'. . . most important is the ability to see what we are doing as good work - not always an unadulterated pleasure, but a work as good as any other we do and better than some. Work that has honour and a sense of satisfaction attached to it. That can be hard in a world where we are constantly told that our efforts at preserving and cooking and storing are unnecessary, that if we just sit back and let the industrial food system take care of it for us, we will be free to do other things. But we need to recognise that what they offer is not freedom, nor are the results equivalent to the good work of our hands.'
Independence Days by Sharon Astyk pg 108
Spring has sprung and it is time to get serious!
The bonfires have burnt out, the huge stumps are going to be ground out, then the fence can be put up and my new garden area will be protected. I am so excited!
My tulips have started flowering. But they are all on very short stems. Is this because they are first year bulbs or should I have fertilised them? Some are taller than others though.
See the paddock behind the tulips? That is where I am planning to plant a forest type garden.
1. Plant something
In the greenhouse, I have planted some flowers - Larkspur Imperial Mix, marigolds, Zinnia Giant Mix, Dahlia Unwins Mix, globe amaranth and Aster Tall China. So far, only some of the dahlias have sprouted.
In the garden, Snow Pea Yakumo and Snow Pea Oregon Sugar have been direct sowed.
2. Harvest something
Still waiting for this to be more than just eggs and lemons! In the past week, the chooks have laid 99 eggs. I am selling about 5 or 6 dozen a week now.
I have been picking flowers, so I guess that is a harvest as well. Daffodils and camellias at the moment, as well as the last of the proteas.
3. Preserve something
Our supermarket had a huge bag of capsicums for $5. So I snapped them up and turned some of them into Pickled Sweet Peppers. Super easy to make.
They are yummy, in sandwiches or burgers. I had some with my roast lamb dinner the other night.
The recipe is in Put 'Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton.
4. Minimise waste
Don't even ask about this category! When I was sick and not cooking as much, there was so much food bought in that normally wouldn't be. There was packaging overload!
I found 100 Steps To A Plastic Free Life. There are some great stories on this site about people living plastic-free.
Is this not the most ridiculous example of unnecessary packaging?
As a plus, the chickens are still making fantastic compost and making good use of all the food scraps.
5. Want not
I am currently reorganising my clothing storage system. I have a plastic crate of clothes for the boys in each size, as well as spare baby clothes. Whenever I see something suitable at the op shop, I purchase it to add to these stores. I haven't bought clothes in quite a while as we have plenty and the boys can just go 'shopping' for new clothes in the garage. They are happy as, as far as they are concerned, the clothes are new - to them. I am happy as I never have to rush to the shop and pay full price for something that they have just torn and worn a hole in.
I also make sure I have a stock of new underwear, socks and hankies for everybody. I know the op shop even sells these, but I can't do it! I wait for a good sale and stock up then.
6. Cook something new
I tried out a few new recipes, two of which were hits. Little Bacon and Egg Pies and Lemon and Honey Chicken Stir Fry. Not exactly storage item recipes - that is something I need to work on, cooking more from storage.
Strawberries were 99c a punnet at Aldi, so I bought eight punnets. This was after much umming and aahing about the terribly excessive waste of packaging. I do reuse punnet containers, either to deliver produce or to use as seedling trays, but still.
I am planning to make Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate for the freezer. I may do another trip for some more to freeze whole for smoothies, desserts, etc.
7. Manage your reserves
I am still working on the pantry space, to try and make a plan that will maximise space and give me some sort of storage area. Freezer inventory is a big must on my list too. It is just daunting to have to take everything out to make the list!
8. Work on local food systems
I wonder if selling my excess eggs to friends costs here? I guess I am helping to keep some waste out of the cycle as everyone brings back their cartons, saving on transport costs of commercial eggs to the supermarket and encouraging buying local - I guess this counts.
I have discovered that a town about twenty minutes drive from me has a weekly seasonal fruit and veggie box available. I am debating whether the trip is worth it. Kilometres traveled in my car as opposed to transport costs to the supermarket. I will have to ask them about the source of their produce, but I do not think it is necessarily local, although I'm sure some is.
And just a few links to things I would like to try out.
Pickled Nasturtiums Buds - Poor Man's Capers - no excuse not to make these as I love nasturtiums in the garden.
Growing Loofah Sponges - in the book I am reading at the moment, they grow and use loofah sponges for dishwashing and showering. I'm not sure if they will grow in my climate, but worth a try.
Have a great week!