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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Composting Know-how From A Worm Wrangler

Our Living Better With Less group met up last Thursday and our guest speaker had a BIG subject
She gave a superlative talk to our group, keeping jargon to a minimum and dispelling the mysterious, she proposed simple no frills ways with waste for every home.
She talked about hot composting, cold composting, worm farming and bokashi.

Dianne has taken on an exciting project that I'd like to share with locals and maybe others could start in their communities too. About four months ago Dianne found two cafes wanting to commit to saving their food waste for collection. A team of people are rostered to pick up the buckets of scrap and they either use them to feed chickens or make compost or feed worm farms. Both of the cafes are vegetarian and have a lot of organic waste matter. This is a win/win for the cafes and for the people using the waste and it's FREE!


There are more cafes wanting to come on board but they need more people to do collection. What do you think? Are there any locals who can help?
Are you inspired to do this in your town?
Has your community garden or school garden thought about this resource in your area?

"Garden of Vegan"

The goal is to eventually find a central location for mass scale composting and then making the rich humus available for all gardeners. Ideally council co-operation would be key and it could also be a site where they dump their collected leaf litter, grass clippings and tree mulch. The group is dreaming of owning a gobbler that turns waste into compost in 24hr turn around!!!

If you are interested in knowing more about the project or about worm farming or bokashi methods check out the face book page here Worm Wranglers
Thanks Dianne for an awesome talk.
Next month we meet up 26th June
at 3 Charles St south, Launceston
We will be looking at simple herbals around the home and step by step making a healing salve.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Autumn Preserves

Summer preserving is a mad time but I would have to say that autumn is the same, if not, it at least comes a close second. In the autumn my preserving comes from some cultivated crops like chillies, lemongrass and various herbs both culinary and medicinal but it also comes from foraged plants too like rosehips and hawberries and plantain and late red clover.

When I moved into my house nearly 30 years ago, there was a hook in the corner of the ceiling in the dinning room. I suspect it was from a macramé hanging of the 1980's and rather than deal with a hole I left the hook and painted it inconspicuous white. I'm so glad I did and I can't tell you how often I use it. Once I got past the "my home should look like the pages of Home Beautiful" stage and actually started to live in my home, I started drying my herbs here because the heating tends to get a bit trapped towards the ceiling here and it makes it perfect for drying. At the moment I am drying large bundles of wormwood in flower. If you can get hold of one of these old fashioned onion, shallot, garlic keeping hangers of collapsible hanging baskets do so; currently my beans are finishing off here for dried beans but I use it often for curing my soaps too. 

Here I am stripping and storing previously hung wormwood. This will be made into nesting box potpourri for the chickens and also insect repelling sachets for the linens and storage cupboards.
The jar behind contains the rose hips that I foraged the other day. Having them dried and stored means I can use them for salve making or tincturing or cordial another day when they are needed. I might even use them hot glued on a Christmas wreath!

I'm collecting seeds and podding dried beans and making dried teas. Above is the head of a Giant Russian sunflower and the purple king beans dried and ready, also a bunch of dried lemongrass that has been air drying. The lemongrass has been chopped in the Thermomix and is now ready for herbal tea blends and adding to tub teas.
The dehydrator is great for small herbs and holds the colour beautifully. I'm drying oregano, calendula, mint and parsley. These ingredients will be used when needed for meals, salve and soap making and herbal blends for bath, body and chickens! There is still so much to be gleaned and harvested.
another important preserving technique.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Blanket For Every Age

We are ever so delightfully otherwise engaged around these parts with the new grandchild
Could I please direct your attention to the beautiful blanket beneath the stunning babe.
This was made by my sister-in-law following the squares from my "Knit With Me" series.
This was a serious of posts that I did featuring various knitting stitch panels.
She has applied herself with far more discipline than I have and completed several of these sampler blankets for close friends and family members in various colourways.
Her nephew is a very lucky boy and I treasure that this will be something that he can keep with him all through his growing years.

I imagine him at 5 yrs cuddled up with it in front of the TV
I imagine him at 14yrs with it across his lap as he finishes a school assignment
I imagine him at 17yrs at the rowing or the football 
I imagine him at 20 yrs with it on the back seat of his first car
I imagine him at 30yrs with it wrapped around his own child......

Photo credit goes to Tegan and is entitled "Sleeps Like a Cactus" (good grief)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Preserver's Wish List

Know what preservers want?
for Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Christmas....?

Can never have enough of them.
We love them and when you are flat out bottling, decanting, tincturing, pickling....
it's really a treat to be able to reach for a label.
Above are just some that I have found for free at The Graphics Fairy and they can be printed onto adhesive labelling or plain card stock with double sided tape attached.
Very quick, very easy, very appreciated.
get the kids to do some stamping or stencilling and create labels for giving. They could practice their scissor cutting with some fancy pattern scissors out of your scrap booking supplies.

Failing that if you really want to purchase a gift for a preserver then go ahead and shop for a funnel....we have a penchant for funnels. Or is that just me....I do love a variety of funnels.
And strainers....
beautiful knives,
and perhaps just one more cook book....

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Autumn Picnic

Not too cold
Not too hot
Autumn is juuuust right
for picnics.

Glorious colour and a nip on your cheeks.
Muffled footsteps on leafy carpets.
Smokey fires from BBQs
Earthy scent of damp humus rich soil

Holly branches laden with red berries
Stone walls cloaked in decades of moss
Shafts of sunlight penetrating glowing canopies
Contrasting trunks of strong dark verticals

Our spur of the moment picnic:
Chicken legs coated in soy and pomegranate molasses and baked till golden
Home made sausage rolls with garlic and lemon myrtle
Fresh figs, soft cheese and fresh bread rolls
Thermoses of hot coffee
Simple Date Slice
1 cup of Self Raising flour
1 cup of desiccated coconut 
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup of roughly chopped dates

Melt 125g (1/4lb) of butter and add 2 tabs milk

Mix the wet into the dry and press into a shallow tin suitable for a slice
Bake at 180C for about 25 mins till lightly golden.

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