Friday, March 6, 2015
Green and Thrifty
Goodness, it's that time of the week again. And it's Autumn, my favourite season. The beginning of March always signals a slight turning of the weather here in Tasmania. A chill in the morning, a need to wear socks in the evening. BUT, the days are glorious. The sky is the deepest blue imaginable, the light is golden. I stood at the back door to take this photo, but it hardly does justice to the truly glorious blue that we just drown in here every March. I still don't understand why everyone doesn't move to Tasmania. I mean, really, why wouldn't you?
Each day this week I have collected a bucket of apples or pears, or both. First I fill the dryer trays to make dried fruit chips, then I stew what's left with rhubarb, or the blueberries we picked at the blueberry farm over summer. A handful of blueberries makes a whole pot of apples and pears into a pinky-purple treat, and that helps the blueberries go a long way.
I have cooked up 12kg of tomatoes into passata and will present my passata findings and recipes next week. I now need MORE tomatoes to make a year's worth of passata and get all those empty jars I have been collecting out of my sideboard. I think I will need 36kg of tomatoes altogether if my forward estimates are correct...
This much basil (6 packed cups of leaves) makes two small jars of pesto. Luckily I have a lot of basil, and intend to keep cranking out the pesto over the next couple of weeks. I have nearly run out of olive oil, so will have to go 'shopping' for more. This means I will have to walk over to my friend Jane's house with my oil tin, and she will fill it up with organic Australian olive oil because she runs a bulk-buy organic food co-op from her kitchen. I might have a cup of tea while I am there. My life is so hard.
While I was whizzing up the pesto in the food processor it suddenly occurred to me that generations of Italian nonnas probably did not make pesto in a blender.. it took me some time before I worked out that those great big granite and marble mortar and pestle sets that decorate many kitchen counters would be the kitchen gadget of choice for making pesto without electricity. I have now put that on my list of things to look for at garage sales. Add to that a mouli for making passata without a stick blender, and soon I will be able to process the harvest like a true peasant.. because that is what I have decided I want to be when I grow up. A peasant with a house full of food that I have grown and made myself. A peasant with access to hot water, chocolate and the library. You know, a peasant with benefits:) That, or a witch. I haven't decided yet. Still, medicinal herbs don't take up much space. And I'm good at cackling, and already have the cats, so maybe I could do both..
Here is what Rosy has been up to this week:
Honestly, children have no fear. Rosy decided she wanted to sew a lined pencil case with a zip. If I had decided that, it would take me six months of research, consultation with sewing friends, and then a postponement due to nerves. Rosy set up the sewing machine with her school laptop parked in front of it running a tutorial from You Tube, and an hour later had the finished product. She used the zipper foot! She even shortened the zip!! I am amazed.
She 'shopped the shed' for the fabric - a vintage cushion cover I bought from an op shop years ago, and the lining is a pair of my old pyjamas. The zip she found in the sewing drawer. The pencil case is dirty already because she has been using it all week at school, but at least we know it will wash easily. She now has plans to make more for gifts for friends. Did you hear that? My teenager is going to make her own gifts for friends' birthdays. This is the kind of thing I hoped I would be able to start doing this year, but the 14yo is way ahead of me. I am so proud:)
What green and thrifty activities have you been up to this week? Tell me about your harvesting and preserving if you live in the Southern Hemisphere, and your dreams for your garden and seed sprouting dramas if you live way up North.