Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Challenge has begun - Week 1

I'd love to report that our first few days of our 'Challenge' have been a massive success, that the months of planning and preparation resulted into a seamless transition into a self-sustainable locavore lifestyle.... if only....

To be honest - it's all been a bit of a schamozzle.

Work commitments, family commitments, and general bog-standard life commitments intervened and suddenly it got a bit too hard to proceed in the spirit we had planned. We have sullen teenager upset about the departure of some pigs to deal with (ironically that was a catalyst for me, at her age, to become vegetarian for 16 years...) who appears to be opting out, an overstretched father juggling a few too many things, and two 5 year olds who had a birthday party to throw.

We have, however, managed to re-group and begin again....
  • Our energy usage continues to decline, though we haven't reached grid neutral yet.
  • Due to lots of spring rain our veggie garden is growing at a rapid rate, and we can pick silverbeet, lettuces, radishes, spinach, peas, and a range of herbs to cook with.
  • Eggs are a bit of an issue -as many of our hens are either going clucky or are being fabulous mothers to chicks.
  • I have designed the 'Challenge Biscuit' - elgaar farm organic rolled oats and butter, tassie honey, our own eggs, midlands flour, and a bit of Australian organic raw sugar (it's on our cheat list!). It got the seal of approval from my two sticky fingered little ones.
  • We sold 4 and a 1/2 pigs to Matthew Evans (who has the Rare Food stall at Salamanca market). We'll get a ham and bacon back for Christmas.
  • We have created a cash jar - with the idea that we'll only spend cash we have on hand from the sale of our surplus. Also started a log book to record income and expenditure.
  • I found some new Tasmanian products that we're trying - Meander Valley Double Cream (the boys had bowls of it to dip strawberries in at their party - yum), and Taverner's Tasmanian Honey Nectar Concentrate. The Honey Nectar is a bit like cordial that you water down - very nice as an iced treat methinks. The labels indicate they are 100% Tasmanian - will investigate further to ensure they are.

There's more rain forecast which should make the swampier parts around here even swampier. The gaps between the rain are divine, and the rainbows magic.

Tinkerbell is due to have her piglets any moment - she can barely get up she's so huge. I had hoped she'd have them by tomorrow as we have a photographer coming to take photos but it's not something we can hurry (although I have had conversations with her in which I have encouraged her to do so if that's what she'd like to do).

I've been asked to travel to Melbourne next week for a business meeting (typical - I plan a local food challenge and then get summoned to go interstate). I've paid my extra $$$'s to offset the carbon emissions but it doesn't seem enough somehow... I'll have to put some thought into what else I can do. It's an overnight stay and we're still considering the best way to continue the challenge interstate... any ideas appreciated!

1 comment:

Bernard said...

I am very interested in your Locavore idea.

One thing I notice is your attraction to sugar—and I also read that Australians are HUGE sugar eaters, and I am one of them. Cane sugar is one sugar, but what about sugar beet? It is common in Europe. It did grow here and plans are afoot to grow it in the north-east again for ethanol.

I think it would also be a reasonable 'challenge' to restrict yourself to eating foods, including sugar beet, that CAN grow locally.

On chocolate, Cadbury did explore the idea of growing cocoa bean trees in a glasshouse out at Claremont. WOuld that mean you could then eat local chocolate?