31 August 2012

Another update on Hanno

He waited to go to the OT all day yesterday, complaining how hungry and thirsty he was. They took him in at 4.30pm, the doctor looked at his blood test results and they postponed the surgery until this morning. I didn't tell you all yesterday but he's been taking Warfarin, which, of course, made the bleeding after the accident much worse than it would have been. The test result showed his blood was much too thin for an operation. They gave him an injection of vitamin K to reverse the Warfarin and he went back to the ward and had something to eat. He's scheduled for OT this morning. If everything goes to plan today, I think he may come home on Saturday.

Everything is good here. The kids have been wonderful. Jens came over yesterday, cleaned up the tree that had been cut down and took it all away. The others have planned to visit when he comes home from hospital. Last night I took the phone into the bed room and then slept for nine hours straight.

Hanno didn't want to look at the iPad yesterday but I told him about your messages of love and support. He was really touched and he asked me to send his thanks to all of you. It's a strange thing, isn't it. Although we know and have met quite a few of you, most we only know through your words here. Some said they were commenting for the first time, even though they've read here for years. It's incredible how we feel connected to all of you and from the response to this, that feeling seems to be felt by you too. Thank you, from Hanno and I, for helping us get through this. Reading your comments has help lift me up at the end of two very tough days. I am sure I have the most loving and supportive readers in the blogosphere.

30 August 2012

Hanno - update

There is no easy way to tell you this. Hanno had an accident with the chain saw yesterday and is in hospital. He'll have surgery today. I'll update you when I can. I'll be back to the blog when I can.

UPDATE 9am
Hanno has severed some tendons that attach his thumb to his arm. He's got a gaping cut down to the bone from the base of his thumb to about a quarter the way up his arm, and a few gouges out of his fingers. No bones broken. They've replaced the ambulance dressing with a sterile dressing but haven't done anything else. He's waiting to go to surgery. The doctor said he'll have two procedures - one to wash out the wound (it's got bits of dirt and junk in it) and the other to do the repair work.

Phew. That was a close one. When I heard him screaming out to me, I knew something terrible had happened and when I ran out, he was standing on the verandah holding his arm, blood was gushing out and his jeans were soaked. I thought he'd cut off his hand because I couldn't see it. I sat him down, raced in and grabbed some clean tea towels and wrapped them tightly around the wound. Then I saw his hand was still there and elevated his arm. Ran inside again and rang 000, two ambulances came, one with a doctor on board.

When I left the hospital last night he was sitting up eating a sandwich!!!  I'm just about to go back to the hospital, I'll take the ipad with me and he may be able to read all your comments. Thanks so much for them. Thanks also to Rose who just rang.  I'll update again later. But don't worry, apart from being sore and sorry, and not being able to use his arm for 6-8 weeks, I think he will be okay. Although he doesn't have a chain saw anymore.

29 August 2012

The temptation to spend

Travelling around as we have this past year, we're met hundreds of people and thoroughly enjoyed the experienced. Many of the conversations we've had have been filed away and some I'm still thinking about. Having contact with people we don't know has been such a stimulus for me because I'm hearing the thoughts of people of all ages who crave simple life and want to talk about it. Most of the questions are along the lines of starting the process of simple life, many are about the practicalities of recipes or producing vegetables, bread, soap and other household commodities. However, sometimes a statement or question surprises me and I keep thinking about it.



One recent statement surprised me but when I thought about it later, I wondered why it had. It fits perfectly into how we live now. Like it or not, we live in a materialistic culture and frugality is usually only spoken about by those living it. I had a conversation with a delightful woman who is well and truly on her way to an enriching and wholesome rural life, but she didn't start out that way. She told me: "We had never thought about saving before I read your book. We didn't think it was important."

It is. It is the key.

I have no doubt that this woman was taught the value of a saved dollar by her parents but the trouble is that even though many of us learn thrift when we're children, we unlearn it when we're in our teens and twenties. Then, although we think we're rebellious and pioneering our own trail, we're actually conforming to what our peers are doing - and mostly, that is spending.



Here is a quick list that would be a good starting point on your road to financial freedom:
  • Stop spending on non-essentials.
  • Use cash only - it feels like real spending as you have less and less cash in your purse.
  • Make your own cleaning products. It's cheaper, you'll get better products and it's much healthier. Make your own laundry liquid. It works! Many people have told me on my travels that they had thought about using it for a long time before they made their first batch but the results were great and they wished they hadn't waited so long. Make your own laundry liquid.
  • Stop buying food and buy ingredients instead. Cooking from scratch will save money and help you reduce the amount of artificial additives you eat.
  • Draw up a budget so you know how much you have to spend on living expenses such as food, rent/mortgage, transport, health, entertainment, grooming and clothing at the level expected in your job.   Thrift and The Plan
  • Stop using disposables. Read about it here.
  • Shop at secondhand shops and garage sales.
  • Check if you can lower the cost of your phone, internet, insurance and any other recurring costs. Do a review of these now and repeat it every 12 months.
  • Make a conscious effort to cut down your usage of electricity and water.
I would be very interested in reading your ideas about saving too.


So yes, saving is important. It can help give you a life free from the anxiety that goes along with over-spending and the debt that results from it. Always remember that a saved dollar is better than an earned dollar. You won't pay tax on a saved dollar. Also, if you're tempted to buy something you know you don't need but really want, think of how many hours you'd have to work to earn the money to buy it. Are those new shoes worth four of your life hours?


The temptation to spend is always in the background ready to spring on you. I'm still temped to spend occasionally and I have to fight it. And even when you've paid off your debt and have a few spare dollars, instead of spending, think about cutting back on the amount of paid work you do. Gaining a good work-life balance, where you have more time to do what you love, will enrich your life more than any trip to the mall.

28 August 2012

Permaculture Noosa visit

It's not often you have a crowd of people turn up to look over your garden but that is what happened here last Sunday. Permaculture Noosa came to look at our garden. They were such a lovely group of people from a very strong permaculture group that supports and encourages Permaculture and organic gardening in a domestic and community setting.

Here is the group at the tea table. President Judith is the woman with the grey scarf and Jacki, is next to her in the check jumper.

President Judith Anderson asked me if they could come for a look when I spoke at their meeting a few months back. It seemed like such a long away in the future when I said yes, and the day arrived sooner than I expected but it was a true delight. The group looked around the garden and the chook house and then we settled in on the verandah in the shade for morning tea and a chat.

Morning tea time.

I had baked scones and two of the ladies brought cakes - a carrot cake and an orange cake. The scones were eaten with homemade strawberry jam and Maleny cream which, by the look of it, every one enjoyed. Afterwards I spoke about our simple lives and as I had already made a loaf of bread, I used that as my prop and talked about five minute bread.

Organisations such as Permaculture Noosa support experienced gardeners but they're also a great way to get into backyard vegetable production. One of my favourite bloggers, Karen at Gooseberry Jam told me her cousin Jacki would be one of the visitors and sure enough, Jacki and husband Andrew came along with their two children. She told me she joined the group so she can learn as much as possible about gardening while they're still in their suburban home, and, of course, that is just the way to do it. She's picked a great group of mentors. There must be something in the water at those Gooseberry Jam homes because Jacki is just as delightful as her cousin and we hit it off straight away. All in all it was a good day, although Hanno was suffering from vertigo and had to sit on the verandah watching the action. 

I think I inherited the love of gardening from my mother because she was a keen gardener but I learned mainly by trial and error and from reading books to correct my mistakes. But having said that I've had a vegie garden for over 30 years and I'm still learning. I doubt you ever stop.

When did you start gardening? Do you have any groups in your community that support experienced and inexperienced gardeners?

27 August 2012

Sorting the wheat from the chaff

I read a wonderful post over at innerpickle on Saturday and it kept returning to me during the day. I love writing that makes me think and the question innerpickle posed to me was "what changed you?" I guess you could argue that everything changes you and certainly I am changed in subtle ways every day. So what, of the hundreds of things I do every day - which of those have made me a different person. Here is my list ...

Living in my home has changed me more than anything else in recent years. I don't mean just having this house as my address, I mean that I spend my time here, I work here, I give it my attention and energy. Home is where I feel comfortable and safe. I have tried to turn my home onto a productive space. I think about what I used to buy, and have taught myself enough to cut down on groceries, clothes and furnishings and make a lot of it instead. I also think in my home. I spend time every day thinking about what I'm doing, and that process slowed me down to notice the beauty of domestic life.




Being married changed me. I knew when I married that it would be a once only thing. For me, divorce was not an option. I knew that on day one, I know it now. And it's for no particular reason other than  when I said "I do", I meant it. And I chose well, I knew that before the "I do". We have had our ups and downs but the certainty of this marriage was not a burden, it gave me confidence and a sure and steady path. When I had doubts about so many other things, I always had that certainty. I know that all my decisions incorporate two, they don't mean just me, and sometimes that means a compromise. Those compromises changed me too. I'm not saying that Hanno and I were joined at the hip, we're both very independent people, but our commitment is absolute and that made all the difference.


But the thing that changed me more than anything else was being a mother to Shane and Kerry. I didn't think it would. I thought it would be just another stage in life but the changes it brought me were the most powerful and significant. I knew that when my sons did certain things so that I would be proud of them that I had to do that for them too. I knew I had to be a good role model and if I wanted them to be generous, kind, tender, self confident, smart and independent, that I had to be as well. That changed me from being self-indulgent and selfish to something more open and accepting. It matured me. I guess it was my, and our, most important work - to show those two beautiful boys how to be good and decent men. It certainly was the most difficult of my changes but also the most joyous and enriching.


There are many other important changes that I could write about. Changes that were alarming and overwhelming as well as tiny subtle changes that only I know about. I know for sure that change is a healthy part of life and sometimes what you believe to be a positive change, or a negative, turns out to be the opposite. It is interesting for me now at this later stage of life to look back and sort the wheat from the chaff.  But now I'm interested in what changed you?

24 August 2012

Weekend reading

Blogs from readers who have commented here during the week...
  1. I absolutely adore this idea. Real birthday parties on the farm
  2. I have met Linda and I think I've featured her blog before. It's a good one.
  3. Farm Fancies - there is some delicious looking cooking here.
And...

Thank you for your visits this week. It's been a busy one here, but things are starting to slow down again. I hope you can relax and do something you love over the weekend.  See you soon.



23 August 2012

Organised chaos in the garden

Hanno had surgery on his eye, had a checkup yesterday and he's fine now. He just has to take it easy and not do any dirty or dusty work for a little while. He asked me to thank you all for the good wishes sent to him. I thank you too.  :- )

..............

We're really lucky to have the opportunity to grow some of our food right outside our backdoor. All of us who grow what we can in the space we have available, including those who grow in containers, we're all fortunate to be able to do it. Of course, work comes into the equation too - the work you need to do to get your own land, the work you do to grow the vegetables and to harvest them. But most of us love getting our hands dirty so that we get the chance, a few times a week, to walk inside with a harvest basket full of fresh produce for the dinner table.











We all garden in different ways - and that difference is usually brought about by the climate we live in. Hanno and I live in a sub-tropical climate with excellent rainfall. One of the reasons we chose to live here is because we knew we could grow food most of the year. As a result of that we garden in a different way to people down south and in other lands where the coldness of winter means that nothing can be grown then. In those circumstances, the main effort is put in during the warmer months, there is a definite harvest time and, most of the time, the excess is frozen, or put up in jars and bottles in the form of sauces, jams, fruit and vegetables that are stored in a cupboard for use during the colder months.

As I said, we're lucky here in that we can grow food all year, although we choose not to grow much in summer. There are too many bugs then and the heat keeps us inside, or at least in the shade. We keep harvesting a few odds and ends over summer but we stop planting in November and start again in March - the start of Autumn. This way of growing food requires us to fill the spaces left after the harvest of a crop, or just pop in a plant or two when we remove a tomato bush or cabbage. We start off in March with neat and tidy rows of lettuces and cabbages all lined up, which Hanno likes, and as the seasons progress we are left with organised chaos, which I like. As there is a lot of fresh food throughout the year, we tend to freeze small amounts of excess vegetables, like spinach, chard, carrots and beans, and make sauces and jams when we have an over abundance of fruit.

We're at a sort of half mast stage at the moment. We were late in planting this year, and then the rains came, killing off the seedlings, and now we still have the peas, cabbages and lettuces of winter, while we're planting eggplant, tomatoes, chillies and herbs - all the plants that love the heat.

I am always aware that not everyone has the gift of fresh food - some can't garden due to ill health or time constraints and some don't have the land. I am aware also of the millions who struggle everyday to have even one meal. So when I walk inside with my harvest basket full, knowing what I've just picked will be in the salad bowl soon, or served, steaming, with some roast chicken, I remember how lucky we are.  Lucky because we live in a country that rewards hard work; lucky because we were able to work all those years to save enough to buy a block of land to live on; lucky we have enough to share, and grateful that we do not take the opportunities we have for granted.

On the weekend, we have the good folk from Permaculture Noosa coming over to look around our garden so tomorrow I'll be out there putting on some mulch, and watering. Hanno is still out of action for the next day or so but he'll be out there with me, so it will be a joint effort.  What's happening in your garden?

20 August 2012

The common sense alternative

On Saturday, Hanno and I drove out west to the beautiful little town of Bell where we spent the day with a room full of people who live like we do, or are making their first steps towards it. We baked in the morning - yoghurt scones, buttermilk scones and five minute bread, and made cold processed soap after lunch. The organisers, Karen, Annette and Kate, who run Pips n Cherries, the cafe and hall where we met, gave us a very pretty and spacious place to work and put on a delicious morning tea and lunch. It was our second workshop in Bell and this one was just as rewarding as the first one. Hanno and I have a soft spot in our hearts for Bell and her people.

I love presenting these workshops because it helps others gain the skill set they need to simply their lives, it connects all of us so we're reminded that even though we're all working in our own individual homes, that we're linked by our values and hopes. When you're working against what is seen as "normal" it helps to know you're not alone.  I also think it is the responsibility of all of us to share what we know and to spread the word about this enriching and self-affirming way of life.

There were little posies of flowers on the tables at Bell. Karen gave me this little bunch to bring home - they're roses, jonquils and lavender.

I'm not sure if simple living people are, by nature, generous, or if generous people are attracted towards simple life, but I do know that wherever we go we are given gifts to bring home. Bell was no exception. Margaret, who I first met in Toowoomba, came along with a yoghurt maker to be given away. Last time we went to Bell, we took along books, magazines, organic knitting cotton and soap to give away. It was for no particular reason other than I had enough of these things at home, so why not share it. Margaret's generosity carried that on. Along with the yoghurt maker, she had made me a little tea cup mat and the materials to make one for Hanno, and some vintage and lacy materials for Sarndra for her baby sewing. Thanks Margaret, it was lovely to catch up with you again and to meet your daughter.


Also at the workshop were a group of ladies from Toowoomba who are forming a group called Simple Living Toowoomba. They'll be doing a series of life skills workshops that I'm sure many in Toowoomba will benefit from. I'll pass on the details of those workshops when they happen.

Yesterday afternoon, the gardener and his assistant have a rest under the elderberry tree.

It's really wonderful that all these ripples are going out from one person to the next. It is vital we tell our family and friends what we're doing because it shows there is an common sense alternative to consumerism that many people are very comfortable living with. I know from talking to many people over the past few months, particularly the younger folk, that what we are doing is seen as a kind of gentle revolution. And it can be that for many, but for me, and probably for many other older folk, it is just common sense and a beautiful and meaningful way to live that we forgot about for a while.

Do you tell your friends and family about your changes? If you don't, think about doing it because it can be a way to open up new possibilities for others and for you to talk about your life changes in a way that may make a real difference to others.

PS: Hanno will be having surgery again tomorrow so I'll be back later in the week when he's back on his feet again.

17 August 2012

Weekend reading



FROM OUR MOB - from the comments in the past week

The weather is starting to change here - going from cold to cool; soon it will be warm again. I hope you're enjoying your season and that whatever you do this weekend, you do it with those you love. Have a lovely weekend. I'll see you next week.

16 August 2012

Vegetable soup with meatballs

We're making the most of the end of winter here. Our first day of spring is 1 September, already the days are warming up but the nights are still cold. Soon they'll even out and we'll be looking for cool drinks and throwing open the windows. Tonight I wanted to make a nourishing soup, that didn't cost too much, and would serve us well for a few nights. We're going out to Bell again on Saturday so this soup will be sitting in the fridge awaiting our return. A soup like this is the perfect warming meal to quickly heat up after a full day's work.


It's a beef and vegetable soup with herb meatballs. It probably cost about ten dollars to make but it will feed the two of us until at least Saturday, with a two litre container in the freezer for a couple of meals next week. It's certainly economical, I hope it tastes as good as it looks. I will have tasted it before I post this blog so I'll give you my honest appraisal. UPDATE: Hanno said: "this is a very good soup", I loved it - it's got a good herb and vegetable taste and is not overpowered by the meat.

Start with a good beef stock that you can make with beef bones. I had some good marrow bones in the freezer so I used them. As they slowly simmer in their broth, the marrow oozes out and dissolves into the broth. It's one of the reasons it tastes so good and is so nourishing. I added the bones to a large stockpot of water with salt and pepper, half a teaspoon of paprika, onions, bay leaf and one cup of washed barley. That needs to come up to the boil and then to slowly simmer for about two hours.  Discard the bay leaf and bones and if you have chooks, give them to the chooks. They'll strip them bare and get a good boost of protein in the process. Make sure there are no pieces of fat or gristle floating in your soup.

Now choose your vegetables. If you're growing your own, pick them fresh and either slice, dice or grate whatever you have on hand. If you are cleaning out your fridge, slice, dice or grate whatever you want to use up. If you're buying vegetables especially for this soup, buy root vegetables - these are the traditional vegetables for winter soups. 

In our soup I've included onions, celery, swede (rutabaga), turnip, parsley, carrots and a small amount of garlic. I usually would have included parsnips but they're too expensive at the moment so they missed the boat. All the vegetables are prepared and sliced, then added to the soup. Cook the vegetables while you prepare the meatballs.


Next I add some meatballs. The inclusion of the meatballs gives the meat eaters their hit of protein while being a part of a meal that is mainly vegetables, barley and stock. If you have a family who don't like vegetable soup, or who say "where's the meat?" this version of an old favourite might get them interested.  To make the meatballs, finely chop one onion and some parsley, blitz two slices of stale bread to make breadcrumbs, add two eggs, salt and pepper and 500grams/ one pound of minced beef. With clean hands, mix all this together well and form into balls the size of a walnut.  They will cook in about ten minutes so when the vegetables are almost cooked, turn down the heat, add the meatballs and let the soup slowly cook for about 15 - 20 minutes.  When it's all cooked, taste for seasoning, you'll probably have to add more salt and pepper.

It certainly is nutritious and it will blend into your meal rotation as one of those cheaper meals that you can stretch out for days, or use for lunch the following day. I hope you enjoy it.

..................

Just a little heads up for people living on the Sunshine Coast. We have our car serviced at the local Landsborough Mechanical. Hanno, who is a former mechanic himself, highly recommends this fellow who used to work in one of the big dealerships on the coast but bought his own smaller workshop here several years ago. His prices are excellent, he's honest and reliable an his customer service is better than most. He's definitely worth a try.  The phone number is 5494 1092.

BTW, he doesn't know I'm writing this and has not asked for any favours. I doubt he even knows I have a blog.
....................

Hanno and I will be out at Bell for a workshop this Saturday from 9.30am till 3.00 pm. There are a couple of spots left if you want to come out for a great day in the country and see how to make buttermilk scones, yoghurt scones, five minute bread and olive oil soap. We'd love to meet you. The cost is $50 which includes the workshop, a delicious homemade morning tea and lunch.  Phone 07 4663 1184 to book a place.

15 August 2012

Life satisfaction and constant contentment

I have been reminded of a beautiful part of simple life that over the past few months I hadn't thought about much. I've been mentoring a young woman who left work two years ago, she gave up a career in law, and settled down, very happily, at home with her partner and young children. I met her when she came to the neighbourhood centre for one of my workshops and have seen her on and off whenever she came in for a chat. Early on I showed her how to make soap and bread, I encouraged her to knit and sew and I challenged her to find as much satisfaction in her home life as she did in her career. Yesterday she came to tell me she is there. She found satisfaction and enrichment and for her, there is no going back.

Our washing up doesn't look much like anyone else's, there are usually a lot of jars and strainers.

I don't understand why working at home is seen as dull compared to working in a job or developing a career. Homemakers stay at home for a variety of reasons that sometimes revolve around children and sometimes don't. They know that by reducing the desire for excess acquisition, by shopping wisely and being productive at home, the cost of living is reduced - and then you can pay off debt faster or you don't have to earn as much. Job satisfaction for stay at home mums, mums running a business at home, traditional and radical homemakers, retirees and young couples who have a less conventional work-life balance - is rarely written about, yet many of us experienced it every day and it keeps us going.


I know that when I spend a day tidying my home, getting tasks done, creating comfortable spaces, knitting, sewing, or getting a casserole or soup ready for the evening meal, nothing beats the feeling of enrichment I get from just being there and doing it. I just know that this is right for me. I feel I'm increasing my self reliance and that on the day when I choose these activities, even if they're repetitive and might have to be done again tomorrow, I am giving a gift to myself and my family just by doing it.

Jamie exploring the garden and having a snack.


Making things we need, like soap, cleaners, bread, jam, sauce and jumpers, quilts and baby clothes make me feel I'm worth something, that what I know is valuable and that I haven't sacrificed my life skills for the sake of convenience. When I do these things, and much more, I know that I can do for myself and my family, that I don't have to rely on buying these goods from a shop, and if I continue to do that, we will not only get by, but thrive. Any work that you find meaningful - either paid or in your own home, done with love and appreciation for the opportunity, settles on your heart and nourishes your soul. My days are filled with days like that and the satisfaction it brings threads its way through my weeks and turns into constant contentment. Of course, not every day is wonderful. There are days when I spill, burn and forget but those days just remind me that nothing is perfect and highlight the good days even more.

Alex watching Chico.

I think the key to finding satisfaction at home and in housework is to dive right into it. Think about what you're trying to accomplish, work out long term and short term goals and then make a plan to carry out your wishes. Work to a routine, take it seriously and know that if you do it well, the rewards will be there for the taking. Think about the skills you have to learn, and learn them. Set yourself challenges - such as "reduce the grocery bill this week by $25" or "make laundry liquid and do a one month trial of it". If you don't know where to start, start with what you need to know first. So if you want to have the family sit down together to a good home cooked meal every night, but you don't know how to cook, teach yourself and get better every week. If you've left work to have a baby, start with preparing homemade baby requirements - teach yourself from books or the web, or ask other modern cloth and natural living mothers - they will share and, I hope, encourage you. None of us is born ready to cook or sew - these are learned skills. You will challenge yourself to learn these things, to keep at it until you become competent, but even the challenge of the tasks will improve you, make you more resilient and tougher.

Sugar snap peas.

There will be things you can't do well or you don't enjoy, accept that and move on, there will be so many other things you will  be good at - concentrate on them and when you've worked well on general housework, go back to the difficult things. You might find that your general skill level and confidence have risen enough for you to take on your former difficult tasks successfully.

But never give up. Never, ever give up.


You do have to try, put in the time and effort - nothing good comes easily. We all need to work for what we want and instead of thinking that it's all too difficult, start at the beginning and move slowly ahead. That is how I started, it's how most of us do it. Forget instant gratification - nothing worthwhile is instant. Satisfaction builds gradually, along with your skill level and what you'll develop that into is a life worth living. You have it in your power to make your family life wonderful. I love listening to people talk about their childhood in reverent tones. It may not have been easy but those who can say they love their family and have fond memories of home have those memories because someone knew it was important enough to work for. And always in the background there would have been that life satisfaction and constant contentment. It is there waiting for you too, although it is one of the many things not available at any shop or mall. These precious commodities are home-made and hand-produced and available to all of us who put in the work and then slow down enough to appreciate them.

14 August 2012

Free or open source software

I'm having a few problems getting myself back to posting. I'll be back properly tomorrow, in the mean time, let's work on this software list. I think it will help many of us.

I've been designing a few things here lately and although I have used Photoshop in the past, now I rely on open source software or freeware. I was thinking about this today and wondered what other great open source software is out there. Most of us know of Linux and Firefox but have you heard of Gimp? Gimp is a package similar to Photoshop and I use it to resize and adjust photos. It also has a wide range of other functions. I also use Inkscape, which is like CorelDraw, to make my blog banners. Both Gimp and Inkscape are available for Mac and Windows and they both Open Source.  Here are some more. 

What free software do you use? Let's form a list here of programs that will help us with our work and organising. Please state whether the programs are used on Windows or Mac.

12 August 2012

Enjoying the outernet

Hello! I'm back with a relaxed frame of mind and feeling refreshed and ready for the next few months. You all know that I love writing my blog so it took a lot of self control to not be here. The computer is capable of stealing my time, and my time is my life, so I need to step back from it occasionally and connect only with the outernet. The outernet for me is my family, home, backyard and a community full of people. Those four elements are reflected heavily in my blog and without them there would be nothing for me to write about.

Grain bread from last week.

 Making a brussel sprout coleslaw.

For the next six weeks or so I'll be posting when I can. I'm withdrawing from the Neighbourhood Centre and that requires a fair bit of my time because I'll be training the new manager and stepping down from the committee. I'm also doing the last of my book publicity engagements and then I'll be back, heart and soul, to my simple life. I have to tell you I've enjoyed this past year. We did things I never expected to do, we met some fine people, we travelled around. It gave me a brief look at a faster and busier pace of life and I'm grateful to have had it. But I'm also happy to be returning to quietness, solitude and a slower pace. Getting up in the morning, knowing that all I have to do is tend my home, is how I want my days to be. I'll be pleased to give up living according to my diary and calendar. I gave away all my watches when I left work, now I can retire the diary as well.  I want my days to be directed by sunlight and the seasons, not by a timepiece, computer alarms and reminders. Ahh, the serenity. ;- )  Sorry, only the Australians will know what that means.

The winter vegetable garden. All the oranges have been picked now.

Old fashioned steamed pudding. The bright yellow colour is from the eggs.

Meeting Chico, the blue ring necked parrot.

We're having a great weekend so far.  Sarndra and Alex stayed here on Friday night and Kerry, Sunny and Jamie will be here shortly. We love having the family visit. We get to spend time with those we love the most without the hassle of driving through traffic, which is annoying and tiring for us. Watching Alex and Jamie discover so many things in our back yard is such a joy. They both love watching the chickens and the blue parrot we're looking after for friends. I have no doubt there are many things to discover out in the world for them right now but here they see "old Australia". We can all sit in the sunshine, enjoy afternoon tea and look forward to a roast pork dinner. Nothing much changes here now and while some would not see that as a plus, here bread is eaten hot from the oven, I still serve food like steamed puddings with homemade jam on top and instead of looking for the new, we take pleasure in the old and familiar. This, by far, is my favourite life season and I love sharing it with my grandsons.

And here are some links to check out.




5 August 2012

Another workshop at Bell

Hanno and I are going over to Bell for another workshop on Saturday, 18 August. We're looking forward to seeing Karen and the women at Pips 'n' Cherries again; we had such a great day with them last time. This workshop we'll be showing how to make five minute bread, yoghurt scones, buttermilk scones and cold processed soap. 

The workshop will run from 9.30am till about 3pm so there'll be plenty of time for questions and talking. If I remember correctly, last time there were a lot of both.  It was a typical country get-together with lots of good will, plenty of tea, good food and sharing, not just by me, but by everyone. I have no doubt this will be the same. The cost is $50, which includes a delicious home-cooked morning tea and lunch. For catering purposes, bookings are essential on 4663 1184.

We hope to see you there.

1 August 2012

Gone fishin'

I've found that I benefit from taking short breaks from the blog so that is what I'm doing now. I have a some things I need to do, I want to write a few pages for myself, and Hanno is hobbling around with gout so I'll be looking after him and doing some of his chores. I'm also going to take the opportunity to change the blog template again. The distorted photos on the home page are annoying me. Take care of yourself. I'll be back soon.

Here is a little reading material that I had ready for Friday's weekend reading.

I love this idea - Fred's modern rite of passage

Attainable Sustainable.

Leaf Root Flower Fruit - vegan cooking and photography

Looking after dad.

The Fraker Farm

The seed industry structure in USA

FROM OUR MOB

This is a beautiful Italian blog written by a beautiful Italian woman.

Chris writes at Gully Grove blog. Chooks, swales, landscapes, cooking - it's all here. Chris lives fairly close to us and where my father's family lived for many years.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...