Tuesday, May 31, 2011

RIP Dave

Just a quick post to say that Dave the Rooster died this morning.

He was a sweety pie and gorgeous to look at. Was a big shock when I went up to the pen this morning, everyone else seems to be fine, wonder how this affects the flock? There is nothing obvious about how he died, though some specualation between myself and my partner in crime and life. He has been buried down near the creek garden.

I am quite sad and will miss him.

RIP Dave.

Friday, May 27, 2011

To Microwave Or To Not Microwave

Our microwave blew up about six or eight weeks ago and we now have the dilemma of wether to replace it or not. Personally, I have not missed it but our number one and only son has, mainly as he likes to reheat leftovers.

So I am sort of going backwards and forwards between yes we should, and no we shouldn’t replace it. I just can’t seem to justify buying one for a few reasons. I can think of other things to spend my money on for starters, and I am in the middle of reading Depletion and Abundance by Sharon Astyk and am thinking more about the energy we are using and how to reduce our consumption. Buying another microwave, another appliance, isn’t probably the way to go.

I do already think a lot about our energy consumption, we turn lights off when we don’t need them, most things get turned off at the wall, the oven even gets turned off at the meter box because it is inside and we don’t need the digital display on. We have solar hot water and when we do buy appliances we try and get the most efficient one we can afford, we are currently researching front loader washing machines to replace our top loader, though mainly because they use less water.

We just can’t keep on using up our resources willy nilly with no thought to the future, and I agree with Sharon Astyk that we need to find better ways to do things, to live a gentler life but not necessarily the way we are now. We are currently trying to find ways to create energy to replace the fossil fuels so we can keep on living the way we are now, but that is just not sustainable and probably not possible.

See how much plastic is in my freezer? And I don't like plastic and try not to use it but look at this.

If you think about all the things that we use, for example, oil for, it is frightening how reliant we are on it. Not just to put fuel in our vehicles, but all the plastic in our lives, take a look around your house and see how many things are made of or partly made of plastic. That is only a small part of it too, once you look into it the whole issue is just so huge, but most of us barely give it a thought.

Is this the alternative? Not convenient for everyone though.

So what is the alternative to microwaves? I know a lot of people use them all the time, but we don’t cook in ours except for rice, and rice actually cooks better on the stove top in my opinion. So we have been using the gas stove top more, which isn’t exactly using less energy but is not buying another appliance.

Our number one and only son is also learning to eat some things cold, that you don’t always have to heat stuff up. For example, cold pizza for breakfast is good, homemade of course, and custard doesn’t always have to be warm, ours is only warm after we have made it.

So I will continue to think on the microwave dilemma and by the time I have decided we probably won’t have missed it for a long time. So for now we will keep on looking for alternatives, like a hot water bottle instead of a wheat bag, using water heated on the fire and then the next day emptied onto the garden.


There is an electricity shortage in China due to their coal plants shutting down generators because of finacial problems. They are already looking at power shortages anyway, so this will make it worse, guess they are already looking for the alternatives.

I found this article an interesting read about the world population and the economy, gives you something to think about (not that we don't already have enough).

It is now widely reported that there are bugs out there that are resistant to anti-biotics and we are heading into a future where anti-biotics will be useless for us. This article is about how the use of ant-biotics being given to animals that we eat is partly to blame for this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Messenger From The Universe

Monday again and I am getting ready for the week. I only have one class this week which means I have plenty of time to do stuff at home and get it all done (in theory).

My friend Kate is turning out to be the voice in my head this year. You know how you say you are going to do things and then put them off for whatever reason, for me it is sewing and painting, and then the universe sends you a messenger. Mine is Kate, because of her I have started back into sewing and yesterday I got out my easel that my partner in crime and life made me quite a few years ago.

Kate is an artist and a writer and just tells me to get in and do it, and she is so right, you shouldn’t put things off. I always enjoyed painting even though I am not very good, enjoying something is more important than being good at it, so I am dragging everything out and am going to do it all, in between gardening and chopping wood and making bread and baked beans (my latest favourite food to cook).

Our number one and only son had a friend stay over on the weekend and they enjoyed themselves. They got out the go cart and rode it down the road and I just sing la la la if they want to tell me about any stunts they tried to do, ignorance is bliss sometimes. They also got the BBQ started over at the dam and cooked sausages and onions for lunch, food always tastes better when cooked outside.

We bought a block splitter the other day, after realising that the axe just wasn’t up to the job of splitting wood. So all the unsplitable wood got split, which is great as we were wondering how we were going to do that, and is now stacked on the pile, sort of, it fell over actually, so I will have to go and restack it in a safe way.

Amazing what you can do with the correct tools, we are gradually getting a nice collection. It is important to have tools, I have seen people who have a shed with virtually nothing in it and wouldn’t even be able to hammer a nail into anything. I think it is crazy, and I have a collection of tools which are just for the house. I have been thinking recently that I need a larger tool box as I currently only have a small tool box and a cardboard box with my stuff in it and I want one with wheels. I love the hardware store.


I have to stop reading other peoples blogs (not really) as they tend to write really good posts on food and stuff, which just makes me hungry. Blogs like Domesblissity and Taiwanxifu seem to have lots of pictures of yummy food all the time (I know, that is what people write about) and I can’t stop myself from reading them.

These are the things I love hearing about and of course now I want to do it too. Making canvas bags out of recycled material that had been used for another purpose. I love bags but not the sparkly ones but the ones I can use every day to drag my shopping home in, I have quite a few. In saying that however we still manage to have plastic bags in the house though I don’t get them, they still make it home one way or another, imagine how many I would have if I didn’t care about it. Imagine if I didn’t’ always take my canvas/reusable bags shopping and didn’t always refuse plastic, we would be inundated, even our number one and only son who is nearly 14 years old refuses plastic bags, and we still get some at home. Anyway, have a look at this article about how they are going to make canvas bags to give away after doing the largest hand painted canvas in the world.

Check out this article about this house that looks like a crop circle from the air, it is in Victoria Australia, made from local materials and I think it looks alright, they have pretty good views out their windows too.

In Pakistan, because of an energy crisis and the rising costs of electricity, they want to introduce an energy bill so that in homes and in industry they must use energy efficient appliances.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I Got Locked In The Toilet

We just can’t afford to blink as time just gets away and we can’t get it back. Hasn’t the week gone quickly? Friday is here again.

The most interesting thing to happen to me this week is not that my cucumber seeds have popped up or that we had a lovely peaceful Tai Chi class, but that I got locked in my friends’ toilet yesterday :))

I went and was having a lovely lunch with a couple a friends, sitting around the pool, and as you do from time to time, I needed to go to the toilet. So off I went, did my thing, and went to go out and the door handle came off in my hand. Put it back on tried to turn the handle and it really wasn’t working, so I was standing there in disbelief looking at the handle in my hand like someone in a comedy. What do I do? Bang on the door in the hope that someone will hear me or wait until my presence is missed? I went with the banging on the door.

Didn’t take long for my friends to hear me, but what did Kate say to me? “Why did you shut the door?” Now I know that at home that there is no point in shutting the door as we have always had dogs that come barging in and we also seem to hold many conversations while on the toilet, but at other people’s homes we tend to shut the door. So of course my answer to the questions was “Because that is what people do” or something along those lines :P

So there was much noise on the other side of the door, I was trying not to laugh because it was just too ridiculous, and we were still no closer to opening the door. There was a thought going through my mind that maybe they would call some hunky fireman trades person to get me out, but it was not to be. I asked for a screwdriver to be passed through the tiny toilet window and I undid the only screw on my side and they did something on their side and I was out.

I have done many things in my life, a few a bit embarrassing but at least I can say I have done them and now I can cross this off my bucket list and have no regrets that I have not done it :p

So back to my ordinary life. I have planted more gigantic cucumbers which have come up, I have put in more snake beans but they aren’t to be seen yet nor are the winged beans, better more in. The potatoes are come along well with this latest lot looking good.

I always plant the bottom of the spring onions I buy so that they will continue growing in my garden and I won’t have to buy them, this bunch are coming along quite well, though I won’t cut any of them just yet. The next thing for me to plant are radishes (not too many at once like I did last year) and also some more rocket.

Dave the rooster is looking very good now and he is trying so hard to crow but isn’t quite there yet. He sounds more like a broken record, however he isn’t failing in the sex department as the few eggs we are getting are fertilised (and I saw them one morning which was too much for my brain to cope with at 6.30am). He is a very sweet rooster, and he is very pretty, and I think he knows it :)

One last thing, I made baked beans for our dinner last night, so yummy, I had never made them before and I made the quick version, what a success. I had been reading how others have made them and would never go back to the tinned ones, I so agree. Our number one and only son agreed too and next time we may make the slow cooker ones but the quick ones were pretty good, and there were no extras in them like additives or flavours or colours or anything.


Apparently the world is going to end tomorrow and it even made mainstream news on the ABC, the zombies are coming. And here is the link for preparing for the zombie apocalypse as I couldn’t make it work from the ABC site.

There is a post about Nutella cup cakes at Moo said the Mama. I am thinking that our number one and only son might like these, never heard of them before but seeing as he is into Nutella at the moment why not? However none for my partner in crime and life or myself as we are still off the bad stuff like sugar (it is too hard to lose when you are getting a bit older so sacrifices have to be made) but maybe just one to see what they taste like :p

At Chicky-Bit Run she has come over to the side of, well, I am going to say good here but not implying that she wasn’t good before, regarding GM food, she watched The Future of Food. Take a look at her blog and see her thoughts regarding this, we all need to do this, including those of us who are already there, never hurts to revisit these things (as long as I don’t get nightmares).

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Planets Are Aligning

We got up early this morning to have a look at the planets aligning. Two very bright stars and two others not too far away, it is not going to happen again until about 2056 (I think) so it was worth braving the cold.

Talking about cold (and I will probably go on about it while it is cold) it was 12 degrees C inside when we got up at 5.30am, and while my partner in crime and life walked the dog I got the fire going and loaded up. So while it is still cold, the fire has taken the edge off and the kettle is boiling away for the many cups of teas I will have this morning.

We are going to be doing some work today to increase our warmth inside. We are going to do some more wood chopping (takes a lot of work to get enough wood to have a pile sitting out there) and we are going to block off our air vents in the roof that is letting out all the hot air.

The vents work well for our tropical climate (the shed/house is designed for the tropics) but for our little bit of cold weather in the middle of the year it is bad, we have enough gaps with roller doors and stuff without the vents as well. So for just a couple of months we will block them.

The dam was looking very pretty this morning with a bit of mist over the water and the sun coming up. There are some beautiful pink flowers out at the moment which make it look even better.


Some words of wisdom have been posted at Happy Family, Healthy Family that I think we should all take notice of. These are things we should really think about so we can go out and live the life we should.

I really hate (and that isn’t even a strong enough word for it) factory farming, and am yet to watch more than half an hour of Food Inc. Anyway, here is an interview with someone in the know regarding the future of factory farming.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

It's Cold Then It's Warm Then It's Cold

It looks like I am posting twice today but I am not, but kind of am. Everyone has been having trouble posting but it has now been fixed and I am posting again today, kind of :D

Seeing I can’t sew at the moment I have decided to make use of the cold weather and get into my crocheting. I actually have many projects I want to do like dishcloths, drink coasters, more blankets etc but have decided to make myself a vest. Just something to throw on when I get a little chilli, been wanting one for ages and seeing I have heaps of wool to use up now is the time.

The only thing is I hope I have enough of the same coloured wool to complete it and not have to change colours as I refuse to buy more wool. I actually am using three different colours at once to make up the thickness so if I have to change hopefully it won’t be so dramatic. I also am using a 10mm crochet needle which feels a little odd as I am not used to using such a large needle, but it makes things go quicker than usual.

After going on about how it was getting cold, it got warm, but now it is cold again. So the fire was lit up last night to keep out the chill brought about by a cold front coming through, the fire is also lit again this morning. Now I know this isn’t cold to some people but it was 13 degrees Celsius this morning, and that is cold for us.

Today I have to do some cooking as we have nothing to eat in the house, I think I will make some bread, biscuits and muffins, depending on the egg situation. Unfortunately I can’t make anything too yummy, as without a doubt, it will be unhealthy, and we are staying away from the bad stuff for a while. So I will have to search the recipes as all the good ones usually have chocolate chips in it and other such stuff.


This is a blog that I have recently added to my list from The Survival Mom Blogring and I just love the name Second Star on the Right. It looks like it will be interesting and the photography is pretty good.

I really like Scathing Weekly blog, and this post, as usual, is good. This woman can write well and hold even my interest (I am easily distracted, which according to a scientific report I read yesterday means I have a larger brain :P ). Though how she finds the time to read all these books is beyond me but she does, and her reviews are always fantastic, never thought I would find a review of a financial book interesting, but she gets me in :)

I am always looking for healthy meals that are also yummy and I think I will try out this lentil recipe at Down To Earth. I do have a few similar but the family is hard to please so will press on with the search. I think I will try this today as we are going to parent/teacher interviews this afternoon and it will be easier to have something hot to come home to rather than have to cook then.

This article at Treehugger about used car tyres being made for pots is just another example of recycling. I want one of these pots for a wood bucket for my fire :)

I Think I Should Go Back To Bed

Some days you should really just go back to bed, and it doesn’t take very long to realise it. By eight o’clock this morning the dog had ripped up my brand new sewing pattern that I had bought the other day (and we all know how expensive they are, now I have to wait until I get more pocket money to replace it), and I had burned my toast (not that I think that eating crunchy cardboard is especially nutritious but I like it under an egg, time for a review of this practice). Just waiting for the third thing, these things always come in threes if you are superstitious, just like it is bad luck to walk under ladders, not :)

Time to move on with the day and do something positive, I was going to cut out the new pattern but will now maybe do some gardening, being outside is always nice. Might take out my IPOD for some music to sing along with, it is good to sing really loud (especially knowing no-one can hear you).

My shirts turned out really well. I made up the practice shirt so I could get all the mistakes out of the way, however when I made up the good shirt I just made new ones, goes to show how long it has been since I have sewed anything. However they turned out really well and unless I point out the mistakes I don’t think that anyone will notice.

I used buttons on the practice shirt but the real shirt has what is called frog closures, though I did find that one of the five frog closures I bought was a different colour white to the others, obviously not all white is the same. So I currently have four for the shirt and when I go back into town I will get a fifth one (maybe that was my first of the three things to go wrong).

I have some more potatoes popping up in the garden, I have actually spread out the plantings so I should have a succession of potatoes. My garden planning is improving with time, lots of time.

I am able to pick our next pumpkin today with one left on the vine, I am going to have pumpkin soup for lunch. Now I have to do some extra nurturing of the pumpkin patch down at the creek so it starts to produce, I miss pumpkin when I don’t have it.

Now we are getting a reasonable amount out of the garden, I am making these things do rather than buying to make up for we are missing. I think this important so there is no wastage, using what you have and it makes you use your imagination by not having the exact ingredients for recipes (something I need lots of practice in). And besides, that is one reason why I have a big garden, so I don’t have to buy everything to feed us.


The economy is never far from my thoughts. The Australian Government is delivering its budget today and apparently we have a booming economy, what the? While on the other side of the world, things are getting worse in Greece, they just can’t seem to sort themselves out.

At the New Scientist site they have lots of good articles but this one caught my eye about fish. It is about how they are growing up fast and whether it is evolution or environment (seeing we are decimating fish stocks). From there, there are other good articles along similar lines.

The recent post at Aspiring Millionaire is a good list of how to stop spending. The best one I find is to just not go to town at all, like this week, the last time was Saturday and the next time is Thursday, can’t spend if you are not there. Check it out.

I also liked this post at Fast, Cheap and Good: Sustainability, One Choice at a Time, about differing philosophies in regards to weeds. What is a weed to one person is another person’s dinner :D

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Cold

I know it isn’t officially winter yet but it is getting cold, not so much down the mountain, but here up the mountain it is. It has been a bit fresh at night so last night for the first time this year we lit the fire and it has been relit this morning as it was 12 degrees, and need to keep it lit for a little while yet as I have to boil the kettle for a cuppa (any excuse really).

We seem to now be getting two eggs a day, at least we have for the last two days, so I have stopped buying eggs and making do with what we are getting. So there is a bit of rationing going on (love an egg for breaky) but I am sure that we will be getting more soon.

I am not sure if you realise but not all sweet potatoes are the same. There are orange ones (our favourite which we can’t seem to grow as well as the others) and there are red ones and white ones. I have planted all three, but only seem to pull out red ones. The red ones aren’t very good for roasting or boiling as they are dry, but seem to go very well mashed (with other mashed stuff like pumpkin or regular potato) or in soup (though haven’t done this yet but I bet it is good). So need to get some of those other colours growing.

A friend has lent me one of her gorgeous shirts to take a pattern from and make myself a shirt. It is has about ¾ length sleeves and toggles for buttons, it is lovely, AND she gave me some lovely material to make it out of. Thank you so much Kate :D

I have been wanting to make some clothes this year as I am having trouble finding anything that I actually like in the shops. I am now in my forties (though still feel like I am in my twenties but with the wisdom of my life experiences) and there is so much that is just SO not suitable. I am not young but I am not ninety either, so what can I wear? So this is my start as I have been procrastinating.

So am making a practice shirt to start as it has been a while since I have sewn, and I want to make sure that I can do it. I have draw out the pattern, I bought some material (a king sized doona cover) for $5 from an OP shop I was passing yesterday so if I make a mistake it doesn’t matter (much) and I may end up with a doona patterned shirt to wear in the garden.


There are is a wicked looking recipe for caramel mud cakes over at Domesblissity. Now, no yummy cakes for me as we are detoxing at the moment, which basically means no sugar and stuff for us, but I can look longingly :D

Here is a blog that I haven’t been to for a while but need to go and read. It is called Farmama, about a mother, organic farmer, wife (where does she find the time to do it all, I am guessing no TV and good time management).

This post at Peak Oil Hausfrau is about gardening in our front yards and get rid of our high maintenance lawns, I agree. Grass doesn’t do anything much except needing constant mowing and watering, instead we could replace it with edible but good looking plants and trees.

While surfing the net (as I do) I came across this site about recycled craft, lots of different projects, and though I haven’t done any of them, I like to think I will one day :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Catch Up

Well, I have had a break from blogging for two weeks and am ready to get back into it, it is good to take a break from stuff from time to time.

I now need to start to clean up the garden to plant more things, the only problem is that the things that do well, do REALLY well and take over everything. I need a plan. I have also had to start watering by hand now the wet season is over, it was nice to not have to do it and be a truly lazy gardener, to be able to eat out of the garden and not to have to actually do very much. There is more work in the dry season, guess I just can’t have it all :)

The winged beans have finally gotten beans on them and we had them in our rice last night, I saved the seeds out of the largest one. Quite nice and should grow all year.

I have picked the first paw paw grown on the property, and it is large enough that I can easily share with the chooks when it is fully ripened. The paw paws down the creek are growing like crazy and it looks like there are two male and two female, so pretty good, only need one male so may take one out.

The pigeon peas look like they are going to get peas on them soon, I noticed when I was cutting some leaves to give to the chooks. They are good food for the chooks and grow well, I just cut off the stuff sticking out to try and keep them under control, but I do need them to get peas on them so I can collect seeds for planting and giving away.

There is still only one chook laying, the smallest skinniest one, the big fat ones aren’t doing anything except eating. They just have to start soon. Dave the rooster has also started trying to crow, it is quite funny, like his voice is breaking :D


At the blog A Northern Life is a post about peak oil (yes I am still on about that) and a link to an article about how “THE AGE of cheap oil is now over – and that’s official “. If you are thinking that “hey, we haven’t run out of oil yet, what’s the fuss?” near the bottom of the article “Dr Birol said more oil reserves “might be there”, but access was not.” Anyway, check out the blog and the article.

Check out Wangara- Our Muddy blog, we went and had a brief visit and I so love mud brick houses, it was gorgeous, lovely house and lovely property. I loved just looking around it and seeing what they have done and what they will do, and my partner in crime checked out the solar panels and stuff which provides the electricity. If you haven’t caught on yet, they are off grid with their power and water and some food. Yes, they produce their own electricity, catch their own water and have a vege garden.

I am against growing genetically modified (GM) food and also the lack of labelling, however we are now growing GM food here in Australia (we have also let Monsanto get a foot in the door). If you want to know a little more, you can check it out here.