Saturday, January 29, 2011

If you are looking for me....

This is where you will find me...far from the maddening crowds.

For the last 7 years we have been going to this little cabin by the sea for my birthday weekend. We missed once and regretted it. There is no cell phone reception, no computers, no cars, no going anywhere for a whole week. Peace.

Evenings are filled with long firelight chats, star gazing (we even have a telescope this time), BBQ's and wonderful fellowship as a family.

On the doorstep is a wonderful river and lagoon where the boys spend days fishing.

A little further on are the dunes we love to climb to go to the beach.

Superman and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this week and I celebrate my 41st birthday which makes it a special week away.! See you in a couple of days.

Friday, January 28, 2011

In the garden today

Today we attacked the garden with a vengeance...although I must admit to being more of a supervisor than worker. I did stake all the tomato plants, but I sat on a little chair to keep my back protected.

Then I went and took photos of some exciting developments in our newest section....butternuts hiding behind their foliage.

Look how strong the asparagus more year to go, this time next year we can harvest some.

The young 'uns spent the time weeding and the chickens were grateful recipients of their work.

My eldest made 100 (yes...100) newspaper pots which we will plant up with seed tomorrow.

Lucky was allowed into the garden now that the plants are big enough to be safe from her walking through the beds.

My older son banked the potatoes...

...and also planted out the sweet potato tubers in the oddly shaped bed at the front door. We tried strawberries here for summer but the chickens kept getting in. So we repotted the strawberries and let them dig and sand bath here for the last few weeks. But now its time for growing things and the girls are going on a little farm holiday while we go away this next week.

I am so thankful for my children...tomorrow we have some more work, but then on Sunday we can go away knowing that all is well and done for the week.

Then we went inside to process this harvest...

Chillies were strung up to dry, tomatoes frozen whole for sauce, strawberries frozen for smoothies, marrows grated and frozen, corn eaten (what else!!!!), radishes in the salad at dinner.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weighing in at.....

The marrows in our new section have been producing for about 2 weeks now. I harvest them small now except for one which I allow to grow until I am inspired to make something with it.

Today for lunch I did not feel like the normal wholewheat bread we make so I tried Delicious Jane's marrow bread recipe. It was so simple to make but again, I had to use what I had to replace some of her ingredients.

I grated half of the monster and mixed it with 2 beaten eggs and 1/3 cup olive oil. Added 2 cups grated mozarella.

Add to that 600g stone ground cake flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt.

Mix together and put in two greased loaf tins. Sprinkle with any seeds you have - we used Golden Linseed. She says to use sunflower seeds.

Bake at 180 deg C for about 1.5 hrs.

To save on electricity, while these were baking my Princess made the most delicious brownies.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Last night's granadilla harvest. Yummy

I can see some more granadilla butter coming soon!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I have been putting off this blogpost because I know how pitiful and pathetic it is going to sound, but well, best to give the truth, I 'spose.

Years ago I knew a farmer's wife, we have sadly lost touch, but some of her words stay. She married a dairy farmer and was quite honest in saying that she didn't know what she was getting into. She soon found out...when they couldn't take a honeymoon and he woke on their first morning together at 4am to start the milking. Full udders don't wait for a honeymoon! This was a concept so foreign to me...

Well, a few weeks ago my back finally gave in...I have had trouble for many years but at the beginning of December I knew the pain was different. By just after Christmas I had lost the ability to bend, would get "stuck" if I tried and could not lift my left leg to go up steps...

The first thing to suffer was my garden and around us lie the signs of neglect. Besides for watering and a bit of weed pulling and harvesting here and there I have done nothing in the garden.

The wind this year seems to be much more persistant than before and this causes all sorts of havoc with the taller plants. Milddew has hit again and robbed us of our pumpkins with the exception of 2.

So things lie around needing attendance, roots are exposed, beds lie bare which should be planted up with the second summer vegetables, tomatoes need staking, seed needs to be sown...but alas, it all has to wait until I am better.

Like all things, there is hope on the horizon. After 3 weeks of intense physio and chiro I have mobility back but I am not pain free. The kids and I hatched a plan over dinner tonight to spend 3 half days in the garden. With a plan of action we should get it all done so I have been promoted to overseer from labourer.

So, now I understand what my friend meant all those years ago about not being able to take a honeymoon as a new farmers wife...and I can say, my vegetable garden will not wait for a back to mend.

Aaah...well...enough of a moan...thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quick school day lunches

We started up with some schooling again this week after a lovely lazy, busy 5 weeks off. One thing I always struggle with is feeding the troops weekdays when we only have a quick moment to get something nutritious on the table.

I don't like to eat bread every day so we make a loaf every second day for sandwiches and I have been wracking my brain for what to do on some of the in between days.

On Saturday the girls and I made 40 pies for the freezer. It went quite quickly in the end but I had to work myself up to it. We also made 12 not so mini pizzas for the freezer.

The pies had two fillings...butternut and feta and chicken. Here is the butternut filling. The chicken can be your favourite one, but will post it if there are any requests.

I tripled this recipe:

2 onions, chopped
40 ml olive oil
30 ml sugar
salt and pepper
350 g butternut, boiled until just soft(not mushy) in
10 ml vegetable stock in water
200 g Danish style feta
50 ml fresh coriander, chopped

Sauté in onions in the oil and sugar until glossy and caramelized
Mix with the remaining ingredients.

I used ready made puff pastry to save time, cut in rounds with a large saucer. Filled half of the circle, brushed the other edges with egg, folded it over and par cooked them. When they were all cool we packed them two to a bag and froze.

Of course we had to have some for supper too!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Early in the morning

Superman and I drink our first cup of coffee together each morning around 6.30 and we walk around the garden as we drink. It's a lovely way to start my day. Here is what we saw this morning.

It gives me so much joy to see the transformation of this area.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Guess what we are eating?

Corn is in! It is a meal accompaniment every second night or so...sweet delicious, 5 steps and 5 minutes from harvest to plate...what a pleasure.

It's so hot here that we are eating easy dinners that don't require long in the kitchen. Hamburgers are the easiest thing to make. Chicken burgers are also frugal and quick. I have figured out the perfect hamburger roll recipe.

Into my bread machine I put:
210ml milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup buter in small blocks
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 3/4 cup bread flour
2 tablespoons usgar
1 sachet yeast

Set to dough cycle. When alarm goes shape quickly into rolls, this is a soft moist dough, do not overwork. Allow to rise slightly while oven heats, cook for 20 minutes at 180 deg C.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Summer fruit jam

Every week I buy what I cannot grow from the veggie man who comes to our door. It is not organic produce, but it is straight from the market to me.

His plums were very cheap so I bought a box. The ones that have not been eaten I turned into some yummy, although tart, jam.

Our granadillas are ripening fast and furious, yesterday I picked about 15. My oldest daughter would not negotiate - she WANTED granadilla butter. It's like lemon curd, just with granadillas.

This is my recipe:
100g butter, melted in double boiler
1 cup of granadilla pulp
4 eggs beaten
1.5 cups sugar

Melt the butter, add the sugar and pulp. When the sugar has just melted add the beaten eggs stirring constantly. Stir until thickens, pour into sterilized jars. Simpy delicious on toast, over icecream or a topping for scones.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First blush...

I know we normally use this term for tomatoes....but don't my pumpkins look pretty?

What do you do with your pumpkins? I am making plans for mine.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

In Memory Of...

Yoda has been with us from the beginning so we are all sad today that she has gone.

A couple of weeks ago she started looking a bit off so we knew she wasn't well.

Thank you for all the eggs, Yoda, I like to think of you are in a place where there are lots of bugs and worms for you to eat, sand to bath in and sun to tan your legs.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

3 delicious recipes

I have been decluttering my bookshelf and yesterday came across a book I had forgotten about. I think my mom gave it to me a while back. I like to read recipe books and as I paged through this one last night I started marking recipes I want to try.

The book is called Harvest - Recipes From An Organic Farm

Today I made her potato bake which is simple and yummy. It is layers of potatoes, salt and pepper and chicken stock. Baked at 190 C until the top is crisp.

I adjusted two of her recipes for what I had in my pantry and garden.

Green beans blanched and served with finely chopped onion and toasted sunflower seeds. (She does hers with spring onions and hard boiled egg)

Courgettes, thinly sliced lengthways, tossed in olive oil, flash fry on ridged pan, place in shallow bowl and drizzled with pomegranate concentrate and chopped mint. (Hers was dressed with vinegarette.)

It made for a spectacular Sunday lunch!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Don't be afraid to make mistakes!

Last night we saw the New Year in with our closest friends and their children. A late night (or should that be an early morning?) but we woke to the sound of rain...lots of it. I lay in bed thanking God for the rain as today would have been my watering day and after the late night I didn't feel like lugging a hose pipe around.

This year that has passed has been an interesting one in many ways. We have faced challenges in our home, family and homesteading. I have made countless mistakes but along the way I have learnt a lot.

I also see looking back on my 2010 goals for our urban homesteading adventure, that I have achieved many of the things I set out to do.

My kids are in agreement with me that there were a few meal mistakes :-) particularly the cold cucumber was rather...mmmhhh...yucky to say the least. But there were many experiments that did in fact work well.

I planted some things in the wrong place and had to watch the crop fizzle out but on the whole we ate through winter and were still harvesting as we were sowing the spring crop. This was a good thing but has been learnt through trial and error.

Some people are incapcitated through fear of making mistakes. They feel that there is someone watching over them to ridicule when they fail. I understand that to a certain degree but I have adopted a bit of a gungho attitude and now believe that if I do not fail sometimes I will become puffed up and proud so each failure is chalked up to experience and learnt from.

So if you are teetering on the edge of something new that you want to try, don't wait too long, take the leap - try never know what the result may be.

God richest blessings on all of you for 2011
Wendy and Family