Friday, July 29, 2011


Last week we went bushwalking at a place just up the road from us. It is amazing how close some beautiful places are. Actually, when I say bushwalking, I also mean that there was a bit of rock climbing as well.

We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves even though we didn’t go far. It was really just a “lets check it out and see what it is like there” trip, so next time we will pack our lunch and go further, this time we had to turn around when we got hungry as our lunch was in the truck. Another thing we will have to do is get a proper map and take the compass, it is not really off the beaten track but I do like to know exactly where we are.

There were a lot of people camping close to the parking area and not going far which suits us as we wouldn’t stay around there, no-one seemed to go walking anywhere so we were on our own.

There are more areas further along to check out, though there is a fair bit to explore right where we were. Can’t beat the Australian bush, there is something about it that can’t be found anywhere else; I would take the bush over the beach any day.


An asteroid has been found not too far from earth. Have a look here.

Here is a post on how to save cucumber seeds at Life on a New Homestead.

I really enjoyed this post at Fast, Cheap and Good: Sustainability One Choice at a Time. It is titled The Green Thing, you have to read it.

At Apartment Prepper’s blog is a post titled Supply Check about checking things like batteries in torches and dates on First Aid supplies. I have found the same thing here at my house recently, paracetamol that has gone to the bottom and is outdated, I also went through my car kit. So check out the post to remind yourself to check things.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Jobs For A Cold Weekend

It has turned cold here again and I am having a love affair with my beanie and scarf, they are at the very least my new best friends. I look very sexy (not) in my pink stripy beanie and scarf, but they are made from lambs wool and angora and are very warm which is the main thing, don’t care what I look like as long as I am warm.

Hopefully the cold won’t last long this time as I have planted out seeds and they have popped up, I have put in gigantic cucumbers and snake beans and I want them to survive. We also have corn to put in and best do that this weekend. Last year’s lot produced so well that we were able to freeze some of it for later which was great.

Our other job for the weekend is to put more blood and bone on everything, the garden, the orchard, the natives, and of course the tamarinds. Everything is having new growth at the moment and it also looks like we will get a few mangoes off the mango trees. The very short one that produced about six mangoes last year has flowers on it again and so does largest one, the tall skinny one looks like it is getting new leaves, so a win all round. These were some of the neglected trees that were here when we bought the property so it is good to see them coming along with some water and food, takes a while.

Today we are going to go bushwalking at a place not far from here, yesterday was my birthday and we usually go away camping for the weekend as it is always a long weekend here (Show day today) but this year we haven’t and may go away later in the year. So instead we are going bushwalking, my partner in crime and life has made me this terribly evil chocolate log and they will be cooking me a lovely roast for dinner tonight.

If there is time I also want to do some cooking. A lovely lady from my one of my Tai Chi classes has been emailing some lovely recipes so I want to make another one of these. Yesterday I also bought some granny smith apples that were on special so I can make Eric’s Apple Pie (also known as Poppy's Apple Pie) and mini apple pies.

Yesterday I didn’t do anything for my birthday as our number one and only son was at school, my partner in crime and life was sleeping the day away (I suppose he has a good excuse as he does do night shift) and I had to go to town and I had a Tai Chi class. So there wasn’t much time for me to do anything, however before I left for town, my partner in crime and life dragged himself out of bed after about four or five hours sleep to give me my homemade (the best kind) birthday card, which was just lovely.

So this weekend is about doing what I want, I always like to make a week of it, even if I just feel like I am doing what I want. I actually like to spend time on my own or just with my partner in crime and life and one and only son. So this week, when I went to buy star pickets I also had a little shop and bought myself a much needed new top, it was fun, I don’t normally like shopping but during this week I do.


Along with my fascinations with hardware stores for tools, books and my computer, I also love stationary. Can’t say why, but I love folders and notebooks and pens and pencils and all that. So I totally get this post from Survival Mom, every time it is back to school here I get extra stuff to put in my drawers and homemade pencil pots.

I am always on the lookout for recipes that don’t have a million ingredients, are healthy and don’t have meat. We do eat meat, I believe we are meant to eat meat, but I think we eat too much meat, I like to have on hand a lot of recipes that don’t have meat so I can throw them in every other day if I can. So here is another one at Penniless Parenting that I will have to try out.

A good post from Canadian Doomer about lessons learnt from camping. I always learn that I like being comfortable, and I would rather have good quality long last stuff than lots of cheap rubbish (like good camp beds rather than cheap ones). However, there are some more things to think about on her list that I think should be taken into consideration, so take a look.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Now our chookies are laying regularly I am thinking about eggs a lot. I am thinking about how often a chook lays and how big the eggs are.

You know how we have always been told that it takes three minutes to boil an egg? Well the eggs I had been buying would take at least five minutes and sometimes that was not long enough, but the eggs we are now getting from our hens take three minutes.

So, obviously there are a lot of hens out there that have been breed to lay rather large eggs compared to what they would naturally lay. The eggs we are getting are quite small compared to the ones we were buying and this bothers me as what is this doing to the hens that are bred for laying large eggs? Probably nothing, but still, there is something about it that bothers me.

Our hens are all laying and we are only getting three or four eggs a day out of six hens, their natural laying cycle being an egg about every 26 to 30 hours, so our hens lay in the morning and in the afternoon.

You can see how small our eggs are in the egg cup, but they have cooked perfectly in three minutes, and they have a regular sized yolk, just not so much white.


Here is a good article about greening your wardrobe that I liked,it has a bit more information than just recycle, op shop and don't use a dry cleaner.

And while I am on a roll, here is one about going green like celebrities, and I thought they were all selfish and rich, not really, didn't think that:D I knew that some celebrities were doing some good things.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

School Is Back and Carbon Tax Is In

School is back and we can now get back into routine, though I am not keen to be getting up early and to an alarm. I quite enjoy being able to wake up naturally even if it is still early, and then staying in bed a bit longer because it is too cold to get up :D

I do think it may be warming up a bit though, it was a warm 12 degrees this morning as opposed to a cold 12 degrees. It happens. So I didn’t feel the need to light the fire this morning, though our number one and only son complains about this, however I do have on my scarf and a blanket over my legs, and hope that I am not required to move about much till things warm up a bit more.

We also didn’t light the fire last night and though a little cold, if you go to bed early with a hot water bottle for a read you get toasty warm. So this actually works well to save electricity. There are fewer lights on, just a reading light, no TV, we have no electric blanket, no computers still running, no one becoming brain dead from the TV and computer games, and we end up with more sleep, so really, it is win win all around.

Talking about saving electricity, I need to clean out my fridge and bar fridge (so overdue to do this) and turn off the bar fridge. We can do without it and the extra in electricity, though we won’t be getting rid of the bar fridge as it is handy at times like Christmas when there is extra food in the house. However my mum was asking about our electricity going up and apart from the carbon tax I am sure that it was going to go up anyway, so does that mean that it is going to go up extra? Time for some research.

So off with the bar fridge, the small chest freezer has been turned off for a long time anyway and we use our esky with frozen water in juice bottles for keeping our drinks cold. We also plan to put in a gas wall oven on its own gas bottle when I have saved up the money (after we have bought a front loading washing machine and a few other things that have to be done first) We already turn off the lights when not in use (though I am sure that our number one and only son needs a reminder of this for his room out there) and turn everything off at the wall when not in use and now I am running out of ideas.

And, no matter what we do, electricity is still going to keep going up, we will be paying more even if we use less. I think we need a new plan, don’t know what but there has to be a better way.

Anyway, we have nearly finished tiling the splash back in the kitchen, actually, I really just supervised as there wasn’t enough room for the two of us and my partner in crime and life has done a great job. We still have another row to go, it is just that we ran out of tiles, (not a lot of planning going on), so on Thursday when I am in town I need to go pick up some more.

However, in the mean time, it has already lightened up the kitchen and it looks cleaner. So with the new sink and new benches (actually, covered benches) I think we are nearly done with improving the kitchen, just have to get a new gas oven and that is about it.


The carbon tax here in Australia is all the talk at the moment, and here is an article about what families think and I found the comments underneath most interesting. Carbon tax is also in Wikipedia and it has a pretty good explanation of it, worth checking out. Also, here is an article with links to working out how the carbon tax will affect us, it has a link to the Government’s calculator and also a table with links for broad individual circumstances.

This is going to come into effect regardless of whether you agree or not, so, it is best to understand it and work out how much it will cost you using the information being given to us. So, go do some reading, information is good :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Be More Efficient

We have a busy life, everyone we know has a busy life, and so I try and do things the most efficient way I can. While having this busy life we also want family time and relaxing time, all that, basically having our cake and eating it too. We also do a lot of things to impress others or make ourselves seem like them so we are not different and fit in, but life is hard enough as it is without all that.

How can we do it all? We need balance in our life or we burn out, we still need to do the work that needs to done but we also need to take regular breaks, and we don’t need to do it all. Having breaks doesn’t mean the going away on a world trip type of break (though that would be nice) but having enough time every day that is down time, where you get to breath, otherwise, heart attack here you come.

So how do we do it all and get to rest? Well, I am going to give you my theory on it, I was thinking on it at 4am this morning when I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.

We need to make our lives more efficient and less complicated in all areas of our life and we need to decide what is important and what isn’t, what is worth worrying about and what isn’t. If you do things the easy way or differently to others it doesn’t make you lazy, it is just doing it the best and most efficient way for you and for your life, live your life the way you want, not the way others think you should.

Here is my list of some of what I do.

• Plant a low maintenance garden including the edible bit
• Plant the garden in one area and not all over the place (hard to water)
• Put in irrigation and have hoses everywhere so it all reaches
• Put more than one thing into the oven at once
• Cook large batches of meals and freeze the rest for tired nights
• It is OK to have toast for dinner every now and again
• Don’t buy clothes that require ironing
• Buy only good shoes and only have a few, same goes for clothes, really, how many clothes can you wear at once, easy for decision making
• Don’t vacuum everyday
• If things are a little messy that is OK
• Spend 15 min per room cleaning and tidying no more
• Delegate, don’t hog all the jobs for yourself
• Lower your standards a little, not the hygiene bit, but get your kids to hang the washing out and when they do it differently to you (and weirdly) don’t worry, it is hung out and that is all that matters
• If the dishes are done and the beds are made all is well, actually I am going to scrap the beds bit, now my partner in crime and life is on night shift the bed doesn’t get made as there is always someone sleeping in it, so I’ll just run with the dishes. Nothing worse than not having enough teaspoons for your cuppa teas, so as long as you don’t have four days worth of dishes piled up your good.
• It is OK to have stuff, it is what makes your house a home, as long as you love it and you aren’t falling over it, there is no problem, ignore other people. Being a minimalist is fine if that is what you choose and having different stuff and hobbies to other people is fine too.
• If you go out and everything is not away it is OK, do it when you come home, it is not the end of the world.

Just remember, when you are 100years old, what are you going to regret? Not doing the dishes before you went out that time, or sweeping the floor before visitors arrived? Or will you regret going on that picnic, going to that museum exhibition and painting that scene that moved you? Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be you, you don’t have to please others only yourself, so sometimes just let it all go and do it tomorrow, and I bet you won’t regret it later.

We can have it all, often a lot of us have help to have it all (childcare, pay someone to clean the house once a week) and those who don’t run themselves ragged trying to keep up with it all and burn out, so we need to do things more efficiently. So, as Gunnie in Heartbreak Ridge said “well, you have your boots on, you’re good to go” or something along those lines,sometimes that is all you need and don’t worry about the rest, at least not today :D

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Chookies Are Happy

My chookies are enjoying being able to come out of the pen and wander around and eat all the bugs and grasshoppers and stuff. They are enjoying dirt baths in the garden and digging up all the stuff they are allowed to.

They are really fun to watch though I have discovered they do not respond to verbal commands. Telling them “no” does nothing or “stop”, or “don’t dig there”.

They will wander quite far if I let them and I have found them down in the gully on the way to the orchard, but can’t let them do that as there are still large dogs wondering around so I keep a close eye out. So far so good. So generally, while they are out I am out too doing some work so I can make sure they aren’t getting into trouble.

They really like the banana trees and the paw paws, I guess because the dirt is really good, so I have had to put wire around all the things that I want protected. Two of them did manage to get stuck inside some wire and not be able to get out, they really aren’t the smartest, and they don’t like to be picked up, but they got out in the end.

I was going to fence the garden, but have decided that just putting the wire around what I want protected is better because I can move the wire around and they can get into old gardens and scratch around and I can still mow without any problems. Though, not having to mow would be better, but I am still thinking on that problem.


Don’t know if I have put this up before, maybe I have, regardless, here it is again, maybe, as it is important that we are informed. An article from the Greenpeace site about GM food, which is something we really don’t want. We don’t know enough about it, and the labelling of our food is poor so we are probably eating GM food and don’t know it. Everyone should find out more about GM food, we should be informed, and if they can’t answer the questions, in a good way, GM food shouldn’t be out there at all. Personally, I don’t think we should be mucking around with our food in this way at all.

I really don’t know why I am amazed every time I come across an article like this. That there are people out here who think that killing everything so they can put money in their pockets is a good idea. According to this article, they are using Agent Orange to kill off the Amazon forest; it is killing the plant and animal life. Words fail me.

This is a old, but relevant post from the blog Not Buying It. The post is called Extreme Frugal Living: The Ultimate Household Budget and while it is not a long post it has a good point about budgets. There should be two categories, what you need to survive and everything else. There are a lot of people right now who should take this under consideration as things are tough and some people are drowning in debt, and of course the costs of everything is going up. What you need to survive and everything else.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gift Giving

One thing about having your own blog that it is not dedicated to any particular subject, means that I can write about anything; religion, politics, the environment, my chooks, climate change, peak oil, my chooks, gardening, the weather and anything that crosses my mind at 2 o’clock in the morning :)

So today I am going to write about gift giving. It has come up recently so I have been thinking about it, and it is only 6months til Christmas, so if you think that is a long way away, think again.

I believe that a lot of people give gifts out of obligation rather than because they want to say “I care and am thinking about you”. This isn’t everyone, and I don’t even think this is the majority of people, but I still think it is true to a certain degree.

The thing I really don’t like about gift giving is the consumerism of it all. We are bombarded with advertising every Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, end of financial year, telling us we must buy all this stuff. It is shoved down our throats and people feel entitled to receive.

Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t have stuff, our much loved things (like my books) are the things that are a part of us and make our house a home, make life comfortable and enjoyable. I just think we have too much and we want it all now. I am including myself in this category so I am not just pointing fingers here.

So when it comes to gift giving, it is very difficult as we already have it all. Kids have toys coming out their ears, we have DVD’s and CD’s as they are cheap to buy so we get them when we see them. And that is the other point in all this, everything is cheap. Which also means that a lot of things also break in five minutes.

So because we have it all, because it is so cheap that we just buy it whenever we have the impulse and also because finance is easy to get (how many credit cards do you really need? Probably none) how can we appreciate anything that is given to us as a gift because someone has thought about us and wanted to give us something that says I care?

However, despite the fact that every year I have an internal (and sometimes external) rant about Christmas, and the fact that it is often about how much we get (I think about Harry Potter here where his cousin counts how many gifts he receives and it must be more than the year before) and how I hate consumerism, and we have way too many things and all that, I still give gifts. I try not to give useless crap, try not to give anything that will break in five minutes, try not to give dust collectors and try not to give anything that is ugly (plenty of ugly things out there).

So here are some gift ideas, usually coming to me in the middle of the night,, not all are exciting but hopefully useful or wanted and not expensive. Though I must say for myself, my favourites are handmade things that are useful (or pretty like a child’s drawing) and anything I can eat or drink.


Beach towels
Colouring pencils and pencil case
Bed sheets
Sack of crap (my personal favourite, a reusable bag full of the stuff they aren’t normally allowed to eat, lollies, chips etc)
Wooden toys (not plastic, these will last longer and if you choose carefully aren’t full of toxins)
Water bottle


ITunes card
Sack of crap (this really is a big hit)
Tools (for their developing tool box, this is for boys and girls)
Gift card
Magazine subscription
Movie Voucher
Cool water bottle


Magazine subscription
Chocolates (and other yummy food)
Movie vouchers
Handmade useful things like: Crochet/Knitted dishcloths
Crochet topped towels
Coat hangers (so many people use
plastic coat hangers, Yuk)
Homemade edible goodies
Water bottle (everyone carries their own now)
Stuff for the garden – seeds, gardening gloves
Gift card

Donate to a charity on someone’s behalf, there are ones that will send out cards to let them know that you have bought them a gift of school supplies, or chooks or garden seeds or whatever you choose, which is helping people in this world who need it. This is a personal favourite of mine, let them know beforehand this is what you are doing, they may have a favourite charity.

You can always go the way of not giving gifts, but you can have a party/BBQ instead, at a park or at home (not my choice prefer these things away from home as then there is less cleaning up) and celebrate that way, with good company. Giving the gift of time instead of spending money you may not have.

There are lot of people struggling financially and we really need to think of other ways to celebrate these occasions, to not overindulge, to feel obligated to spend huge amounts of money that we may not have. We also need to be appreciative when people do give us gifts, that someone has been thinking about us and taken the time to purchase or make us a gift.

We live in such a throwaway society that we barely think about it when giving or receiving gifts, we just do. I would love to see us go back to homemade gifts (though a lot of people laugh at this) and small things like hankies (I love pretty hankies) or pretty stationary to write letters on (though I am an email person myself). We need to think about these things more, be mindful of our gifts, giving and receiving, not mindless.