Thursday, 10 September 2015

Independence Days Challenge: Week Eleven

'. . . 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!


  1. What a great list! Makes me want to take a week off work and get stuck into it.

    1. Thanks! With spring here, the pressure is on to get everything prepared and ready to plant.

  2. I cannot believe they put single bananas in a packet! oh my goodness what a waste :( i love the growing loofahs though, would never have thought of that :)
    selling to friends definitely counts, you're helping the economy :)

    1. I know - I do not like the way more and more fruit and veggies are being packaged like that. In our supermarket, individual cucumbers come wrapped in plastic. Why, I do not know!
      I am hoping the loofahs work. Apparently, they grow with little chambers in them (probably where the seeds are, I guess) and you put slivers of pure soap in them and use them like that. Clever!

  3. How lovely to see plans for spring in your corner Jayne as we prepare for autumn in ours...your tulips look so pretty! x
    Susan x

    1. Thanks, Susan. I love autumn too, so it is lovely to read the Northern Hemisphere blogs and see the autumn leaves. And even better when we are unbearably hot here - I can look at the lovely snow!

  4. Autumn is definitely hitting and here you are talking spring, seems strange. Packaging is getting ridiculous all over the world but as from Oct here in the UK we have to pay for carrier bags, which will stop a lot of plastic waste.

    1. We have a few places in Australia where there are no plastic bags, which is a great idea. I doesn't take that long to get used to it.

  5. Your tulips are so pretty. They're my favorite flower and I love seeing them on the other side of the world just getting started for the season.

    1. I love tulips too. I never used to buy many as they were really expensive, but strangely here daffodils are now more expensive than the tulips. I will keep adding some more each year.

  6. First of all I just want to say that I think you're doing a great job in the independence challenge so far. Even if you are only producing eggs and lemons at the moment, that in itself is a great contribution to the house hold. (each week I buy 3 dozen eggs and a dozen lemons) not to mention the creativity going on at your place and the service you are doing for others buy suppling them with free range eggs. recently I've been able to buy eggs off an elderly couple for $2 a dozen. At Aldi free range eggs cost me $4 per dozen. I buy 3 dozen every week so that's a saving of $6 a week and I know where my eggs come from which is such a blessing. If you are able to grow large quantities of flowers you may be able to offer cut flowers at a roadside stall and if you manage to grow loofah's successfully you could also value add to them by permeating them with homemade soap. I've also heard that they can be eaten as a vegetable (similar to a zucchini) if picked when they are very young and tender.

    1. Thanks for your pat on the back! It is so lovely to receive nice comments here. $2 a dozen is fantastic - lucky you. I am so hoping to have a roadside stand - I am just trying to find out the logisitics from council. Being on a busy highway, I'm not sure council allows it. But that would mean I would have lots of traffic!

  7. I'm sure you will have a stand one day. I'm sure that $2/dozen isn't as much as I should be paying for the eggs but I know the couple and their flock of australorps overproduce in the spring, I think they are glad to get rid of them. I hope I can at least contribute to their feed bill a bit.

    1. I hope so! Absolutely - any contribution to the feed bill is great!