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DIY


For 4 years now I have made fig preserve, sometimes a flop, but majority a raging a success.

Below is a basic recipe I use ( no warranty ) :

– 1 kilo sugar( sugar is bad )
– 2 kilo’s figs halved
-lemon zest and lime zest,
– table spoon of cinnamon and ginger
Drop sugar in 3 litres water, dissolve on stove, then add figs and other ingredients, medium heat, stir occasionally for 1.5 hours. The figs should be crystalised from the sugar. Bottle in sterile jars, easiest using a microwave to sterilise a jar.

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2017 review from anon: “cheese is quite boring without your green fig preserve, have you got more.”


A couple months ago I bought 20 pieces of tender rump steaks, about 300 grams each. I used my homemade biltong dryer and compared it to just hanging them in a clean, dry and hot room.

biltong

The basic recipe is as follows, roughly:

  1. Cut the beef into strips about 4cm thick. Pack the meat into a smallish bowl, so that it fits tightly.
  2. Add the vinegar and Taka Tala sauce (Worcestershire sauce ) . Leave for 30 minutes.
  3. Mix the lightly fried coriander and pepper together in another bowl.
  4. In a third bowl, mix the salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together.
  5. Remove the meat from the marinade,save the marinade for later use.
  6. Add the beef to the bowl of spices, mixing it around until evenly coated. Save any spices that don’t stick.
  7. Bury the spiced beef in the salt and the sugar mixture and leave it for 3 hours.
  8. Remove the beef from the brine and dip it back into the reserved vinegar marinade for another 5 minutes.

All in all, it was eaiser to hang the biltong strips on a hanger in a dark room. The biltong dryer did dry the biltong faster.

Enjoy.

Sliced Biltong


smudgesticks

With the discovery of fire, early humans began to notice that aromatic smoke was produced by burning dried plants. As herbs, roots, resins and barks are changed from their physical form (of this world), they are changed by the element of fire into smoke (spirit world form). This transformation is evidence of the spirit within substances. Throughout human history aromatic plants have been used in the daily activities of people from every culture. In Catholicism the use of incense is likened to one’s prayer being kindled by fire in the heart, spoken by the lips resulting in the odor of Christ on the breath.

sacredherbsAs time has passed, this connection between people and plants is being forgotten. We are drifting further and further away from the ways that connect us to the plant and animal spirits we share the earth with. We are losing our understanding of the physical things around us connect us to the spirit of life. People native to Turtle Island (The Americas) understand that the influence of plant medicine is very real in their daily lives.

The act of smudging is done with a smudge bowl or Abalone Shell with the appropriate herbs directly lit or burned on a coal or Charcoal Tablet. When using charcoal tablets, the bowl or shell should be filled with sand or a flat stone to prevent overheating the container. Smudging is also done with herbs tied in bundles called Smudge Sticks. In either case the smoke is ‘washed’ over the person or object with a Feather or by fanning the smoke with one’s hand.

To do a blessing of a person, begin by looking into the eyes of the person for a moment to ‘greet’ them, fan the smoke first at their heart and then up to the right side (your left) of the person’s head, moving around clockwise (sun-wise), gently washing them with the smoke. Continue brushing smoke down over their left shoulder and the length of their arm and back up again to the shoulder. Wash the smoke down the left side of the torso, left leg and foot. Now smudge the right foot, up the left leg, torso and down the length of the right arm and back up to the shoulder. Now turn the person around, turning to their right (sun-wise again) and repeat these movements as you smudge and bless the person’s back. For objects, bless them moving sun-wise around them also.

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Quite a dry winter with almost no rain in the last few weeks. A couple extra guests on Ramblers I had to make a decision and focus on sealing and renovating the water reservoir next to the workshop. With an extra two hands this took just over 2 days to complete. The following week I will be pumping water from a natural spring about 1km away to fill my reservoir and a couple rain tanks. Problem solved. I hope.

Below is a makeshift water filter using a 2 litre milk bottle, 32mm PVC pipe, a clamp, filled with shade netting and LECA to filter the water as naturally as possible.

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Manage to catch the first leaf that fell onto the shade netting. The system is working!!!!

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I used a central treated old dropper to keep things stable. Added 2 x 5 metres treated pine poles and inbetween used some nylon rope that will keep the shade netting securely down with the high winds that come from the valley. Its had no problems for 3 days. Things are looking good.

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The dogs playing around while I was completing the days work.

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 This organic technique is part of Send a Cow’s training in sustainable agriculture and is a great home garden idea too. Keyhole gardens survive floods and arid conditions well as the raised bed holds moisture and is ‘fed’ grey water and compost via a central basket.

 


Have been slow on renovations in the last 12 months, but alot is coming together. The bigger picture.
I am planning on having the back stoep, front of the house living room up and running by the beginning of Spring 2013. The cottage is also under repair and priority one for guests and wwoofers.

Been hard at work on very cold winter nights and weekends, doing what I can with what I have. Managed to install the front door with the
help of an old carpenter a few weekends ago. Putting doors in is not easy work and this is about a 120 year old door frame.
frontdoor1 frontdoor
I removed a huge amount of plaster and concrete to get the bricks to dry out, resealed the roof and just last weekend plastered the walls.
Hopefully a lick of paint in the next weekend or two and a new room at Ramblers Rest.

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