Morning meander...

21 June, 2015

It's been cold and dreary here in Melbourne town in the midst of winter, but that doesn't stop me getting out into the garden for a bit of a wander around.

The transplanted carrots are doing well.

Silverbeet are taking off in the wicking beds (plus photobombing black cat on left)

The peas are doing well and starting to outgrow their climbing structure. Must tie up more rope layers soon.

Self sown lettuce amongst the calendulas.

Onions starting to bulb out, plus weeds.
Something is eating all the leaves off my fennels.

Green manure of peas and vetch are taking over the cherry tree bed.

Still a few autumn raspberries.


Hellebores flowering for the first time. I love these blooms when the garden is otherwise not very bloomy.

Trombonico zucchini still holding in there.

Climbing bean now visible after all the cherry leaves have dropped.

Potato onions/shallots looking very happy.

The stalwart Tuscan kale plant is still putting out leaves.

Time to pull out the asparagus fronds and prune back the grapevine.

Purple sprouting broccoli going for a second season. I didn't get around to pulling the plants out last year. A win for lazy gardening.

Why does parsley always self seed in the most annoying places?

Please, please, please set fruit banana passionfruit.

$21 challenge: week 2 update...

17 June, 2015

I have hit the halfway mark for the considerable challenge of living on $21 of groceries for the month of June.

Overall it continues to be ok. I am starting to pine for more foods from the markets, but then I just remind myself that I have plenty of food at home and no I don't really need to buy myself a cauliflower to make cauliflower cheese, as I have plenty of delicious food at home.

For this second week I have not spent any money at all, so I still have $12.70 in the kitty.

That said I am almost out of milk, so will need to get more of that soon. So far I have been able to entirely avoid the supermarkets, but needing to go and get milk will expose me to a lot more tempting food stuffs, so I think I will need to steel myself to go and walk out with nothing but milk.

Eating this week has included:

Weekday breakfasts of yoghurt and preserved fruits (this week I'm using the canned blackberries) and still the weekend favourite of porridge and prunes continues to dominate.

Lunches are mainly leftovers from dinners, which this week has been chicken and freekeh, a mushroom tarte tatin (i.e. a bed of mushrooms with puff pastry I had in the freezer on top - pastry makes everything better!) and the latest being Jerusalem artichoke soup with my darling mother's homemade sourdough bread, which she regularly drops off at my place.

I've also had the odd dessert of preserved apples made into a crumble, with thermomix custard.

Mmm, winter comfort food heaven.

Snacks continue to be mainly dried fruit and nuts.

To give an example, this is my lunch box for today.

My breakfast yoghurt with blackberries, snacks of dried apple, almonds and dried plums, and my leftover Jerusalem artichoke soup in the bottom red container. The lemon is for hot lemon drinks over the day, as I get sick of tea and I like a warm drink in winter.

Overall I'm a bit surprised at how easy it has been to put together meals from what I had in the store cupboard and freezer. I really haven't had any meals that had obviously missing elements or ingredients. Yes it takes a bit of effort, but when you consider the time saving of not having to pop to the shops to pick up said ingredient (and usually pick up other unnecessary items along the way).

However, I am running out of ideas. Do you have any store cupboard meals you love? Please send me inspiration.

When you can't garden...

11 June, 2015

Weather is key in the gardeners life. It dictates what we can and can't grow in our gardens. It dictates when plants will flower and fruit. And it dictates when we can and can't get out into the garden.

I am pretty determined when it comes to getting out and gardening. I will garden in the peak of summer. I will garden in the depths of winter. I will garden in (moderate) rain.

But when it is absolutely pelting down, no. In the dark days of winter, when my gardening is limited to weekend hours and before and after work hours are not suitable, no.

These times are not wasted however. Oh no. That is when I read about gardening.

So it was with much delight that I was sent a couple of magazines I had not yet gotten a chance to read.

Pip Magazine is a new-ish Australian permaculture magazine. I had heard of it, but not yet gotten around to getting my hands on a copy.

Just the thing for a cold winter night.

I really enjoyed perusing this publication. There was a nice mix of more philosophical and idealistic articles, as well as the practical and hands on info that I really get the most out of.

Now I have to say I loved the design and look of the magazine. While I would love to admire the mag purely for its intelligence, I am a visual creature and I'm sure some of my enjoyment and buy in was related to the lovely pictures and well constructed look. All on 100% recycled paper.

Would you like to check it out? Pip Magazine have generously donated a copy of their latest issue for a giveaway. To enter just leave a comment indicating you want to be included. Something along the lines of "count me in" is just fine.

Contest is open to addresses in Australia only. Winner will be selected by random number generator. Entries close midnight Sunday 14th June. Winner's name will be posted on this blog Monday 15th June with further instructions to claim your prize.

Good luck!

And the winner is...

Comment number 5, which is George G. George, please email me your address to beksbackyard [at] gmail [dot] com so I can post it out to you.

Disclaimer: Pip Magazine provided copies of the magazine for review and giveaway. They did not seek editorial input into this post. No money changed hands.