Tuesday, June 30

a moment of fancy [or something]


Im not sure what i was thinking when i decided to bypass the normal approach of just picking a tiny bunch for a tiny vase for the kitchen windowsill to be enjoyed when doing the dishes. A moment of whimsy perhaps? a fanciful idea of high tea and snooty minds? I saw these in bloom around the garden yesterday while 'taking' a walk with the boybean and immediately related these delicate faces to the stomach. It flabbergasted the husband that's for sure, that I took the gastronomique approach. Sugared violets... why not? I should really have asked myself 'why? , but there you go, Taurean by nature.


Certainly after i had finished dusting /embedding /burying them under the rather unrefined organic sugar, which had resisted the most full strength industrial kitchen whizzer (by this stage damned if i was gonna let some crunchy sugar get the better o me) they looked more than a little pedestrian, in fact rather agricultural. More like the sugared peanut at Christmas than the refined end product Mrs Beeton would have preferred. I think i failed. Big time. First time and never again. But the nearly- teen -bean verdict was very enthusiatic upon consumption of a morsel from the fridge 'OMG, they taste AWESOME!' So there ya go.

Chalk that one up to expereince to never be repeated. Sheesh. What do i even cook that needs a sugared violet? What to do with leftover violets which have no stem that you just couldnt bear to entomb? Chuck them in the Okonomiyaki of course!

Monday, June 29

a bit a me 'n' a bit a you

Blogging is a great way to connect, but it can be a little one sided at times. One writes about whats on the mind, whats important and at the end of that there lies some hope that you get some dialogue going, some feedback, some input. A conversation of sorts. As much as we all may say we do it for ourselves, it wouldnt be public if we didnt want some exchange.

Sometimes i feel like im talking to myself, other times i feel part of some delicious secret squirrel business; only we know whats going on. Sometimes Ive really wanted to know more about everyone out there but have failed to work it out. Sometimes asking questions is the only way to do it but the two way bit here online is such an organic thing and if it feels forced, its gonna flop. Thats the tricky part about blogging, that even if youre not blogging out of 'obligation';for others, sometimes you want to write but through lack of processing time it just doesnt make it to readable. Sometimes Im just so overwhelmed, awash with so many things all whizzing around that I cannot make a straight line out of a tangle of thoughts. Sometime insecurity sets in and you think oh crap, that was shit. how embarrassing, then you go oh well...and keep going, keep posting because it really is a means to ones own end, whatever that may be. I have been blogging way longer than I ever thought i would. Its magic and i keep meaning to read more, do some research into the social contructs around blogging coz i need some language for my motivations and the emotions attached to belonging to such a community. Is it really all about having a voice, being heard?

So i have a request for all you who read Taurus Rising, can you answer me a question please. It is this. If you think back to the past year or so and look at your own habits and choices, what would you say has been one of the most, or a few of the most significant things you have changed about the way you live, on any level, that you feel really pleased with, accomplished or proud. Oh, and why do you blog? I think i just need to find out a bit more about you.

Sunday, June 28

Prada in the larder?

Better foodies dont do humble condiments. Now, I know this but it was this kind of principle that started a marvellous argument at Chez Pan a few weeks ago about just how much of a foodie the Bloke was. (In hindsight, i cant believe how seriously we debated the finer points of what being a foodie actually meant). So when i discovered the little tome at the library yesterday 'How to be a better foodie. A bulging little book for the truly epicurious' by Sudi Pigott I knew it contained the definitive answers we were searching for. Its an almost-thigh slapper, tongue-in-check look at the extremes foodies will go too..."the committed better foodie may spend many hours musing over the logistics of digging an Imu fire hole-wonderful for a juniper-spiked porchetta" when you can read a sentence like that and relate... (thinking of my rather nutty post-partum , in between breastfeeding a 6 week old, efforts to build the pizza-oven while on maternity leave)...

So i know lots of you readers out there are food people, can you claim to be Foodies? Here's the Prada larder checklist (with minor modifications) and my answers. If you need translations then BONK! -not a foodie.

1. Nam Pla - 20 year habit
2. Mirin - sure
3. Soy sauce or shoyu -yup
4. White miso paste - umm,checking.. yes
5. Bonito flakes - I've run out
6. Verjus - for sure
7. Saba - huh?
8. Rose or orange water from 'foreign' shop -check rose water
9. Ume-shu - no have
10. Pomegranate molasses - *blush* yup
11. 100% pure maple syrup - yup
10. Honey-chosen for type - loca
11. Cardomon, coriander, star anise, all whole - who doesnt?
12. Chermoula - have all ingredients to make it fresh when required
13. Baharat - nother huh?
14. Ras Al Hanout - huh huh huh???
15. Jordanian Zatar - definitely not
16. Peperoncino - nope
17. Dukkah - yup
18. Shichimi togarashi - nope but i will coz its fabulous!
19. Preserved lemons/limes -yup, too many jars!
20. Sumac -yup
21. Chilli jellies - check this; yup
22. Red harissa - yup
23. Saffron -a few strands floating around
24. Mace - just nutmegs
25. Maille Dijon - personally purchased from Les Halles-whoop!
26. Vanilla - fair trade , thick and pure from Vanuatu and a pod
27. Fruit cheeses - yup, mine and bloggy trades!
28. Biscuits; lah dee dah ones -nope, get eaten by the kids too often , bake/buy on a need only basis

Extra questions to sort the Prada larders from the mere Tom Fords

a. boutique tuscan extra virgin olive oil - pass
b. Artisanal jams - home made count?? of course they do!
c. duck confit -*blush* again- from genial artisian duck grower in Brittany
d. goose fat - have home rendered duck fat in the fridge- count?
e. twist rolled darjeeling - nah
f. L'Artisan chocolate flakes -nah
g. Food trophies from Michelin establishments etc definitely nah- not into foodie trophies!
Hmm..not sure about scoring this thing; theres no cut off! Looks about right; i think Im into food but merely the garden Tom Ford varietal foodie.

When it come to spices, im not a loca vore. How can you be a foodie without a variety of herbs and spices? How can you enjoy food without variety? Where i can i will pay more, sometimes alot more (the Vanuatu vanilla which i guard like Mother Bear..."thats tooo much" she screeches at Bean2 across the kitchen), to purchase a local or more local ingredient but I think that spices are international trade currency, its ok to be non loca- they're light, used sparingly and keep but fair trade is important as is sustainable production. Its the big guns of everyday bulk consumption where i put my loca investments.
And remember , a formative foodie learns to assemble and turn a pasta machine at the same time, if not before, they learn to ride a bike. Touche.

How did you score?

Saturday, June 27

business planning with a fizz

I had my first 'meeting' with 'the board' last night (that would be me n him); dining table, bottle of wine, brains and pens and paper. Si has built and sold quite a few businesses in his time so i figured that he might know a little bit about helping me out at this stage of my venture. I'm a bit of a 'i can do it myself' girl so this process was actually a little confronting for me (go figure) but it was a good process to go through, to take myself and my goals seriously, speak them out aloud and work through my business plan together. We worked our way through my marketing plan and strategy, business goals, finance and storage plans and itemised my 'to do' list. I learnt though this evening that I had done heaps of research, knew my product well and had a very good knowledge of the big issues involved. Im prepared as i can be at this stage of the process. I was very surprised and pleased when Si said he'd do whatever it took to help me along and that he would also be prepared to pound the pavement to get this product out there. Im such an academic at heart and always have been, the idea of 'selling stuff' has actually never really been an option in my life but Im passionate about ridding the world of single use plastic- just rip em off willy nilly-fruit and veg bags. We crashed into bed at 1.30am. It feels extraordinary to be pursuing this and Im so glad Im married to one of lifes eternal optimists. I can recommend Alibaba.com as an amazing insight into the world of 'stuff'. Suffering the effects of a fun night a little this morning...

Friday, June 26

Haiku Friday


hauled from the cellar;
summer pomme. Frozen berries
found. Crumble and cream.

Thursday, June 25

any advice appreciated

Ok. so now I have an ABN (Australian Business Number), i have a trade name, i have a business plan (sort of) and I have a wholesaler for my very very favourite soft and filmy produce bags who can supply me at a reasonable price. The bags are made from certified organic cotton and are certified fair trade, made by a collective of women in a village in India. So now its all freaking me out. Between getting my thesis done, blogging, family, research, the garden and all, Im about to start importing and become a sole trader and all that's associated. Life is nuts sometimes. Watch this space.

*and now a registered web domain-whoohoo

Wednesday, June 24

redefining rubbish

I have taken to radicalising 'the rubbish'*, Im no longer content to define it as that. Its way too a benign term for something so pugnacious dont you think?
I now refer to it as Landfill, "no its not recyclable, its landfill". It kinda lends a longer term and moral perspective to that casual toss, without sounding too prescriptive or judgemental. It just IS. Landfill that is. Makes ya think.

*the trash

Tuesday, June 23

leftovers


Ive taken to a new approach, an old style methodology. I've forsaken the microwave and started a legitimate affair with my cast iron skillet. Lunchtime (sometimes even brunch time) leftovers get the once over, all together. Its culinary harikari, but it feels good and somehow sizzling the abandoned motley crue this way renders them one, makes sense of opposites. Ravioli with grated carrot sauce, smoky baked beet and potatoes chopped fine, kumara with a hint of parmesan and garlic and leftover cannellini. I fried an egg which made friends with some long forgotten BBQ sauce (where did that come from?). Winter comfort taken to the extreme.
Disgusting. Delicious.

Monday, June 22

MasterChef love

Its reassuring when youre just about to hop online for your daily confession and you happen upon others sins before you fess up. I fessed up a while back about my Biggest Loser addiction but somehow this one doesnt feel quite so bad. Maybe because its about creativity and ingenuity and a little bit of art not puffing, panting, tears and 'does my bum look big in this' and contestants get taken to task for using foods not in season. Reading Progressive Dinner Party had me thumping the table "yes, oh yes'!

We have taken to 'plating up' dinner around Chez Pan; we did the major wet yourselves in the kitchen moment when that first slipped out of the mouth of babes and find ourselves taking extra effort to make sure a sauce is served, to 'take it to another level and add some acid'. Dinner is eaten in front of the tele so we dont miss a moment (i thought id rather die before that ever happenned in our household) or else we dash in and out from the retakes to caramelise our onions and keep an eye on the souffle. Best bit was the moment when i realised that it wasnt just me who wakes on a saturday and thinks 'Damn, no master chef! I figured that was the sad product of having no life with a small baby and PhD to complete...

Definitely too many cooks in our kitchen now... we have barely avoided some MasterChef induced domestics over the finer points of pasta with cheese.

Sunday, June 21

divided loyalties (or just 'oh fuck!')

good news: the girls dad has split from his woman friend of five years and her apparently 'horrid' boy children (his explanation not mine) and may be moving back to Adelaide.

bad news: (actually very very bad news) the girls dad has split from his woman friend of five years and her apparently 'horrid' boy children (his explanation not mine) and may be moving back to Adelaide.

Take your pick depending upon which side of the fence you may sit. The man just upped it and left to follow her to QLD, leaving his children behind. No job as a justifier to them, no climbing the ladder, etc, just another woman and her kids.

To me it screams the end of peace, continuity, consistency and stability. The judge ordered him nothing as he failed to turn up at the custody hearing (how can you not turn up at the custody hearing FOR YOUR OWN CHILDREN!?) he has already started on the girls 'if your mother lets me see you'. ugh.
Ding ding. Round ...umm ...lost count.

Sweet potato bake with nut crumble (easy to vegan)


This looks just like a piece of salmon with a herb parmesan crust! But it much more sustainable than wild Salmon and its got no antibiotics. As posted in a comment and recommended by Kerrie from Life at Number 14 a Sweet potato bake with a nut and parmesan crumble topping. Its a mainly loca organic Sweet Potato Bake with a parmesan nut crumble topping (can you find a loca sweet potato in SA???) Sigh. I love sweet potato and we eat it sparsely. We had it with some happy, healthy diced and sauteed lemon and chilli chicken breast(the only way B2 will eat chicken-in small pieces with no trace of fat) and sauteed kale with garlic and tamari(what else?), B2 held off on the chook.

1½kg Sweet Potatoes (Peeled And Sliced Into 5 Cm Rounds)
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
sprigs Thyme
1 Clove Garlic (Crushed For Roasting)
2 Leeks (Washed, Cut Length Ways & Thinly Sliced)
4 Cloves Garlic (Finely Sliced)
1 dob Butter (use olive oil if vegan)
2 tablespoons Double Cream (omit if wanting vegan)

Crumble Topping

2 thick Pieces Of Day Old Italian Bread
1 Dessert Spoon Cold Butter (olive oil if vegan)
1 Dessert Spoon Roughly Chopped Italian Parsley
½ cup Macadamias (I used pine nuts)
2 tablespoons Grated Parmesan (omit if vegan)

Coat sweet potatoes in oil, garlic thyme salt and pepper & roast in 180deg oven on non stick tray until soft. Put into bowl & roughly mash.

Sauté leek & garlic in butter and fold into mashed potatoes with double cream & place in 20cm by 20cm ceramic baking dish.

Place all crumble ingredients into a food processor and blend until chunky crumble consistency and crumble over top of potatoes.
Bake in 180deg oven until golden, about ½ hr and serve

Thank you Kerrie, it was rich but delicious. It could easily be a very tasty vegan dish, in fact this may be why i found it very rich as we hardly ever use dairy like this) We will definitely have this again, probably without the cream.

Saturday, June 20

a reflection on community

I was chatting with an old boyfriend a few nights ago. We have reconnected after 20 years. Its another Facebook success. It was a great conversation, one we had never had before, telling each other the impact the other had had on our respective life course. Affirming stuff. For me, he was a sensitive and gentle man who had a great relationship with his family. He taught me how love and respect were possible, memories I hung onto when i was going through my darkest times in a seperation and divorce. For him, his expansion and confidence with English altered his study pathway and he's now living in London.

Community, what about community? Well, we refelcted on our brief time living together in a high rise concrete tenement on the outskirts of Bangkok,a far cry from the manicured lawns of my golf course compound where i had been living with my very rich and famous Thai family. Speaks for itself really doesnt it? But i chose at 17 to leave living in this sterile and rather lonely environment, complete with driver, maids, hot running water, manicured standard poodles (god I hated those dogs) and swap it for the crowded, busy multi-building cement jungle that was my friends home while he was away from his rural home and studying at my school in Bangkok. The tenement block was brilliant. Downstairs, in the dirt and cement surrounds of the ground floor block, small cities of food vendors traded 24 hours a day, with carts, small tables and stools, hundreds of teams of boys played 'foot volleyball' thuck thaiwith a woven cane ball and girls sat around chatting. Noisy, fragrant and fun. On each floor of the building people had transformed their small two roomed 'apartments' (besa brick and lino floors with a cement bathroom and huge water urn for bathing and an alcove with a 2 burned gas bottle for a kitchen) into small business spaces, hairdressers, nail salons, and convienience stores. Washing hung from every balcony and every window. Kids were passed around or just wandered around. Everyone knew everyone else in their own block.

I shared this 'apartment' with my boyfriend, and three others; his sister and two cousins. we had no couch, chairs or table and only one single bed. Im not saying that everyone living there permanently loved it, nor that all were content with life because of it, just that the sense of community, connectedness and life bursting with variety and interest was at that time of my life just perfect and I have to say living there was one of the best times of my life. Its given me great memories.

Friday, June 19

Thursday, June 18

raspberries


they are in.
20 canes, hopefully enough to provide us with a bit more than just garden grazing quantities. We will have to wait and see...

Wednesday, June 17

cloth produce bags


I have to admit to having a love affair with these and if only I had a dollar for how many times I have been asked where i got them when Im out shopping. I really hate admitting I that "i got them in California" . I feel a bit sheepish, a bit of a toseer and extremely unhelpful. I have spent countless hours and nights searching online for a wholesaler in India or China who makes such bags with fair trade labour from bamboo, hemp or organic cotton. I do that coz i cant find them anywhere for sale here in Oz.


These fine gauze bags meet all my requirements; they feel wonderful and soft to use, theyre washable and are the perfect answer to plastic single use fruit and veg bags that all the shops still offer, despite the big plastic bag ban. As they are made from fine fabric they store easily in the fridge without needing to remove the fruit or vege and also absorb excess moisture, keeping food fresher for longer. Additionally, they are multipurpose and can be used for grains and flours; parachute (chico) style bags and mesh bags just dont let you do all of this with one small bag.

They feel right, they fall right, they look right.
Today I finally found a manufacturer in India which looks like they make the right bags with the right fabric and they print them up as well. My queries to all of you are, firstly,
a) if you saw these in a shop or at a stall, would you be interested in buying some? and
b) how much would you be prepared to pay for these? US retail price of these bags are 3.75 each, so say an Aussie equivalent of around $3.50-4.00 each.

The average, unorganised shopper for a family of 4 would need about 15-20 of these to do the shopping with no headache. What say you?

My kind of conference

now here's a conference worth attending. Im loving this website.

Tuesday, June 16

chicken lady


Over the last few weeks Ive spent a bit of time thinking about Simons pre-selection for the Greens and his 'green' credentials. As a political scientist by my original training, I have always harboured my own secret political ambitions but was always held back by a belief that I never owned the required traits to be successful due to lack of flair with spin-doctoring and thinking on the hop. Im not an actor at heart and need approval too much to put myself in the firing line.

On the other hand, Simon is a born politician, I do believe he has found his calling. He's an actor at heart, loves an audience and has an incredible green network and an amazing history of green activism and volunteering. When we met we realised that we actually had a previous and unrecognised-at-the-time encounter with each other that was auspicious, significant, meaningful and green. I was the mum of two caught on camera outside my local stupor-market, signing the Greenpeace petition to ban GE feed stock in Australias biggest chicken processing company and he was the larger than life chicken pawing the ground and pecking around me in a very broody manner. I recalled thinking that this guy had the 'chicken thing'; the scratching, the tilt of the head, the feather fluffing, down pat...this guy was goood.

A Green beginning and Green love in action! Pretty sexy huh?

Monday, June 15

a cool first


XERO Project, a proposal for an "X" of greenways and zero-energy building design in downtown Dallas, earned one of three first-place prizes in the Re:Vision Dallas design competition on May 28, 2009. The juried competition—led by The City of Dallas and Urban Re:Vision in partnership with Central Dallas CDC and BC Workshop—sought visionary ideas in sustainable urban and architectural design by asking the question, "What if one block in Texas became the sustainable model for the world?" The competition team awaits a meeting with the Central Dallas CDC to present their design and to build the most sustainable district in America.

Thanks to City Farmer News, i love these news pieces, they make my day coz change cant happen without political support and leadership.

Sunday, June 14

amazing

is your 11 year old calling her teacher on a Sunday night to finalise the plate up details of her class loca vore cooking competition tomorrow.

Amazing too was that we had all the loca ingredients for a two course meal on a Sunday night nearly a week after 'the shop'. (B2 isnt known for her excellent organisation).

I barely looked at my teachers at her age...

rain gardening


Its not generally my favourite way to do it, but time was running short, plus Im pretty stubborn and I had committed to getting it done this weekend.
Boy in bed = time to do stuff = plant artichokes; they're the funny looking short pale grey frondy things that appear quite limp . i planted a row of five behind and three in front. They should look quite striking in this spot, me thinks.
Didnt count on it being quite this wet.

I have discovered over the years that whenever i dont let self imposed limits stop me doing any kind of stuff, im always really pleasantly surprised at how i feel afterwards. Its really empowering to not let minor discomfort stand in the way of achievement. Also, being outside in the rain getting soaking wet always throws me back into childhood.

Sadly you cant see the rain still dripping from my nose nor just how much trouble i had taking a shot that wasnt all nostril or feet using a camera that inverted me and moved the image in reverse.

Im hoping they like this spot out the front of the house by the road and that not too many teenagers give them a thwack on the way past nor that they get suddenly repossessed at their peak and turn up on someone elses' table.

Saturday, June 13

garden tour [with Gnome]


This is my blatant attempt to win a fantastic cook book from Mad Gnomes. Check it out. Some great giveaways in swap for a Gnome pic! This gnome is carved from a dead tree that still has roots in the ground and he wears his original bark coat. He looks a bit cranky (a mad gnome?) and sits amongst the agapanthus that line the driveway keeping a lookout...

Actually, while i was out taking a photo of our gnome, I had thought a garden tour may be of interest to some of you. I know i love to see where everyone lives, locate your stories, gardens, vegetables and lives, its the nosy parker in me.
The vegetable garden is not very abundant at the moment, offering us kale and potatoes, rocket, carrots, cabbage, lettuce and the last few yellow pear tomatoes each day. These tomatoes are the only ones i have 'wintered off' ( well actually just couldnt be bothered pulling them out).

The citrus are producing like crazy; on the go and in the fridge are oranges

mandarins which are small but sweet and juicy and grapefruit and my favourite lemons are about to ramp up into full production mode.
Courtesy of the Gnomes in the last day or two are some artichoke plants and 20 odd rabberry canes. Sweet. Looking forward to joys of both of these. I need to get them in the ground today.
These pics were taken just now so you can see its not pretty weather for gardening but i promised myself to get them in this weekend as we leave for holidays in 2 weeks.

I do believe that its something furry not slimy that is ravaging the rhubarb, decimating it. Im not sure if its got much of a fighting chance? I will cover them with some wire and see how it fares.



The dragon at the bottom of the garden has shed its skin and is looking rather wiry and cold; fitting for a dragon no? and the only colour left are the azaleas in the japanese stone garden.

The solar cels are still ticking the meter over but the boat that simon has been building since before we met is a little behind schedule, what with a new persons added to the mix, full time fathering, building the studio and the garden always needing something doing and wood chopped...
Its not the boat we intend to use on our big adventure!
ahh winter...sometimes i love it...

Friday, June 12

Thursday, June 11

the kid is broke

not broken, just flat broke, well according her her anyway and in desperate need of more cash. Her pocket money is just not meeting her needs. Apparently.

I came home last night to find B2 sitting in front of the computer with her head resting in her hands and as i walked through the door her body shuddered with a deep and guttural moan (yes, she is the only one in the family that belongs to a theatrical ensemble).

My eyes roll in my proverbial head. 'Oh crap' I hate arriving home to uberkidwoeismedrama and being asked to be judge and jury...ugh. I steele myself.

She looks up as i walk in, head rolling, "I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed a job"

Phew! no adjudicating step/parent role to negotiate, just some regular advice. We chat and brainstorm ideas about possible jobs for 11 year olds. We ponder the concepts around responsibility, school, insurance, reliability, wages and realistic expectations and interests.

She is excited, enthused and hops online to do some research.

'Fantastic'. Im feeling chuffed about her self direction, confidence and go-get attitude and just a little pleased with both my parenting skills and her Montessori education (B2 is of the 'fly off the handle at the slightest disruption to fantasy state' kinda of girl) so these momentary traits of maturity and level headedness are really rather appreciated.

Dinner comes and goes, job ideas chatted about, homework gets done and the kids retire to their bedrooms. I sit at the the pc where she had been working and I see that her open notebook has a page filled with columns, dot points and a heading.

Buying a Franchise and 5 year Business Plan

Managing employees makes baby sitting sooo 1990's.

Wednesday, June 10

from little things, big things grow


so i started with a manageable amount...
over time, they grew,
and grew,
and grew until finally i had so much bean sprout i was overwhelmed. I had removed them from their sprouting jars days ago as the roots had begun to weave around the insides and quite frankly they were freaking me out with their very apparent 'aliveness'. They had been happily sprouting in a huge bowl since then. The stupid thing is none of us like raw sprouts all that much, especially in winter. I sprouted these up for pad thai, thinking that the one cup or so of dried bean wouldn't make that much...pad thai made, sprouts used and heaps left over.

So last night i faced off with the sprouts, a do or die moment where it was either use the lot or ...or...hang onto them in indescision (and compost next week?). I managed to use 6 cups of fresh mung bean sprout for our dinner; I was dead impressed with myself.

Mung bean fritters,
served with sauteed kale and steamed new potatoes.
Brilliant.

Besan flour, brown mustard seed, egg, splash of stock , lemon juice and tumeric and the sprouts.
We ate the lot.

Tuesday, June 9

first potatoes


boiled kipflers, eaten whole with skins on, dipped in mayo, bitten and dipped again...OMG! Today i will add anchovy and capers... Id prepared the first new spuds for the boybean for last nights dinner, chopped up into small cubes and topped with some fine grated pecorino, the delicate curls contracting when they met the heat of the spuds...thought he'd love them as they were so sweet and soft, but no. I ate the rest! Happily.

For me, pulling up new potatoes is one of lifes natural wonders and a moment filled with fear and anticipation; fear that you will spear the best of the bunch *crikey!*, and anticipation of just how many will be unearthed and how big they will be * you beauty!*

The potato patch soil is so soft and dark, crumbly in all the right ways and the earthy, musty smell thats released when im removing vines and their secret stash makes me happy to the core. This patch has been well composted and it shows. I will definitely miss my garden when we set off to sea and im a little overwhelmed at the unknown challenges of trying to get some fresh stuff growing aboard a boat. Challenge may be an understatement? No composting too, so how to deal with food scraps? Yikes, much food for thought.

Pulling potatoes. It's up there as one of my most favourite gardening moments.

Sunday, June 7

if only i could...



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I came across this shop last week on a walk back from work, I dont remember seeing it before. I did go in, look around, put my hands on the bars and my butt on the seat of a big black lovely,and dreamed...

We live behind the crest a very big hill. To get here from the city its a steep, curving, long trip, serviced by a freeway or 'the old road'. To put the hill into perspective, the Tour Down Under passes the top of my street. So unless your middle name is Lance, theres not a lot of cycling that goes on around here in the hills-there's very few kids on bikes zooming around. Its a walking town and its the bus or a car for us when a trip in to the city is required. I car pool into work and we 'cluster' our town shopping, planning ahead and doing one big manic trip, else I'll mosey in in my lunch-hour But I harbour another 'Kel'; I fantasize about being an inner-city dweller (with vege garden) owning one of these lovelies and cruising leisurely from place to place. Bookshops, markets, recycle boutiques and cafes are coming to mind... 'oh , i have kids' Another lifetime maybe, when Im bjorn again as a Dane, Swede,Parisienne...inner Melbournian...

Saturday, June 6

poo bar [and another diva cup] update


Well, I really wasnt happy with using the Lush poo bar. It was a great introduction to removing the plastic bottle backlog that was our shower experience and getting us all in the habit of using a poo without the squirty factor. But, despite it being package free, it still had the water unfriendly phosphates, sulfates and chemical surfactants and it was drying out the locks a little. Changing to a poo bar was so much less painful than I thought it would be. I really had imagined B1; the very teen, really going to hyperbole town on the awfulness of not using her favourite hair product. But, not so. She's even told me a regular soap does a pretty good job! who woulda thunk it? ( it is olive oil soap but its the principle thats counting here) So, months later we're still happily using a bar, but have switched to a Sugar Shack olive oil, locally made bar in recycled cardboard. I could make my own i know, and i do get inspired to do these things, but time...

*warning* diva cup details about to follow.

I have been using the Diva Cup now since my period returned after the bean was born; so six months or so. I had a few issues along the way that nearly made me stop using it, but i persevered and all problems seems to have resolved. I was getting rather 'internally achy' and i think i just needed to find a better 'fit' or else it was just 'that' month, coz i havent had that weird ache since. It really was quite uncomfortable in there! The issue some people have had with the tiny holes in the side being difficult to clean, i resolved easily by holding each 'hole' under running water while similtaneously squeesing either side to open the hole. No need to use a needle to clean it; it just rinses right out very easily this way. The most challenging issues around using the diva cup is when your only have access to work or public toilets. i usually avoid it if possible due to a) the bloody (no pun intended) noise *schlerrrrrrrrrrrrrrp POP* ...could be my technique; too much speed? will have to work on that as its most socially disconcerting and b) rinsing. I usually just tip, wipe it and keep on going!
Haven't died yet..

Friday, June 5

Thursday, June 4

bean sprouts


The pad thai we are all craving is a loooong time coming.

This is the extent of my gardening over the last few weeks, besides the removal of offending green but very velvety and plump pests from the kale, just rinsing mung bean shoots twice a day, turning and, well, just waiting... and waiting... and waiting. Maybe tomorrow...

Wednesday, June 3

wife of a preacher man

Simon has decided to throw his hat into the political ring after much urging from the The Greens, for the next election to the lower house ... life could be about to get very hectic. Im excited but Im also thinking that life as we know it will change whatever the outcome... but Im happy for him, he has been a dedicated activist for over 25 years. Recent success by several Greens members in securing federal and state seats is a very encouraging sign of the times and a good indication that the populace is beginning to vote with their feet!Go Si!

Tuesday, June 2

Cheesed off

Since the weather turned and outside is no longer enticing, the bloke and I pack up the bean and go to market every Tuesday to do the weekly shop and have lunch together. For the last few weeks i have been taking along containers to bring home the cheese. Plastic itself doesnt bother me unless its leaching BPA into my system or its single use packaging. Im often compromised with plastic vs glass bottles as I have read that, as usual, 'it depends' on what you're purchasing as sometimes the glass bottle is shipped in from whoop whoop and the energy consumed making it nd getting it to you in glass is way greater than the energy used to get the plastic made, transport the plastic to you and then recycle the plastic. 'It depends'. Sigh

So today I front up to a new cheese shop, ask the woman behind the counter for some feta cheese and ask her please can I use my own container. Sure, its no problem she says and then proceeds to reach over and rip off a plastic bag from the roll beside the counter. I stand there quite dumbfounded, watching while she uses the bag as a glove to pluck some feta from its brine bath and to cup it on the scales. The feta is being tipped from the plastic bag into my cheese box when i finally speak up.

Dont people get it! I tell her that i may as well take the cheese in the bag NOW because my guess is the bags going to be tossed, right? Right. If i take it at least i can reuse it.

No tongs for cheese removal at that cheese stall! Apparently it may crumble the edge of the feta... gasp! hence the use of bags for picking up the cheeses and then for holding the cheeses. If i return to that stall Im gonna have to give a key note address before i hand over the box!

Monday, June 1

Kiva micro-loans


As promised, 2 names drawn. First out of the palm was Veggie Gnome! Then came Ramsey!
I then discovered that Emma from Indian Earth had gone ahead since reading the giveaway Haiku and put up $25 of her own for a micro-loan!! - nice work Emma - so im gonna give another one to Kale for Sale then all four of you will be loaners! As Emma said 'Be the change you want to see'.

I have been micro-loaning for a while. Its easy. I like to lend to women who are supporting families and who are prospoing sustainable and 'ethical' businesses (not soft drink sellers). I think these micro -loans are a brilliant idea. They are non interest bearing loans; you make no money on the 'investment', you just get your initial investment back. Then when the loan is repayed in full you can choose to make that money available for another entrepreneur or redeem your money. For the recipient, it can mean the difference between susbsitence living or a more secure future. By by-passing the big banking system this way, we are building our own community and providing opportunity for people who do not meet big bank lending criteria. For me, micro-loans are a way to express my belief in sharing the wealth around without condition so i have never chosen to take my money out of the Kiva system, i always re-loan and every time a loan is repayed, for each loan i add another, hence this giveaway; 2 loans were repayed.

So Katrina at Kale for Sale, Veggie Gnome from The Mad Gnome Strikes Again and Ramsey of Sunshine Valley Hut, I will email you your $25 Kiva gift certificates to redeem at your leisure and to loan to whomever you choose. Pass on the Kiva word, give locally too and thanks for reading Haiku!