Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Too wet for gardening so lets make marmalade!

I love seeing daffodils and jonquils, it is a time to really believe that winter is almost over! We love Seville orange maramlade. I have been hassling my local vegie supplier as to when there would be some seville oranges. I kept being told next week, next week. Well it was this week and I have made one batch of marmalade so far. I used to be very fussy and chop them finely and thinly. Now I just pop them into the food processor for a few turbo boosts, and all the work is done for me! Yipee it really is a wonderful labour saving device, a bit like my apple slicer and corer. I priced the marmalade we used to purchase and it is $5 for a 200gms jar. I made 11jars worth in vary sizes from 150ml to 500ml and filled a 300ml bowl as well.I have run out of lids so need to purchase more. No real hardship as we have been eating the marmalade in the bowl. $3.95kg. I used 2 for this volume $8.00 plus 2.5kg sugar (from a bulk bag that cost me $13.95 for 15kgs. Equals 93 cents a kg which is $2.23 so for $10.23 I made 12 jars or more of jam, so less than $1 a jar. Okay so power and gas for processor, and cooking. My labour well cutting and putting oranges in the processor 10mins, adding to pot with sugar and very little water, as I like to let the juice from the fruit do the jelling. Jars were reused from previous jams and produce, lids about 12 cents each. Still beats the $60 or more that a smaller quantity of marmalade would have cost me. Not forgetting it is an imported product so that helps. Mind you the oranges I used came from Victoria so not a very local product, and sugar from qld. So not many points for local produce in this one. I picked a cauliflower yesterday, not very well formed, but it appeared to be going moldy. I can understand this as it is still raining and from memory we have not had a day without any rain for nearly a month! Even when we have had no rain in the daytime, it has rained in the night. The forecast is for more and I was told in town that the long term forecast is rain till mid to late September. So not the only thing that will be going moldy. A friend said to me today his chooks are asking for gum boots, or hitching rides on the ducks! My broad beans are doing well, but I am trying to hand pollinate as I am not seeing bees about one would assume due to the wetness. So my hope for lots of broad beans may be gone. Peas are growing, though I seem to have lost all the peas I put under the broad beans to grow up on their stems. I must have had an idea that there might be a bit of wet weather when I planted my garlic where I did. As you can see I made a mound just in front of the berry patch. A lot of my friends are saying that theirs in the ground is not doing very well. I have some yellow tips on some of the leaves, but I am hoping that it will recover and be okay in the spring. Potatoes are still just waiting about and will get put into the garden later in September! Even my worm farm has not been doing so well. The worms I guess got a bit cool and were not eating as much. I was giving them too much food. Yes I know the information does say they are less active in winter. There are heaps in their, and some powdered milk and they are back on the happy way again. I have some peach blossoms forming on my trees, and finally the raspberry canes are begining to yellow. I will cut them back and redo the berry patch in near future. I have been weeding the grass that has grown from the hay I used as mulch. Whilst some people think it silly to use hay, it gives me more mulch when I pull out the grass before it seeds for this year! Also it was a heck of a lot better price than straw or pea straw was last year. I am including a photo of our new letter box. Our blue barrel (plastic has done us well) but we have been getting damp mail, due to a hole in the top. So the man of the house has built yet another wonderful wooden structure. It is lovely!. He has been keeping very busy this winter. We have also been taking some vitamin D capsules, all winter which have really helped our moods. Tassie has one of the highest rates of seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression bought on by lack of sunlight. We sure have not had much of it this winter. So we have both found it to be helpful. We have also both had head colds, but have managed to soldier on. So many others have had flu so we feel very appreciative that we have not! I made a delicious stew last week just using up the vegies in the crisper. I tend to do this the day before I am going to go shopping. I called it my I almost threw that out stew. I love putting some fetta on top just adds something to most vegie dishes. Other times we grate parmesan on top of our soups or stews. We had a lovely gift of some great kale, blue cheese and mushroom tart from a local cafe yesterday. (they had too much left and they were closing for their two days off so I was having a coffee and received this great gift what a great tasting tart. I am going to have to find a recipe for it. The vegie garden has been providing us with silverbeet, and green leaves for salads. My parsley has been doing really well, yet many people in the area have had no luck! So I am really thrilled that I can grow one thing sucessfully! Yipee can you live on parsley alone? I have many people comment when they see I have Daphene flowering in a pot. It has been here in this quite shaded position for over 2 years now and when I take crazy dog out for his last ablutions for the night, the scent is just so amazing. It makes this last task of the day quite bearable on these still very cold and very wet nights.

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