If you ask a few friends of mine they would probably tell you I’m more than just a little obsessed with The Hunger Games. I’ve seen the films and read the trilogy… Twice. Actually, I’ve seen the films more than twice but let’s not delve into just how obsessed I am with the whole Hunger Games thing. Let’s just say that therapy might be a very necessary thing. ;) In saying that, my obsession isn’t all bad. It’s been quite motivational really and very thought-provoking. Continue reading
Except that I’ve just not got around to posting. Just a quick update post of what we’re doing and where we’ve been. Continue reading
I was gifted 2 rabbits on Saturday, caught locally, gutted and skinned before being presented. I got stuck into finishing off the cleaning whilst trying to figure out how to prepare them.
Rabbit, for my carnivorous readers, is a very healthy and environmentally friendly good meat to eat. It’s extremely lean and in abundance in our country as an introduced and pest species. A female rabbit (doe) can produce 4-5 litters during a six-month breeding season – with six and more kittens per litter, which reach breeding maturity 10-12 weeks after birth.* Various attempts over the years to eradicate them haven’t worked any more than roundup ready crops and poisoning things works long term. Myxomatosis was introduced in 1950 and almost eradicated the bunny which was introduced near Geelong in 1859 for sport (shooting them). Wiping out 99.8% of most species would pretty much guarantee extinction but to the bunny that would have been nothing more than a challenge. Not to mention that, like any good pesticide, there are always a few who are immune or survive. And survive they did.
In 1995 they introduced the Calicivirus (the name was given as rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus sounds pretty awful) which has also had a huge effect in reducing bunny numbers but again, resistance and survival has kept the bunny alive and thriving in Australia.** An the wily fox, natural predator of the bunny isn’t interested in the fleet-footed Peter Rabbit and family when he can chase down Australia native animals. Gourmet taste buds. Both Myxo and Calicivirus continue to affect rabbits but less and less so.
Still, the introduction of rabbits to Australia hasn’t been all bad (just mostly). The felt industry suffered in the 1950′s with the introduction of the myxo virus as they relied upon the fur to make the Akubra hat, an Aussie icon, and during the Great Depression in the 1930′s, rabbit would have been a viable source of meat for many rural Australians when other meats aside maybe offal would not have been affordable.
So, with ode to my rural ancestry (McKenzie’s ran farms around Hillston, not far from Griffith in NSW and only left the land when my mum was 6) I have had 2 rabbits simmering away on Ignisa our wood stove for the last 24 hours with a dash of apple cider vinegar added. This helps to draw the goodness from the bones and makes a more nourishing bone broth. Simmering the meat will also soften it as rabbit can be a little on the chewy side which is no surprise given their nature.
I plan to make a rabbit pie with the now tender meat but as we are a gluten-free family I am hoping that this recipe will provide the pastry for us. With a few seasonings (sage maybe) and some of the stock thickened up into a gravy I am hoping to be onto a winner for the kids (oh please let them eat it). They are currently hopping around the house pretending to be bunnies.
A frugal meal that can, with the exception of the coconut oil, be grown entirely locally. One day.
Well, I’m off to bake a pie.
Melbourne Cup Day, the first Tuesday in November is a special day for those in the Melbourne metropolitan area as it’s a public holiday. The only one in the second half of the year (nothing between the Queens birthday weekend and Christmas) thanks to Show Day holiday in September being canned.
Many people take the Monday off work to make it a 4 day weekend and that’s what Martin did. We’ve spent the weekend preparing for snake season and clearing away the wood piles and branches littering the front and back gardens. Tuesday however I had the invitation to spend some time visiting a friend and fellow blogger Lynda from Living in the Land of Oz fame. I left home not long before 10, arriving in time for a cuppa and to meet Lynda’s lovely sister and her sisters gorgeous grand kids. They headed out for a tour-de-parks and Lynda and I headed out to the gardens to hear their plans and ideas for transforming more of their garden into a food production paradise. Something new here, more gardens there, and some fun ideas over there too. All I can say is watch her blog space.
First stop after the patio area was to a
small rather large treat saved for me and protected by a punnet placed on top. A strawberry of rather generous proportions, almost glowing in its delicious ripeness, sending out its siren scent of freshness and all with my name on it! I picked it, photographed it and munched it. Mmmmmm
On to the other beds which I admired with nothing feigned. Lynda has great gardens and will have a great crop to harvest over the Summer and into Autumn for sure. :) Lynda’s overall garden space was much smaller than I’d thought based upon the photos I’ve seen which makes it even more impressive to see what produce comes from her garden, what massive veggies and how many self seeded plants (weeds if you like ;)) in her beds too.
Lunch was delicious with chicken meatballs, lamb chops, potato salad and cooked tomatoes, ginger beer to wash it down and great conversation and laughs with which to enjoy it all. It was a delicious lunch and I had a lovely time.
Sadly I had a bit of a time limit on my visit. I couldn’t leave Martin with a list of jobs a mile long and 3 kids, all with colds, for the entire day. We loaded up all the gifts Lynda had for me. I’d dug out all her weeds (self seeded tomato plants ;)) to plant in my own gardens, loaded in a generously gifted Lemon Balm in a pot, a set of draws with shelves above, spring onion seeds and a huge bag of old towels and sheets for me to upcycle into kids pajamas and reusable “paper” towels and the like. All I had taken down was a carton of eggs, sadly not even full. Lousy swap on Lynda’s side of things hey.
So, loaded up I headed off, this time to Melton to visit with Gav and Kim. I had a few things to pick up from them including cheese kit gear (curd nerd-ville here I come :D) and it was a nice day to have a cool drink poolside. Sadly I couldn’t spend the time I would have liked with my friends as I was already later than I had planned getting home, so I bid them farewell and headed off home.
Arriving home I discovered my amazing husband had cleaned the kitchen, washed all the dishes and was working his way through the vacuuming! Well impressed. And grateful too.
We finished off mulching the branches (thanks to our handyman) and Martin spent some more time sawing up the wood pile until a part went missing from the chainsaw (seriously, power tools in our house cause more angst than anything :() and although I wouldn’t say we’re exactly snake proofed I know we’ve put in 4 solid days of attending to and dealing with much of what we needed to around the garden.
I thought I’d share this idea I’ve had with you all. I’ve been addressing my perceptions of things. Snakes, sharks, carnivorous dinosaurs (Jas is right into dinosaurs at the moment) have an image of being evil but they’re not really. They do what they do because that’s what they do, nothing more. A snake will bite if it feels threatened. Some more so than others (brown snakes are rather aggressive) but they are not evil because of that. It’s taking some time to adjust my thinking on this but we do now live in the country and I guess every area has its risks. Country locations have their snakes, the city has its traffic. Some areas are prone to storms, others to long hot dry summers, others to monsoonal rains and cyclones and many of our beaches are visited by sharks, including those that will eat people. It’s about recognising this and adjusting ones thinking to fit in with Mother Nature, not expecting her to fit in with us. Sure I can do my best to snake proof our property (and I will) but I don’t have the right to expect never to see a snake.
Does that make sense?
Yes, they want to tax those who have solar panels as they apparently are causing the price of electricity to go up! It’s absolute hogwash. Electricity companies pay about 8c for electricity that we then buy back at 30c so not sure how that works at all. It’s just more shifting the blame and hiding the true cause of rising electricity prices (fossil fuel prices are rising as they become harder to extract).
Check out this link and please sign the petition.
I’ve blogged before (here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) about our ongoing hugelkultur experiments. Hugelkultur literally means “hill culture” and they are raised garden beds built up upon a base of logs. The variations that you may find between them is using logs to line the base of a standard edged garden bed, creating the traditional hill from the logs and covering it with the various layers of nitrogen and compost, building them into dug out areas (great for extra water holding in arid areas), circles, lines, 2 foot high hugels or 6 foot high ones. Anything goes really, but the basic model is the wood in some form in the base to rot down. You can even mulch it although you do need more nitrogen to compensate for the greater surface area of the carbon layer.