It’s a good feeling when you come to the last of the produce to preserve. Satisfaction , Elation , Relief! It’s a hard job and now I have two active little children I understand why in the days long gone people came together as a community to preserve the harvest. It’s a shame in our day we have lost that sense of community even in Rural areas. There are some who try to revive it so maybe in time things will change but it is hard to step out of that zone and ask for help.
All I have left in the freezer now is 8kg each of Blood plums and Greengage to preserve and 4 kg of Apple scraps that I will make some syrup and apple cider vinegar from. Honestly we don’t need anymore apple cider vinegar as the cupboards are bursting but it will never go off and is very useful to have. I had plans to sell it at the Market but If we don’t then it will not be wasted. You never know we might have a apple shortage and I will be relieved to have a never ending supply.
On the bench I have 1 box of sour apples which I plan to make into Hard Cider for Mr Hunter Gatherer and some sour pie filling. I might even do some more apple and fennel chutney as it’s delicious and I’m sure we will eat all of ours.
Yesterday wasn’t the best day in terms of our moods we were all cranky and once Mr HG went to work we stayed like that. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the moods take over and it was a day to get things done. We made Silvan Berry and Peach Jam and 10 big jars of Chinese plum sauce, Gingerbread men, Did lots of craft and painting and worked together to make a chicken and vegie pie for dinner. By the end of the day we were in a much better space and it goes to show how busy work can really up lift you.
Unfortunately we don’t have photos to show you as my phone is on the fritz but I wanted to update anyway before I forgot.
I trust everyone is happy and homesteading. Keeping warm if in our hemisphere and planting out in the other!
Until next time
It never rains but it pours or so the saying goes although in our case at the moment they are all positive things that have got us thinking about our future. Not that we ever AREN’T thinking about it. In fact sometimes I wish we could just exist in the moment a bit more.
We have been living in The Huon Valley Tasmania 9 months now. It is truly a special place with a loving open community, lots of culture, artists and surrounded by farms. We have not wanted for employment since we came here but unfortunately all the employment is temporary or classed as seasonal. Mr Hunter Gatherer does want to give up working in farming industries and we don’t want to stray to far from the ultimate goal of our own farm and working in the industry is a important part of learning. To stay in the valley means a longer road to buying our own. We have tried to find a long term farm rental here as a compromise but as it is a highly popular area and lifestyle they are few and far between or expensive.
Another problem with the valley is it’s one of the most expensive rural areas in Tasmania so even if you did save to buy we would likely have to buy out of the valley to get what we wanted.
We were never meant to come here. We knew we liked the area but originally we were meant to go to Northern Tas to pursue a career in Dairy but timing was off and the floods meant rentals were scarce so we came south. We don’t regret it and in fact living in town on a suburban block although convenient it is not where our hearts truly lie. We miss the animals mostly and the freedom on space and privacy. It’s also not helped with my driving as although I can drive I am a nervous driver with lots of anxiety surrounding it and having the excuse not to drive and be able to walk to town fuels that avoidance.
I’m not sure where we will end up we have options all over the state and Tasmania is truly special that way being a area rich in Agriculture where we can move all the way across the state if we choose and still be close to the friends we have made here that we could visit in a day.
Well as predicted I couldn’t keep up with daily blogs but I am happy because it got me back towards blogging regularly.
We had a lovely weekend with Mr HG home. He’s been working so much recently that we really appreciate that family time. Although work at the Apple orchards will likely slow down soon we have some exciting prospects on the horizon but I won’t go into that just yet in case I jinx us!
On Saturday we were blessed with lovely weather so we potted around the garden as a group and all clipped the ripe rose hips together. The children go to use sharp scissors and garden shears so they were thrilled about the job. As we have so many roses at this house we’ve decided to dry the hips on our air dryer in the laundry over ysing the dehydrator. It’s a slower process but I feel like there is more “goodness” in the end product.
This last week the children and I picked the majority of the apples. I was tired of parrots eating them and wasps being attracted to the munched fruit so we thought it best to get the bulk off. We did a shout out on social media for free apples and had the lot taken. I still have a big box and 20 litre bucket to process ourselves, some left on the tree for the birds and one tree left with sour cooking/cider Apples I’ll get to shortly.
We also picked the last of the green tomatoes and pulled the plants up. I still can’t get my head around tomatoes being a Autumn fruit but Tasmania is a crazy place and the climate here is one of the things I love about it.
I decided to make some Chutneys a spicy green tomato and apple chutney and a Apple and Fennel chutney. The Apple and fennel was so delicious I made a second batch. It would be perfect on a pork roast but we stirred it into a spice chickpea curry and it worked beautifully in there too. We always save our own fennel seeds and the flavour is indescribable in comparison to store bought. In all honesty I have never managed to grow a fennel bulb but I’m great at growing seeds!
I’m adding the recipe to the post today I’ve found the blog is a great way for me to find my favorite recipes each season when it’s time to go back to them!
Apple and Fennel Chutney
- 1 kg Apples
- 2 large Onions
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 50 g fresh Ginger
- 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar ( or white if that’s what you have)
- 2 Cups sugar
- Juice and Zest from 1/2 Lemon
- 1-2 tsp Dried Chili Flakes
- 2 tsp Fennel Seeds
- 1 stick Cinnamon
- 1 Star Anise
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Peel and core the apples I use a slinky apple peeler then just check them in and bash them with the spoon as they cook
- Dice the onions
- Finely chop the garlic and ginger then wack everything into the pot
- Slowly bring to the boil stirring every now and then to make sure sugar dissolves and flavours mix
- Simmer until very thick but don’t let the apples dissolve into sauce.
- Pop into sterilised jars and process using your proffered method and store in a dark and cool place it should last 2 years if processed and stored correctly.
We’ve had a slow few days and my main focus at the moment besides cleaning up the constant destruction from the hurricane kids is our Angora Rabbit Mr Dandy.
We’ve only had him a few months but it’s the third time he is growing a new coat so it’s time to take off the old coat or he is at risk of wool block a horrible disease like a hairball that can’t be passed and clogs up their insides.
I chose a Angora rabbit as since learning to spin wool I wanted to have my very own fiber animal but now we are in a suburban rental having Alpacas or sheep wasn’t a option. Fortunately I can buy bags of fiber locally very cheap and I prepare this myself washing, carding, dyeing which makes it a slow but rewarding process.
The decision to get a rabbit wasn’t too hard. We missed having lots of animals as we did on the 2 acres we rented in NSW and Angoras have lovely temperaments and make excellent pets for young kids. They are really the sweetest rabbits big, fluffy and don’t mind being dragged around by 2 year olds but I do find grooming a challenge. When his coat is short I brush him twice a week but now it is long it needs to be every 2 days. He often gets things stuck in his fur which is very annoying and I’ve tried lots of different bedding. Eventually I settled on hay as it’s absorbent, edible and not too hard to remove. The first time I took his fur off I just gave him a cut with scissors and while it was effective it made is fur grow back uneven. The second time I tried to “shear” him with clippers. We both found this really traumatic i accidentally cut his extremely thin rabbit skin and he was scared by the noise so I did a bit more research and as I was wanting to spin the fur we settled on plucking. Plucking is gently pulling the old molting coat out with my hands and leaving the short under coat. It doesn’t hurt him but it is a slow process. If I didn’t do this his fur would matt and dreadlock and cause him pain. I find it ironic that I give people dreadlocks and work to avoid it in my pet!
All in all we get quite a lot of wool from our one little bunny. We are still working out the bunny system and I would like to breed one day but I will probably wait to pure breed until the children are older. We might cross breed with a meat rabbit but to do this we need a good outdoor rabbit system and while the government is releasing a rabbit virus with no vaccine to kill the wild rabbits we are unsure if we want to risk breeding.
We have plenty of time until spring to decide and for now our boy is happy in his laundry enclosure being pampered!
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 had a restless sleep last night with Little Miss HGF has creeping into our bed and with 4 in the bed it’s a little squishy.
We already co sleep with Little B so I’ve been rethinking our sleeping arrangements. I feel mean leaving LMHGF alone in a big cold room while we all share in the other and she must wonder why she doesn’t get to join us. Sometimes I forget how little they still are so I’ll be weighing up some options for sleeping arrangements.
Today’s chores went by easily I prepped the frozen chook bones to replenish our stock supplies, got the animals done, watered the garden and hung out the washing.
The washing chore got me thinking about pegs. Pegs are something that have driven us crazy as having young children and cloth nappies means we wash a lot.
I’ve gone through cheap pegs, wooden pegs, expensive plastic pegs and I get so frustrated when they inevitably break and litter the ground with bits of plastic and metal. It’s such a waste and I since becoming more aware of my environmental footprint and loving frugally I’ve been investigating other peg options.
I remembered seeing a advertisement in a grassroots magazine ages ago for long living metal pegs. At the time I thought they sounded great but didn’t look into them again until the final piece of plastic crap crumbled to the ground. So I trawled through our magazine collection but could not find the ad. Eventually my Googling of ‘stainless steel pegs’ ‘metal pets’ and ‘reusable peg’ had a hit and I found the same wire pegs I’d seen in grass roots mag.
So I ordered them and have been using them a few months now they are made from twisted stainless steel,hold up really well and are super strong. We just got the lowest grade at the cheapest option but I’ll definitely be buying more. I’d like to bring more ‘buy once’ products into our life as the cheaper items die. There’s definitely wisdom in our great grandparents and grandparents generation to save and buy the best quality rather than getting a lot of cheap shite!
(You can find wire pegs at https://wirepegs.com/)
I’m going to see how I go with a daily blog. I feel it might be simpler than my sporadic posts and as I move away from Facebook and social media a bit I’d like to keep documenting our happenings.
Every day we do a little something what with homesteading, preserving and starting to homeschool so the daily blog I hope will also serve as a record come homeschool inspection time.
We shall see how I go as I always set out with good intentions then get distracted and forget!
This morning we rose VERY early just before 6am. We are early rises most days but today Mr Hunter Gatherer was working a orchard further south and needed to leave earlier than usual. It was quite icy last night so I wasn’t surprised when Mr HG came in to get water to defrost the wind screen. I popped another log on the fire to keep us warm until the sun came up.
I had prepped English muffin dough last night to cook on the griddle. It was well worth the little bit of effort as it meant we were fed and happy early on.
After breakfast the children played and I cleaned up the breakfast stuff.
Now It was time for chores. First up our English angora rabbit needed checking. His cage had been cleaned yesterday so he just needed some fresh food and water. His grooming came later in the day and needs to be done daily now as his new coat is coming in.
Next was outside to feed the chickens and water the garden. The broadbeans are popping up now and lots of the winter veg starting to look good. Little miss HG has been looking after a pet caterpillar which we’ve identified as a grass anthelid. It’s big and fuzzy and after reading up on it she decided the habitat she’s made made needed some more soil and fresh grass so we collected it and brought it in. The caterpillar seemed happy and was extremely active after this. Little miss HG set him up on the table and drew pictures of him.
After this I needed to process another bucket of Apple’s. I’m getting pretty tired of Apple’s to be honest but my desire to avoid food waste is great so we got on with it using a slinky Apple machine to peel and slice. Then I popped them in the food processor to blitz before putting them in the dehydrator to turn into Apple sugar. The kids lost interest as they’ve helped with many Apple jobs this year so I set up a painting craft for them while I got the job finished.
After this we hit a afternoon slump everyone was exhausted so we stuck to folding washing and story time, lots of games together and then dinner prep. We had meaty baked beans which was mince, bacon, beans mixed with homemade plum bbq sauce and roasted home grown potatoes. Simple and delicious!