Week 5

Below is the view from our veranda on these weirdly cold and wet February mornings.

Version 2

Now, who told us to expect ‘extremes in weather conditions’ ? Oh that’s right, all the independent climate scientists who can’t be paid off by governments and companies that benefit from the status quo. Oxfam claim that the eight richest people in the world have the same wealth as the poorest half of the planet. Sound fair? Really, I shouldn’t complain because the elite only got there through hard work, not through the millions and billions in inherited trust funds that they pay no tax on.  Ok, Ok, no politics!  Global is distressing, let’s stay local.

What’s in the garden?

Lots of seedlings died in the heat of January but these cool wet February days are great for the seedlings.

The goats make me laugh because they hate wet weather.  They stand in the stable looking mournfully out into the rain. When it’s not raining, they venture out (but not too far) and then, when the first raindrops fall, they run hysterically into the safety of the stable.  That being said, goats are amazing creatures; they’re intelligent, friendly and curious.  I’ll post more pics of them next week.

What’s on the menu?

 

Breakfast – fruit, porridge or fried egg on toast

Snack- cucumber pickles and goat cheese on bread

Lunch- egg and salad

Dinner – Pork and vegetable in a stew or roast.

Dessert – mango icecream (made with frozen mango)  We’re experimenting with freezing  some of the mango in banana leaf so that we do’t need freezer bags.

Above are photos of mangos in the freeze and mango scrap vinegar.

Making vinegar from fruit scraps is easy: place 2 cups of mango peel in a jar, add 4 cups of water, cover with muslin and leave in a dark place to ferment for 8 weeks, stirring every couple of days. The ascetic acid that occurs naturally whenever fruit is fermenting turns the liquid into alcohol, and then into vinegar. There are lots of variations of this recipe on the internet so I plan to play around with it and see if I can produce vinegar because we’re doing a lot of pickling.

I haven’t used the public library for years because a) I have been taking too long to read books and b) I like reading books that have just been recently published. So, this week I strolled into the public library, got myself a new library card and borrowed four books. One of them is titled ‘No Knead Bread.’ This book advocates making bread that does not require any kneading. I made two loaves that were light and fluffy and very tasty.  So what is the secret you ask?  Basically, most recipes are flour, water, yeast, salt. With this method you mix the water and yeast, stir in half of the flour until it makes a smooth paste, then add the salt and rest of the flour, stirring until all the flour is incorporated. Allow it to rise for 40 mins, turn onto bread tray, allow to rise for 20 more mins before popping it in the oven.

Tips for self-sufficiency

  1. You know how the cowboys in old movies always seem to be having conversations with grass stems clenched between their teeth.  Well, it turns out that those grass stems can be used as dental floss or piksters, to clean between your teeth. They’re effective (although cleaning between the back teeth with a grass stem takes some mastery),  zero waste, and grow right off the edge of your veranda.
  2. I’ve been gifted millions of tea towels and pillow slips over the year.  They make the perfect substitute for muslin cloth.
  3. We’ve been experimenting with using banana leaf instead of freezer bags.  Works really well with frozen mango.

So what is happening at the moment…

As much as I would love to declare that all our nutritional needs are being met through the consumption of delicious, organic produce that satisfies all our wants and needs that would be untrue.  I crave sweet things like cake, chocolate and ice cream every day. I often make mango smoothies and cakes but there are times that we don’t have anything sweet around. It’s a weird thing to know that you are not going to go into town at some point and buy the food item that is occupying your every waking moment.  Hence, when we do go in town, we often buy chocolate.  In fact, we’ve spent less than $100 on food shopping this year and yet about a third of our budget has gone on chocolate almonds, chocolate maccas or chocolate peanuts!

RSCN0455

At the moment, I have a bunch of sleepy baby chicks snuggled in my shirt and I feel super relaxed. Animals, like babies, must make us release feel-good hormones and at the moment I’m intoxicated and I don’t think I should drive heavy machinery.  Maybe I’ll take a little nap…

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