Monday, March 26, 2012

My New Washing Machine

We finally have our washing machine. I can’t believe it, after two years of talking about it and researching what is the best one for us , plus getting the best price, we actually have it. I know it seems like such a boring thing but it is something we have desperately needed seeing we are on tank water.

The front loader uses only 56 litres per wash, and the top loader used at least 120 litres per wash and I am pretty sure it was closer to 150 litres per wash. Big difference huh? I honestly don’t know why they still sell top loaders, they use way too much water.

We live in a big dry country, of course sometimes you wouldn’t know it but we do. Don’t forget the recent droughts and they were severe, towns running out of water, cities on high water restrictions and don’t forget the plight of the farmers, who are in my opinion, up there in the top five most important people in the country (probably at number one on the list).

We don’t think about water enough, especially if we live in towns and cities, as long as the water comes out of the tap that is all that matters. We don’t have to watch the dams and tanks getting lower and lower and wishing those rain clouds to form, just turn on a tap.

I know I sound like a broken record but it is really important, can you imagine turning on the tap and no water coming out. That happens to us when the power goes out as we have a water pump to pump water into the pipes and keep the pressure up. Not being about to even wash your hands or get a glass of water is a bit of a “oh my” moment.

Luckily we have a generator for these times to get the water pump going, though of course if it was a long term black out we would have to rethink our position. The other thing is our new tank out the front which has 2,500 litres of water in it and a tap on the bottom, only a small tank but it would keep us in drinking and washing water for a little while.

Anyway, back to our new machine, it is amazing how something like that can be a great source of entertainment, just watching the clothes go round through the window, seeing how little water it uses and the little amount of washing powder. We very quickly learnt our lesson with the washing powder, ours is kept in a tin box and not the original packaging so we couldn’t check (we did also look online but couldn’t find it there) so we just put in what we thought and it was too much. We actually joked about suds coming out the machine and when we checked to make sure all was good there were suds all over the floor coming out the machine. Won’t make that mistake again.

I have realised that it is going to take me a little while to cross “washing machine” of my list, it is just that it has been on there for so long it is a bit hard to stop thinking about it. It is a relief to have finally bought it, we got the one I wanted and at a good price to and now at least this year if we have a very dry winter I know that we will be doing our utmost to save water and make it last as long as possible.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rain and Rain

Our tanks are finally overflowing and the dam water has come over the banks. We have had loads of rain from a monsoon low (which luckily didn't form into a cyclone)and we are well and truly soaked.

We had enough water for boogie boarding and kayaking and no dry washing.

On Monday morning the rain gauge had overflowed so we don't actually know how much rain got but it is over 165mm. There was another 108mm this morning in the gauge and we are having a relatively dry day so far today.

They are expecting the monsoon trough to return north by the end of the week so the wet is here to stay for a little while at least.

Our number one and only son didnt' go to school yesterday as there was so much traffic on the road that people were taking four hours to do a trip that normally only takes about 25 minutes.

There was flooding on major roads and the range was blocked with landslides and fallen trees, even this morning there was a large boulder on the range and a tree blocking the road.

When my partner in crime and life went to work yesterday afternoon he was going in the opposite direction to the traffic and so had no problems, he basically had his side of the road to himself. Everyone else was going home and were all stopped, apart from everyone only having one road to go on, the road went from two lanes to one, not a good look.

As for me, I am just trying to keep up with the washing, nothing worse than lots of wet dirty washing in wet weather, been doing some cooking and hoping I don't get called down for jury duty. Only 1 1/2 weeks left of having to be available for this then I am free, YAY, then back to my regular life of not having to remember to check every day for this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rain and Chook Pens

We are getting a nice lot of light rain at the moment which is lovely, the tanks are filling (still), the front tank which is small is overflowing though. The temperature has dropped which makes it more comfortable for everyone including the chooks who aren’t going down to the creek so much but staying out a bit more in the paddocks or under the trailer to keep dry.

Everything is very green and this small tank is overflowing

I have finally finished the blanket for our number one and only son. I have been plodding along using up wool I bought on special and then didn’t really know what to do with. Just a little addicted. All I have to do tie off all the ends and then I will do a small border around it with the remaining black and purple wool, it has already been used though and considered comfortable and warm.

As you can see, there are a couple of random squares as I started to run out of wool, and I have to remember to get it off the floor or the dog thinks that is for her (like the carpet and any clean folded clothing, not that clean folded clothing is on the floor often or for long but you still have to be quick).

We have started on the extension to the chook pen, so they can have more room initially but then we will have two flocks. We have decided to keep the black chested young rooster and he will have three hens with him to start and then grow the flock just a little.

This will give the other flock more room, so instead of sixteen chooks in one pen there will only be ten, which is more than enough. The pen was only meant for six hens and a rooster and it seemed large at the time, so my advice if you are going to build a pen is to double the size of what you think it should be.

One of the three big chicks, Caramel, has started laying and we have been getting some soft shelled eggs. They are getting the hard shell covering more and more, and they are perfectly good inside. The other two big chicks, Snowbunny aka Fluffybunny and Alanamy, can’t be far behind, they all look like good layers because they are big hens.

Well, I had best get on with completing the blanket and I am going to do some cooking seeing it is a rainy day today. Think I am going to make some Dahl in the slow cooker to have with whatever we have tonight and maybe a cake, cake is good.


Monsanto is obviously the topic of conversation at the moment as I keep coming across articles about them. This one was put up on the Simple Savings Forum on a thread about GM foods, Scientists warn EPA on Monsanto corn rootworm

This next one came in with my emails, Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide found to destroy testosterone, male fertility

To finish on a happier note than Monsanto, African Aussie always posts such beautiful photos and this post is no different,gotta love all those pinks :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Come See My Books

I have been thinking a lot about my books recently, though this is not so unusual as I love, love, love my books. I have been wondering which ones were my current most favourite, which of course changes constantly depending what I am doing in my life, and what makes them a favourite.

I collect (and I say “I” as I am the book collector here and spend a lot of my pocket money on books) books that are useful to our life here and may be useful in the future. I love “how to” books, how to build a house or a bridge, how to live without chemicals, how to grow food and keep our chooks alive, how to use nature for healing and how to make things for our home (like the blanket I am crocheting for our number one and only son).

I also love books that keep me informed about what is happening in the world and to help us make decisions about the future, climate change, peak oil, global financial situation. But I also love a good adventure book, lots of sword fighting is great, or a good classic novel or one that makes you think as well as being a good read, “Brave New World” comes to mind there.

My books are roughly categorised into sections, health, living simply, gardening, cooking, arts and crafts and building type books, Tai Chi and Qigong and other martial arts, biographies, travel, Buddhism, save the world type books on subjects like climate change, peak oil, recycling and green living. We also have dictionaries and thesauruses, financial books and a good collection of Dr Seuss.

I reread my favourite fiction, especially if I am tired it is easy to visit old friends in books, it is comforting. I think my non-fictions side is larger than the fiction side, though I do have a lot of books in boxes that I would love to get out it I had the room, and I still have books from when I was growing up.

Growing up favourites included Trixie Belden, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, Anne of Green Gables, Little Women and Little Men, Swiss Family Robinson and anything horror.

Stephen King was a favourite with “Salem’s Lot” being the first of his I read, a kid I knew on our school bus had it and lent it to me and I was hooked. Favourite horror books were of course, “Salem’s Lot”, “Christine”, “Rosemary’s Baby”, “The Exorcist”, “The Omen “(all three or four books) and also a book the “House of Evil and other Strange Unsolved Mysteries”. No wonder I had a lot of nightmares, though also a great imagination.

My current favourite health book is “The Nature Doctor” by Dr H.C.A.Vogel. I picked this up recently from a second hand book store, it is a book I had been looking for, for a long time.

A book I always drag out is The Tightwad Gazette, actually “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn. This has tonnes of ideas in it for saving money and is rather a rather thick book, I usually just open up at a page and start reading, though I have been through it from start to end but I always read something new. I am waiting on the “Millionaire Next Door “so maybe that will become my favourite for a while.

My favourite cookbook is my own handwritten one with all my favourite recipes in it, but the cookbook we are using the most at the moment, that I have bought, is “The $21 Challenge” by Fiona Lippey and Jackie Gower from Simple Savings. Although, it can also be put into the financial section as it is about saving money by not spending so much on your groceries.

The art books I am currently reading are “The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards, just love, love, love this book, if the house was burning down it is one of the things I would grab (apart from every other book I own). The other art book is “The Acrylic Artists Bible” by Marylin Scott, I need this as I have forgotten everything (which is actually not very much) about acrylic painting and this book is giving me a reminder and teaching me a lot of new stuff.

Our gardening and self sufficiency books come out with regularity, “How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life?” By Isabell Shipard is the best Australian book on gardening I have come across, detailed and easy to read. I have her other two books as well “How Can I Grow and Use Sprouts as Living Food?” and “How Can I Be Prepared with Self-Sufficiency and Survival Foods?” These books have the best information and are so useful (which you can’t say about a lot of books which may only have some useful stuff) and they are Australian.

Other books which come out regularly are “Raising Chickens for Dummies”, which is self-explanatory, and “Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture” by Rosemary Morrow (though I am STILL searching for the Permaculture books by Bill Mollison but they are out of print). I SO love “The Barefoot Architect – A Handbook for Green Building” by Johan van Lengen, this is also not only easy to read and understand, but is interesting and useful.

“How Good Are You? – Clean Living in a Dirty World” by Julian Lee is a good read as it makes you think about how you shop, where your rubbish is going, water, where our food comes from and were the animals treated well. This is a good and interesting read and it is Australian. The other book which I love and I have had for years is “The Green Cleaner” by Barbara Lord. I got this book in 1992, it is still in print and it came out before all the others (I think), it was my first and best of all the environmentally cleaning books and I still use it. Still more good reads are “Affluenza” by Clive Hamilton and “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf, really, I could go on and on.

Favourite fiction includes “Oh the Places You’ll Go” by Dr Seuss as it is so inspirational, and also “Go, Dog. Go” by P.D.Eastman, as it is the first book that our number one and only son read on his own when he was four years old. “The Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S.Lewis (who doesn’t love Narnia), a book called “True to the Last” by E.Everett Green, a book given to my Pop in 1921 through his Church, maybe Sunday School. It is a very lovely and incredibly sad story and I can only read it if I don’t have cold because I always cry.

Clive Cussler is always a good read, funny, lots of impossible adventures and incredible situations, my partner in crime and life always has a bit a complain saying that is not real, that can’t happen and that would never work. Well, der, it is fiction, that is why I read it. Katherine Neville’s “The Eight” and “The Magic Circle” are also books I have read many times, I guess I would describe them as girly adventure books, but not girly, girly, maybe tomboy girly?

The fiction books I love are good friends that are never far away, I can, and do, visit them often. I go on great adventures and travel to exotic places, a lot that don't even exist anywhere but in my imagination. I get to have sword fights in bars and watch two suns rise over a strange ocean after sleeping on the ground near my horse while traveling with interesting friends.

It is interesting to realise that while I have a lot of books, there are really only a few that are completely useful. A lot of my books, this is non-fiction I am talking about, have some useful information but I am really only pulling bits and pieces out of them. The ones that are really useful, are fully useful from beginning to end and are loved, and are the sort of books that you clutch to your chest and could only be given up if they are prised out of your cold dead hands.