Well, of course I have to mention the pears. Still picking and preserving. I am keeping the dryer trays full, but still only just keeping up with demand. I am absolutely going to have to hide the dried pear. It is so sweet it is like fruit candy. Today I spent some time up in the pear tree picking some of the really high ones. My mum and dad are visiting, and mum graciously formed part of the chain gang ferrying the precious pears into a basket. I have given the apples a week off this week, because the pears are higher priority - if I don't pick them all now they will drop and squash..
Greengages! I had only ever read about these plums in old English novels before I moved to Tasmania, but many old gardens here feature a greengage tree, which are highly prized locally for making Greengage Jam. A kind friend invited me over to pick greengages from her laden tree, and having enough jam to last about three years I decided to dry the greengages. Oh my, they are extremely yummy. I will have to hide them too, and ration them over the winter.
Honestly, I am starting to feel like a squirrel. This is the first autumn that I have been really serious about food preservation of the summer harvest. It is hard work, but I am loving it, and loving the feeling of security when I open the cupboard and see all that wonderful food there. This week I have made another four kilograms of tomatoes into passata, and feel like I have really gotten on top of the process now, which is great because I need to do many more in the next couple of weeks in order to have my year's worth of passata sorted. Next spring I need to plant so many tomatoes!
Thrifty food saves this week - a wilty Chinese cabbage turned into coleslaw, wilty celery thrown into the shepherd's pie, a small amount of mince for the shepherd's pie eked out with the amazing disappearing trick that is red lentils. Report: no-one noticed that there was a)less meat or b)lentils in the shepherd's pie. Win.
Tried a vegetarian curry with chick peas and lots of veg. Nailed it, despite sniffy remarks from the ten year old about it not being a 'real' curry (she still ate it..). Made lots of chicken stock, have another chicken carcass to turn into more chicken stock tomorrow.
Have been experimenting with alternative food for the dog, mostly by giving him human food left over from dinner. So far he has loved roast chicken dinner (well, der), also pumpkin soup and assorted roast veg. I saved the chicken fat from the roast and have been adding a spoonful a day to his kibble when there is nothing else fun available. So far I have been feeding him half his normal kibble and half human dinner. He much prefers human food, and as most of the meat, veg and grains that form the basis of most of our meals cost less per kilogram than the expensive dog kibble the vet recommended.. well, it must be reducing the dog food bill.
Today the universe conspired to send me lots of books - mum and I 'accidently' wandered into a haven for old books (seriously - it was masquerading as a cafe), and had to bring a few home with us. Then when Posy came home from school she was proudly sporting a 'library monitor' badge, and as a reward for volunteering to do whatever important jobs library monitors do, she was allowed to bring home a stack of unwanted library books. Such taste that girl has - a Beatrix Potter compendium, a splendidly illustrated biography of Ernest Shepard, an origami book, some Judy Blume, Diana Wynne Jones, Ralph S Mouse (remember him?), and a book which she apparently chose for me particularly, about a family which moves to a remote bay in southwest Tasmania to live the pioneering life. Published in 1952, it was originally bought at Birchalls, our celebrated local bookshop, for 6/3 (six shillings and threepence?) and has been on the shelf at Posy's school ever since. I love Tasmania:) So that is my Friday night treat - adventure at World's End among the centuries old trees and the blue sea. There are pigs, hard working children, vegetable gardens, and a wicked aunt. All my favourite things!
What thrifty treats has the universe provided for you this week?
Tired, but determinedly cheerful mother of four. One grown up son (The Boy), one grown up daughter (The Girl), two girls at home, Rosy (17) and Posy (13). Trying to buy a little less, make a little more, live a little lighter, not mess up the children too much.. and now extra frugal adventures with Partner Paul..