when Ma left us to go on her next big adventure, among the stuff she left behind was a modest esky (across the ditch you'd know that as a chilly bin, across the puddle it might be a cooler, and I've never encountered one in Old Blighty so I've no idea what you might call it there)
it's a well-insulated device made of plastic. Ma used hers for fish bait, possibly also for gin.
the extendable handle is a bit rusty (and cannot be removed for restoration by boiling in a eucalyptus bath) but inside it was squeaky clean. as I pondered it, I had an idea.
it's very cold here in winter. we don't get snow very often but it's pretty nippy. I decided to liberate the esky and give it new life as an indigo vat. the insulation helps keep the temperature up and it's quite easy to rewarm it when it does cool down (three days of neglect and it's down to lukewarm) by standing one or two old wines bottle full of hot water in it. (hot stones are good, too, but more difficult to handle.)
and while my favourite indigo vat is made with bananas
, they're rather pricey right now (usually cheaper in school holidays, as less lunches are being packed!) and so I am nourishing the vat with other substances. I'm a bear who likes to make the most of local resources, so (thanks to a conversation I had with Charlotte Kwon
a few months ago, when she said the vat would probably be just as happy eating compost) I've been experimenting by boiling up the vegetable trimmings and feeding the liquor to the vat.
the chickens are delighted because they're getting cooked scraps :: much easier to eat!
|celery and sweet potato|
|beetroot and pineapple peels|
|pouring in the brew (better to hold it closer to the surface and thus introduce less air, but trickier to photograph if you happen to be doing it all yourself)|
the main thing is to keep it warm, check the pH and, as Michel Garcia so charmingly says, remember to feed the donkey before you put it to bed.
what are you feeding yours? I'd be interested to know.