Thursday, April 16, 2009

Independence Days Challenge

Right, I'm going to start doing this. (Nikki has been doing it already for quite a while.)

It's a challenge set by Sharon Astyk to spur people on to make greater positive progress towards preparedness for economic difficulties and peak oil issues.

So, my goal is each day to do at least one thing that fits into one of these categories:

* Plant Something
* Harvest Something
* Preserve Something
* Store Something
* Manage Reserves
* Cook Something New
* Prep Something
* Reduce Waste
* Learn a New Skill
* Work on Community Food Security
* Regenerate What Is Lost

An explanation of each of the categories is here. (I like 'Prep Something' - it's a good catch all for anything that doesn't fit into any other category!)

Who else is doing this challenge? Would love to hear from other NZers doing it.

Backyard grains

Buckwheat and oats - yay - two experiments that worked, albeit on a miniature scale ... Now to see if I can grow them in slightly greater quantity this year!

Buckwheat was something I'd hankered to grow for ages. I love buckwheat pancakes and buckwheat noodles, and so do certain other members of the family. I can't get them to eat stuff made with wholemeal wheat flour very often, but buckwheat combined with white flour goes down a treat, and must be way more nutritious than the white flour on its own.

I scattered some buckwheat seeds amongst our zucchinis in spring, and they grew fantastically. (Better than the zucchinis, which suffered from various ailments this year.)

After the buckwheat had flowered, I picked the groats, and pummelled them up in our big mortar and pestle. The white starchy insides turned to powder, while the hulls stayed mostly in big pieces.

I shook it all through the sieve to remove the biggest bits of hull - and you can see the end result above. It looks just like the buckwheat in the shops! :)

Granted it's only a few spoonfuls, but it's MY few spoonfuls, and I bet those pancakes will taste really good.

I've kept the hulls too. Can you make buckwheat pillows out of those, does anyone know? I'm unsure whether buckwheat pillows are made from the whole groats, or from the empty, broken hulls. Any info gratefully received.

Now onto the oats. I just grew a few in our potato patch after most of the potatoes were dug. It was only a very small amount, but I wasn't really growing them as a grain, but as a herb.

The end result was this bag of dried oatstraw (for tea) ...

... and this tiny milky oats tincture. (There was more, but I've used some of it. It's supposed to be good when you are feeling stressed and depleted ... I feel like it's working, but I'm not ruling out a placebo effect.)