THE ‘Apple Spiral Machine’ is surely one of the greatest technological advances known to humankind. Have you seen one?
Push an apple onto the prongs, wind the handle, and a miracle ensues: the apple emerges peeled, cored and sliced into a spiral.
Occasionally it doesn’t.
This autumn, my house – sometimes squalid – has become a hotbed of domesticity.
I live in a double-fronted terrace house, with a north-facing concrete courtyard. We’re renters, but we have made some minor alterations – we’ve built large raised garden beds, converted a bathtub into a wicking bed, and collected all kinds of containers for food growing. I installed three connected pickle-barrel water tanks, and we rarely need to water from the mains.
Over the last two weekends, we pulled out the remnants of our summer vegie patch, and returned a colourful crop of tomatoes, rocket, purple king beans, basil and beetroot.
With the green tomatoes, we made chutney, following this recipe (add chilli for kick). With the basil and rocket, I made pesto.
That’s not all. We re-potted our worn-out perennial herbs, rejuvenated our wicking bed, saved tomato seeds and beans, scattered the seed-head from the leftover lettuce and rocket, and spread chook pellets and worm castings through the patch. Inside the house, we re-sealed gaps below our wonky doors with a cheap, inventive and effective combination of timber strips, old bike tubes and a staple gun.
Yikes. So we’ve been harvesting, eating, preserving and preparing for winter. Unfortunately, another (altogether more common) pastime in the house is pun-making. At the end of our apple bottling, we had created a small mountain of apple cores and peels.
“The worms will love it,” said Neesh, as we moved the mound towards our worm farm. I sensed the puns coming on. “It’s going to be hard-core,” I said. “They’ll be jumping out of their skins.”
Silence. Grimaces. Stifled laughter. But then I was trumped by Paul, calling out from another room: “I’m sure they’ll find it very a-peel-ing.”