Friday, 18 September 2015

Independence Days Challenge: Week Twelve

'So much of this (preserving) is really about working smarter, as they say, not harder. With a little practice you begin to see ways to integrate food preservation into your life. Instead of it owning you, you are using it to make time for yourself in the coming winter months, when one day you will be too busy to cook and need a little essence of summer to cheer you.'
Independence Days by Sharon Astyk pg 175

More and more is being done - I feel so happy and productive! 
The heaps are nearly all burnt away. We had a quote to grind out the massive tree stumps but phew, it was expensive. I think I will just have to plant around them.
The garden is putting on a growth spurt. The tulips are looking just too darn gorgeous for words (obviously I was just being impatient as now their stems have grown), lilies are poking their leaves above the ground, seeds have sprouted in the greenhouse, rhubarb, peas and herbs are coming along nicely, chickens are laying up to 18 eggs a day - paradise!

I have printed out my spring moon gardening planner. It really is a wonderful resource and helps to keep me on track. And it is full of helpful lists and tips - super brews for the garden, monthly lists of what to do in the garden and more. Love it!

1. Plant something

We have two loquat trees that always have little babies, so I potted up five loquat seedlings.
Aldi had some cheap plants this week, so planted two Italian Parsley, a Coriander and two Lavenders.
You can never have too many flowers so planted a mix of flower seeds next to and amongst the tulip bed, which included Queen Anne's Lace, Gypsophila, Nigella and five different types of poppy. 
I do realise that there seem to be more flower than food plantings at the moment! The problem being that the flower beds are ready, but I am still waiting for stump burning, fencing, etc for the veggie and fruit tree area. I am so hoping that the time does not get away and I will have to wait another year. 

2. Harvest something

The chooks received a lovely harvest when I trimmed back the massive mint plants. I wonder if too much mint will make mint-flavoured eggs!
Hit the 100 mark for eggs last week - 108. 
The rhubarb is just starting so am looking forward to rhubarb crumble next week.
Lots of lemons, mint and chives. 

3. Preserve something

Just some lemon cordial this week. There were no really good specials on fruit or veggies this week!

4. Minimise waste

I am still working on this. Packaging is my major issue. I am trying to buy as much as possible in paper rather than plastic. But obviously I am trying to avoid the packaging in the first place. I am so looking forward to the garden becoming more productive and not needing to purchase as much from the supermarket as more and more fruit and veggies are being packaged.

5. Want not

I have been sorting through my jar collection. Everyone keeps all their glass jars, right?! Glass jars and egg cartons - I just cannot make myself put them in the recycling (even when I had no use for egg cartons!) 

I am sorting them to see what I have for making Christmas gifts.

6. Cook something new

I didn't really cook anything new this week as I was eating from the pantry and freezer and using old favourite recipes. I hope to be more adventurous next week!

7. Manage your reserves

That freezer inventory took a while and my hands were numb. But I now know that we have a huge amount of beef! Pretty much the whole freezer is beef, so looks like lots of steak on the BBQ at our house this summer!

My canning stocks are getting very low, so really need to focus on this. We used nearly everything over winter, which I guess is the point. But I don't like to be Old Mother Hubbard with a bare cupboard!

8. Work on local food systems

This is not really what we are looking for in this category, but kind of relevant. Look at the stickers I made for my egg cartons! It was lots of fun!

I am so hoping that soon there will be so much happening in the garden that I will have to cut these posts down in length!

Have a happy gardening week.


  1. your tulips are so pretty!! I keep forgetting you're opposite of my season, but it's delightful to be reminded when I visit!

    1. Thanks! I just love tulips. I could look at them all day. A friend's little boy came over the other day and loved them. Now he is always asking to go and look at the 'rainbow flowers'.

  2. Wow, you've been super productive. The tulips look fab. They are one of my favourite flowers ( a great flower arrangement is pink tulips and bearded Dutch iris). If you have a lot of minced beef the boys may enjoy Cornish pasties for a portable lunch. With a few vegies and homemade pastry it would cost virtually nothing. Also if your canned preserves lasted till spring I think you did a good job. Enjoy your fresh produce in Spring and can again when you get a glut from the garden. I preserved for the first time last year. Just some jars of pickles and tomato relish. I opened a jar of the relish I had forgotten in the cupboard the other day and was surprised at how well the flavour had developed over time. I was to impatient when I first made it and it didn't so good straight away.

    1. I do so love my tulips, but no pinks in that batch. I just bought the end of season mixed clearance bulbs and am really pleased with the show they have put on.
      Pasties are a good idea. It is funny how you just forget about things you could make. I am so hoping to have enough tomatoes to actually can some this year. Tomato relish is delicious - and I think we may be able to get rid of the supermarket tomato sauce if we had relish! Have a lovely weekend.

  3. It always takes me a moment to remind myself that we are at opposite seasons, so it was lovely to see the tulips. Your egg count is amazing, you can pickle eggs and I also use any surplus eggs making quiches for the freezer.

    1. Even though I am selling eggs, I still have lots left! I have never tried to pickle them, not sure if anyone but me would like them. But I do bake a lot for the freezer - quiches are a good idea.

  4. What a wonderful post - I love when posts motivate me to spring into action - yours has today.

    1. Thanks! There is certainly a lot to get done - I'm pretty sure the weeds are conspiring against me and plotting their extra growth as soon as I turn my back! Hope you get lots done.

  5. You are learning a lot and doing a lot! I bet you are thankful.

    1. I certainly am thankful. It was a gorgeous spring day today and it felt so good to be out in the garden, even if it was just weeding!

  6. Your tulips are gorgeous!

    This is an excellent challenge to participate in. I did it a number of years ago and it really helps to get one thinking a certain way and making a habit of it. I really liked Sharon Astyk's book too.

    1. I just love tulips! I think the challenge is good to keep me on track and organise everything. Sometimes it can be hard to get all the thoughts and ideas in your head organised into action!

  7. oh i adore those tulips! I must put them on the list to plant next years, I do miss having fresh flowers in the house :(
    also you've inspired me to make lemon cordial this week,i haven't had it in years!
    I also save my glass jars, I'm ever so slightly obsessed ;)

    1. Glass jars and eggs cartons - I just can't put them in the recycling!
      The tulips are beautiful but I am enjoying them out the window - I haven't been able to make myself cut any yet.
      Lemon cordial is yum and so easy.

  8. I really like your blog lay out. Packaging really annoys me. Oh to go back to paper wrapping instead of plastic. I often wonder how much we pay for our packaging.

    1. Thanks! I totally agree - packaging is the worst, especially when we have to pay for it! I read somewhere that over half the cost of a product is usually the packaging and in some products, even more. I certainly do not like giving hard earned money to waste.