Processes and possibilities

Hi All,

It’s Tuesday and we are heading into Launceston for the day. We decided to go today because we received a “power outage” forecast in the mailbox for today promising us a day without power so we decided to kill 2 birds with one stone and go in to pay off our Polytechnic fees for the year and sign up for our course. Since I last posted we have been beavering away in the garden and bumbling around Serendipity Farm in general. Steve has been out fishing and caught a few that he felt sorry for and put back and he went to town to help a friends mum remove a pile of debris that came from an old carpet warehouse that was in the upstairs building of an inner city shop that she purchased and is going to renovate the top part as her home and have a shop underneath. The warehouse contained lots of long steel poles that go in the middle of display rolls of carpet and Steve’s friend told him that he could have as many as he liked. Steve had the brilliant idea that they could be used when we make our enormous edifice to human ingenuity of a vegetable garden and a morning helping a friend has given us another cornerstone to our ethos :o). I learned from Jessie/Rabid that I had to feed Audrey (soon to be renamed) directly before I put her into the fridge for her sourdough hiatus so that she could languish in style whilst feeding on her bounty. I had fed her, but about 8 hours earlier so I pulled her out of the fridge and fed her up and she rose up beautifully…is there nothing that this lovely and most gracious lady can’t do? Rabid shared about how she and Bertha (Audrey’s mum) are harnessed together and work as a team. I am still learning all about the team work and am having to do a lot more forward planning because you can’t just grab a jar of dried yeast from the cupboard and “bake”. You have to nurture the sourdough back to a happy state after feeding it and you have to plan your prospective baking event in advance because just about everything that involves cooking with sourdough takes more time. I am a processes girl and love the new routines but am still learning my timing. Last night Steve was running a diagnostic on the computer that took a LONG time and I didn’t get access to my sourdough information until 9.30pm. I was tired and crabby and poor Audrey needed feeding, dividing and putting back to bed in the fridge. I managed to grump my way through making the pizza dough for Steve’s tea tonight and what seemed like an ENORMOUS quantity of bread dough for baking later on today when we get back in and ended up with a kitchen full of flour, a bad temper, a twitching husband and poor Audrey being subject to being harnessed to a cranky cow rather than a willing helper. Once I learn the processes I love to refine and hone…I am always carving and grooming my processes and making them run like a well-oiled machine and someday, hopefully soon, this new baking friend and I will share some amazing adventures :o)

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This is what we feed our chooks and it is fortified with calcium (in the form of shellgrit) and has lots of grains and seeds. They seem to like it and when we discovered the 3 newly hatched chicks the other day we turned this into…

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This with the aid of my trusty Vitamix high speed blender.

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Here’s 1 of the babies, the rest are underneath “Blondie” our silver laced Wyandotte hen

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Steve made another thin spoon out of golden sassafrass…the metal teaspoon is for size comparison…Steve isn’t quite up to forging his own steel just yet 😉

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What’s left of my most comfortable early morning slippers…If you are reading this Stewart (oh dearest son of mine kissy kissy)…you know what to get your dear old Mam for this mother’s day! (Cheers Earl…sigh…)

We are still going through troubled times with the dogs refusing their food on days when it isn’t straight meat. Bezial is the worst culprit. We know that dogs need more than just meat for their health. They aren’t straight carnivores like cat’s are and need fibre and vegetables etc. for their internal health. Bezial and Earl are both good representatives of what is known as a very strong willed dog breed and Bezial is up there with the most stubborn of dogs. He has been refusing to eat for 2 days now and Earl has just been skimming the meaty lure off the top of his fibrous ingredients. They have a bone stash outside that Bezial has been living off and he even ate a few of the despised dog biscuits last night whilst looking at me piteously as if to say “you are starving me woman!” I can’t back down on this issue because it is what is best for the 2 of them but ignoring those pathetic eyes is very hard! Bezial is chief manipulator and attempts to get Earl to join him on his hunger strikes but Earl’s hunger is more important than Bezials need to be the boss and get his way and Earl has yielded to the foodie lure much to Bezials disgust so he is standing stolid on his high moral ground and I can hear his stomach creaking…good luck with that Bezial! If my children couldn’t make me give in to their foodie whims, you have NO chance! 😉

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Mum and baby kookaburra having a drink and a bath in some of the water baths that we keep topped up with fresh water. We have had a lot of babies born on Serendipity Farm including baby cuckoo shrikes, baby black cockatoo’s, baby butcher birds and baby kookaburras.

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Mum on watch while her baby splashes about in the bird bath

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An oak sapling takes 10 years to produce its first acorn…I think this might well be Serendipity Farms very first acorn! It grew on an oak tree that grew from mulched oak leaves taken from the front of the property

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There isn’t much flowering on Serendipity Farm at the moment…everything is on heat watch and is just marking time till we get some rain but this little nigella proves that if you pick the right plant for your situation, you can still have colour in an arid place

I have been following a lot of blogs that share how to do all kinds of things for yourself from foraging from weeds through to building your own wind turbines. I am up for the weeds but not quite ready for the turbine yet! I knew that you can make kefir with coconut milk and so decided to make my own coconut milk from dried coconut in the pantry. I found a good recipe, I whizzed up the soaked coconut with its soaking water and strained it all through a clean cotton pillow case (gotta get me a nut bag…). I took the remaining pulp out to the food dehydrator to make coconut flour and smugly placed Kid Creole (my kefir grains…newly named from the 80’s band “Kid Creole and the Coconut’s”…) into about a cup full of my coconut milk. My coconut milk separated into cream on top and whey underneath and I didn’t care…my kefir grains sat there…and sat there… and sat there…and nothing happened. I got a bit concerned when the next day the milk was still watery and the kefir grains hadn’t set the milk and I decided to take mercy on Kid Creole and clean him off and put him into a glass of regular milk where he is fermenting to his heart’s content. I blame Rabid and her organic milk…she has spoiled Kid for anything other than pure dairy! ;). When we were in town on Tuesday we headed to the fruit and veggie shop and I found 8 mangoes for $4. I thought that was a pretty good deal and bought them along with half a rockmelon for $1.50 and when I got home I cut them up and froze them for my morning green smoothies. I also found passionfruit with lovely wrinkled skins that were fragrant and promising so I bought 2 and when we got home I sieved the pulp and juice from the seeds and poured it into Steve’s home-made orange and lemon cordial that I made the other day. It was already delicious but the addition of 2 passionfruit made it heavenly and after I picked some of our fragrant ripe ex-tip strawberries and pureed them up with about 500ml of the orange and passionfruit cordial the results both smelled and tasted amazing. Homemade isn’t second best folks…it’s the bomb!

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Passionfruit seed from 2 passionfruit drying out on a coffee filter ready for me to have a go at growing them from seed

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Same goes for rockmelon 🙂

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Here we have a plethora of seed etc. all waiting it’s day in potting mix. The bags are full of fermenting fruit. I am doing experiments and am trying to echo nature to get the best germination rates. I figure that plums and fleshy fruited plants would drop their seed and it would either go through an animal or would ferment on the floor and so I am prefermenting the fruit in it’s parental juices to see if it doesn’t grow better. Might work…might not. Thats the beauty of experimentation and if it grows “Good oh!” if it doesn’t “Them’s the breaks” and I will put it into the compost bin 😉

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Coconut milk on the left and coconut pulp on the right. The pulp is now dehydrated and in a jar in the pantry waiting to be used in recipes. I might even start fermenting the pulp before I dehydrate it for better digestion…so many experiments…so little time in the day! 😉

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Those large leaves are my turmeric that finally started to grow. I bought organic turmeric from a local health food shop and it loves the conditions in the glasshouse, which is lucky, because that is where it is going to have to live if it wants to survive on Serendipity Farm! 😉

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The last of the turmeric taking its time…pay NO attention to the Oxalis…I don’t! 😉

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A pot full of Oxalis and Discorea elephantipes developing their basal cordex amazingly well…nice and corky and round, my favourite kind 🙂

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One of my cardamom plants that seems to be loving the conditions in the glasshouse. I might get Steve to make me a big raised planter box that we can plant the turmeric and the cardamom in as a more permenant fixture in the glasshouse

Before we headed into Launceston to sign up and pay for our new course at Polytechnic yesterday, I took out the sourdough pizza dough that I had mixed up the night before from the fridge where it had been sitting in stasis. I left it on the counter because the recipe called for it to ferment 8 hours so I figured that it would be ready to turn into pizza when we got home. I eyeballed it when we got home and gave it a suspicious sniff and it smelled lovely and had risen to double its size.  We had more than enough for a large pizza tray and so I rolled some very thin and put it on another tray along with some thinly rolled out dough with some cheese pressed into it. We baked it in the bbq while we were topping Steve’s pizza and when we were ready to put the pizza in the oven Steve got to taste the results. He was more than happy with the flavour and how crunchy the thin dough was and the cheesy twisty thing’s tasted great as well…I was starting to get excited by now because the sourdough was actually rising, rolling and behaving like real bread dough! Steve pulled his pizza out of the oven after 15 minutes and ate the entire thing and pronounced it “delicious”. We have a large bowl of sourdough bread in the fridge rising slowly and tomorrow we will bake 2 loaves. If the loaves turn out, I am going to pronounce this sourdough experiment completely and utterly successful and will start baking in earnest (or Brunhilda…whichever one comes first 😉 ). I checked Audrey and found that she had escaped her container and was spilling down the side so rehoused her in a larger taller container to allow her to slowly grow and eat her organic rye flour at her leisure. It is going to take me a little while getting used to having to plan so far ahead when baking but I love processes and so am enjoying the learning experience and the possibilities that sourdough baking bring to Serendipity Farm.

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Isn’t this baby gorgeous?! I had to take a photo of it and share it with you 🙂

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The possums have been restless…sigh…note the complete lack of leafy greens on the top of this bean cube? They don’t eat the bean pods so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much…mutter…mutter…

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Eggplant futures!

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Mulch futures soon to be seen to migrate about a metre to the left…

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The last of the mulch futures…not sure where this is going but if we don’t need it in the front garden it can go into the stockpile ready for using in our new enormous enclosed vegetable garden…I love saying that “ENORMOUS ENCLOSED VEGETABLE GARDEN”! I am going to yell it tonight at the top of my lungs when I go outside at about 10pm before I head off to bed and I can hear the possums fighting over my bean bed… sigh…

I was thinking about processes while I was making my coconut milk (which I am going to have to think of something to do with now that Kid Creole has refused to work with it 😉 ) and how we can choose to pick up something ready made from the supermarket OR we can choose to have a go at making it ourselves. When you buy a product from the shelves it has “cost effectiveness” embedded into its ethos. The product is there because someone wants to make a profit out of it and you can rest assured that its flavour profile has been compromised in order to give it an extended shelf life and keep the cost down. When you make things yourself you might have to factor in the cost of making the item (electricity, personal effort etc.) BUT you get so much more out of the process. You get to learn the process of how to actually make the item, you get various items through the process, i.e. When I made Steve his homemade cordial I got orange skins to preserve and some for the compost, I got passionfruit shells for the compost and I got passionfruit seed that I am going to attempt to grow. When I bought rockmelon to put into my green smoothies I got the shells to put into my compost and the seed to attempt to grow as well as the frozen rockmelon pulp to add amazing flavour to my drink…we can customise what we make to our own personal tastes…too much sugar? Add some lemon juice…not enough sugar, add some more. It might take more time to make something yourself than it takes to grab something from the supermarket but there is an amazing depth of satisfaction to be gained from making your own and cutting out that insidious middle man who thrives on the profits of others. You can also take advantage of what is in season and preserve it for later and again, the satisfaction of shoring up your supplies for another time and giving yourself a degree of food security is immeasurable. There is another benefit to doing things yourself…in my case it results in my efforts to collect and save fruit seeds makes the kitchen smell AMAZING! :o)

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More pumpkin futures…another experiment. This is inside one of the compost heaps and aside from a few manky potatoes that get regularly stripped of leaves by either possums reaching in, wallabies waiting for the potatoes to (stupidly) poke out or slugs just slithering about at their leisure picking the tastiest bits to chew…they don’t like pumpkin leaves but they DO love the young fruit :(. Again, I see it as another way to learn how to be clever…I figure by the time I am laid 6 ft under I will be the cleverest woman in Sidmouth! 😉

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The chives are so happy they are flowering…wallabies LOVE the allium family, the chives close cousins, the garlic, have all had their tops munched down by the wallabies that parade around the outside of the veggie garden at night looking for anything poking out

The more you pare back from your life the more beautiful the simple things you retain become. I am enjoying my early morning wake-up cup of tea SO much more now that it is my only cup of tea. It tastes amazing and I fully appreciate it accompanying me as I read my rss feed reader blogs. I always have my eyes open for opportunities to collect plan material on our early morning walks with the dogs and have a large pile of all different kinds of seeds collected locally from perennials, trees and shrubs that are doing particularly well in our area. I collected some seed from a shrub at the Polytechnic where we signed up that appears to be a type of hawthorn with large panicles of white flowers and very large red fruit. It has enormous thorns and was growing in a very arid part of the garden all of which make it an excellent choice for growing on Serendipity Farm. Thorny plants are great habitat for small birds as are shrubs that are tall enough to make it difficult for predators to climb. Fruit and flowers are a bonus for bees and food for birds and it appears to be hardy enough to grow in very dry conditions making it ideal for our area. I phoned up the West Tamar Council and asked them about a large pile of wood chips that I have been eyeing off for about 9 months now. The parks and wildlife resources manager phoned me back and told me that if the pile had been there that long without being used that they obviously didn’t want it and that I was welcome to it! Steve and I spent 1 ¾ incredibly well spent hour’s today collecting 4 trailer loads of free mulch. It is rotting down nicely and is a good combination of leaves and bark and was nice and damp which shows how good it is at retaining moisture because we haven’t had a lot of rain for the whole summer. We left some around the base of a large liquidambar so that it wouldn’t be compromised by our removal of its windfall mulch and I am going to spend most of tomorrow shovelling it all over the garden under the deck and along the driveway to cover the exposed and parched soil.

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The tomato jungle…all the fruit is contained in this jungle…I am going to have to be narf7 the explorer and go hunting in here one day soon (or try to con Steve into doing it for me 😉 )

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My spinach beds, plundered on a daily basis for my morning green smoothie habit but it seems to have made them stronger and they haven’t wanted to go to seed so far…maybe pinching leaves all of the time is a good thing for a plant? The little beetroot haven’t amounted to much (they were the teeny ones left over when we harvested the bigger ones) but I figure I can eat the leaves if they don’t form roots so they have earned their place in the garden…note the numpty who’s shadow is included in this shot 😉

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Our corn bed with rocket going mental/to seed. I am allowing the rocket and lettuces to go to seed now so that I can collect seed for next years crops 🙂

I had best stop waxing lyrical and head off to sort out some photos to accompany this post. No Bev… it aint short! ;). I just have to hope that my enthusiasm for life is infectious and that my happiness in the simple processes bleeds through to you my dear constant readers and gives you your own simple enthusiasm for your own lives…at the end of the day…what more can we really hope for? See you on Saturday when I may, or may not have made some lovely yellow dishcloths with the pattern that Rabid sent to me…more like I have knitted a few rows…Earl has pounced on my most interesting moving yarn and either grabbed it and run, rendering the square suddenly puckered and decidedly unsquarelike or snicker snacked off the wool and run off with the ball…either of these 2 eventualities are highly likely! 😉

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. brymnsons
    Feb 13, 2013 @ 19:54:10

    The greens are positively glowing. I am envious. It will be a slow process to get mine up and running. Never mind, it I chip away at my list I just might have something happening by Spring….. next year 🙂 My herb garden is hanging in there. The basil has been chewed by something, but I think I have sprayed it into submission and I have lost a coriander plant. The rest is going fine, I have used various bits of it for my cooking. I put some used spring onions into a pot and they are growing well. It is hot over here at the moment, forecasting 41degrees for Saturday 😦

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 13, 2013 @ 20:12:27

      It’s hot here too! I guess our 27C doesn’t really compete though…you will have a lovely garden soon Kymmy :). You have a MUCH longer growing season than we do so you can keep beavering away doing what you are doing and you will get a reward at the end of it :). I am just marching in time waiting till we can build this new enclosure because the possums and wallabies are chewing everything that peeks outside its protective barrier. I hope that whatever ate your basil got a stomach ache (sorry if it was you Bruce but you DESERVE a stomach ache if you didn’t tell Kym! 😉 ). My coriander is somewhere in the middle of all those tomatoes! I occasinally see a few green seeds peeking over the top of the tomatoes so I think it went straight from edible coriander leaves to seeds. Stay cool on Saturday…is there a pool in your town? If so GO! Or, you could do what I would do, and you could turn the hose on yourself whenever it gets too hot :). Lying on the bathroom tiles also helps (if you can lever the dogs off them that is…) 🙂

      Reply

  2. athursdayschild has a long way to go and much to be thankful for.
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 01:47:23

    That spinach looks exceptionally good. We did have some great looking kale (grows well in cold weather) but the deer ate it. Our dogs usually keep them away, so wasn’t expecting that. I guess we will have to break down and put up a wire fence around the garden.
    I wouldn’t know how to use a turmeric plant. A friend gave me a stick of turmeric, which I guess I just grate. She brought it back from India.

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2013 @ 05:03:48

      Turmeric is an amazing plant. It has been used in India for many years in their medicine and food basket and is a powerful antioxidant. It is usually used in making curries etc. and you can buy it ground. It is a bright yellow colour and gives curries flavour and colour. It is also a very lovely plant. It looks a bit like an exotic ginger and has a lovely flower. I would grate that turmeric (it is a root) and would find a recipe for a curry paste online and have a go at making a curry from scratch (making the paste first). As a vegan, Indian food was my very first port of call 24 years ago when I started out on this journey because they eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan food and have done for centuries so they have honed the flavours for years. It’s the first stop for most vegetarians and there are so many meatless recipes that you can throw yourself into the cuisine without too many worries. The slugs (slimy tiny deer 😉 ) ate my kale. Our dogs bark at our possums and wallabies but our dogs are in an area enclosed around the house so they can’t actually get to the wallabies and possums (or Earl would never be seen again!) so if you get a torch and come out any time after dark you can see possums trundling along the ground on their way to mischief and wallabies (and kangaroos of late…) munching the lawn or a plant that they have taken a fancy to…its like a zoo here at night time! 😉

      Reply

  3. christiok
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 13:52:20

    The picture of Blondie with her chick made me yearn for some chicks here! Alas we have no rooster, but that decision still seems smart given our proximity to neighbors. All of Steve’s spoons are different. The variety available is mind-boggling when you think about it! Men have been carving spoons for MILLENIA, shaping the cups, sanding them smooth. Decorating them, oiling them. Spoons are the shape of life itself, and as I pointed out in some other text, literally thousands of years older than forks.

    Kookaburras! I’ve heard that song all my life and always ignorantly imagined a koala! Kookaburras are birds, of course. I confess I didn’t know. How can I be so, so, so….silly? Oh, well. 🙂 I learn so much on your blog!

    Keith’s parents live in Texas and have huge oak trees. They call the acorns “a-curns” — it’s the Texas accent, which I don’t have since my parents were not from Texas. I almost didn’t recognize the word when I first heard them talking about the acurns, and how cows will get very sick if they eat too many of them.

    Beautiful plant pictures! The summer light is breathtaking. Free mulch rocks. Love from Olalla. 🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 14, 2013 @ 14:00:21

      Kookaburras are noisy sods ;). The mother and baby were lovely in the water bath. Steve had just filled it up after the parrots had splashed it all out and they were there for quite some time bathing and talking to each other quietly. He is the baby kookaburra that scared the living daylights out of me a few weeks ago making his death metal sounds when he was practicing talking/laughing ;). A-curns it is! At least Kelsey will know what we are talking about when they next come to visit ;). Steve is talking about making small bowls, cups etc. out of wood and I want to practice carving. I have this thing about bees at the moment. I want to carve, draw etc. bees. No idea why but I tend to go with the flow…I let the world dictate to me sometimes, its usually very worthwhile to do so :). Free mulch rocks INDEED. We just spread a heap over our garden under the deck and the plants are happy as larry. We have high temperatures for the next 4 – 5 days and so we don’t want the poor things to go bottoms up. It has been a long dry summer and February seems to be promising a bit of a last hot HURRAH before it seeps back into the ground and we get our cold rainly normality back. Can’t say that I mind cold rainy at the moment ;). I will be baking 2 loaves of sourdough bread this afternoon…wish me luck! Love back from Sunny Sidmouth 🙂

      Reply

  4. foodnstuff
    Feb 14, 2013 @ 22:44:20

    Short it ain’t. Never fear. I am learning to speed read.

    Reply

  5. rabidlittlehippy
    Feb 15, 2013 @ 13:28:52

    Wow, you still give Audrey a LOT more care than I give Bertha. 🙂 I pull out my bread bucket and Bertha, tip any of the no-knead dough into the bread tin adn bake up a loaf then make a new batch. IF and only if Bertha’s quantities are running low I feed her and shove her back in the fridge. If she’s got 2 or more cups I just shove her back in as she is. She’s not failed me yet! 😀 The no-knead bread dough doesn’t need freshly fed starter as the bread dough is in itself a feed and as it sits and sours for a day or 4 (depending how long you leave it) it has plenty of time to do its thang. 🙂 The only time I give her a big special feed is if I plan on lots of baking, making pancakes or I plan on dividing and sharing. Otherwise I never divide her, just feed her a bowl of rye flour and water goop, stir her up and plop her back on the top shelf of the fridge (she does at least enjoy the penthouse 😉 ) Division happens naturally here when I bake. The difference I guess though is that we are a family of 5 including 3 hungry children who eat either sandwiches or toast most days (or sometimes both and that makes the day a 2 loaf day) so the feeding is regular anyway. 🙂

    Kid Creole not only had organic milk but RAW organic milk. I DID spoil the little bugger outrageously (sorry about that) but wanted to make sure I sent only the very best over to you. 😛

    Add some ginger and galangal to your turmeric and you will have all the exotic ingredients you need for Indian and Thai cooking… Except pepper. I’d LOVE a pepper plant. I’d grow it beside a vanilla plant. Oooo can you imagine the fragrance?!?!

    Making things yourself does take time and foreplanning but that’s part of the excitement I reckon. Planning ahead for dinner is a big deal for me as I tend not to get time to sit and think until well after 10am which is really the time I need to have pasta or pizza dough or whatever souring I want done, already on the go. It doesn’t make a huge difference to my family to have only 6 hours soured pizza dough but my guts are far less appreciative of it. I despise cooking 2 meals to suit different dietary requirements (which is one of the reasons we all eat sourdough). But the forethought of planning ahead for the year is exciting. Last year I bottled about 40kgs of tomatoes and make a couple of bottles of tomato sauce. THIS year I am buying 60kgs of tomatoes (at about $1/kg (they’re 2nd grade marties) and I will make a LOT more tomato sauce. No more dead ‘orse from the supermarket for us. 😀 And I am planning for tomato paste as well as at least 50 jars of tomatoes. I am now planning ahead and trying to buy the jars I need. 😉

    Your gardens absolutely inspire me. When I feel flat about the lack of harvest in our garden I look at those photos and I’m all excited again. My corns are about 4 inches long now although I have a few dozen zucchinis just getting ready to all ripen at once giving me a glut (rotten buggers 😉 ) and I did manage to harvest a tomato. Yep, A tomato. A singular red tommy toe. I’m torn between eating it and seed saving. Hmmm.

    Loving the long post as always and looking forward to seeing your knitting. Don’t stress if they look like a skew whiff square, they pull straight when finished. I have knitted 9 of them now. Totally hooked. 😀

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 15, 2013 @ 14:18:29

      I am still learning about Audrey…I guess it’s like your first child…you fuss around and do everything you can and spend too much time invading their lives and by the time you have had 3 the last one lives in the dirt, is allowed to eat the cats biscuits and gets weaned hopefully by the time they hit high school! ;). Cheers for the heads up about Audrey. I am a complete newbie when it comes to sourdough and have NO idea what I am doing but yesterday we made a gorgeous round loaf of sourdough that we tried as hard as we could to stuff up but it turned out beautifully anyway…despite us! ;). I will take note of the instructions…So I don’t have to divide her up? I guess I just dump her in and mix up more in the bucket for bread? That way I guess I keep “X” amount as “Audrey” and the rest goes into the bucket for bread. I only did half the recipe for the bucket “o” bread and it baked up beautifully. I am also using partially white flour as Steve is a bit “funny” about 100% wholemeal or wholegrain (although I don’t think he realises that the starter is rye 😉 ). The difference is that I won’t be baking anywhere near as much as you do so I guess I should stick with less Audrey as I will be baking less as Steve is the only one that eats bread.
      Kid Creole is almost back to normal and souring away again. He HATED the coconut milk…I am going to have to find recipes to use the kefired milk as I don’t use it and I have about 1 1/2 litres of kefired milk in the fridge. Might have to make a few cakes and some muffins etc. just to use it up. The freezer is going to benefit and I might have to start sending things in to my adult daughters in Lauceston :).
      We had ginger going great guns but it decided that it didn’t like the glasshouse conditions and croaked over last winter. Pepper would be great but you would probably be too cold (so would we) and vanilla comes from an orchid doesn’t it? It’s a bit like Brazil nuts…it needs a specific bug/moth/ant to pollinate it or it won’t produce fruit (or in the Brazil nut court, seed).
      I am fine with the foreplanning I am just going to have to get into the habit of remembering to sour the night before rather than just pull something off the shelf and “bam!”. I think the problem is that I was crabby and tired the other night but if I do it nice and early (say 7pm) I will be fine and will enjoy the processes before I start to fall asleep and drool ;). By the way, do you ever add anything to the bucket as in things like olives, sundried tomatoes, cheese etc? If I wanted to incorporate something like that how would I go about it? How long do you leave your loaf (that you tipped out of the bucket into a loaf pan) in the pan before you bake? I have 5 x sets of 3 bakers pans that I picked up at the tip shop. I use them to bake loaves in the covered bbq and they are amazing. Nice and dark and they were apparently used for years before the bakery went bust. I would like to make different flavoured loaves and was wondering if I could just throw a handful of olives, a few herbs and a few other things into the bucket dough to let the flavours mingle or would that retard its growth potential? Same goes for dried (or soaked dried) fruit? Once you take the dough out of the bucket can you treat it like regular yeasted dough? Can you (say) roll it out, fill it with filling and make something like cinnamon scrolls and if so, how long would they take to prove? I take it you like a strong sour flavoured bread? Steve is learning to appreciate a “slightly sour” flavour and I might be able to get him to work up to a bit more sour but at the moment I am just glad he is enjoying mildly sour 😉
      Now you have ME excited about preserving. Mum gave me a fantastic recipe for home made chilli jam that was scrumptious and we look like getting a bumper crop of jalapeno’s this year. We didn’t really plan our veggie garden, it was a matter of “what was available in punnets” at the time as we just wanted to get something into the ground. When we get this massive ediface to human ingenuity into the ground in autumn (after I spend days gloating and mooning the possums and wallabies from inside as they cling tenaciously to the outer walls…). We have lots of tomatoes hidden underneath the massive tangle of fallen branches (that we got sick of trying to tie up and just let lay on the ground) but one of us is going to have to contort ourselves into strange positions (similar to the Karma sutra!) to get into that enclosed netted area and I am going to rig it so it’s Steve! ;). Our capsicums are starting to take off as well thanks to the recent spate of hot weather we are getting and despite knowing that we are going to get a water bill from hades, I don’t care. It’s great to grow your own veg and once we get it all together, it’s going to be fun, rewarding, AND a vital part of the armour that will give us our sense of place here on Serendipity Farm 🙂
      You have more zucchinis than we got. I think the black gold was too rich for them and they were all leaves. We got a few monster marrows (Lebanese stuffing zucchinis) that our daughters took with glee and the odd yellow one but the green ones hated it and all of them got powdery mildew and turned up their toes :(. I haven’t been brave enough to pick up my knitting needles yet. We have been spreading our free mulch out all over the place after watering the poor parched earth heavily. We are trying to allow the garden to survive till the rains come in autumn. I KNOW it is going to be bloody cold this year and most probably dry as well. I choose to see it as another way to find how to cultivate and grow things…a challenge :). I will share my (hopefully not sad) efforts when I make my first dishcloth…no laughing though! 😉

      Reply

  6. thinkingcowgirl
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 06:55:07

    Love the bird watering station – delightful! And the chick is adorable. I’ve done sourdough before but I’m not sure it was as successful as yours – definitely not doubling in size 😉 Though it was delicious, with a crunchy crust. I think you have done much more feeding and tending to the starter, I was just keeping a bit back each time, according to instructions in my bread book. Perhaps I’ll try again. I know what you mean about timings though, it does take a lot longer so you have to work it out to fit in with everything else.

    Reply

  7. Dayna
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 08:35:15

    I’m about to begin my first forays into gardening, with my eventual goal to become a totally self-sufficient homesteader! I’m also going to start raising chickens for eggs soon! Anyways, your blog is new to me, but so inspiring! ♥♥♥

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 16, 2013 @ 13:29:14

      Hi Dayna 🙂 Glad to see you dropped by to Serendipity Farm. I applaud you for wanting to be as self sufficient as you can and raising eggs is a great start as you can’t help but understand natures cycles when you are dealing with chooks (The Aussie word for chickens 🙂 ). You feed one end and out of the other end you get both food AND nitrogen rich fertiliser to use in your veggie garden. You can throw the feathers and spent bedding in the compost. If you get VERY brave you can make liquid manure (but I haven’t gotten that brave yet! 😉 ) where you add chook poo to water and let it “age”. It stinks to high heaven BUT it is amazing stuff for your veggie garden and completely free which is great when you are starting out and everything costs money. Any time you want to drop by, please do so and ask any questions you like, if I can’t answer them, I will find someone who can 🙂 Have a great weekend 🙂

      Reply

  8. dwayland
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 11:15:41

    When I was a kid I learned the kookaburra song. I sang it for my husband once and the thought I was crazy. Those kookaburra beaks look kind of like Kingfishers’ beaks. I just love animals!
    And, there’s that Vitamix evidence. I just love using it.
    Your plants look great.
    And, you’re right, so many experiments, so little time!
    🙂

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 16, 2013 @ 13:17:51

      Kookaburra’s are members of the kingfisher family :). I use the vitamix for everything now, even processing the chickens food before they can manage whole grains (in my dry goblet)…I couldn’t make my morning green smoothie without it 🙂

      Reply

  9. Hannah (BitterSweet)
    Feb 16, 2013 @ 12:33:35

    Hehe, I hate to say it, but think that your birds eat better than most Americans. Power-packed seed blends, or greasy burgers..? Well, I know which one I’d choose! 😉

    Drying out coconut pulp for future recipes is such a brilliant idea, and now I truly regret just tossing mine when I had it. It’s so rare for me to buy whole coconuts because of the expense, so I really should get the most out of them as I possibly can. Filing that concept away for future use!

    Reply

    • narf77
      Feb 16, 2013 @ 13:15:32

      We spoil our cohabitants on Serendipity Farm Hannah and they are extremely fussy! It might be time to remind them how lucky they are ;). I have a stack of coconut milk that I haven’t got a use for at the moment thanks to Kid Creole and his complete refusal to even sniff at my coconut milk :(. He was raised on raw milk and is more fussy than the average kefir grains but at least Steve likes yoghurty tasting things and I can incorporate them into his diet if he wants (gotta save face SOME way! 😉 )

      Reply

  10. Trackback: Tomatoes, coconut flour, sauerkraut and foraged bounty | rabidlittlehippy
  11. Linne
    Mar 24, 2013 @ 16:10:48

    The spoons! OMG!! They are lovelier than you told me . . .
    The ones my sons’ Dad made were usually much bigger, more for measuring, mixing or cooking. But lovely also. Steve’s, though . . .

    Ok, make sure I am notified when the Mother’s Day draw is on . . .

    Love all the photos; have much more to say (what’s new??), but it’s after 11 and I’m on Mum’s computer and about to be kicked off.

    ~ Linne

    Reply

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