The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Feather your Nest Friday, 26 May, 2017.

It has been a really good week!  Today is beautiful and sunny and a perfect Autumn day.  We are only a few days away from the first day of winter.

The bathroom is almost finished!  I will give you a peek because we still have a cabinet and a mirror to put up and I have the door and door frame to paint which I will do today.  Then it is just finishing touches!   My shelves are almost set up... I am waiting on a few baskets still to go into these but I have some of my supplies organised...



The bins are full of shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste etc...



They are a good size. The toothpaste one has over thirty tubes of toothpaste in it.  I followed Rosanne's advice and removed packaging.  It is true that saves a lot of space!   Now I know exactly how many I have on hand.  Before I had them stashed in several places!  
When my baskets arrive I will have more categories organised!

There is space for all my towels, hand towels etc...



And I have been loving the bath!  In my "new bathroom Glory Box" I had bath soaks I had made with essential oils, bubble bath etc.  So this is where you find me before bedtime! 


It was five weeks of mess and work. The whole house was really a mess as there were boxes everywhere!  But after the weekend it will be finished!

Yesterday I finished the wall painting.  I am counting that in my Vicky Challenge this week.  The savings from doing the bathroom ourselves I am also counting eventually when I work out the exact amount.  From quotes we got to the amount we actually spent I know we saved at least $8000. (going from the cheapest quote, not the most expensive one) 

During the week I made Cheese and Vegemite scrolls.  


I still feel victorious when I have dough rising and looking like this!  



These are $4 each in our local bakery.  That is $48 a tray!  This means I save about $45 per tray! This is the power of cooking!   

Thank you to everyone who wrote re the sour dough starter.  Tomorrow I am drying the starter I have out now which is really good, strong and bubbly!  It will be fired up ready to go when you get it!  I haven't replied to everyone as I really ran out of time. I have your envelopes addressed and ready to go!  If you are in the US expect it in about two weeks as ten days seems to be the usual time to get something there.  Meanwhile get things ready like your bread flour/bakers flour, honey, etc.

Tomorrow I am trying Raisin Bread to cut up for raisin toast!  If that works out I will post the recipe also.  This week I found two lovely loaf tins at Aldi. Perfect! 

I made a big picnic for the boys fishing trip.

I spent a lot of time cleaning up and organising. I have heaps to go!  And I had the washing out in the sun while we have this weather!

Today I will get this door and frame painted.  It will be kind of satisfying as both need painting and are a dingy yellowish cream. They will be glossy white so will look suddenly clean and bright!  Painting works like a miracle in this way!  

Looking back over the week does me a world of good!  I knew I felt happy after getting the walls done yesterday! I can see how far we have come!  I am so pleased with our progress!

I hope you had a good week too! How did you build up your nest, get ahead or save? 
Have a wonderful weekend! xxx









Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Show and Tell for May, part 1.

I am starting Show and Tell for the month a little earlier than usual as I have so many pictures already!  I hope you are having a good month of building up your present cupboard!  Mine is a bit depleted after a couple of birthdays in the family.  So back to filling it up again!

Hopefully you will find some inspiration here.  This all certainly gets me thinking about what to make next!

Firstly we have jewellery from Fiona.


Look closely...


You know when a dandelion goes to seed and you blow the ball of seeds into the wind and make a wish? Well,  here we have a wish in a bottle! 




So lovely!  Some delicate work I think as well!

Fiona also used an old sheet that belonged to her partners Mother to cover a lampshade...


It is beautiful!  I have two lampshades that really need recovering....  
And I can't help but notice the table underneath!  I am trying to peek at that AND the gorgeous lace doilies on top!   I love it all!

Fiona has a lovely blog Saw it, Pinned it, Did it!  You can find more details and other crafts here.

Jacqui made a beautiful Liberty print quilt. When Harper was born Jacqui made her a quilt with deer and farm animals on it... it had foxes and things we love and that the farm actually has.  It is treasured and used constantly. Well... this turns up for Scarlett...


I can't even describe how beautiful it feels as the fabrics have a silky feel to them and are so soft.   Lucy was over the moon.  What kindness and generosity.  With some of the things in the world at the moment that are horrific... here we are with someone we have never met, except through writing and blogging,  doing something like this for my daughter and her new baby.
You can really bless others with your talents and things you make.  Just spread some kindness.  Thank you Jacqui you are amazing! 

Debbie has a new baby arriving in her family! 
She has been busy and amazes me as she can both crochet and knit equally beautifully.
I love these soft rugs with a crochet edging...




These are perfect gifts and could also be made in a small size as a burp cloth.  I would love to make some of these!
She also knitted like cardi's and a little dress, bibs...


Look at the grub roses!


It is all just beautiful.  

Jane made a marbled soap.  To me it looks like chocolate and reminds me of that Neapolitan ice-cream...  



There are already requests for instructions!   This is what Jane shared with me...

I think I have lost the You tube video Jane mentions... we will see if she will post the name of it in comments... sorry about that!

 I mixed up a batch of my plain soap.
1000g olive oil
250g copha
172g caustic soda(lye)
450ml water

Before you start making soap make sure that you are working in a well ventilated area, that there are now small people or fur babies wandering around that could get splattered with the caustic solution. Where gloves and eye protection. 
Pour the caustic soda into the water, not the other way around. Stir until all the soda is dissolved. Into this place the block of copha and stir until it is melted. Pour in the olive oil(you could use canola oil if you want the soap to be whiter in colour). Use a stick blender to bring the soap to a light trace. This is where it looks more like custard. Check you tube videos and you can see some good examples of this.
I placed equalish amounts of this soap into three bowls. One I left the natural soap colour. I did put some vanilla extract into the plain soap but I don't think the scent has taken. One I placed a few spoons of cocoa into until I got the colour I wanted. The third I placed soap colour Carmen into. until I got the colour I wanted. I then placed these in layers in a silicon cake tin. I didn't have a wire coat hanger so I used a plastic one. In could only use the end that would sit inside the shoulders of a shirt. I followed the process in the you tube video. I then placed a freezer bag over the top of the soap and wrapped the whole lot up in towels and left for 24 hours.
When I unwrapped the soap I was not hopeful of a good result as it looked like a cake tin full of pink poo. Once I cut it though, I was chuffed to bits.

Thank you Jane!  This looks so amazing! What a success! 

Maria made her Grandson a batman cape!  Oh my goodness!  


 

Now she will have a little super hero running around!  I bet he loves it! What an idea!  Thank you Maria you just inspired many of us with children and Grandchildren!

Thank you everyone for sending me your photos!  
If you would be willing to share what you have been making please email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com  

I hope your week is going well. Mine is!  I now have bathroom shelves and it is all looking good!  Also I had a kind of bathroom glory box which had been going for so long I forgot what was in it!  Yesterday I got it all out!  I had towels, hand towels and bathmats I had crocheted around with little grub roses in the corners!  I had candles, soaps, bubble bath and all kind son things!  So out they came and into my shelves! It was really good fun to get to this bit!   Essentially I had made presents for myself!  And I liked them! 😊

Really anyway you can build up your present cupboard is a help.  I found just beautiful wrapping paper at Aldi and got several rolls at at a great price.  Plus I added tape.  Who wants to be running to the shops just to find these things? 

By Friday I might have some bathroom pictures even though I haven't finished painting it is nearly there!  See you then! xxx



Sunday, 21 May 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Sour dough starter.

Nanna Chel got me started with sour dough. I was really hesitant at first.  But now I think it is so easy and such a huge asset.  Once you are up and running you just eliminated ever having to buy yeast again.  I find I have much more success now... I never was very good on baking with yeast.  Now I make bread, rolls, focaccia, scrolls, buns, Naan bread pizza bases and each week I seem to learn something else.  If you have hungry tummies in your family and lunch boxes to fill this is for you!  The savings are immense.

Sticky Buns.

Cheese and Bacon Scrolls.

This weekend I woke my starter up and made up a tray of Vegemite scrolls. For the US ladies think of making bacon and cheese scrolls, pizza flavoured schools, cheese and onion or whatever combinations your family might like.
I saw that these vegemite scrolls were $4 each in the local bakery.  So that is $48 for twelve.  I think they are only costing me a few dollars to make and therefore I am saving over $40 with just this one thing.  Added to that the fact that I send Andy's lunches to work and I know that this saves so much per week!  Yeast products all seem to freeze very well and then re heat as if they have just come out of the oven which is another very handy bonus.


Cheese and Vegemite Scrolls.


I often say that each time we learn a new skill we increase our preparedness.  I love something that will save money and benefit all round. This really seems to be one of those things.  So here is a little tutorial on how to get started.

First of all I know nothing at all about making starter from scratch. My starter came in a dry form from Nanna Chel.  I have, in turn, dried some of mine and sent it on to some of you and have seen some very big successes!



Dried starter. It doesnt look like much! 


I am no expert at this and it seems to me it is a bit art and a bit science. So I don't think there is a right and wrong way.  This is just how I have learned to do it and it works for me.

First some basics you need to know.  I avoided using metal bowls and spoons as I heard not to use them...  I have heard heavily chlorinated water is not so good.  You use bread flour (or bakers flour) as this is higher protein and the starter apparently loves protein.

So lets assume you have some dry starter.  You take that and add it to a third or a cup of water and a third of a cup of bread flour. Stir.  Let it sit on the bench somewhere.  In about eight hours feed it the same quantities again and stir. Keep it covered so dust won't get in but so that it can breathe.  I use a paper towel or a cloth. Jane made me some beautiful cloth covers, they look like shower caps and work perfectly.
Repeat this process. Eventually you notice a couple of little bubbles. This is when it has woken up!  Keep feeding!  Sooner or later you will get lots of bubbles!  Now you have an active starter!
You have to give it a name.  That's a rule apparently!

Happy starter! 

I would keep feeding your starter. One you have larger quantities you can be adding more flour and water at a time... i.e. half a cup of flour and half a cup of water. The water to flour ratio will always be the same.

If starter is out of the fridge you will need to feed it a couple of times a day. If you want to put it to sleep you put it in the fridge. It needs to be covered but be able to breather. I cover with glad wrap and poke a hole in that.  In the fridge it will sleep for a week. But once a week to you need to get it out and let it wake up to be fed and nurtured!   It will wake up when it is out and comes back to room temperature. Then you need to feed it!   It is kind of like having a pet.

This all sounds mysterious and ridiculous until you do it. You soon get the idea as it tells you what it needs.

When it is mildly bubbly think of it as happy.
When it is REALLY bubbly (you can get to the stage you have bubbles large and small and kind of on top of each other) think of your starter as hungry!  




Hungry starter! This is also how your sponge should look.

Once you have really active starter that gets bubbly quickly after feeding your re ready to get cooking.
Overall, bubbly like above is what you want to get your starter to.  Once you have this you really are set. 

I like to have at least a cup and preferable a cup and a half or so of starter to start a recipe.  You need enough that you are also going to reserve some to keep going for the future. 
I use two bowls.  I put about half a cup of starter into one bowl and feed that.  This will be kept. Set it aside. 
The rest (which is at least a cup full) you make a sponge. The sponge is the fist stage of baking.  To make your sponge feed it a whole cup of flour and a whole cup of water and stir.  Let it sit and become very bubbly.  Hungry bubbly!  
I will normally take my starter out of the fridge the night before I want to cook.  I will give it a feed once or twice. 
The next morning it will be good and bubbly!  So I will make my sponge when I get up in the morning.
After a couple of hours I will make my dough.
The recipe I use is based on a recipe from a blog I followed called Gully Grove.  
To your sponge add a dash of salt. I don't like salt so I use a pinch.  A small spoon of honey.  A few globs of olive oil.  Then about three cups of bread flour.  Mix and knead or put this in your mixer.
As your amount of starter will vary so will the flour. I retain a bit of flour and add it in as I can see if the dough is to wet or too dry.  You soon get to know what dough should feel like.  It is smooth and stretchy.  
This is all very forgiving. If you think it's too dry add a little water, if it's too wet add a little flour. 

When you are happy with your dough sit is somewhere warmish and cover it. Let it more or less double in size.  Usually I let it sit for most of the day in my lounge room window.  If the weather is cold I would warm the dish first, sit it on a hot pack or some other method to keep it a little bit warm. 
Then you want to shape your dough.  Yesterday I rolled it out to make scrolls. 




 I covered it in vegemite and sprinkled it with cheese to make scrolls.  You can make a load of bread, a flat bread, rolls, a free from loaf... whatever you want really.  Whatever you are making form it as you want then let it all rise again.  As yeast loves warmth I try to get warmth into my baking tins and dishes.  While Im forming my dough I might have my dish warming in the oven, or I might fill it with hot water and let it sit.  Then I will dry it and pop in my dough and wrap it up to keep the warmth in.  You could sit it in the car or in a window.   Once again you sigh will double.  Then you are ready to cook!  


My vegemite scrolls after rising. The pan went from sparse to full! 

As a loaf of bread it is going to take about 20 mins to half an hour to cook in a fairly hot oven.  If it looks cooked and sounds hollow it is probably good. If in doubt a few more minutes won't hurt. I always pre heat the oven.  Keep an eye on things, you will soon learn your cooking times. 

The starter I retained is still on the bench.  I will feed it and sometimes keep it out and feed it up to increase the volume. Then I put it in the fridge until I want to make something else.  Overall I will try to always feed it and end up with at least a couple of cups of  so I can always make something and have enough to retain some.  So you have an endless cycle!  Remember to get your starter out of the fridge at least once a week!
Some people throw starter out as they feed theirs and do not want to make anything. I don't know why, I don't, I am glad to have more!  If I end up with heaps I will just make something! 

In my index I have a sourdough section. So far I have posted the recipes and methods to scrolls, sticky buns, bread and Naan bread.  They have mostly been based on the recipe I just explained. 
You can find recipes for sour dough easily. I don't bother I just use any yeast recipe and use my sour dough instead. You will just need to allow for the flour and moisture in your starter... usually it will mean I add a bit more flour to the recipe or a bit less liquid. It is easy to know what a dough should feel like.... just go ahead and use any recipe and add what you need to get your dough lovely and smooth. So far everything has worked so well.  Always remember to make your sponge first then make your recipe! 

My next recipe I want to make is Fruit loaf or fruit buns.  As I try new things I will just keep adding them to the Sourdough section.
I really thought this was all very complicated until I tried it and saw the amazing results.  The savings are huge.  I look at the prices in the stores and see wholegrain loaves for $8!  ONE bun is $4 and you can make a dozen for that!  I can make 12 Naan breads for less than the price of a packet of two.  Actually it is the fancy breads like focaccia, turkish,  wholegrain rolls etc that you save so much as they are so cheap to make but the shops charge so much for them.

If you are a participating Bluebird and would like some starter I will be glad to send you some and glad to send it anywhere in the world!  If I don't get too many requests I will offer again in a couple of weeks to others who do not comment.   I hope that sounds fair.  I am grateful for all my readers but Bluebirds has become a little community of help and support due to the ladies that comment, add tips, offer prayers and encouragement and answer questions.  I am so grateful for everyone who does that.
I appreciate it more than you could know! Thank you!

email me at brinkzi21@hotmail.com

My last week of working on my preparedness has been interesting!  I am looking at my new bathroom space and shelves as a big help. All my supplies of shampoo, soaps etc will be organised and we will also have a cabinet for medications and over the counter type stuff.   This will be a big improvement.  All my towels will also be in the bathroom and free up my linen cupboard so I will be able to re organise that as well.  It is all progress I guess!  Progress is good!

Have a very good new week!  xxx

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Feather you Nest Friday, 19th May, 2017.

I am running late today as we have had a man laying our bathroom floor since 7 am!  But I am not complaining,  I am so happy to have this done! If everything goes well tomorrow the bath, vanity, toilet and shower will all go in!  We will have a bathroom!   I will still have painting to do and then organising and decorating.... but that is the fun bit!  So we are almost there!

This was a much better week for getting things done and savings wise as well.
First of all we had Mothers Day.  I wrapped up my presents in plain tissue paper with photos on top. I was really pleased with how they looked and everyone commented.


The photos were part of the gift and the gifts were framed photos!

It was also Harper's birthday!  It was so much fun. My friend Helen gave her a toaster.  The toast cooks then fires out like two missiles lol and we did this over and over.  It was hilarious every time!


During the week I made a big crockpot of pumpkin and sweet potato soup.


This was my lunches and I froze six portions as well.

I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce which became two dinners and I froze some also.


I added so much to the freezer this week that I have had to put some stuff in Mum's freezer.  Now I am really ahead with meals and things to send with Andy to work for lunches etc.
This included a diabetic fruit cake.  This was one of those three ingredient cakes... dried fruit, orange juice and flour.  I didn't love it but Andy seems to!   I portioned it out for the weeks lunches and froze slices.


I made four pizzas from scratch with my sour dough. These also made both dinner, lunches and  portions were frozen.

And I made sausage rolls. I made two dozen full size ones and a dozen mini ones for Harper who loves them.


I froze some of these as well!  Now I am starting to realise why the freezer is so full!  

Lucy gave me four huge stems of artificial flowers. They are lovely ones.  They greatly improved an arrangement I have in the dining room.


In the background you can see boxes of bathroom fittings. There is no where in the house that hasn't got bathroom stuff! 


I had been wanting a big feature mirror for the bathroom. I wanted something vintage/shabby chic.... 
Chloe gave me from her unit this huge mirror!  It is something like six foot wide...


It's perfect for the wall I want it on! I have to paint it... I think it will be a worn looking french greyish colour (this will be a job over the weekend)  I would be lucky to buy anything like this for under $600 around here and quite possibly a lot more.

By coincidence Lucy gave me another mirror she had under a bed...


It came with free dust haha!  It is also pretty big but nothing like the other one. I will find a place for it! (Another painting job)

I found huge old pickle jar. After washing it about twelve times I painted the lid and added one of the transfers Mimi gave me. It now holds my polenta. 


With the circus of bathroom renovations I still managed to see the girls quite a bit.  Sometimes if I am there late afternoon I give Harper her bath.  Here she is (still with damp hair) helping Great Grandma put the baby to bed...


I am pretty sure she thinks she is putting Scarlett to bed and Great Grandma is good enough to help her. This is the impression I get! 

This was the best week in ages for my Vicky Challenge.  I wrote in $1217 which made me realise how many blessings we had and how much work was done!
I also felt we got ahead with so many meals in the freezer and ready for the weekend as well.

This afternoon I have to paint a part of the bathroom, it is the area above the tiles to the ceiling.  Once the shower is in I can't get to it with the ladder so today is it!   We have very high ceilings... I'm not sure how high even but I think 12 foot.  And my light is covered in cement grindings!  This is going to take ages to clean!  

So that is my week.  I hope you also had a good one! How did you save, build up your home or get ahead this week?  
Have a good Friday and weekend! xxx










Tuesday, 16 May 2017

The Christmas Challenge. Using resources as gifts.

Following on from Monday we are having a look at gift making using what we have.  This could be any resource we might have from the garden to a tree full of lemons that your neighbour might let you pick!

I am always on the look out! I have a basket, plastic bags, scissors, string etc in the car always just in case I see something I can gather.  Ever hopeful I have heavy duty secateurs in the glove box.

This is a case of what do you have access to that could be an asset to your gift giving?
Well, I have roses and in the last few years have been using them for more and more things.
In summer I collected baskets of petals like this almost every evening...



My first goal is to enjoy them inside as well as in the garden.  Then to use the petals in lots of ways. I
use them to decorate cakes,  make sugared rose buds and dried rose buds to decorate all kinds of things.  Last summer I made face and body scrub with rose petals and this was just lovely!




Before next summer I am trying to come up with more things I can make with roses. They are one of my most abundant resources.

Mum has two types of Lavender in her garden.


This is another possibility for me as I can pick as much as I like.  I've made gifts and am planning more as I found Jes has a whole list of things to do with Lavender here.

At the farm I can also gather Bay Leaves and Rosemary and pot up Rosemary plants.  Another resource!



I have given Bay Leaves as gifts and made wreaths for kitchen gifts (and my own kitchen)



Some things like these turn out to be great for my own pantry and for gift giving. Bonus!

I also gather flowers and make posies. Remember the little old fashioned posies? They are back! The local trendy florist sells them in little jars. Many are quite tiny with a little row of lambs ear around the outside. They are somehow very sweet as if from a small child.  Flowers are a beautiful gift!



You do not have to have flower arranging skills to give flowers.  I notice that casual bunches wrapped in brown paper looks fabulous and I can do that!
I remember Mimi talking about making bouquets of lush greenery. You don't even need flowers! This is true... florists sell spectacular leaves also, coincidentally, at spectacular prices. Actually they sell sticks at incredible prices as well! I saw a bunch of sticks for $60. I wondered if I had a temperature but it was true!
I also have pretty much unlimited access to things like gum nuts, seed pods and things like that. Also pinecones. 

Chloe has resources including figs and now eggs!  I saw this idea which I thought was beautiful...  make a lovely label to present your farm eggs as a stylish gift!   I am thinking Fiona will like this as well... Chloe's could have some of her chickens names like Thelma!


A label to use on your home grown produce is just so nice!  You could apply the same idea to your homemade bread, cakes, preserves, anything!  This has made me realise I could print a label for farm honey and this would be a good gift.

Another idea I saw that I just loved was this business that sells herbs for chickens!


Once again the labelling is gorgeous!  I have so many herbs in the garden I could do this! And I have friends who love their chickens!   Also I love the name of this business!  

I seem to grow Parsley in industrial quantities and I use a lot of it. It just occurred to me to look up "things to do with Parsley" and I found things I had never thought of!   So now I think I will make some of the chicken herbal mix and dry some to include in kitchen gift baskets.

I am just trying to get us all thinking of what we might have access to and how we could use these things in our gift giving.  Just like Rachel did with those olives!  You never know what you might come across today or tomorrow!  Opportunities are everywhere!
The other thing is maybe you have something but have never thought of it as potential gifts.  This is where Pinterest and the internet come in. Search "things to make with...."  or "how to use..." and be amazed by possibilities you never thought of!  Also check out the value of things.  This can build up your confidence... i.e.  knowing that a handmade loaf of sourdough bread is $8 here I feel I can include this in a gift if I present it nicely.  Knowing that a pot of several kinds of kitchen herbs is sold for $25 at the florist I think of that as a good gift too.  Pinching their idea to wrap it all in brown paper and string as it looks so lovely helps as well!  The local gourmet deli and their presentation and prices gives me a lot more confidence that I can give a pie or cake as a present.  

Living in all different parts of the world we are going to have great diversity in what our resources are!  It is interesting!  Being aware of our assets could potentially boost our budgets quite a bit!
We might see possibilities we didn't see before!

I hope your week is going well!  We have rain and I have been cooking.  There is bathroom progress. I already have a lot to report on Friday.  If I get my skates on I will have more to report!
I really wanted to have a good Vicky Challenge this week and gain some ground!  So far so good!  Remember lots of little bits add up to more than you think! xxx






Sunday, 14 May 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Using the resources that you have.


This week we are talking about resources that we might have. And many of us have olives!  
Rachel is a good example to us all! She had access to free olives so she set about learning what to do to preserve them.  It could be a daunting task! But not for Rachel, she saw it as an opportunity to increase her pantry! 
Many times we have a resource and don't even recognise what an asset it is!  Think of the possibilities, for your pantry, for gifts, for sale and for barter!  What if you are sitting on a gold mine and wasting it?  

Several ladies already mentioned they also have olives and would love to learn what to do with them so over to Rachel and we will learn along with her....


It doesn't matter how busy we are .... If there's a crop of something, we just have to make a way to get it into our pantry! This time, it is olives!!!!!









































My parents have four olive trees, and they had surplus olives, kindly picked and ready for me to take! (It is usually safe to pick the green olives once a few olives on the tree are ripening - into a darker colour!) I was given the larger variety of olives that are easy to work with. In a box, they looked like this ....









































I set up a work bench at a comfortable height. It had to be something that could stand a bit of a battering! The idea, to avoid using harsh caustic soda, is to prick, cut or bruise the olives to let salt draw out the bitterness and preserve the olives. (Pricking can be done with a fork; to cut, make three slits around each olive with a knife.) I used Mum's grand design of olive-bruising hammer and wooden kitchen board. Ha ha!! Actually, these olives squash easily, and, as Mum nicely said, it makes it easier to cut the olives away from the seed when they're ready for eating! The hammer is a full can of baked beans!! I used a cardboard box to prevent losing olives from the work station. A cloth lining served to collect each batch of bruised olives in one go. (This is also a good time to discard olives that have bad spots on them.)










































The bruised olives then need to go into salt water, made at a strength of half a cup of sea salt to ten cups (2.5 Litres) water. I warmed the water first, to dissolve the salt. The olives need to be fully submerged under the salty water, so I used a heavy plate to weigh down the floating olives!!






















Green olives need to cure like this for about twelve days (ripe ones ten, although ripe ones are often pressed for oil). Each day, the salty water has to be drained away, and replaced with new salty water of the same strength. I was working with a twenty litre bucket and a nine litre bucket. I had to begin with 12.5 litres of water, reducing to 8.5 litres in just a few days. One could use jars instead of buckets. I am told that shrivelled olives can absorb the salt water and increase in volume (& overflow jars!!).

At the end of twelve days, when the salty water is drained away, the olives are then stored in a double strength salt solution. There should be little bitterness left at this stage. The drained water should be measured to give the quantity required for the final water measurement. Then, the water needs to be brought to the boil, and sea salt dissolved at the strength of one cup of salt to ten cups (2.5 Litres) water.

At last! .... Then comes the fun job of scooping the curing olives into jars! They must keep curing for at least two months before being properly ready to eat!



Again, the olives must be submerged in the double-strength salt solution. Using a kitchen tool, reach down inside the jars to remove air bubbles, and then cover the olives with up to one centimetre of olive oil (I used rice bran oil .... because that was what I had!) to keep the air out. Secure the lids.



Count your blessings! One nine litre bucket of olives gives five large jars of olives. I ended up with fifteen jars on our kitchen table!



When ready to prepare the olives for eating, drain the salt solution away, and replace with fresh water. Stand for 24 hours, then use as you like! There are recipes for adding wonderful flavours like garlic, rosemary and thyme!



Then, be on the watch! Just as I completed my olives, there was another bucket worth of olives awaiting! This time, the process seems much easier, even though the olives are a smaller variety!


Thank you so much Rachel! What a good job you did!  I agree that the first time is going to be the most difficult and after a few times it will all just seem easy! 

Rachel and I have had a few discussions on things to do with olives.  Olive bread, focaccia, olives, cheese and crusty bread,  greek salads, pizza.... 

Take a look at Jane's Olive focaccia.... beautiful! 
















Do you have a resource that you could turn into an asset?  At the farm Mum has a Bay Leaf tree, Chloe has fig trees.  These are big assets!  Over the years many of mine have been neighbours trees that I have been able to harvest.  Years ago I used to get lobsters (even though I don't eat them) and used them for barter.  My friend has a huge lemon tree, that's an asset!   For many years I picked apples from a road side tree every autumn. That tree was amazing!  Sometimes there are things you just don't know what to do with!  The first time I had Quinces I had no idea!  But I soon learned and it lead to a life of loving them!  Something you might not even like is possibly still something you can sell, gift or trade with.   Roseanne saw ripe apples in a car park and asked if she could pick them. Hundreds of people saw that tree everyday and no one picked them! So they were heres! 


What do you have access to that could be used to increase your pantry, gift cupboard, piggy bank?
If you have something but need ideas of HOW to use it ask away as you can rely on the ladies here to help out! 
How did you increase your pantry or preparedness last week?  Working on it weekly makes a big difference!  Take every opportunity! 
Have a very good week!