Friday, November 18, 2016

Making Do in Abundance

WARNING... the longer I wait between posts, the longer my posts become. (This one was written 2 weeks ago, but I am only uploading pics and posting today.)

I have gone from someone who blogged about twice a week to someone who may blog every two months. I love writing and often find myself composing blog posts in my head, but seldom find the time to sit and type them up. My interests and crafting activities have developed and expanded so that could be a reason. I seem to live in seasons. I really really do want to continue blogging as my heart is to keep a literal web log of my life here on this farm and there is so much to record and share.
So thank you, Cindy, for the reminder to keep on writing. Ideally I would like to write frequent, short posts.

It is a sultry Friday afternoon. My son has just dragged himself back to his desk to study. He wrote a 3 hour Maths paper this morning. I am sitting at my desk with the curtains drawn in an attempt to keep cool. It's too hot to wear shoes, so I have kicked them off. I am rolling my feet over wooden beads as I type.

I had planned to wash some fleece this afternoon, but we have no clean water in our tank again. We are piping river water into the house so that we can still shower and flush, but Caledon River water is silty so it won't help to clean fleeces.

Next on the To-Do list was to make a batch of soap. Washing soapy pots and utensils uses a fair bit of water and when we are heating pots of clean water on the stove for each load of dishes...

It's too hot to spin, weave, cook or garden.

So I have no excuse not to write.

October has been a financially challenging month. We were recovering from September: We celebrated my husband's 50th and our daughter's 21st birthdays which also required a road trip to Cape Town. We discovered that a lot of my husband's tools that he uses for work have been 'taken'. Our vehicle needed major repairs and we had to pay a lump sum for education fees. In order to ease things I have shopped as little as possible. In fact I spent less on groceries for the month than someone I know spent on one meal for a braai (barbecue).

How did I do it?

Firstly, we use what there is in the house instead of rushing off to the shops. The best way of saving money is not to spend it. Usually my two guys have no idea that I am hustling to stretch our resources as they are always well fed and they don't feel deprived. That's the key to being Elastic Mom.

And October is strawberry month.

When we ran out of dishwasher blocks, we only washed the dishes by hand for the rest of the month. (Although in desperation Decadent Dad did try to run the dishwasher using dish liquid.) I haven't felt the need to buy more dishwasher blocks yet. I quite enjoy the contemplation of washing dishes and looking at the view.

I drink decaf coffee, so when that ran out I drank more tea and switched to the occasional cup of cocoa topped with leftover party marshmallows. It's all about using what there is, rather than what we might want, but making it good and tasty.

When the milk ran out, we drank interesting black, herbal tea or iced tea. I made rooibos and lemon verbena tea, mint and sage exam time tea, mint and fennel digestive tea.

When the teabags ran out we drank iced water, herbal teas and strawberry smoothies, and by then we had bought some lovely Jersey milk from my friend so Decadent Dad could make himself some coffee again. We did also buy some milk. We haven't replaced the decaf, but I don't miss it yet.

We are blessed with a freezer full of our own pasture raised beef and pork. So that is what we ate. I didn't buy any fish, lamb or chicken. I would ring the changes with vegetarian meals too. We have some of our own cheese,  and always one or two eggs in daily supply. Some days we get up to seven eggs. We also grow our own veg and eat what is in season. In October we had asparagus, carrots, beets, peas, mange touts, cabbage, spinach and salad greens.

Usually we eat two oat breakfasts a week and two mieliemeel breakfasts. When the oats and bread ran out I tried a bit of banting... fresh eggs and our own bacon baked in muffin trays followed with a handful of strawberries from the garden. It was delicious.

When the butter and oil ran out I cooked with our own lovely rendered lard and drippings from roasts which give the best flavour or coconut oil that has been in the pantry, just asking to be used.

When the pasta ran out Decadent Dad made some tagliatelle using flour and eggs. Who can complain about handmade pasta.

When the flour started running low (we bake our own bread) I used a mixture of flour, mieliemeel and pea flour (which needed using) to make two nutritious loaves of bread. When those were finished, we just ate other things like frittatta and salad for lunch, and meat and veggies for supper. We did buy more flour later in the month.

Here are a few of the delicious meals we ate in October:


strawberry and rhubarb muffins
homemade strawberry ice cream that was turning into butter baked into muffins

oats topped with fresh strawberries and cream (off the top of the milk)
mieliemeel porridge with honey and some of our own ground heirloom Transkei maize.
strawberry, honey, vanilla and homemade yoghurt smoothies (using Jersey milk)
strawberry, rhubarb, walnut and oat bake (walnuts picked last summer)
eggs and bacon


Egg and bacon spinach salad with curried dressing
leek and cheese pie with coleslaw from the garden
pea and bacon salad
hearty beef and vegetable soup and home baked bread
spinach, asparagus and spring onion frittata with just picked lettuce salad
red wine cured bresaola and salad sandwiches
beetroot hummus with potato salad
beetroot, walnut and cumin salad
toasted cheese and peach chutney
curried carrot soup served with pea flour and maize bread


spinach lasagne where I layered spinach leaves between the mince instead of pasta
grilled spicy homemade sausage with spinach, peas and carrots
slow cooked beef and paprika on mash
braaied pork ribs with BBQ sauce
spinach and bacon pasta
chorizo and pork sausage stew with mung beans, garden veggies and fennel on rice
homemade pizza with bacon and mushrooms (Decadent Dad bought the mushrooms as a Special Night treat)
Spinach pie with wasabi and mustard seed pastry
Roast brisket with gravy, potatoes and veg
Strawberry ice cream for dessert

As you can see we ate really well in October. If you had come for a meal and not known things were tough, you wouldn't have guessed. I am thankful for God's abundant provision for our family in so many ways.

"Use it up,
Wear it out,
Make do,
Or do without"