Spring may have arrived in NZ but the supermarket shelves are looking pretty bare and sad lately, due to the diabolical winter we've had. Everywhere I go there are signs at the produce stands apologising for lack of stock and many shelves are devoid of their usual veges. Of course you can get some - if you're willing to pay through the nose for them. For example the supermarket today was advertising $4 each for a head of broccoli sent over from Australia! I haven't met anyone willing to pay those prices yet, I've actually been buying mine frozen. The weather has really taken its toll on local growers. Bombay (not India, but just south of Auckland!) is usually a prolific market garden area but as you drive past all you can see are field upon field of weather-rotted crops. Even some of the popular roadside stores have been forced to close as they simply don't have anything to sell. Very sad, I can't begin to imagine how all these awful winter months have affected their livelihoods but on a much smaller scale I know how it has affected us. For the first time since we started growing our own food, our vege garden is empty! Well, not empty exactly but full of wasted plants that we can't eat. We have discovered that vege gardens don't do too well in floods - although at one stage we did contemplate growing rice to help out with the global crisis, the conditions were certainly ideal!
So with nothing in the garden and nothing affordable on the shelves I can finally say that we are starting to feel the pinch of food prices along with everyone else. Noel spent the weekend the garden, ripping everything out and starting again, such as the pitiful broccoli plants which only grew to a couple of inches high before coming to a head and going to seed. Even the invincible silverbeet crop is no more, having been drowned after days of endless rain. I can't wait for our garden to be up and running again! Unfortunately it's going to take a little time - and no doubt a few $21 Challenges to see how creative I can be with other stuff instead. Fortunately the hens have all come through their winter hiatus and we have eggs coming out of our ears at the moment, so I guess we are still growing some of our own food at least. Ali has also decided he wants to grow his own food too so his Dad gave him some tomato and bean seeds. Unfortunately we didn't realise until too late that he has planted them all along the driveway, rather than in a decent patch of soil!
Noel's birthday was on Tuesday and he celebrated not only that but the opening of the scallop season by going out fishing with his mates. They caught enough fish to feed us all for three days, although nobody seems to have told the scallops that it's scallop season yet, the boys had just one each! It's been a busy week or so, with all sorts going on. There's been rugby meetings, prizegiving to organise and cross country for both the boys, both of whom did extremely well, Liam in particular. I thought it was a bit unfair that having just turned 12 he had to race the 2km course with the 13 year olds but he beat all of them except one!
I'm still keeping up the exercise and have lost 5kg so far, which was much needed. I still have plenty more to go but I'm really enjoying it and have got into a comfortable routine. Rugby season has finally finished but there's no danger of being bored, I've been asked to sing in a concert to raise money for cancer research and am about to begin training to become a qualified Tae Bo instructor! For those unfamiliar with Tae Bo, it's a cross between kickboxing and Taekwon Do and is done to music. Very cool! Although heaven knows what sort of instructor I'll make, I hate telling anybody what to do!
This week's goal is to throw myself back into the frugal lifestyle. Well, it's not even as though I've even forgotten it in the first place actually, I've just been so busy sorting out my wardrobe and fighting the flab that I feel I have some catching up to do on the other stuff, like trying out new things from the Vault. I loved the recent Hint of the Week about going without something every day of the week. Sounds to me as though it's not really going without at all, more like improving your quality of life while saving money at the same time - what could be better?
Talking of quality of life, the time has sadly come for Percy, our dear 14 year old cat to be put to sleep. He's curled up on his bed beside me at the moment, snoring his head off. It makes me smile every time I hear it but he's not at all well. The kindest thing I can do for him now is to let him go but we'll all miss the funny we chap (even Noel, who doesn't like cats). Our orchard is filling up with memorial trees much faster than I would like!