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.

Back to Work…

Yes back to working for the man after a few weeks off.

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While my job is good and I enjoy the work. It is still working for the man. It will take effort ensure that I don’t fall into the 40 hour week trap. I have been making all our meals from scratch and working around the house despite a few incidents (car crash – minor) it has been a very effective and productive time despite the daily nana naps or perhaps because of them. It is these simple cheap things that tend to go first when you are busy at work and earning the dollar. It is hard sometime to prioritise these things.

So last year ‘the year that said meh’ to us has shown that we need to work on a few things from a sustainable point of view, try though we will.

Bills

Time to try to get the debt back down and sustainability back up.

A couple of interesting articles below.

Time to go. Things to do 🙂

Your Life Has Already been Designed for you – http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/

The Year Ahead – http://bealtainecottage.com/2014/12/25/the-year-ahead-be-prepared/

2016 And Onward

So 2015 was very much the year that said meh to us. Definitely not good but not bad either.

It was summed up by the accident on new year’s eve. Car a bit of a mess, annoyance with insurance but no one hurt able to limp home with the trailer load of material for the path I am building in the back yard.

So what is on for the year coming?

Well below is the philosophy I am going to try to take into the year.

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Maybe not ‘Epic Shit’ but definitely try to get shit done each day.

Spent the afternoon helping a friend with something he had been wanting to try for an extended time that one of the martial art I know teaches.

Also got the chance to teach him and a partner some foraging and plants we have in the back yard and send him home with plants. The start of a good year?

Just a start.

Let’s see how we deal with meh shall we!

What is in Your Control

Been an interesting few days at the non hippie house. 

Much on the go, much to be thought of and dealt with. 

In the end I can plan and organise and try to look at those things outside of my control, but in some ways the initial response I have is the best and that is it is best to work on those things you can control. 

Loaves of bread for lunches tommorow and beans and peas to go into a garden bed I dug over yesterday. 

   
 

Unseasonably Warm.

Going to be a bit warm for the start of spring with temperatures of 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) with a strong fire warning for much of our state of Victoria Australia for the next two days.

Well actually this is absolutely ridiculous we had sleet two weeks ago in the ranges near here. But that is a topic for another post (working on that)

Just friendly reminder that

  1. Some plants will need a deep water (just got in from mine) as the soil is still bone dry.
  2. Seedlings will dry out fast.
  3. Potted plants will dry out fast.
  4. Many birds will not have fully moulted so look after them with ice and possible a quick soak of water if you are home.
  5. Pets such as cats and dogs will not be used to the temperature so make sure they have cool spot and water available
  6. Livestock keep an eye on them make sure that they have enough shade and water.
  7. Worm farms can easily die off in this kind of heat. Wet blanket over them or a block of ice in them
  8. Keep YOURSELF hydrated and watch out for your family (particularly the little ones) as it will be a bit of shock.

Everyone take care please.