in Mike and the Bush Mechanics on 29 March 2012
THE ‘Apple Spiral Machine’ is surely one of the greatest technological advances known to humankind. Have you seen one?
Push an apple onto the prongs, wind the handle, and a miracle ensues: the apple emerges peeled, cored and sliced into a spiral.
Occasionally it doesn’t.
This autumn, my house – sometimes squalid – has become a hotbed of domesticity.
I live in a double-fronted terrace house, with a north-facing concrete courtyard. We’re renters, but we have made some minor alterations – we’ve built large raised garden beds, converted a bathtub into a wicking bed, and collected all kinds of containers for food growing. I installed three connected pickle-barrel water tanks, and we rarely need to water from the mains.
Over the last two weekends, we pulled out the remnants of our summer vegie patch, and returned a colourful crop of tomatoes, rocket, purple king beans, basil and beetroot.
With the green tomatoes, we made chutney, following this recipe (add chilli for kick). With the basil and rocket, I made pesto.
That’s not all. We re-potted our worn-out perennial herbs, rejuvenated our wicking bed, saved tomato seeds and beans, scattered the seed-head from the leftover lettuce and rocket, and spread chook pellets and worm castings through the patch. Inside the house, we re-sealed gaps below our wonky doors with a cheap, inventive and effective combination of timber strips, old bike tubes and a staple gun.
Yikes. So we’ve been harvesting, eating, preserving and preparing for winter. Unfortunately, another (altogether more common) pastime in the house is pun-making. At the end of our apple bottling, we had created a small mountain of apple cores and peels.
“The worms will love it,” said Neesh, as we moved the mound towards our worm farm. I sensed the puns coming on. “It’s going to be hard-core,” I said. “They’ll be jumping out of their skins.”
Silence. Grimaces. Stifled laughter. But then I was trumped by Paul, calling out from another room: “I’m sure they’ll find it very a-peel-ing.”