Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Size Does Matter ?............

An interesting visit to the hen house this morning...one of the girls has laid an enormous egg!!  not sure how she got that one out......doesn't fit in the egg cup....laying has slowed down over the last week or so....the girls are over two years old now and production is on the downturn....may need to get a few younger birds in and give some of the old girls away.
Ouch....one of the feathered girls is laying ostrich eggs !!
 Managed to finish off one of the projects for the month....some of the baby capsicums have ripened so I made these....was a bit fiddly but they turned out great....have a  mix of unused feta and cream cheese ...need to come up with a way to use the leftovers now....any suggestions?
Cored and boiled in sugar and vinegar......then into the fridge for 48 hours to pickle !!

Rinsed then piped with feta and cream cheese mix....home grown causes size inconsistencies !!

Into freshly boiled jars and covered with oil.....should last in the fridge for a couple of months
Still working on a couple of April projects...hope to have them finished before May !!.....Hope April has been good to you too.

Monday, 21 April 2014

A Beautiful Autumn Break......

We took a quick overnight  break down to our holiday place on the weekend and went with a group of friends to a local winery for lunch....Waratah Hill (near Fish Creek)...can't believe we have never discovered this little gem in the 6 years we have been holidaying only 10 minutes away....the sky was overcast but every now and then the sun made a quick appearance before slipping away again.....the scenery was spectacular....South Gippsland's rolling hills, already green and lush after the scorch of summer.....it was Autumn at its best.

The beautiful rolling hills are an amazing backdrop for this boutique winery....
Shared Mezzo platters and.local wines..,the sparkling was my favourite...not much of a wine connoisseur I'm afraid.
Daisy taking a sunny nap on the back of the couch....I felt I could use one of these after lunch !!

It was so nice to get away ...even if it was just overnight .......with all of the fighting and troubles  overseas.....it makes you appreciate how lucky we are to live here...we should all take every opportunity to enjoy life....the simpler the better....good friends, good food....good times.

Friday, 18 April 2014

A Really Good Friday.......

While I am not a religious person and Easter doesn't really hold the same significance for me, I do love traditions....my man is from Scotland originally and was raised a Catholic.....he isn't particularly religious any more but still can't bring himself to eat meat on Good Friday...funny how religious traditions stay in your psyche .......so after we polished off a couple of HCB's for breakfast (delicious by the way)..... my daughter popped in for brunch and we had a few more.... then my man had a salmon sandwich for lunch (I had left over beef casserole, I know...seems sacrilegious) .......It was a bit chilly here today so we lit the fire....opened up a bottle of wine... some meat free nibbles and settled down for a lovely late afternoon relax......I cooked up some beautiful fresh flathead tails for dinner....it's pretty easy to keep my man happy .... all made for a really Good Friday.......it's nice in a way to keep his Fishy Friday tradition ....no offence intended to any Christians !!

Thankfully Fishy Friday doesn't exclude wine and cheese....they are my Good Friday tradition.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hot Cross Buns......

Made my own hot cross buns from scratch....admittedly I used the bread maker to make the dough
....and I still managed to make a big mess when I made the paste for the crosses and the glaze which I managed to flick all over the stovetop....still, you do get a warm fuzzy feeling when you make things yourself instead of buying them from the supermarket....who knows what's in them...I use organic ingredients..same recipe as raisin loaf but added dried apricots......Hope they taste as good as they look and smell.....that's breakfast taken care of....enjoy the Easter break.
Managed to make a mess of the stovetop....ooops !!
An odd assortment of shapes ....but I love that about homemade things...just a little quirky.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

What I'm Reading This Month......

Bookclub book for this month is The People's Train by Tom Keneally....haven't had the chance to read anything of his before but I am told he's great and I will enjoy it....I really hope I do as the last few books have been a bit disappointing.

Bookclub book this month....fingers crossed !!
Also in the stack to read....finish the Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan....have read her books before and enjoyed them...this one however is a bit of a poor mans Memoirs of a Geisha....except it's set in China and not Japan...it's an easy read and quite interesting....These few borrowed from the library....Bellagrand by Paullina Simons...enjoyed her earlier books..see how this one goes....Sustainable House...see if I can pick up any more ideas...and lastly Simply an Inspired Life...about consciously choosing happiness...always up for a bit of self improvement...

Books to get through this month....really hope there's a treasure among them.
 Beautiful blue skies and sunshine for the last two days....gorgeous autumn weather...lunch today fruit, cheese and hummus with rice crackers....sat outside in the sun...perfect day !!
Beautiful sunshine and delicious healthy lunch.
The hot cross bun dough is humming away in the bread maker and I will finish off the buns and into the oven tonight....fresh buns for breakfast....wishing a safe and happy Easter to all !!

Monday, 14 April 2014

It's Time to Speak Up......

It's time to speak up ....the Reef is in danger...once lost we can never get it back.
I have been an online member of 1Million Women for a couple of years now...this is a campaign to get women on board to do whatever is in their power  to protect and save our planet and the environment.  Their latest message is one I feel particularly strong about... I don't usually use my page to bang on about specific environmental targets but I do agree with the 1MW that the government is not doing enough to protect the Great Barrier Reef....in fact I think they are going out of their way to cause irreparable damage....1MW are calling on the World Heritage Committee to protect our Reef.  They have an online letter that they want people to sign...if you want to help go here..  Declaring the Reef is in Danger

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Puddles and Procrastination....

It's official , I am over this rainy weather....four days of continuous rain up here has taken it's toll....I am sorely missing that big golden orb in the sky...I need sunshine to help me stay motivated and prevent the dirty P word.....that's right....procrastination pops its ugly head up when I lose my mojo....this type of weather just makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book......it is so dreary outside today...even the chooks are over it....they are wet and muddy and looking for shelter under the bushes....there was lots I wanted to achieve today including planting a few seedlings...I have  a couple of baskets of wet washing that I need to hang out...but it's so miserable out there they are still waiting....I work from home so feel especially isolated when I can't get out into the garden.....I guess I shouldn't complain when Qld is expecting a cyclone....must try to think happy sunny thoughts....!!
There has been so much rain today it filled the wheelbarrow....don't have a rain gauge but I think that's a lot of rain !!

the feathered girls are wet and miserable.
Poor Doreen is huddled under a camellia bush....usually strutting around the yard eating.....
 As part of my healthy routine today's lunch was supposed to be fruit and yoghurt....I shouldn't blame the weather but todays yoghurt and fruit somehow turned into a BLT with avocado...cold lunch just wasn't going to cut it today......perhaps I should just light the fire, get that book and curl up !!

Delicious BLT for lunch.. with home grown tomatoes, lettuce and relish.....

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Elusive Art of Thrifting......

 I enviously devour blogs where they have terrific details of the treasures they have found in op shops and markets....pre loved finds that make their way to new homes to be reused and repurposed.  I am starting to think this is an art form that I have yet to develop....I admit I struggle in an op shop to find items...I am not big on slogging away on rack after rack trying to find something.....will definitely have to work harder at this......I have however managed a bit of thrifting in my daughters wardrobe cleanout !!....while lots of goodies made their way to the donations bag I managed to free-cycle a few things for myself....a couple of clothing items that I will wear....and an old jumper that I am going to try and up-cycle into a cushion cover....even soap that she no longer wanted!!  Anything to avoid landfill.....very happy to have these items in my wardrobe.....will continue to try and avoid unnecessary purchases...helping the planet and my pocket !!

I really like this jumper that I thrifted from my daughters cast offs....one of the few items I grabbed.
Will try to up-cycle this old jumper into a knitted cushion cover...stay tuned.
Definitely was not going to let her put these cakes of soap in the rubbish....perfectly usable and smell great. !!
This scrappy little photo of myself and my two brothers was carried around in my mother's wallet for about 40 years....quite some time ago she was having a clear out and was going to toss it in the bin but I grabbed it, damaged as it was, I have had it pinned on my office noticeboard for several years and I often peak at it....I love it.....my hat, gloves and handbag....my brothers fresh faces and ties...we were off to my auntie's wedding...priceless !!  
It's way past the stage of restoration and is only about 2" square, but I love it......around 1965 I think !!
While I wouldn't technically call myself a Buddhist I love what it stands for ...I have a lovely set of cards in a display box that was given to me years ago....I keep them on my office desk and often change them ....I turned this one today and I think it's a gem...it dates back to 1st century BC but the words still resonate today....we all need to keep watch for our world....tread gently and use if wisely.

Thoughts for today from the 1st century BC...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Eco Evolution .....

When I made the conscious decision to be responsible for my impact on the planet and started living this warm and wonderful simple life I felt empowered to try to convince others.....I soon realised that the progress to get others on board with simple changes would not be an easy thing.....however I am noticing now that little by little family and friends are starting to get what I am trying to do (instead of just thinking I've turned into an old hippy !!...who I think had it right all along...)  ....they still stir me up relentlessly but I am noticing at gift giving times a lot more thought has gone into the gifts I receive....and recycled wrapping and brown paper packaging is appearing.....gift experience's such as holiday weekends and theatre tickets are arriving...living gifts like native plants, fruit trees and rose bushes....recycled and fair trade gifts ...friends are consciously adding organics to the meals when we visit....they love receiving my home grown veg and eggs....several of them are keen to start growing their own veggies after seeing my garden beds....perhaps its going to be an evolution not a revolution..!!
A Burt's Bees gift pack and a fancy eco candle...although way to much packaging ...they are on the right track.
Companies sometimes only get it half right....there was a lot of packing containing a beautiful sustainble candle....

I was gifted  2 lovely vintage plates to add to my collection.....I love my mixed up dinner sets.....

  2 beautiful standard roses from my parents....one is called Fathers Love and the other is Grandma's Love....very appropriate I thought....had just the perfect place for them.
A girlfriend knows of my love for organic herbal teas.....handy little gift idea......
It is better to give than receive.....but I am really happy to receive gifts that are not only thoughtful but sustainable and organic....hoping everyone out there gives a thought to not just the gifts they give but also what they receive.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Inspired in April......

I am continually inspired by posts that I read on other women's people's (sorry Gavin) blogs.  I recently read a blog from Kathy where she shared the intimate and painful story of her journey towards living a simple life and I realised that everyone has a starting point at which time they make the decision to change their life......mine began in 2009 when I sat down and took stock of what I wanted to change in my life and then took the steps to introduce them.
My life map from 2009.....it's well travelled but these pencil scratching's were the start of something wonderful...
 We had recently moved to a brand new modern home in Berwick and had a back yard the size of a postage stamp...Like Kathy I started with two little vegie beds and new that I wanted more !!....it wasn't long before I realised that my desire to grow my own vegies, raise chickens and grow fruit trees was not going to be achievable on this little patch of dirt .....so the hunt began to find where it could be achieved....just had to get my man on board !!

My first little vegie garden.....it grew really well but just didn't have enough space for what I dreamed of....
 While in Berwick I learnt how to make my own bread......which was a baby step at the beginning of the journey.....chooks were still just a gleam in my eye....we had about 3 metres of grass in the backyard....would not have made for happy chooks !!

A "no knead" bread making course and I was off ......I now use a bread maker as it is so much easier ...
Amazingly "A slice of organic life" found it's way into both mine and Kathy's life.  I found it in a second hand bookshop read it from cover to cover and knew that is was the lifestyle I wanted ....a couple of books from Jackie French and the plans were beginning to take shape.

After lots of searching and trying to keep within our budget I found the place I was looking for.....the house needed quite a bit of tender loving care and renovation (almost finished)...but a flat block in the hills is a rare find.... Looking back now I think I should have searched for a larger block but I think I was a bit fearful of taking on more than I could chew.....if I only knew how much I would love growing food and raising chooks and living this simple life....would have loved room for livestock....maybe next time !!

I've been here in the hills for just over 2 years now.....I love this life.....simple isn't necessarily easy but it is extremely rewarding....Autumn is beautiful up here...I've just harvested the pumpkins...27 pumpkins should keep us going for quite a while...my man picked up a metre of mushroom compost/soil mix which is patiently waiting for me to top up the garden beds as they empty to prepare them for the new seasons plantings.......who would think a pile of dirt could give me so much joy !!

Mushroom compost and soil mixture ......just sitting there waiting to be put to good use in the garden beds....
 Once the pumpkin patch was cleared of all the dying vines the girls got into it and had a great time digging out all the goodies ....including a big fat earth worm that was about 6inches long...bit of a fight over him...

The feathered girls helping in the garden....one of my fluffy girls also tried to give them a hand....!!

Whatever life you choose to live.... the journey starts with inspiration from those around you.  I love checking in on the blogs I follow and see what everyone has been up to...like minded people travelling a similar path.  Happy trails everyone.