Just some updates

Lots happening here. Lots of little bits and bobs. A few big things too. 🙂 I made our first harvest from the greenhouse garden last night. I harvested a nice big spicy peppery handful of rocket from the greenhouse garden for our dinner. It’s a little immature but I couldn’t resist the verdant greenery any longer. We had chicken cacciatore (or something similar to cacciatore) for dinner last night and in lieu of spinach to throw in, in went the rocket leaves. It was delicious. 🙂 The tomatoes were home bottled (down to my last few bottles now) and the olives and onions bought via Highland Heritage so it was a mostly local meal. Sadly the chicken was dug from the depths of the freezer where it has been sitting on it’s polystyrene tray for some time. 😦 Like the lamb we had for dinner the other evening. It was a freezer find but I think that’s the last of it. 🙂 I diced up turnips, potatoes, pumpkin, onion and garlic (all locally sourced and organic) and threw them in the schlemmertopf with 2 lamb shanks and a bottle of tomatoes. YUM! Absolutely delicious. Both of them are wintery meals I know but call it practice. 😉 I can get the meals right before I have to learn to cook in Ignisa. 🙂

And someone put herself to bed.

Someone put herself to bed.

Asleep on the dining chairs. I reckon we might have worn them out!

Asleep on the dining chairs. I reckon we might have worn them out!

We’re also a house under construction again. We are currently building a small shed where Martin can keep a few of his bits and bobs and we can store the boxes of stuff we have until we have the time and space in which to unpack. We are also building a woodshed, something we are in desperate need of. hopefully we can then clear up the random piles of wood dumped around the place which are both unsightly and snake havens. My plan for today is to get around to building my raised garden beds with their hugelkultur concept and hopefully purchase some compost and get the beds in and rotting down. I want to be planting out garlic in a few weeks! I would also dearly love to have our back garden resembling something other than a council tree cut down site. 😦

The giant moth next to Allegra's hand.

The giant moth next to Allegra’s hand.

We had some wild weather over the last 2 days too. Thursday the kids and I were privy to Mother Nature throwing a small but intense hissy fit in which I think she threw several large items of furniture down the stairs given the sounds of the thunder that rolled and rumbled around overhead for nigh on 5 hours. Most of them were quiet rumbles but we did have the dubious pleasure of jumping out of our skin after several intense flashes of lightning immediately followed by large loud cracks of thunder. For someone who really doesn’t like storms all that much, I think I did a pretty good job of not frightening my kids. That’s one of the things I hate about parenthood, having to hide your fears so as not to frighten your kids. Given Jasper’s reaction to the large moth that was on his foot I would say that my fear of bugs hasn’t been sufficiently well hidden. 😦 Best bit about our wild weather though was the heavy rain accompanying it. I believe there was large hail stopping traffic only a few kilometres away on the freeway but the only hail we saw was small enough to melt within seconds of reaching the ground. Still, hail in February?

Helping themselves to Daddy's breakfast. I hope you weren't hungry honey.

Helping themselves to Daddy’s breakfast. I hope you weren’t hungry honey.

The crazy weather has done something strange here though. Autumn has come early. 🙂 Our poplar trees are changing their leaves to yellow and dropping them down over everything. 😀 As much as digging wet and soggy leaves off everything is annoying I am looking forward to raking it all up. Raking I hear you say, oh how fun (insert sarcasm there) but I see it as finely scattered compost! 😀 Once they’re raked up I will be mowing them which is the closest thing to a mulcher I have, them laying them on top of the branches in the garden beds before covering them in soil. The rest will mulch the garden beds or go into the compost bin to start breaking down for next Spring.

Speaking of compost, I’ve decided that once I harvest my spuds I will use the 3 spud boxes as temporary compost bins until the spring. I can then empty them out to enrich and top up the garden beds and then have my 3 boxes back for more spud planting in Spring again. Waste not want not on the space I say and the opportunity to have 4 cubic metres of compost is way too much to pass up. 😀 I guess I had better get that wheelbarrow tyre fixed so I can lug some chook poo around. 🙂

My pantry of preserves. Not enough. 'Tis never enough.

My pantry of preserves. Not enough. ‘Tis never enough.

Another one of our roosters has been tagged for culling too. The glorious bird started his cock-a-doodle-dooing the other day although he’s been quiet since. If he stays that way he can stay but we must be courteous to our neighbours. How things will change after peak oil. A rooster will be seen as an asset, not a nuisance. Yet another reason to look forward to the coming crisis. 🙂

Valentine’s Day passed quietly for us here. I was given a small rustic heart shaped box (which I can and will reuse) with a few small chocolates inside and Martin received nearly 5 litres of piccalilli pickle which I made for him and bottled in the Fowlers Vacola. We then spent the evening watching an episode of Life on Mars, a British TV series we both love. It was a pleasant evening but not particularly commercial. I don’t hold with spending a small fortune just to tell someone you love them once a year. If you can’t say it on the 13th or 15th of February, or any other day of the year, why bother on February 14th? I don’t mind the small fuss made as I know our love isn’t something that only happens for 24 hours once a year. It is in everything we say and do throughout the rest of the year too. In fact, my amazing and wonderful husband believed in me enough to move from Spotswood to Ballan upon my whim (yes he believes in the dream too but he believed in me and my dream before it became our dream if that makes sense) and although he may clutch in fright at his wallet when I mention my next crazy hippy idea and panic at the long list of unfinished jobs we have, he listens, researches and supports me in my wild dreams. He also does a lot of the hard slog, without complaint. 🙂 I’m such a slave driver. 😉

Piccalilli success!

Piccalilli success!

Well, the day moves on and we are still eating breakfast here so it’s time to get a move on.

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7 thoughts on “Just some updates

  1. narf77 says:

    All we have had is a few drops of rain about a week ago and nothing but blue skies and sunshine. A lovely thing indeed BUT we NEED THE RAIN! Just reminding the sky that rain is what’s needed here in Northern Tasmania, it seems to have forgotten the reason why we live here, shushed away from the rest of Australia, paying 15c a litre more for our fuel than the mainland and with no jobs to speak of…”we live here for the weather!”…sigh…When you are finished with it, can you send a bit of that weather down here? ;). We have been ladling out all of that free mulch that I brazenly asked council about last week and we collected 4 trailer loads full. It has been there since last winter when we had a major storm that took out the power for days and took down a lot of trees. They brought in a large mulcher from the mainland to chip up all of the trees and this pile has just sat there since then. There was evidence of pilfering and I figured all they could say was “NO!” and I am no worse off :). I got it all! It has started to decompose nicely and is full of fungi and I am in heaven! It is being spread into the garden everywhere after a good water and hopefully our poor parched garden might make it through to the first rains without carking!
    Good idea about the mower and you get exercise too :). I am going to be cheeky this year. I am SICK of all of the deciduous leaves being seen as pains in the derierre by the locals and I am going to volunteer to rake them up and take them away for free! Free mulch, free exercise and free neighbourhood goodwill…a win-win-win situation! :). Your cupboard is wonderful! I have 4 jars of eggplant kasoundi, a large passata jar of chilli kasoundi (we like spicy things) a few jars of home made picillilli and a couple of jars of zucchini relish and that’s it…hopefully we will be able to put a bit away this harvest :). Whenever Steve gives me one of his carefully made gorgeous spoons…whenever he walks into the house with a little flower he picked me from the garden or calls me out to see an eagle or just gives me a hug its Valentine’s Day :). Martin is a honey! Love that curly hair… Steve has curly hair as well but he tries to hide it ;). That picillilli looks great! A good thick consistency (rather than the watery number that I made 😦 ). You are starting to blend into Ballan girl…I can tell by your posts getting less manic and more smoothed out around the edges…the workload hasn’t changed, you have 🙂

  2. Emma says:

    We didn’t get any of that wonderful rain in Bacchus Marsh 😦 lucky our water bill is in credit 😉 we harvested our first tomato yesterday though and boy was it amazing,! From diggers club but I can’t remember the exact variety 😦 anyway can I ask where you get your compost from locally? I need to buy some soon as we’ll and I have no idea who sells the good stuff around here!

    • We bought a lot of ours from a guy, Mark, who lives in Parwan. He’s out on the Parwan road and you can go in if he’s got the “OPEN” sign on the gate. 🙂 He’s about 3 or so k’s out after the road rises up from the train line crossing. I’ve recently been buying it from Crossroads in Ballan but it’s quite hydrophobic and not great stuff. Mark’s stuff is pretty good. 🙂
      Nice one on your tomato harvest. I have picked 2 tomatoes this week – both tiny little Tommy Toes. I’m thinking to keep them for seed saving but I can at least eat the outer. 🙂
      The rain has been an amazing blessing. Half our yard is thick clay glue/mud but the veggies have enjoyed the rain very much.

  3. I’m loving your blog! I too am adventure to a life of bring more self sufficient. It’s interesting that you mention peak oil, as my husband brought it up the other day as one of his motivators to living our simple life now. It’ll be great to teach out future kids the simple life.

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