useful skills

Useful skills or knowledge from the past few years, in action today:
1.  sewing presents.  Brighid went to two sixth birthday parties today, and each little girl got a pink knit circle skirt which I made last night and this morning.
2.  more sewing.  I altered the waistband of one skirt this morning, and am part way through altering another now.  Inwards not outwards.
3.  gardening with compost.  The tumble composter we bought two years ago is made of plastic, which turns out not to be strong enough for the job when the compost is heavily wet in the West Coast spring.  It refused to rotate for me this week.  I emptied some of it out onto the garden today.  Favourite Handyman cleared the chook coop out and put fresh wood shavings in it.  I made two spots in the garden for piling up the wood shavings/chook poo mixture and put a big dollop of compost/worms in it to get it going.  I'm thinking about how to disassemble the composter and make it work better.  If we took the barrel off the stand, then we could just roll the barrel round the lawn quite easily for aeration.
4. chicken stock.  I've made chicken stock with water lots.  But when I roast a chicken, the juices turn to gel in the roasting pan, indicating very good things.  Some tragic nights I forget to collect it and it is wasted.  Last week I collected it in a cup and then added it to the slow cooked chicken curry a few days later.  Tonight I lifted the chicken out of the pan to rest for 15 minutes (utterly essential according to the fancy cookbooks) and then turned the oven up to 220 and put in three large potatoes which were cut into chip sized pieces.  They cooked up to taste lovely and soaked the juices as they cooked.  Then we ate the chicken and chips/potatoes and broccoli and pumpkin for dinner and nobody complained.  No children ate pumpkin either, but at least they didn't grizzle.


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