Homesteading, News

Spring 2018 -Goslings, gardening, busy bees

Lots has been going on here in Judbury.

We’ve had family visit which was lovely but it’s always nice to get back into our routine after. Little Ember has been to the paediatrician to make sure her skull hasn’t fused early which would mean surgery. Something we’d really like to avoid since I worked so hard to have a natural birth after two cesareans. We’ve been doing regular cranio work with the chiropractor which seems to be helping so we are remaining positive at the moment it’s all watch and wait until she’s two.

She’s nearly four months now and is looking so much like her big sister at that age.

Our landlord took his bees away which we all decided was for the best as the hive was neglected and it was too much for newbies like us to take on.

Instead we went out and found our own year old colony and hive from a local bee keeper and it is very healthy and buzzing away. The orchard has just burst into flower and the bees are happily helping pollinate the cherries. We will do a thorough inspection on the weekend and soon after harvest the honey. I’m really excited about our veg garden this year and becoming amateur bee keepers.

If there’s no queen cells found during the inspection then we are going to put a extra super on top to try and prevent swarming but we are also planning to set bait hives up around the property to catch swarms so we will have more hives next year.

We’ve had some other new additions with our goslings hatching. Only two are out so far and unfortunately they have splayed legs which we have bandaged to try and correct. We watched a great YouTube video by a Australian farmer https://youtu.be/cF86DffddXc and I highly recommended watching it if you have similar problems. The Goslings are now looking great and waddling around.

Dane has been working hard getting the goose yard ready he’s brush cut all the thistles, taken down a old garden net and started building a gate for easier access.

The garden is looking wonderful. Dane’s been building some beds in the ground to give the garlic more room and have the beds free for summer veg. We plan to have a flower garden at one end of the orchard and plant out some of the lemon balm and apple mint we have in pots.

It’s hard having having possums destroy everything outside of the netting as it means we have to plan more and restrict what we plant in the ground.

The netting at the end of the orchard needs a lot of work to repair but the long term plans are to fix it up and have berries growing in it.

I’ve been dabbling in wetfelting and found a new passion for making hats

I’m really enjoying learning about the process and will be putting my early creations on Etsy to try and raise the funds towards better equipment. Eventually I’d like to be able to make farm hats.

I’ve been busy at night making cheese after a generous gift of milk from a friend. It’s been fun refreshing all my cheese making skills and we are reminded of our time with our old Jersey. We won’t get a cow again for a long time but we would like goats at some point. For now we have our hands full and we will keep happily busy enjoying all the promises of spring.

Foody things

Tiny steps towards a zero waste life.

We’ve never had a huge amount of waste. Frugal shopping budgets mean that buying in bulk is more economical for us so our bin is rarely full full rubbish collection but I know we can do better.

Having young children and a new baby being low on time to make as much from scratch that I’d like means we’ve been eating a lot of rice cakes and this leads to a lot of waste.

I really dislike how much unnecessary packaging there is especially for the fruit and vegetables seconds. We want to support the farmers and show that people will buy ugly produce but at the same time we are forced to buy plastic if we make this choice. It’s a area of much conflict for me.

We know the best way to avoid this is grow our own and buy locally but while the veg garden is being built and we are a long drive from a good local produce shop we are more limited with our choices. To shop better we would use more fuel so you can’t be perfect when your rural.

Many rural communities have big waste problems an irony when many have moved this way for a ‘Greener’ way of life.

Our local supermarket have started a soft plastic recycling service and as this is a lot of our waste we’ve begun saving it to take there.

We buy our wholefoods in bulk online to get couriered from another Tasmanian homeschool family, we use cloth nappies, grow what we can and make what we can from scratch. I long for another dairy animal to reduce this contribution to our waste but right now it’s not a option.

I find making a small change every week helps us towards a goal of eventually being a zero waste household.

Our most recent changes have been baking bread more to avoid plastic packaged bread and making our own peanut butter. It does take a far amount of more time and effort but I feel it’s important to teach our children food shouldn’t come easily and we need time and effort to nourish ourselves properly.

Below is the nut butter recipe I use. I have based it on the one from The river cottage everyday cookbook. I often double it to save making it every week and I’ve been thinking of making a super spread variety by adding chia, almonds, cacao and coconut oil.

Nut butter recipe

Makes 200g

200g nuts of choice

3-4 tablespoons of oil (sunflower, coconut, rapeseed but veg oil works too)

1-2 teaspoons of runny honey or sugar

Salt to taste

Put nuts in the food processor and pulse until fine

Add remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency

Store in a airtight container in the fridge it should keep a few weeks if you don’t eat it all.

Enjoy

Peanut

News

Winters End

I thought I was due another post seeing as its almost been a season. The truth is I’m finding it hard to find time for the blog these days with a newborn, homeschooling a six year old and three year old, running my Etsy store not to mention all the other homestead chores starting up so I will likely do a seasonal update and occasionally throw a recipe up here.

I am most active these days on Instagram where I post almost daily you can follow us @huntergathererforager you don’t need a account to see the posts online but you do to comment. We also have a facebook page where I occasionally share instagram posts.

We are feeling more settled in our new home up in the hills of the Huon Valley. This time around we are taking things slow watching the land and resisting the urge to get lots of animals.

We were going to get some lovely Ryeland sheep from another homeschooling family but decided after our new baby girl Ember was born that we needed to hold off. It was a good thing too as the paddocks got VERY boggy after a big rain so it’s enforced the plan to get to know the land.

Embers birth went very well. She was born at home after a quick labour and our birth team arrived just in time to help her arrive safely. Banjo and Nyah had been emergency cesareans so this birth was very very special for us. She’s a beautiful happy baby and at 10weeks old is smiling and cooing. It’s been a big adjustment going to three children but we are all very happy.

We have a netted orchard here that Dane has been preparing it’s essential as there’s quite a few mobs of possums here. The bloody bastards ate my lavender and have nightly parties on the deck so everything will need to be planted in the orchard. Lucky it’s very big and we have plans to build a floppy fence around a small paddock for pumpkins.

This spring and summer will be dedicated to growing as much food as we can. Dane has enrolled in his Agriculture Diploma and is hoping to get a good job locally so we can stay in this rental until we can buy our own land. If he can’t then we will consider moving to North West Tasmania where there is more variety in Agriculture work but ideally we want to stay here where we have established a supportive like minded community.

Today he’s off to collect his self chosen fathers day present. Dane and I have a tradition where we buy ourselves gifts for special days and he has chosen some long awaited Guinea fowl.

He has wanted Guinea’s since we started this journey but everyone has advised against them. He doesn’t tend to listen to others opinions so was excited to see 4 become available.

The plan is to keep them in a coop a few weeks and then let one out at a time per day so they don’t roam too far. We are hoping they keep snakes down and don’t shit in the water tank!

That’s all for now I will update again in a few weeks hopefully!

Uncategorized

Homemade crumpets

The weather has turned and now we are out of town we need to be more motivated to have creative breakfasts ready for the morning.

For years I’ve been attempting to perfect crumpets at home and have tried a variety of recipes that always ended up more like English muffins until I found this recipe from Marj Conners in Tennant Creek NT in a old issue of grassroots magazine.

I swapped out the store bought yeast for sourdough starter and combined the sourdough starter and flour the night before and added the rest of the ingredients the following morning. I’ve found the best way to cook them is in butter and they do take some patience but once cooked they can be stored in the fridge or frozen and reheated in the toaster.

Crumpets

Ingredients

4 level teaspoons dry yeast (or a cup of sourdough starter)

1/2 Tsp Sugar

1/2 cup warm water

4 Cups plain flour

1 tbsp Bi carb soda

1 tablespoon Cream of Tartar (I used Baking powder)

1 Tsp Sugar

3 Cups water hot enough to make bicarb bubble
Method

Mix together instant Yeast , 1/2 tsp Sugar and warm water to activate yeast in a small bowl add flour

(If making sourdough do this part the night before with starter do the next part the following morning. If you are using instant yeast do the next part right away)

Add remaining ingredients and stir until it is pouring consistency.

Grease a heavy pan – I use butter and do not use egg rings as Marj suggested in her original recipe but it’s up to you .

Pour desired amount of batter into pan that is on high heat.

Wait for Crumpets to get a lot of holes on top and brown on the base then turn down heat until the top is mostly dry on top.

Now you can choose to flip them over but I prefer not too as it keeps them softer and more crumpet like.

remove to plate and start the next one.

They do take time so best to cook on a slow morning!

Enjoy!

Uncategorized

Autumns nearly over

It’s been a long long time between posts and honestly life has been full of change and challenges.

We decided not to move to the North East in Tasmania at this stage. It was a wonderful opportunity but we were unsure it would work out with us being able to invest financially as we had been told by banks even with a deposit we may not be able to borrow much if at all as Ds work is classed as seasonal and we have 2 (almost 3) dependants.

Another reason was we really feel connected to the Huon Valley area and have a good support system here so felt this is where we need to be to welcome our new baby. Although the Huon valley is highly expensive to buy we’ve been lucky enough to find a long term small farm rental where we can live comfortably and use the land until we can one day afford our own land.

We moved over Easter which was very challenging as young Banjo had broken his femur 3 weeks before the move and was in a hip spika cast. For those of you that don’t know what that is it’s a cast that goes over both legs and up his torso so he was completely immobile. It is also very heavy so being in my third trimester of pregnancy I was advised not to lift him and D had to leave work to help care for him.

He has now been out of the cast a few weeks and things are slowly improving he went from crawling around to standing supported and I saw now running, jumping and keeping us on edge.

We have the new challenge at this house with growing our vegetables as now we are closer to the bush we have hundreds of critters roaming about at night.

Our biggest wake up call was last night when after weeks of hard work repairing the orchard net and building veg beds for our winter seedlings we forgot to shut the gate after planting. This morning we rose to find all the seedlings ripped out chewed and fresh possum skat around. We both feel pretty silly and can only blame ourselves especially having first learnt to grow vegetables in the Blue mountains which was possum paradise!

The weather is definitely cooling down and we’ve been doing lots of baking and enjoying these last days as a family of four. Everyone is ready for the new baby and the next chapter of family life.

We don’t know what the future will bring but for now we are warm, safe and secure that feels pretty lucky in the current housing climate of Tasmania.

Baking, Foody things

Zucchini Moussaka

I’ve been encouraged by friends recently so not give up on blogging and specifically to share more recipes.

So here I am to do just that!

We’ve been very busy here this summer with fruit on abundance. The veg garden hasn’t been great despite the good weather and I suspect poor pollination and less bees due to neighbors spraying poison. I wish people would realise the harm they are doing to the environment especially now there’s so much research out there.

Anyway we were blessed with one very large zucchini and as this is the first year I haven’t got to this point and started loathing seeing them in the garden, I thought we should honour it.

I based this recipe on Stephanie Alexander’s recipe for zucchini parmigiana but added mince to get my iron levels up. It’s very basic and a delicious way to get through your glut.

The mince could easily be switched for lentils for a vegetarian options.

Zucchini Moussaka

Ingredients

1 large zucchini

3 eggs

Flour

Onion

Garlic

500g mince

Tin tomatoes

Tomato paste

Worcestershire sauce

Cheese grated

Method

Make sauce

Dice onion and mince garlic, cook until onion is clear, add mince until browned, add tomatoes, 1 tablespoon tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce cook for 10 minutes then switch off.

Zucchini

Slice zucchini dip each piece in flour then egg and fry in oil put aside

When all cooked start layering zucchini, sauce, cheese until you get to the top.

Once layered bake in the oven at 170C for 25 mins

Enjoy with a garden salad!

Homesteading, News, Uncategorized

Summer 2018

Well once again the blog has fallen on the back burner and I apologise. I find it difficult these days with two small children ,homeschooling,  two little businesses and D working full time to keep up with everything and I’m probably most active on Instagram if you like to keep up to date with us.

Summer has been busy with lots of visitors from the mainland , lots of work and lots of delicious produce. We’ve not had the best luck with the garden this summer everything seems to be growing very slowly despite the good weather. There is a young wallaby hiding in the garden which we haven’t managed to flush out yet. I know its in there as I find its gigantic scats through the garden as well as my young cucumber seedlings being nibbled.

I think the garden can feel our energies shifting from it as we prepare to move. We haven’t found somewhere yet but with our lease ending two weeks after our new baby is due we are constantly searching for the right place. It is hard in the valley at the moment with long term pet friendly rentals scarce and cheap properties to buy even scarcer. This area has become really popular since we moved down and things get snapped up very quickly.

To keep myself distracted I’ve been enjoying all the delicious summer produce available locally. We have had a really amazing cherry season with local orchards having more than they can deal with and selling fill your own buckets for $5! The Stone fruit orchards had sun dribbling peaches and the blueberries are also abundant. A friend and I have started up a preserving group where women come together to preserve the harvest while the children play and form their own tribes.

The first meeting was small but we did peaches in bottles, Jam and wine. Next we will be buying local cucumbers and others will be bringing their own produce. I’ve decided not to preserve at the next one but instead I’ll be on hand to chop and help newbies. I’ve got lots frozen in the freezer now that plums have come into season and I will slowly be doing a preserve a day. Today was Plum and vanilla bean jam and Apricot Jam from our trees. Jam seems to be what we go through the most as the children love it with yogurt but I also need to get creative and replenish our sauce stocks. I am hoping we get a good crop of tomatoes and I long for the day I can have a polytunnel to increase our growing season.

Until next time

Anne