Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Vegetable Challenge. Feb.

Our challenge is to not buy vegetables during 2010, if we want to eat it then I have to grow it.

Well it is the end of Feb and s
o far this year we have not bought any vegetables at all. It hasn't beent that hard and there was nothing that we wanted but couldn't have though there were things that we didn't want but had to have. lol. Like all those cucumbers. Who knew that you'd get so many from only a few plants.
Maybe there should have been more lettuce. OK, yes there should have. I am happy to have spinach as a salad veg but if Hubby had of been home more we would have needed lettuce. He likes the hearting types though and I cannot grow them during summer but that is when we want them. They bolt in the hot weather and this year I think I managed 4. That's not a lot of salad, even when mixed with anything else that was green. The other type, the leafy ones that you keep picking leaves off all the time, grow and survive much better. There aren't a lot left out there though so next year I'll need to grow heaps more.

We have stuff growing that we will eat over the next few weeks but I need to get stuff started now so we have food over the colder months. Most stuff that I have planted over the last few weeks has not germinated and seed that I had in seedling trays on a table under a tree... Well the wind that we had Friday night and Sat has blown them all off so they are gone. Today I will plant more and put them under the table.
I may have to resort to buying some seedlings but will wait and see if this lot survives.

FRUIT was not a part of the challenge this year as most of our trees are too young and not supplying heaps yet but we have also had plenty of fruit over the last couple of months and I have not *had to* buy any but I think I bought bananas once when I was out and needed something to eat.

With a bit of extra work we could probably supply the basics of fruit, veg, meat but I think for now I will just get out there and plant some seeds so we can succeed with the vegetables.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Save The Cow.

I have been *preserving* food over the last few days, Wednesday was all the fruit that we had picked, mainly Rockmelon, Pepino and Passionfruit, today it is meat.

Now we preserve our meat by freezing it and that is what we had done with this lot too but it was in a freezer at Daughter T's house and I didn't know that. Somehow though, last night, yesterday, sometime, that freezer came unplugged.

I had the frantic phone call at lunch time today so went in and collected it all.

I have spent the afternoon cooking it all up.

Some was still frozen but most was nealy thawed but still cold so I figured we'd be able to save most of it.

A lot of steak, even some T Bone but mainly mince. I have cooked it up, that took a long time as I only have an electric frypan so I could only do a bit at a time.

The bad thing about this is that I have been saying to Hubby over the last few weeks that we had no meat left and he needed to do the pig or another cow but he kept telling me the freezer still had heaps of meat in it. I finally changed tactics and asked him to get me some meat out of the freezer. And whadayaknow? There wasn't any!! And talking to T this morning I learned that she had some at her house because it didn't all fit in our freezer when we did it so I asked her to bring it out next time she came. Pity I didn't ask sooner.
I actually made Lentil patties for tea earlier in the week because we didn't have any meat.
Anyway I now have heaps of cooked meat in the freezer, enough to last until the pig gets the chop. Or is that us that will be getting the chop? Do you get chops from a pig? The questions that clog my brain...

With the Rockmelon and Pepino we smooshed it all up together and it tasted quite nice, better than the fruit on it's own. Hubby tasted it and thought it needed something else so he added some passionfruit. That made it so nice. It is all frozen now but I am not really sure what it will be used for. I am not a juice drinker but may use it for dessert. Maybe a sorbet type thing, maybe just eat it with a spoon as it is.

I have been freezing the passionfruit in icecube trays and have a few bags of that in the freezer as well. Once again though, there is only so much passionfruit you can eat and we need ideas for using it. The grandaughter eats some when she is here and I have a few each day but that still leave us with heaps. We don't eat jams or many desserts, we don't bake...
I will try and make some passionfruit cordial soon but I don't drink cordial and Hubby is a coke man. He says he will try it though so that's a start.

I now need to go and collect todays lot so more pulp freezing to come.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I Had A Sleepover.

I had a sleepover last night and got paid for it.

A few days ago I was sitting here minding my own business, but reading about other peoples, when I was interupted by the phone. It was a woman that I used to work for about 3 years ago and she wanted to know if I could look after her 2 girls all day, all night and drop them off at school the next morning and if so how much would I charge to do that. I did not know what to ask so went on to the Simple Savings website (I am a member there) and ask what the people there thought. The amounts that were suggested varied a lot but I did have a minimun amount that I thought would be OK and that was the same as what a few of the people had suggested. I rang the lady, said I wasn't sure what would be fair to us both, gave her my amount plus 10. She said that they were thinking $170 so they would go with that. So I ended up with an extra $20 than my min and we were both happy.

The kids were no problem and it was great to see this family again. These are the sort of people that would make great friends but once I stopped working for them I didn't see them again. The call was a surprise but nice that they thought of me.

A bonus is that this woman is friends with some people that breeds pure Black Australorps, the type of chook that I want to eventually breed here. She says that she may be able to get me some fertile eggs and if she can do that it will be fantastic. I will give her some honey as a thankyou as she said that she misses getting it from us. So fingers crossed for that.

The money thing though was a bit of a worry. I found it hard to know what would be a fair amount to us both and knew that I couldn't afford what I thought was OK but not knowing what people pay for this sort of thing made it hard. Even now what I received seems like a lot of money.

What would you pay? I was there from 10am one day until 8.30am the next so 20 hours but the kids were in bed for 11 of those.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Do Not Send Me Out AloneTo Do What Needs Doing.

I have come in for breakfast. In the 2 hours that I have been outside I have planted corn, cabbage and carrots. That's it.

My problem is that I cannot stick to the one thing until it is finished, I find other stuff that *needs* doing and I start on that but then there is something else that must be done.

I changed my mind about where I was going to put the corn so had to dig over and water that area and because I was going to have that particular hose on I *had to* dig over an empty fridge garden as it needed to be wettasoiled. While getting the garden fork I saw that a pile of peaches had dropped off the tree and as the pig was carrying on I picked them up to feed to him. On the way to the pigpen I noticed the old onions had fallen over so I srunched all their seeds into the bed they were in but needed a shovel to cover them with extra dirt. The shovel I needed was in the chookpen and while in there the new chickens had to be seen to.

So now it is getting too hot out there for me but I still need to water the front gardens, feed the chooks and finish planting the seeds. But I really needed something to eat first.

So the breakfast part is done so back out and into it. Wonder how *little* I will get done this time.

Planting Today.

I have been very slack in keeping up with the seed plantings which is not a good thing when what you grow will be what you eat. So this morning I have made a list of things that can be planted in my area during Feb, collected the seeds that I have here and will get them in TODAY. Some things I can plant the seeds straight out in the gardens but others I will put into seedtrays first.

So far I have found seeds for:
Dwarf Beans.
Sweet Corn.
I have the Beetroot seeds soaking so must remember to do those later.


Off to get down and dirty.
Why don't you go and plant something too then leave a comment to let me know what you will be eating in a few months time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hair Care.

I have just given myself a haircut. As I do every few months when it starts to bug me.

It has been years since I went to a hairdressers and sometimes when I hear or read what someone has paid to have their hair done I actually cringe. It hurts me to know that people are willing to pay hundreds of dollars on a cut and colour. I must be a sadsack as it is none of my business but I don't understand it.

No doubt there are people that cringe when they see my hair. It is shortish, cut with clippers that Hubby made an extension for and hasn't had shampoo or conditioner on it for more than 2 years. It's been longer than that since it was coloured.

I do wash it though, under the shower, a few times a week, with plain water. Sometimes I give it a spray with white vinegar. I do it this way as I am trying to do without chemicals and this is an easy way of cutting some out.

We do Hubby's hair with the clippers as well though we cut his a lot shorter. And he doesn't do his as often as I think he should! I think his should also be done when it starts to bug me. lol.

Over the years we have probably *not spent* heaps of money by doing things this way but as that money is not banked it is not really saved.

Some people use Bi-Carb as a way of cleaning their hair and the vinegar as a rinse but as I am a tad slack I decided that using nothing would be easier. And cheaper!

This Weeks Pickings.

This is some of the food that I have picked over the last few days and I now need to decide what to do with it all.
There's Zuchinni, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Capsicum, Passionfruit, Watermelon, Rockmelon, Figs, Peaches, Strawberries.
I've eaten some Beans and Asparagus.
Pepinos need to be picked as do the grapes.
I have given away 5 Eggplant with more to go.

Next week there will be another heap to deal with. The fridge still has stuff in it from last week. I really need a gas stove and some preserving skills.

We have picked these Butternuts over the last fortnight and there are still more to come.

I will probably freeze most of it until the cooler weather when I will light the woodstove and cook it up.

So far this year we have not had to buy any fruit or vegetables. Or eggs. I can't see us needing to buy anything for quite some time. The only meat I have bought this year was a twin pack of chickens.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Egg Stealers.

Something has been taking the eggs from the pens behind the shed for a couple of months now and we need to find out what it is and get rid of it. We had a bandicoot in the area a few months back, could be that. Could be a rat but I don't think we have those here. It could be King Skinks and this is what I am learning towards. We have seen heaps of these around the place the last month or so, even had one in the house, and we know there is at least one in the shed that these pens butt up against. So I need ideas on how to *get rid if them* without hurting them. I have no idea how many there are all up and if we just trap and shift them out the back then what are the chances of them going back to this area?

I have thought of adding chilli to some eggs to see if that works on them but it never worked on eggeating chooks so I don't know. How sensitive are KS's?

We really need to get it sorted though otherwise we are feeding and keeping these chooks for no return.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day

It's Valentines Day, another way of getting people to spend money on stuff that they don't really need. We don't *do* V.D.

We sometimes do our wedding anniversary though so we are going out for the day to celebrate that. We are going over to Mandurah to the markets at the forum and then on the way home we will go to a place called Abingdon Miniture Village in Barragup.
I have been wanting to go to this place for years so Hubby said that's where we're going. The markets started at 7 so we better have our coffee then get going.

Home again after a very nice day out.
I love markets and swapmeets, I really shouldn't go to them but as today was a special occasion we went and spent some money. We bought a few things we needed, a few more that I wanted. Now I really do need to organize a garage sale. It will make room and repay the coffers.

I am not very good with directions and mazes are way too confusing for me so this is a set-up picture of me just inside the exit of the maze at Abingdon. No way was I going all the way in by myself. Been there, done that and those that say that you can't get lost in a maze are not telling the whole truth.Twentythree years of marriage does take its toll but we're still happy with each other so that's good.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Pergola building.

Hubby has been busy the last couple of days building a pergola over the bridge that leads out to the dam. He put the posts up last year and bought the rest of the wood he needed last week so was all ready to go. And go he did. He started yesterday and had it finished by lunchtime today.

Nothing like standing on a ladder and using a chainsaw to trim your posts. Lucky the Health and Saftey Officers weren't around.

Here he is cutting the long length of wood into shorter peices to go across the middle. I *helped* by standing on the end of the board to hold it steady.

And the finished product. He put weldmesh over the top to suport the grapevine that we will plant come wintertime.

I think the whole thing looks pretty darn good and have put in an order for 2 more out in the dam area.

Eventually this one will have a gate across the front and railing down the sides.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Thought I Was Kinda Healthy But...

I have been to to doctor and had more tests this year then in the last 10, since the round of tests to tell me I had Fybromyalgia. I thought I was quite healthyish, apart from the fat and unfit bit and the chest pains and not being able to breath stuff.

At the end of last year I learned that I have no iron and very low red blood cells, the reason for the pains and not being able to breath so was put on iron tablets. After another blood test there was no change so testing to find out why began.

The doc also felt that I have an enlarged liver so after a scan on that yes it is enlarged also surrounded by fat as is my pancreas and I have gallstones.

Wednesday was the cameras down and up and that tells me that I have an ulcer!

I also have an enlarged uterus so am getting a scan on that next week.

It seems like I was better off before the first bloodtest. lol.

I have kept up the moving though and can walk further than I could 3 months ago and I am riding the bike as well. If the next bloodtest shows no or little change then I will ask for an iron injection or an infusion. After all, that is really all I wanted. Enough energy to be able to walk and get fit and if that tkes a jab in the bum then so be it.

Our diet is mostly healthy, we eat fresh unprocessed food that we grow ourselves so that is not the main problem but getting enough iron through diet is bloody hard.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Don't Blame The Chooks.

I was whinging about these chooks not laying as much as I thought they should last week. I had an order for 4 dozen eggs but only had 3 and half.

I was out looking around their yard when I saw a nice bunch ofgrapes in the pen next door to their yard. Went in to get the grapes and found...21 eggs.
We had had some warm days so I floated the eggs and ended up with 3 decent ones. The rest went to the pig.

Keeping Things Tidy Would Make Things Easier.

I have been unwell for the last week or so and the house is a tip. The yard is a tip. I am a tip.

Found out last night that I will have visitors this morning but don't know what time yet I am sitting here having a coffee. It is 6.30am.

It will be nice to see these people again as it has been a few months but I supose I better get up and clear the table so they have somewhere to sit. I don't know if they will be here for lunch or not so may have to get something sorted just in case. Nothing fancy mind you, it is afterall me doing this, but eggs and salad to go with the crabs the guys are hoping to catch...Just in case.

I really need a nice sitting area outside and it is one thing that I need to add to our list for this year.

The blokes picked up Hubby sometime after 9 this morning and I was told that the women would be here this afternoon, around 1. It is getting close to that now. The table is clear and clean so we do have somewhere to sit if they want to. The house is no longer a tip, it is reasonable but I haven't worried about any food, I presume they'll have something before they get here seeing as it is now so late and lunch wasn't mentioned so I'm thinking I don't need to do anything.

Had a daughter and her bloke out here this morning so didn't get anything done outside and not too fussed now. lol.

Well the women didn't get here until after 2 just before the crabbers arrived back here so not much of a visit with them. One of them did say that they should have left earlier as they were only drinking coffee up there. So why didn't they come earlier and have a proper visit? I don't know but I do seem to have that affect on people. She did mention that she had to feed the animals and water and *do her chores* but we all had to do that so maybe they just pretend to like me. lol. Not too fussed about that anymore either. Twelve months ago I would have felt upset and unloved but I have grown up since then. lol.

The blokes caught their quota of crabs and we had *lunch* of crabs and bread around 3ish. I only had some crab meat as I don't eat white muck bread and I am not allowed my grainy stuff this week.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I Was Flashed.

Yep, flashed by a speed camera. But I WAS NOT speeding. And that's the truth. Hubby says I must have been or the camera wouldn't have flashed me. I was sure that the cameras would be around this area, school zone, as it was the first week back at school and the cameras are quite often in this spot so I was keeping a real close eye on the speedo and was definately under 40kph. It is double lanes here and I was being passed but Hubby says it would have been me that the camera saw. There was a cop a bit further along from the camera with a speed gun as well so I don't know what he was about.

I do know I always go slower that the limit and that I get passed by just about every other car going in the same direction but am not sure if it's worth fighting as I don't know if my speedo is correct.

I will now await and see if they send out a ticket.

It's A Big One.

We have a few Zucchini plants growing but not all are doing too well. I have pulled out a couple of sick looking ones over the last week and there is another one that will need to go as well I think.

But one plant is growing really well. It has a zuke on it that I am letting grow to see how big it gets. Just now, Sat 6Feb, 6.04pm it is 23inches long and 16 inches around the biggest part. What's that in old money? Dunno.
Just looked at the tape-measure and the cm numbers are really small but I think it says it is around 59cm long and 41cm around.
I have put a 375ml can of lemonade up against it to try and show how big it is.

I will let it keep growing to see how big it gets and will eventually use the seeds for next year.
Here's hoping the chooks don't get to it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fruitsalad...Yummy Yummy.

Hubby picked our first apples for the year this morning but they were not as crisp as he thought they should be so we decided to use them as the base for some fruitsalad. We add strawberries, passionfruit, pepeno, grapes, all grown here by us and picked within the last day or so. I was going to add figs as well but I had already picked and eaten the couple that were ripe. Tonight I will whip up some frozen bananas, grown here, to have with it.
I had a bowlful with lunch and there is enough for the rest of the week. If I start to run out then I'll just add more fruit. Easy.