My little home on the Internet has been pretty quiet over summer, you may or may not have noticed. Life has been busy, I mean who isn’t busy at any time of year, but summer always seems to be particularly busy.
I’ve spent my summer reflecting, and shifting my focus towards food.
When I was younger, I studied outdoor education at university, before that I worked at an outdoor and environmental camp (Wollangarra, which is currently under great danger by the fires in eastern Victoria). I worked with people who were years older than me and with so much valuable life experience, I soaked it up like a wide-eyed sponge.
Throughout this time of focusing on the environment and so much personal learning, I learnt to think a lot about where my food was coming from.
At Wollangarra, we had a veggie garden the size of a small house block, we ate the lamb that had, only days before been frolicking on the river flat in front of us and all eggs that we ate came from the chook pen, that I gingerly tended to every day. Everything that we couldn’t grow, our staples, were lugged across our flying fox, in bulk, and of those staples anything that we could get freerange and organic, we did.
Somewhere over the last 6 years, this passion for home grown, local and sustainable seems to have slipped to the way side.
Only recently, have I reawakened this desire to meet the farmers, grow what I can and eat what we have.
As you would have seen, at the end of last year we got chickens, our three beautiful girls have grown into healthy full chooks that spend their days wondering around our garden and happily out themselves to bed at night. They are not laying, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that they begin producing by the end of February.
Beside our chook pen, we have a small but established veggie garden, which I hope will become more developed over the next year. Currently we have an abundance of rainbow cherry tomatoes, potatoes and an array of chives and spring onions.
Buying locally has also become a big focus of mine. We’ve found a “Buy Bellarine” market, where everything is from local producers, our fruit and vegetables have never been so fresh and in season. I’m now refusing to buy things that don’t grow at this time of year.
My meat consumption has been reduced to local and free-range meats. I’d love them to also be organic, but my concern is that the animals get to walk around over the chemicals they’re consuming. We are so fortunate to have finally (after living here for 12 months) discovered that the local butcher has mostly local organic meats, most of their deli meats are smoked on site and they also sell organic and free range eggs, for in the interim while we are waiting for our chickens to lay.
There’s a big empty space in our backyard, it’s going to become a veggie garden, or at least a produce area. I’m excited to grow things that we will use, I don’t want to grown veggies just because.
We are currently researching about bee keeping. I’d be so excited to have a little hive in the backyard, and then even be able to sell or trade our honey for other goods/services.
Make my own cleaning products and detergents. This way we can start piping the water from our washing machine out on to the veggie garden.
Do you grow any herbs or veggies? Do you know of a local farmers market near you?