Friday, April 9, 2010

Emergency Rations

I caught myself thinking this week that all of a sudden I had accidentally got 20 brussell sprout plants in the glasshouse. That's about 7 plants each for the three families that even want to eat them. I don't need a crystal ball to see a little consumer resistance looming as they appear again and again and again.

What struck me as odd, was that I only just seem to have noticed it when I did indeed plant the seed, and according to someone's law it struck particularly well, whereas the broccolli, which we all love, has been poorly represented. Not wanting to waste good plants, in they went, watered, fed and sprayed with "Success" which has seen to the white butterflies. It's the only spray on anything and is supposed to be organic but sure wipes out a lot of things. I don't trust it. Nevertheless, brassicas are a sorry lot if white butterfly is not dealt to. I'm gathering ideas on that one. One battle at a time.
Where was I?
Oh yes, I have been tending to them for weeks but now that the corn is picked and frozen, and the runnerbeans uprooted and out, then there are no other distractions and I sort of gasped, and counted them. Twenty.
Oh well. They're very good for you, and you, and you.

There are lots of runner beans drying as I write that just got away in the end. That old consumer resistance. Some years we are eating them by early January so that's four months of runner beans and they don't freeze particularly well. Enter plans B and C.
Firstly they make a great dried bean. Secondly these Emu beans, more what I call a french bean, freeze well. Grow these for freezing.

Here's Johnny podding them for me. If that looks like being very helpful (yes it is) he did also clean the windows for me today, but money changed hands. It was well worth it.
Now I've been bottling plums madly all week and still going. The basement is looking like some sort of Amish food cellar apart from the electric light overhead and the gentle hum of the freezer. I won't brag a tally until they are all done. Suffice to say, if there is an emergency, Marg has two pumpkins in her basement for the requisite 3 days food supply. (Hope the power is still on. )
We on the other hand, will dine on a surfeit of plums and all we need to do is prise off the lid. So both households are well equipped.
It does remind me of that book you used to read us Mum, 'Landslide'. The house is covered by a landslide and the children trapped inside. Hey ho there are hams hanging from the ceiling that keep starvation at bay. Now that's a good emergency plan.

And just to put a little reality check-in for anyone who might feel their garden is not performing. The sticks on the left with brown bits was a bay tree. Sorry Mama, that rather handsome rosemary of yours that came down from Chch; it doesn't like the cold/drought/neglect either. Then again who does.
Monday's poem out of the ODT this one by Susan Jones. What I like about it is that it's not beautiful, clever, profound or particularly meritous but it's still charming to me. Like your pottery receptacle Marg, for want of the right word, that hasn't been thrown out and we are all rather fond of.

The leaf takes leave

The leaf takes leave,
leaving the only home it
has known,
sails off
across swelling wind,
surfs waves of air.
at last!
Exploring another world,
lifted by another gust,
twirls in
dances in blue
is lost
in the
pile of ageing gold
at gutter's edge.
Sweet freedom all too short.
that I had left earlier!


  1. Well Miri I enjoyed the text a great deal but the pictures were somewhat .. missing! You may to reload them.

    We would also fare well in an emergency Trevor being of the "larder of plenty" mentality. Since I've been doing the shopping things have got a bit more frugal, but then because he works for an "essential service" we have a carton in the garage full of supplies just in case - care of his work place.

    Your supply of course, completely outdoes ours on smug factor.

  2. Hi Mary Anna, I see what you mean, I did have trouble publishing this one. Not sure that I can reload them, Will ask a teenager...might just load them alone.

  3. Ahem - I have 2 jars of apricot jam, one of apricot pickle and 2 jars of preserved nectarines in my emergency stash in addition 2 my 2 pumpkins.I love seeing all the productivity of the autumn harvest.

  4. I can also join the smug party with my jars upon jars of jam and jelly and bottled fruit and savory tomato concoctions! Hooray!
    Those beans are so beautiful with their speckledy good looks.