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Archive for July, 2010

getting our first whiff of spring fever here in tyalgum… so my attention has turned to my little veggie garden. I have four raised boxes that I have been piling up with food scraps, horse poo, sawdust and grass clippings over the past few months, that have been nicely maturing over the dormant winter period. I uncovered these beauties from a rambling compost-turned-pumpkin patch situation, and decided that it was time to create a form of barrier protection from the wayward chooks and a wandering miss puss, who seems to think the beds are a very glamourous kitty tray…

so I popped down to our local hardware store yesterday to assess the options, and the most aesthetic and affordable solution seemed to be cane screening that I figured could be cut in half and wrapped around the outside of the beds. They had ONE. hmmm…. I figured I’d need two minimum, and moved on my merry way. As I drove up the highway, bunnings-bound, I suddenly felt inspired to check out the tip shop first – where all manner of goodies get reclaimed and made available for upcycling. Much preferable to buying something new – so full of excitement and a sense of mystery, to the tip shop I went. And how about it – up against a corner, sparkling in the sunlight, were two bamboo cane screens – the exact ones I was eyeing off at the hardware store, for the grand sum of $6 each! And sans plastic wrappers – double yay! Whilst there, I rummaged through the cutlery drawer and scooped up half a dozen pieces of silverware (the real stuff!) and as I was checking out, mr tipman kindly let me have the lot for $12!!

So here they are, my spoils from the day, ready to be transformed into some fancy pants-chook-defying-pussycat-mystifying garden box hedges! oh, and when I came home and measured the length of the area required, and the total length of fencing – it was EXACTLY the amount I needed – to the centimetre! Now all I need is a clear day tomorrow to install these beauties….

Oh, and the marmalade turned out great by the way…

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there is nothing better than a basketful of freshly picked citrusy goodness on your hip, to banish away the winter blues. in the basket: blood oranges, some I-think-they-might-be-sevilles, a good handful of limes, some very ripe lemonade fruit and one bush lemon. you have not experienced the fullness of citrus bliss until you have tasted an australian bush lemon. ugly as sin, from its tough and withered hide burst forth the freshest, most zesty lemonescence you could imagine – the prim lisbon pales in comparison.

to the kitchen I go, my garden’s gatherings are destined for the first marmalade of the season.

after a bath and a scrub, my little orange orbs are gathered on the kitchen bench as I take a moment to consult the oracle: stephanie alexander’s ‘cooks companion’. if you ever only had one cookbook, this would be the one! I scan the ‘oranges, mandarins and grapefruits’ section for a marmalade recipe. aha! a quick read for the general gist and method (I am not one for following recipes verbatim, my method is more along the lines of ‘have a quick read, grab the most similar ingredients you can find in your pantry, and improvise!) so far, so good!

first: peel the rind with a veggie peeler. this takes me back to primary school days, when we used to have competitions to see who could peel their mintie wrapper into the thinnest, longest ribbon. I begin the challenge… long, longer, longest! orange coils of zesty goodness pile up before me, as the promising aroma of orange oil begins to waft through the kitchen.

next: cut up oranges, put pips aside in muslin. hmmm… my kitchen announces that it is a muslin-free zone, I raid my ‘one day I’ll take these to vinnies’ pile and pull out an old white hippie dress, the kind with over-layers of netting – perfect! I cut out a square and lay it into a cup – ready for pips! the juice oozes and flows with each cut – I am in drippy orange heaven!

now to the juicer I go, with my bowl of chopped up, orangey goodness – which is speedily transformed into a jug of liquid sunshine, ready to pour into the marmalade pot.

in go the hippie pips, and the zest (which I quickly snipped into ribbons using my kitchen scissors). bring to the boil, reduce to simmer for one hour, and then let sit overnight….

tomorrow, part two!

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