Happy oily raggers

Happy Oily Ragger from Mangawhai writes. “Last year one of your columns inspired us to get some chickens. We made a nice cage for them so they are well housed and free range through an orchard we put in recently – also inspired by an oily rag lifestyle. It is all working so well. We designed the cage to make it easy to clean out the droppings, which we do weekly and spread around the fruit trees. They are also doing well and will no doubt provide a bumper crop in the spring and summer. The only problem is that we now have lots of eggs to put to good use! So we are looking for ideas on how to make a great omelette. Any recipes would be appreciated.” Drop us a note if you can help Happy Oily Ragger to make the perfect omelette – and to use their wealth of eggs.

Last week Dee from Whangarei asked for ways to use an abundance of mandarins. Frugal lady from Whakatane replies, “If you don’t have a juicer, you can use a blender to get the juice from your mandarins: cut the mandarin in half BEFORE PEELING, take out the seeds, then peel and place in blender. You might need to add a bit of water to get it going. When you’re finished blending, use a strainer and then you can freeze your mandarin juice. Delicious!”

Andrea from Nelson suggested giving spare fruit to the local food bank or schools.

Tramore from Whangarei has this suggestion, “Stew peeled mandarins and serve with a light chocolate sauce or custard. This is a quick and delicious simple winter dessert!”

O.R. Family from Northland said they made many litres of juice which was sweet and delicious. “It’s remarkable how much better it tastes than fruit juice purchased in the shops.” Most of it has been frozen in 250ml bottles for school drinks.

Don’t forget winter is the time to plant fruit trees. A little bit of effort will yield fresh fruit for many years to come.

Jane from Auckland recently asked for ideas to clean a toilet bowl that had become stained with a light rust colour.

Deb from Christchurch replies, “I have found that spraying white vinegar on it for a few weeks after you have flushed and dried off the area with toilet paper works a treat. Not even any scrubbing involved.”

Charmaine from Whangarei replies, “For Jane re toilet cleaner – if all else fails buy CLR from Mitre10 or Hammer Hardware. It is quite amazing.”

We recently posted a query by Tamzin from Auckland on our oilyrag.co.nz website asking whether switching the hot water cylinder off at night would save power. MEC has this suggestion. “We made a huge difference to our power bill by turning our hot water cylinder off during the DAY! It gets turned off in the morning and back on at bedtime, and it has saved us about 20 – 25% per month. It does help that the cylinder is well-insulated and set to 55C (the recommended maximum), and measuring the temperature at the end of the day shows it does not get below about 45C — not a lot of reheating needed.”

And now for a question. Margaret from Invercargill asks, “Does any one have a recipe for making soap?” If you have had success with soap making please let us know and we will pass your suggestions onto Margaret. We are particularly interested in soap making tips using olive oil (we are hoping for a bumper olive crop next season!).

Madcow from Taranaki has a mouldy problem. “I would like to find a ‘friendly’ way of removing damp mould off my very expensive bedroom suite. My house is damp and the mould is now on the whole suite. Also – does anyone have ideas on how to get rid of the damp smell from my rooms?”

Please send in your suggestions for the perfect omelette – and other tips – via the tips form or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.