Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Our first month completed!

Jake, Lachlan and our farm cat Saxon picking peas (sunflowers behind)

We made it! ... well, through the first month anyway!

It's been an interesting 31 days - lots of lessons learnt, moments of pride, and moments of sheer frustration.

We're sitting at the table - the boys and Katelyn scoffing apricots, and Johan and I still have dirty hands after pulling weeds and spreading compost in the garden... it's pouring outside, and we've even had a some hail (so much for summer!) - so I'm going to seize the moment and ask them all what they think has gone well (and not so well) so far....

Lachlan (aged 5): When asked what he liked and didn't like about the challenge.

The Good: I like eating Tasmanian stuff cos it's yummy, and liked getting toys at Xmas.

The Not so Good: When I have to go to my room....

Jake (aged 5): When asked what he liked and didn't like about the challenge.

The Good: Jake likes having hot chocolate (it's on the cheat sheet!), apricots, nuts and liked going to the Taste of Tasmania food festival.
The Not so Good: Not buying new toys

Katelyn (aged 15):

The Good: First reponse 'I dunno', then - 'everything tastes good and you think about what is here in Tasmania'

The Not so Good: You don't get to go out so much as it's hard to find places that have tasmanian food.

Johan (aged 21 + 21 + 4)

The Good: Jen is cooking some really nice food. I've enjoyed finding other people who are like minded and how our network of people to barter with, and exchange ideas with, is increasing.

The Not so Good: No Coca-Cola! (although I've not minded that much at all...)

And me (Jen):

The Good:

  • Meals shared with friends and family that have been built around our goodies in the garden - especially our new potatoes - pink-eyes and dutch creams.
  • BBQ's by the creek at Johan's place - boys off on bush adventures, a warm campfire to sit by, local beer, and chats with friends.

  • Cuddles with Tinkerbell's piglets - she's the first sow we've had who has let us get near her bubs - their hair is so fine and their skin so soft.

  • Picking peas with the kids - so sweet (the peas and the children), and watching them dig for potatoes with Johan's adult daughter, Lena.

  • The satisfaction of knowing I've stuck to our key goals - no new stuff (although we've bought second hand items from the tip shop and second hand stores), and no non-Tasmanian food has been purchased (although we've consumed it at social gatherings with others). I've yet to tally our energy usage but I'm confident we've cut that significantly...

  • A christmas spent with loved ones - where the focus was on enjoying the gift of each others company rather than the gifts that were bought in shops.

The Not so Good:

  • My main challenges have been around planning and preparation of food. This was made more tricky as I wasn't well for nearly two weeks and didn't feel like being 'superwoman'.

Other than that it's been great... I'm learning loads like:

  • It's going to be weeks before we hit the back of the pantry - even though I was careful not to stock up on things (or hoard!) I still have quite a bit of non-Tasmanian food in the cupboard to use up. I imagine a lot of this food would have gone to waste (or to the pigs) if I were not making a conscious effort to use it up now.

  • That when you've made a choice to not buy new things you become more creative with recycling and reusing that which you have.

  • That we've been very reliant on credit cards to pay for things - using cash only is proving challenging to remember to do.

  • Milking goats twice a day is a major commitment in time and energy - it's not just the milking - it's the sterilisation of the bottles, bowls etc and then doing something with the milk. I am unsure how much longer we will continue.

Plans for the next month:

  • Build a road-side stall for our surplus (fingers crossed we'll have one!)

  • More veggie planting

  • Make a 'cage' for our trailer

  • Laugh, enjoy the journey, and maybe have a couple days exploring our beautiful state!


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