Kitchen, Life and my Garden, VintageTrish Kitchen

Fire up the Kombucha

I need to fire up the extra Kombucha brews as one of my kitchen tasks today.

Because booch takes longer to ferment in the winter–which seems to have arrived today with gale force winds – I need to activate more.

Kombucha is an effervescent drink with a slight sweetness, in my case made with black tea.

It has ancient origins.

It’s well worth doing if you can commit to the process. The scoby is living and needs care.

So back to my task at hand. I need five batches on the go, rather than the 3 I have in summer, for our needs.

The reason is simply that in summer a ‘batch of booch’ is ready in 3 days in our heat.

But in winter it takes 5–8 days depending on how low the thermometer dips. It’s exceptionally rare here in winter, to go below 2 degrees celsius overnight.

Since 1 jar is equal to one day’s drinks and a minimum of five days brewing time is needed… I need five!

So the two jars on the end (in the photo above) will be fed and filled today.

The small amount of raw sugar I use to ‘feed the scoby’ is mostly gone by the end of the process.

My husband and I drink it in its natural state after chilling of course.

Our grown sons still prefer their more traditional fizzy drinks.

Kombucha is delicious and refreshing, especially in summer heat. It is not generally considered an alcoholic drink, but it does ferment, which means it has some alcoholic content. Raw kombucha is approximately 0.5% alcohol if brewed correctly, apparently.

Hope your Monday is going well 🌸

#kombucha #drink#healthy #vintagetrish #vintagetrishkitchen#homelife #refreshing #winter #summer

Life and my Garden, Mindful Nature

Monarch Majesty


I still catch my breath every time I see a newly emerged monarch butterfly.

A moment of wonder, full of intricate, lacy beauty.

Vivid orange and black, against blue sky, cream and green leaves.

A blessing.

That moment today, too quick to catch on my i-Phone.

A morning garden stroll.

A flutter in the corner of my eye…caught breath in wonder.

A majestic creature drinking nectar from the cream grevillea!

Then quickly gone in what seemed one graceful glide through the air.

Onto her next adventure.

The moment needs recording.

I’ll never do it justice.

But perhaps my drawing will be enough representation,

of that brief encounter,




Garden History, Life and my Garden

Autumn Strawberry

A ripening strawberry in the Autumn sun… a few steps from my back door.

It’s the little things that make me smile.

Strawberries are a favourite of mine because they are the first food plant I grew on my balcony, when I was newly married 26 years ago.

Back then I used a free box the fruit man gave me and bought the plants very cheaply. I divided the three plants I had into 6 smaller plants from memory…always frugal thinking.

Anyway they thrived, and we feasted at a time when everything we had was going to saving for a house. We bought that house 9 months later and it’s the same house we live in today.

I was hooked on my food garden.

There has been a lot of food grown naturally in my large suburban food garden by these hands of mine, in the years between.

But the strawberry will always be… my heart.❤️🌸

#strawberry #strawberriesaremyfavorite#autumn #mindfulgardener #vintagetrish#naturalgardening #simpledelights#gardenhistory

Garden Thoughts, Nature, Life and my Garden

When Life Gives You Limes!


Tahitian Limes in a vintage Grindley Petal Peach Bowl on an autumn morning…

Some limes from your own Tahitian Lime tree in a vintage Grindley Petal Peach bowl is definitely a very simple thing.

I’ve taken longer to describe it in words than the fleeting thought it might gain from a ‘sleepy head’ wandering past it on an Autumn morning.

But taking some time to really think about what that bowl of limes means to me this morning, I realised it’s the same simplicity that helps me live like a king.

Let me explain. All the money in the world can not buy the quality of fresh fruit and vegetables I can pick straight from my garden.

I do not have all the money in the world.

But by planting a food garden, my family and I have the absolute audacity to live like Kings. That’s gold!

The fresh air and general mental wellness a daily garden visit can provide anyone (mobile or non-mobile with assistance) is just one benefit.

Let me tell you a story.

When I was 22 years old I had to have half my thyroid removed because of a tumour that had formed on it, making it hard for me to swallow. I was newly married and a Health Information Officer, with all the latest information at my fingertips, for my condition. It was still scary. The big C was a possibility according to the tests.

That tumour was a turning point for me, which came early enough in life to shock me into what was important. It gave me the gift of years ‘head start,’ into realising my life priorities.

When you face a possibility of no tomorrow, it makes you appreciate today.

I had decided prior to this health crisis that my fledgling garden (then in boxes on our apartment balcony) would be a productive garden once we bought our new home and had a yard. Herbs, fruit and vegetables that would help me supplement my future family’s diet, since we wouldn’t be able to produce everything we ate, on a suburban block.

With half a thyroid gland and an all clear given after surgery, I set out on a grateful life, where I would choose a natural approach to my health, wherever possible. I hoped to  avoid the need to rely on supplementary thyroid balancing hormone drugs.

I am 50 later this year. I have not taken any thyroid hormone balancing drugs since that surgery. I credit a great deal of this to the fresh food enzymes contained in my food, from my food garden.

My garden has served a ‘food as medicine’ benefit for me, as well as the usual benefits.

Yes the garden has been a lot of work… but it’s also been great exercise for me. Yes we’ve had monetary costs setting the garden up, that other families without a garden, have not. But what cost do you put on your family’s physical and mental health?

In my opinion, a natural food garden is true health insurance.

So back to my morning’s thoughts of simplicity.

A tahitian lime is a gift of vitamin C from a tree that has produced bountifully for me over the several years since I planted it. I’m talking between 50-100kgs of fruit from one tree (in recent seasons).

The juice of one lime can provide up to 22 percent of the adult daily requirement of vitamin C. You don’t need a vitamin C pill if you’ve got limes…or whatever citrus is in season. And the vitamin C you take into your body in food form, will be absorbed efficiently and naturally through digestion.

The studies have been done. Read about them here if you’d like to know more.

My lime tree and I have done harsh and good seasons together over the years.

It stands firm…so do I. We’re simple.

So, back to morning thoughts of life giving you limes…

I say four words… thank you very much!



Tales of Nature's Cooperation in my Garden

The Helpful Spider

A fallen trellis and a passionfruit vine (right hand side) standing up by itself. How?

I went for a wander, after taking the washing off the line today.

I noticed the unsupported side of my newly potted yellow passionfruit vine (originally supported by a makeshift trellis) ‘standing to attention’.

And that got my attention, straight away!

Vining plants don’t generally do this unless secured to a support of some kind.

Yes I had provided support by securing one side to the tree trunk. I later noticed (ok, more than a week ago) that the wind had sent my makeshift trellis for it’s right hand side vine…flying. I left the trellis exactly where it fell.

I had too many more urgent tasks to do on that windy day, so I left it to ‘fend’ until I got back to it.

I made a mental note at the time…’might move it to a less windy spot.’

I never got back to it. My bad.

Fast forward to today and it’s right hand branch had the little top tendril ‘grabber’ standing perfectly and securely upright–with nothing to support it.

I did a ‘double-take.’ Passionfruit vines tend to ‘hang’ and ‘lean,’ rather than stand when unsupported.

I started second-guessing myself and inspecting–’did I use fishing line to tie it to the tree branch above?’ ‘Was I more organised than I can remember?’ No. I definitely had left it to ‘fend’!

It was then I caught the glimmer of a strong ‘guy-rope’ like ‘spider rope’ (not a web) that had been started from the top third of the right hand side passionfruit branch, to the overhanging tree branch. This spider ‘rope’ had tightly secured and supported the passionfruit branch to the tree branch, almost a metre above it.

The fading light when I noticed this meant I’ll need stronger morning light tomorrow, to reveal the ‘spider rope’ properly in photo form.

But just so you know the disorganised truth, that helpful spider proved effort from myself and plant, were not really needed. It stepped in with a ‘spider highway’, motivated by whatever it needs!

Maybe garden insects and plants communicate more than we admit. Maybe the passionfruit said ‘Well she’s not coming back to help me grab on to this tree–can you help me.’ Co-operation in action–premeditated or accidental?

Nature proved to me I should leave that passionfruit exactly in that spot. Why mess with the eco-system?

The spider and tree frogs who live in the tree, will control any pests that passionfruit might have in future.

The vine will provide habitat for many creatures and shade the soil, buffering it against very hot and windy days.

And I will be eating passionfruit in my yoghurt, sooner rather than later.

So step back and let Nature ‘co-operate away.’

I always try to work with Mother Nature, though I must admit, this synchronicity without effort was surprising.

But then we probably have less jobs to do in the garden, than we think…

If we just… trust Nature. 🌸

© Trish McGill 2018.