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A selection of our writings from 2009 to the present. If you'd like to keep up to date with our latest posts, please subscribe below.

Mobility and food (our first week home)

Now we are back home we find not all that much has changed. Just as it was on the road, our home-life is also all about mobility and food; how we move around and how we sustain ourselves.

After such a long time on the back of their parents’ bikes, the boys were keen to get their own forms of mobility cranking. Zeph made roadworthy one of our old tip bikes and Woody gave his hand-me-down first bike a thorough going over. Thanks Carly!

We continued to bike and walk as our main forms of mobility. Woody now walks a few kms each day.

We pedalled up to the community garden working bee (blogged here), to contribute to the community gift economy going on there.

We painted up some new signs to be put up at two of the growing number of food gardens in our small town.

We helped Peter install the signs,

and we began to organise some music events that will take place in the Albert St garden to simply celebrate life there.

We biked up to our local food co-op to buy what we couldn’t freely obtain and to support a more environmentally aware monetised economy.

We walked, bussed, trained and caught a tram to visit Woody’s great grandfather (aged 96) in the metropolis.

 We pushed our wheelbarrow over to Maria’s, our neighbour, to collect cockatoo-spoiled apples,

to feed to our girls.

We worked in our annual produce area planting some more food. This row: cayenne peppers as food-medicine for the winter.

We welcomed back Yael and Matt, Akira, Essie and Dante, who so wonderfully tended the house and garden while we were away and planted food for us to come home to. Thank you beautiful family!

We got busy in the kitchen making sauerkraut with cabbages that Matt and Yael had planted with the kids,

we revitalised our five year old sourdough starter and have been making bread daily,

we have made music each night before bed too,

and we have made our version of vegemite: miso paste, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Delish!

It is lovely to be home, and so far we haven’t got itchy pedals. After so many months of uncertainty, the comforts of home and community life have been both regenerative and restorative. We thank you, Dear Reader, for accompanying us on our journey in settling back into domestic life, and hope you too have both regeneration and rest cycling around in your neck of the woods.

Day by daylily: one week in Katoomba

Over the last week of camping in our hideaway location on the edge of the township of Katoomba, we left the bikes at camp and walked everywhere, observing the ancient landforms that brings people from all over the world to this special place.

During the week Meg turned 40, on a day that nearly paralleled that number in degrees Celsius. We hid out in a shady park butressed by a cool and stately old stone wall. Happy Birthday Meg!

Meg’s parents, Vivienne and Ross, came to visit to help celebrate this special occasion, and we did a number of touristy things due to their generosity. Thanks Bee and Ra!

Vivienne and Ross also took us out for dinner where we played Hepburn Heads, a version of Celebrity Heads only replacing celebrities for members of our community.

On most days throughout the week we bought food from the Blue Mountains Food Co Op, which is the oldest food co op in the country, and the best we’ve ever seen. Because we belong to our own food co op we received the same member discount as the locals. Thanks BMFCO! Of a morning we bought organic Aussie oats and some local juice and set up breakfast outside on the communal table.

But with all our walking we also came across non-commercial foods, ripe for the picking. The last hot spell helped ripen the first wild apples we’ve had on our trip.
They may be small for lack of nutrients, but we’re often amazed how delicious and free of disease wild apples are. This is probably because they are generally growing in diverse ecologies where pests can’t plague due to the number of variable competitors. Wild apples are excellent for making cider and cider vinegar, and the very easy to make vinegar is an essential alkalising tonic for both internal organs and the skin. It is a great general antidote to the very acidic western diet most of us eat. Every autumn we ferment enough to last the year and this special gift of the autonomous gods costs us nothing.

We collected many more blackberries that had overnight ripened because of the heat of the previous week.

And because of this rich hit of vitamin C we were well prepared for the cold wet weather that came in leaving us quite damp but nonetheless invigorated.

But the greatest revelation of the week was the inclusion of daylilies (Hemerocallis fulva) to our growing list of desirable edible hardy weeds that grow throughout temperate Australia. They are very easy to grow or forage for, and in some regions they’re known as ditch lilies because they’ll grow almost anywhere, including ditches.

Several weeks earlier at the Moss Vale Community Garden, permaculture teacher Jill Cochrane had sung the praises of daylilies as a source of food. So when we came across great swathes of them in Katoomba we were determined to find out for ourselves just how edible they were.

We hung out for some of the wet in the Katoomba library, researching the plant. From a compliment of websites, stitching together a myriad of culinary experiments, we found out that depending on the time of year almost the entire plant is edible:

Young leaves – spring to early summer, eaten raw in a salad.
Shoots – late winter to early spring, eaten raw in a salad or cooked as a vegetable.
Flowers – late spring to summer, dried for soups, remove pistil and stamens before use.
Flower buds (about to open) – late spring to summer, lightly sautéed.
Tubers – autumn to winter, sautéed, mashed or roasted. Similar to a sweet potato.

Because it is mid-summer and there are plenty of flower buds around we harvested these, and to our delight every good thing that has been written about them was confirmed.

They were delicate and sweet sautéed in a little olive oil and garlic. We can definitely recommend this plant for any perennial food garden, for their flavour, hardiness and beauty. 

We look forward to sharing more free food treats with you again shortly. We hope wherever you are you are you’re eating delicious free food that you’ve found growing right under your nose.