Tuesday, December 31, 2019

RACES - One day at a time

Yesterday was my birthday (31 December) and I had a lovely time.  I got spoiled with lots of presents, and we went to see the movie "Cats' for a bit of escapism and it was great. Dora (my cat) would have approved! 

On the other side of the continent, however, people were sheltering on a beach whilst waiting for a bush fire to sweep over them all-did you see pictures of this where you live? On our West Australian south coast a very fragile national park is in flames, and I fear the damage which is being done to flora and fauna.

This is a very strange and confronting time to be an Australian. Our successive governments have done very little to acknowledge or even plan for climate change emergencies, and now we are at the beginning of a long hot summer with no relief in sight. For most of Australia it will be months before they have any chance of rain.

We have lost -at this moment- seven confirmed dead- and somewhere around a thousand homes lost. We have many native species at the brink of extinction. This is a terrible thought, and many people find themselves shocked and grieving. For me however, I have been aware and active in this movement to change our world for many years and I have done at least some grieving already. Some years ago, reading one of Tim Flannery's books, I couldn't sleep, and had this urge to get up and go and take pictures of our unique trees down south, before they are all dead! They are not dead yet, but who knows how long they will survive? 

For a longer discussion of this topic I suggest you read this from Meanjin and if you have time here is a  

I am firmly convinced of the power of hope, and that it is not too late to turn this thing around -I will not be giving up. 

I have decided that I have five words which will characterise my year -Radical Action, Community Empathy and Simplicity: RACES for short. 

Radical Action will be required from all of us -to challenge the current way of doing things, and especially challenge the assumptions behind them.  We have to go beyond fossil fuel based economies -and do it quickly. This will require us each to change our own lives-drive and fly less, for example. That won't be enough unless our goverments, our corporations, decide to rapidly decarbonise too. We have to make them want to do it! 

Community is going to be needed because this emergency will test all of us and our ability to be a community will be the key to our survival. We need to look out for the vulnerable and bring them with us.

Empathy is the powerhouse which will keep us going -for example, even if the fires are not here right now, we can feel for those who are dealing with it, and that feeling will spur us to action. 

Simplicity is the compass point for everything I do. We all need a lot less 'stuff' than we think we do, and a lot of life can be enjoyed when you know what is important and what is not. 

Some of you who read and comment on my blog will be just as concerned as I am. Some of you have been in fire zones and dread the return of them. For others, the problems of climate change may be different -maybe it never stops raining and you have to deal with floods, or polar winds bring icy conditions too far south. 

I wish for us all that the new year will bring us clean air, fresh water and food, someone to love and human rights. If any of those are in danger, I wish us courage which will result in action. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Merry Christmas

It is Christmas Eve down here in Perth Western Australia -and I am planning a gentle, easy day. Last night we attended a 9 Lessons and Carols service and it was a wonderful reminder of all that Christmas means about love and hope. Things are tough for many people around the world - certainly the horrendous fires are on the minds of Australians. I am concerned for many people I know, and lovely towns I have visited. I am hoping and praying they are all safe.

Our world is in trouble because of the way we are living without regard to the impact we are having on the systems which sustain us.  We need to take note, and transition away from exploiting the earth's resources and start the healing and safeguarding of our planetary home. Simple Living can be a good example of the kind of wonderful life we can lead -a life of abundance and not hardship!

I hope that we can all have a good Christmas Day. If it is difficult for you -for whatever reason- please take good care of yourself. Do what you need to protect your soul. Enjoy the escape of a good uplifting book -go to join in a faith community- go for a walk in the natural world ( a city park will do) but whatever you do, try to think of something you can be grateful for. Rebecca Solnit says "Hope is an axe you use to break down a door in an emergency". I wish you hope. 

Today we are doing a couple of gentle things to get ready for Christmas Day. We will be just the three of us for lunch -and that is just fine. We have moved in this year to a largely plant based diet -even more than in the past, so that 'feast days' when we have something like a lamb roast are extra special. I am going to cook it with slivers of home grown garlic embedded in it, and rosemary and fennel. I might do this later today as tomorrow Christmas day will be 37C. (It will go in  the oven after the patatas bravas I am planning for our dinner tonight -having been re-watching Rick Stein's series on Spain).

I am making a couple of salads - I have some baby potatoes for a potato salad with mint and sour cream. I have asparagus. I have olives and feta for a Greek salad to go with the lamb. We are going to have Eton Smash for dessert.

We won't be with our grandchildren until later in January -they are in Victoria. We will enjoy being together then. Before that, we have 2 family birthdays between Christmas and New Year! We like to got to a casual fish cafe near the beach for a celebration on DD's birthday.

We will be back at the beach every morning we can. We will be reading books, keeping the garden alive (I hope) during the heat of the summer, and I will be sewing. I have a new improvised project on the go, inspired by a book I got from the library. I am using gelati coloured solids and leftover indigenous pattern fabrics from my "Blue mountain" quilt.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for leaving comments. I appreciate the connections we make across the world.

Stay well and live simply! Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Surviving the heat -and a quilt finish!

We have had record temperatures in Perth this past week. It is early yet in the summer season to have such a long run of over 40C temperatures. Our family home is not air conditioned - by choice. We are concerned to live simply and economically, to use less power and to adapt to our climate so we can actually live outside whenever possible.  We may be forced to have air conditioning with the way the summer is starting earlier and going on longer, but for now we are OK. That means that we are frequently looking to improve the ability of our home to cool down and stay cool during hot weather, using passive design features. It also requires a certain mode of active operation on our part-opening or closing windows and blinds, etc. As I have mentioned before, our home is a typical 1970s "leaky box" and was not designed with modern passive solar theory in mind. It does pretty well though!

My experience this week has been that our house will gradually warm up over a week of very hot weather. We might start with an internal temperature of 25C at 7 am on the first day which goes over 40C outside, and the house will rise to about 27C internally before the evening, when we open up the windows and try to get it cooler again.

The next day it is 26 or 27C at 7 am inside and will rise to 28 or 29.

The following day it will be 27C at 7am inside and will rise to 30. This is a bit warm but tolerable, especially when you consider we are still at least 12 degrees cooler than outside

In order to try to achieve these results we use:

1. Insulation in the ceiling -DH tells me that the garage under the roof, which he now uses as a workshop, is not insulated-the only part of the roof like this. We need to fix that!

2. A grapevine over the northern walls and windows to shade

3. We painted a west wall a bright light colour to reflect the heat

4. This week we added a home made shade blind over an eastern bathroom window-DH staples 90% shadecloth to two battens and attaches them to the wall on the outside. We still get light in the room, but the glass doesn't have direct sunlight on it anymore. One added bonus to this improvement is that the window is part of our ensuite, and the early morning light was very strong and hard to keep out of our room. This makes it a couple of shades darker.

We also go down to the beach early if we can. DH has a swim and I walk on the beach, then home to where it is cooler and we tend to stay there if we can.

I did some baking on the day before the heat wave, so we had food prepared for a couple of days. I made sweet potato and roasted garlic pie and some sourdough bread. When it is hot you don't really want to put the oven on, or even to go outside to barbeque!

When they were gone we started making easy cool things like gazpacho and pasta with a non-cooked sauce. YES I do have a kitchen Christmas Tree: don't you? I have six trees -why stop at one?

I found a book by Nigella Lawson "Nigelissima" in an op shop for $2 and it is superb! Lots of wonderful ideas to try.

Of course a run of hot weather was a perfect opportunity to retreat to the sewing room and get that quilt finished! YES it is done and hanging up.

Now, what shall I start next?

I am thinking of a scrappy quilt to soak up the scraps piling up in various baskets in the sewing room- just got to decide on which one.

We DID have to go out a bit during the hot weather though- final practices for a wonderful combined choir Christmas concert at Winthrop Hall. Lots of hard work paid off yesterday. It was a wonderful experience. DH and I are both in the choir.

Getting to the serious end of Christmas preparations this week! If you are in a cold climate, enjoy getting warm and think of us keeping our cool!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

A little break down south

On Sunday it was our traditional day to put up the Christmas decorations: the first Sunday in Advent. We all got stuck in and by the end of the day we had 6 (yes, you read that right!) trees up and decorated, the stockings hung and the advent wreath out with candles ready to go. I still have a bit more tweaking to go, but that is what Advent is for!

I was glad to get this done, because on Monday we drove the longer way round to Albany (350km or more) on the South Coast, for a little break in our favourite place. We had a lovely time! The weather was much cooler than up here in Perth, and yet the sun shone and everything looked glorious. We wore our jeans and a jumper on one evening!

On the way, we stopped at a WAQA quilt show in Katanning. The quilts were made by a small group of women quilters, who were all riffing on the same 'drunkards path" block. They were all wonderful, but these ones I took a particular note.

Here are some of our favourite views around Albany. The one below is near the Gap and the Natural Bridge. 

Albany is a natural harbour with offshore islands.

The water is either deep blue or turquoise. There is a national park which keeps much of the very fragile ecosystem safe. It is a 'biodiversity hotspot". We have been visiting this place for 44 years, on and off. It is special to DH because he did his high school here, and brought me down to show it to me, as one of the first things we did together.

It was only a couple of days, but it was such a refreshing thing to do.

Since we got back we had several very hot days -more than 40C, and will have more next week again. Australia is suffering during a climate crisis that our government refuses to acknowledge or act upon.  I am throwing shadecloth around over plants which have survived previous summers -one of our blueberry bushes got burned leaves last week. I am saving all the water I can from sink and shower, to either use on the garden or flush the toilets.

One of the things that keeps me going is the stories of people who are working hard in troubling and difficult places, to keep on growing things and thrive in them.  This youtube series by Geoff Lawton on "Greening the desert" is an inspiration. As he says "The Greening the Desert Project is located in the Dead Sea Valley of Jordan. At 400m below sea level, it is one of the lowest places on earth. The project is positioned on a West facing slope, in an extremely hot, arid climate, with extremely poor, shallow highly alkaline top ‘soil’, covered in rocks, with very limited water supply. It's here that we're demonstrating and educating people on permaculture because if it can work here, it can work anywhere!"

What humans do best is adapt to changing circumstances -that is why our ancestors survived! So we just pick ourselves up and keep adapting.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Things to be happy about

Things to be happy about 

1. I finished Nanowrimo, the National Novel writing month -having written 50,000 words in November. In order to achieve this, you have to write for about 2 hours a day, every day. I enjoy the challenge and I think I learn something more about writing every time I do it, but it also 'steals' my time. The last two weeks I haven't' done much on my quilt, for example. But that is OK. There are 'seasons' for things, and November is the season for writing. 

2. We have been helpful to a family member who needed some practical assistance. The lady needed someone like DH to come and put up shelves and pictures at her place, and while he was doing that, I helped her declutter and sort quite a lot of things. This lady is not as young or agile as she used to be, and it was a bit much for her to tackle. I am glad she felt OK about asking us, and truly it was a pleasure and a blessing to us to be of use to her. She is a real sweetie. 

3. DH has been finding real relief for his back and knee problems by walking in the water down at the beach. He feels like he is moving better than before too. I love it down at the beach so I walk on the edge of the water as far as I can up to the reef, which is being exposed in the low spring/summer tides.

4. When you look, beauty is everywhere.
Here is a banksia I found growing in the city, behind the State Library, in a place which is very urban and very hot. Just the perfect place for a banksia, apparently. 

5. Our garden gives us great joy. We are harvesting garlic and blueberries and lots of herbs. I planted more basil, and the cucumbers haven't quite grown but they are not dead! It is all a learning experience. 

6. Community

Our choir is working very hard on our Christmas concert, which will be sung in the beautiful Winthrop Hall, in the grounds of the University of Western Australia. This has meant we are often visitors to UWA, and it is really a beautiful place. Here it is last week, with the Jacarada in bloom.

So that is it for November 2019.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Leave me a comment - I love to be connected in this way around the world.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

November already!

We made it to our favourite Mullaloo beach this week, for the first walk on the beach of summer. I get such joy from walking right down near the water's edge on the wet sand in bare feet. There is something so relaxing about it! We always smile at the young families bringing their babies down for their first beach experience- the babies are often quite overwhelmed. When they come back as toddlers they run straight towards the water!

We are so lucky to live close to the beach! The weather is certainly heating up here -we had 40C the other day.

There is a eucalypt in flower on the way to the shops. Look at how pretty the pink gum caps are -and that flower with the deep green centre is a stunner. The flowers are low enough for me to see as I walk. I would like to use this colour palette some time for a quilt - I think it could be spectacular with the right pattern.

I have got the top of my quilt sewn up this week. Yesterday I took it outside so that I could pin it together. It fitted the table, and was such an enjoyable experience -so much easier than doing it on the floor. I am going to start the quilting this week coming. This will be a wall hanging. 

We are picking blueberries and watching the tomatoes ripen. 

My current Nanowrimo word count: 18000. On track at this stage to finish the goal of 50,000 words by November 29.  

DH and I have sorted our clothes and discarded a huge pile. The good ones we have sent to an op shop  (charity shop) nearby. We had this sudden realisation that if we had less clothes, we could get away with fewer chests of drawers when we get around to re-modelling our bedroom. Up till now we have been stuck with wanting to have lovely wooden chests of drawers -part of our commitment to buy second hand and good quality -but they all seemed small.  Well, maybe we just had too much stuff! I am now more confident we can get what we need this way.  

DH finished blow-torching the weeds in the paving -was it last Christmas or the one before I bought him a special gardening tool which uses a flame to burn weeds? Anyway, it is, while quite slow and a bit stinky (just the smell of burning leaves) it does work very well and gradually the weeds are becoming less and less out there. 

That is my week. How is yours going? 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Peace at last

Stormy clouds above the city this week

The last of the tradies left at 3pm on Friday, and we are gradually recovering.  Both bathrooms are back to 'hotel sparkle", and look great. Now we have water resistant grout hopefully it will be easier to keep them looking like this! 

DH worked on removing the water scale and soap scum from our ensuite bathroom shower screen, and did a great job. He took the doors off and removed all the fittings before treating everything and them re-installing them. (I have mentioned earlier that we had found that soap used in the shower eventually coated everything -the tiles and the screens -with a scum which needed to be scraped off with a scraper made for ceramic cook tops. Maybe this is just a Perth thing -we have hard water here.) DH also painted the ceiling after the plasterer had left. It is looking so nice in there!

We found that after the plasterer had put the new water resistant ceiling into the main bathroom, and sealed it with special water resistant paint(one of the most stinky things possible -he wore a respirator and we all went outside!), that the exhaust fan was not working. This required us to get an electrician in to install a new one. Now, as you know, getting an electrician onsite means that you have to pay a 'standard call out fee' of about $150, before the clock starts ticking on the cost of their labour. We tend, as a result, to save up jobs which require an electrician until we have one on site. The extra jobs we got this one to do involved replacing the ceiling fan in DD's bedroom -it had started to make a weird sort of thumping noise which freaked out the cat. The best thing for me, however, is that I now have a downlight over my sewing machine, and it is such a great thing! The downlight had been surplus to the kitchen renovation, and I had saved it up for my sewing room, having found that task lighting in the kitchen was a life changing thing! My whole sewing experience will be improved in this clear bright but soft LED light.

Dora hates having strangers in the house, and any kind of noise. One day I found her squeezed into quite a tiny space under a bookshelf, as the only safe space she could find. In the evenings however, she would emerge and enjoy our quiet reading, whilst she cuddled up to DH's legs whilst resting on her favourite quilt .

I spent a day in the State Library doing more research on the CARAD history project. While I waited for the library to open I took some photos of the old buildings around the Arts Precinct. This is one of my favourite buildings -the golden stone work and the arches are great. It is used as the administration centre for the museum, I think. I met an old school friend for lunch and a walk around the Botanica exhibition at the Art Gallery.

We spent Saturday in a giant rehearsal for the special 3 choir performance in which we are taking part. The rehearsal was at UWA, the university I was very lucky to have studied in, and I loved being back there. The gardens are just lovely at this time of the year.

As if we were not busy enough, we are all three of us, doing Nanowrimo, where the aim is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November!

I have still been working on my quilt though, and am now sewing the borders together. It seems to be turning into a 'Christmas Quilt" with its green and red and gold colour scheme, which wasn't in my head when I started it! This is a happy surprise, and given that it is now November, I can see I have a deadline for this quilt -to hang by Advent 1 which is December 1 this year. With choir, Nanowrimo and all, it will be a busy month!

A big thank you to all who visit my blog, and especially my online friends who leave comments. Each one is read and treasured! I love visiting your blogs too.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The tradies are back, and other improvements

We have been making small improvements in our house, which has meant some work for DH and also an invasion of tradies.

First DH put up a utensil rack above my stove, which I absolutely love. When we renovated, the old utensil rack came down under the baleful eye of the kitchen designer, who seemed to have a very negative opinion of such things. Six months later, and none of us can find where to put our most used tools, and the constant searching between drawers was an obstacle to effectiveness. Time to take back the space and use it the way we want to! We went to IKEA and saw this black metal one, which would be just right for our lovely new space. DH put it up and we all love it.

Both bathrooms were looking tired even though they were renovated not too long ago. The main bathroom had a ceiling which had peeling paint -the bathroom renovator had not managed to solve this problem, so we got a plasterer in and he has made us a new ceiling out of special waterproof boards. We are waiting for him to come back to paint it with special waterproof paint.  We got another  tradie in to clean the grout in both the main bathroom and the en suite. He removed the grout and replaced it with water repellent stuff which is guaranteed for 15 years.

The decision to take on these projects was made because we want to have a home which is easy to maintain in our older years, and we are not now in the position where we can do some of these jobs ourselves.  You have to know where to spend and where to save. We feel this is a good investment.

Our Living Smart Course has been quite a joy. Last week I wrote about the water savings were were able to make as a result. This week we visited the home of one of our lecturers -and you can read about it here. Ecoburbia is a innovative retrofitted home which is  an "alternative urban infill development, housing cooperative, community garden, model sustainable house and benevolent dictatorship".  DH and I enjoyed seeing lots of the ideas we have been trying to incorporate into our place -and others we have not yet tried -in  a real life situation.

It has also been great to be with like-minded people. We have one of the people we met in our course coming over tomorrow to look at our garden.  Community is important for resilience -we can support one another in our simple living journeys.

Another community event that gave us much joy was when we travelled to a country town to spend a day learning about Benedictine Spirituality. I took this picture inside a newly renovated heritage farm shed where we met. They had used the old roof corrugated iron as lining in the shed, and put up some lovely art works around the walls. This picture of a tree has the motto "We all draw from the same ground water, we all reach to the same light." The lotus flowers were from the farm dam.

Another source of inspiration this week has been this book:

I borrowed it from the library, but I am putting it on my Christmas list because it is really so, so good! If you find yourself feeling hope is waning about the state of our world, this is the book for you!

Finally I have been making progress on my house quilt.

I am now working on a scrappy checked 4 patch border.

All in all, it was a very good week, but I am ready I think to release the sharks into the moat and put up the drawbridge! I am an introvert who needs recovery time from each adventure into society!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The virtual water tank -how to have 3000 litres of water for the garden

DH and I have been attending a local course sponsored by the Water Corporation, on living sustainably in this drying climate. Our local flora and fauna need us to conserve the water in the underground basins -where half of our water for the city is now being drawn from, as Perth dams now get less than 10% of the runoff that they were getting 50 or so years ago, due to climate change. We need to save as much water as we can.

We have a 3000 litre water tank in our garden -but would like more, because it is collects free water! Our roof gutters are still sending a lot of water down the drains, when I would like to use it in the house and garden. One of the problems in putting new water tanks in, is that we don't have a huge amount of room to do so, as the house is quite close to the fence on three sides.

The good news is that, as a result of the course we are doing, we have found at least 12,000 litres of water that used to go down the drain, and all we have done is change a couple of habits.

1. Collecting the cold water from the sink while waiting for the hot water to flow through.

We have a 3 litre old milk bottle under the sink.  Every time we want hot water, we put the bottle under the tap. We have discovered that it usually takes 3 litres of water before the hot arrives-water which used to go down the drain. The cold water is then easily walked out to the vegetable garden a couple of times a day, and gives extra water where it is needed. In the course of a day we would do this 3 times, so that is 9 litres x 365 days per year or 3,285 litres of water per year - the equivalent of one full water tank per year!

2. A bucket in the shower in the en suite to collect the cold water before the hot water arrives

Similarly, we are now collected the cold water in the shower. It is further away from the water service, so we have found it collects around 9 litres per shower. We have a toilet right next to the shower, so we are using the water to flush the toilet. Not only does this use the cold water we collect -we save the water which was used in flushing . Our low-flush toilets use 6 litres maximum each flush. If we use the shower water in this way, we have saved the 3285 litres of water per year x 2 for DH and I when we shower - a total of 6570 litres,  plus the saving of 4 flushes per day at 6 litres = 8760 litres per year, which is close to three 3000 litre water tanks! This saving will help us when we are using scheme water on our garden -we can still have a thriving garden without using too much water!

I still want to do more water storage on our property -but finding this water with just a couple of changes to our behaviour is pretty good.

IN other good news, I have moved on from my quilting disaster of last week and am having great fun making a new quilt. I found the inspiration pattern in a book I picked up cheaply at a WAQA sale -it is called The Thimbleberries Guide for Weekend Quilters, and the pattern I am using is called "Welcome Home". I have always wanted to do a 'house quilt" and this is a great introduction to it. The original design is in the traditional muted Thimbleberries fabrics. I think they give it quite a traditional look.

This is the picture in the book

I am adapting it a bit as I go. My daughter commented that as a quilter, I rarely follow the pattern!  Two of the houses now have doors, and I am making scrappy stars. I am also thinking of making a 6 patch border and perhaps even sashing and cornerstones for the main blocks-all scrappy. I have chosen slightly brighter fabrics from my stash, and mixed up the colours of the houses.

Here is my version so far, still on the design board.

Here is the house with a door

I am pleased too that this quilt lets me use two of the Accuuilt Go! dies that I have -the one which came with it when purchased has a 4.5 inch square and a 2.5 inch square and 2.5 when complete half inch triangles -I am using this one for the stars. The 2.5 inch strip cutter is used for many pieces of the house.

So it has been quite a productive week! Which is a bit surprising, given that we had quite a few interruptions from our usual routine going to events for anti-Poverty Week and also for the launch of the Perth branch of Equal Voices. We also made dinner for friends on Friday night.

I have an optometrist appointment today -hoping for better general multifocals as a result!

Have a good week !

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Frugal achievements this week 15_10_2019

This week is Anti-Poverty Week -check out the end of this post for some resources about poverty.

Meanwhile many of us are living simple, frugal lives for many reasons. Some of us are living on small and insecure incomes, some of us are voluntarily reducing our spending in order to care for the planet and support charitable works, some of us have big savings goals. 

DH and I are loving our simple retired lifestyle. I am getting better at my 'elevator speech' which explains that no, we are not travelling around the world and no, we are not playing golf every day. Our lives are full and wonderful just the same! We cook from scratch, grow some food and have volunteering days and crafty days which keep us happy.

Here are some of the achievements this week

1. I gave up on a quilt project.

Sorry to start with a negative, but that blue community quilt with the wonky blocks that I struggled with for so long? Well, in trying a new-to-me technique I inadvertently quilted over a couple of safety pins and sandwiched them between the layers of the quilt.

Nope, not going to give it to anyone -not even a pet (it could be unsafe).

Nope, not unpicking any more (this thing was a nightmare).

Instead I made a Christmas place mat for the the WAQA community quilt project -we give them to nursing homes for the trays on Christmas Day, and I have a new project all lined up to start. 

Sometimes you just have to do what brings you joy. How was this frugal? Well, it was frugal with my time and energy! I quilt as a hobby, to be creative and to produce things which bring other people joy. If a project isn't doing that, I reserve the full and complete right to ditch it. I don't do this lightly or frequently and yes, I did think about the fabric and the wadding (which was stitched together left-over strips anyway). They were unusable for anything but a compost heap, and even then the presence of the pins would be a hazard. 

2. I saved seeds from my mizuna, after having let the bees have their fun on the pretty yellow flowers for quite a while. One of my projects is to grow more from seed, and to do that where possible from seed I have saved, so that over time the plants I grow are more and more adapted to my growing conditions.  (PS do check out this lovely video about regenerative agriculture) 

3. Following on from example from Annabelle over at The Blue Birds are Nesting, I am drying rose buds and petals, and lavender flowers. I figure the rose buds will be pretty decorations on Christmas presents, and the petals and lavender I plan to use in little mesh bags for going under my pillow! 

4. We combined a number of trips together to go further afield to find a few things we needed. I have been buying conditioner in bulk to save on the plastic bottles, and I needed a specialised pump to get the conditioner out and decant it into my own bottle for the shower. While we were there, we found some preserving jars to go with some new lids someone gave us -but the shop said that the supplier only provided them with jars and lids together! After a minute or two, the assistant said that she thought they had some jars without lids that we could have...and the next thing we had 15 jars for free! 

During this trip I also went to a local quilt shop to pick up a part I needed for my Accuquilt Go strip cutter. This will enable me to cut my next project out with ease. 

We also looked in some antique shops and op shops -at the moment DH is looking for a chess set to go with the chess board he made this week using scrap timber someone gave him. Didn't find one yet -but that is OK. Part of the fun is the hunt! 

Then we went a bit further to the wonderful Stitched and Bound exhibition of quilts up at Kalamunda. It was too far to go as a single trip from our place, but all together with the other errands it was doable, and we both enjoyed it very much. 

5. We put out a fire! 
It all started with an innocent lunch on the patio when DH noticed smoke from behind our neighbor’s place. Some kids had set a xanthorea on fire in the walkway behind her place. 

We started a bucket brigade and the neighbours used shovels to damp down the flames until the fire brigade turned up -they were quick, but with the situation around the fire as it was, we couldn't wait. The fire was about 3 metres from our neighbour's house, and it was underneath a big eucalypt. If the tree had caught fire, and sparks had landed on J's roof, this would have been very serious indeed! 

6. We are enjoying our library books. This week I read Dr Michael Mosley's book called The Clever Guts Diet. It is about eating a variety of foods designed to improve the biota in the gut. I found it very interesting, and I am making sure I add some of the foods he suggested, into our meal plan regularly.

7. Exercise for free I have been getting back into walking around our suburb -there is a route which takes about an hour. I prefer that to exercising in a noisy gym where you can't even see outside. 

Thanks for reading my blog, and all of your comments are very much appreciated.

Reading about poverty in Western Australia here   WA Council of Social Service report Food insecurity can lead to long-term entrenched food stress, and significantly impact people’s health and wellbeing.

Here's a $75 fix that would help solve Australia's poverty problem  

For those in Australia
Join the campaign to Raise the Rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance this Anti-Poverty Week.
- Call 6277 7111 and ask to speak to your local MP and explain why we need to increase Newstart
or find them here: https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members
- Register to meet your politician: tinyurl.com/y6zo49hb
- Sign up to the Raise the Rate campaign: www.raisetherate.org.au
- Share your story with us: tinyurl.com/y4lu52yq