Tuesday, 19 February 2013

It Beets Sugar

I’ve grown them a few years in a row now, mostly they were thrown over the fence to the pigs. I only had a few seeds, so this year, after saving the previous years seed I’m growing a larger crop. I’d like to have a go at extracting sugar syrup, slicing it thinly, washing out the sugars, compressing them and then drying  the pulp that remains for winter feed for the goats.  Has anyone had a go at doing this? I’d also love to have a go at making ethanol. But without a still, that’s not going to happen. If things fall apart in the future it would be good to know how to keep the whippersnapper going.  Though, come to think of it, I still have the scythe in the shed. 

I’ve taken a year off work to study fulltime, and while uni hasn’t started yet I’m having a great time writing non-fiction, novels and catching up with the garden, and, as always, extending the darn thing.
The summer has been the hottest since we arrived in Tasmania, now seven years.  It's also the hottest and driest most locals can remember.  The kiwifruit (which, unfortunately, I had already counted) were devastated by the 41 degree day we had several weeks back. And yes, it was a new record temperature. 
Extending the garden is probably not the brightest thing I’ve ever done. I love planting out, I’m just not so gung ‘hoe’ on weeding.  




Anonymous said...

Hi Linda - what are you studying? All the best!


Kristy said...

The girls (chooks) have sorted out all the weeds out the back. It's just the front that I can't keep up with as the girls aren't out there...

thankfully the bathtub and raised beds mean I can kinda ignore the grass and weeds unless they're in the beds lol so I do.

I hear ya on the temp. We had two days in a row this week @ 43 degrees. Worse than that you guys in Tas getting temps like that is a bit disturbing. Mother Nature is peeved that's for sure...

Good luck with the garden and UNI. Sometimes the garden is what keeps me studying - I go out in it for a bit then come back in and can manage another hour or so... erm... so long as I don't get distrcted while I am IN the garden lol

Linda Cockburn said...

Yes Kristy, that's how I use the garden too, when the brain gets foggy, bend over in the garden and drain a bit of freshly oxygenated blood back in.

I had been studying Philosophy and Psychology, but my credits ticked over the 10 year mark and it meant redoing them all, and I just couldn't face another semester of crying over damn statistics. So I've opted to do what I really love best.... BA in Professional Writing at Curtin University via Open University Australia.

Kristy said...

lol I never thought of it that way - draining freshly oxygenated blood back in but I think you're right.

you know you've been studying too long when the sunshine hurts your eyes when you go outside (actually I remember that from my firstborn too, being inside so much). I usually go outside on a sunny winter day to try and thaw out, because I'm sitting inside at my desk in a sleeping bag lol

yay for you doing what you really want to do. Bummer about the credits expiring - would they not grant you an extension?

be keen to hear what you think of OUA. I've got a couple of years after this on my Law degree, but who knows what after that...

Rebecca said...

Hi Linda
We live in Albany, West Australia, and tried growing sugarbeet one year. It went well. Will try it again this year for sure! We tried two methods of getting the 'sugar' out of the beet. The first one was to cook 1 kilo of sugar beet in about one litre of water, until the beet was soft. Strained the beet and then reduced the liquid until it turned into a syrup. Was a lovely golden colour, and tasted like a beety sugar syrup. From a kilo of sugarbeet we got about 3 Tablespoons of syrup! The second method was putting the sugar beet through a juicer and then reducing the juice into syrup. It worked just as well, but preferred the first method. I mixed the cooked sugarbeet into cakes, muffins and biscuit mixes. And the pulp leftover from juicing I fed to our goats. I would be really interested in hearing about other peoples methods of extracting the sugars!

Helen Merrick said...

Hey Linda

I am having a total fan girl moment here...
So i've been (silently) following your adventures and blogs for many years since I first read and adored Living the Good life when it first came out. You are one of my idols and have certainly been a huge part of my efforts to live more sustainably.

So i was about to post a comment asking what you are studying, when I read your reply. ZOMG! I thought. That the uni where I work. And that s the school I work in! And ... runs to check ... one of the units you are doing is mine! Sadly I'm not really teaching it directly this semester as I am overloaded, but I am tinkering away in the background.
Anyway hope you are enjoying your studies! I've been teaching through OUA since 2001 and think it is a wonderful way to study. I've 'met' so many amazing people over the years and love seeing people connect and grow and go on to do amazing things!
If you haven't found it already, there is a facebook group for OUA students (mostly at Curtin) called the coffee shop which a couple of our students set up to offer advice and support to oua students (one of them lives in Hobart - we got to met her last year when we visited).https://www.facebook.com/groups/133022790099435/

And in other weird coincidental news I am moving very soon to come and live in ... Franklin! We hope. It might be Geeveston depending on prices and what is available.

Linda Cockburn said...

That is a coincidence Helen.
I'm enjoying studying with OUA due to it only being two units at a time, no breaks, jump from one semester right into the next. Last year (or was that the year before) I had an assignment due 24th of December! But it leaves time for living while still being full time. This is my first unit with Curtin. So far so good.

The second coincidence of moving to Franklin, which is about 20 mins from us. It's a great community Franklin. They work together without too much of the usual BS you usually get when you scrape the surface of a town. Hope it all goes well. We might even get to hear from you :-)

Linda Cockburn said...

Hey Helen!
Fan girl response in response. What a great lecturer you are! Some lecturers have a monotone voice and boring content and I have to keep a sharp pin handy to keep awake, but you're fabulous! Thanks!



Helen Merrick said...

hehe! I'm blushing. Glad you have enjoyed them. It feels really weird to be so out of the loop on this unit as usually I am very involved and posting regularly on the boards.

I've been out of touch in general as the last 6 weeks have been spent in transit, but finally we are here in Tas, and my daughter started school last week. Currently renting in Huonville and madly looking at properties in every spare minute. Also trying to find my way round and find out the secrets of where to get locally grown veggies (where? other than the weekend markets, which can be thin on veg). Guess I will have to brave hobart this weekend for the farmgate market. You need to get your market garden up and running Linda! Sounds amazing. I also want to see if there are any local co-ops for buying local and/or bulk wholefoods.
Can't wait to get my own place and get the veggies, chooks and animals going again!