Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pantry tales

I have been challenged by the Aussies Living Simply conversations about a plastic-free kitchen. I have heard radio interviews with people who are challenging our assumptions that all plastic is safe-and have felt the wisdom of it.

There are several problems with plastic:
* it is made from petrochemicals which are of course damaging to the earth's sustainability
* it does not break down in the landfill so it adds to the burden of the rubbish on the earth
*heating food in plastic may leach chemicals into the food. Of course there are containers sold as being suitable for this purpose -some people are wondering how safe they really are.
*storing food in plastic over a long period of time may leach plastic into the food due to 'offgassing". This may be especially so for some foods more than others.

I am more interested in using glass and ceramics for the fact that they are safer for the earth, than wondering if all plastic is dangerous to our health, although I am happy to keep an open mind on this.

I have been gradually adding to my collection of containers for foodstuffs which are made from glass or crockery. I have found a number of them in op-shops which is great, because it means that when I use them I am extending their useful life and the energy required to make them is not required again to make new ones for me.

I must admit I also like the look of them, and the feel of them!

The picture is of one of the shelves in my pantry which is where I store the goods for my home-made muesli. I like to keep a variety of ingredients like:
*rolled oats
*rolled wheat
*oat bran
*processed bran (for 'crunch)
*flaked coconut

We make up a batch of the muesli which goes on our breakfast, on top of the good ol' aussie Weetbix we eat every morning. We top it with sliced bananas. prunes and home made Greek Yoghurt.

Keeps us going all morning !

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Routines and when to break them

One of the joys of being on holiday was the fun of breaking out of our routines: changing our sleeping patterns, doing things of the spur of the moment.

Now that I am back at work, it is necessary to get into some routines, just to survive.

The Morning Routine is a lifesaver -DH and I walk around the streets for half an hour, talking and enjoying the morning. Then we say the Daily Office and have coffee. Then we are ready to go to work.

I have a Menu Plan for summer and winter. This enables me to know what is for dinner each evening, and to shop accordingly. It cuts down the unnecessary decision making, and because it is there for anyone to read, anyone who is home can help get things ready.

I also am making sure this year that I spend two hours on Saturday morning doing a ' house blessing"-the basic cleaning that means that the place will be tidy and peaceful all week.

After these things are done, it is 'my time'. The picture is of my knitting and some of my recent reading.

All of these routines are necessary for an orderly and productive life, but every now and again we still enjoy breaking out. Today we went on a train trip the whole length of the line from Clarkson in the north to Mandurah in the south -1 hour and 25 minutes away. It was great fun to get away and avoid our responsibilities for a while.

Now it is back to work for another week, and my routines will help me keep things under control until next weekend and some 'me time"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies--those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world." ~John Milton

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,

chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

(Melody Beattie)

The Christmas things are packed away, the holiday is over and I am back to work.

In a world of uncertainty and unhappiness, there are many things that I am grateful for this week.
1. My job - I have a very varied job, often challenging and sometimes I work too hard. Yet it is a good place for me and I am grateful for it.
2. My home-I love this place and each year makes it more special. Some people would see it as a bit small. It could do with a bit of work still, but over the twelve years that we have lived here, each task accomplished has made it more special.
3. My family -each of them unique and gifted in special ways. We are kind to each other, and there is a lot of laughter. That is a great gift.
4. The summer in Perth. I love the warm weather, the hard blue skies, the sea breeze! I love walking on the beach in the morning. I love the foods that are in season and local -grapes, melons, plums, mangoes.
5. My garden -this year the changes I have made are working, and to date I have not lost anything to the heat. I had a small mandarin that was struggling, so DH and I invented a temporary shade structure to help it get through -an old umbrella lashed to a stand! It seems to be working. We are now harvesting small but tasty roma tomatoes and long, curvy cucumbers.

"Stop waiting for happiness. Happiness is right here, right now."

Leo Babuta,writer of

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Epiphany at New Norcia

We travelled about 100 km north of us, to join the Benedictine community at New Norcia for their ecumenical Epiphany carol service. As we are 'friends of New Norcia' this is one of those regular events which attracts us back to this very special place.

The music for the service was provided by the Georgian singers, and their voices were beautifully blended. We had nativity readings, poems, new and old carols, and of course three children dressed as Wise Men.

This Benedictine community has a long tradition of hospitality and encouraging the kind of spirituality which Benedict encouraged - a simple and balanced life: some time for work, some time for prayer, some time for rest. I hope to come back this year to one of the retreats. I want to continue to work on finding that balance between work and spirituality and rest this year.

Another nice thing about the trip to New Norcia is getting out of the city to see the country . The Western Australian bush looks dry at this time of the year, but it knows how to survive the heat, and will be ready when the rains come again.