The stone fruit, pictured below are coming along very nicely. Unfortunately, they’re all stung by fruit-fly, even the really young unripe ones. Usually, they’re only stung once or twice so we just cut the bad parts out and eat the sweet, juicy parts.
What’s in the garden?
Below are images of the vegetables in the big green house. I have added #organic to their description. We are not certified organic but we don’t use any spray and we avoid treating our animals with chemicals where possible – so the goat manure, which we use on the garden, is chemical free.
Below are the seedlings in the new, unfinished greenhouse. The beetroot and carrot we grew from seed, the lettuce and tomato came from the Seedling House in South Lismore, some yacon and other things were given to us by neighbours and we also picked up some free seedlings from a lady in Lismore who grew so many that she advertised them for free pick up on the Lismore Herb Growers facebook page. One good turn deserves another, so we’ll have extra veggies to give to friends in the coming weeks.
What’s on the menu?
Pictured below is a daily harvest of fruit and veggies that we made into salad and a stir fry.
Below is the rest of the potatoes from the garden. We leave the skin on because we don’t use any chemicals so it’s edible and highly nutritious.
We cooked a lot of potatoes for the coq au vin and used the left over to make a potato salad the next day.
Lunches – Pictured above is a typical lunch at the moment. It’s a potato salad with our own potatos, shallots, watercress, carrot and a very small amount of capsicum (they are only the size of a golf ball at the moment). I used Izzy’s vegan aioli but I am about to make some more. I don’t know if I updated you on the last aioli I made – at first it was really bitter because I made it with 100% virgin olive oil, which is too bitter, but after a week it mellowed and was delicious. This time I’m going to mix it with some macadamia oil that I bought recently (I bought maca oil to make moisturiser with today). The potato salad was really good. I added some boiled fresh beetroot of which I have a large container in the fridge. I love potato salad and beetroot. Also on the plate is a buckwheat crepe with some of Etienne’s pate. That pate is divine! We have shared it with a few neighbours recently and they loved it. One lovely neighbour, Ellen, who came for lunch and loved the food, said how much she appreciates fresh, preservative free, traditional recipes, asked if she could buy some of Etienne’s preserved meats – he has made a few different ones but the pate is my favourite. Pate ingredients are pork mince, pork liver, salt, pepper and fresh herbs from the garden. Altogether that is a great lunch.
Etienne cooked Coq au Vin using a rooster (thanks again, Sunny!) and our home made wine and fresh herbs, potato and carrot as the key ingredients. We invited our neighbours Ina and Lothar for dinner and cards- the loved the dinner and kicked our arse at cards! It’s a sad night when you lose 3 out of 3 games of Belot (each game consists of many smaller games and takes about half and hour). I just want to say that yes, belote is game where there is skill involved (that’s what makes it so much fun) but sometimes your cards just suck!
Oh my god!!! I cooked the most amazing curry recently. I’m going to try to make it into a coherent recipe for you:
- 2 rooster breasts (thanks for the roosters, Sunny)
- Spice paste (these are the only ingredient that weren’t homegrown or home made by us or one of our neighbours) 2 tsp cumin, 2 tsp coriander, 2 tsp curry powder 2 teas salt and some pepper- all mixed in about a dessert spoon of vinegar to make a paste
- a small knob of ginger – fresh and grated
- a quarter of a salted lemon (thanks Deb, for the jar of preserved salted lemons – this was the key ingredient in this recipe – gave it an awesome zing)
- a few garlic cloves
- a leek
- a small knob of fresh grated turmeric
- curry leaves if you have them (we harvest them from our neighbours curry bush)
- a kilo of mixed chopped vegetables – I used homegrown potato, carrots,
- a tablespoon of lard (home made pork lard is the best )
- chicken stock (mine was so thick and amazing that it was like jelly)
Marinate the rooster breast in the spice mix, ginger, leek, garlic, salted lemon and turmeric for half and hour. Fry the marinated chicken breast in lard until the chicken is brown or the spices start to stick to the bottom and turn dark brown. Add the stock, curry leaves and vegetables and cook for half and hour. The lemon and ginger were fantastic in this meal.
Activities of the week
Making moisturiser Izzy and I made moisturiser for ourselves. Everyone’s skin is different. I used to make a rich moisturiser for me and a light one for Izzy. Izzy has given me honest feedback over the years so that I’ve been able to make a moisturiser that is not too oily but is really rich. Now I just use the one for the two of us. Izzy helped me this time. We used all natural high quality ingredients: macadamia oil, evening primrose oil, rose hip oil, vitamin E oil, citrus seed extract, carrot infused oil, Olive leaf extract emulsifyer, ylang ylang, geranium and essesntial oil., shea butter, and 100% vegetable based glycerine.
Health In general, I’m healthy and happy. Oh, and I have had bursitis in both hips for the last seven or eight years – a condition where you get inflammation in the form of a little pocket of fluid in your joints. I have a very mild case; I don’t suffer any pain when I exercise or in my daily activities. However, it’s like each of my hips has a little rock in it that makes it uncomfortable for me to sleep on my side. I HAVE to lie on my side because I don’t like lying on my back or my front. So, I have three little pillows (mum gave me about six years ago and it inspired me to sew the other two) that I tuck them around my hip and between the knees when I sleep. Unfortunately, in the night I tend to roll over, and eventually I wake up with no pillows and an aching hip. I then proceed to thrash around in the dark, sighing and swearing, as I search for three of the worlds smallest pillows. It’s annoying for me and it’s super annoying for Etienne. Sometimes he gets tired of being woken and he gets up and goes into his own room (decked out with the essentials – some tools and a queen sized bed) Sometimes, he even suspects that I deliberately shine the torch in his direction or swear just loud enough to wake him up so that he will vacate the bed and I can spread out with all my pillows. I don’t know what he’s talking about…. who would do such a thing??? 😏🤣
So, after all these years, I finally decided to bite the bullet and get a cortisone injection in each hip. The procedure is done using an ultrasound so that the needle can be aimed at the right spot. When I booked the appointment, I asked for a most qualified perso to administer the cortisone (provided there was no difference in the cost) and I was told that I would have to wait an extra two weeks to see the clinical radiologist. I agreed. I think they forgot because during the procedure I asked Mikey about his qualification and he said ‘stenographer’. Regardless, he was brilliant!!! – the injection was almost completely painless despite being a fat needle. There is only a fifty percent chance the cortisone will work. If it does work it might provide relief for a couple of months, a couple of years or maybe even forever. Everyone responds differently so there is no way to tell. I had the injections today. Will keep you posted on the result. Oh, and for all you non-Australians, fight for a decent health care system – I only had to pay $120 of the total cost of $360 because Medicare bulk bill the balance. It’s the right of every Australian.
Some musings about sustainable living
Our journey this year has been testing the theory that less is more. Why bother, you might ask? Because we really care about the environment that our children will inherit and, like most people, we want to contribute to creating a better world. I can’t stress enough that we are happier with less than we were with more. I think it helps to be surrounded by like minded people. The Northern Rivers community, especially our neighbours, have demonstrated to us that if you mix up different levels of some key ingredients – like gardening, being involved with community, bush walking, caring for animals, regenerating the native flora and fauna, making things, mending things, reusing, recycling, being thankful, appreciating nature etc- that you can lead a very fulfilling and enjoyable life whilst making informed decisions about how much impact you have on the environment. No, I’m not surrounded by Buddhist temples; people out here live simple lives and feel content. We’ve gathered here to have a connection with nature, with each other and to simplify our lives (each in our own way).
It seems like this year I’ve a had a lot of time to reflect, analyse, imagine, dream…. and, I’ve discovered a few things: at the most fundamental level, I understand more about myself. All of our personalities are shaped by our genes, circumstances and experiences. Here are a few factors that shaped my personality: I’m a female who was born into a loving family, in a consumer society, in Australia, in 1972, I’m a middle child (that’ a big factor, believe it or not), the daughter of a teacher (this is both nurture and nature –there are many teachers in the family so perhaps it is ‘in the genes’) and a dad who had issues with his family/upbringing, and I’m a little bit on the spectrum (another fabulous family trait!) Over the years, my personality was further shaped by all the positive and negative experiences that fused the neural pathways in my brain to create my particular reality and reinforce behaviours that I’ve developed. All of this has led to ways of thinking, habits and routines that are both conscious and unconscious.
This year, I’ve been lucky enough to have time to look at my patterns of thinking. Some are great, some are harmless and some need throwing out. If I can identify what I don’t want, then I can choose how I want to think, how I want to behave and therefore, how I want to relate to the world. So, I’ve been throwing out the thought patterns that don’t serve me well and bringing in thoughts and actions that I have deliberately chosen by making informed decisions about what will make my life better. For example, over the years, I’ve made some good choices that have led to good situations and I’ve made some bad choices that put me in bad situations (calm down, I’m not talking about anything too dramatic!) Periodically, my old unconscious thought patterns led me to waste time dwelling on bad decisions and feeling terrible. Now, when I can see my mind going down that rabbit hole, I stop… Instead, I choose to laugh and I thank my lucky stars that I was born with the privileges I was born with AND that I had the opportunity to try different actions/jobs/experiences, whatever the outcome. It’s a very freeing perspective.
I’d like to add that I was a Support Planner and tutor in a disability organisation where I knew many people who could have been beaten down by the difficulties of their lives but they weren’t. Instead, they focused on their abilities and on the pleasant experiences in each day. One young man who, among other difficulties, struggles to walk and talk, could easily be defined by his disability, yet he is intelligent, he is great company and he is positive about life. I learnt a lot from him and I’m thankful that I have the privilege to know him and all the other people in my life who have taught me so much.
“There is one spectacle grander than the sea and that is the sky;
there is one spectacle grander than the sky,
and that is the interior of the soul.”
Sweeeet, that’s it. The end.