Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Living a Mindful Life

When we first started talking about living on some acreage and growing our own fruit and vegetable and having animals, spinning, weaving, sewing, cooking, chopping wood and all those things that came with the fantasy, it seemed easy. Live a simple life eating wholesome food which is grown just out the back door while wearing our homespun and sewn clothing. Nothing like a reality check.

Over the years I have done macramé, spinning, sewing, gardening, pottery, painting, preserving, bread making, crochet and knitting. My partner in crime and life has done leatherwork, knots, fixing machines, repairing and inventing stuff like the golf ball washing machine (wish I could find the photo of that one).

We live with very little chemicals in our lives and have for many years, either making our own cleaning products and skin “keeping me young looking “stuff, or being very careful of what I buy, and I take ages to do the grocery shopping as I look at all the ingredients. And of course I mostly cook from scratch using the basics.

In real life this is hard work and saying it is the simple life is too “simple”, I prefer to think of it as a “mindful” life. Though, if you take out the chemicals and plastics and mind frying TV, it is a simple life, a quieter one. I like to live life mindfully, being careful of how I tread on our planet and how my actions will affect others. It is less complicated and more honest to live this way, but a lot harder sometimes.

We would like to do it all; I would like to manage my time better so I can do it all. In reality though, I spend too much time on the computer, (I follow so many blogs it takes me some time so keep up with all the interesting people and points of view there is out) dawdle around the garden and waste time enjoying the personalities and interactions of the chooks, talking about chooks and thinking about how funny and entertaining the chooks are.

Actually, there is nothing wrong with all that, slowing down and smelling the roses along the way is part of life, or should be if it isn’t. Being creative and living the best life you can is important, not just earning money and having a full schedule that you don’t have time to sit down and read a good book (Dr Seuss is always a good read).

I believe it is important to be aware of what is happening in the world, locally and globally. You don’t need to be obsessive about it but you don’t need to be ignorant either, you become small minded and self centred, and that is not good.

We try and live a mindful life that is basic, as few chemicals as possible, good food that is locally grown or grown just out the door. We are aware of what is going on in the world, just up the road, in our own country and in others, so we are informed, we are a part of the world after all. We mind our own business and like our privacy, like the idea of self sufficiency even though the reality of it is much harder than the dream.

Living a mindful life is hard, try not bring home a single plastic bag, we take our own bags everywhere ,and use them, but plastic bags still end up in the house. Thinking about what you are doing and what impact you are having gets tiring sometimes, you don’t always have energy or the inclination to garden or dig a hole to put those posts in.

We do the best we can while being informed but not obsessed nor ignorant, being a part of the world and being private but still getting out and being involved. We try to tread lightly in the way we live and I am working on not feeling guilty if it doesn’t always work out. Using the information we have and can find, to make the best decisions we can with that information, and not worrying about the rest.

So I wish everyone a mindful life, a simple life, even though it is hard work it is less complicated and where we are able to still our minds for a minute or so. I wish everyone a full life which is filled with homemade food and clothing and crafts and simple enjoyments like time spent together, having a cuppa with a friend or enjoying the company of women (or men) who are talented, funny, creative and just a little naughty, but not hours spent in front of the TV or gossiping and interfering in other people’s lives.

Now I have that out of my system, it is time to probably have a cuppa, make a chocolate cake and a banana cake, and do some more crocheting on the blanket I am making for our number one and only son. I am just making up all these traditional granny squares to use up the pile of wool I have before I accidentally buy some more.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Extending The Chook Pen

Today my partner in crime and life are off to buy some poles so we can start extending the chook pen. What seemed large at the time is no longer with sixteen chooks in it and if we can’t let them out till later in the day it needs to be bigger.

We also need to separate the roosters. The three young roosters are starting to become a bit of a problem, not huge yet but we are walking down that road. We would like a second flock with one of those roosters and we will have to eat the other two, and that is not a road I want to walk down as I am a big girl :)

We also want to build yet another small pen in case we need to separate any sick chooks, also a spare one in case we are given any chooks, it comes up from time to time that there are homeless chooks, so we want to be ready.

The bananas are coming along really well and we are so looking forward to eating them. Once we have eaten them we will cut down that plant, leave the largest suckers there and take out the smaller suckers and plant them down the creek. It would be nice to have lots of bananas, love bananas, banana cake, banana smoothies, banana pancakes with ice cream and golden syrup. We definitely need a good banana supply.

This week we have finally planted our dragon fruit in the ground. We got the plants from a friend’s parent’s property and just planted them in pots, not realising how quickly they grew. So we were getting a little desperate to get them in the ground. So there is lovely red dragon fruit in our future.

Our number one and only son has signed up for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and is really looking forward to it. They do volunteering, and sports and bushwalking and not really sure about the rest as we don’t have all the details but it is a great program. So this year he will achieve, assuming he completes all his things, the Bronze Award, and Silver and Gold in the following two years. Just a fantastic program for teenagers.

The other thing he will be doing this year is going on a five day sailing trip, also organised through his school. He will be going with about twenty other Year 10 students and will be an amazing experience which we really really wanted him to go on. He so looking forward to this also, they have to work on the boat and they learn about sailing.

So, our number one and only son will have a huge learning curve this year with all these things he will be doing. They will teach him some life skills, responsibility (though he is pretty good in this area) work ethic, team work and he will have a lot of fun. We are so glad he has these opportunities, more life experiences that help hi m on the road to becoming a man.

Friday, February 17, 2012


We are actually getting some rain here which is good, been ten days since our last rain and the garden has been surviving on dew (we still haven’t replaced the bore pump yet). It is not wet season rain but still rain.

I think our computer/internet problems are sorted now (I think) though some pictures aren’t coming up but at least I can read the news each morning. Don’t know how people can go about their day ignorant of what is going on in the world, locally or globally, each to their own I suppose.

I had an achievement this week in that I climbed five metres up a rope. My foot is now very sore with a bruise and a bit of skin off but it was worth it. I go to a fitness class at least once a week at a gymnastics club (twice when they have it on) and at the same time there is teenagers group on that our number one and only son does.

The adult’s class is very full on, lots of fitnessy stuff push ups, sit ups, bit of running, strength and flexibility stuff, the usual. We also use the gymnastics equipment, as in the bars, trampolines, beam and rope (for climbing up), we also do handstands, cartwheels, rolls etc as well. I find it an interesting class and well rounded, I can still do a mean cartwheel even though I am 43 years old :)

The teenagers mostly do their own thing, so they are flipping over mats and on trampolines, shimmying up the ropes, lots of flipping and leaping around, they love and it works well for them. Doing lots of fun things, trying new things on the equipment, socialising but with a very loose structure under supervision but the freedom to do what they want, it is popular and there is never any trouble, all behave.

It is important to keep fit though sometimes it seems that it is being pushed for an all or nothing scenario, you can go the middle road. People tend to go all out and then burn out, or do nothing at all, not everyone but you do see it a lot. We also have to have the time for fitness stuff but we also have to realise that even doing a little is good, small amounts regularly, and some things don’t look like fitness stuff but are.

I can only do fitness stuff if it interesting otherwise I stop real quick. We have done BMX racing, we have kayaks (which don’t come out often enough), my partner in crime and life plays squash with me as often as we can. All the things we do on our property contribute to our fitness, even if in small way, just getting out and moving.

Thing is, you don’t have to keeping fit so you can run marathons or to climb mountains or to survive the end of the world as we know it, though keeping fit for those things is good too, I do want to climb mountains.

You need to be fit for everyday situations, the car breaks down and you need to walk to get help (some out of town areas have no mobile phone reception), you need to be able to get your place ready for cyclones, roping things down, moving things under cover, pushing trailers and boats to better protected spots (I know, that is our thing but you get the point), the power goes out in the shopping centre and you have to walk down the stairs, or you need to be able to quickly take a step backwards as car comes too close to the kerb you are standing on. Every day situations but some people can’t walk the distance.

I try not to feel too guilty when I hear about people who go to three or four fitness classes a week (actually, I don’t know where they find the time or funds) plus they walk for an hour a day and play a sport. It is not for us all, but we have to keep up some sort of fitness level just to get ourselves out of an everyday situation at least.

So I do this fitness class once or twice a week, play squash (was once a week and now it is once a fortnight), Tai Chi, gardening, walking all over our five acre block (it adds up when you constantly walk to the chook pen and down to the creek) and of course the extras that happen every now and again. Those things include kayaking and bushwalking, using my step machine and mini tramp, so it all adds up.

I really want to know that I can get out of any every day situation, that I have the strength to get the tyre off the car, that I can walk to get help (don’t forget to keep walking shoes in the car), that I can get out of the way quickly or I can just impress my friends with my rope climbing skills even if I can’t think of how that would be handy, it makes for interesting conversation.

So we all need to improve our fitness levels and it doesn’t take much. So let’s go walking down the road, gardening or whatever takes your fancy, but improve your fitness just so you can cope with everyday situations that come along.


This post at Zen Habits is particularly good I thought, and while it is about how we should teach our kids to be, they are things we need to work on too. Being compassionate, I see a lot of compassion out there but also a complete lack of too, having passion, so important, being able to solve problems and being able to ask questions (and not being made to feel stupid about it). Anyway, it is food for thought.

I have just started going to a casual art group (of very talented women)which I am enjoying very much, don’t know if I will ever post a photo of anything I do but go over to Art Finds Kate and look at hers, love it, I enjoy her blog immensely.

I love Down to Earth blog, it is a lovely blog with lovely ideas about living simply and is a pleasure to read. I have just ordered her book and am really looking forward to that arriving, it actually isn’t due out for a few more days but then it will be sent, can’t wait.

Monday, February 6, 2012


I knew that it would about a year before we got any bananas from our plants and I was only slightly off. Our two large plants are now starting to break out in bananas and it is only a matter of time before they are grown.

There are quite a few suckers on the bottom and the largest will stay there and the others I am going to plants down near the creek.

These bananas are sugar bananas and will be lovely. I once read a letter in the paper, I think, that there are so many lovely bananas out there why would you stick with the Cavendish bananas which apparently are grown for their mass production but not necessarily for flavour. Sugar bananas are certainly much nicer.

So while these are only babies right now, it won’t be long before we are eating sweet little bananas.

We are also getting paw paws, a few from the creek trees and a couple from the garden. I put in the extra trees so the spoilt chooks could also have paw paws as they love them but I am going to plant more for us. I have made paw paw chutney and there are some other recipes I want to try out as well as eating them for breakfast, so the more the merrier. Just as well they are popping up all over the place at the moment.

I have also got this little stash of potatoes. They are not very much to look at but I just throw them in the ground and they pretty much take care of themselves so I will continue. They also taste very yum, just eaten whole.

I have photos to post but am having internet problems so will post them when I am able to. We had a big wind on Saturday due to a low/cyclone (Cyclone Jasmine)passing and as our internet is currently wireless it has been hit and since. So, along with all the debris and some trees down around the place, the rain being sucked away,and our shade sail ripping, our internet has been sparodic and obviously is still playing up though is slightly better than yesterday, I think :) So I am just going to post this while I can.


Once again, all the “crazy” preppers are proven correct in that you must be prepared. Whether you stay at home or have to leave you must be ready for it. Here in Australia we are having floods (again) in Queensland and New South Wales, and in Europe they are having a very cold snap where more than 300 people have died. Emergency services are flying in basic essentials and medical supplies to people stuck in the floods, but really, don’t you think we should have more than a couple of days food and medication in the house? Besides, in the course of normal life, who really wants to keep running to the shops all the time because you have run out of vegemite, butter , flour or the essential chocolate? Not me :)