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Oily Rag - Reader tips and thinking of the next harvest

Reader tips - and thinking of the next harvest

By Frank and Muriel Newman

Many thanks for all your new tips. It is good to know the Oily Rag community is active and thriving!

JB from Whangarei writes, "About 17 years ago, the Government raised child support to $150 per week for our child. Michael Cullen at the time suggested parents think about their child's future educational needs so we did. I saved $50 a week in a special account not touching it except for major dental work, and there is now $25,000 in the account!"

While on the subject of savings it's worth making a comment about the changes to KiwiSaver that were announced in the Budget. The $1,000 kick-start has been removed with immediate effect. That will make it less attractive for parents signing up their kids for a free $1,000. However, what remains for those over the age of 18, is the government’s $521 annual tax credit, the employer’s subsidy for salary and wage earners, and the substantial first home buyer benefits. It's free money and still worth taking advantage of.

Laurel from Whangarei Heads has sent us these dog food recipes. "Dog biscuits: you need 1 pound wholemeal flour, quarter pound mince, quarter pound white flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon cod liver oil. Mix all of the ingredients and add enough water to form a stiff dough. Roll out and mark into squares. Prick each one with a fork. Bake at 150C for one hour - or a little longer if they are not quite hard enough. For vegetarian dog food, mix 1 cup mix grated raw carrot, 1 cup chopped parsley, 1 cup rolled oats, 3 crushed garlic cloves, half a cup of cheese, and a teaspoon of cod liver oil. Give your dog one meal of this a week. My Dachshunds love both these recipes."

Turning to gardening, June is a good time to plant seedlings of some veggie staples like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, silver beet and winter lettuce. You can also plant strawberries, and in the warmer areas, early potatoes. In the orchard, it’s time to prune the trees that have finished fruiting - and plant new fruit trees like apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines and citrus.

Andrea from Nelson has this tip for a raised garden. "Use old bricks. You can change the shape of your garden if bored. Last year mine was a huge circle but I am now remaking it as two large rectangles. The bricks are just stacked two high and topped up with home made compost, from our compost bins made from free pallets."

Andrea also has this tip for a kids’ drink. "I now make smoothies. If you use banana as the base it’s sweet but with no added sugar. Since having these as his after school snack, my son has trimmed down."

B.D. from the Waikato has this tip for a super simple, portable garden. "I have two halved [long ways] plastic 250 litre drums. These cost as little as $5 or are sometimes free. I cut mine in about 5 minutes with a jigsaw. Make some drainage holes and cover with a few stones to stop them blocking. Fill with manure and soil. I planted 30 silver beet and kale. This is ideal for anyone who has to uplift the garden if renting or moving. It’s very easy weeding and it guarantees greens for the winter. It can’t come easier or cheaper than that – and, of course, there’s no garden to dig and very little weeding required."

Now for some questions. Pat from Orakei in Auckland is keen on the garden drum idea but has asked for help: "Does anyone know where I can get plastic 250 litre drums in the Orakei area?"

Jane from Auckland has asked: "I would like some advice as to how to clean mildew from cream coloured cotton/linen curtains."

And Andrew has asked: "Does anyone have some super simple, cheap recipes for meals for cold winter nights that are suitable for a young family?"

If you can help Pat, Jane or Andrew then please drop us a note via the website.

Thanks so much for your questions and tips – please keep them coming! You can send in your ideas and join the Oily Rag mailing list, by visiting - or you can write to us at Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.


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