What’s in the garden?
Lots!!! The greenhouse is overflowing with broccoli, beans, radish, lettuce, bok choy, carrot, beetroot, silverbeet, celery, rocket, lettuce, taro, and choko. We also have lots of pumpkin stored away.
We plant sequentially so that we have a continuous supply of ripe vegetables. I recently planted beans, peas, beetroot and fennel seed. I put the seedling trays in the greenhouse and watered them each afternoon. One day, all the un-sprouted seeds had been dug up and eaten by mice. I moved the trays to the nursery and replanted the peas. A few days later, all the peas were dug up and eaten again. I think the mice prefer to eat them just after they start to sprout.
I’ve now moved the seedling trays up onto our veranda and covered them with a little mouse proof cage Etienne made years ago.
Pictured above is our first custard apple from our custard apple tree.
What’s on the menu?
Etienne cooks directly from the garden. We grew everything in the meal pictured above except for the rice.
Last week, my mum travelled on the Great Ocean Road, with her sister, Bet, and Bet’s husband, John. Mum sent us a parcel of cheeses and chocolates from the twelve apostles gourmet trail. Mum loved the experience of meeting the artisans who produce these ‘paddock to plate’ award winning products on small, unassuming farms tucked away in the countryside.
Etienne fried manioc patties, pictured above. Manioc, also known as cassava, comes from South America and is a staple in Africa and Southeast Asia. It grows easily in the Northern Rivers so it’s a great survival food. Manioc needs to be processed to be consumed by humans. Etienne grates it, soaks it and then fries it in patties. The textures is great – a bit crunchy. He doesn’t add any herbs or spices so they are delicious when eaten with home made chutney (or home made sweet chili sauce) and salad. I’d like to have a go at preparing them – I’d mix in some finely chopped oregano or rosemary and maybe some garlic.
Pictured above is an absolutely delicious goat stew. The flavour of the meat permeates the veggies. Etienne doesn’t add any herbs or spices – not even garlic and onion. It is sooooo simple and delicious. Goat stew is Izzy’s favourite meal at the moment.
Lunch, pictured above. includes some washed rind whey cheese that came in Mum’s parcel.
When I cook, I tend to make veggie curries. Pictured above is a veggie curry using veggies from the garden. I flavoured it with cumin, coriandar, locally grown garlic and home grown ginger. I made the sauce with homegrown tomato and veggie stock.
Activities of the week
In the mornings, I have a my ‘cuppatea’ in bed and read a something about Buddhism (I’ve got a few books). I get up and have a good stretch. I feed the chooks and Etienne feeds the pigs. We take the goats out and tether them to the trees. Then we do some planting or watering etc. We are usually finished the essential tasks by around 10am. That being said, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing meals, a lot longer than the average family. All our meals require effort. Taro, for example, is a great substitute for potato but it needs to be dug up, peeled and soaked.
There are loads of other farm jobs that need doing so we pick and choose how we will spend the rest of the day. These jobs include tasks like: preparing for the new greenhouse, clearing gutters before rain, collecting kindling for the fire, cutting firewood, collecting choko and weeds for the pigs, harvesting avocados and pecans (we do this once a week), mulching the trees, mowing, fixing and mending. It sound’s like a lot but don’t worry, we don’t overdo it. There’s usually lots of time in the afternoon for relaxing.
Etienne has bought his ticket to Mongolia. He goes over on the 22nd July to help construct dwellings in an orphanage run by an Australian nun. He’s paying for his ticket from his custard apple packing wages.
Etienne and I were rostered on to host the Sunday lunch at the Jiggi hall this weekend. We used the Sunday lunch funds to buy all the ingredients. We bought meat, halloumi and veggie patties. We made three different salads and a vegan raw food cake dessert. We set up the BBQ, tables and chairs and chopped up fruit as an extra dessert. There was a lovely turnout of maybe fifty people, with lots of little kids running around and playing on the playground. It was a lovely afternoon.
Shopping this week consisted of rice and oil (when Etienne does the shopping there is never very much). Later in the week, our neighbour picked up some flour for me. She also bought me a block of cheese because she’s been reading this blog (very, very kind, thanks). A couple of other friends have confessed to having similar ideas of buying me some cheese or something sweet (you’re all so lovely!). BUT, there’s no need, people. This is our experiment and it’s all part of the experience of self-sufficiency. We’re loving it!
Oh, and Izzy bought shampoo and conditioner too.
We have mice in the house again. Some people in our rural neighbourhood find that a yearly pest control treatment helps to prevent the yearly invasion of field mice during the winter. Possibly because the poisoned insects are consumed by the mice which are, in turn, poisoned. We aren’t big on chemicals because products considered ‘safe for humans’ can be very questionable. We prefer to trap the mice. Every night we set a couple of snap traps and every morning they have mice in them. The mice become a protein snack for the chickens who require adequate amounts of protein for egg production. The main source of protein for the chicken are insects and the mice are a bonus in winter when the insect activity has decreased.
We’ve also got a live mouse trap which effectively catches the mouse without harm so it can be released somewhere in the paddock.
A new daily activity is tethering the goats. They’ve eaten all the weeds out of their paddock and started jumping the fence. Whilst I’m not sure what the long term solution will be, at present we walk them to a patch of weeds and tie them to the nearest tree. They love it. They’re so easy going. The only downside is that it’s an extra job that needs to be done.
We’re swapping chook enclosures this week because they’ve eaten all the weeds out of the one they are currently in, pictured below.
The girls are good. Izzy is incredibly flexible with diet, fuel shortages etc. She’s amazing.
How am I going? What can I say…. my hormones are doing interesting things. I feel strong and positive and well balanced but I suspect my fuse is a bit shorter these days.
Etienne is Etienne. When he does something, he does it 100%. He doesn’t spend any money. I, on the other hand, still visit op shops, spotlight etc. I’ve been pretty good this year. I’ve hardly bought anything for myself. Four pairs of undies, a couple of op shop items, some books and some fabric to make presents for people. This week I went nuts and got a small tattoo. Remaining funds are not looking as good as I’d hoped- $3900 (and it’s only the beginning of June!) Damn
Have a joyous and peaceful week everyone….
Life is such a great adventure!! A real page turner. What will happen next??!?