Monday, 23 December 2013

Temperate Mandarins

I failed to grow temperate bananas, but the mandarin tree (one of them) is hooting and providing Caleb a dollop of homegrown mandarin nostalgia. Gone are the days he can sit under a tree creating a castle of peels while he mungs down on mandarins. But it was nice today to grab a few, write Love You on one and toss them into his room. I try not to breach the threshold anymore. The level of toxic socks and dirty dishes makes it untenable. I figure he'll  get the stage even he can't handle it. He told me today it looks 'homely'.

The mandarin, an imperial, has been in the polytunnel for four years now. The first three it grew small mandarins, this year is the first time they've grown to a normal size and are sweet. The pungent smell when you pick them... hmm.

In Tasmania we can grow lemons, Eureka, Lisbon, Myer nearly all year round. A new arrival in the polytunnel, a Tahitian lime. It remains to be seen how it handles the cold nights.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Dog Food Recipe

Firstly, an old story, but a goodie. We took Caleb to the beach when he was about 4 and he asked if he could have some dog food. We were nonplussed,  it turned out he meant a Hot Dog. Freudian.

I'm not a great believer in recipes.  I prefer to get the idea of how one's done and then improvise.

When we first bought Nuju we agreed he had to be a sustainable dog and fed from the carcasses of rabbits and road kill. We then put our heads down and tails up and got busy on building a house and lapsed into the convenience of purchased dog food.

Recently someone mentioned the prevalence of kidney disease in dogs fed on commercial dog 'biscuits'. They're unpalatable to  dogs so they spray them with fat and salt. It was just what was needed to get us to take another look at the issue. This time health of one much loved dog added to the impact on one much loved environment. Can the two meet?  Probably not, generally speaking the most sustainable option would be a 'Not Dog', but that's not going to happen.

Cutting to the chase. I did the research and ended up with this... feel free to modify as you will, particularly those wanting to translate it out of Australian.

Nuju Food

4 cups of Organic Australian Brown Rice cooked for 12 minutes
Add 1 kg of kangaroo mince - or equivalent in fresh roadkill :)
3 cups of chopped carrots and carrot tops (from the garden)
125 grams of butter (Trev's request)

Cook it up and dole it out into recycled containers and freeze. One comes out each day and is kept in the fridge till needed. It's best to provide smaller dollops at a time to ensure it's all eaten and doesn't attract flies.

Nuju has an effective method of letting us know when he's hungry. He 'dings' his bowl by batting it to one side and smacking it against the floor. The porcelain makes a resounding ding. It creates a reverse Pavlovian response.

Does anyone  have good dog food ideas to share?

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Zucchini Power!

Well they're out and proud. The zucchini flowers are enormous this year, but are just the same variety as the last. No idea why.

After we've had our fill of zucchini we'll start picking the flowers early in the morning and stuffing them with chilli and Trev's fetta,  dip them in a light batter and lightly fry. It's so indulgent.

With flowers this size one would equal a meal.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Bathos... from the sublime to the ridiculous

I found an empty 500 gm plastic container of Nutella, empty, in Caleb's room. It's such a fraught thing - wanting him to grow up feeling he isn't deprived of toxic lollies and fat laden snack food. And for some reason Cocoa Pops and Nutella are the two items that typify the crap food slant of an indulgent nation and which I would never put in a shopping trolley.

So, what do I do? Bail him up and bawl him out? Done that, or at least a milder version. It doesn't work. The stubborn jaw, the steely eye and that alarming moment I realise he's gained more from me genetically than the shape and size of his nose.

So I've decided to compromise. I made 'Nutella'. I read somewhere that you combine ground nuts, icing sugar and cocoa powder. I added a dash of sunflower oil and whizzed it up in the blender. It's like crunchy peanut butter, but sweet and chocolatey.

But is that going to be enough for Caleb?... the taste tests reveals...
'Yum. OK, yeah, I'll eat it.'

Thursday, 12 December 2013

100% - the whole cigar!

Thank you everyone, I really didn't think it was going to make it. You made it happen. I'm looking forward to making the next part happen!

And I promise to blog on something about the garden soon. I'm thinking a 'how to train climbing tomatoes article'  a neat fencing trick, and maybe even a wood chopping trick Trev taught me but I allow him to demonstrate over and over and over!

Friday, 6 December 2013

6 almost 5 days to go.

This is getting exciting, awake half the night planning the movie!