October 14 2012

In the garden: I’ve had a busy day today, pottering about in the garden, and trying my hand at something new in the kitchen. It was time, today, to repot my red papaya tree and the parsley was getting pot bound in its little seedling planter as well, so I moved it into the pot previously occupied by the papaya.

I am finding that I really enjoy looking after my growing garden. It seems a lot more manageable with everything in pots and I have worked the daily watering routine for the plants in with my feeding and watering routine for the chickens so that it doesn’t seem like any extra work at all. I’ve now got parsley, papaya, tomatoes, strawberries, aloe vera, mint, three spice herb, butternut pumpkin, italian zucchini, chokoes and mushrooms on the go!

Next on my list are Madagascar beans, pigeon pea, nasturtium, marigold and garlic. I wanted to plant out my garlic today, but unfortunately, when I opened the pack, the bulbs had gone mouldy so they will have to be returned for a refund or exchange. I doubt that there will be stock left for an exchange, though which is a pity as I liked the little foam boxes that these kits come in. Then again, I suppose there is nothing to prevent me buying some garlic bulbs from the local farmer’s market and planting those in the box!

In the kitchen: Today I finally got around to trying my hand at making my own Kefir (fermented milk) Turkish Yoghurt. I bought the culture for this a couple of weeks ago, but had put it in the refrigerator and not done anything more with it. Kefir is similar to the probiotic drinks that are sold in supermarkets but making it at home has several advantages, not the least being the financial savings! One sachet of the starter culture can make up to 5 litres of Kefir and there are five sachets in the box for $9.45AUD.

It is very easy to make. Just stir a sachet of starter into 1 litre of milk and place the jar in a cool, dark place for 24-36 hours, then into the refrigerator for a further 12 hours. At that point, the Kefir is ready to drink. It is full of probiotics and if a half cup of kefir is reserved, it can be used to innoculate the next batch and this can be done up to five times. If I decide that I like it, I am going to buy Kefir grains as they last for ages as long as they are kept carefully and as they increase in size, they can be shared with friends and family.

The chickens are all well and happy. We are getting an average of 8 eggs per day now, and I am starting to think I will need to freeze or pickle some in preparation for when they go off lay in the cooler months.

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