I think I’m back

Wow, it’s been ages since I disappeared off-line. Nearly a month! And no, I’ve not been without a laptop that entire time but it has taken some time to get things up and working again. Not that we’re there entirely yet either. 😦 Continue reading

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Sustainable House Tour for Eastern Suburbs Permaculture Group – The Greening of Gavin

Sustainable House Tour for Eastern Suburbs Permaculture Group – The Greening of Gavin.

If you’re part of a sustainable group in Melbourne and after a group excursion or some inspiration I can’t recommend visiting Gav more highly. His garden is a huge inspiration for all things eco, recycled and green.

Cheese – the taste test

I bought myself a cheese kit last year for my birthday gift from my mother and mother-in-law. It’s been sitting there since October, untouched aside from being unpacked from the bag in which it arrived and packed into a tub for safe keeping. Not good enough. 😦 This year is all about doing things and following through on plans. 🙂 Continue reading

Cup Day in the sun

Melbourne Cup Day, the first Tuesday in November is a special day for those in the Melbourne metropolitan area as it’s a public holiday. The only one in the second half of the year (nothing between the Queens birthday weekend and Christmas) thanks to Show Day holiday in September being canned. 😦

Many people take the Monday off work to make it a 4 day weekend and that’s what Martin did. We’ve spent the weekend preparing for snake season and clearing away the wood piles and branches littering the front and back gardens. Tuesday however I had the invitation to spend some time visiting a friend and fellow blogger Lynda from Living in the Land of Oz fame. I left home not long before 10, arriving in time for a cuppa and to meet Lynda’s lovely sister and her sisters gorgeous grand kids. They headed out for a tour-de-parks and Lynda and I headed out to the gardens to hear their plans and ideas for transforming more of their garden into a food production paradise. Something new here, more gardens there, and some fun ideas over there too. All I can say is watch her blog space. 🙂

First stop after the patio area was to a small rather large treat saved for me and protected by a punnet placed on top. A strawberry of rather generous proportions, almost glowing in its delicious ripeness, sending out its siren scent of freshness and all with my name on it! I picked it, photographed it and munched it. Mmmmmm 🙂

This is the strawberry that Lynda grew.

This is the strawberry that Lynda grew.

On to the other beds which I admired with nothing feigned. Lynda has great gardens and will have a great crop to harvest over the Summer and into Autumn for sure. 🙂 Lynda’s overall garden space was much smaller than I’d thought based upon the photos I’ve seen which makes it even more impressive to see what produce comes from her garden, what massive veggies and how many self seeded plants (weeds if you like ;)) in her beds too.

Lunch was delicious with chicken meatballs, lamb chops, potato salad and cooked tomatoes, ginger beer to wash it down and great conversation and laughs with which to enjoy it all. It was a delicious lunch and I had a lovely time. 😀

Never give up hope. This is the lesson I've learned in the garden of late. I replanted this rose bush even though I thought it likely to be dead (I did prune it rather hard) and it's done little since... Until now. I can't wait to see flowers.

Never give up hope. This is the lesson I’ve learned in the garden of late. I replanted this rose-bush even though I thought it likely to be dead (I did prune it rather hard) and it’s done little since… Until now. I can’t wait to see flowers.

Sadly I had a bit of a time limit on my visit. I couldn’t leave Martin with a list of jobs a mile long and 3 kids, all with colds, for the entire day. We loaded up all the gifts Lynda had for me. I’d dug out all her weeds (self seeded tomato plants ;)) to plant in my own gardens, loaded in a generously gifted Lemon Balm in a pot, a set of draws with shelves above, spring onion seeds and a huge bag of old towels and sheets for me to upcycle into kids pajamas and reusable “paper” towels and the like. 😀 All I had taken down was a carton of eggs, sadly not even full. 😦 Lousy swap on Lynda’s side of things hey. 😦

A watermelon! I figured none of the seeds would grow but waddaya know! Maybe there are more awaiting optimal conditions. :)

A watermelon! I figured none of the seeds would grow but waddaya know! Maybe there are more awaiting optimal conditions.

So, loaded up I headed off, this time to Melton to visit with Gav and Kim. I had a few things to pick up from them including cheese kit gear (curd nerd-ville here I come :D) and it was a nice day to have a cool drink poolside. Sadly I couldn’t spend the time I would have liked with my friends as I was already later than I had planned getting home, so I bid them farewell and headed off home.

Arriving home I discovered my amazing husband had cleaned the kitchen, washed all the dishes and was working his way through the vacuuming! Well impressed. 😀 And grateful too. 🙂

This is the strawberry that I grew. Divided into 4 (a slice each for the kids and I) it didn't go very far but oh my the taste was divine!

This is the strawberry that I grew. Divided into 4 (a slice each for the kids and I) it didn’t go very far but oh my the taste was divine! Bit smaller than the whopper Lynda grew and saved for me.

We finished off mulching the branches (thanks to our handyman) and Martin spent some more time sawing up the wood pile until a part went missing from the chainsaw (seriously, power tools in our house cause more angst than anything :() and although I wouldn’t say we’re exactly snake proofed I know we’ve put in 4 solid days of attending to and dealing with much of what we needed to around the garden. 🙂

I thought I’d share this idea I’ve had with you all. I’ve been addressing my perceptions of things. Snakes, sharks, carnivorous dinosaurs (Jas is right into dinosaurs at the moment) have an image of being evil but they’re not really. They do what they do because that’s what they do, nothing more. A snake will bite if it feels threatened. Some more so than others (brown snakes are rather aggressive) but they are not evil because of that. It’s taking some time to adjust my thinking on this but we do now live in the country and I guess every area has its risks. Country locations have their snakes, the city has its traffic. Some areas are prone to storms, others to long hot dry summers, others to monsoonal rains and cyclones and many of our beaches are visited by sharks, including those that will eat people. It’s about recognising this and adjusting ones thinking to fit in with Mother Nature, not expecting her to fit in with us. Sure I can do my best to snake proof our property (and I will) but I don’t have the right to expect never to see a snake. 🙂

Does that make sense?

What does the future hold?

Several posts on blogs I follow have really got me thinking of late, about what the future will hold. Gavin from the Greening of Gavin had a dream which he wrote out and shared as a short story (read it here) which really struck a deep chord with me. Thanks Gav! And today, I made a conscious decision to try to live some of that dream. Continue reading

A sunshiney day

I’ve been nominated for a sunshine award. 😀

What a lovely surprise. I can tell you as I read through Suburban Simplicity‘s post the last thing I expected to find was my name on the list of recipients! Bit of an honour there aye. 😀

So, without further ado, here are the questions the recipients must answer.

The questions:

1. Who is your favorite philosopher? I can’t actually say that I have one.

2. What is your favorite number?  13 for sure.

3. What is your favorite animal? I adore chickens. Big fluffy black chickens most of all. My first chicken was a black chook, probably an Australorp called Higgy.

4. What are your Facebook and Twitter? I neither Tweet (never have) nor Facebook (any more) and my life is simpler because of it.

5. What is your favorite time of day? I would have to say 6pm when my husband gets home. 😛

6. What was your favourite holiday? Definitely our big Europe holiday where we flew to the UK via Bangkok, bought a car in the UK, drove around Britain, through Wales, caught the ferry to Ireland, then back, drove to Scotland then to a wedding in Newcastle, drove down to Newhaven and caught the ferry to France, drove through France, Italy, Austria, Germany, back through France and back to London again. We then flew home via Hong Kong where my then boyfriend proposed to me. It was a magical holiday of 8 amazing weeks.

7. What is your favorite physical activity? Does sleeping count? 😉 I would have to say gardening probably now.

8. What is your favorite non-alcoholic drink? A homemade hot cacao with rapadura sweetening. I don’t drink alcohol any more.

9. What is your favorite flower? I adore gardenia and freesia but my all time favourite is the erlicheer daffodil. Good think I have over 300 bulbs planted then isn’t it. 😀

10. What is your passion? At the moment it’s all things hippy. Blogging, baking, finding better foods for my family and their health and buying organic.

Now, for people I nominate…

In no particular order…

The Tropical Hippy – An old friend and new blogger who is also making the change to a more sustainable lifestyle for her family. She’s a big inspiration to me and a great friend besides.

Birth Without Fear – If not for the amazing information and general support, I am not sure I would have birthed Orik at home and I would have missed out on one of the most amazing and incredibly empowering experiences of my life. The support offered here is for all birthing ways. Yes, there is an emphasis on natural birth but their main objective is to educate women to understand birth and to make educated choices rather than blind trust in the medical profession which does not always have only the best interests of mum and bub at heart.

Greening of Gavin – An incredibly inspiring and informative blog about Gavin who had an epiphany and changed his whole lifestyle to one of sustainable practices and environmental awareness. Reading about his journey and everything that he achieves has given me many ideas and a LOT of inspiration for our own lifestyle. Knowing that he will soon become almost kind of our neighbour when we move is really cool too. 😀

Milkwood Permaculture – A great place to learn about permaculture principles.

Living the Good Life – Linda Cockburn and her family’s story of going off grid entirely for 12 months absolutely blew my mind! The things they did, the achievements and the goals reached are just incredible and their ongoing journey since then has been amazing to follow. This blog has probably been one of the most instrumental blogs I have read to inspire my own journey to the green side of life.

The Eco Mum – How many emails have I sent this incredible woman asking for herbal advice? She has greatly inspired me into stepping away from conventional medications and looking for natural herbal and homeopathic treatments for our ailments. Her essential balm is liquid gold and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Check her out for sure, particularly her Facebook page.

The Road to Serendipity – A blog I am just new to following but I feel I’ve found another mentor to add to my list of enviro mentors. I know who I will be asking advice from should I ever decide to try grafting and I love when I wake up in the morning after posting a blog post as I know there is always a wonderful comment from her. I’ve learned to keep my phone on silent though as she rises a wee bit earlier (read at least 2 hours before) I do. 😉 

Natural New Age Mum – A wonderful blog with a broad range of ideas to help live a more natural life. Her blog covers all sorts of topics and as a Thermy owner her recipes are also shared in Thermy terms as well as normal. Makes life MUCH easier. 🙂

The Prairie Homestead – Another great blog with a heap of wonderful and practical ideas for simple frugal and sustainable living.

Missus Moonshine – Alicia’s blog is about their family and life of sewing, gardening, soap making, homemaking and parenting whilst living the city homestead lifestyle. Her thrift shop upcycled kids clothing is absolutely divine as is their garden.

 

🙂 🙂 🙂

So, for those that have been nominated, to pass on the award you need to in turn nominate 10 people and link to their post. Don’t forget to let them know you’ve nominated them too. Then just answer the questions and pass on the love. 😀

 

A Day of Community

What a wonderful day! Actually, I’d go so far as to say spectacular!  And I’m not just referring to the amazing weather we had today. It started off a little cool and overcast but the wonderful sunshine, even though the day was apparently not particularly warm, was heavenly. Possibly a little too heavenly given the rose in my cheeks. Hmmm.

No, today was spectacular partly because it was Sustainable House Day. This is definitely something I aspire to be a part of in years to come. Being able to open my house to those curious to come and see what steps can be taken towards self sustainability, a lighter carbon footprint and how much we can actually do ourselves. At the moment though all I could show is a pantry of greatly depleted food stocks and some nappies of the compostable variety (clean ones as I’m sure dirty nappies aren’t particularly all that appealing to see). Maybe next year. Or the year after. No, today for us was an opportunity to meet one of my inspirations, a family who have taken the steps and made the changes we are planning to make. Gavin from The Greening of Gavin and Little Green Cheese fame had opened his house up to the public, along with many others, and we made the journey out to Melton to be inspired. And inspired I was! He has turned his unproductive lawns into a sustainable and productive garden that is also practical and very beautiful. A chicken palace, well designed irrigated or self watering garden beds, solar power, hybrid car and much much more, his home is a testament to dedication, thought, planning and belief as well as a lot of hard work. Gavin, you have definitely motivated me!

From here we had planned to see a second house in Mt Egerton, a town close to Ballan but when we got there we had 2 sleeping children so rang a lovely couple we had met in Ballan on the day of the auction and organised to meet up for a cuppa and a chat. They too have made the tree change from Melbourne and are in the process of turning their short-stay caravan park Phoenix Park into “an ecovillage full of creative centres and community gardens”. You can imagine the conversations we had. Our children ran off their pent up energy whilst we made some new friends and shared our dreams and visions.

We also popped in and did a wee bit of pruning at the new house which also involved a good old chinwag over the back fence with our soon to be new neighbours. They have 4 little calves mowing the grass in the paddock directly behind our block which is going to add to the charm of the new house as I can see them from my kitchen window.

We didn’t get to our plans to tidy up the front garden or finishing cleaning up our current house but sometimes a good conversation, a cup of tea and bucket loads of inspiration are just more important.