I don’t post as much as I used too now homesteading , making food from scratch and raising three small homeschooled children takes an enormous amount of time.In the evening I have a few hours to crochet for my Etsy store orders before going to bed so I thought it might be nice to share a post on what a typical day at home looks like.Morning timeOur 16 month old wakes us up usually By pulling our hair, slapping our face, doing gymnastics between us. By then our 5 year old has been woken and we have cuddles in bed.We rise have coffee and I make breakfast usually something cooked such as sourdough, eggs, muffins, pancakes ectThis morning we had French toast, Dane goes out to do the outside chores done which include watering the gardens and feeding the chickens and rabbits. The children and I do some onside jobs and some school work or craft.Today on my list was salting 5 pork bellies for bacon.After this I started another sourdough ready for tomorrow morningI make a tea from our own dried chammomile and lemon balm to sip on as I often forget to drink water during the day being so busy.During this time the kids have been playing and my toddler has gone into the carrier on my back.I’ve made up a batch of cherry blossom syrup, cookies and sushi for lunch and now it’s 10amWe eat on the deck then meet a delivery driver with a truck load of compost for the garden beds then it’s time to put our 16month old down for a nap.Dane is busy moving soil now and we a just checked on chicks that are hatching in the incubator.It looks like we’ll have a good hatch of silkies and Wyandottes and we hope to sell the pullets to cover the costs of our chicken feed for the next few months.While Ember naps the kids and I are going to plant their seedlings in the garden patches Dane made for them. They’ve helped work the soil and have chosen some seedlings from the greenhouse they helped grow.Nyah plants corn and beans saving room for tomatos. Banjo chooses corn, amaranth, strawberry, beans and a artichoke.After this we head inside to do some school work Noah chooses to sew a doll and Banjo wants to do reading practice.I start getting ready for dinner we eat about 4.30pm then at 5 it’s time to start bedtime routines. Dane goes out to do the afternoon animal chores checking water, locking chickens in with the older kids while I put the youngest to bed.By 9pm all the kids are asleep and we get a little time to ourselves.So that’s generally how our days flow (on a good day!) when we are home. It’s messy, loud, sometimes productive but we are happy and love our lifestyle of homesteading.
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’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.
It’s been really hot for Tasmania recently and I wanted to have a treat for their kids in the freezer. They can’t have commercial ice creams as Miss 6 reacts to additives and preservatives but I don’t want them to miss out on the childhood joy of summer ice creams.
Usually I make ice cream using a egg base but our chickens have been cunning recently and hiding the eggs so we don’t have as many on hand.
I make my own sweetened condensed milk so I decided to try a new simple no churn ice cream that worked out beautifully.
Making sweetened condensed milk is really simple you can do it in a blender, saucepan of just a bowl. I never buy cans anymore which cuts down on cost and waste.
Sweetened Condensed Milk
1C boiling water
55g butter or margarine
4C milk powder
1-2Cups sugar depending on desired sweetness
1. Add butter and boiling water to your blender or bowl and stir it blend until melted
2.add 1 cup Milk powder and 1 cup sugar at a time and mix/blend after adding continue until all ingredients are used up then pop into a sealed container and refrigerate
We added lightly cooked fresh cherries to ours but you can add anything you like. Blue berries, caramel ect
- 2C condensed milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pour ingredients together in a bowl and whip until thick and making patterns
Pour into bread pan lined with baking paper or similar vessel add your extras and swirl around
Freeze for 4hours and enjoy!
A few weeks ago on instagram I posted about rendering down the old wax from our beehive to have on hand for making home products.
This was a messy but not difficult process and quite easy I just had to make sure we did it very early on a cool day before the bees got too interested.
We used a bucket , old electric frypan and a muslin cloth.
I wrapped the old comb in the cloth and secured with a rubber band then filled the frypan with water and put the comb filled cloth in when the water was boiling.
The bucket was filled with cold water and when the cloth had emptied of wax I poured it off into the cold bucket and left it to set.
Once set I remelted the wax disc to clean it from any let over dirt and then poured it through a coffee filter into the paper cup moulds to set.
We were all in desperate need of new lip balm the wind and hay fever season chapping our lips.
After much searching we decided on doing a simple coconut oil, beeswax and essential oil balm.
- 2 tablespoons grated beeswax
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 20-30 drops essential oil
- Melt beeswax and coconut oil in a double boiler stirring constantly until melted.
- Remove pan from heat
- Add essential oils
- Once you’ve added the essential oils fill your containers. We used some old empty lip balm tubes and small glass jars.
- Let tubes sit at room temperature for several hours until cooled and completely hardened before capping them.
If you want a thicker lip balm use more beeswax during the melting process.
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!
We have made it to Mid Winter in Tasmania. I’ll admit recently I cheated a little when in Early July the children and I went to NSW for a week to visit family. It really was a summer holiday in comparison to home but I wouldn’t want to deal with the hot sticky summers that are getting hotter every year.
It was good to see family but I was glad to be home. We still haven’t quite settled back into a routine as not long after returning home we all went up to Northern Tasmania on a short family road trip. We booked a pet sitter to come feed and check on the pets, got packed and hit the road!
Well the drive up wasn’t so bad the kids didn’t fight much and we stopped in Ross which is a lovely little historic town that is quiet and full of big stone heritage buildings. It has a bakery that resembles kikis bakery from the studio ghibli animated film Kikis delivery service. Unfortunately this was under renovation much to the childrens dissapointment but we did enjoy going into the Tasmanian wool centre and buying some dyed wool tops ready to spin, some wool dye and some knitting needles for little miss Hunter Gatherer. You can look at the wonders of the wool center online here http://www.taswoolcentre.com.au/
I was inspired by my visit to research what sheep I would have if I was ever to get one for fiber and I have settled on English Leicester. We are limited by heritage breeds in Australia and even more so on our little island Tasmania and the English Leicester seems to tick a lot of boxes for a hand spinner as well as being available in Tasmania and completely adorable with their long flowing locks.
After Ross we headed to Evandale to stay with my Aunt and Uncle who have a airbnb and had some family time. Evandale is a sweet town just outside of Launceston. It’s very much a chocolate box town with lots of beautiful houses, heritage pubs, a penny farthing festival (yes really) and one of my favorite markets in Tasmania.
The following morning we headed off early to Scottsdale to visit a friends farm and see if we might like to live there one day to share farm. We are completely taken by the farm and area and I wish I had taken some photos to share with you but there was so much to take in as well as wrangling two tired little people. If you would like to see photos you can see their blog here http://oaklands-farm.blogspot.com.au/2017/ . I liked Scottsdale it has everything you would need in a town and Launceston only 1 hour away. It’s hard to think of leaving the Huon Valley where we have quickly made a lot of friends but with the reality of little full time work or a chance of getting a mortgage to buy our own farm here not to mention fast growing property prices we feel the pull towards a chance to build a farm for ourselves and our children.
After our tour of the farm we went for lunch at the local bakery that had delicious pastries and from there went for a play in the local park that had a wetland habitat and rainforest walk that was just like a fairy garden. We took our friend back to the farm and she sent us on our way with a big bag of merino fleece for me to play with as well as some of her own honey.
I will touch more on how we came across this opportunity in another post but for now I’ll say goodbye until my next post where I will include a recipe and book review 🙂
I’m combining my weekend post into two as yesterday was a busy day with me doing dreads and Mr HG kid wrangling.
Once I’d finished I needed to catch up on some jobs I started the day before and first up was the stock. Usually I pressure can these as I like liquid stock on hand but today I was short on time so I popped some in the fridge and the rest in the chest freezer.
Next up was finishing the Apple sugar so I blitzed it up and popped it in a jar. I love the Apple sugar it taste like Apple toffee but we still have so many apples left that I think I’ll stick to doing rings. Our dehydrator will probably only last a few more months. It’s done well being the cheapest we could buy two years ago and with heavy use it’s done the distance but we will upgrade to a better quality one next year.
After the Apple sugar was done it was time to make Little Miss HG 5th birthday cake. She had requested the cake that Bessie from Enid blytons enchanted wood had amenities think we did ok from a rush job. It’s not the best birthday cake I’ve made but we all did it together and she was happy.
We decided to celebrate the 5th birthday on a day early Sunday (which is actually my dads birthday happy birthday Dad!) Mr HG is working on the birthday date so we wanted to do something special as a family.
We adventured to Richmond which is a lovely little town outside Hobart with lots of heritage buildings.
We were up at the crack of dawn so made it there in time for breakfast and a play.
After we went to Zoodoo. I’m not a fan of zoos and this didn’t really change that but it brought up some wonderful conversations about conservation and endangered animals plus watching the children feed the lions with a pair of tongs will be a life long memory for all of us.
It is really nice that you can get up close and personal with lots of animals but at the end of the day it’s a zoo and a private one.
We had thought of getting fish and chips for a late lunch at the warf in Hobart on the way home but decided we had spent enough money and would get home early and create something from what we had. It’s nice now we are debt free to be able to have days like this without the worry but we are also still conscious of our spending and still saving for our own patch of land.
At the end of the day we had a beautiful weekend and created lots memories.
I always do this. I start the preserving season off with so much enthusiasm, Accept fruit left right and centre, excitedly pick the cucumbers and zucchini bringing them in with grand plans then realize the actual preserving HAS to be done before things rot or there’s no room left in the freezer before the next crop is ready (which is right around the corner!!!)
I’ve picked bags of sugar and blood plums from my neighbors house and I am quickly trying to pick the greengages off our tree in the chook pen. I’ve dried a bunch in the dehydrator, made plum bbq sauce, worcestershire sauce, vanilla plum jam , plum vanilla bean with pepperberry, sweet and sour plum sauce and have plans for greengage jam, spiced plum jam and plum chilli sauce. I might also bottle a few jars of whole and stewed plums for cakes and crumbles in the winter. Last season I made a plum chutney but I wasn’t a fan so decided not to make it this year.
Greengage plums are the most amazing plum I’ve ever tasted completely unique in their flavour and if you ever get a chance to make the jam or eat one fresh I highly recommend it. I have included my recipe below for anyone who’d like to try.
Soon our apples will be ready and the few fallen ones we’ve eaten have been absolutely delicious! I’ve invested in a cold press juicer and will be making and freezing our own juice. I was considering ‘canning’ it but I think the pressure canning would make the ‘cold pressing’ pointless so ill stick o freezing and fill the second fridge. I’ll also be making lots of country alcoholic cider as I did last year but I’ll be using the juiced apples over the food processor. The apple ‘waste’ will be used to make Apple cider vinegar and Apple scrap syrup or Apple stroop. Nothing will go to waste!
We have 4 very large pumpkins ready for picking unfortunately not as many as I’d hoped for but we are still getting used to a new climate. The blackberries are ripening and the tomatoes are still not ripe which I think shows how topsy turvy this summer has been. I’ve noticed the smell of woodsmoke a lot on the crisp mornings and feel so out of tune with my suffering friends and relatives on the mainland who are dealing with heatwaves.
2.5kg greengage plums
1 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
As I freeze my plums whole before starting the jam I steam them in the cup of water in a saucepan with the lid on then cut the seed out with a fork.
After this I add the lemon juice and sugar then bring to boil over medium heat until setting point (about 20 mins) once set pop into warm sterilized jars and process using your preffered method. For small batches I just pop boiling jam in sterilized jars and turn the sealed jar over for 20 seconds for large batches I pressure can but waterbath canning is fine too.
It’s certainly been a crazy few weeks. We’ve had so many highs and lows but we’ve made it and landed in Tasmania.
In the end we had to change plans a little and have headed further south to Cygnet than to Deloraine in the North where originally planned. There are a few reasons for this the main being it was incredibly hard finding a rental in the North particularly when you can’t get down weekly to do inspections. The agents in the south were really helpful allowing us pre approval so when something suitable came up for rent we were ready for it. Cygnet area is also where we ultimately want to buy our block of land so it made sense to get here a few years early to establish ourselves and make friends.
In the end we had 2 weeks to get organized we had been packing for months but really underestimated what we still had left to do. The container arrived last Tuesday and was picked up Friday. We couldn’t have done it without Danes dad helping us pack and we had to say goodbye to some much loved pieces of furniture due to poor planning but thankfully these were rescued by my family so I know where they are if I ever need them1. In hindsight I would have sold some of the things we packed to keep some of the others or maybe even sold the lot and started again but we still would have needed a container for our boxes of treasured possessions anyway.
We had booked the spirit of Tasmania far in advance and I really suggest doing this for anyone moving across. You can change the date anytime you need but if you have a trailor and animals like we did it’s good to secure it. They are wonderfully helpful on the phone and it’s good to call after you book to clarify everything is correct.
On moving day we got up at 4am and packed the trailor with 9 chooks, our mattress and cooking materials. I had let the cats out to toilet and they must have sensed something was up because they refused to come in for breakfast. I had a few heart racing minutes trying to coax them in and lock them in the carrier just in time to go.
We had talked to our vet and decided to sedate the animals for the journey. This really helped and they did sleep the entire time. Actually the kids and animals were all fantastic the whole journey! We survived with peppa pig on repeat on a laptop and loads of snacks we wouldn’t ordinarily eat. Dane drove the whole leg from Oberon to Port Melbourne with a stop in YASS and another outside Albury. There were three hairy hiccups on the drive the first hitting a roo not far from our old house luckily our old jeep and the roo were ok but it was very scary. We continued on towards Goulburn and thought it would be fairly straightforward to the Hume highway but we must have taken a wrong turn getting lost and going back and fourth under the highway. Google maps helped but also made things more confusing taking us in circles. Eventually we got on the highway and it was smooth sailing until Melbourne where our other huge hiccup was. We had a hour to get to the ferry port but had hit peak traffic and missed our turnoff on the freeway. Lost and confused we had a few very high stress moments thinking we would miss the ferry. We got off the free way and checked the map eventually finding our way there. We were greeted by two good friends to send us off and then went on to quarantine for checking. Once through we were keen to get on the boat and settle the animals and kids but the ferry loading wait was awful after such a huge journey as we had to wait for 4 hours to get on! The kids were restless from being stuck in the car all day so we let them sit on our laps and Banjo fell asleep. By the time we got on the ferry it was 9pm we settled the dog and cats in the kennels and decided to leave the chooks in the trailer as it would have been less stressful than surrounding them with dogs.
The Ferry itself was nice we had a cabin with comfortable beds and a shower. Went up for a quick dinner and took the kids for a play before passing out.
Getting off the ferry was much easier we were on the road by 8:30 driving straight to Cygnet and arriving at our new home by 1pm. It was a crazy intense journey but all part of the adventure of getting here and we are definitely never leaving!