In january of 2011, Our family of five (now 6) lived off garden produce from our suburban front yard for one week, and we didn't loose any weight...unfortunately. It was an experience that changed the way we thought about food and the value of a suburban garden. Since then we have extended our sustainable food production beyond our suburban front yard, and into our local community and neighbourhood, beginning a community orchard and local food swap. One front yard just isn't enough!
The Rolling Stones were wrong when they said "I can't get no satisfaction". Obviously they didn't succeed in baking their own home-made bread, re-building a vegetable garden out of bessa blocks, planting a nectarine tree, sow approximately 40 varieties of fruit and vegetables and looking after a newborn and two kids and still have time to sit down and blog about it...yeah eat that rolling stones...write a song about that!!!
Now that we are done boasting, satisfaction we realise, comes at a price. Perhaps it is the recent sleep deprivation that caused Joe to become emotionally bi-polar over the past three weeks, riding the highs and lows that come with re-building a vegetable bed whilst trying to do his share of entertaining the kids. The poor man suffered several setbacks over the past three weekends.
Weekend 1: At 7 am Joe began supremely confident and optimistic that he would have 20 sq m of vegetable gardens laid and all things planted by afternoon tea.
At 8:46 am Joe was still trying to level his first brick, becoming somewhat agitated at G who insisted on handing him every earth worm she found.
End of weekend one, the front yard looked like a war zone, half of garden bed one built, husband on edge of despair and drowning his sorrows in a couple of home brews whilst new born did her 5th explosive poo after I had just changed her again...
next weekend will be better.
the sweet potatoes that we dug up from the old garden beds..a good 5 kg and yummy.
Weekend 2: We had prepared a working bee to lift Joe's spirits. Family and friends were recruited. On the morning of thunderous clouds accumulated above and the premature executive decision was made at 8:30 am to cancel the bee. By 9:03 there was not the skimpiest, single cloud to be seen. When we made the recall of the troops everyone had made alternative plans except for Steve (brother-in-law), our solo garden bed building hero.
When Steve arrived, it rained again.. actually it hailed.
12:27pm: Working bee officially cancelled, garden bed one 3/4 finished.
Weekend 3, Saturday morning: Joe has a 'man cold', sore back, and very bad attitude yet labours on stoically. 11:45 am Joe convinces himself that I am trying to sabotage the F.F.F.C. by intentionally feeding the newborn at clearly inconvenient times and sending the other two children out into the front yard to cause pestilence on my behalf...enough is enough. 12:00 pm Joe is put back in his place and apologised shortly there after.
worm hunt continues
Sunday : Joe adopts a new approach. 6:00 I get to sleep in, have coffee brought to me in bed. 10:30: Joe takes two kids for a two hour bush walk and picnic lunch whilst I read a mag in the sun and do some weeding.1:30 Joe gets time in the front yard to finish the first garden bed, plant the nectarine tree and chop the firewood.4:00pm garden bed one is successfully completed...satisfying....only two more to go!
Speaking of satisfaction, this week Joanna made some hot buns.... bread buns, that is. This week, we thought we would get busy in the kitchen and make some bread as a practice run for the challenge week. Making bread is dead easy. Sure you can buy a tip top loaf if you like, but bread buttered straight out of the oven is all together a very different experience, that doesn't leave you feeling bloated and guilty. We made a mix of flour, grains, yeast and water within minutes, and after letting the dough rest, it was in the oven in no time.
As soon as Aldi's has pasta makers on sale again, I will camp outside the nearest store to make sure we don't miss out again. We are super keen to make some home made pasta, but alas, the last time Aldi's sold manual pasta making machines, they strangely sold out within minutes. Unfortunately the sale coincided with the height of the Master Chef hysteria. There is no other reasonable explanation as to why the people of Penrith suddenly decided to go gourmet and stock up on pasta makers.
This time around, in the garden, we have planted most of our vege in seedling trays while we complete the garden beds. This month we have planted Lebanese zucchini and cucumber, the worlds largest pumpkin, bohemian, butternut and QLD blue pumpkins, tigerella tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, Brussels sprout, capsicums, artichoke and sunflowers in seedling trays. We have also planted basil, parsley, asparagus, celery, coriander and shallots directly into the new bed.
In addition to the vegetable beds, we also laid some new flower beds throughout the front yard, planting poppies, marigolds, pansies, lavender, chamomile, swan river daisies, snap dragons, sweet peas and many more varieties to attract the bees and add some colour in spring.
we have more to plant next month, but we are both falling asleep at the computer... so, we will talk about that next week. hope you guys are all doing well. don't forget, next month (September) is the time to plant pretty much everything:
Basil, beans, beetroot, broccoli, capsicums, Carrots,. celery, chilies, chives, coriander, corn, cucumber, dill, eggplant, Leek, lettuce, Pak Choy, parsley, peanuts, peas, potatoes, pumpkin, Rock melon, Silverbeet, strawberries, Sunflower, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, Zucchini, and many more.
So don't let another year pass. Spring has unofficially sprung.
the first buds of spring on our lovely new nectarine tree