Thursday, 11 June 2015

Independence Days Challenge: Week Two

As I have been whizzing around other people's amazing blogs, I have come across a few others doing Independence Days as well. Great minds think alike!

You have to check out This Blessed Life at Rootsong Farm! This is where I am heading, hopefully! I would love to be able to sell excess produce, although government regulations seem to be making it more and more difficult all the time for the small producer. I want to look into the possibility of a farmgate produce stand. 

This is Two Men and a Pumpkin. Don't they have a great set up? 

The Roadstalls website lists roadside stands around Australia. You can search by region or stall category.  Supporting these stands is a great way to improve our community food systems.

It has been gorgeous early winter weather here, so I have been out in the garden a fair bit. It is coming along, slowly but surely, hopefully ready for a big spring planting. And if we can get the HUGE woodpiles burned and set up fences, I should have a wonderful and enormous new area to build garden beds and plant out fruit trees. Fingers crossed! 

This week I have managed to:

1. Plant something

As I am slowly weeding and mulching the weedy garden, I am planting out. As I haven't managed to get any seeds started yet, I have been buying punnets. I normally avoid this, but I'd rather get some plants in straight away for now. I planted 3 punnets of lettuce. These are normally $3.45 but were marked down to $1 as they looked a bit tatty. Also a punnet each of kale and rainbow silverbeet (chard). Also a marine blue salvia and a nemesia, just because.

Lettuce along the new path I am building
2. Harvest something

Lemons again! 
Two eggs today, rather than the one a day I have been getting for the last month or so. Maybe they are enjoying their diet of weeds!

3. Preserve something

8 jars of Indian Lime Pickle

This is super hot! It needs a good six months before opening to let the flavours mellow. I used this recipe from Laura's Mess. Lots of great recipes on this blog.

4. Minimise waste

One way I try to minimise waste is to reuse as much packaging as I can. Sometimes packaging is unavoidable so I do the best I can.
Tin cans are washed out. I use a nail to put holes in the base and use them to raise large seeds such as pumpkin and zucchini.
Jars are an obvious one. I keep them all, much to my hubby's eye-rolling and wonder at how we can need so many jars. Moccona coffee jars are great to reuse as spice and baking item jars.
Milk cartons are a real problem of mine as there are so many every week that I just cannot find a use for them all. I have found this idea for mini winter greenhouses, which looks like just the thing to use some up.

And maybe the kids can make an igloo over the holidays!

5. Want not

I am working on my bulk wholesale order - the problem being where to store excess supplies. I really need to work on sorting out the garage, which became a major dumping ground for extra stuff when we moved to this smaller house! I was storing excess food stores in plastic crates on metal shelving units in our bigger garage at our previous house, due to mouse problems. In this garage, we have mice, possums and birds nesting in the rafters. So definitely need a secure storage system!

6. Cook something new

The Indian Lime Pickle was a new recipe for me, and I think it will be delicious - once it calms down a bit! I tasted some before canning and it nearly blew my head off!

I also tried this wonderful biscuit recipe, 10 Dozen Cookies From One Batch. It is great - simple, delicious and only four ingredients (then you add whatever you like to flavour them).

7. Manage your reserves

I am still working on the pantry and freezer inventories. I admit I am procrastinating as I don't know how best to organise everything. 

8. Work on local food systems

I am currently researching the feasibility of a farmgate produce stand. Whirlwind has wanted to grow and sell flowers for ages, especially sunflowers, so I am looking into the possibility of this as we live on a highway with a fair amount of traffic. 

And some interesting links for this week:

Growing Food In Small Spaces at Green Gurus. I especially like the vertical wall of tin can planters. I keep all my tin cans to use as pots, but have never thought of this idea. Great herb wall!

If you are interested in flower growing, have a look at Dandelion House. I liked this post from yesterday, as Deborah Jean has included a labelled photo of all the flowers and filling plants that made up her bouquet. My son is really wanting to grow lots of flowers this year to sell and information like this is really helpful. It is easy to grow the flowers, I can think of lots of varieties we would like to grow, but I need to research filler plants a bit more. 

Gardenate is a great resource for those of us who like lists! You enter your climate zone on the website and it will tell you what to plant now and what you should be planning for next month. Very handy! You can also sign up for an email reminder. It has climate zones for Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, Canada and the US.

Happy Independence Days!


  1. Wow, that IS a great set up at Two men and a Pumpkin. I would love to shop at that farmstand.

    1. It is what I hope to achieve! They are in another state from me, so I have never actually been there, but I follow them for inspiration!

  2. What a fun post! I'm sure glad I came by for a visit! I enjoyed my time here! You have sure been busy! Thanks for stopping by my blog, too! Take care!

    1. Thanks for visiting! I love 'meeting' new friends in blogland!

  3. To shop from a produce stall like that would be dreamy! We're overloaded with supermarkets in the UK. I do buy from them but I don't like that I buy from them and as soon as I get on my feet with my stores and whittle down what I actually need in terms of groceries, I will be ceasing. I guess the trick is bulk buying but I live in a tiny set up and although my husband built a kitchen cupboard I have nothing other than outside shed that leaks and a little outdoor cupboard that has the electricity meter in. OH! That's a brick cupboard. OH! I could put shelving in there, put a lock on it to stop thieves and put my Stocks in there. Oh, Jayne. I think I've just had an idea... thanks :)

    1. It is harder when you have a smaller house. I look at photos and dream of having a cellar with heaps of shelves and rows and rows of stored food! I guess we just have to be more creative. Hubby has definitely said no stores under the bed or in cupboards that aren't kitchen ones, so that reduces it down a lot! He thinks prepping is silly - supermarkets will always be there, right? I'm not so sure about that; and even if they are, doesn't mean I want to buy from them anyway.
      Good luck with working out your storage - I think it is important.