Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why I do the things I do

I know that most of what I write about here is for personal benefit - our vegetables, our home, our animals...but for me there is a deeper purpose to all of it than just haveing homegrown food on our table or a healthier home environment.

You see every week I take my two older children and between 2 & 4 teen boys for a MTB ride. We started riding years back in the beautiful pine plantation near our home. Lots of climbing up to get to the single tracks and downhill tracks.

About 2 years ago they started felling the trees. Money was the bottom line for the plantation owners and even though they promised to rehabilitate the indigenous Fynbos (fine bush) as they felled. They caused havoc with the trails, and didn't sort the Fynbos out.

The mountain is home to troops of baboons, this mommy sat quite patiently for me to photograph her and her little on yesterday. There are also wild cats, fish eagles and porcupines, to name a few stunning creatures that live there.

I want my children to be able to take their children out into nature to experience this beauty. There are so many things that I did as a child that I can not do with my children already - our beaches are devoid of shells, our seas being depleted of fish...

So, my attempts to live a little greener, hug a few more trees and live a simple frugal life has a much bigger goal. If this little blog can inspire a few more to live like this, they will in turn inspire a few more and maybe, just maybe, my grandchildren too can ride with fish eagles and baboons!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Feel good things

In summer I love the feel of grass under my feet and the rich smell of warm earth but Winter brings a whole host of other feel good things...pots of soup, bean bags to warm a bed before slipping in, hot chocolate, warm Chai...and my favorite - a fire at night.

When we cleared out our first area for veggies we had to chop down a very invasive bay tree. This wood has kept us going every night for the last month and we still have lots to go. I feel better about using a fire to warm our house as versus a heater...

Every evening my son brings in baskets of wood, chops the larger pieces and gets our fire going...what a pleasure.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun!

Myspace Anniversary

It is a year ago this month that we decided to make some big changes in the way we live our lives. The biggest being growing our own veggies.

This was our journey:

The area we chose...June 2008

New beds....June 2008

In full production....Dec 2008

Autumn 2009

What a journey it has been!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Using up past fruit

We buy a lot of fruit from our veggie man who comes to our door weekly, but sometimes we don't get to it all. so instead of throwing it away when it is just past I have found a few standby recipes that I can add them too.

Pears, apples and guavas go into a crumle like this one:

Mix together 1 cup oats, 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar (I use xylitol), 1t cinnamon, 1t mixed spice together then rub in 125g butter til crumbly. Grate apple with skin. Place half the crumble mixture in the bottom of a oven dish, place the apple on top then the other half of the mixture. Bake for 45mins at 190 deg C. Serve with custard.

Bananas go into banana bread or muffins. I have a banana chocolate cake that I do too, but tonight I made them into banana choc chip muffins.

I try to do all my baking when my oven has to go on for dinner, that way I don't heat up the oven for just one thing.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Chickens in overdrive

I noticed last year during winter that our chickens did not deliver their daily egg. They went onto a two day cycle - hit-one-miss-one kind of thing...

This week we had more sunshine than rain and the warmth obviously got them going into 5 day we had 19 eggs! Amazing!

Plans for my eggs:

Scrambled egg...who knows...the world is my oyster (or should I say egg!?!)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Comfort Food for a Rainy Day

When we woke this morning the day was already promising to be gray...and when we had had a week of sunshine I had hoped it would last the weekend so that I could do a little gardening.

I also woke with very bunged up sinuses so reeeeeaaaalllllly needed some comfort food for lunch....

It came in the form of potato and leek soup with fresh bread rolls.

Fry 2 bunches of leeks in some butter with a teaspoon of garlic.
Peel and dice 10 potatoes, add
Make a litre of vegetable stock from powder, add
Season with salt, pepper, thyme, nutmeg, mint

When potatoes are soft, blend it with hand blender and add a cup of cream.

Serve with hot bread rolls.

Yeah, comfort food ;-)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Loving nature...foraging for mushrooms

Today we wanted to go and find some pinering mushrooms up in the forest. We have eaten them before and they have an unbeatable flavor. We found lots of mushrooms on the way many of which we cannot touch for fear of death!

This is the view from the top near the waterfall which was our target. 7.5km up on a 450m climb - it was long. Another 7.5km down and our legs feel finished.

The kids found some interesting rocks to study.

A lovely morning!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Winter plantings

Today we had sunshine after 3 days of rain...lots of it! I took advantage of the sun and planted out my cabbage, broccoli and spinach seedlings that are ready. This bed only gets morning sun in Winter, so I expect they will not be fast growers!

I also lost all my pea shoots that I planted here a few weeks ago to cutworms!! Argh!

So I have take precautionary measures and placed cutworm collars around each seedling. I just cut open a empty toilet roll and place it around the seedling's stem and some of the roots so it stands about 1cm above the soil, then I plant it.

Radishes - Winter Gratification

Today I pulled some beauties out - there is nothing like radishes for swift gratification in a vegie garden!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If I just had more time....

Today I came across this video at Youtube...his idea about a garden with out fences so touched me. Here is SA a wall or fence around our property is imperative for safety. But I have always wanted to take my knowledge and help others to grow their own food, particularly to those who struggle financially. But being committed to my own family and homeschooling 4 (and running a home business) does not leave much time to get into the community.

But God knows and He will make the time right for this...take a look at this video - it's really inspiring....