Tuesday, 31 January 2017
I don't want to ingest those artificial ingredients or spend money on inferior food, so I try to adapt or invent recipes to suit our tastes, using real ingredients, with no preservatives.
Recently I found a simple recipe for Coleslaw dressing that contains mayo, so I use Granny's mayo that I wrote about awhile ago. I always keep a big jar of it in the fridge to use as a base mayo.
I make up a batch and keep it in a screw top jar, usually only enough that we would use within a week, because we eat a lot of coleslaw type raw salads.
Half cup of mayo
Half cup of sour cream (did you know that the cheap home brand or Aldi sour cream is just as good quality as the name brands?)
One level teaspoon caster sugar
Half teaspoon of salt (Himalayan Pink or any good salt)
Mix it in the jar with a spoon, until well combined then add a splash (approx 1 or 2 dessertspoons) of apple cider vinegar to bring to the consistency of a thick dressing.
I don't know what it's called, so lets just call it,
Egg and Oil Mayo.
Put the following into a jar that is large enough to take your stick blender;
1 cup of good light oil (I use rice bran oil, because olive oil has a taste that is too strong for this recipe, and I don't use cheap vegetable cooking oils for good health reasons.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dry mustard (to taste)
Juice of half a lemon or 2 tablespoons
There's no need to blend and drizzle other bits in slowly; just put everything in together!
Place the stick blender into the bottom of the jar and blend.
Magic!! It quickly becomes a thick, pale yellow creamy delicious dressing.
It only takes a minute, and gets thicker the longer it's blended.
Fiddle around with it until you get the flavour you want; add more lemon juice to make it taste more Hollandaise if you like.
Or add some dried dill or chives.
I can't get enough of this at the moment, and am dipping thick slices of fresh picked zucchini and cucumber into it, for a snack.
It would be suitable for all types of food intolerances.. gluten free, sugar free, low carb, dairy free.
Guilt free creamy deliciousness.
If you have a salad dressing recipe you would you like to share, please do?
Sunday, 29 January 2017
Summer rains are not so good for bee keeping, wine grape growing, crop harvesting and sheep farming.
Not all of these challenges effect us, but a couple of them do.
Bees.. The unusual weather, cold nights and higher than average rainfall, has affected the nectar release in the flowers. The bees are collecting plenty of pollen to feed their brood, but nectar is in very short supply so they're not making enough honey to feed themselves or for us bee keepers to extract. Like anything where we depend on nature, bee keepers have good and bad years too, so there will be no honey for us to top up our supplies this year.
Most people think that it's a given that we can take honey every year, but it's just not so.
Sheep... Damp warm conditions are a perfect environment for fly strike in sheep. The blow flies lay eggs deep in the wool of the sheep. where they hatch into maggots that feast on the flesh of the host sheep. Fly strike is not confined to the tail area of sheep, so no amount of mulesing will prevent fly strike. Don't get me started on that horribly cruel practice, needless to say, we don't support that kind of treatment for sheep.
Checking our flocks of sheep that are situated about the area on various blocks is a daily event now, and the job is made much easier with Meg the kelpie sheep dog.
Occasionally a sheep will need treatment for body strike. Using hand clippers the wool is taken off the affected area, the maggots are scraped and flicked off, (yep, it's an awful job but it has to be done). The area is treated with a fly strike preparation that kills any eggs, dries up the area, and repels further fly strike.
Chillies, Goosberries, cucumbers, beans and dragon fruit are along the bottom part of the patch.
A message to all of those people who have been here to various functions in the past month and saw this garden looking very messy, you can now return and see why it was looking so messy.
The seeds that fell, are now coming up. The empty seed heads and spent plant stalks have been cleared away, given to the pigs to munch on. There is some order in this little patch once again.
Not too much order though... I don't work nature like that. There are still some flowering plants that are yet to drop their seeds, the bees need to eat too.
Tomato plants from the prunings of Brian's tomatoes that were planted in October. I wrote about taking cuttings to make more tomato plants here.
When his tomato bushes have finished fruiting, there will be more tomatoes ripening on these younger bushes that were planted later, extending our tomato eating pleasure.
Self seeding rocket and the water container for lizard friends inside the enclosed self seeding vegetable patch. A rock on the edge of the water and small rocks inside the container to prevent any drownings from smaller lizards.
The little orange tree is making good progress since I pruned and fed it in November. It gets a weekly feed of liquid manure or nettle and comfrey tea.
I have so much more to tell you, and show you, but this post has become quite long enough and I don't want you glazing over.
I bottled off my kombucha and put a kettle on the gas to make another batch just before I snuck away to write this. An hour has whooshed past and, yes you guessed it, the kettle is still on the gas, almost empty!! Ooops!
Time to get back to the tasks that need doing.
Monday, 23 January 2017
Our final Bee-keeping workshop for this season. Morning tea on the verandah.
After lunch we got hands-on with bees; checking the hives, finding the Queens, and uniting hives together.
Brian from Gawler.
People traveled from far and wide to attend.
Sue and her partner Pete traveled two hours from Jabuk, in the Mallee region of South Australia.
Both of these delightful ladies are blog readers, so it was both overwhelming and humbling to meet them. Of course we clicked immediately, as we felt like we already knew each other.
Sue and Pete, from Jabuk.
Alan loves people so he was all smiles.
Each of us have our strong and weak points, so I guess we compliment each other. I do the behind the scenes stuff; marketing, bookings and financials, the food (morning tea and lunch), and general assistant facilitator.
Brian is the bee keeping Guru. He sets up the classroom areas, prepares the projects, and speaks all day.
Yesterday's session ran well overtime, but no one seemed to mind staying until 5.30pm.
Roberta and John from Marananga are in the background, and oh my goodness, what beautiful people they are. In fact, we had another wonderful group yesterday and made even MORE new friends.
So it's a wrap! The next workshops will start up again in October, when the next bee season gets under way.
Cheers, and thanks for popping in to this little blog.
Saturday, 14 January 2017
Brian planted the cut off ends that were in the buckets of food scraps that we collect from a restaurant to feed the poultry. They did nothing for all this time, just sat there asking for water!
Well this is what's happening now.
The pineapple is a most intriguing fruit, as we are discovering as it develops. Does anyone know how long it might take before it grows big enough and ready to eat?
I don't know about you, but the severe heat saps the energy from me. I'm feeling for those in Queensland who are living with temperatures in the high 30's and into the 40's day after day. I'm also feeling grateful that we down south are having an easy time of it so far, this summer.
Today was a deliciously mild 24 degrees here in the Barossa, and perfect for catching up on some gardening.
At one point he/she came rushing toward me, I wondered what was happening, then he caught and gulped the fly he was chasing.
Thanks for dropping in,
Monday, 9 January 2017
I'd had this foolish thought that I would write a blog post every day!!
However, I'm getting over my sense of failure as, nine days later, I haven't written a single word.
Anyway, who am I to think that anyone would want to hear from me every day? ;)
My other goal for this year is to take some short breaks, or even just have a day away from the farm, visit friends, go somewhere new within my own state. So I'm pleased to report that a few day outings have been written into my diary for this month, and a three night short holiday has been booked for further along the track, but more about that one later.
I love being at home as you, dear reader, would well know by now, but I think that seeing new places is enriching, and educating. I never want to stop educating myself.
I want to be occupied, I want to achieve things every day, I want to sit and read for a little while every day too, but I no longer want to feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done here on the property every day.
I'm learning more every day about living in the moment. It takes a conscious effort to stop my mind from its busy-ness and to think about what I'm doing when hanging out the washing, feeding the pigs, milking the cow, and all of those other mundane tasks. By slowing down just a tiny bit, and thinking about how lucky I am to have all this, making the time to do it all properly with intention, the mundane tasks take on a new light.
Oh yes it's all very well to say this, and I know it wouldn't work if I was still working at my paid job for more days than I do now. The sense of calm that I feel since cutting back my working days by just one day, has gifted me the most amazing balance to life.
I feel like I'm now living the dream.. and I am.
Brian's bumper garlic crop.
The stone fruit crops in South Australia have been affected by the crazy weather this spring and summer, and our apricot pick was hardly enough to do much with.
I froze a few fresh ones before packing into vacuum sealed bags to put in the freezer.
Freeze halves on a tray, before packing so the vacuum sealer doesn't suck out the juice when sealing.
I used this recipe from Rhonda's Down to Earth blog. I made them last year too and they remained crisp all year, developing better flavors the longer they were kept. I always make a triple batch, and add a piece of garlic and chilli to some of the jars.
I hope your New Year plans haven't gone pear shaped. Or have they? Do tell. ;)
Sunday, 1 January 2017
I hope all of you dear readers had a lovely Christmas, and are ready to embrace this coming year. Well, it's here, whether we're ready or not!
I'm blessed to be able to say that every year, as it happens, is a good year for me. Sure, there are challenges, but what doesn't beat us makes us stronger.
I feel for those who lost loved ones last year, or who suffered from illness, and I wish for you a year of healing, good health and happiness.
Mother Nature is certainly giving us some attention lately.
One of a pair of Golden Robinia trees at the front of our home fell over, leaving a big gap in the garden. The above photo shows how big it was with the remaining of the pair still standing.
How lucky we were though, with the tree crashing in the only direction that caused minimal damage. A metre either way and we would have had serious structural damage to either the fences or the house.
In true Brian spirit, the chain saw had a work out, and all fallen and damaged trees were dealt with before morning smoko. Fortunately, he was on annual leave for the days between Christmas and New Year, so was on hand to get into action immediately.
fence jumping incident and with treatment every day, she is recovering well.
After a five day course of antibiotic injections, we waited for more than double the with-holding period, before drinking the the milk.
For those of you who regularly read this blog, you will know that we don't use antibiotics or conventional pharmaceutical preparations on ourselves or our animals, but in this case, and under the guidance of our trusted vet, we had no other option. For smaller injuries and ailments we always use Vitamin C injections for the animals, and this is the first time in twelve years of cow raising that any of our animals have received antibiotics.
Having had so much treatment and endured such pain and trauma, I am amazed that she still walks into the dairy every day and allows me to put the milking cups on the remaining three good teats.
In fact, in the last few days, she has been easier to bring in and we have confidence that she will return to the easy going cow that she was earlier in her previous lactation.
Over these past few years we have learned from our experiences of what this land of ours can comfortably manage. We have learned about what we want from our land, how we prefer to manage it, and what our needs are. We observed how the cows and sheep prefer to move around this land, what feels more natural for them, and so we have adapted our new yards to suit.
We call this "evolving" with our needs and our gained knowledge.
Those new rails are covered in Creosote, so poor Brian suffered horrible burning skin on his arms from the fumes as it was he who did all the work there.
Those days were hot, and I was in the kitchen preserving cucumbers and during the heat of the day, doing some of the other jobs that keep piling up,. I confess I have nowhere near the stamina that he has.
To soothe the skin on his arms he's rubbing on organic coconut oil that I use for cooking and for all of our skin care. He's also taking Milk Thistle capsules as a liver cleanser to help rid his body of the toxins absorbed through the skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and everything that goes onto it is absorbed into the blood stream. I'm also making him green vegetable juices and making sure he drinks lots of water.
A twisted willow tree was planted in the corner to provide shade when it grows tall. The leaves are medicinal and contain natural Aspirin. Stock will eat them when they feel the need.
It's wise to have an area like this where stock can be enclosed if needed, for treatment, for moving, or just quietening them down and getting them used to being handled.
I'm stunned at the number of people who buy farm animals, but have no infrastructure in which to enclose them if needed.
What happens when the cow gets a grass seed in it's eye? How can it be treated?
The damaged teat is healing well, but now when she lets down her milk for the calf, or when being milked in the dairy, the milk from that teat runs freely.
Only time will tell how this will be managed in the long term, but for now she appears to be happy and no longer in pain.
And all this was only a part of our Christmas, New Year activities.
We ate some lovely food, enjoyed some time with family, checked bee hives, moved sheep to different paddocks on the other side of town, and all of the other daily farm tasks as well.
Is it any wonder that my year flies past so quickly?
Happy New Year and lets get the most out of each day, give thanks for every new day, and appreciate all that we have at the end of the day.