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Function stacking - what is it and how do you do it?

Having moved into a new house a year or so back, We wanted to design the yard along some permaculture principals to make it more efficient to run (having learnt some lessons from the big backyard in Brisbane).

One idea that stuck in my mind since I read Permaculture One, many, many years ago was about storing things close to where you will use them. Its about putting the worm farm at the back door so that its easy to feed the worms when its raining and their bucket is full. Its about setting up your recycling bins so that recycling into separate bins is easy. Its about having what you need where you need it.

Its also about making each item you own doing double or triple duty. Our dog kennel also serves as a work bench for the husband but is also storing the new sink we got at the dump!

A few weeks ago I was listening to a pod cast by xxxx about function staking and realised that that's what I was doing without understanding more than its an efficient way to be lazy!

Here's wha…
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What to do with Quail eggs!

I have a flock of very cute Chinese painted quail (or button quail) and they are obviously very happy because they lay lots of eggs! They are just like chickens in that they can lay an egg every day or so and you can tell who laid which egg from the individual markings on them - just like a chook egg!

But as cute as they are, they are not as practical as a chook egg. A couple of fried quail eggs on toast is great for the littles but the husband isn't so rapt with his dozen fried fairy eggs on toast!

I'm not about to give up the quails and they aren't about to stop laying so over time I have come up with some good ideas for using quail eggs that highlights their uniqueness rather than just adding four or five quail eggs to a recipe to replace one chook egg.

Here's what I do...

Scotched eggs - bite sized version of the normal version. Hard boil the quails eggs, peel, wrap in sausage meat and bake until cooked. Cut a few in half so your guests realise they're not eat…

So many Chokos - So few ideas!? What can I do with all my chokos?

I got given a couple of chokos that were sprouting by a friend and so having a garden that grows things these days, I planted it. Its been a while since I had a choko vine... I'm thinking upwards of 15 years or so and I had completely forgotten how many chokos a single vine can produce in so few weeks! And I may have planted more than one!

When the first few chokos appeared, I waiting impatiently for them to get big enough to pick. We ate them steamed with butter - de-lish-ious!

I got a bit more adventurous with the next handful and had them stuffed (good fun) and make fritters with them (bit boring - needs a good sauce) and then I plumb ran out of ideas.

The chokos however, continued to multiply and hung green and accusingly, growing plumper each day. I grated them into nachos, I chopped them into strews and I baked them with the weekly roast but still they grew! I got desperate to do something with my most successful garden crop and after a quick search on the net - a new realm …

Bread : To bake or to buy, that is the question...

I like baking bread! I love experimenting with different ideas, techniques, shapes, glazes, and ingredients. I'm not the worlds greatest cake baker - my friend Maureen holds that title, but I seem to have an affinity with bread baking. The other day a friend of mine asked where I was buying my bread and was very surprised to discover that I baked it all. He said he was paying $6 a loaf for stuff that looked like mine.

It got me to wondering if it was better to buy or to bake bread - what are your thoughts?

Here's what I do...

Bread is a food staple. There aren't many people in our culture who don't eat bread at some point of the day - as toast for breakfast, sandwiches or wraps for lunch, as a roll on the side with dinner or even as the base of the pizza!

You can buy it as cheaply at about a dollar a loaf for the supermarket branded white mass produced stuff and up to $10 a loaf for the hand made, filled with good stuff, artesian loaf from a specialised bakery.

So wh…

Pumpkin pollinating (and few other things Ive learnt about pumpkin growing!)

We had a pumpkin plant of an indeterminable type pop up in the middle of a tomato hoop. Not realising what a monster we were unleashing, we let it grow. It was the biggest greenest thing in the garden and we were quite proud of it. One day we spotted a wee pumpkin growing from it and were SUPER excited. A few weeks later and we have a giant supermarket sized totally normal looking pumpkin growing in our garden! This was amazingly good fun.

When a second pumpkin started growing off the same vine we got a bit more serious about our illegitimate babies and decided to "grow pumpkins" (not they had needed our help up to this point!)

Here's what I did...

When we found rogue, self set pumpkin we let it grow but directed the main vine to areas of full sun but not in the vege patch. (ie, the place where normal people would have grass!) Pumpkins take up soooooo much room that we have started encouraging them out of the garden beds and then we guide them around the garden edging.…

French Milled Soap - what you can do with all those waste soap bits and ends!

We managed to collect a whole bunch of those types of mini soaps that you get at hotel. You know the ones that are too small to do anything with but are too big to "throw out" and so they just get collected... I have done the wet 3 or 4 and press them together thing to make a bigger, more useful bar of soap but I figured there had to be a better way. I had heard of grating soap and melting it and remoulding it but I didn't realise it had the lovely name of French Milling!

Here's what I did...

First I made sure that all my wee soaps were dry - much easier to grate them dry than wet and sticky!

And then as I'm sure you have guessed - I grated them. The smaller the bits you make the easier the next step will be.

If you wanted it, you could sort your soaps into colours and make white and yellow French milled soap or you can go the rustic (who can be bothered separating the soaps) type look and just mix in all the bits of soap for a more random home made look!

Dry s…
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