Sunday, September 23, 2012

How do you eat an elephant?

So this is how the joke goes: "How do you eat an elephant?"...."One bite at a time!".

My elephant is my to do list right now and it is longer than my arm. Add to this that it is my busiest season with travelling to homeschool expos as well as our busiest ordering months, my to do list is starting to weigh me down.

Here are some items on it:

Get pine needles for blueberry bush
Plant squash seedlings
Plant cucumber seedlings
Make chicken stock
Make bread
Make laundry liquid
Do school planning 4th term
Pay copyright fees
Sort every single cupboard in my home
Take books to second hand store
Get kids summer clothes sorted
Check olives
Make soap
Do meal plan for next month
Send out toddler ezine
Knit dishclothes
Help son practise making pancakes for kids market
Defrost freezer
Place meat order....

I decided that yesterday afternoon I was going to attack it one bite at a time and keep going until I ran out of time or energy!

Yesterday morning my younger two children took Lucky to a puppy party. Her walking buddies turned a year a few months ago and the dress up party was yesterday, but the afternoon was mine.

The sun was out intermittenly so I decided to start in the garden and the courgettes that are escaping their newspaper pots needed to be planted out. My son had cleaned the bed out last week, but we have these pesky "uiltjies" wild onion type weeds that are a big problem so I had to turn everything over and try to remove as many of the little bulbs as I could before planting the squash into domes.

These squash are golden courgettes or zucchini, the seeds I sent back from the UK when I was there in April. I also have some normal green ones and then I also bought some lovely stripey ones from Living Seeds. We should have a real rainbow selection when the time comes.

I know this may sound strange but I do pray that the Lord will bring the increase in our little garden as we sow the seed.

Thereafter the cucumbers were next to go in...last year cucumbers were a dismal failure, we have about 3. The year before we had so many I even tried making cucumber soup....we still vote that meal as the low point in my cooking career! I have planted about 20 plants along the wall to clumb up the trellises Superman made a couple of years ago.

 Minnie, the matriach of the flock and about 3yrs old now, always comes to see what I am up too. I throw her weeds, worms and snails (if any) whenever she comes to say hello. Today while walking in the forest my little guy who looks after the 10 girls realised that chickens don't live long and had a little check with me on her age. She is healthy and strong and still lays an egg once a week or so, so we all hope she will be with us for a while yet!

While outside I also had to tie the blackberry bramble back to the fence. It really was not planted in the right spot 4 years ago, but it is so well established that I just take the new shoots and tie them to the fence. It grows vigourously during the summer and we have enjoyed it's yield in the last 2 years so I am loathe to move it.

It was then time to turn my attention indoors as the day turned really chilly, so it was to the kitchen I headed. I set the calendula blossoms to infuse in the rice bran oil and then made 10liters of laundry liquid. I use Down to Earth's recipe and since starting it about 2 months ago I am quite happy with it. I ran our last week and have been using the soap nuts in the meantime. I find they work better if I start off the saponification process in hot water before adding them to the cold wash in my machine.

I then got the chicken carcasses saved from the last two weeks meals from the freezer and set them to stock making. This will do us for some soups this week. Oh, by the way, if we don't have soup and I need to use up my stock I have now started using it to cook our brown rice in. It is so yummy if you add a cinamon stick or some cloves to the stock and then the rice....

My father in law has been with us for 8 days now and is missing bread at meals so I set on a 50% rye "sourdough" bread for lunch today. It rises slowly overnight so that I can cook it for's in the oven as I write and is filling the air with wonderful smells. You can find the recipe here.

I will serve it with left over soup and curry for the men but I will eat it with avo and lemon curd....!

Then I turned my full attention to the soap making process. I started making soap 4 years ago also using Rhonda Jean's basic soap recipe. I have stuck to that one mainly but every now and again as the seasons allow I like to try others. We loved the lavender soap that was made a couple of months back from lavender collected at my daughter's art teacher. This time it was my own garden that yielded the Calendula blossons. I will make the Sage and Lemon Grass soap next weekend.

It was then time to start supper and a curry was on the nice for the cold evening...what happened to the hot spring days earlier in the week?

My last job I had time for was checking over the 10kgs of olives that I starting curing back in June. I was concerned as I could see mould growing on the top of some bottles. It was a little saddening to have to throw away about 1kg of them but I tasted a few of the unspoilt ones as I made new brine solutions and they are doing well. They should be ready to put into herbs and oil in a month or two and then be jarred for family gifts in December.

The dent has been made in the to do list, the bites have been taken of the I rest!


Lois Evensen said...

It all looks wonderful - especially the bread, but we're not so fond of curry here so would skip that. We had a funny experience of being on a ship where the exec chef was Indian. In about ten weeks we had more curry than we needed in a life time. ;)

Urban Homestead South Africa said...

Mmmh yes curry can be overdone. One day when your ship visits Cape Town come and have one with me!

Home Design and Organizing said...

Hi W,
I followed you from your homeschooling website. I am a fellow SBIer. I am also considering homeschooling. But I must say its scary. But thanks for the website. I will have to go back to it tomorrow.