Tag Archives: DIY

Dill Pickles

For the long weekend we had a nice relaxing time down in Pemberton, about four hours south-east of Perth. Upon our return I found quite a few cucumbers a good size for making my first attempt of dill pickles! Thankfully today my order from OzFarmer.com arrived that contained lots of wonderful things I needed to make my pickles, so I got cracking!

I didn’t have a huge amount of cucumbers, probably about 15 small to medium, but I didn’t want to leave them on the vine any longer as the plants themselves seemed to have died off with what looked like a while dusting of mold on the leaves while we were away, and I wanted to get some pickles out of them before they died completely. I’ll have to do some more research on what this might be, there did seem to get a lot of aphids and ants on the cucumber plants while they were growing, which I did try to deal with some organic pest control, but it didn’t seem to do a huge amount of good.

This was the harvest mid clean. Not a huge harvest, but still better than none! I had intended on putting the cucumbers in two 1 litre jars, but upon packing found I had too many for just one, and too little for two, so I decided to use the beautiful smaller blue vintage ball jars I ordered and that has just arrived that day. I also used a Kosher Dill Pickle pre-made spice that also had something to make them extra crunchy, along with some vinegar and water and brought that to the boil. Then in it went and back into the boiling water canner for 15 minutes. All three of my jars got a nice loud pop when sealed, so I was happy.
 These were the large 1 litre jars packed but not full enough. How annoying. But these things happen, so we persevere! I did have the chance to use all my new fancy canning equipment seen above, which made canning so much easier!
 These are the three smaller jars packed with pickles shortly before adding the brine. I think I could have packed them a bit tighter as once the brine was in them they all floated to the top of the jars, so you could see how much space was left in the jars, but a lesson well learned I guess, I didn’t want to over pack them.

Finished product! Three little beautiful jars of homemade pickles! I am so going to get some more of these blue vintage inspired ball jars in different sizes as they are so pretty! Will make storing my canning jars more of a work of art rather than just trying to shove my jars somewhere out of the way! Maybe I’ll put in a high rail all along the kitchen and sit them up there until I use them…. We’ll see what Dave thinks of this idea. 😉

The haul from OzFarmer.com, my beautiful blue jars, enough canning salt to last until the apocalypse, pickling spice and the very helpful book of Putting Food By. New bedtime reading methinks!!

By Steering Member Kim Farnell, first posted on her own blog Barbaloot Suits and Garden Boots. We look forward to hearing what they taste like! 🙂

DIY Eco Wreath (from Toilet Rolls)

For those looking for some Christmas craft time, here’s a great idea from Olive on Blonde

Olive on Blonde

As I mentioned in my last tutorial (Making gift boxes from old greetings cards – see them here) I am determined to be frightfully festive without all the nasty waste that often comes along with it! I really want to prove to myself (and other people) that you can be a happy Christmas Greenie as apposed to a whingy eco version of this guy…

So I decided I would get going on my sustainable decorations at the very start…. my front door. There aint nothing better than a wreath. I had seen plenty of amazing wreaths on Pinterest (follow me here) but was particularly inspired by this one which I saw at Proverbs 31 craft blog. It also suited me as I save all my toilet rolls (they are very handy for all sorts of crafts and around-the-house uses). So I set off on my merry way and I…

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On your bike

Our hands on bike maintenance workshop the other week was a big success. Thirty four people filled the Guildford Primary School gymnasium to hear from cycling enthusiast Mike Norman on keeping your bike in good shape.

Bike workshop attendees

Mike covered the ABCD of bike maintenance, 90% of which you can do at home with only a few simple tools. Here’s a few things I picked up.

‘A’ stands for Air: Check your tyre pressure (it’s written on the side of the tyre). Make sure you have a set of tyre levers, a spare and a hand pump if you’re planning on riding a long way from home! Watch out for the introduced weed, Calthrop, the spines of which can cause punctures.

‘B’ stands for Brakes: Check both your brakes are working and ‘pinching’ together. You’ll need a set of allen keys to adjust the tension.

‘C’ stands for Chain: The most moving parts on the bike are in the chain. Make sure it’s clean, and it will save you a lot of work! Use an old paint brush or toothbrush to remove sand and crud from your chain. Pinch off built up stuff on your gears, including jockey wheels (the little ones that guide the chain). Then run the chain through a rag with a little degreaser (don’t spill onto your wheel bearings). Dry and remove excess from chain and apply bike chain lubricant. Wipe off excess.

‘D’ stands for D-lock: Make sure you have a good lock on your bike.

Happy Cycling!

For those with smart phones, there are several apps which take you through all these things and more. Check out Bike Doctor or Bicycle Maintenance 101