Curing Olives

Well…I have an amazing tree. It was planted about 9 years ago. It’s so pretty, even if it is growing on an angle, and it has only produced 8 fruit in all that time. My olive tree has given me 6 fruits this year and two last year.

So, I am thankful for my crop swapping page on Facebook. I swapped 2.5 kilos of mixed olives for some grape vine cuttings and some lemons and limes. If you don’t already, start to grow some of your own food. It’s so incredibly rewarding.

I have done lots of reading and seemed advice from others who have done it, but here’s how I have, and they taste delicious.

Marinated Olives Black/Greenblack

Olives (pick out soft, bruised or damaged ones)

I used spring water in a ten litre bottle

Red/white wine vinegar (I had no red so used apple cider vinegar. I hope it works out ok)

Sea salt (don’t use anything with anticaking agents or iodisedsalt)



Olive oil

So, you cut a slit on each side of the olive and try hard not to reach the seed. This helps the water get into the olive to soften the bitterness of the olive.

Find yourself a clean container, and pop the olives in.

Fill to the top with the water.

I had some popping up above the water line so I used an old ten litre water bottle and cut a piece that fit on the top of the olives. I pushed it below the water line and it kept them down.

I did  his for 13 Days…make sure you change the water every day. I generally did it in the morning.

I drained the water on the 13th day, rinsed them, and then added the brine.

1 litre of spring water

Half cup sea salt(mix that in until dissolved, or almost dissolved)

1 cup red  wine vinegar for the dark olives and

Half cup white wine vinegar for the green/black olives

I threw some bay leaves, rosemary and garlic into the bottle and poured the brine over the olives.

pour some olive oil over the top of it all. I put about half an inch in.

Make sure the  olives and herbs are under the brine (this is where I used the plastic cut out to push them down)

Store in a dark cool place for a month. They should be ready by then.

Apparently they can keep for up to a year. It haven’t tested the theory out, but once I start using them I will leave them in the fridge.

I am trying to get my hands on more olives at the moment to do some more.

Until next time

Lots of it





I have a bit of a passion at the moment. Well, I have always had it. I am a bit of a closet hippie. But what I really mean is, I love to do lots of arty crafty things, I am loving growing my own food and sharing it, and I am trying to lesson our family’s environmental impact and on our gorgeous planet. Trying to recycle as much as I can, preserve food and I have even started up an excess produce swap group. And to make me even more alternative, I homeschool.

And I absolutely love it all. 
Now, onto the seeds.
Yesterday I made pumpkin Soup for dinner, and decided to save the seeds and hopefully I will be able to plant some and also grow some seedlings to swap with others.
What you need to do is, wash the pulp away from the seeds, and spread out to dry. Leave them for about a week to dry out. I will store them in a brown paper bag and pop them with all my other seeds. They are due for planting in September, October, November and December. So I have a bit of a wait.

Here is the process in photos.

Still a few days before I can pop them into an envelope. 

Here are some other seeds i used the same process with.


And Eggplant

Here’s hoping they work.

Only had one swap this week, but it was for a lovely kiwi fruit cutting. 

It will pop it up onto the frames I made a month or so ago.

Always trying to make a difference. We throw out so many seeds each day. Maybe you could give it a try? Would love to hear of your successes and what you have learned from trying to grow from seeds.

Until next time

Lots of it



Happy Easter

I have been quite busy since my last post. Making our outside area a nicer place to be and better organise, receiving items to create some new jeans and even some t shirts.

And of course, all the everyday stuff that keeps you busy.

The little corner of our backyard was once a very ugly shed, and that was taken down and put into another more Hidden spot of the backyard.

A little corner garden was created with a variety of daisies, my crazy good lemon grass, and I made these trellises and there will be a passionfruit vine eventually covering these.

I got this little set from Kmart, and I have put some tea light lanterns in the trees…it looks very pretty at night, and it’s a lovely place to sit in the day.

And the kids are using it already.

We are moving our Vegie patches so we have room for our hammock there, and the patches will be in a sunnier position.
My Facebook group, Western Sydney Home Produce Swap Group is going well on Facebook. Currently at 77 and plenty of people are swapping their surplus produce. There’s lots of questions and interesting articles and good Vegie conversations happening.

Here is my latest swap I did.

I have been busy looking online for lovely things to put on jeans and tops and jackets. Can’t wait until I have more time to get going on my recycled jeans. look for   “Patchy_pants” on the etsy site. I will be getting more on there over the coming weeks.

This morning is Easter Sunday, said happy Easter to you, however you spend the day I hope it’s wonderful.

I usually buy my sisters some chocolate for Easter, but actually forgot, so this morn Ng I whipped up some bickies for them. It’s nearly Anzac biscuits however I used coconut syrup instead of golden syrup.

Made double batch and. Used margarine as we didn’t have butter…. must say, they are pretty delicious, of course Raymond’s me and I had the sample one each. The rest are in this little box, all prettied up for them.

Good Friday saw Maddie, Jess and I heading up to Katoomba to go for a bush walk at Minnie haha falls. Unfortunately, I had never seen traffic like it before, barely up the hill and there was so much traffic…we were almost walking up the hill. So once we eventually got to glenbrook we decided t turn around and give on a different adventure.

We got tickets for the Sydney Easter show. We hadn’t been for man years and I must admit I was pretty excited to go without the struggle of a double pram to navigate through the crowds…lol…

It was a great day….way too much junky food, and Jess and I even snuck in a margarita, and Maddie had a non alcoholic one….we saw animals, lots of people (140000 in fact) and Di lots of walking (12km).

We walked through the produce halls, and was in awe at all the wonderful skill that some people have. I actually got myself 4 showbags, and a kewpie doll. Never had one.

Here are some happy snaps from the day.

Well, that’s about it for now

Until next time

Lots of it



I am Back

I haven’t posted for a while, but I have been extremely busy. I am starting to recycle jeans and denim skirts, and create how I used to when I scrapbooked, a wonderfully relaxing process which I thoroughly enjoy.

Maddie has been doing some volunteer work at a little place that has some farm type animals there and it has a resident possum. She’s done lots of research and it has ignited her passion to work with animals even further.


I have been busy trying to get the garden happening, and I have actually finally started a group swap….my crop is kale, and with all this rain, sadly the kale has drowned….so I need to get some up and running again. Can’t wait until it all gets started up properly.

I thoroughhly recommend starting a grow to share group…if you have the opportunity. I have already made some wonderful swaps…fed the family wonderfully healthy food that has been lovingly grown by others, and shared my grown food with others.

A swap and some happy snaps of the garden.


Thats about it for now. I’m off to the markets over the weekend though pick up some local fruit and veg for the family, so need to get to bed before 12…have 3 minutes to spare.

until next time

lots of it

Mandy xxx





I have become a lover of fermented foods. I love fermented veg and buying it at $18 a jar is a tad expensive. Convenient, and I do sometimes buy it (like yesterday because I haven’t been overly organised of late)! It is very easy to create your own.

All you need is some sterilised jars and lids, half a cabbage (I use pesticide free), some sea salt, and some vegetable culture/starter. I got one from my local health food store yesterday and it makes 100 kilo of veg or yoghurt or juice. It cost $15.

Chop up the Vegies finely and rub the sea salt into it well( I used a couple of level teaspoons for the half of cabbage, and about 24 “spins” of the grinder for the other Vegies).it will create some juice. Por a small amount of the culture over it (follow the directions on the pack).

Pack it into the jar making sure the veg is covered by the juice. I fold up a washed bit of cabbage leaf and lace it on the top to keep the veg submerged in the juice. I popped a silicon pickling pipe over the top of some of mine, but also just used a wide mouth bell jar.

Hopefully it works…it has before…

I used some veg that I got in a produce swap as well.

I popped it into the esky and will leave it for two weeks.

You can see some other goodies in the esky…I will write up a recipe for the other things later in the week.

Would love to hear if you’ve given this a try, or maybe you can share some delicious combinations of Vegies…

Until next time

Mandy xxx

Food Produce Swapping

Recently on Facebook I have started a food produce swap group. It basically is where people offer up any excess food they have grown in their garden for a swap of something someone else has excess of. Simple right. We are only a small group at the moment but already there have been seed swap offers and someone has offered to do a workshop showing how to raise seeds and start your garden.

I had two swaps yesterday, my first since starting the group.

We are very lucky to have a huge mandarin tree that grows fruit like crazy.

I swapped a half a box of mandarins and a handful of oranges for two jars of pickles and a jar of organic chicken stock concentrate.




The person I swapped with will eat the fruit and she also plans on making some marmalade.

Last night I had another swap.

A large bag of mandarins for curry, Rosemary, and bay leaves, and these gorgeous eggs.


It’s a goal of mine to try and swap as much as possible to minimise purchasing from the shops.

Not only did I have a swapping kind of day, I also got busy in the kitchen.

I made some marinated Danish feta and some fermented lemonade.

The feta was so simple. I popped about half a kilo of chopped up feta into some sterilised bell jars. I then warmed a 500ml organic olive oil in a pot, with some rosemary and garlic. Poured that over the top of the cheese and sealed it.Let it cool and popped it into the fridge.


I also had lots of lemons that were just on the verge of needing to be thrown out…the last of our lemons…I squeezed them all and popped the juice aside.

I heated 6 cups of filtered water and added about 1/3 cup of coconut sugar and a small amount of white sugar (will omit this n st time and have the cocnut sugar) , I then whisked in half a cup of whey (squeezed half a kilo tub of plain yoghurt through a slightly damp teatowel) and one cup of lemon juice. Poured that into sealable bottles. I will leave it for a while and hopefully it will ferment. Trouble is, the colour is kind of dark because of the coconut sugar being quite dark.


Ok…..that’s it for now…I am starting an online art course today and can’t wait…will keep you posted…

until next time

Mandy xxx