Friday, March 23, 2012

Vaguely vacillating.....

I've just finished a post about how tired I've been this week due to treble normal work hours and His Lordship "suffering" with a MAN cold-and the ether ate it! AAARRRRGGGHHH!

So here goes again..probably a more truncated version now..

Despite the workload this week, I've still managed to get through most of the jobs I had listed in my head at the start of the week. Instead of the daily schedule I had planned, I've just done what I could when I've had the energy!

As I posted yesterday, the dog food was made and the chooks dosed with a mash. I've also got some homemade ginger beer started ( the plant anyway) and made some caramel fudge as a treat. Meals have all been homemade-although to be honest I would have happily resorted to takeaway last night!

This morning we had some straw for the garden delivered for the garden at 7am. I have spread horse manure over the top soil shifted by His Lordship last weekend and the straw will be strewn across to create mulch.

Even when busy outside the home, it is possible to live a self sufficient lifestyle, using skills which the corporate world would prefer us to forget!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursday Thrift..........

This week's Thursday Thrift is full of garlicky goodness!

I adore garlic-not only for it's pungency in cooking, but also for it's multitude of uses around the home. It can be used as a natural antibiotic ( ala Florence Nightingale!), a wormifuge, organic pest spray, companion plant and of course-a home strewn witth garlic is professed to be vampire free! It must work because thus far we are yet to be visited by vampires!

Last year I planted around 40 cloves-which I happily harvested in December. This harvest is to be used mainly in pet food ( both dogs & chickens) and as garden treatments...because although I love the taste of garlic, His Lordship suffers unfortunate side effects from it!

Garlic is an easy and cheap crop to grow-I tend to plant and forget about it! It doesn't require a lot of water or fertiliser, although avoid planting in heavy soils as it can rot.

Today I'm using some to add to both the dog food I'm making and the warm garlic & apple cider mash for the chickens. The chicken mash is just some rolled oats mixed with water and cooked in the microwave, then mixed witrh some crushed garlic and about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar-then girls love it!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Much manure.......

It's been a busy week! The baby shower went well. One of the most poignant moments was when our daughter's friend had arranged for us all to write letters to the baby. These were kept private and handed to the Mum-to-Be, to be read at her leisure. In 21 years they will be displayed at baby's 21st birthday-what a lovely momento! To say nothing of the thriftiness!
In addition, over the weekend we ordered 6m3 of topsoil for the garden-it was duly delivered and moved via wheelbarrow by His Lordship and two helpers!

The soil is being used for raised strawbery beds ( mixed with our heavy clay soil, horse manure and partially composted straw-thanks to our hens!) and in garden beds across the front of the house. We bought the basic topsoil because the "enriched" soil cost nearly double the price-which would have cost us nearly $180 more! We have access to horse manure for $1/bag- and will only need 20 or 30 bags to toss on top before's worthwhile taking a moment to research what you can access locally for your garden to save money.

I have ordered a self-pollinating almond tree and strawberry plants to replace the ones which baked in the clay soil over our unusually dry Summer. The Strawberry plants are Cambridge Rival-a small yet exceptionally intense flavoured strawberry with a short summer picking season; and Aromas...a more modern type which provides large berries over a longer season. We have the garden ready to go as soon as the plants arrive.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Thrift..........

The past week has been a busy one-which included a quick trip to Sydney to enjoy a few days with some dear friends. I came home mentally refreshed-which is just what "the doctor ordered!".

Just as well, because this weekend we will be hosting a baby shower for 30+ people! Our youngest daughter is expecting a girl and requested that the baby shower be held here..along with " Mum, can you do a little bit of cooking?" Which brings me to today's thrifty for a crowd!

I've come to realise over the years that with a little planning and a few "tricks", catering for a crowd can be reasonably cheap. I try to keep the foods available bite size-which avoids a lot of crockery and cutlery being required...napkins will be needed.

Menu planning which utilises everyday ingredients will keep the cost down. For example, 4 eggs will provide egg whites for individual pavlovas and little meringues..... 18 individual pavs plus 30 mini meringues were made from the 4 egg whites I used....

...the yolks can be used to make custard for individual trifles-which will also utilise some cupcakes which didn't hold their shape when being baked.

Wine glasses are perfect for individual trifles. For the individual pavlovas, I find it easy to use a jar lid the size you want your pavs to be and draw around it on baking paper. Turn the paper upside down ( just in case any of the ink bleeds into your pavs) and pipe or scoop the meringue mix onto the circles.

Strawberry babycakes will also be on the menu....

and because we have sufficient ( OK, more like enough to feed the starving hordes in the Third World)  zucchini supplies, I will use the mini cupcake pans to make individual zucchini and bacon muffins.

We will also be having various games on the day...such as "Sniff the nappy", Guess the girth ( if the Mother to Be agrees! ;) ), Guess what the baby bottle holds, Spit the Dummy and Team Jigsaw Challenges.

I'm looking forward to an enjoyable day with the knowledge that I haven't had to spend exorbitant amounts of money for catering!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Thrift..........

Today's post brought to you by.......nope, it's not a sponsored post-but it is because of ALDI!

I know, I know-anybody who enjoys a thrifty,frugal and sensible ( if you ask me! ;) )lifestyle already KNOWS about ALDI. There have been blog posts beyond count about that place......but, yesterday I found something there which got me very excited!

TaDa! I give you....the MINCER!

This baby is cast iron, comes with three blades and a sausage making attatchment-all for the princely sum of $14-99 AUD! I' ve been wanting to make my own sausages for quite some time, but baulked at the cost of buying a mincer. Happiness in the household today!

The idea is to produce sausages which resemble a food product-unlike the filler filled offerings from the local supermarket! The "gourmet" versions are quite expensive-so the plan is to learn how to make something which is tasty and cheap!

All hints gratefully received......

Watch this space!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday's musings....

We have just spent a tough week coming to terms with  the death of a dear friend's 15 year old son. He died whilst bravely trying to rescue a friend's dog from an oncoming train.

Obviusly our grief is nothing compared to that of his family. They bravely organised a touching farewell for him and now must face a future which he will not walk with them.

One of the things which this last week has reminded me of, is the importance of not becoming TOO self sufficient emotionally. In times of sorrow, you will need those around you who can support you, who can understand that your heart feels as if it has been torn in two-that NOTHING will ever be the same.

It is so easy in these days of technology to become disengaged from real life, to become insular and emotionally distant. Please, make the time to connect with those in your life who are important.

The week has also made me focus on how busy I have once again become at work-leaving less time for the home. I have had to readdress what work hours will be suitable for me to work for the rest of the year.....I want to work around 12 hours a week-this money will be utilised for some small projects around our home plus a couple of trips for His Lordship & I. We have spent so many years putting everyone else first that it's nice to plan some activities for us!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thursday Thrift..........

Today it's all about tomatoes. Home grown, sun ripened and plentiful! This year I had some free seeds of the Santorini Variety-which were purported to be quite capable of doing their tomato thing on natural rainfall. Normally here we get around 80mm of rain through January to the end of February-this year we have had less than half of that!

Therefore-the fact that these little beauties have flourished & produced lovely tomatoes with no feeding and little water makes them a thrifty addition to our garden! We have enjoyed them fresh on sandwiches, toast and in salads-and cooked them as sidedishes as well..I have saved seed for next year and plan to grow more than the 3 plants I put in this year.

I gathered some, chopped them roughly and tossed them in the slow cooker with a good splash of balsamic vinegar & fresh oregano leaves, added 1/4 cup of water and let them cook down for 4 hours on High. The resulting concoction can be used with pasta, to cook zucchini in or added to any other recipe you like. I don't bother to peel or seed them-adds to the rusticity of the dish!

To add to the thriftiness of our homegrown tomatoes, the scraps from chopping them up go straight into the chook food!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...