pest animals and providing food to my pet cat. I can put the bones and all through the mincer and it comes out fantastic.
Just a little treat- We have a mushroom that lives in the back yard and we harvest form that- its got about 20 mushrooms.! Thankyou Mother Nature
One last thing- My Wood shed is full- whats more exciting is the bark that is left over from splitting and carting- I have been running through the mulcher and am now putting that on my garden beds- I dont like to waste anything
Well, time travel fast, and its 2/3rds the way through Summer- its been a trying season with really hot days that has pushed some plants to their limits. fruit trees have seem to faired well, with some first year fruit. I will pick most of it off and let the tree grow. I am to still set up my gray water system to help them along.
Garden is still going well with plenty of spuds and corn, tomato’s are starting to grow and even the butternut pumpkins are growing. Still we are to face feb which for Victoria usually has some nasty weather over 40- considering we have had spates of over 40 already, dont know what to expect.
I ended up with quite a lot of onions- both brown and purple (Spanish). I lost a lot last year from going rotten in the shed, this year, I left them longer outside to dry out, hope this is the fix.
I did some blanching of the corn, easier outside, I suspect most of the harvest is best done outside, less mess.
It’s all going well at the moment- lovely time of year, grappling with space and just letting stuff grow where it comes up. I do have pumpkins coming up in the front lawn, which I will leave- if I get some I get some.
I have had a realisation lately and it started with a childhood passion- catching freshwater crayfish. I love them; we always fished for them but never once did we kill any of them. Now some 25 years later I have caught some and eaten them, in the guise of sustainable eating. The realisation is that we cannot afford for all of us to do this. Our massive population and small creeks just don’t add up, I for one am a huge advocate for people eating and connecting with the landscape, but that period has gone I think. The natural environment has declined with diversity and the amount of animals; many are confined to small areas. Can we form a value just by looking at it, I have always held the belief that people need to have a use, value, purpose for an item to form a real value of it.
Whilst I sit down and eat my crayfish, I am still in two minds whether this is a good thing or not. It’s the burden of a conscious sustainable mind.
I had planted two lots of late broc and that has paid dividends.
Here are some fish cakes that I made from my snapper effort earlier in another post.
I have a huge burden of waste- each time I open up the fridge door I see fresh food, slowly diminishing, it’s like a urgent bell that keep go ing, each meal i look at what i have got and get a piece of whatever I have and form that part of the next meal. It works again with the freezer- what have I got in there. We usually have a list of ingredients, but I think I should transfer this over to meals. Everything is slowly losing goodness and given I don’t want to waste anything. Its becomes, part of the conveyor belt towards the dinner table.
I have back up plans- it’s called Chooks to convert that leftovers to protein, in the form of eggs or chicken meat. Compost- that will in turn return fresh fruit. I don’t tend to put compost on the veggie garden as there is usually not that much of it. Small amounts however can be concentrated around the base of the fruit trees that will return it back as fruit that I can either eat now or preserve.
All food items that enter the property have a shelf life and if we all lived like this, i think wastage could be cut down quite a bit. I think it’s a systems approach to Living.
A great opportunity came up, where I do some butchering for a family. The offer was to cut up 6 Pigs, something I had not done for at least 10 years, not that it hard to remember. I ended up cutting them up into a bit of everything.
This is such a good deal- no money need exchange hands. I just keep some meat for my services and collect some wood as well.
You can see all the photos in my Butchers Journal.
3 of the 6 Pigs
All cut up
below are some randoms around the place, we have now a rainwater tank, which gives us sweet nourishing water, water that i can drink and drink, something that I struggle with tap water. Also I had some really good success with Cauli’s. And why not just throw in a photo of some gorgeous eggs.
The new water tank installed