Category Archives: recipes

Grow with the flow …. and "knowledge philanthropy"


One of the first words my twin boys learnt was “bird”. As toddlers they stood at the glass doors looking out into our courtyard and were far more interested in the life before them than the plastic toys behind them. While they were in pre-school I joined them in their love of birds and spent a year illustrating birds for a brochure on the birds of the Blue Mountains and also for a book called Wild Neighbours. You could say we had an above average fondness for feathered creatures … that is, UNTIL I started gardening. Continue reading

Habit is habit

As I well know, it’s one thing to know how to do something but another thing to actually do it! On June 11th I set myself the challenge of gardening as if my life depended on it and since then I’ve been harvesting something from the garden every day. It had seemed as though it would be such an easy thing to do but, in fact, actually moving towards using, let alone producing, all your own vegetables requires a major shift in both thinking and behaviour. Suddenly, instead of just quickly throwing something together for dinner, I’ve had to think about what’s available in the garden and then about how to create a meal around it. I’ve had to, for example, take the time to make a stock with what I’ve got, rather than buying a packaged variety readymade from the shop. Continue reading

Dill's Atlantic Giant


This amazing heirloom pumpkin, a Dill’s Atlantic Giant, was grown in Bathurst by Keith Hungerford, and its brother or sister won a prize at the Bathurst Show! It then went on to be displayed at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. The breed has produced the world’s largest pumpkin weighing in at 496kg. It took 2 men to lift this one! Continue reading

The agony and the ecstasy


Pear blossoms

Spring is a time of agony and ecstasy. The garden is gloriously alive and the

blossoms appearing everywhere are a promise of delicious fruit to come. Ecstasy. Then suddenly the winds start and the blossoms are blown away. Agony. As I try and prepare for our family’s food security into the future, wind is one of our biggest threats. Dust borne diseases are also carried by wind and in the disaster planning taking place for our area, it is expected that wind will cause more damage to humans than fire (and, of course, wind is what drives fires and can make them so lethal). I’ve been learning about the absolute necessity of building dense windbreaks around every house to reduce disease (which is filtered out by small furry leaved plants), to protect property from wind damage and to create the microclimates necessary for successfully growing food. Sydney once had a Green Zone for these very reasons, but it’s now been cut down by developers. Continue reading

Time is life


Camellia in our Spring Garden

The challenges we are facing with global warming, peak oil, flu epidemics, collapsing stock markets, and mounting stress appear insurmountable. These are all complex problems. Is there any way to build immunity and to survive these diseases of our contemporary world and the illness threatening our planet?

After 2 years of exhaustive research I’ve come to only one solution for all of the above – slow down and reduce consumption.

And so I’ve “stopped work” and not written for almost a week. It is Spring and it’s time to start anew – time to enjoy the garden and to plant for the future. Continue reading

Start now and avoid the rush


This morning I woke to discover that all my veges had disappeared under snow. I didn’t really mind – it was so beautiful. The thing that did bother me was reading the debate between Clive Hamilton and George Monbiot and watching the replay of last night’s Lateline Business interview on Peak Oil.

When Lateline’s Ali Moore asked Dr Bezdek what the impetus would be “for people to wake up and say we must do this now, not tomorrow, but now?” I think she was voicing, in her cool Lateline Business sort of way, what so many of us are feeling, in a hot emotional sort of way. A combination of despair and disbelief that the information is there, we know we are running out of time and yet there still seems to be so much denial and inertia. You feel like shaking people and screaming out “how much clearer do we need to spell it out!” Continue reading

It's a cover-up!


Original screenprint by Francis Phoenix

I grew up with a mother who taught me about knitting, crocheting and wearing aprons. In the last few years I’ve done a small amount of knitting but no crochet and no aprons. Today, however, I wore my mother’s old suede suit and there’s nothing like a suede suit to make you think of wearing an apron in the kitchen. It made me realise how slack I’d become about clothes. Instead of protecting my clothes while cooking I’ve just thrown them into the wash if they got dirty – my rationale: something’s going to get dirty and need washing – your clothes or your apron so why bother? Continue reading

Today Oprah got the chop!

I have two little boys who are passionate about origami. I have, however, been angsting over how to feed their origami habit without starving the environment of trees. Suddenly it came to me, and this morning I strolled up to the Neighbourhood Centre with an old Oprah magazine my sister once bought me. I was able to use their guillotine to cut up the magazine and create new origami paper. Within minutes it yielded over 300 pieces of beautiful origami paper, each a unique piece in itself.

oprah.jpg Continue reading

Some day over the rainbow…

Every day I angst about our car. We bought it new before I had any idea of how “they” had let the pollution of our world get away from us. Back in the days when I still honestly believed that “they” would always look after us. Now “I’m” stuck with a car that has higher CO2 emissions than I feel remotely comfortable with. Its value dropped as soon as we left the showroom and we can’t afford to trade it in on a Prius. So, every day I angst about our car. Continue reading