It was a big morning here today with the mobile butcher booked to come and process the pigs.We were all ready. It’s been a experience raising pigs and although it’s not the first time we’ve done it this time was different as we weren’t sharing the responsibility with a landlord but doing it ourselves.We purchased the pigs a few months ago from a local breeder 15 minutes from us to do the job of ploughing a new garden area. They did this so effectively within two months! In hindsight we probably could have utilised them better to dig out more areas but as we want to grow our garden areas slowly we focused on one patch.They were fed on a mixture of garden scraps, commercial pellets and sprouted and cooked barley which was a time consuming job for Dane .Before the butcher came we were discussing the cost and how it wasn’t economical in terms of just buying a whole pig from the town butcher but now he’s been here I feel differently and the extra money we’ve paid has been worth it.It’s a really good feeling to know exactly what we are eating ,where it has come from, how it’s been treated and what it has been fed.The butcher did a amazing job it was quick and clean and it was a blessing to watch someone so skilled work and to know they didn’t suffer but died eating and together.WWe choose to eat meat and we choose to eat it in a conscious and meaningful way. my long term goal is to not be buying any meat from the supermarket and only be eating what we can raise our self or barter/buy locally.We decided in the end not to keep the heads. We’ve done this before and this time as we are already making bacon, hams, salami and sausages I felt I wouldn’t have the energy to also process head cheese. I do feel a little regretful for this decision as I wanted to utilise as much of the animal as possible but maybe next time.We kept the livers and the hearts. One liver I processed into Pate using Hugh Fernly Whittingstalls recipe from his meat book. Dane gifted me this book when I was pregnant with my first 8 years ago and it was good feeling to get it out today and know we are still committed to this journey despite not yet owning our own land.1 whole pig liver makes a LOT of Pate so I sectioned it into silicone cupcake baking trays and froze so i can get it out to defrost as we need it. The second liver Dane will be cooking for dinner tonight.The hearts have been marinated in a Korean BBQ marinade for our dinner tomorrow. The butcher will hang the carcasses until Monday when we’ll pick them up and get ready for the next stage of sausage making and smoking.We are borrowing a smoker from our neighbour which we are very thankful for and are considering having a sausage making day with some friends to help get the job done a bit quicker seeing as we need to mince the pork ourselves with the hand grinder.I’m looking forward to getting the pig patch ready to be converted to garden. It will be really lovely to look out on that patch from the deck and see the flowers. We will be electrifying the fence to make it possum proof and buying a budget poly tunnel greenhouse to keep us going until we can afford to put up a sturdier one.
I was asked on instagram to share my pumpkin pie recipe and as it’s a family favourite I thought it would be a good one to add to the blog.I’ve been thinking recently I’d like to publish the blog one day to pass the recipes and story if our journey down to our kids when they are older.I love using sweet pumpkins for our pumpkin pie so home grown varieties are usually better but any old pumpkin will do.You can either boil the pumpkin to make a pulp or roast. Either way will be delicious!Pumpkin pie recipePastryI use a basic shortcrust but you could use whatever you favourite recipe is
Pie filling1&1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
1/2c sugar of choice2/3cup milk powder2 eggs1teaspoon cinnamon1/2tsp ginger1/4 tsp ground cloves1/4tsp nutmeg1/2cup creamMethodMix all the ingredients together until smooth. If mix is too stiff add a little water.Pour into prepared our crust and bake at 180C for 40minutes or until mix is giggly and not sloppyLeave to cool then complete cooling in fridge to set.Enjoy!
Winter has come fast and fierce but still we are not getting enough rain. Part of me is thankful as it means it’s easier to get outside and get jobs done but the other last is worried for our water supply and what summer will bring.
The days are very short herein winter. It’s pitch black and freezing until 7:30 when it’s still freezing but we can at least see.
We still need to get out and get the animals jobs done but the kids opt more often than not to stay inside until midday when it warms up a bit. By 3pm it’s getting dark and cold again and we need to go back out and lock everything up for the night. It gets tedious but as we feel it flying by I know it won’t be for long.
We’ve been doing lots about the property my bit of landscaping for the kids area is nearly finished and I think I’ll have just enough of the oak chip from the fallen tree to finish it.
Next will be the sandpit and I’m debating building a pallet sandpit over the natural rocks because the high winds here will blow the tarp away and the cats will definitely poop in it!
The young pullets have all started laying again and we’ve forgiven the chickens for the Two months we had to buy eggs. We’ll be looking in to getting our egg stamp so we can sell excess eggs and hopefully make the chickens self sufficient by using the money for their feed.
The pigs are getting huge and we are looking forward to turning that area into garden. The butcher will be here late July just in time for us to get garden beds ready for spring.
Dane’s been working hard at getting a little barn fixed up for our rabbit program.
The doe we were given a few months ago is due and our other doe we’ve just joined with our buck. He’s got a rare cyst developed in his eye that the vet will remove but with advice that they will likely grow back so we’ve had to move the breeding forward just in case we loose him.
Today we for some jobs around the property knocked over . Getting the burn piles done and bringing up old tyres for a landscaping project. Again I longed for a woodchipper but that’s something that will need to wait a while.
Anyways that’s all for now we are keeping well, happy and healthy!
I’ve been doing lots of reading about natural learning and unschooling to understand more how children learn. We are eclectic homeschoolers so we do a little of everything some Waldorf, some sit down learning. Sometimes I use curriculums for guidance but largely we are life learners.
I’ve started writing down all the areas we’ve covered over a week and this enables me to really see how much we accomplish which I find great for those moments of doubt that we ‘aren’t doing enough’ (which every home educator has!)
I’ve found in some areas our children are way ahead of where they would be in school and others not so much but I remind myself that children in schools are also at many different levels but forced to learn as their peers so learning at home enables us to let them learn when they are ready.
Recently the children and I built a climbing frame out of materials we found around the property, some nails and a hammer.
We are planning to start some seeds in the spring to climb up the frame so it can double as a little shaded cubby.
Slowly we’ve all been landscaping the children’s area off the deck and it’s really become a wonderful family project that isn’t costing us anything!
Home education has been a wonderful extension of our natural and attachment parenting values.
We do it alone without family support due to living in separate states and At times it’s been a huge challenge we’ve felt stressed and exhausted from never having a break from our kids but we have pushed through and grown as parents and people.
We are lucky to have a wonderful diverse community of fellow home educators and we live in a state and area where it’s widely accepted so this has been a huge blessing for us.
At the end of the day we feel blessed to be able to spend this valuable tome with our young children and it truly is a core part of our homesteading lifestyle choice.
We are past the Autumn equinox now and the days are a muddle of hot then cold. We are still resisting putting the fire on for the cold days but are aware that our woodpiles need to be doubled to get through the cold Tasmanian winters.
I haven’t been posting much in social media recently as I’m trying to focus my energy in family and creating crochet and felt items for the big market I’m having a stall at in July.
I’ve also been socialising far too much knowing soon we’ll all start hibernating and not go out so much.
I do love Autumn in Tasmania we still get some lovely warm days , there’s still tomatoes galore in the garden and plenty of things to forage.
My main focus in the garden now is the tomatoes trying to decide if we pull them up and plant out our brassicas and winter veg.
It’s coming to our one year anniversary here and if you know our story when we moved to this rental Banjo was in a Spica cast and not working. Sometimes much has happened this last year with Embers birth that I feel this year we will put lots of good energy into the place.
We recently got a British giant Doe from littletassieprepper.com and we are planning to fix up a little shed and make a area for her and our Angora buck. They will be separate but have access to get to know each other before breeding time.
Our landlord has also given us permission to get dairy goats so we are busy making plans to do fencing work. I’ve wanted goats for the longest time and I am really looking forward to this next step.
We are getting prepared to pack down our two beehives for winter and will be having help from Tasmanian natural beekeeper Ronnie. She is a wealth of knowledge and I’m looking forward to hearing her advice.
Other than that we plod along. I’m looking forward to slowing down, making plans for the next year.
I’ve been meaning to share this for a while. In fact I’ve got about ten mentally prepared blog posts waiting!
This honey cake was one I took to a friends gathering a few weeks back and we loved it so much I knew I needed to write down the recipe before I forget!
I adapted this from the River cottage everyday cookbook recipe. There’s only slight changes I use less sugar and instead of almonds on top I used pimentos and served with home made ricotta. If you want the original recipe I highly recommend buying Hughs book as there’s lots of really great recipes in it.
Honey Wholemeal cake
300g butter – I use salted and don’t add extra salt to the batter
80g brown sugar
150g wholemeal flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
150g ground almonds
50g pimentos (or almond flakes, walnuts ect)
4 tablespoons Honey
Preheat oven to 180C
Grease your cake pan. I use a round springform pan but whatever you have on hand is fine. I save my butter wrappers to use for greasing and baking
Put softened butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together then beat in eggs one at a time and add a spoonful of flour with each egg
Fold in ground almonds then add in remaining flour ,baking powder and bicarb. You can sift it if you want a lighter cake.
Scrape the mix into your prepared pan and bake in the oven for 35-40mins or when the knife comes out clean
Take from oven and while the cake is hot poke holes all through the cake with a skewer and drizzle honey over.
When cake is cool top with ricotta and pimentos then drizzle extra honey over the top.
We’ll we’ve had quite a unplanned adventure the last few weeks when we really would have rather been in the garden!
Dane had been working long hours at the orchards while I was holding fort with the kids at home. We were both so exhausted and barely able to say two words to each other before falling asleep of the evening.
I remember putting Banjo our 4 year old to bed one night when there was a huge bang of thunder.
Thunder storms are unusual in our part of the world and this one was powerful. We saw lightening strike at the end of our street then all was quiet.
The next morning we noticed smoke and checked the fire site online to discover the lightening had started several fires across the state and a fire at the end of our street.
Luckily they got the fire on our street under control fairly quickly, The kids loved seeing the helicopter fly low over the paddocks and put their siren on for them.
Quickly we went back to our normal routine of work, kids and chaos not knowing what the next weeks would bring.
We were excited when Dane finally had three days off and had lots of plans to do garden and bee jobs.
One of the Fires in the Tahune wilderness had grown larger so we vaguely kept a eye on the TFS alert page and listened to the radio for any changes.
We spent the morning collecting chamomile to harvest and I noticed I had lots of messages. When I checked I saw we had been upgraded to emergency level and advised to leave the area.
Our next few hours were spent wrangling chickens, packing essentials and listening to the fire news which was sounding ominous and saying the fire was quickly growing.
Eventually that afternoon we got to the evacuation centre where we slept 2 nights inside and 3 out in a tent we borrowed from friends.
It was very stressful being away from home but it showed us how special our community is. We made new friends in the evacuation centre and had lots of offers of help from friends which we really appreciated.
We are now back home and while the fire keeps burning , we remain on advice warning and the sound of the helicopters send us ridged. The smoke has cleared and we feel safe to get back to business.
We feel very lucky we could come home. We are devastated for the wild life but the firefighters did a amazing job preventing any human lives being lost and few homes destroyed. We feel for those who lost their homes many being uninsured artists who’d built their place with love not money.
The process has taught us a lot the importance of being prepared. The importance of community and also what in our lives is important.