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December 2017

Birdsong Tidings

By Farm Gate StallOne Comment

Hello, hope you all had a lovely Christmas. It was very peaceful here, so good to have a break!

It’s been full-on, with summer crops needing frequent harvesting. I was thinking this arvo, what happened to those morning hours when I used to get extra jobs done? Now the time is spent harvesting and cleaning equipment. But we live seasonally here, so that’s to be expected. I’ve started reading Grow, Hunt, Cook by a guy from NSW. Forgotten his name! But I can totally relate to what he says about living seasonally, and how it means working your but off for three seasons and then taking it easier in the winter…though he lives in a much colder part of the country than us…we can grow year round here…so winter is still a work season. Just not quite as busy as summer.

As many of you know, we have ducks for eggs, and last week we had a beautiful bunch of ducklings arrive. We had a hen incubate the eggs for us…2 hens actually. Lightning, the hen who started incubating, was kicked off the nest by Lavender, my hard-core-broody hen. She’d just hatched some chicks about 2 weeks prior, but obviously was still in the mood to sit, because she kicked Lightning off the nest and took over. That was all good and well until after the ducklings hatched. Our son excitedly told us three ducklings had hatched. We went to have a look, and a fourth was hatching! But by the time I got back out there to check on the progress, a duckling was dead! Bleeding from the back of the skull, and totally lifeless. It was heartbreaking when we’ve waited to long to hatch our own ducklings.

But I didn’t know it was Lavender who was responsible, so I left the other ducklings there while we waited for the next one to hatch. Then on the next check up, another duckling was killed. Same lethal wound to the back of the skull. Then I realised Lavender was the murderer! She has 6 week old chicks that still sleep beside her, and obviously she looked at these new babies and realised they’re no chickens…and started killing them. I felt awful for not getting the ducklings out of there sooner, but I had no idea she’d do that. We’d sold fertile eggs to a guy who had a hen incubate them, and it all went well for him, so I presumed it would be the same for us. Not so. Anyway, there was a 5th egg starting the crack, so I put it under another broody hen who’s far gentler. But she rejected it in the middle of the night, so it went cold and died. 🙁

The good news is that we rescued the two remaining ducklings, who are doing really well. They’re friendly little ones, and love to have someone nearby to play ‘replacement mother.’ They’ll cheep like crazy when they’re lonely, and all we have to do is put them on someone’s lap, or next to the children while they play, and the babies will be happy. So cute.

We’re open again from tomorrow (Wednesday 27th December). As I mentioned to a few people, if we took the week off, we’d have to throw out so produce! The garden is producing heavily right now. Tomatoes especially. I’ve been canning whenever possible (though I’m down to my last few vacola jars now!).

It’s a great time of year to look back at all that you have to be thankful for…

The Best Tomato Sauce Recipe We’ve Found…Plus a Workshop

By RecipesNo Comments

Since we started growing veg, summer is synonymous with an abundance of fresh fruit and veg…more than we can use right away. Not that I mind, as I love to have shelves full of homemade preserves so when things like tomatoes are finished for the year, we can still be eating organic remineralised products made from those tomatoes for a long time to come.

Tomato sauce (as in, what you would eat with sausages etc) is one product we wanted to be making for ourselves. And it took a while to find a recipe we were happy with, because the children didn’t like so many that we tried, so kept asking for bought tomato sauce!

Matt Preston’s Tomato Sauce, which he says is a recipe from his mother-in-law, is the best we’ve found. http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/matt-prestons-tomato-sauce/751a8855-76c1-4f9f-b6e4-3ad781c9e73d

The only changes I made to the ingredients in that recipe (you can follow the above link to check it out) were:

-using organic raw sugar instead of plain sugar

-using apple cider vinegar instead of malt vinegar

-leaving the spices in there and blitzing them in with a stick blender at the end.

And if you’re making it at home, sourcing homegrown tomatoes is going to produce a much richer flavour than using supermarket (or mass farmed) tomatoes. Tomatoes farms are also usually subject to toxic sprays (like I mentioned in the post on glyphosate), so making sauce from them…or eating them at all, is really not ideal if you value your health.

The change I made to the method, was in using all the tomato, and not peeling them or sieving out the seeds. We like the whole-tomato texture (and it saves a lot of time!).

Now, at the moment we have loads of tomatoes, and I also have organic vinegar, spices and sugar that we’ve sourced to make a huge pot of this sauce. I thought it would be fun to get together with other people who are interested, work together to make a huge pot of sauce and everyone can take a 1L glass bottle of it home. I have enough glass bottles, but if you would rather spread the 1L between several smaller jars, then BYO and that’s fine too.

Cost will be $25 and sorry for the short notice (but I was waiting for the organic vinegar to arrive!), the class will be this Wednesday 20th December, 2pm at Birdsong Market Garden. If you’re interested, you’ll need to RSVP, as we’ll have to cap numbers at 5-6 people (participating adults). Email me at racheal@birdsongmarketgarden.com.au to let me know if you’d like to come. You can pay on the day (and we have paypass facilities if you need).

Sugar Snaps are Back

By Market GardenOne Comment

Sugar Snap peas are back 🙂 And so is our ability to blog. We updated and then for weeks the blog wouldn’t function. Now it looks like all is back to normal.da

The rain has been wonderful, and the garden is thriving. So are some of the pests, but we’re working on it!

A few people have asked about our Christmas trading hours…we’ll be around Toowoomba for Christmas, so hours will be normal except we’ll obviously be closed on Christmas day itself.