Green and Thrifty

Dried greengages, pears, feijoas, basil and zucchini slices.

More of the same, really. Drying pears, apples, feijoas and basil. Making pesto. And finally, making more passata. I have had terrible trouble tracking down sources of local tomatoes. They have been ripening very slowly now that the weather is getting colder, and the month of March, which is usually very warm.. wasn't. My very helpful friend Cindy turned up today triumphantly bearing several kilograms of perfect ripe tomatoes - grown by some lovely ladies at Evandale, fifteen minutes drive out of town. So today I have made eight more jars of passata, and will have enough to do at least four more in the morning.. another friend passed on the news yesterday that there is an old man a few streets away who is selling sauce tomatoes from his garden, so Benson-the-Wonder-Tomato-Sensing-Hound and I will have to go on a tomato-hunting mission together in order to fill up the last of the forty empty passata bottles I prepared earlier.. the next post will feature the final winning passata recipe from my weeks of experimentation.

I have been industriously crocheting more squares for my afghan blanket. When my mum was here a couple of weeks ago she reminded me how to make them, and wrote out the instructions, and I have been very, very good, crocheting at least one a day. According to Posy's calculations we need about forty more squares. The truly green and thrifty part of this project is that most of the wool I have used is from the op shop, much of it from giant, ugly hand-spun wool jumpers (sweaters, jerseys, pull-overs for the international audience), the ones which make you look like a wombat when you wear them, which I unknitted and wound into balls. The rest is lovely Australian alpaca given to me for Christmas by my nice mum.. Mum also donated a vest which my grandma knitted for my dad many years ago. She unravelled that and wound it into balls as well. The weather is rapidly getting cooler, so we will need a cosy couch blanket sooner rather than later.. Meanwhile The Girl is branching out on her own and has started using up some of the coloured wool from our stash, so we should be toasty warm this winter.

When we found our lovely puppy Benson at the RSPCA in November, I discovered that just outside the front gates at the RSPCA is an area where trucks from local mills and businesses that create timber off-cuts can dump them for people to pick up for free firewood. Brilliant! So last week when I did my weekly shopping in the neighbourhood I popped two big tubs in the back of the car and filled them up with free kindling. Goody. Reducing municipal waste and lighting my fire for free. Two excellent outcomes.

Last thrifty experiment for the week - I have finally, after years of experimentation, worked out how to make perfect naan bread. I already do a quite nice butter chicken, so now our favourite take-away is all home-made. Even better, two out of the three girls can also make brilliant butter chicken, and cook the naan bread, so all they have to master is the dough.. recipes to follow.. when I remember to take some photos (here is a peculiar fact. Even though my girls are excellent bakers, and love playing with dough, they are not keen on making it. I love making and kneading dough. Clearly we were made for each other).

Not Thrifty - Note to Self - do not buy bags of Easter eggs weeks early when they are on sale, as you know you will only eat them then have to go and buy more..


Anonymous said…
Sounds like a perfect week to me. Except I don't know what feijoas are and don't think I've ever eaten them. Same with greengages.

You certainly seem to be more active. Hope there's time for reading and daydreaming?
Linda said…
As always, I loved your post! I loved the description of looking like a wombat in the home spun knitted jumpers. Saw a wombat in the countryside between Sydney and Canberra a couple of weeks ago, so I now what one looks like for real. I love feijoas, such a lovely scented flavour. They are grown near here in Motueka(NZ) but I have never seen them back home in the UK. You are lucky to find hand knitted jumpers in the op shop. I always look but never see any.
Linda said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda said…
Sorry, my post was printed twice, hence the 'withdrawn' one. Also I meant to say congratulations to your daughter for making the lovely blanket!
Jo said…
Lucinda, any time for reading?? Ha, such a silly question. I live to read. Sometimes I get other things done in between.. I have read four novels this week. And I am trying to get through a tedious book on economics, which I feel I ought to know something about..

Feijoas look like sweet little green mice. They grow on large shrubs with gorgeous red flowers that bloom at Christmas and look very festive. The fruit has a very strong scent, like quinces, and you generally either love them or hate them. They are very big in NZ, could be native there? Not sure..

Linda, of course you have seen feijoas in NZ. Is it the national fruit? All Kiwis sadly trapped in Australia for one reason or another, seem to love them.

I'm glad you saw a wombat, aren't they divine and adorable, like furry, ambulant ottomans?

Oh, and yes, such a clever daughter. And what's more, I expect she will actually finish it, which is not something I ever did with a craft project at her age (or any other age!!)

Judy said…
I can't believe that after all the fruit and vegetables you have dealt with, you still have enthusiasm left for making all your passata and crocheting a blanket! You really have some good cottage industries on the go there.
Heather F said…
I wish I lived near you so you could teach me how to make granny squares. I keep trying to learn from books and the internet, but I just end up frustrated and abandoning my yarn for months at a time. I have some sort of mental block when it comes to all those stitches!
Bek said…
I'm loving all that dried fruit. Looks like heaven to me.
My thrifty week has been my cider making - cost me all of the electricity to crush the apples and a few hours of my time. Hopefully I will have around 50 litres of brew to drink (shared with friends and family of course, that would be a lot to drink on my own) which should last a good while. Cider is expensive these days.
I love homemade naan bread. In fact any sort of bread dough rolled flat and pan fried is a winner in my book. Well done you.
Jo said…
Judy, I don't watch TV so I have all the time in the world:)

Heather, I would love to live next door to you and teach you how to make a granny square! That is the third phase of learning a skill - watch, practice, then teach. Do you know any old ladies? Think how wonderful it would be for groups of young people (you know, us!!) to be able to go to a nursing home and have the folks there teach us all the nana skills. If I were the organising type I would do that..

In the meantime, if you are completely stuck, email me via the contact details at the top of the page and I will see if I can talk you through it..

Bek, like you and your dried apples a few weeks ago, the children and I have trouble rationing our dried fruit servings..

I loved the pictures from your cider post, and will be waiting in great suspense to see how that turns out. It is on my list of things to get to in life. I really hope I live a long time.. it is a very long list..
Anonymous said…
Preserving food, making naan bread, starting a crackling fire, crocheting, reading, and eating Easter eggs - sounds perfect to me!
Mimi said…
Jo I think you're living my dream life. And yes, NOT watching TV frees up ones times for so many other more useful and gratifying pursuits. Love the afghan squares. Mimi xxx
Jo said…
Dar, it is a bit nice. And all the leaves are turning and autumn is my favourite season! Happy days!

Mimi, your life always sounds pretty special, I think you have things well worked out!

Maybe the trick is to want very simple things for your dream life, then it is a pretty straightforward pathway to living the dream!!
heather said…
Want very simple things... Now there's a keeper.
Thanks for inspiration, as always.
--Chicken Heather
Annabel said…
So many good things! I came for a catch up and you have been doing heaps! Love the crochet and the colours. Xxx

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