Squash and corn relish, homemade at Kilcowera Station.

Squash and corn relish, homemade at Kilcowera Station.

Once upon a time we populated the west with Guinea Pigs!  Yes – we had 2 as pets when our girls were small.  Blackie and Blossom.  Whenever we attended any function we would take a little box with a guinea pig or two in it to give away.  The other parents tried to avoid us – but we were cunning – we made our move directly through the kids!  They were lovely little pets.

My vegetable garden is also producing very well these days. At the moment its zucchinis and button squash.  We have been giving away as many as possible but this is difficult when we don’t go anywhere much and they just keep piling up in the cold room.  I have made mention in a previous post about what to do with the zuchs now it’s the squash that are really multiplying!  And do you know – not too long ago I paid $4.99 for 4 little yellow squash at my local store!  Now I have about a hundred of them lurking in bags in the coldroom.

I also had a few ears of corn that didn’t look like it was going to be eaten any time soon so decided to make some corn relish.  Well, really, it’s squash relish with corn – my only hurdle was not enough corn to really justify using stacks of the squash.  But I managed to use about 15 of them, along with home grown capsicum, chillies and okra.  So all up, I am very pleased with the result.  Just as well that we both like hot and spicy food – cause those chillies have a bite to them!

From the bounty of my little veggie garden I now have numerous bottles of the following: Tomato Relish, bread and butter cucumbers, bread and butter zucchinis, pickled chillies, gooseberry and mulberry jam and now corn and squash relish.  Won’t be needing to buy any condiments for awhile!  🙂

Making Tomato Sauce

Making Tomato Sauce

Along with the joys of harvesting my own fresh veg and some fruit comes a bit of a reality check!  I’ve got to process all this stuff!   For instance for a good part of the last year we have been having a bumper tomato crop.  Now we really appreciate a good red, ripe, tasty tomato as opposed to the things we buy at the shop – all they are good for is slicing and putting on the top of the macaroni cheese just so you have something red there.  Come to think of it paprika does a better job!  So along with tomatoes in the salad and grilled tomato for brekky, the gravy, stews and curries usually have a tomato or two lurking in there.  They are also good on top of the roast to stop it drying out, I’ve made many a batch of tomato soup, Bolognese sauce and I tried drying some and putting them in oil but they were too crunchy.  Don’t know what I did wrong there.

The pantry is now home to many bottles of chutney and tomato sauce and a neighbour friend told me that you can simply freeze whole tomatoes for later use in stews, so there are quite a few boxes of tomatoes festering in the bottom of the freezer.

The finished product.

The finished product.

We’ve also had a lot of zucchini and squash.  As we speak I have thinly sliced zucchini and onion draining in a colander in the cold room, ready and waiting to be made into pickles.  We’ve had zucchini slice, zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini and zuchs in the stews and curries.  Any other ideas folks??  They are mounting up in the coldroom!

I’m managing to keep up with the eggplant – but only just.  They are the little long skinny ones and have been delicious – even the horrible white grubs think so.

But I think I am going to be snowed under by the okra.  There are about a dozen okra bushes, I dotted them all about the veg garden to provide shade for other plants and they are really starting to produce!  They go into the stews and curries too and I fry them up with lots of different herbs and spices and we have them both hot and cold.  I’ll hit the internet for some new recipes for the okra I reckon.

And lastly the fruit – well we haven’t been drowned in it, but we could be if 8 large watermelons all get ripe at the same time!  One melon busted open when the temperature reached 48 last week, luckily I was present, rescued it and popped it into the coldroom.  It’s a very nice, tasty 6kg melon.  How do you know when to pick them!!!  I know they should make a drummy sound when you tap them – but they all sound sort of drummy.  And yesterday I picked a 9 kg one, will cut it open today, fingers crossed it’s going to be yummy!

Then there are the rockmelons, they too suffered in the heat and the chooks ended up with 3 last week, (they sort of just cooked inside).  But there are more that I have high hopes for, picked 4 good sized ones this morning and ate one for lunch!

As cattle producers we are eating more F&V than lean beef and my halo just might choke me.  Even Greg, when confronted by all the nice salads that I am making, eats more vegetables than meat these days!

Delicious Okra from my garden.

Delicious Okra from my garden.