What’s in the Garden?
The greenhouse is powering along. We have lots of peas, carrots, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, shallots, and broccoli. We still have a lot of black radish but it has become a bit bitter so I’m going to feed it to the pig.
Patty is sick again!! (if you don’t want to hear the gory details, don’t read this segment)
Last week, Pattie developed diarrhoea. Two days later, she was better. I was very relieved. This week, she is sick again. The pattern of the illness suggests it’s not worms. Even though their paddock is huge, they’ve decimated most of the weeds that were growing in there. That is compounded by the fact that it’s dry and cold so the grass is turning brown. I think Pattie is eating something that she shouldn’t eat. That would also explain why Candy isn’t sick. As a solution, I’ve been taking them out everyday and tethering them to trees for a few hours in the early morning. They love having access to the low branches of the trees as well as all the weeds that are growing amongst the grass.
It’s upsetting to have a sick animal. The last time Pattie was sick, the vet was not very helpful (at the level that we can afford) so this time I’m just going to keep up the water and keep an eye on her.
What’s on the menu?
The freezer is full. This week we cooked a roast that we ate over a period of days.
Pictured below, is a bulb of jicama. Etienne planted jicama (pronounced HIC-a-ma) in January and I’ve just started to harvest it. I put three bulbs in the roast dinner. It’s like potato but a bit crunchier. It’s easy to grow and tastes great – it’s better than roast arrowroot.
Also pictured below is Etienne’s raw food cake. He was inspired by our neighbour Maree, who makes a jelly out of grapefruit juice and some kind of plant gelatine. Etienne made a jelly out of orange juice and agar. The base was made out of date and coconut. It was delicious but not quite set enough so it was a bit runny. It’s really hard to get these things right when you don’t have a recipe and you’re just testing an idea. Next one will be perfect.
Lunches this week:
Lunch is probably my favourite meal of the day. We all love salads in this family. Sadly, I ruined two salads this week before I realised that I needed to taste the salad dressing before pouring it all over the salad. Etienne’s ‘accidental’ apple cider vinegar is more concentrated than commercial vinegar so I’ve had to experiment. It has taken me a couple of goes to perfect the quantity of home made apple cider vinegar needed to make a good salad dressing.
Etienne made rillettes. If you enjoy pate, you would love rillettes. We’ve been spreading it on buckwheat pancakes.
Pictured above is our version of a crunchy asian salad: Chinese cabbage, lettuce, pecan, carrot, celery and a soy sauce based dressing. Izzy made the humus.
I made passionfruit and lemon jam using the combustion heater as a stove top (utilising the free power). I sterilised the jam jars there as well. The jam boiled for a bit too long so it has started to caramelise. Tastes good but would have been better if cooked less. I’m going to do marmalade this week so I’ll keep a closer eye on it.
Activities of the week
Etienne is in Mongolia helping with some construction work in an orphanage. Mongolia was granted independence from Russia (it was a satellite state) twenty years ago and effectively collapsed after Russia withdraw it’s financial aid. There is no government funding for the orphanages and no support for teenagers who are street kids. So, part of Etienne’s role is to train some of the teenagers who might like to become carpenters or builders. I’m pretty sure this experience will give him the opportunity to further develop his capacity for patience (believe me, I’ve worked with him and patience is a virtue that he could definitely work on).
I think this is a really positive thing for Etienne to do. As you’ve all probably worked out, I don’t think ‘life is like a box of chocolates‘ for many people around the world. So, if you’ve got a talent or gift that you can share in this unequal, global society, go for it!
It’s summer in Mongolia so the weather is similar to what we are experiencing here on the Northern Rivers. If he sends me some photos, I post them on the blog.
Aunty Marion and Uncle Ernie (my dad’s sister and her husband) and my ninety-eight year old grandmother came to visit on the day Etienne left for Mongolia. Grandma Jessie is healthy and happy and full of stories about growing up on her parent’s farm.
The week that I was away, Etienne bought: dental floss, gelatine, dates, toothpaste (natural)
This week we bought: toilet paper, 1 kilo (wholemeal and white mix) of organic stoneground wheat flour (should have got a couple of kilos), soy milk for dying fabric, and Izzy (who usually gets a couple of things for herself each week) put in an order for a carton of coconut milk and a tub of nutalex.
Peter and Lucille invited us to pickup macadamia nuts at their place. We collected a lot of nuts – could probably eat maccas every day for the rest of the year.
I made presents for people in Brisbane and Melbourne. I bought the fabrics and the zips for the cushions when there was a sale at Spotlight. I stuffed Bee’s cushions with pillow stuffing because it was cheaper than buying cushions. Despite trying to do it cheaply, I spent too much money to make these presents. But cost aside, sewing and weaving allow me to express, calmly and creatively (I know, a cushion is just a square, but hey…), my joy, and my love for people. I always have performance anxiety before I start any project, but once I get going, I can almost smell the good intention in the air.
The basket pictured below used fabric recycled from men’s ties.
Etienne made a really nice basket that I gave to Bec and Carl as a wedding gift. Of course he didn’t spend a cent to make it. He used Cat’s claw, a terrible weed that grows along the creek. Show off!!
The bank balance
Having ten days away reminded me about how differently we all live. I absolutely loved being in Melbourne; the atmosphere is infused with culture. There are so many exciting things to see and do, but a lot of them involve spending money. Best of all, I got to see that Bee is happy and comfortable in her new surroundings. She’s doing well but life has it’s little challenges. Sometimes, I wish that we middle-aged people, could magically transfer all our life-lessons onto the younger generations. But, I guess that would be cheating. It would be like stealing part of their journeys from them. I don’t know that it would be helpful anyway because their life-lessons will be different from ours. But imagine the pain and anguish we could save them.
But after all that travelling and visiting, I am pleased to be back on Wiccawood with Etienne and Izzy and all the animals. I’m very grateful to have this nice, peaceful relaxing time while I’m young and healthy enough to enjoy it… however long it lasts…. $1731 left in the self-sufficiency fund. Yikes! Anybody got a job for me??? I’ve got skills!! I can pat goats, walk dogs, read books.