Monday, January 30, 2012


If you know of any unsprayed, accessible and publicly available blackberry bushes to pick from, please let Karine know (

The weather has been unpopular and unreliable in the mountains over the last couple of seasons. After an early hot spell we have languished into cool to humid weather, which seems set be 'summer' this year. This means there isn't sufficient sun and heat to bring on and ripen really good crops in many gardens. Fruit as well as nut trees — especially pome/stone varieties — are more prone to fungus and some diseases, which encourages pests. Storms later in 2011 took lots of leaves off, especially citrus plants. Our lemon trees and cumquat trees were very hungry for organic food and only shot off in December. They are still to fruit.

We are in the throes of setting up the second discussion in our collective sufficiency series. Watch this space (and/or get onto our eBulletin list, see above).

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Collective Sufficiency

The Collective Sufficiency Here and Now discussion held on Saturday 14 January with Ben and Deb, Lucy and Rob, and Celeste offered appraisals of past efforts and ideas for 2012 and beyond.

Reviewing their experiences, Rob said that the following list of key principles for designing of communal management of ecological resources that Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom defined initially in Governing the Commons (1990, Cambridge University Press) were spot on:
  • Clearly defined boundaries (effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties);
  • Rules regarding the appropriation and provision of common resources that are adapted to local conditions;
  • Collective-choice arrangements that allow most resource appropriators to participate in the decision-making process;
  • Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to the appropriators;
  • A scale of graduated sanctions for resource appropriators who violate community rules;
  • Mechanisms of conflict resolution that are cheap and of easy access;
  • Self-determination of the community recognized by higher-level authorities;
  • In the case of larger common-pool resources, organization in the form of multiple layers of nested enterprises, with small local common-pool resources at the base level.
Other important principles focus on the particular challenges of the local environment, strong communication skills, trust and reciprocity amongst the managing community.

Other ideas to come out of the session included a call to Occupy the BM tip/s, so that we can have more rational and extensive re-use and recycling processes. We expect to hold another in what might become a short series of discussions on this topic, so watch this space...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I find it hard not to concentrate on fruit and nut cooking this time of year. I've tasted some lovely pan fortes over the last month and have decided to experiment with these to work out the ideal recipe for gifts late this year.
Meanwhile, the day before yesterday I made plum jam. It was very simple. I stalked and washed 3kg (about 40) tart plums and put them in a large saucepan with 2 cups of water, brought them to the boil and simmered them until they virtually disintegrated. Making sure the bottom was not sticky I added 3kg brown sugar and stirred well as I brought the mixture to the boil again. At this point the stones tend to surface and you can remove them with a spoon. I boiled the mixture for 15 mins or so until it reached setting point and then bottled it in 12 jars.
It's hard not to get a spot or two on the walls, surrounding surfaces and clothes. On clothes we found soaking in milk did the trick.


We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)