The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Husband and I aspire to being self-sufficient.

Ideally, we would source our water from a spring or run-off; generate electricity via solar panels, wind turbine or hydro generator; fuel our car with potato peels or canine intestinal gas. We would keep some livestock: bees, chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, llamas, a small herd of cows; wear clothes made from flour bags left over from the days we didn’t mill our own from home-grown grains (that’s while we wait to harvest our crop of hemp); and make oil cold-pressed from olives picked by hand.

To this end, I spent the last two weeks researching edible seaweed and how to grow vegetables.

Turns out being self-sufficient is EXPENSIVE.

One thing around these parts is almost free: the other night we went down to the bay at low tide to partake of the munificent bounty of the sea.

Leaving Andrew with the new fishing rod, I hunted my elusive quarry – green-lipped mussels – on foot. Half an hour later I returned with my daily quotient of mussels, to find Andrew ensnarled in the fishing line.

We’re still trying to figure out what’s wrong with the $20 reel we bought from Warehouse.

That night, I baked the mussels on the half-shell with a Parmesan breadcrumb crust.

The following morning, we found out about a warning not to eat locally collected shellfish due to toxins caused by algal bloom. This is apparently harmful to humans, occasionally resulting in Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning. The name is only a partial clue as to the symptoms of DSP.

We fed the rest of the mussels to the dog, who was highly appreciative of the gourmet snack.


Comments on: "Living off the land" (9)

  1. Cian said:

    Oh that recipe sounds rather nice. I am getting hungry just thinking about it. Mind you I think I would swap out the olive oil for butter.

    I might struggle with the 5 quart heavy pot. I mean what is a bloody quart when it is at home. Give me good olde metric system instead.

    Keep up with the self-sufficiency aspirations. I think that the benefits in the long-term outweigh the extra monetary costs. Thing of the time spend outside tending to livestock (they will all have names and personalities etc.), vegtables etc. It will do wonders for the mind and your holisitic body will thank you for it in the long run.

    Perhaps you could start a small vineyard and then the friends would come rolling in and probably rolling out too.

  2. deadlyjelly said:

    It was DELICIOUS. Shame it was seasoned with DSP. Next time I’d apply a little more cheese too.

    I never pay attention to quarts. As far as I’m concerned, the food goes in a saucepan that fits it.

    Andrew wants to start a vineyard, but I think I’ve talked him out of it. Marlborough is wine central; you can pick up bottles of outstanding wine for $8-12 in the supermarket. And it keeps for ages. Why would you be arsed growing your own grapes?


  3. Cian said:

    Can Andrew get his way just once? (I ‘m going to be shot for that) I think that it would be cool. The joy and self-fulfillment that you would get from drinking your own wine after the efforts of growing and tending to the vines, pressing the vines (or whatever one does to them) etc. (my knowledge of this topic is rather limited) would be unreal.

    Then again since my knowledge is rather limited, and I can be rather lazy, perhaps I should shut up and say – Yeah totally understand, much earlier/more sensible to stock up on good quality local (not I am really jealous of you) wine. What would you be bothered with the malarkey associated with making your own.

  4. Cian said:

    Writing and typing issues again! Why can’t I type “now” instead of not (I do this on a daily basis) and another – “Also, why would you be bothered…” Jeekers you would think that English was not my mother tongue. I need to be able to edit my posts somehow.

    As seo amach beidh mé ag scríobh as Gaeilge…

  5. One aspect of your post troubles me deeply… I’m trying to imagine the answer to my question, and I’m having trouble coming up with anything more savory than:

    “Because Jed is so much more fun when he has diarrhea?”

  6. deadlyjelly said:

    Cian – allowing Andrew to get his own way would undermine our whole relationship; we’re talking a one-way ticket on the fast-track to Divorce Central.

    And I thought your idiosyncratic application of English was a new dialect you were perfecting.


  7. deadlyjelly said:

    Vet – Jed is undoubtedly a barrel of giggles when spraying half-digested liquid meat everywhere.

    However, I had no doubt Jed’s awe-inspiring digestive tract would process the mussels with clean efficiency. After all, the hound considers maggots a delicacy, routinely dines on faeces, and would happily snack on entire blooms of algae if he were allowed.

    Indeed, not only did they keep Jed amused for half an hour nibbling the mussel off the shell, the only side-effect was his lingering discontent that there weren’t more.


  8. You want to watch out for something even more deadly than jelly, and that’s Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. The name is a total clue as to the symptoms. Not fun. Not funny. But deadly. Just so you know.

  9. Ew … I came in reluctantly, suspecting I might die of envy or at very least, get a very nasty spasm but somehow you dealt with it all. You’re a very generous wee thing, aren’t you just.

    But truly, I hope all is going fantastically superbly deliciously well xo

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