Green and Thrifty
Now that I have the wood fire going all day I am back to making cups of tea with the kettle on the wood stove. When the fire is nicely heated up it takes about ten minutes to boil the kettle. I don't leave it on the stove as I have a horrible history of burning kettles dry, but I love the burbling purr of the kettle when it sits on the stove, close to, but not quite boiling. This is the perfect water temperature for herbal teas. If I want an actual boil I give it ten seconds on the gas stove.
During the week my neighbour cleaned out his freezer and popped over with a chunk of freezer-burned unidentifiable meat for Benny's dinner. I put in in the slow cooker with a bunch of Russian kale from Paul's mum, some brown rice and sorghum and some rosemary from the garden and Benny has a week of delicious doggy dinners all lined up.
Last week I mentioned that I had run out of stickers for labelling jam and a lovely and helpful reader, Cripplewing, advised me to stick ordinary paper to the jar with milk. I only have soy milk, but I gave it a go and it worked perfectly. No need for sticky labels now. Thank you Cripplewing and to all of you who share advice and tips every time I write about anything. I learn so much from everyone.
Rosy and her boyfriend came for dinner for the first time in about three months. It was so lovely! We are very lucky to live in an island state where it seems that for now the virus has been eliminated.. maybe too early to be certain, but there have been no new cases for thirteen days, with only eight cases active and quarantined in the north-west of the state. Fingers crossed. Anyway, we are cautiously beginning to gather again in little family groups. Rosy came straight from her job at a cafe and brought us left-over banana choc chip muffins and also turkish bread which we turned into garlic bread with garlic from the garden. I sent Rosy home with more dried apples. Every day this week I have been drying more of Rosy's apples from last week. We had mashed potato left over from our dinner (Posy always makes the mashed potato. I am banned because I make it lumpy..) and I made potato cakes for dinner the next night.
I took down my collection of herbs drying on trays on top of the bookshelf and found the year's basil harvest ready to crush up and put in a jar. It was a terrible year for basil in my garden - it just did not thrive and I had a few small plants, but even those, when carefully collected and dried and crumbled into a jar made enough dried basil to see us through the next few months, after which we will hopefully have fresh basil again.
I am, I must admit, still not getting much done. I am doing what needs to be done. Well, nearly most of what needs to be done. If something becomes vital to do, I do it. I have completed Posy's home education registration, signed some forms up at her school, gone to the Town Hall to renew my free parking permit (I don't have off-street parking so need a permit from the council to park in the street as we live right close to the heart of town). I keep the fire going. I make dinner if I can't persuade Posy to. I sometimes sweep the floor. The dishes get done. I write a few word here and there. I look at my garden mess/jungle and think, Well, it's not pretty but there's lots of food growing. I think interesting thoughts. Then it's time for bed. Meanwhile, Posy made fruit loaf and three batches of cookies. She is trying all the variations she can think of on the theme of peanut butter. She has given a lot away but it is my difficult duty to have to eat fruit loaf and peanut butter cookies this week..
Stop press: as I was about to hit 'Publish' my neighbour called to say he has 20kg of strawberries on his kitchen bench and would I like some? Well, yes, so i took a stew pot up the street and collected some strawberries to make jam and gave some away to yet another friend who just dropped in.
Why does he have 20kg of strawberries? Because one of his friends manages a strawberry farm and these are the seconds that they don't sell..
Eating this week:
From the garden: Lemons, silverbeet, parsley, sage, spinach.
Stored food: garlic
Preserved food: lemon verbena tea, dried oregano, apricot jam, cherry jam, tomato passata, dried apples, dried basil, stewed plums out of the freezer.
Gifted food: strawberries, banana and choc chip muffins plus turkish bread from Rosy's cafe job, meat for Benson's dinners which turned out to be wallaby. I took apples and rhubarb back up to the neighbour who brought me the wallaby. Kale and rhubarb from Paul's mum. I also gave more apples away to a friend who stopped by for a cuppa and who brought more cake! My mum and dad stopped in after the dentist and I fed them vegetable soup for lunch and they brought fruit buns and scones from their bakery delivery. Would you look at the crazy social whirl my life has become this week as we carefully pop our heads round our front doors and begin to see other people again!
How are things going where you are? Are you able to venture outside again? Choosing not to? Have you been thrifty? Share all the things:)