We have 4 enormous tubs, 3 large pots, and a couple of middling sized pots filled with potting mix and/or various vegetable matter. For the big tubs, I raked up a heap of leaf litter and filled them 1/3 with that, 1/3 with chopped lucerne, and 1/3 with organic potting mix. There’s more lucerne left over to be mulch.
I’ve planted the 4 tomatoes, 3 peppers, basil, and thyme into the tubs and the largest of the pots. I’m waiting on seeds to arrive to plant stuff in the other ones.
Our worm farm also arrived today. Darebin (our local municipality) is a Transition Town so they have various programs to encourage sustainability. One of them is subsidised worm farms. Ours cost $60, and I’ll head down to CERES tomorrow to buy some worms to put in it.
Emily was going to make dal saag but she forgot to get spinach, so instead we had fried gnocchi. I threatened to blog her cooking, but she said she’d blog it herself at the food/craft/domesticity blog she shares with our friend Ana so keep an eye out for it there. Suffice it to say that she fried gnocchi in olive oil with vast amounts of garlic, then added kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, fresh tomatoes, and fresh parsley. We ate it with parmesan sprinked over, and it was amazing, especially after all the gardening work.
(Updated: she’s posted her recipe here.)
Now she’s got some lemon slice in the oven, using the lemons we found in that empty block yesterday. I am looking forward to them so much — that sort of slice is just like Nanna used to make, and something I hardly ever do myself but love intensely when other people do. She’s using this recipe.
There is going to be a lot of food preservation going on around here this summer. I bought an 80s-era Fowlers Vacola preserving unit from eBay the other week, but only after determining that actually, you don’t need to use the expensive Fowlers branded jars with the pain-in-the-arse lids. Seems you can use any jar you want, as long as it is clean and unchipped, and has a fresh lid. Green Living Australia sell bulk lids for standard Australian jars (the ones you find most often in supermarkets, such as jam, pasta sauce, and pickle jars), so I got a bunch of them, and they came today.
Now historically I’ve just re-used the lids that came with jars, but I was usually making sugar or vinegar-heavy recipes (jams, chutneys, pickles) that didn’t really need heat preserving and where bacteria would basically be scared off before they got anywhere near it. This year I want to preserve stewed fruit and passata (tomato sauce) without masses of added preservatives, which means hot water method and being much more finicky about the jars and lids I use.
Anyway, the Fowlers unit should be good for the hot water preserving in the summer, since it is an enclosed container with a lid, that runs on an electric cord (basically like a kettle or an old fashioned hot water urn), and which you can even put outside to run on a hot day, which means the kitchen needn’t get too overheated.
Also from Green Living: yoghurt culture and assorted bits and pieces for yoghurt making. In the past I’ve mostly just made yoghurt from other yoghurt, but I thought it might be worth a try doing it from dry culture for a change. We’ll see how it goes.
Christmas: I don’t think any of us in this house are massively into Christmas decorations, but we do like fairy lights, so we’ve been buying them and decorating the carved woodwork around the house with them. Today I discovered that you can get solar powered LED lights in the garden department at K-Mart for cheaper than the ones in the Christmas decoration area, so we’re going to put some of them over the front door and around the gatehouse. We’ve got the plain white ones and we’re intending to leave them up year-round.
Knitting: It’s warming up but it’s not so hot I can’t knit. Since I’ve been reunited with the bits of my yarn stash I left in storage in Australia, I’ve cast on a few things in an attempt to get rid of some of it before my other stash arrives from the US.
I have several not-quite-a-jumper amounts of 8 ply wool, so I’ve got this stranded yoke pullover (body in an oatmealy colour and yoke in grey-blue and cool brown), and a striped EPS in cherry red and black Cleckheaton Country on the needles. The former of those is up to the armpits and I’ll probably join them tonight and start on the yoke. Unemployment turns out to be good for my knitting productivity. Surprise.