Here I am on holiday, with all the time of day to work away in the garden but a rain of cataclysmic proportions threatens to make Noah's ark a thing of beauty and wisdom! Everything in the garden hangs limply, heavy with rain. Some sunflowers lie horizontal to the ground, having fought hard at retaining their upright stance stoically until now. The fig tree which leaned in an easterly aspect with the last heavy rains, and was righted with support structures, now leans precariously to the west! I think I shall prune it ever so hard at the end of fruiting, to encourage deeper root set. I hope the little hedgehogs are okay, perhaps they have grown gills over the week of Big Rain.
Yesterday I accompanied Mike on his milk route. For two years now, we have tried in vain to buy unpasteurised milk, paying premium price for organic homogenised but unpasteurised milk from the supermarket. Pasteurization of milk is basically the heating up of milk to boiling point to render all micro-organisms inert, in other words, to kill off all bacteria, both good and bad in the milk. Homogenisation is the decreasing of the size of fat globules in the milk, under high pressure, so that there is less tendecy to seperate and form a creamy layer on top. There is research to support both of these processes rendering milk less digestible for the human system. There is a world of differing opinions out there about organic, vs non-organic and pasteurised vs unpasteurised. So you just have to make up your own mind but according to our wholefoods guru, Don Tolman, raw unpasteurised milk is one of the most healthiest foods known to man. I go with that. He states that milk is best derived from an organically raised house cow from nearby. Failing that, (hence the 2 year quest where I even researched keeping a milk goat to no avail, council bylaws, size of section etc.) we finally discovered a dairy farmer just outside our village, who would happily exchange 5L at a time, for a donation of $5. Note, he may not sell it to us. There is so much political shtummff about selling unpasteurised milk which I shall not go into here, but I guess that big dairy companies need to protect their interests by ensuring all milk is processed through their greedy paws. Now the milk we donate against, is unpasteurized but unfortunately it is not organic, i.e the farmer does not necessarily employ earth-friendly practices or may well use chemicals and antibiotics. So it is not the best situation, but a better one than buying our milk pasteurized and homogenised, from the supermarket at greater cost. There is no plastic waste from bottles and so we justify this option as one to suit our needs until we can find an organic supplier. This makes our milk supply much more personal, and I may yet kick the habit if I go more often and see any untoward treatment of the cows.............. Luckily, in New Zealand, our dairy practices are still much much more humane than in countries such as the United States of America. Eeek! Don't watch Food Inc. if you still want to eat the same as you always did!
|A gaggle of ducks crossing the road on our way to the dairy farm.|
I was yelling at them, "not that way", as they headed under the gate
into a kiwifruit orchard, with all it's toxic spray regimes. They didn't
|Mike at the pump, filling our reusable milk container.|
|Sheep lounging alongside the farm tracks|
Today we both sped outside during a brief lull in the voracious rain! I know rain is not synonymous with appetite but the weather seems decidedly in that ilk. But I digress. I walked around and surveyed the rain damage at a time when all fruits and vegetables are craving long, hot days. And I managed to pick a small box of zuchinis, berries, tomatoes, beans and nectarines. Most of the nectarines on the tree have rotted, Some tomatoes had to be pulled off and chucked away, splitting skins are a receptacle for organisms of rot unfortunately. And then rounding the corner at the back of the house I gasped and yelled for Mike to quick-as fetch the ladder and saw. A huge drooping bunch of bananas were ripening quick-smart and I knew it was now or never! We hastely strung the heavy bunch up in the nice dry and warm garden shed, harvesting more than half of the very ripe top bananas. As some were on the over-ripe spectrum it was a forgone conclusion even before I had got the banana stash inside - banana bread!
I had already set a loaf of bread to bake in the breadmaker (thank God for appliances). So while the smell of fresh baking bread filled the air, I skinned the ripe bananas and set about making 2 small loaves of banana bread, one to eat immediately and one to freeze. I use the recipe listed previously on one of my blogging efforts. Easy Peasy. Suddenly the house was overtaken by the smell of sweet, fresh cake to stimulate the salivary glands. I tried out the new Ceres coconut flour - imparts a textural aspect to the cake and bread. We also cut up all the berries (strawberries, blueberries and yummy berries - not sure of their name), added a TBspn icing sugar, allowed to sit and blend, then scoffed that between banana bread. Oh well, guess that was our hors d' oevre, now for lunch, hot buttered bread with almond butter and honey maybe............
Cabin Fever. Hence the second blog in one week! Yesterday my son asked me to cut his hair. I have no official training in this vocation, except some poor desperate school friends whom I convinced that hair-cutting skills were in my genes. My own mother would use her huge silver fabric scissors to lop off my hair, once, whilst still in a plait. Straight off. She said that way, I could sell my hair to a wig-maker if I wanted! Anyway, I have had further practice since boarding school days, first cutting then shaving my husband's hair (shaving is easier!). And of course, I have cut my kids' hair every since they were born, with each of them having attended a "real" hairdresser 2x in their lives. One of each of those, was to cover up a terrible home job! I am grateful to the huge amount of trust my son invests in my abilities, despite shaving a huge 4cm diameter off the top of his head by accident, not too long ago. I was trying out the "thinner" attachment on the shaver and the attachment became dislodged, exposing the cutting edge and before I realised, I had taken all the hair off at the scalp! Luckily it was on the very top of his head and I told him that as long as he never bowed his head to anyone, no-one would notice!! So now he won't let me thin his hair again! Anyway, he realises the trade-off, a home-cut means he doesn't have to fork out any money on a cut, and he can spend it on his car instead!
|Beautiful bananas with some of the over-ripe specimens on the|
left hand side. Note the crystal apple cucumbers on top.
|Freshly baked coconut flour bread|
|Banana loaves, fresh out of the oven.|
My daughter went off to work at Exodus this morning, a huge New Year's Eve reggae event, expected to draw crowds of up to 6000. Last night she got me to braid her hair in the absence of my dread-locking skills. I so felt like a hair-dresser by profession yesterday!! She left with rain-gear and gumboots. But I think she may yet need an ark! I am sure it will still be a great experience for her, feeding head-bopping, back-beat throbbing reggae-crowds. If it all still goes ahead, despite the deluge.