Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year -holiday at home

Welcome to 2009. I hope it is a good year for all of us.

We have been holidaying at home for the past two weeks.
The Acting PM was on the telly last night encouraging people to have their holidays at home this year, that is in good old Oz.

DH and I like to holiday in some favourite spots here in WA, but next year as a special treat, we will have a holiday in Melbourne.

Meantime, this past two weeks we have really been holidaying at home. That is, in our own house! Great beds, lots to read. Fine internet connection. Great company -very friendly. Good DVD collection (thanks to Santa). Close to the beach (10 minutes by car).

We have read books and lazed around. We have had the odd visit from a friendly native. We have slept in, and lolled about in our PJs. We have walked on the beach.

Dinner has been minimum effort but maximum taste and nutrition -freshly picked very often from the establishment's own garden.

Side benefit - we are here to keep the garden watered !

I count it as one of life's great blessings that I have a wonderful home that is comfortable. It makes me happy to just be here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Boxing Day at the Beach

Christmas day was wonderful, but Boxing Day has its own special charm. DH and I have a tradition of starting it off by going for a walk along Mullaloo Beach, which is only 10 minutes or so from our house.

This is a time to kick off the thongs, get your feet wet, smell the sea breeze and relax.

Boxing Day is a time for reading the books we got as gifts yesterday, for minimal housework (enough to clear a space to sit) and for afternoon naps.

We go to the beach and we always are aware of how lucky we are to live here in WA, with all of this right here and free for us to enjoy. I hope you like the pictures.

The pictures were taken with my new Agfa camera, which was my Christmas present. I need to learn all its features but I am looking forward to enjoying taking lots of pictures this year.

With a bit of luck, we intend to walk on the beach every day from now until we have to go back to work, and then we will walk every Saturday until the weather changes.

DH calls it "Mullaloo Cathedral"!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Constructive gardening!

My DH has been busy this morning creating climbing structures for the garden. This is the passion fruit vine trellis -it has to be large and sturdy as a passion fruit grows quickly to over 4 metres in spread. When grown, we won't be able to see the less than attractive fence, but instead will see lovely leaves and -hopefully-lots o fruit.

In the corner you can see a circle of wire which we are training the cucumber to grow on, and at the back of the photo, some wire to assist the tomatoes and beans. The roma tomatoes are setting fruit now and I have a very impressive Grosse Lisse also setting fruit.

Poor DH had to get into the corner where there is an old rose, which was very prickly, but such is the commitment of my garden helper, he didn't even complain! Thanks DH!

In the front of the picture you can see the Mexican tarragon, which is really liking the extra mulch and coir we used in this bed. I have just planted some curly basis and some beetroot here too.

Last year this bed was not productive, but we are hoping that improvements we have made to the soil and the watering regime will overcome these problems.

I think that my garden is showing the benefits of the experiences I had last year. I have learned the hard way about what seems to work here but I am still worried that the real hot weather has not hit us yet and the improvements we have made have not been tested under the conditions that saw an end to nearly everything I tried to grow last year.

The new raised garden has been having a makeover. The celery I planted first in this new bed, recently showed signs of being attacked by aphids and ants of course, who follow aphids.

I had planted more celery than we could use anyway, so I chose to empty the bed and instead have planted more lettuces today as that will be in most demand over the summer. I have planted a punnet of celery in other parts of the garden as an experiment.

The rainbow chard has been huge in this bed, and the strawberries and asparagus are doing well for their first year.

I have a couple of experimental cherry tomatoes in here too. I wondered if the shade would be too much but they are flowering and setting fruit.

We are now harvesting the zucchini from the wicking bed and the silverbeet of course, and the lettuce I planted some months ago. I have had one feed from the beans, but I must get more into the ground.

I get such a 'kick' from using things in my cooking that have come directly from my garden. On the menu this week will be zucchini slice and vegetarian quiche. I have a lot of herbs which I use to flavour the cooking too

The seedlings I got were from the Market stall at the Wanneroo market. I also bought some lemon basil and some sweet basil from the ladies there and they have gone into a large waterwell pot which has purple basil in it.

This gardening stuff is a huge learning curve but I am very happy to see the results I am getting.

My new books from the Good Life book club should be here this week !

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Drip irrigation

We have finished putting the drip lines in the front garden.
The idea is that we reduce the amount of water that we waste when using microsprays, which either evaporates or is blown away in the wind, and instead put the water where the plants can actually use it.
This new kind of dripper line is much superior to the old kind which used to get clogged up easily.

There is nothing DH likes more than 're-jigging the retic"! I swear it is his favourite hobby! Over the years we have had several systems, but we hope that this one will be fairly robust and easy to manage, once we bury it under the mulch. This is what it looks like now.
We are just checking how the water is going, and making sure that the plants are being watered, then it will disappear under the mulch.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting ready for Christmas

It is our tradition that, on the first day of Advent, we put up the Christmas tree. We have just spent several hectic hours doing this and what fun!

We insist that this is a family event. Christmas music playing on the CD.

DH gets the boxes from the roof. Then we unwrap and unwrap-each one greeted as if it is an old friend, and indeed some of them are very old.

The tree has a pair of baby shoes from DD and DS and we always have fun thinking of them once being THAT small! There are the ones DD made in Brownies, and the ones we made together with cookie cutters. There are the slightly munted and the very special.

Collections of angels, musical instruments, Father Christmases (no Santa here!) , stars, nativities, etc. Some of them I have made special trips to find (Rick's place in the blue mountains!) and lots were found in op shops.

There is lots of laughter and good natured ribbing -especially of me and my Christmas collection.

Taking pride of place this year my home-made Christmas Tree skirt and the Angel quilt I made recently (see earlier blogs).

Some people get stressed at Christmas, and some people are lonely and some are struggling with old hurts and new losses. I hope that they can find some joy in the simple things and the old traditions.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Makeup for gardens -and food too

We have been mulching all week.
We purchased some lovely black mulch made mostly of pine and compost, from the people at Gardeners Direct. This forms a clumping mat which nicely shades the soil, supresses weeds and conserves moisture. We call it 'makeup for gardens' because it makes a poor garden look well-cared for, and the black colour really shows off the plants that are there. Our front garden is almost recovered from the changes we have made lately.

We also bought a huge bag of lupin mulch from Gardeners Direct.
Now this is different! Loose, smells wonderful and is magic for plants. Holds lots of moisture and feeds the plants with lovely nitrogen. You can almost see the plants grow the minute you use it.
Does not last as long as the black stuff, but is great for vegetables, roses and fruit trees.

I have combined the two mulches in the veggie patch out the back -the black makes a little path to keep my feet clean when I go to tend it or to pick something, but the lupin mulch feeds the veggies. Since I put this on last week, the beans have started to flower.

We have added a cape gooseberry to the garden and a passionfruit. We are thinking of long-term fruits as well as the vegetables we have now. We have limes, lemons, grapefruit and mandarins now, but only the limes and the lemons are big enough to fruit regularly. I hope this season we will get some of the other citrus.

My tomatoes are growing and the zucchini in the wicking bed is doing well.
We are still harvesting celery and silverbeet daily. I pulled out the first lettuces of the season which were going to seed, and the new ones are just about ready to pick again.

It feels great to be providing these fresh things for the family. The other interesting effect is that there is more room in the fridge, because the food I used to keep there is now in the garden until just before I need it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Christmas Tree skirt I made!

Well, I must say I had fun doing this. I did not have a pattern (as usual) but I used what I had around pretty much.
The excitement came when my trusty sewing machine died -what a time to go on the blink!
It is now in the sewing shop for repairs, so thank goodness my lovely SIL loaned me her 35 year old Elna. This is still a lovely machine and I was so grateful to my SIL because otherwise my craft week would have ended rather abruptly.

Still 2 days of my holiday leave to go, so I might get something else done.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Christmas inspiration

I have a week on leave from work, so I am getting down to some crafty stuff for Christmas.
I find the Rick Rutherford book "Country Christmas at Wroxton" a real inspiration.

So today I am working on a Christmas Tree skirt.
Have done the applique, now it is time to tackle the quilting. Feeling a little nervous about the binding, because it will be the first circular item I have made.

I have some other ideas from Rick's book too. I am thinking of adding a Christmas stocking to my Raggedy Ann doll, with the words "I've been good!" embroidered on it.
I plan to make a couple of rustic looking choristers.

How much will I get done? That is the question, but I must say I am enjoying it very much.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Water in the garden

We have had a good soaking rain. It has really perked up the garden, which was getting dry in the early heat.
There are zucchinis in places in the garden, but the one n the wicking bed is the best, when compared to the one which is in a regular garden bed.

I have been experimenting with wicking beds because of the problems I had last year in growing things over the summer in Perth.

The Zucchini has really taken off.
I had a cherry tomato in it, which died but I planted another which is doing better.
I also have some sage which is doing well.

This week I have pumpkin seeds coming up, and the carrots are doing well.

We have just pulled out the snow peas and will get that bed ready for beans next , I think.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not perfect

Today I had a day off -no, I mean really off! No housework, nothing but craft.
This is what I did:
I finished my second quilt. I made the first one about ten years ago!

I started this last summer when I was on holiday. The whole idea is original -I had the angel fabric and wanted to make a quilt which would feature them.
Last week I decided on the backing and today I quilted it and finished it off.
There were a few problems on the way : I had not used the walking foot on my machine for so long I had forgotten how to put it on, and then it took ages to remember how to change the tension and such.

I am so glad it is done - it will be teamed up with my collection of angels when we put up our Christmas decorations. (Yes, that it another collection...but that it another story!)

The image on the right is the finished product -I need to get the right sized hanger for it.

There is something so satisfying in doing a project right through to completion. It is not perfect, but only God is perfect!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Patio time

Today we are looking forward to a sunny and warm 32 degree day. Time to brush off the patio's winter blues, and make it our summer living room again.
I love eating out here. I love having coffee out here.
I love the way the odd collection of patterns on the cushions make it homey.
I love the fact that, when I serve meals at our long table with the pew benches, we linger over the meal and chat more.
I love the fact that we live in a wonderful Mediterranean type climate, where this sort of thing is easy for much of the year.
So many things to be happy about!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Shady solutions

We used to have trees on the north of our house -palm trees and other scruffy types that kept the house cool in summer but also kept all the sun off the winter garden.

Last year the trees came out.

Now we are planning a pergola on the north side of the house with deciduous vines to shade the house in summer but let the light in, in winter. Realistically speaking, this will not be built for some time, so what to do?

One of the AussiesLivingSimply members had an idea, which sparked an idea in me.

We made blinds for the northern side out of shadecloth. I just used a staple gun (no, not the office type-bigger) to staple the fabric to battens, then my Darling Man screwed them to the wall. These will stay in place over the summer.

We are delighted with the result. We can see through the blinds from the inside, but they make the windows private from the outside. Inside the rooms, the effect is one of lots of light which seems to be bounced around the room. The room is not at all dark, like it would be with canvas blinds.

I don't know how much cooling they will do, however, as it has been raining ever since we put them up (LOL).

The same day we put up the blinds, my Darling Man put up a shade sail on the west of the house, over my new raised garden bed. We want to shade the dining room, which is our only west-facing room, and provide some protection for the veggies from the very hot overhead sun in the summer.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Today's the day

Inspired by is a day in my life. Jenny's friends do this on the 14th of every month, but I can only do this on a Sunday so here goes:

6.30 am -woke up without the alarm, which is a real luxury around here. My darling man brought breakfast -a real feast of home made muesli and home made yoghurt, with strawberries and tinned peaches. Earl Grey tea in my favourite Royal Albert china mug.

7.30 am -fresh coffee in the lounge room. I am wearing my dressing gown and ugh boots (nice and warm). Darling Son and Darling Man are off to church -I am going to stay home this morning and get some jobs done that must be done today. We chat about the subscriptions we may take up next year to live music concerts -the Australian Chamber Orchestra was delightful, in its setting in the Governor's ball room, the WA Uni music society gives great variety... can we afford the WA Symphony Orchestra too?

8.30 -try on the frock I am going to adapt for the 1920s theme party next week in honor of my neice's 21st. Try out all the jewellery too. Fun!

8.45 -notice the washing powder box is low. Make up new batch - 4 cups Lux flakes, 2 cups Borax, 2 cups washing soda. Remember my sister in law wanted the recipe, so sit down at the computer and write to her. We have been using this recipe, which is Rhonda's, for over a year. It works well. As we wash in cold water, we dissolve 2 tablespoons per wash in about 2 cups warm water. This lasts for ages, and is so much cheaper than factory made washing powders. It has almost no smell -last year on holiday I washed in factory washing powder, and for a whole week i was struck by the strong smell of the clothes. I remember my amazement when I first discovered that it was possible to wash clothes with stuff I made up at home, from the kind of ingredients our grandmothers would have used.

9.00 - have started this blog, and am in danger of being totally sidetracked. Fortunately my lovely chiming clock has reminded me of the passing of time. I must go and get started on that dress.

9.45 -time for a cuppa again. Quick clean up of the ktichen as I go -breakfast dishes have been soaking in the sink so it only takes a minute. Time to set up the sewing machine - I have cut the dress down to knee length and am adding handkerchief points to the overlay.

10.15 and I have the lights on. The rain is falling - a real blessing as we had a very dry August. I had turned off the automatic watering again a week ago, as we had started to have a few showers, but was getting worried that the ground was getting dry and hard so soon. Some good rain will make the farmer's crops come on again for the last growing spurt before harvest. That means wheat and canola for the world, as Western Australia has a large export market for both of these.

12.0o noon. the dress is ready and the headband is done ( a bit wobbly) and I am now getting my daughter to add a band to her hat. Modelled my outfit and got some good feedback from the family so that was worth it. Son and husband back from church and visiting my elderly in-laws. Lunch is being made with the sandwich toaster.

OOPS - the big wind has shredded one of our shade sails. Well, it had done several seasons, so we will just get another.

12.14 -someone recently expressed amazement about the idea of a plastic-free kitchen and declared that it was not possible to do without plastic wrap. Found this link whilst waiting for Darling Man to make me an avocado and turkey toasted sandwich.

1.00 -checking out the simple savings forum. Decided that I should go and do some cooking -make some things for lunches this week as there is not much around. We rely on 'leftovers' but the only thing in the freezer is two boxes of pumpkin soup.

Think I will do some peasant veggie soup using the turnips from the garden and the bok choy and such, and I will make a quiche for tea. Whilst using the oven I will use up some things in the pantry to make muffins etc

2.13 sitting down for a while to rest while my cake cooks. The soup had onion. potato and celery which were not grown at home. My celery is not big enough yet. I grew the turnips, the bok choy and silverbeet and the parsley -big handfuls each.

3.15 dear daughter is making me a big pot of coffee. Chocolate cake to go with it. Quiche is in the oven. That's it -my back hurts and someone else is going to have to clean the kitchen!

So - I think I will enjoy a small piece of cake and some coffee and then read for a while.

5.25 -off to our Home Church group.

7.30 -arrive back in time for Doctor Who. We eat in the family room -this is why dinner has to be done early!

8.30-that is it. Time to finish my book, off to bed and the whole week starts again. 0 comments

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The shed is up and set up too

Well, the guys came and put up the shed, so we spent a few mornings before work moving the stuff into it. Darling Man is very happy, and is even talking about "Organising" it.

The carport is now clear of junk as we have also had a skip delivered so that building rubble and other stuff can go out. Whilst my aim is to have nothing leave the site, this is not really always possible and I have come to terms with the fact that sometimes things will go to the tip. My comfort is that this is much less than we used to send there.

So here is a picture of the new addition, which has coincidentally made more light into the kitchen, which is a nice bonus.

We have decided that there is no point any more with what is left of the lawn so we will be turning the area, apart from a path to the clothes line, into more veggie patch (Happy Happy Happy...doing the happy dance!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Home improvements -something finished!

We have at last had the front brickpaving completed. Yippee! This has been a long time in the planning, but it is so good to have it done.
The aim is to reduce our water use -the lawn which was here was not attractive and was a lot of work too.
My son can park his car here too.
Our water bill this time has shown nearly 30% less water than at this time a year ago, as a result of a number of projects we are doing now.
My Darling Man worked very hard to prepare this area so for Father's day we bought him a shed, which will be delivered this coming week.
However, he had more work to do to get a place ready for the shed, so he had to lay 58 slabs!
As the shed we bought was bigger than we had planned, he also had to remove our old rotary clothes line and put up a parallel line one (LOL!)
It is great to have all these projects completed. Thanks to my Darling Man, of course.

(I supply the ideas)

Friday, September 5, 2008

New raised garden

This is my new raised garden bed. I have put it in front of the dining room window, so I can always see how it is doing. It sits at the end of our driveway in a space which was not used at all.
We have used some soil removed from an area out the front which we are going to pave, and added lots of compost, lupin mulch etc.
It is quite densely planted with asparagus, strawberries, lettuce, mizuna, celery and bok choy.
This is also the first time we have used drip line irrigation, and we like it so much we will eventually move the whole garden over to it.
The next thing is to get shade for it in the summer time.
My experience last summer suggests that for months at a time, the only way our vegetables will survive is under at least 60% shade.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

New garden bed arrives!

I was very excited this week when this new raised garden bed arrived!
This is on the west side of our house and will be close to the first water tank we own. We are now investigating the best tank for us.
There will be a shade sail over the area in the summer.
We plan to grow asparagus and strawberries, celery and lettuce in the raised bed.
At the back you can see the snow peas which are now growing along the fence.
My Darling man spend a few hours yesterday wheelbarrowing some soil into a heap, which is now in the bottom of the raised bed.
the soil is coming from a heap which has been made by scooping out some soil from the front of our house, where we are going to pave.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Politeness in live concerts -where has it gone?

I have just been to see a wonderful young orchestra play some amazing orchestral pieces in the Perth Concert Hall, conducted by a virtuoso, world class conductor.
The music was fabulous, and the young people played with distinction. I happen to know they have practiced all week last week, more than 5 hours a day, perfecting their performance.

In the final piece, after the interval, a woman two rows from the front started eating from a foil wrapped bag of potato crisps! The cellists were distracted, and even the conductor turned around twice to see what was making the racket. Then she burped ( I kid you not!) and then when the crisps were finished, she rummaged in her bag (still rustling the foil) until she found her hand cream and then proceeded to noisily slap the cream on her hands!

I really think most people do not know how to distinguish between sitting in your loungeroom watching a DVD, and making comments as you like, and a live performance in which the players are with you, sometimes only metres away.

So, here is my "audience guide" to how to conduct yourself at live performances:
1. Get there on time. If you are late and your seat is at the front, ask the staff to put you at the back (if they let you in at all) until a suitable break.
2. Don't eat in the middle of a performance, especially in a 'quite bit"
3. Don't text people on your mobile phone in the middle of the performance. Even if your keys ar soundless, the light disturbs others. Some sound systems will be disturbed by your activity.
4. If you bring your baby and he or she begins to cry, please take them out.
5. If you are in a classical music performance, look at the programme and work out how many movements you are listening to. It is expected that each movement will proceed without applause between them. Let there be a quiet moment, so that the music can flow from one mood to the next without interruption.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Drying in the winter -our latest technology

We wanted to reduce our reliance on electricity for clothes drying in the winter.

My darling man made me a clothes line which hangs under the eaves on the side of the house away from the weather.
As you can see about 2/3rds of it is under the eaves. Darling Man will add a short roof from the eave to the fence so that it can be completely dry.
He even put down 24 bags of blue metal, so that the ground drains any water away and keeps the feet dry while we hang out the washing.
Already we have reduced the need for the use of an electric dryer for hours every week, to less than 1 hour per fortnight ( sometimes we just need a quick 'whoosh' to completely dry something which has hung outside in damp weather.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Climate change evidence in my garden?

In the summer I could not keep the tomatoes alive. The hot winds and scorching heat dessicated them.
Unknown to me, one poor plant survived and in late Autumn I found this tomato plant. It is the best looking tomato I have grown for years, but it should not be flourishing at all. This is winter in Perth, Western Australia and everyone knows tomatoes grow in summer.
Pundits have said that Western Australia's south west is one of the first places to show effects of climate change. Our rainfall has declined by nearly 40% in the last 40 years. Our summers are hotter, and as this tomato shows, our winters are milder.
I wonder if the tomatoes which are now hanging in large green bunches on this plant, will actually get enough sunlight to ripen? It will be interesting to see.
If so, I might need to adjust my whole planting schedule.
I am also thinking of making permanent shade structures for the whole garden for summer, a concept we would not have had to contemplate years ago.
These are worrying times for those of us who care for the earth, and my tomato might just be giving me proof of a generalised climate change. Of course I know that it is too early to tell -but if this were to be repeated over several years, then we would know that our Perth climate more closely resembled that of Geraldton, some 400 km north of us, where tomatoes are grown in winter to supply the demands of southern cities.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Baking Day

It is the last day of my holiday, and I celebrated by getting into the kitchen to bake a loaf of bread from scratch, using the very helpful tutorial from the ALS website ( .

In the picture you can see the last slice of my Lemon and Poppyseed cake.

There is a chicken roasting in the oven right now, and as soon as it is done, I will be putting another cake in. I am planning a date loaf to use up some dates etc that I have in the kitchen at the moment.

I am sorry my holiday is almost over. I get such joy out of the simple things I do at home, that I wish I could afford to cut back to half time and spend more time doing these sorts of things.

My working life is very challenging and it takes up so much of my time, but at the moment, with my two adult children still at home and still students, I don't think we can afford for me to cut back yet. It is part of the plan, however and one of the reasons I work so hard on living simply and watching our spending is to prove that we could live on less cash.

So I need to keep on making sure that when I do have time for simple things, I make the most of it.

I am determined this winter to do more of:
  • scrapbooking
  • sewing
  • reading
  • gardening (well, it needs to be done and the weather is not so bad here that you can't spend some time out of doors)
  • exercising (same as last point)
I am going to spend less time doing:
  • watching TV
  • eating the wrong things
  • shopping
I will use this blog to keep myself on track!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lemon and Poppyseed cake

I am on holiday this week. Whenever I am on holiday, I turn into a 1950s housewife! I don my apron and I get into the kitchen and enjoy myself enormously cooking up a storm.

I love my kitchen. It is very highly decorated with my favourite things. There are, as you can see, lots of plates on the wall. I collect decorative china plates and a lot of them are from Australian Fine China.

There are my collections of favourite tea caddies and Arnotts biscuit tins.

This week I have made one of my all favourite cakes: Lemon and Poppyseed! I took it to morning tea for my elderly relatives and found that they loved it!

I think I got the recipe from one of john's cousins. The hand-me-down recipes are best, don't you think?

Lemon and Poppy Seed cake

125 g butter, softened
grated rind 1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups dessicated coconut
2 tblspns poppy seeds
1 1/4 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup Greek Yoghurt

Lemon syrup: 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup sugar, zest of one lemon, juice 2 lemons

Preheat oven 160 degrees C. Grease a 20 com tin, line with paper or use springform.
Beat butter and sugar until light, add lemon peel gradually.
Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended.
Stir in coconut and poppy seeds.
Fold in sifted flour alternatively with greek yoghurt.
Spread in prepared tin.
Cook 1 hour or until cake pulls from side of tin and skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.

Make the syrup by stirring sugar and water , peel and juice over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and simmer 5 minutes.

Pour hot syrup over hot cake. Cool in the tin.

This is even better the next day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Book Club reads "Affluenza"

It was my turn to choose a book, so I chose "Affluenza". The Book Group usually reads novels, so I was a bit unsure about how they would take to it.

One of our group was very unhappy as she felt the book was somehow offensive to her lifestyle. "I have a big house, so shoot me!" she said. The chapter on how much Australians spend on pets upset her too, as she has a dog which has cost a great deal of money recently.

In the hurly burly of the book club I did not know how to respond to her. I could tell she was angry buy a discussion about her personal choices and how to evaluate them was beyond me.

Another couple have recently planned an overseas holiday, and seemed to feel as though they needed to justify that.

Several others, however, were really excited about the insights into how advertisers manipulate us into buying things we don't need. One person declared "I am an impulsive shopper!" and recognised that she often buys craft items in excess of what she can use. This woman has a daughter who lives in the country, grows vegetables and scrimps on electricity use. I think the book helped the mother understand her daughter more, and she promised to pass the book on to her. I hope that the book brings them together more into a more simple lifestyle.

One of the things I tried to explain was, even if people are not worried about climate change and its links to our excessive lifestyle, that being aware of the pressures to spend, spend, spend can help them use their hard earned money better.

All in all I feel it was worth the risk of making the choice to read this book with my book group. I took a risk of seeming to be pushing a barrow, but I think we had a good discussion.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Home care not housework

Today is Saturday, my husband is away, and I am at home. I have chosen to see today as "Home care day" rather than housework day.

Today I choose to care for my home as a way of expressing my love for my family, and my own self-respect.
Caring for things we have shows that we value them, and if they are cared for they last for years and we enjoy them for years.
The picture is of some pretty china I have found in the op shop over recent times. I like it and it gets used when I am doing Afternoon Tea with all the trimmings. I use my pretty china and my op-shop found napkins, and we enjoy some home baked delights.

I love my home. I value it and I want it to be clean and tidy.

So today I have brought in some washing and washed some more.

I have cleaned the fridge inside and out.

I have wiped over the kichen cupboard doors.

I have emptied the bins and taken the recycles out.

I replaced my peg bag with one I made in about 10 minutes on the sewing machine.

This afternoon I will be making chicken and vegetable soup. We will eat it with scones from the freezer and I will put some away in small containers for lunches during the week.

I am also going to do some baking -probably a date loaf.

I am determined not to go near the shops, not even the op shop, so that I can stay home and enjoy it.

My day -Home care Saturday.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Simply Saturday

It is the Long Weekend for Anzac day. I have been busy and productive doing the kind of things we need to do to manage a simple lifestyle:
  • Downloaded transactions from my bank accounts and credit card accounts, to examine carefully what we are spending our money on, and to budget the next month
  • purchased a few things on special from Woolworths nearby -on the way stopped at a local bulk supplier to purchase some rolled rye and flaky coconut for our home-made Muesli.
  • Checked out helpful hints from websites which are committed to simple lifestyles, added good tips to my spreadsheet of helpful hints
  • moved earth around in preparation for planting some temporary plantings in our front garden. The plan is eventually to redevelop the garden, moving the driveway and carport etc but we have had to defer the plans for about 2 years, so we have decided to go for the 'cheap and cheerful' approach. I raided the rest of the garden for self-sown lavenders, rosemary cuttings that have self-layered themselves and grown roots, and daisies that can be divided and spread around. Total cost was $0 so far, but we think we need to purchase some wetting agent for our extremely hydrophobic soils.
  • spent some time with our aging relatives -had a good time with laughter and a nice roast dinner
  • done some cleaning and tidying around the house but there is always more to do
  • shopped at the local opshop and came home with 3 tiny plates to add to my plate collection. Total cost $9.
  • I have used my guillotine to cut up the old greeting cards I have been collecting. I saved the pretty illustrations in a box ready to use to make new greeting cards. This has reduced the clutter around my desk, and is recycling the cards. It saves me money when I want to send a card to someone. I plan to write a thank you card later today for someone who gave me a free ticket to a lovely WASO concert on Thursday night last.
Still to do -collect our repaired old-fashioned clock from a friend, and treat the garden with wetting agent.

Hubby is cooking risotto for dinner -yum! All it takes is some chicken stock made from the bones of a previous roast dinner, a lemon from our tree, some parmesan cheese and arborio rice. We will serve it with a green salad made from the leaves we grow in our garden.