Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Caleb's Blog

Caleb has started homeschool again. I homeschool Monday and Friday's and Trev, Wed to Thursdays. It's a big commitment from all of us, but so far it seems to have paid off. We're all enjoying it and Caleb is taking on more challenges though confront him with any artwork assignment and he hauls up pretty quickly and gives his, 'Yes, well I am not like you, I am not good at art, and you're asking way to much of me'.
This was our recent, draw a blackberry art assignment and paint it with blackberry juice.

Part of homeschool has been starting his own blog and updating it every week (something I haven't been keeping up with of late, something to do with harvesting red kidney beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, honey and my fingertips have blisters).

If you have time to drop in to Caleb's Blog and have a look at and leave a quick note would be great. Also if anyone can tell us how to correctly link his flickr slideshow into the top left hand corner would be appreciated. I'm stumped. And it took him hours to take enough Bionicle photos. Oh, the photo of Cal is of him chewing on his own blackberry leather ... there's a recipe and a tiger snake in the story!

Cheers, Linda

Friday, 8 February 2008


The sunflowers are bursting forth. I ended up whippersnipping the vast majority of sunflowers a while back as the lack of water meant they were stunted and dying. Reduced their numbers to around 500 and tried to keep the water up to just those. Which looks like it's paying off. I was thinking the bees from my hive would be onto them, but only wild bees and bumblebees are, my bees are up the hills supping on Eucalyptus Obliqua which is in flower. I watched one bee do the waggle bum dance yesterday as he told all the other bees the location of a new pollen source.

Eventually I hope to harvest the sunflower heads and press oil, but more likely, with the reduced numbers I'll just shake the heads into a bucket and use it for goat food.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Finally managed to get a copy from the library. Enjoyed the read, very similar to 'Living the Good Life' in a lot of ways. The biggest impact for us is we now make mozzerella cheese using the recipe in Barbara Kingsolver's book (one of my favourite all time reads was The Poisonwood Bible)and I am finally convinced that a deep freeze is a good investment. Trev's been bothering me about getting one for years, but I keep voting against it. He wants to fill it with dead animals, I want to fill it with tomatoes. Barbara freezes her tomatoes on a tray in the freezer, and then throws them in a bag so they rattle around 'like croquette balls', rather than merge into one frozen lump. She grates zuchini and freezes it in bags. There are no end of things you can put in a freezer.

I had to laugh at her discussion about zucchini's, and when in season everyone suddenly locks their car doors in case someone leaves you a bag ofthem. We're at that stage where we can no longer give them away, you mention the Z word and eyes glaze and people back away uneasily. One neighbour recently surprised me with a, 'No bloody way, thank you very much!' I've been growing golden zuch's, a neighbour green, and we aim to have an exchange of zuchini colour. We've eaten them curried, fried, in the ubequitious zucchini slice, I've given them away to the local librarian, and I'm just starting to think about hanging them in bags over peoples door handles while they're asleep when Barbara cut me back to size.

Instead we're coming on for tomatoes on mass. Siberian Cherry, Apollo, sweet bite, and lots of others I've forgotten the names of already. There are at least 30 plants and all rearing for bearing masses of fruit fly free super berries. Man are we estatic about it. Hopefully we can find enough jars to do enough things to them, we're going to dry them, freeze them, cook 'em up and pour them into jars (that are all currently occupied with honey).

I'm watching my tiny, only just fertilised watermelons in the greenhouse, hovering over them, occasionally drawn in for what I call a 'bit of watermelon sex', rubbing the depetalled male flowers over the female. Add a bit of water, more decomposed animal poo and a bit more hovering. It would be fantastic if I can grow even a few to maturity before the first frost.

We don't buy watermelon in the supermarket, it's the locavore thing for us too. If the fruit comes from another state/country, it's out of the trolley. But if I can get it happening here and in a greenhouse it will make it a more sustainable and ethical choice. I've perused the Digger's Seed Club and discovered varieties that grow in cooler climes. I'll be giving those a go next year.

Running the Numbers

Fantastic website worth checking out, it takes an age to load, we're still on dial-up (we've been waiting close to a year for the broadband that we signed up for). Running the Numbers is a Seattle artist, Chris Jordan and his work, a series of things like 32,000 barbie dolls artfully arranged to represent the number of elective breast surgeries performed in the US every six months.

"Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 410,000 paper cups used every fifteen minutes. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. The underlying desire is to emphasize the role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming."

Chris Jordan.