Homesteading: time-consuming but satisfying work

We’ve had a glut of lemons, oranges, grapefruit, silverbeet and leek (the last of the season) plus endless mulberries and strawberries at Edgefield of late. So I’ve been channelling Martha Stewart and doing some serious homesteading, in my spare time, of which I seem to have very little these days! A friend who came up for lunch recently after looking at my vegie garden asked: “Where do you find the time?” And I was kinda stuck for an answer and eventually said: “I make time.” I’ve been thinking about that ever since. When not working (as in paid work) or actively looking after the kids and cooking, I am ALWAYS outside in the garden. Sometimes I wonder what people without a garden / property do with all their spare time! RELAX I’m sure, read books, have hobbies, exercise, etc. I find I go in waves of enthusiasm for all the gardening and property maintenance. While I definitely enjoy it, sometimes it’s just plain tedious, hard work and I wonder why I’ve made such a rod for my own back. I’m not very good at finding balance in this area but I’m working on it. 

So anyway, we have a freezer and fridge full of produce at the moment, which is awesome, and I’ve been focusing my meals as much as possible around my available garden produce. It certainly makes for a different mindset when you’re thinking about the evening meal.

  • Lemon ice cubes and frozen lemon quarters
  • Lemonade
  • Lemon cordial
  • Lemon butter
  • Preserved lemons
  • Lemon tart
  • Orange, lemon and grapefruit juice
  • Strawberry jam
  • Mulberry jam
  • Mulberry icecream
  • Bags of frozen chopped up silverbeet and leek
  • Lots of silverbeet and leek in vegie bakes, lasagne, stirfrys, etc

Oh! And we’re finally eating the bunch of bananas that I’ve been patiently waiting to ripen for over a year now. They are magnificent! Creamy, soft and full of flavour – delicious! And there’s another bunch forming too, yay.

Lemon butter, mulberry and strawberry jam, orange juice and bags of silverbeet ready for freezing.

The nice thing about preserving is that while yes it’s a lot of work, you enjoy it for such a long time afterwards. We still have 1/2 dozen jars of marmalade in the pantry from Jeff’s last attempt to break the back of the overwhelming amount of citrus (it didn’t even make a dent.) I won’t be buying jam for a long time either, and it’s a lovely thing to give away. No-one says no to homemade strawberry jam, yum!

Anyway, it’s Sunday and I have a fence to take down and reticulation to fix so best be off…