Plastic Free July 2017.

Yes it is that time of year again. Going to give it a try.

plastic-freehttp://www.plasticfreejuly.org/the-challenge.html

Our first day was both a success and not. It certainly makes you think a lot more.

I like the idea they have this year of keeping all the single use plastic for the month and then uploading a photo. Also going to look at options for what can be up-cycled and also keep the recyclables as a reference.

Give it a try yourself but don’t knock yourself out over it🙂

As for the rest well.

Much going on.

Not much going on.

Depends on your perspective.

We do the best we can.

The Weekend is Here.

As per my post on going back to work and in particular the article on your life being planned for you my weekend is packed.

BUT trying to keep it cheap and cheerful much to do and a lot of projects that don’t need money and the kids and A. can join me in🙂

Till then waste not, the extra tortillas from the fine folks from La Tortilla being air dried in my oven. I will turn them into real corn chips tomorrow. These where left over after two meals we have already had from the packet we bought home from our local farmers market.

Not home made but go to love traditional Mexican method of making up ground Australian corn and some salt (the only ingredients on the packet). These are a go to on our menu and I will be going into the go to meals we do on weekly basis next week.

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See you over the weekend.:)

3 More things.

Bill Gates used to say do an extra thing each day and that will be another 365 things you get done for the year.

Me I am believer in the rounding function so for me do 3 extra things each day and you will have over a 1000 extra things done each year🙂

One of the myths I often see in the alternative world is this thought a simple life being easy. It is harder than most people realise and that is part of the problem in a world where we expect life to cut us chances. But also more rewarding , or at least I think so.

So tonight’s 3 …

Sorted two barrow loads of bricks from the pile and cleaned those that needed it. For the next section of paving.IMG_9777

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More firewood from down the street IMG_9774

The Daily Bread as always before bed. IMG_9776IMG_9775

Time for sleep🙂

Preparing for Winter.

We haven’t had to use the stove since early December and it is unlikely we will see weather in the next few months that will require it but already I am getting ready for winter.

Last winter the pallet numbers dropped off dramatically late in the season as it got cold and people were looking for wood.

We chose to use up our wood for space with the granny flat project and had about 2 barrow loads come end of winter. I did a run up to wood for good and got a load and most of that is still left.

Since then I have managed to hit a few local fallen branches from people and locations, a good load from a friend up around Macedon along pruning from trees.

I am also getting in pallets making sure they are all heat treated timber and preferably hardwood.

So the hunt is ongoing. I have a hand saw and loppers in the car if I come across anything decent. Even a small branch can be a half to a full days heating in our very efficient stove.

Managed to harvest below and another barrow load locally after a large branch had come down in the wind over Christmas.

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And tonight I noted a tree dropped and nicely cut up into foot long blocks by an arborist two streets down on my way home. A quick knock on the door and a question and invited to take half. But the best was to meet and speak to a neighbour who I had never meet. An older guy very nice chatted for some time on his tomatoes and gave him some advice on his new lemon tree. Good to get to know the locals.

Three big barrow loads and the offer of the rest if his friends do not pickup there’s by tomorrow. I took the longer pieces as I have access to cut them up the other people may not have this. You need to be fair.

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Pity some of the branches where not a bit longer or I would have inoculated them with some shitake but beggars cannot be choosers.

As it is this wood is still a year of drying away from being used but it will get used.

And didn’t even need to use a car to bring it home that is local.

Cut up it will fuel us for a week or more🙂

 

Its An Odd Thing.

Never really got the whole cut a tree down and kill it, then haul it into the house as the symbol of life into your house thing…

Yes Christmas tree’s. It is the 5th of January traditional day for the m to be pulled down.

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Lots go up and lots end up in green bins or on the side of roads for the council to pickup. It is another sign of consumerism.

My wife and kids love having one of them and we have a decent collection of baubles we have been given or inherited to put on it so as I tend to make their life hard with my other hippie ideals this one tends to get through to the keeper.

But as with all things waste is not really waste at the end but a potential resource🙂

So what do we do with our Christmas tree after the 5th.

Well we have quite a few uses for the pine tree’s so much so that when I get my land up country I will be planting some pine trees as a resource (as far from the house as I can as they are not good in regards to fires and flammability in a bushfire prone country).

So our tree will be dried off after being cut up. Wood will go to fire once super dry as a starter.

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The needles will be used on our bee smoker, as acidic mulch for blue berries and strawberries and as a pH balance for when I use a bit much mushroom compost on the garden.

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In fact I may go and grab a neighbours or twos tree on green waste day. Maybe you should to?

Working with or against Nature? (fat hen spanakopita)

I visited my parents place over the Christmas period had a really nice relaxing time. Foraged some items, took the family to a few different places but mostly just relaxed.

My father is the king of the drip system. He has beautiful rich red volcanic soil that is free draining, very free draining as such he tends to drip water the plants and along with 40 plus years of adding organic matter to the soil means his vegies grow incredibly well.

Because of this he also has minimal weed issues how ever one thing I did note that fat hen sometimes called lambs ear (Chenopodium album), dock and the purslane where doing really well. IMG_9318-2000

I grabbed some purslane to plant at my place and grabbed a large bag of fat hen which I made into spanakopita (recipe below).

To me it is interesting that this high protein crop that by my father’s admission (he is a rabid anti weed man :) ) the chickens and sheep love is torn out spayed out and treated with disdain.

And there it is growing without water or love and just doings its own good thing. From a point of view of plants we are going to have to start to look at what will work by itself without lots of inputs or work and this is potentially a great option for fodder and food. The broad acre style of farming the crops you want rather that what will grow easily is simply not going to hold true in the long run.

And much to my father annoyance his granddaughter loves the fresh leaves of this plant and now it is naturalised in my back yard we have access to it for salads, cooking or as fodder for the chickens.

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As for the taste of the spanakopita. A. and I made up two batches of rolls and a pie with a half side fat hen and half spinach and apart from being slightly more beefy texture the kids and wife could not tell them apart and all was eaten.

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This is one good weed.

Recipe for Fat Hen (or spinach) Spanakopita.

  • Packet of filo or puff pastry (or if you are a better cook than me make your own :) )
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 gram of feta
  • 75 grams of ricotta
  • 75 grams of quark cheese (could use another 75 grams of ricotta)
  • 2 bunches of spinach or equivalent or more of fat hen.( I like lots of green in my mix) shredded.
  • Butter melted and a brush
  • Two onions finely diced.
  • 1 or 2 Sprigs of mint finely sliced (to taste)
  • 1 or 2 Sprigs of dill finely sliced (to taste)
  • Dash of nutmeg.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients apart from the melted butter and pastry in a large bowl.

Lay out the filo or puff pastry. If using filo make sure you keep a damp towel over it put brushed melted butter over each sheet as you layer them. A. helped me with this process as two people make this easier. We use 3 or so layers for a roll and 3 or so layers top and then same bottom in a pie. Puff pastry is just one layer.

Spoon mix onto the pastry sheets and roll or make into pies. Do not over fill.

Butter top and make sure you butter the tray they are sitting on.

Put in an oven at 150 to 170 degrees Celsius till cooked through and browned (about 45 minutes) slow cook is a better option for your health than the western desire to deep fry/fast cook everything.

Once cooked leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a nice salad.