Sunday, 7 December 2014

Home Fronting, Healing Balm and Mayonnaise!

Calendula flowers for Healing
At last, we experience some welcome sun rays in Aotearoa (well, what d'ya expect, the name does mean the Land of the Long White Cloud!!).  My soul is nurtured and our solar panels are pumping out max kilowatts of pure sun-energy!  Hooray!
Our lovely German twin helpers
We have had help in the form of two lovely German non-identical twins.  They painted our entrance way and part of our new fence which was erected a year ago!  Always meant to paint it but of course, the lament: no time!  Helpxchange is a great way to share - your home, in exchange for work around the home or garden!  Highly recommend it, we get to meet a bunch of people from all over the world and make some really good friends!

Painted fence on the left, with unpainted panel on right waiting to be painted.
Calendula Ointment
My friend, Anna gave me a recipe for calendula ointment - great for wounds, scalds, rashes and eczema.  Calendula protects cells from free radical damage while fighting inflammation, bacteria and viruses. One of our kindergarten children has really bad eczema and can scratch herself till she creates lesions.  I tried making some for her and she so loved having her own "flower ointment", that she finished it in one week!  She asked me to make her some more, so we collected the flowers in the kindy garden and over a week and a half, I taught her how to make her own ointment!  Empowering the next generations to take care of themselves!

What you need:  Collect a cupful of fresh calendula flowers.  Dry these in the hot water cupboard for 3-4 days (I find the dehydrator does this in 3 hours).  Add them to a jar of vegetable oil base of your choice.  I used coconut oil.  Place the flower-oil in the hot water cupboard and shake every day for a week.  Strain.  Melt 1 Tbspn beeswax in a small pot, remove from heat and whip in the flower-infused oil.  Pour into small wide-mouthed jars (pre-heated) or small metal containers.  Cool.  Should last 4-6 months, depending on the freshness of your oil.  I think a nice inclusion next time round will be to add a few drops of lavender oil too.
Tools required to become a kitchen apothecary

Tins of Calendula Ointment
Apart from making natural medicines, another great kitchen craft is making natural ferments.  Here's how to make super-easy saurkraut.  Great tasting and excellent flora-inducing gut medicine!  You need some whey liquid.  I make a cream cheese with yoghurt, and keep the whey from this process.  It keeps in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.  Whey is a nutritious by-product from cheese-making processes and can also be used for stock in soups.

Harvest a cabbage from the garden (if you grow 'em) and finely slice it.  Place in a large bowl and add 1 Tbspn salt.  Massage or crush cabbage until it releases a heap of liquid and looks a little glassy.  Add 1 -2 Tbspn whey liquid.   Pack cabbage tightly into a wide-mouthed glass jar, making sure you press it down firmly and the liquid covers the cabbage.  Place a heavy weight over it to keep the cabbage immersed.  I use a little plastic disk cut out of a honey lid, placing a well-washed stone on top.   Leave in a cool, dark place for 3-5 days.  Skim off any scum that collects on the top.  Keep in fridge and eat as a digestive aid at meal times.

Crushing the cabbage.

Saurkraut with stone weight to keep it immersed in it's liquid

Rawfood Mayonnaise
This is a recipe from my friend, Google, on a website called Mother Nature Network, and it is the BEST mayo ever!!  Unfortunately, my significant other is allergic to eggs, so it is such a blessing to be able to make an egg-free mayo!  What you need:

A sizeable chunk of tofu (about 250 - 200g)
2 tspn fresh lemon juice (I probably use more)
2 tspn Dijon mustard (I use my own home-made one)
1 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
Blend all the above ingredients in a processor till smooth.  Adjust taste with salt, mustard and/or lemon juice.   Sooo easy!  And there's enough for a second meal application!
Rawfood Mayonnaise
Recycled Traveller
Not planning to travel till next year again, but we have been using back-packs to transport our gear and have begun to think we are too old for that!  So imagine my pleasant surprise when I spied this near-new trolley travel case (albeit a great deal dusty) in our local 2nd hand store!  Yay, just what I need to make travel adventures easier.  Suitcases can set you back anything up to $160 but I got this beauty for $10!  Brought her home, gave her a brush to remove the layer of dust and aired her out.  The handle, wheels, zips, lining - all in fab sturdy condition.  I just don't have the combination for the lock.  However, I have a small travel combination lock I can use to keep the zips secure!  (I recall that little piece of hardware cost me twice the price of my new suitcase!) I also managed to buy a cosmetic travel bag for the princely sum of $2, so next time we head off for tropical climes, I'll be travelling in Style, baby!
One man's travel junk is another's "Yeeha" - treasure!
Move over, Pierre Cardin!  The ultimate in reused travel gear!!

In the garden
Want to protect your vulnerable seedlings from slug and snail devastation?  Recycle old catering cans as mini-protection cloches.  They provide shelter from the wind as well.  Gives your seedlings a better chance of survival!
Healthy, protected eggplant seedling.

This eggplant had no protective cloche and despite being planted at the same time.
shows the ravages of wind and snails!

Seedlings awaiting a more permanent home - I love this aspect of Spring!  Emerging Life!
Labels are recycled slats from venetian blinds. They are re-usable.

Feijoa flowers always remind me of Christmas!

The olive and feijoa grove walkway at the end of the garden.

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