Thursday, 2 February 2017

Independence Days Challenge: Week Nineteen

'But the logic behind preparing for hard times and getting my family and my community ready is very simple. It is simply a matter od asking myself 'What happens if I do?' and 'What happens if I don't?'
Well, if I do get ready and protect my family, I'll have to devote some of my money and a lot of my time to things like gardening, cooking from scratch and insulating my house. I'll probably also eat better food, save money, get more exercise and spend more time with my family. I will have to pay a price and make some sacrifices, but I'll still have the things that matter most to me.'
Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk pg 18

This is exactly how I feel about preparing - it couldn't do any harm! But not preparing, that is a different matter. By not starting to take some responsibility for our food supply, heating, cooking, etc., we could face a terrible time in the future. Sharon Astyk does say that obviously she has no idea whether some wonderful solution to the world's fossil fuel, climate change problems will appear, but it surely cannot hurt to be prepared in case it doesn't.
I, for one, am simply not willing to take that risk with my family.

1. Plant Something

Still working away at the garden - summer always leaves me feeling drained, so nowhere near as much progress as there should be!

I planted out a whole bed of dahlia seedlings (finally, should have done this about a month ago!) I am so excited with these as I grew them all from seed as a bit of an experiment. I couldn't afford tubers and was lucky to read somewhere that if you grow from seed, they develop tubers to grow on. And they did! No real flowers this year, but apparently, next year they will flower wonderfully.

I am potting up mint seedlings from my wandering mint plant. I could supply the whole of my state with mint plants, I think!
I planted a variety of gerberas this year - tubestock, so they are very little. I wasn't expecting it but they flowered! Teeny cute little gerberas. Next year, I am hoping they will be normal size.

2. Harvest Something
Not much at all! The garden is looking quite depressing and I really need to get organised and dedicate some serious time to it.

My poor fruit trees were placed in a 'temporary' trench over two years ago, waiting for the fence to be built. Two of the plums have actually fruited a tiny bit this year - they have given up on ever having any room to spread out!

My little chick is growing. It's a girl, I just know/hope it is! Fingers crossed anyway!

3. Preserve something

Still haven't got to anything you could call preserving but with free days ahead (and cooler weather!), I will get to it very soon.
I did make some pizza bases to put in the freezer - always useful to have on hand.

4. Minimise waste

Now, I am embarrassed to admit this and please don't think I am terrible, but I finally reorganised my reuseable shopping bags so that I actually remember to take them into the supermarket. They were such a screwed up mess, some with holes in them, that I would just never bother to take them. I also have my net bags for fruit and veggies that I made a while ago. About time!

5. Want Not

I am making some table napkins from old men's cotton shirts at the moment.

6. Cook Something New

A while ago, I made a recipe from Leftover Makeovers by Sally Wise. Sally is Australia's preserver extraordinaire and I use her preserving books all the time.

But this is a great book too. You can look up a leftover ingredient you may have - mine was roast pork - and find a recipe to use it up.
So the Crispy Pork with Garlic and Ginger Sauce has become a favourite here and we are having it for dinner again tonight.

7. Manage Your Reserves

I am planning on doing lots of inventorying this coming week. I just seem to be struggling with a suitable log system to keep track of it all. I am more a paper and pen person, so I am thinking a folder with pages for each item and a running total column as items are added and subtracted to storage. But this could end up with LOTS of pages!
I am still doing some research on the internet to see what other people do, so would love to hear what your system is and how it is working for you.

Or if you don't know what you have and where it is stored, you won't be able to use it!

8. Work on Local Food Systems

I think my reluctance to attend produce swaps is in my thinking that I do not have enough. Even though everyone seems to say, come even if all you have are a few lemons or bunches of herbs, I just can't seem to make myself. It must be my annoying perfectionist streak!
So this year, I will work on growing more and on being braver and putting myself out there more!

Hope your 2017 garden plans are coming along.


  1. Sadly with moving I have no plans at the moment, but once we have moved to our new home we will certainly make plans for the garden and preserving for a winter store cupboard.

    1. It will be so exciting though, be able to start from scratch and plan everything exactly! Hope the moving is going well.

  2. If you feel awkward attending the swap with minimal produce maybe you could take some handcrafts to add to your offering. Maybe some napkins made from recycled material or tea cosies or washcloths made from scraps of wool. I'm sure they would equally love some non food related products that is the fruit of your hands. I got my garden in very late this year. We went on a cruise in October and didn't want to plant until I came home. Things struggled in the heat and I didn't compost this year and the plants looked a bit sad. They seem to be growing well now and I have some cucumbers coming on but the tomatoes seem reluctant to fruit. Maybe they will when the cooler weather comes back.

    1. I was thinking that too as I knit lots of dishcloths to have on hand.
      A cruise - sounds lovely! Hope your garden will be coming along now.