Showing posts from March, 2010

New Mum, young and reason to be proud

Here in Wetville, quite a lot of young women become mothers before they are 20. One of them is my friend K. I first knew K when she was just 13, a beautiful, shy girl in school uniform. The following year I gave birth to my daughter and the year after that, K began babysitting for us. The year after that, K became pregnant. It was a tough time for her family and brought up memories of past teen pregnancies for older women in her family.

K and her partner B now have a beautiful five month old daughter, Hayley. K shares the childminding of my own daughter with her Mum and I couldn't be happier with the love and fun they share. K and B and Hayley live with K's parents and are saving and planning to go flatting on their own. Today they went to collect a fridge and vacuum cleaner and I asked K if she would like to continue looking after my daughter when they move. Thankfully, she said yes. I pass all Brighid's clothes on to Hayley and other baby things have gone there …


There is currently a leap in my heart which the roaming cynic free radicals cannot quite squash. In my garden I have six carrot seedlings. I sowed the seed last month, just before the full moon, as today is also just before the full moon.

I've seen some terrific looking carrots in gardens around our small wet town lately. Our neighbours gave me some of their thinnings which were larger than any carrot I have ever produced since we moved to the West Coast. My friend Gaylene told me she sows Egmont Gold because that is what her mother has great success with. Yesterday I went to the garden shop and found Egmont Gold on the Yates seed stand. I grabbed it, together with some beetroot, calendula and coriander seed.

Today I weeded and sowed beetroot, coriander and calendula. The lunar garden guide from Holger Kohl which is published in the Organics NZ magazine advises me to sow all seeds today, and in a few days time, to sow spring carrots. My excitement knows little boundary - the moon wi…

fish pie supreme, The Lacuna & strep throat

Edmonds. Sure to Rise. My Mum gave me two copies and I suspect she has some more stashed in her cupboard. When they brought out that glossy hardback version of the Edmonds Cookbook, she was concerned that the original would go out of print so she stocked up. Peter, if you haven't got one, then I'll send you my second copy. Not sure if Mum expects you to need it, being a boy and all. Missjoestar, did you biff yours for non-vegan sensibilities or keep it? Surely you've kept yours...

Tonight was Fish Pie Supreme. Seriously, that's what it is called. Tinned fish, boiled eggs, mashed spud, some parsley and white sauce. Tasted great. I was thinking about how deeply unfashionable this has been in an era where we were supposed to ditch spuds for some pasta with the fish, doused in less and less oil as the anti-fat cries increased. But now I'm much keener on spuds and they are much cheaper and butter is best round here. Good for all those fat soluble minerals a…

the budget project

Hmmm. I have a pretty good grip on the theory, but my/our practise has been poor for some time.

More soup, less booze.

No more rash purchases of brand new juicers or other large ticket items while caring for sick children, or not caring for sick children, or under any circumstances.

I need to attack, reform, do whatever it takes, our profligacy bit by many pronged bit. Tomorrow I will begin by focusing the Sunday kitchen marathon on lunch food for the adults as well as the children. Week one of the budget project will be home made lunches for four people, Monday - Friday. Make that Monday to Sunday, but we'll do the weekday part first.

And writing down what we spend. Every time.

I can't pop in and out of adulthood, I know I know. But sometimes I act like I can. Then it catches up.

At least The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver, is free from the library. It is completely wonderful. I want to write like Kingsolver. One tenth as well would be fine even.

brake fluid is really important

That's the most important learning I have achieved today, more specifically the relationship between certain symptoms of brake malfunction and brake fluid. I'm just grateful that we are all still alive. My knowledge of cars does not extend to recognising that the damp looking stuff on the wheel rim behind Brighid's car door was brake fluid, though had I recognised it, even I would have known it was in the wrong place. I love the people at JJ auto services and I love that we live in a small town where the mechanic took us home, the sleeping sick toddler, her carseat, the boy with school sores and the mum in his roadworthy-with-fully-functioning-brakes-4WD.

Before that, I'd been researching further on my children's lurgies and observing their symptoms and thinking very seriously and today, just before I took the car with the dodgy brakes to the mechanic's, I collected their antibiotic prescriptions.

I also rendered lard for the first time ever earlier today. …

Two children, three days, four nasty bugs

Naturally, the doctor prescribed antibiotics.

Without even taking swabs.

So today, buoyed up by an intense, burning desire not to have to cash in the abs script, I bought a juicer.

Breville Juice Fountain Plus. Wanted one for a long time but until today, it was off the spending list.

In our home I have many things in my arsenal. I have arranged to have the rest of the week off work to care for my sick children and we have a warm house with plenty of clean towels and linen. I am the person who the children call for when they are sick and the second person they call for, their father, is home as often as he can possibly manage. I have fresh fruit and vegetables and now with my whizzy juicer, can whip lots of fruit and veges into easy drinks for persons with sore throats. I have vitamin C, echinacea, various multivitamin concoctions, grapefuit seed extract, tea tree oil, colloidal silver, coconut oil, manuka honey (new to my arsenal today). The children are asleep now and I am hopeful …

Sunday kitchen marathon & Carole Beaumont

Time to cook up the harvest and clear the egg tray (after discovering that Fionn had been flouting my freshest eggs to the front system). Progress:
1. marrows. Slow. I used one in my vege mix thingy and that's all. Ideas for the rest of it are to make stuffed marrow but not every day for the next fortnight and we have that much marrow.
2. beetroot. Better. Some in the vege mix thingy and some in a salad for dinner. STill more to process.
3. silverbeet. Beginning. Argentata beet, the best tasting silverbeet and without the crinkly-ness which makes silverbeet hard to get clean, also flops its huge leaves out in a wide radius and uses up a lot of garden space. I harvested one entire plant today and cooked it in the vege mix thingy and that has opened up a lot of space in the punga raised bed. Need to harvest two more plants at least.
4. eggs. Pretty good. See below.

The vege mix thingy. I cooked up leeks from the garden with garlic and silverbeet and thyme (all from my gard…

Autumn love

Today, this afternoon, we all hung out in the back yard. Total bliss. I let the chooks out for a while and harvested lots of marrows and zucchinis and beetroot. Then I weeded more of the old chicken run and layered Raelene's chook house mix (sawdust and nitrogen-rich chook poo) on top. Then peastraw on top of that. Lastly I emptied the liquid fertiliser bucket (about 50 litres) over the top of the peastraw. I made the fertiliser over a year ago and have learnt that it really rains far too much here for bothering about liquid fertiliser. I won't make it again. The comfrey is ready to be harvested but I will try another way this time (what, I don't know yet, but by the end of tomorrow I may both know and have done it).

Favourite Handyman and the children stacked wood. They are stacking the rata first, under the lean-to where it can be accessed for the last logs on at night throughout winter. Rata is wood gold round here, famous for its high and long heat.

We have hug…

bold, brave & belligerent

bold. Missjoestar is my sister. She writes things which I love, like this. Missjoestar lives in Wellington where she dashes around on roller skates speaking an entirely different language and sometimes breaking her arm for good measure. Once Missjoestar climbed Mt Kilimanjaro. Where was I? Washing nappies in a tiny flat in London. My maternal out law will insist upon every visit on asking if my sister has a boyfriend, whether she might get back together with the last one. I want to scream "My sister is way too cool for that! She is not simpering around looking for a man to complete her life. She is playing some kind of aggressive sport on roller skates and being the kind of cool intellectually onto it, informed and clever kind of person which is particular to Wellington. She is more than a womb and wife in waiting."

But I did not scream and I did not say any of those things because I practise not screaming and not speaking my mind when I play daughter in law for a few days ea…

still life with electrical appliances

Our neighbours are keen rose growers and showers. As they were about to depart on holiday after helping to host the successful National Autumn rose show here in little old wetville, I happened to be in the right place for rescuing their blooms from imminent rain. The right place at that time was hanging out the washing. It's like lotto - buy about a zillion tickets or do the laundry for a family of dirt-lusters and eventually your prize will appear.
Above this text you will notice a grubby wall, the wooden block which the clock radio will soon be mounted upon (as in once the wooden block is on a bracket against the wall, the clock radio which belonged to his Nana until very recently and which provides intelligent National Radio sentences to counter the barrage of child hungriness which fills the kitchen and indeed every corner of our home and my life, and the toaster. I moved the flowers to the bench once I realised the effect the toaster in operation would have on the flowers…

hippie nutter fights cold and wins: her secrets

Last Friday I felt awful. Full of cold and the sense that it could get a lot worse. I collected Favourite Handyman from work about 4pm and put myself to bed as soon as we all got home. I spent most of Saturday in bed which definitely helped.

But so good that on Sunday I felt great again? Just a rest after such a rotten head cold? I think my other strategies deserve some credit.

1. vitamin C. Lots. We've got a mixture called revitalise (Good Health brand I think) in our cupboard at the moment which is magnesium, zinc, vit C and bioflavonoids. I alternated that with our vit C powder which is just vit C and bioflavonoids.

2. Lemon drinks. Same deal as above really.

3. My winter flu formula. garlic, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and honey. Eye watering stuff but I have found that if I take it in prune juice, I can get it down me without much pain at all.

4. I put a drop of hydrogen peroxide down each ear on Saturday night, to clear out any cold/flu bacteria.

One zillion …

pink ric-rac

One skirt for our wee friend Rebecca, replete with rough and ready sewing, pink ric-rac and much love. We've known Rebecca since she was born and on Thursday my Brighid will be spending the morning with her and her Mum and her Nana, while I go to work and my childminder takes her daughter and grandaughter to Christchurch for a hospital appointment.

The bottom layer is recycled from a work shirt of Favourite Handyman's which had lovely pale blue 100% cotton fabric but worn out collar and cuffs. The top is a lovely gauzy fabric which I found in the $5/metre bin at our local Bernina shop earlier this week.

Sunday kitchen

Peach cake (Peaches and nectarines cake in our case) from a recipe by Annabelle White. A friend handed on to me the recipe book of White's best recipes which I largely ignored until recently. It's pretty good and I hope to use her recipe to finally make my own harissa sometime soon. Chillies, you know, are supposed to be good for the lungs and the magic ingredient which explained why in a medical study of male Mexican smokers in Los Angeles, they didn't exhibit the lung cancer levels you would typically expect from smokers. Chillies, you may also know, don't go down so well in tiny tummies and harissa sauce is my solution for providing it for FH the smoker who I want to keep alive even if he doesn't/can't kick his nicotene addiction. I could also bore you with things I have found out about magnesium and omega 3 oils and smokers. Perhaps another time.

Last week was omega 3s through anchovies and my dipping sauce experiment was bagna cauda, from Annabel Lang…

Stories of ordinary working people

Perhaps, what I need, is a new religion. Something fundamentalist, something to be fervent about. I started out Catholic, baptised, confessed, communed and confirmed.

I didn't know I walked along a religious line when I started to follow party politics as a teenager. I declared myself for Labour and my mum said "How could you do that to your father." My dad didn't mind at all. Politics was the least of the challenges he saw ahead of him with a teenage daughter.

I didn't know I walked into a church without a building when I went to a Stop the War meeting in 2001 in East London. Special interest causes or something. It was a Socialist Workers Party strategy to get people involved and signed up. They must have learnt it in Marketing 201 or something similarly suited to a neo-liberal devotee.

I signed up and even filled in a bank slip, though with some reluctance. I recalled my mother talking about the evils of churches which tithe but I still didn't think of this s…

roosters, donkeys & antioxidants

Ahhh back to permaculture land. I ditched my work shoes for some gumboots this afternoon and went out to Raelene's to help her skin and gut four roosters. Her friend Mr M, who grew up killing chooks and delivering eggs on his bicycle 70+ years ago, killed them for us in the morning. They are in the fridge now, two silkies and two larger chooks, awaiting the stock pot and some stirfrying.

I brought the guts, skin and feathers home and buried them in the garden. I also brought home four big bags of chook house litter for the garden. Perfect timing for my preparation of the garlic beds. I will layer the chook litter on thickly, then cover it with peastraw and let it decompose until mid-winter when it is garlic planting time.

Donkeys. Raelene has a donkey. Which means Raelene has donkey poo. I seem to recall an organics magazine not long ago talking about the many merits of donkey poo. There was no room to bring some home today but later in the week I shall go collect me some…