Thursday, August 24, 2023

It's here! First days with the EV


We picked up and registered our EV (Electric Vehicle) today and I have had my first drive in it! It is a Nissan Leaf. 

(For the leadup to this post, see the last one here)

There are many feelings involved!

There is the novelty of a new technology, because this is like having a mobile computer. There are displays, cameras, readouts, switches, toggles, modes -so much information at hand. It feels supportive- five camera angles to help you park, warning alarms for all sorts of things -"you wouldn't be silly enough to do that thing, would you?" kind of noises. There is a warning beep when reversing -because the car is very quiet, and people need to know you are coming. 

The first drive in any car is exciting. The first drive in an EV even more so. It is quiet -it is powerful-it is just like any car, but not like it at all. Now, I still have to figure out how to find my favourite radio station, and which of those switches turns on the aircon? 

There is relief. Did you know that we acually bought this car on the internet

As a result of Australia's geographical size and stupid car policies which do not promote electric vehicles at anything like the rate we need to decarbonise our future, there is almost no second hand market for EVs, and new ones are hugely expensive and have a wait list. We found the Good Car Company could import vehicles from Japan, second hand, at reasonable prices. We bought and paid for the car weeks before it arrived in Perth, as it had to be trucked across the Nullabor, and then we had to register it in this state. I must say, all the way along that the Good Car Company has been very helpful and supportive. There were moments of doubt however, and the relief is real. 

There is satisfaction. DH went to put a few $$ worth of fuel in the ICE vehicle we are selling, and had great delight in saying "This is the last fossil fuel I ever buy!" For me, this is the culmination of a dream more than 5 years old, to say goodbye to fossil fuels and drive a clean green car. We sold our ICE car! 

There is excitement.

Friends and family are very interested in the new vehicle because, unlike countries overseas, EVs are relatively rare in Australia and most have never seen anyone who fairly ordinary, like us, with one. We are fielding many quesions and enquiries, which is great. The more the merrier! 

But what about RANGE ANXIETY?

Well, yes, it is a thing for new EV drivers to be constantly aware of the approximate number of kms left in the battery before recharging, because, unlike ICE  (Internal Combustion Energy) cars, we can't fill up on every corner at the fossil fuel petrol station. 

We are learning to drive in such a way as to enable as much recharging of the battery as possible. This is due to regenerative braking. As you slow the speed of an electric vehicle, regenerative braking engages the motion of the wheels to act as a sort of crankshaft, sending energy to the motor via rotation of the motor shaftThe Nissan has several driving modes to promote this regeneration, one exiting one is a 'one pedal drive' in which you don't use the brakes at all!!!

This means that, unlike an ICE vehicle, the car can top itself up a little instead of just running down the fuel/charge gauge. For example, yesterday afternoon we travelled about 18 km in city driving, but when we the car dash suggested we had used up only about 11 km of range. 

Our own Power Station

It took a few days before we could perform our first recharge at home -because of course, the battery needs to have some capacity used up first, so that we can, actually, have room for more charge! This was a new skill-but it was very easy to do. DH was greatly relieved that the set up we installed a month or so ago, actually works with this car. I was relieved to know that we can power up the car at home, easily and whenever we need to.  

Charging an EV takes some time, compared to the 10 minute approximate filling up with a fossil fuel in an ICE vehicle. 

If we stop at a public EV charger, we can do a rapid charge which may take up to 30 minutes. Too slow? But it will cost about one third of the price of the fossil fuel! 

If we charge up at home on a medium speed it will take about 5 hours or so, but as the car sits outside for many hours per week, it is hardly a big problem. We will be strategic about charging up where possible when our solar panels are pumping the most electricity, and when the household is relatively powered down. For example, we wash clothes in the morning so the car is going to be cheapest if we wait until the afternoon. I will be keeping track of our use, and comparing the price on our power bills. 

Our first charge took about 4 hours, at home, while we were eating dinner and reading books. We had planned to do it earlier in the afternoon with the sun shining on the solar panels, but we had to get a grandchild from school who was unwell, so we did it in the evening fron the grid. We calculate that would cost about $10.

In Australia,  a car is typically parked at home 80% of the time according to statistics here. 

The car has a nice roomy boot, deeper than normal because it doesn't have a spare wheel. What it does have is one of those repair kits for a puncture which squirt some kind of jell into the tyre. You then go to a shop and buy a new tyre! 

So, now we are driving emissions free. Australia needs to do this quickly to meet our emissions target. I hope this experience of ours will give confidence to others to consider an EV the next time they need to change vehicles. 


Monday, July 24, 2023

Waiting for the EV! Changing our minds


For those following along, it is not news that the climate is seriously overheated and we have to decarbonise immediately. Every tonne of C02 we save is worth it. Read about it here  but it is not hopeless, eg read about it in NZ -here

We have wanted an electric vehicle for a long time but they are expensive in Australia, so much so that when we bought our last vehicle 6 years ago, we could not make the numbers work even though I factored in  years of savings of buying petrol into the purchase price. EVs are expensive in Australia. 

There is a lot of anxiety about owning an electric vehicle in Australia, judging by the comments we see online and get from people in our community. Unlike places in Europe, the numbers are small, the distances are large and the distribution of public EV chargers is patchy. 

I read Saul Griffith's book "The Big Switch Australia's electric future". Read a summary here 

"Climate change is a planetary emergency. We have to do something now-but what? Saul Griffith has a plan. In Electrify, Griffith lays out a detailed blueprint-optimistic but feasible-for fighting climate change while creating millions of new jobs and a healthier environment. Griffith's plan can be summed up simply: electrify everything. He explains exactly what it would take to transform our infrastructure, update our grid, and adapt our households to make this possible. Billionaires may contemplate escaping our worn-out planet on a private rocket ship to Mars, but the rest of us, Griffith says, will stay and fight for the future.

"Griffith, an engineer and inventor, calls for grid neutrality, ensuring that households, businesses, and utilities operate as equals; we will have to rewrite regulations that were created for a fossil-fueled world, mobilize industry as we did in World War II, and offer low-interest "climate loans." Griffith's plan doesn't rely on big, not-yet-invented innovations, but on thousands of little inventions and cost reductions. We can still have our cars and our houses-but the cars will be electric and solar panels will cover our roofs. For a world trying to bounce back from a pandemic and economic crisis, there is no other project that would create as many jobs-up to twenty-five million, according to one economic analysis. Is this politically possible? We can change politics along with everything else".

What happened next?

When we noticed that there was a company started up in Australia with the purpose of improving the uptake of EVs by importing second hand models from Japan, we were intrigued. As it says on their website: 

"It's as simple as changing our habits and showing a desire to adopt new ways of being.

We have the power to write our own stories and create the future we want. We can mobilise as individuals and communities to steer the market and policies towards a clean transport and energy future.

The ripple effect can create powerful change well beyond our borders as people realise that there is a cleaner better way of doing things. As we all know, stories are powerful, and an idea worth spreading can change the world". Read more here

Was this the opportunity we needed to get an EV? We had saved for our next vehicle, but not enough to buy a car with a 400 km battery range, but we could afford a car with a 200km + range. We thought about it when we drove to Bunbury, a town 175 km south of Perth. If we needed to charge the vehicle on the way, we would have to turn off the Bussell highway into Mandurah, which would be a bit of a diversion, but there are rechargers in Bunbury. A car with a 200km battery range would get there and when charged again, could get back as EVs regenerate some power in stop/start driving. What about other places? Not to Albany -not enough chargers on route, we think for a car with that smaller range. This may change in the future- as more people own electic vehicles there will be more chargers. 

For everyday use, however,  a smaller range vehicle would be fine for our use. As we are retired, we often have days when the car goes nowhere, sitting in the driveway all day, or we go to visit friends or go to the shops, very short drives between 5 km and 80km. 

We also have a small solar panel array, which even though small, means we sell to the grid about as much electricity as we use in the house. We can use the excess production for at least 9 months of the year in recharging the car for less than 2c per Kilowat hour, which is what the electricity company buys it from us for. Perth has an average of 8-9 sunshine hours per day (source BOM here ). This means there is a huge amount of take up of solar energy on rooftops. 

This is where the real change of minds came in! 

We simply decided to purchase an  EV with a 200km range, and to save up for a hire car when we want to go on holiday to Albany! After all, we already budget for rental accommodation! If we really want to, we can go down on the free Seniors card bus, and rent from an Albany supplier. 

The car is a Nissan Leaf 2018 with 65,000 km and a battery of 85%. 

What preparations have we made? 

1. We sold the trailer, as the new car won't have a tow bar. This raised some cash towards the second step. It is OK because we can always hire a ute if we need one, to move something or just pay for delivery. This is part of the change of mind that is required-instead of storing a trailer for the 3 or 4 times per year we need it, and paying for its upkeep and registration fee, we hire something as and when we need it. 

2. We have installed an EV charger to our house. 

3. We have been reading and watching videos about how to own, drive, and recharge the vehicle. It is a change of habit, and a change of technology. Many acronyms to learn! 

4. We have a buyer for our ICE vehicle (internal combusion engine -smelly, inefficient and climate damaging). 

5. We are waiting! 

The vehicle is going to be shipped from Melbourne on the back of a truck, then go through registration in Western Australia. The delivery date is still a few weeks away. We will let you know when it arrives and how we find it! 

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Makuru -winter in the South West of Western Australia 2023


We had a lovely week away in Kinjarling/Albany at the time of our 47th Wedding Anniversary. Strangely, it was still and warm and sunny, and everywhere was the most amazing blue. I have a strong emotional connection to this coastline and love returning to it year by year. DH's family lived here at one time, and the first thing we did as a couple was visit this coast.

Since getting home, I have been working on a series of reversible gift bags -one side Christmas fabric, one side generic. I have made 5 so far. I need eight, but it is getting harder to keep going now it is a bit repetitive. The idea is that we no longer will need to throw out shiny paper which is hard to recycle. 

The garden is responding to the seasons. This poinsettia is huge, even though I cut it back hard last year. I think it grows  up to get the maximum amount of light.

We have harvested the limes, which we juiced and froze.For the first time I experimented with freezing juice in glass jars and it worked out well. We did some flash freezing of slices for drinks too. 

 We are eating tangelos and grapefruit. The myer lemon has only a small crop this year, after I cut it back hard to reduce the spread of citrus gall wasp. I will be giving away grapefruit very soon -the crop is very heavy. 

The rains held off for quite a while, but last week we copped a bucketting. It was a bit disappointing to see how badly the gutters fared, seeing as we had them cleaned only a couple of weeks ago. I have actually been using some water from the smaller water tank on the garden, although it absolutely does not need it, just to create a space for the next rain events which are expected this week.

We are all sick! After 3 and a half years, we are sick with COVID. DH was eligible for the antivirals, and I am pleased to say he is doing quite well 4 days in. DD is crook too, and I tested positive on Saturday this week.  We have been taking advantage of the extensive selection of food in our freezer, pantry and larder as none of us find much energy for elaborate cooking. This is one of the real benefits of the simple living lifestyle- the preparation we did months ago and now being appreciated. Stock in the freezer, left overs saved for another meal, rice of all kinds- I rarely run out of something without having a back up somewhere. 

While I am sick, I have been reading books and here are some I recommend:

This is a fascinating book about indigenous astronomy. Easy to understand for a person like me without a lot of science background. 

This is not a cookbook but a rationale about why it is better to go slowly in our food habits -cook well not just to save money but to provide nutrition and flavour boost our health. I really liked it. If you can find them in your library I reckon you might enjoy them. 

Well that is about it for today. Thanks for reading

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

BUY these things at an op shop! They are useful, hard working and durable*

 I was browsing in one of those kitchen tool type shops recently. They have lovely things, and I had 20 minutes whilst waiting for my husband. What shocked me, though, was the price of things I have at home which I got at op shops and have loved and used for years.

In each case, buying them from the op shop extends their useful life, saving them from landfill. (However, only buy them if you can actually use them. The Op Shop Goddess likes people who are considerate of others!

1. Wooden salad bowls, plates and boards

We buy wooden salad bowls and use them a lot around here. Mind you, some of them looked pretty drab in the shop as no-one had cared for the wood for years. That large teak salad bowl was desert dry and had tuned almost blond in colour. We brought it home and gave it a wash, then layers of lovely food safe Orange Oil (an Australian product and I don't have any links to the company- substitute whatever food safe product you can find) were applied and this is how it came up. I wash it in soapy water, dry it and use it over and over, but about once a year, I slick the orange oil over it and take care of it.

Sometimes we have found a nice handmade bowl -but someone has put plastic estapol on it. DH sands it back and then gives it the orange oil treatment. 

Salad bowls are of course, just a bowl which can hold all sorts of useful things. Many foods are most flavourful when at room temperature: tomatoes ripen slowly on the bench on a cute raised bowl . If I had chickens I could put eggs in them. 

Scones look lovely on a table when served in a wooden bowl with a linen napkin lining. Bread is  a natural on a wooden platter or shallow bowl or a wooden chopping board. 

There is nothing to stop us using wooden bowls for mixing bread or cake batter and other things in -I must confess I never have, but once upon a time wooden mixing bowls were standard in kitchens. 

Wooden chopping boards and cheese boards can take a bit more of a sanding back, because they are flat and thicker -DH gives ours a turn in the workshop if they need it. to freshen up the surface before treating with the food safe oil again. 

Oh, just so you know -wooden salad bowls were $70 or more in the kitchen equipment shop! 

2. Serviettes or Napkins

I have a lovely range of wash and wear table napkins which we use a lot. No need to have single use or disposable  ones. These are generously sized, easy to use and easy to wash-honestly, I don't worry if they are used for greasy fingers or to wipe tomato spills-after all, they cost only cents. I can't remember any of them staining that badly though. I have a couple of sets of colours to go with my table settings. You can shove them in the picnic basket and not worry. 

These are cotton and synthetic blends mostly, which is why they are pretty indestructable.  I would rather use all natural fabrics, except in this situation where the fabric already exists, and is practically bombproof. 

3. Table cloths

I have a couple of table cloths which fit my table and were bought at op shops for tiny amounts of money. They make it look like I made an effort, and are so easy -just wash and fold. Recently I borrowed a book from the library about how to emulate French Country style -and guess what? Table cloths were recommended! If you have ones that don't need ironing, or find them at the op shop for a few dollars, why not put them out and enjoy them?  

4. Tea towels

Many opshops have souvenir type teatowels which are made of linen, and will cost very little! I buy them and wash the shiny sizing off, and use them in the kitchen. Have enough to change them every day! 

5. Glass storage jars

I store my food in glass in the pantry and in the fridge whereever possible.  Glass jars are expensive to buy new, but cheap in op shops. They can be refreshed in the dishwasher and come up nicely. If you need lids they can often be found online. Here is an Australian supplier. 

Yes, I do freeze food in glass jars! So long as you leave a 'headspace' for the food to expand as it freezes you will be fine.

If you are lucky enough to have one of those bulk dry goods stores near you, you can fill up your glass jars with all sorts of spices and flours and bypass the plastic bags in the supermarket entirely. 

6. Baskets

Baskets are the MVPs of my house. 

 I have dedicated baskets for my library books, so I can keep them safe by my favourite chair, and then pick them up and go the library when it is time for a renewal.

Decent baskets with useful handles and a fair capacity can be picnic baskets, shopping baskets, harvest baskets, fruit baskets, there are so many uses.

Those little flat bamboo baskets are great for drying herbs 

The lovely thing about baskets is the way they feel -sort of old fashioned and they swing as you walk.

One of mine needed a bit of a repair when I got it -the edge was a bit broken and likely to catch on things. I wrapped some string around it and now it is fine. I believe in making things last -no need to hide a repair, enjoy it. 

And, of course, there is always a creative use for baskets.

7. Kitchen tools 

I have a number of kitchen tools that I picked up at Op Shops. I like things like tongs, strainers and double boilers that will fit a number of saucepan sizes. The good thing is that if they don't work, you can easily return them and let someone else have them. 


You can also barter these things for a jar of your home made pickles, or get them for free from a local share/swap site, or find them in garage sales. Whatever, if you use them they are not in landfill. 

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Djeran - Seasonal changes, and a catch up


It has been pretty obvious that we have slid towards Djeran -the local Noongar season which we would think of as Autumn. Nights are getting cooler -down to around 18C, and we have had one significant rain event. When you have a summer drought as long as we have each year, the first decent rains are very welcome. As soon as the dust is washed off the leaves, and the ground softens with moisture, all sorts of plants emerge from their summer half-hibernation and begin to get leaves growing. My water tanks were pretty low, but the 1500 litre was full after a night of rain, and the 3000 litre is about three quarters full. 

The shade sails and other shade structures are coming down, as I work my way around the garden. 

I have been harvesting limes, quinces and pomegranates. There is a pot of quinces on the stove right now, slowly turning pink and perfuming the house with fragrance. Our newish apple tree has tiny apples on it.

There is a lot of basil, which means that we are making batches of pesto and freezing them for later use.

Autumn is a time for sowing seeds and taking cuttings. I am watching with interest my experiments with duranta and curry leaf tree cuttings, and have sown calendulas for the bees. 


Inspired by the podcast "Eat drink  cheap, I have been getting used to making sausages, using the fancy attachments I got for my Kenwood Chef for Christmas. This time I had sausage casings, so that took the process up a notch or two. 


Dora has returned to her favourite spot on the table in front of the window in my sewing room. It is too hot here in the summer, but with the cooler weather she likes to watch the birds come to the bird bath in the garden. She is still holding her own as a teenage cat, with the help of a bit of vetinary medicine. One day I was delegated with the task of taking her for a checkup. Somehow she must have picked up a vibe, because when I needed to load her into the cat carrier, we found her hiding in the depths of an inaccessible part of the storage cabinet under DD's bed, and would not come out. DH has more success at this than I do, so he took her a week later, after we barracaded her into a room with fewer hiding spaces. 


While the weather holds, I have used the outdoor table to pin two quilts together. This one was made with scrap fabric printed with all kinds of music motifs. It is now pinned together and waiting for me to start the free motion quilting on it.

The other is a scrappy which I have now given to the WAQA Community Quilts group for donation to refuges and such facilities. I am grateful for this "potato chip block" design -it was so easy that the quilt came together really easily. I cut up a lot of scraps from previous projects into either 2.5 inch squares, which I will use later, or these 2.5 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles. The tidiness of the quilting room is an added bonus. 

DH and I had a lovely day travelling to Harvey in the south west, about an hour and a half from here, to attend the Quilt and Craft show this month. As usual, the quilts were very fine -here is just one example. We love to have lunch in a country cafe where they still remember how to make a decent salad sandwich with all the fillings, and then go and enjoy the craft show for a gold coin donation entry fee. 

The label below tells us who made it and how. 


I have added a new-to-me sewing machine to the fleet of vintage sewing machines. Read about it here.
Vintage sewing machines are repairable and serviceable by ordinary people -there are no computer mother boards to fail. I love the sound of them and the feel of them when I sew. The extra bonus is the feeling of empowerment when I solve minor technical problems with a pair of tweezers, a drop of oil or a minor cleaning. 


Well  I think we have bragging rights on this one, for sure. This month, we had a wonderful afternoon with the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, when they played our son Ben's composition Karinup fanfare. Listen here  

This blog is my record of our simple life -but it is so nice if others visit it too.Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Bunuru - a celebration of many things!

It has been a succession of celebrations around here since my last post. Our son and daughter in law graduated with master's degrees in teaching from ECU and our daughter graduated with a Grad Dip in Information and Library Studies from Curtin. These were very happy moments of recognition of a lot of hard work and it was lovely to be able to celebrate together.
I love graduation ceremonies. Each person who crosses the stage has a whole story of struggle and achievement. The whole thing is full of hope in a way that is not often found. 

Our youngest grandson needs a pick up and delivery to a group event on a Thursday afternoons every fortnight. This gives DH and me a chance to spend some hours in the vicinity of the beautiful Swan Valley. We love this little cottage cafe in the middle of the vines, and take time to sit under the fig tree and enjoy our afternoon together. There are great plant nurseries nearby, and on-farm produce sales, and lots of wineries. We will be trying to make the most of our fortnightly visits out this way this year. 

I was very happy to get back to the West Australian Quilting Association monthly meeting after nearly a year. The whole thing is very inspirational. Here is the display of quilts donated to the Community Quilt group for donation to hospices, shelters and other needs in the community. I have now started my annual quilt for this group. 

This is the beginning of the donation quilt -potato chip blocks from a whole bundle of scraps that I cut up into 2.5 inch x 4.5 inches and have started sewing together. I am really enjoying the project and it is good to get my 'sewjo' back. 

I enjoy borrowing cookbooks from the library. Sometimes I make a recipe from them, sometimes I actually go out and buy the whole book! One such book I recently bought and will heartily recommend is the book Use It All The Cornersmith guide to a more sustainable kitchen.  (no affiliate link). 

Of course, sometimes it is just a matter of revisiting cookbooks I own, and trying something new. We have a small group of friends which meets on Friday nights where possible, to eat together. We each bring a course, and that way it makes it easier for the host. These brownies (without the hibiscus leaves!) were well received. The book is Annabelle crabb and Wendy Sharpe's book "Special Guest -recipes for the happily imperfect host". (no affiliate link). 

My DH painted my sewing room door and installed the perfect sign! For a quilter who loves vintage sewing machines it is a wonderful thing and it gives me joy. I have a whole page on this blog about my machines here

Giving me joy is the health of the indoor plants I am gradually collecting around here. While summer sees some of my garden under stress outside, and I am battling pests and fungus and rats (grr!) I find that it is important to allow the season to be what it  is, and to sometimes retreat indoors and just read books! I trust you are also finding moments of joy and celebration in your life. Maybe leave a comment and let me know? 


Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year, old me, same slow living

 Welcome to my first blog post of the New Year and thanks for visiting.

One of the things which happens at the end of the year is that we have lots of birthdays to celebrate, including mine. I always start the year officially older. Our celebrations of Christmas and New Year always spread over several days, to try to give the birthday girls a moment in the sunshine too. We had lunch with friends and lunch with the adults of the family, and a picnic afternoon tea in the park with the grandchildren, just for birthday celebrations. 

Did you give and receive presents recently? One of the things now residing in my house is a new attachment for my Kenwood Chef- it is a food grinder. 

The reason this grinder was on the Christmas Wish list is that I was interested to go further with my experiments in building skills for slow food, slow living. The questions was, would it be cheaper to make my own mince and sausages?  The 2.3 kg pork shoulder I bought was $20. Pork sausages are about $8-9 per 450g this week so making my own would save about half the money of buying 2.2 kg of sausages. (I am using for this example good quality sausages, not the cheap 'goodness knows what is in them' kind). 

I tried it for the first time this week, making a boneless shoulder of pork into mince. I then made meatballs with some of it to serve with pasta and tomato sauce, and froze the rest. I have some sausage casings on order -it will be interesting to see if I can manage the process of actually filling the cases and making sausages. I am also looking into what else I can make with this attachment. The process, though slow-ish, was enjoyable and I will certainly go further with it. 

I already have established several old timey sorts of habits and skills - I can make a pretty good sourdough loaf, most of my cakes turn out fine from scratch, I am now a regular pastry maker so pies and flans are often eaten here. My husband makes yoghurt and jams and chutney. There are pickled onions and pickled vegetables in the fridge for summer salads, which we made ourselves.

Of course we also try to grow food in our suburban garden, and whilst there are some successes -the blueberries have been fabulous-there are also failures. No strawberry has ever made it to ripeness in my garden without some pest eating it before I did! After several years, the mulberry is now producing decent fruit, and the rhubarb we pick is now both chunky and red. 

Summer is well established now. The rains have gone, my water tanks are half full, and the irrigation is the focus of our garden survival. DH thinks we need a new solanoid thingo  and a new controller for it. Shade has been spread around to help everything cope.

DH is a partner in the old fashioned skills, with his fabulous set of tools in the shed. Today he is working on my sewing room door, repainting it after sanding and making it nice again. I have a new sign to go on it when it is done. 

The grandchildren have a swing set in their garden, and one of the components that they loved was a stand-on swing. On Christmas Day it broke, so we brought it home and DH made a new piece for it out of wood, and sealed it. It was a bit tricky due to the ropes involved, which he did not want to undo, but he worked out a design which enabled the new wood to be inserted without undoing the ropes at all. 

The thing about this kind of slow living that many people comment upon is that it seems like a lot of work, and that they don't have time. Yes it is work but my feeling is that the work is the kind that gives deep satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. How else should we fill our days, except with the stuff of being independent and resourceful and practical, about the things which go to a good life without consuming more of the earth's resources than we need or can afford? Now that we are retired, of course we have more time to devote to these things. It would be hard to live like this  in the conduct of a full time job and with young children, unless something were to change -if you could afford a part time job, for example, or if finally the kids were in school all week. 

Finally some resources for you:

Jill WInger the Prairie Homestead -