Sunday, February 15, 2015

Back to the Market then into the Garden

Waiting for the bus with all our veges

It was back to the Paraparaumu Beach Market yesterday to stock up for the week.
We had hardly anything left over from last weeks shop, just a few onions, carrots and some cabbage.

Salem has been helping me a lot with the cooking, he's doing a lot of the grating, mixing and even the cooking of some of our meals.
It's so nice having someone else cook.

Three of our lovely girls - Creme Egg, Whittakers and Zebby

The weather has been getting a bit cooler, especially at night so it is nice to have a hot meal with plenty of veges in.  Luckily the chickens have still been laying eggs, not as much as usual as one of them (Caramello) seems to have been broody for a while.

Our two retired girls - Tiger and Ted

We keep taking her out of the nest so she has something to eat and drink but she is so grumpy and likes to boss the other girls about.  She is so not impressed when we remove any eggs from underneath her.

The remains of the celery planted in the garden.

Our girls, the chooks and our duck, get most of our vegetable scraps but we do save a few to plant in the garden.  Quite a few will grow back.

Celery will grow back quite well, along with bok choy, spinach, beetroot tops (you can eat the leaves that grow back) spinach and spring onions.

The bok choy is growing back very well.

We started off growing them in pots but now are putting them out in the small gardens that we have under the eaves.   Along with other seedlings that we have popping up all over the place.

No longer neglected.

Salem has been doing lots of weeding and clearing out the very neglected gardens so we can re-grow our vege scraps.

He's doing such a good job and is very pleased with himself.  He spends hours out there pottering around especially later in the afternoon when the sun is on the other side of the house.  It has been far too hot.

Another garden ready for planting.

We have called these little gardens, his Victory Gardens, we are definitely recycling and re-using.

Clearing another garden to be planted.

Salem has so many plants in pots on our deck.  His tomato plants are growing well and have fruit developing on them, we should have plenty of tomatoes in early autumn.

Tomato plants.

We are attracting the bees with plenty of flowering herbs, oregano is a favourite and the flowers are great with fried tomatoes and an egg on toast for breakfast.

Tomato plants with flowering herbs.

We have been saving seeds from fruit such as tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, apples, plums, you name it.  Anything we eat, Salem will pop it in some soil and things have been growing.

All sorts of seedlings, even pawpaws.

He has also been carefully removing the laterials from the tomatoes and been planting them out too, so we have even more tomato seedlings.  They are doing extremely well.

One of our small rhubarbs.

We love rhubarb!!!!!!
I was picking some rhubarb the other day and as I was pulling off a stalk, part of the plant came away with it.  So off it goes into a pot of soil and we have another rhubarb plant.

Rhubarb is such a great plant,  not matter how you treat it, it keeps coming back with lots of delicious stalks to have with some custard.

Our latest addition to the rhubarb family.

It survives the chickens eating the leaves (which are poisonous but doesn't affect the chickens), nesting in it or getting dive bombed by the duck.  I was wondering why the rhubarb was looking a bit flat the other day then I spied my naughty little duck flying into it and having a bit of a play in it and the comfrey.

The dive bombing duck - finger nibbling time.

Another free food which is growing very well is puha, otherwise known as sow thistle.
A very edible "weed" which is popping up all over the place and we don't mind at all.

Puha is great cooked with other greens, in soups and boil-ups.
The chooks and duck love it too.

Puha growing with a cherry tree in a pot.

This summer has been very, very dry.  I can't remember how long ago we had any decent rain.
We recently had the local council install water meters and are now charges for our water.

Salem was so worried about how much the water bills were going to be so he was put off from watering his plants, so many died.

We had been catching rainwater off our garage roof but there has been no rain so now we store every bit of grey water, water from the washing machine, in buckets, bins, even jars.

Our grey water collection.

Salem can now water til his heart's content and doesn't have to worry about the water bill.  I just received our bill yesterday and even though we have a household of three people, we use as much as one person who is indoors, no garden or lawn.  Our water conserving is making a huge difference.

I can't wait until is rains again as we use the clean rain water for the animals drinking water and duckies "pond" water.  But I've had a look at the 10 day forecast from Metservice, and there is no sign of rain.

Yummy dinner - a plate full of veges.

Wow, I have really rambled on this time.
But I am very proud of Salem and all his hard work in the garden and getting lots of things growing.

There is nothing nicer than just stepping out of the door and picking something fresh and tasty to eat.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rationing Is Great For The Budget

Shopping at the Paraparaumu Beach Market.

I can't believe how quickly this year is passing, it's well into February.
This year we are are back on wartime rationing, even though we have still been sticking to rationing last year to a certain extent but with, I fear, too many "black market" goods.  A bad habit to get into.

2015 is going to be a very tight year money-wise as my son, Salem, will no longer have a scholarship for his dancing.  So it means sticking to a very strict budget and what better way is their to make a little go a long way than wartime rationing.

The Paraparaumu Beach Market

Fresh produce has been very overpriced for quite a while now in the supermarkets and not of the best quality.  One supermarket in particular, which is cheaper than the others, is not the best for quality fruit and veg.  The produce might look nice but is often bland, lacking in flavour and goes off quickly.

Usually seasonal fruit and veg is a lot cheaper to buy but there has not been the noticable difference in price of previous years.  We only eat what is in season.

We have in the past, loved going to the Hill Street Market and the Victoria Street Market in Wellington, but due to our budget, can not afford to go into Wellington as much.  But out in this neck of the woods is the Paraparaumu Beach Market which is held every Saturday morning.

Walking down to the market.

So we have been going to the market every Saturday morning to get our fruit and vege needs for the week.
Ahhh the joy of having a fridge to keep all our goodies fresh!!!!!!

So have been taking our old fashioned bag on wheels with us to load up but have found we need an extra carry bag as well, two hungry teenaged boys eat a lot!!!!!!!

Our trusty carthorse.

So we have been buying lots of lovely fresh fruit and vege, mostly vege, and lots of lovely tasty tomatoes which are in abundance at this time of year.  Salem is growing tomatoes here at home but they are only in flower at the moment so we will be getting some late season ones which will be great.

The previous two weekends, we found some delicious old-fashioned strawberries.  Smaller than the modern ones and they pack so much taste.  There were none at the market yesterday, even though we arrived an hour earlier than usual.  They must be finished now, luckily we saved some of the seeds so I have planted them out.  Fingers crossed!!!!!

A treat for the chickens.

Another great find at the market, is the "Happy Hen Natural Grain Mix".  It comes in handy 2.5 kg bags and costs only $5.00.  It contains peas, barley, maize and wheat.  It makes a nice treat for our hard working, and not so hard working, chickens.  A bag lasts us two to three weeks supplementing their usual mash and wheat.  The chickens love it.

Doing the weeding with two of our nutty chooks.

We have a duck now too, but she likes soft food.  We raised her on watery chicken mash and porridge supplemented with grated carrots and leafy greens so she and the chickens get all the outer leaves of our lettuces, cabbages etc.

It's been an interesting experience raising a duck, we rescued her of a road, cars were going over her, when she was only a couple of days old.  She is a lovely wee soul who gets on with the chickens and cats.  She loves following the cats, I'm sure she wants to nibble their tails.

It will be lovely to have duck eggs when she is older.

Our lovely duck.

Any way, back to the market, we have been topping up our collection of herbs and buying at least one or two pots of herbs each week. They only cost $2 each.
I love cooking with fresh herbs, great for adding extra flavour.

I was in need of some mint in from backyard, we usually have masses of it but on closer inspection, spearmint had taken over.  I also think the spearmint has cross-pollinated with the mint.
Luckily I also have sweet mint which has a softer "fuzzier" leaf.
So I'm going to have to look out for some more "real" mint.

Some of our market herbs.

So market day was yesterday, our fridge is jam-packed with goodies for the week, loving the salads and salad sandwiches for lunch.  Vege stir fries, casseroles and a yummy vege loaf which I created the other night, for dinner.

It was tomatoes on toast with some of our butter ration and plenty of salt and pepper for breakfast. Yummy!!!!!!