Updates and another weekend

I feel like I’ve been in hiding for the last month. In fact, I pretty much have been. It’s been needed. I am still not back to normal (not that I could really EVER be considered to be normal ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) but I am getting there. I figured though I’ve been appallingly slack on the blogging front and there are several things I need to update on.

Firstly, I blogged about a giveaway that Missus Moonshine was having on her blog where the winner got to choose an outfit from Alicia’s Etsy Shop EvieandLiv. Well, I was the lucky winner of the competition. ๐Ÿ˜€ I chose a lovely upcycyled blanket tunic dress for Allegra which she loves and looks adorable wearing too. ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t taken a picture of her wearing it yet but I shall when next she’s dressed in it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anna the goat is doing well too. She’s plumping up and the round of what may have been mastitis has cleared. She’s producing a little milk which we milk most of it out every few days although not completely. We don’t want her in milk at the moment as we’re trying to dry her off to allow her body to focus on gaining weight. Milk production takes a heavy toll nutrition wise and with her current state of underweight it’s not a burden we’re willing to place on her at the moment. We’re also working to get her into optimal nutrition in order to breed her again, hopefully in a month or two so we want nothing to be taking away from her. She is looking better every day. ๐Ÿ™‚

The gardens aren’t seeing much action at the moment but it doesn’t mean things aren’t growing well. The broad beans have the odd flower although they’re a less than impressive height. I must admit I am disappointed in our crops this last year but I’m also trying to remember that this is purchased compost, our first year of the veggie beds and the soil and the gardens also haven’t had the full benefit of experience and time. However, I have my second cauliflower head forming in the greenhouse. I don’t know that it’s had enough feeding to be honest but we’re learning. My greenhouse spuds are coming up in their cage on top of the citrus bed. Citrus don’t like their roots being disturbed but a cage of spuds grown on the surface doesn’t hurt them and any extra nutrients from the spuds drain through to feed the lemon and mandarin. ๐Ÿ™‚ In the garden beds proper I have 3 beds of garlic all looking healthy and 2 beds of potato onions which also seem to be doing what they’re supposed to. It’s hard to know with them though being an uncommon plant nowadays and also being my first year growing them but all seems well. ๐Ÿ™‚ The traditional onions and leeks are growing somewhat but not enough to make me jump up and down and the broccoli that I planted back when we first moved up here are still just growing away with no sign of heads forming. I’ve left them there in order to see what happens but I’m figuring nothing will happen now. Time for them to feed Anna.

The front gardens have ground to a halt sadly since my last update on them. When Martin was gathering wood from off our block across our creek the other week the chain tightening gizmo from his chainsaw came loose and has taken an extended vacation to the land of missing so we’ve been waiting for a replacement part which has just arrived so here’s hoping we can get some more trees chopped down soon. We’ve decided to forego hugelkulture beds for the rest of the garden this year though simply due to the time required but I think we’re going to do best by buying in straw bales for straw bale garden beds. They will rot down to produce good composted straw for the hugelkultur beds for next year. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ve finally sorted out a way to get our washing dry over winter too. Friends of mine have a drying rack they built that hangs above their wood heater which is on a pulley system and we have blatantly plagiarised the idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰ We have a hexagonal play pen purchased when the kids were little, half of which we use as our fire guard but the remaining pieces have been used as lash up drying racks so we arranged for our builder to hook us up one too. I love it! With the fire roaring we can get jeans all but dry overnight and most other clothes dry faster. The sock hangers I built also allow us to dry our underwear and socks quickly (in the space of an hour if the fire is cranking) so it’s one more use we wring out of the wood we burn. We’re up to 5 uses now (heating the house, heating our hot water, cooking stove top and oven and now clothes drying) so i feel like we really are being conscientious about our fuel usage. Whetherย fossil fuels or not, judicious use of fuels, even the renewable ones, is a wise idea. Trees still take time to reach maturity so it’s not wise to squander that resource. ๐Ÿ™‚

Orik is also now in a big boys bed so I’ve been coming to terms with no longer having a baby. He’s still my snuggle-bug so I’m not struggling too much but for the past 5 years I have had a child under the age of 2 to cuddle so this is an adjustment for me. I’ve packed up the cot and put away the cot sized sheets and blankets. Orik is sharing a room with his big brother so I’ve been packing up the nursery too. I’ve met that last challenge with mixed feelings. On one hand I no longer have a baby but on the other hand I now have a spare room which has been converted into a room for us to do some of our educating. Yes, we are considering homeschooling our children. So this last weekend, whilst Martin sourced firewood from across the creek, I spent my time converting an old cot into a desk and moving furniture around to get a working set up for us. I think I’ve got something I can work with. ๐Ÿ™‚ The cot desk now just needs painting. The top will be painted with blackboard paint and I might see if I can attach a large bulldog clip to one end for a painting easel. We will see. ๐Ÿ™‚

In cleaning this all up I have also been working through more boxes and bags of stuff that’s still unpacked from the move. I’ve a box of books to return to my cousin from when she lived with us over 7 years ago (whoops) and I’ve also come across photos. Several packets thereof. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m trying to figure out what to do with them. Many, like photos from my brothers 21st will be posted on to those for whom they are relevant. Others will be recycled but there are many that I wish to keep for the memories although I definitely have no space for the hard copies. I either need to sit and scan them one by one or find the extra money to pay someone to do that. I have the negatives for most of the pictures too. It sure takes up a bit of space so all I can say is thank goodness for digital mediums and terabyte drives. ๐Ÿ˜‰

We’ve also had to replace the glass on Ignisa. Just another frustrating expense really. I managed to close the door on a large piece of red-gum which broke the glass yesterday evening. Frustrating much? We dug out our electric oil heaters to warm the house and made it through a night that dropped down to around 2C in comfort. The use of electric heating grates at me but it is for only one night and sometimes needs must. Martin had a day off booked and so has changed plans to take the fire-box door up to Ballarat to get the glass fitted. Wood n Energy, through whom we purchased Ignisa repaired the glass whilst we waited to save us the drive up this afternoon to pick it up. Their service has been exemplary I must say and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone in the area looking for a wood stove.

The last lot of news I have is somewhat amusing. Mandy, our female duck had decided to sit eggs again and as I had a dozen in the pantry of her eggs I placed them under her warm feathery derriereย to sit which she did with pleasure. I have however been noticing the eggs disappearing one by one until we h=now have 4 left so it appears we have an egg eater. We’ve increased their food and hopefully we lose no more. However, Miss Mandy decided she wasn’t interested in sitting them any more the other day and deserted her nest. Fortunately for us we’d had a slight misunderstanding with eggs and Martin hadn’t realised that Blackie was once again sitting on some eggs. He brought them inside and it wasn’t until morning that I connected the necessary dots, by which time it was too late for Blackie’s eggs. She decided then to help take over from Mandy so when Mandy ditched her nest, Blackie took over. Another hen had also deposited an egg in the next and since I think they’re due to hatch at similar times, I’ve left it in there so Blackie is sitting on 4 duck eggs and a hen egg. It should be interesting to see what happens when they hatch. ๐Ÿ™‚

Well, it’s time for me to go and get into the day properly. It’s been a slow morning due to a week of very broken sleep as we’ve had a virus through the family this last week resulting in another hospital run with suspected croup last Thursday night I think (not croup, just a nasty chesty cough for Mr Orik which is on the mend), and we haven’t had good sleep since then. ย I hope you all have a productive week and hail the arrival of Spring on Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚

A give away from Missus Moonshine

A lovely blog that I follow Missus Moonshine has a wonderful giveaway and sale on at the moment. For those of you with young children, pop on over and have a look. The link is HERE. ๐Ÿ™‚

Alicia is a thrift shopper who takes wonderful things she finds and gives them a new lease of life in these stunningly beautiful clothes for kids. Those wonderful old dated blankets in their pastel tartans of pinks and greens? How about a gorgeous fully lined winter woolen frock for a little lady, or a button up vest, his and hers available. Old embroidered tablecloth or summer frock. Tea towel vests, upcycled shorts or trousers with darling patterned pockets. Most of her items are upcycled too, saving unwanted items from landfill, giving these dated treasures a new lease of life and creating one off custom pieces to make a child most unique. I mean, what’s not to love? ๐Ÿ˜€

Oh and they are also doing their part to live a simpler, greener life. ๐Ÿ™‚

Please pop over and have a look. ๐Ÿ™‚

A sunshiney day

I’ve been nominated for a sunshine award. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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

The questions:

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

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

3. What is your favorite animal?ย 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?ย I would have to say 6pm when my husband gets home. ๐Ÿ˜›

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?ย Does sleeping count? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would have to say gardening probably now.

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

9. What is your favorite flower?ย I adore gardenia and freesia but my all time favourite is the erlicheerย daffodil. Good think I have over 300 bulbs planted then isn’t it. ๐Ÿ˜€

10. What is your passion?ย 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 ofย our neighbour when we move is really cool too. ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ofย 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.

 

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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. ๐Ÿ˜€