Hear David Suzuki talk about economics and the role of the environment in the equation.
Inspired by Down to Earth‘s natural raspberry cordial from scratch, I decided to try a reduced version of the recipe. I made a few mistakes with my first attempt. I didn’t strain the raspberries as Rhonda suggests, but I found it way too bitsy for my likely. I also accidentally forgot the lemon, but I knew as soon as I tasted it that it was what was missing. Incidentally I was pleasantly surprised to find that Creative Gourmet has an organic range of raspberries. Although they are all the way from Chile. Now I know how simple and delicious this is to make I’m sure to be trying it again soon.
300g raspberries, frozen or fresh
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 cups water
1/2 cup lemon, juiced
- Defrost the raspberries, if using frozen.
- Make a sugar syrup by using boiling water and sugar. Alternatively, heat the water and sugar in a pot. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely.
- Add the raspberries and lemon juice.
- Blend with a stick blender.
- Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and fibre (optional).
- Pour mixture into a bottle and store in the refrigerator.
- Use a small amount of the concentrate and add water or mineral water.
The grass is greener where you water.
- by Neil Barringham
We have unfortunately not had any decent rain for two and half months. Last week it was overcast with big gray clouds and we were hoping that it would fall in our backyard, but the most we got was 3mm on Saturday. Recently we have had beautiful Spring days with the hot sun beaming down.
I’ve been wanting to plant some more seedlings into the garden beds but I’m postponing that until we do have a decent soaking. Mainly because our water tank is now dry. Matt decided to empty it, as he thought that might help clean it out. Also the garage roof has collected lots of dirt from the nearby vacant block of land.
Fortunately most of the plantings in our garden are based around tropical or native plants, which survive through periods of hot and dry weather. Even the native grasses are starting to look a bit weary, and the grass is starting to brown in parts.
Only a handful of the bulbs that I planted have come up.
We are fortunate enough not to have any possums. When our neighbours had their mango tree, the possums used to eat the mangoes and then the seeds would fall on our garage roof in the middle of the night. Sometimes we hear possums on our roof, but mostly they are just passing through.
My theory for not having any resident possums in our garden is based on a very large eucalyptus tree in the nature strip near us. I think that a bird of prey lives in the tree and these large birds are keeping the possums out of our garden.
Matt has seen an owl in our backyard near the bird bath. We have also seen a couple of tawny frog-mouths on a number of different occasions.
Scott Alexander King describes owls as “nocturnal birds of prey, made up of two distinct groups: the Typical Owls, of which there are about 122 species, and the Barn owls of which there are about 12 individuals species. While there are some anatomical differences between the two families, all Owls have nocturnal vision, silent flight and a carnivorous diet….. She is one of the few creatures that actually waits for the sun to come up before retiring for a well-earned rest. She literally welcomes the sun as it illuminates and warms the horizon each morning.”
At a recent gardening presentation, one of the attendants mentioned that if possums are eating the fruit and vegetables in your backyard garden then you could try putting up a plastic owl to keep them away. She added that if the silhouette didn’t work, then you could try placing a solar powered light behind the owl, which will shine on the owl during the night and it will keep your garden safe.
Hoot. Hoot. Hoot.
Animal Dreaming – by Scott Alexander King
This is the short story of Nicola, an Italian man living in Sydney’s outer suburbs who grows most of the food he eats.
The video was created by Luke Szalla as part of the 3things‘ Design for Change program.
Sunday 2 September 2012
Chief Executive Officer
CC: Marketing Manager
I would love to see Australia lead the world in responsible food management and sustainable practices.
I would love to see my local supermarket follow these practices:
- All eggs to be free-range (like Sainsbury’s) – and battery cages banned in the EU.
- All pork and bacon to be free-range.
- Support grass-fed and organic certified butcher products.
- Support sustainable seafood which have been certified against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.
- Support our dairy farmers with fair prices for milk.
- Purchase fair trade coffee, chocolate, tea and sugar.
- Ban products containing palm oil* – until they are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
- Paper products to be recycled where possible (particularly for toilet paper and kitchen paper). Swap from plastic bags to starch-based 100% compostable bags (like Flannerys) or paper bags.
- Go BPA free (like Flannerys).
- Compulsory labeling of genetically modified food products, so people can choose to go GM-free.
* Palm oil is often listed as ‘vegetable oil’ on a product’s ingredients list. If the product can sit on your shelf for many months then your vegetable oil is probably heated to a high temperature and is damaged. This is known as a trans-fat and should be avoided.
An inspiring talk by Rob Hopkins “My Town in Transition” video.
Rob Hopkins is author of “The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times”
I love it when he says:
…let’s be more brilliant than we have ever been…
On Sunday, I went to my local markets and bought some seedlings in heritage varieties – beans, peas, rhubarb and two types of kale. I also bought a little pot of strawberries called temptation. I already have some growing in a long container, but I want to eat more than one at a time, so I planted the new one in the garden bed. Berries are very high in activated folate so I’ve been eating punnets of them lately.
I also bought a handmade wooden bird box. The guy who sold it me said it was his form of art therapy. I noticed he had a wheelchair and I spent some time talking to him about his hobby. He asked me what type of bird I had and I explained it was for the native birds.
I then bought a blue crocheted scarf off of a lady who was selling jam and preserves. She told me how she liked to crochet at night in front of the television with her dog near by for company. She said she wasn’t selling them for the money, she just loved creating things with her hands. Anything that doesn’t sell she donates to a charity for homeless people, where she also spends her time volunteering.
Later we planted these new seedlings in the vegetables beds. I also planted two new bottle brushes, some daisies and other herbs. The parsley has self seeded – which is one of the benefits of buying open-pollinated, heirloom varieties.
We can’t tell if the spring bulbs are coming up yet or if it is grass. We’ll have to wait and see.
I borrowed the following two books on oriental vegetables out from the library. Both books have a entry for each vegetables which includes use, characteristics, climate, site and soil, cultivation, sowing, planting, pest and diseases, storage and choice of variety.
Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook by Joy Larkcom – is a comprehensive reference book. The Telegraph even calls Joy the queen of the kitchen garden. The vegetables are illustrated as line drawings. Based on 10 years of research, it features a cornucopia of crops: a whole new world of vegetables that includes hardy leafy mustards, komatsuna, Chinese yams, lablab beans, Japanese pumpkin and water bamboo. The book is written for an British climate, so the growing information charts list only temperate and warm (subtropical) climates. The book provides over 50 of her own delicious recipes. Look for the revised edition.
Oriental Vegetables: How To Identify, Grow and Use by Waters, Morgan and Geary – sorts the vegetables by classification, and includes Chinese cabbage, Chinese mustards, other brassicas, other leafy vegetables, legumes, root crops, onions, cucurbits and mushrooms. It also has illustrated line drawings and is written for an Australian climate. Snap it up if you can find one. It’s a gem.