I worked something out the other day - I'm not really a very good Gardener! I want to be, but there just seems to be something missing. I'm certainly passionate about it but I think that stems from the fact that I'm passionate about producing food! I love being able to grow a plant that ends up on the dinner table - or an animal for that matter! There is something terribly satisfying in growing, preparing and eating food.
I have successfully grown vegies over the summer (so far anyway), which can be very challenging at times. It's either hot and dry or hot and wet! At the moment it's hot and dry, so it's a constant job keeping the water up to the plants. The weeds then take over and the bugs also seem to enjoy the heat! One thing I really WANT to grow lots of and seem to have trouble is tomatoes. If I could grow as many tomatoes as possible, I would bottle them, dry them, freeze them and make tomato sauce.
Talking about drying - I've been drying mangoes for the last week. Every evening I cut up a load and put them in the deydrator. We only grow the common mangoes here and they aren't that nice fresh, as they have a lot of strings in them, which get stuck in your teeth. They are also quite small. They are delicious dried, so I'm drying as much as I can. I ran out last year - it's great to have a jar in the car for snacking on when driving. I also dried a couple of batches of beans. I've grown snake beans for the first time ever and they are prolific. I'll use them in soups and stews during winter.
An old fella in town gave me some guada bean seedlings - they are a large bean, averaging about a foot long and an inch in diameter. They are interesting and don't taste too bad. And they seem to like the heat. I just did a quick google and they aren't actually from the bean family, but the cucurbit. I'll have to keep some seeds as I've never seen them for sale anywhere.
This weekend and last have been real foodie weekends. Mozerella and feta cheese, killing ducks and a goat, cooking duck leg confit and pork rillettes, femented beetroot, fermented tomato sauce, yoghurt and some generally good meals as well. I've finally cracked the ice-cream code and have made some really nice stuff - raw ice-cream, using egg yolks, raw milk and raw cream - only had to buy the sugar and the vanilla essence. Need to get bees and then I could just make honey flavoured ice-cream. It really is a good feeling to be fairly self sufficient!