Saturday in the Kitchen and garden….

Roger (aka Roboman) spent the week at work up in the hills spraying gorse. He has been exhausted at night but sleeps like a baby and this morning was up and out in the garden at 5.30. He weeded furiously for several hours ending up with a mammoth heap of weeds. Went to the shop, butchered a sheep, took rubbish to the dump, collected a huge ute load full of peastraw, came home, put alot of it around the garden…left a pile in the herb garden to finish later then took the car down the bottom where he unloaded it for the big garden… then had to repair a gate he broke in the process. Trimmed and bagged up 10 kg of onions. Helped me pick cranberries then got ready to go and play golf for the afternoon. Getting ready for his shower at 2 pm he walks past me singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…” and plants a kiss on my head and walks off full of the joys of life…. and plenty of energy.

I was sitting at this time pondering the mess in the kitchen and wondering if I really wanted to go back in there. I am still sitting… I have decided it might be a good time to post photos and listen to music!

This, folks, is my kitchen at the moment:

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Another shot:

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There is a little bit of everything going on there. Cooking in the pots is a batch of tomato sauce and in the other scrap meat for the dogs. On the other side of the bench is a big pile of dishes, in the oven is jars for sauce. 2.5 kgs of plums still need bottling, the smaller zucchini are ready for freezing. We did not grow those huge tomatoes by the way – ours are only just beginning to ripen and we needed sauce so I bought some over-ripe tomatoes at a farm gate.

Bottled peaches and Drunken Plums

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For Drunken Plums, layer fruit and sugar in a sterilised jar right to the top. I halved these to make them fit better and not use too much sugar. Once full pour gin or vodka over. Use a knife to get rid of air pockets and fill to the brim. Lid and store for two months, shaking or turning daily. The plums will float to the top, these can be eaten and the liqueur can be bottled and drunk! (Recipe from HOMEGROWN: NZ Gardener Magazine) I have never tried this before and wanted to make it last year but didn’t get 1 plum.

 Pickled onions and peach vinegar

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Zucchini have been done for freezing, these are the marrow after not picking all week.

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Our first pick of cranberries this yearImage

 1.5 kg to go into the freezer until I do something with them, put in a pretty bowl for a photo 🙂

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 This year our two big peach trees gave us not a peach but grew heaps, really disappointing fruit wise. Our little dwarf peach gave us around 5 or 6 kg.

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 The blackberries are growing well but ripening slowly.Image

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Bigger onions to store in old onion sackIMG_3302

We have friends who work on a farm where garlic is grown, they are allowed to glean all that is left after the harvests. This is the box they dropped off, we swap for whatever we have available. Some will be pickled, some used for cooking, the biggest saved for seed garlic next season.

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Sometimes I moan that summer is taken up by days like this (in our spare? time) but when I look at these photos I know this – we could not afford to buy most of these foods. Zucchini, garlic, onions…yes, maybe occasional peaches or plums if we wanted to eat floury, flavourless things. These fruit trees were self sown, the blackberry a cutting, the cranberries were purchased, 12 at $1.25 for seedling sized plants – they are now ready to have cuttings taken off for a hedge down one side of the vege garden. This is good food, grown cheaply, eaten year round.

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32 thoughts on “Saturday in the Kitchen and garden….

  1. That’s an impressive amount of homegrown food.Our place isn’t that productive yet, wish it was. I might try growing cranberries after seeing your crop. I wish I had energy like your husband – wow!

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  2. Oh my! I am so very jealous! In the nicest way of course! Your gardens sound delightful and I simply adore your gleaned garlic! Gleaning needs to become so much more a part of our society. 🙂
    Mums Plums is how I was introduced to drunken plums, many moons ago. A friend in the UK made some and he had quite the challenge bringing it back through customs (it did come through). Be careful with it though I say, it goes down far too easily and even if your head feels stone cols sober I can guarantee your legs aren’t. 😉 We got stuck into it to celebrate our engagement with my parents when we arrived back from that same trip and after 2 shots worth my Mum couldn’t walk! Too funny. 😀 I’ve made it too but it is hard work to stay out of it before it has time to mature properly. Make LOTS! 😉

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    • Yes, gleaning does need to become much more part of our society….I guess it’s just up to people to ask orchard owners (something I would have problems with but many wouldn’t) When My first husband and I came here with our three youngest, all adult sized teenage boys we were on the bones of our backsides. I could not believe all the fruit that was left to rot on trees or on the ground – how I wish I had been comfortable enough with just going to ask if we could take some.

      Ok, I shall follow your orders, I will make LOTS! 🙂 And thanks for the advice to be careful with it lol, I can just imagine how easy this could do down and how stonkered Wendy would be after innocently gulping down a couple!! It sounds so good I really can’t wait 🙂

      Our garden is delightful with pockets of great mess 🙂

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  3. Good GRIEF woman is there nothing you guys can’t grow/do?!!! Cranberries?! I thought you had to be living in the middle of a swamp in North America to grow them?

    Gorse is a curse isn’t it? What on EARTH did our Scottish forbears think when they were shoving it under their caps to propagate in the “New World”?! The only good thing is it makes excellent habitat for birds and apparently, good “champagne” from the hallowed mouth of Mr Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall

    I am officially terrified of Roger. The man is a human dynamo! A human dynamo with a positive loving attitude (just read “you are my sunshine 🙂 )

    Your garden has me twitching with excitement! If you can grow all of that on a small block, surely Serendipity Farm has possibilities!

    Cheers for the enthusiasm at 5am on a Sunday 🙂

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    • I tell you something Fran, I am so envious your 4 acres…what you could do with that!!! We want to push our 1/4 acre for everything it’s got and are so fortunate Roger got work on a farm for what that can do for us but ohh, how we wish we could afford a bigger piece of land. We will stay here though now, it’s home and we could never leave. Roger will one day that old eccentric who got lost in his own garden, I am sure. You guys have the potential to live off yours, well and truly. It’s hard work now but one day you will be able to earn your income off there if you desire that…you have so many possibilities!!

      He is a dynamo, there are few days when he’s just weary and can’t “potter”. When we met he was the most unlikely candidate for the title of GARDENER so that’s been quite a pleasure to see, even if just exhausting watching him.

      Now, I have in my mind to make gorse petal wine after seeing this on River Cottage. I didn’t last the distance picking gorse petals last year but will try this year. They have the prettiest scent surprisingly. He loves his days spraying it out in the wops, he used to do that for a job….getting into gorse bushes to spray them out, eek!!

      Cranberries seem to go well here, they like wet feet is all.

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      • I like wet feet too 😦 I love the smell of gorse flowers. I reckon it’s my 1/4 Scottish blood that sings whenever it sniffs it (and broom 😉 ) we have a lot of challenges to rise up and meet (let alone beat) before we can be productive here. Unless we cover things the possums just eat them so we have to really think outside the box when it comes to gardening. We were in the city yesterday and people had gardens and veggie gardens just out in the open! No covers, no weights, no props or poles just gardens with the odd beady eyed blackbird peeking out…what LUXURY! 😉 I would like to buy shares in Rogers brain please. The moth eaten sock under the bed might just stretch to about a days worth of timeshare 😉

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      • I know, that must surely be a huge issue for you. That must drive you to distraction. Roger was just telling me possums are protected there – I was writing you should trap them. Geez, protected?? When they do so much damage??!!

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  4. Good grief Roger has energy! I am a bit like him. When I get to work in the gardens I can keep myself busy all day, happily. The sleep I get at night is well-deserved. I am missing the garden so much right now.

    While my garden isn’t nearly as productive as yours I could never afford the amount of food I get from mine. The strawberries alone are a treat that saves me a lot and I love being able to share them without worrying about the money invested.

    Your drunken plums sound very good. I wish I could drink. But it gives me an idea for a Christmas gift!

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    • Are you? I am not like him at all…slow and steady I can manage 🙂
      This all makes good food affordable doesn’t it, well worth the efforts.
      I imagine Drunken Plums would do down very well as a gift and I think we will be making alot more if we can get more vodka before the season ends! I drink only a little but a wee glass of a fruity, boozy something really appeals 🙂

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      • Oh yes, I would hate to have to limit the amount of fresh food my family can enjoy when visiting me because I couldn’t afford to buy as much as they can eat. To have little ones prefer fruit over junk food warms my heart.

        I wish I could drink, but I know exactly who I would make drunken plums for. 🙂

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  5. I agree with everyone above, you + your husband are an amazing team! Your garden is one productive 1/4 acre!!! I have been pondering over the years about growing cranberries, but I can’t seem to find a place to grow them. Do they need full-sun? I have one plum dwarf in my yard + it is not doing anything yet. Wow, just amazing productive 1/4 acre!

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  6. This is my sort of kitchen .. Wow… love the Drunken Plums we did have a plum tree but some mysteries disease killed it last year.. We have planted more fruit trees such a blue berries and Logan berries so fingers crossed there..

    And can I just say how much I appreciated your comments upon my post recently.. 🙂 I am pacing myself. and thank you .. Hugs Sue xox

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  7. You can’t say ‘messy’ kitchen; its a bountiful kitchen!! I cannot believe what you two grow on a 1/4 acre. I,, too, wish I had Roger’s energy; I’m like you, good for the long haul . . . I have endurance, especially if not stressed. I love that he sang that to you and I can see why, too! You are both so lucky!! My nurse sister had a crock in her pantry full of various fruits and topped off with brandy; every time she used some, she just added new fruit and topped it up again. It was wonderful; I remember her making ice cream and serving the drunken fruit on top. mmmmmmm……………..

    We have broom and gorse in Victoria, BC, too; thanks to Scots who immigrated. I know they are a bit of a weed, but they are so cheerful and I do love the scent. And the broom can be used to make brooms; amazing, eh?

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    • We challenged ourselves to see how much we could grow and we are writing down all that we harvest for a year to see how many kgs so that will be interesting. I am slow and steady but with rest breaks. I used to be able to just work at a steady pace all day but not now.

      I have heard of brandy pots Linne, I am thinking now I should make brandy when we borrow our friends still, that sounds so good!! My sister in law has arthritis and tried Golden raisins in gin for it and felt it was successful so made me a jar to try for my fibro – I noticed no difference but gosh they were yummy and extremely morish 🙂
      I didn’t know broom made brooms!!

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