DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

12 August 2013

Decluttering challenge - week 2 + lemon cordial

I'm continuing the decluttering challenge many of us started last Monday. The declutterers at the forum are posting about what they're doing and what they're moving out. It's quite inspiring. If you want to join in, we're decluttering five items on Monday and one item each week day until the end of the month. If you want to blog about what you're decluttering, leave a link for us in the comments and we'll follow it. Here is last Monday's post about it.

The drawer in its original condition.
After a quick clean and tidy.
This is what is being moved out. It wasn't too bad although there are a couple of things there I don't recognise.

Yesterday, after lunch, I decided to clean out one of the gadget drawers in the kitchen. This is the drawer that sits under my kitchen linens drawer, under the oven. It holds things I use, but not often. So it's the mandolin, tomato press, grater, canning tools, rings, lids and those sorts of things. It didn't take long to remove everything, wipe the drawer out, replace the useful items and separate what I didn't need any more. I'm sure there is a reason I kept one of the steel racks from my old oven but I can't think of it now. Whatever the reason, now it will be used to dry soap or as a rack in the bush house to keep wet pots off the wooden benches.

It feels good to have the drawer clean and tidy, ready for service again.

Yesterday I thought I was going to write most of the day but I ended up in my bush house, repotting ferns and plants in hanging baskets. I take the baskets out of the bushouse in spring and hang them on the front verandah. They give the house a cooler feeling when the temperatures start to climb again. So I repotted some king ferns and a few olds and ends and hung them out the front. We rarely sit out there in winter, favouring the back verandah with the sun streaming in during the colder weather.  I love sitting outside to have morning or afternoon tea. We can sit there together in the fresh air, talking about our plans and hopes, while we enjoy a break.


Also after lunch, I juiced two buckets full of lemons. I harvested two litres/quarts of juice last week, now these two buckets have given two more large bottles for the freezer, as well as a litre/quart to use during the week. That lemon tree of ours has served us well over the almost 16 years we've lived here. It was one of the first things we planted here, it's in the chook run so we never have to fertilise it, and although it gives a huge crop of lemons in winter, it generally has a few lemons on it all through the year. I'm guessing we'll get another two or three good years from the tree before it will start producing less and less lemons. If it keeps on producing prolific crops, I'll happily accept it and have more than enough lemons and cordial to share.

LEMON CORDIAL

To make lemon cordial, or any fruit cordial, you start by making a sugar syrup. This is just equal quantities of water and sugar - so 1 cup sugar to 1 cup of water. I use 2 kg/4.4lbs sugar to 2 litres/quarts water and make up a quantity of the syrup - boil till the sugar dissolves and allow to cool. It keeps in the fridge for about six months. Then just mix it with the juice as needed.  I use equal amounts of syrup to juice and then dilute the drink right down with water and this is done according to your taste.


The two plastic bottles will go in the freezer, the glass bottle in the fridge for use during the week. Kerry, Sunny and Jamie are coming over for a family lunch tomorrow so I'll probably make a batch of cordial then. The forecast tomorrow is for 28C/82F and it's still winter! 

Hanno went to the market yesterday and bought another Eureka lemon tree.  It will be planted up in the corner of our property, near the bananas. I can't imagine not having a lemon tree now. They're good for so many things. But soon it will be summer, and that's always lemon cordial time here. I'm looking forward to it with an abundance of juice ready to go.

Just a little request here at the end. Now that I've discovered that I can use my smartphone as an internet radio, I've been trying to find a couple of stations to listen to in the kitchen when I'm working there. I don't want music stations, I like talk, but not talk-back. Something similar to the wonderful Radio National in Australia would be ideal. They have all sorts of interesting broadcasts about lifestyle, books, philosophy, parenting, history, food etc. Do you have anything to recommend?

39 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda, I do hope that my lemon tree yields like that over the next few years! As to decluttering we are very fortunate to have been able to do renovations over the last few months. With it I decided not to put back into any room (in particular the kitchen, but in general any redecorated room) anything tha I have not used in the last year. This means that we have packed up and given to a needy community near us over 12 boxes of things from plates, wool, material, clothes and more. It has been a wonderful time to take these things out of our home and bless others as well as having more free space and less clutter in the home...really don't know why it took a renovation to kick start the job!

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  2. Your winter is hotter than our summer at the moment, Rhonda :-)

    With regard to the internet radio, have you tried the BBC? BBC Radio 4 have a good range of programmes, and also the World service.

    Rgds,
    Anna
    Sussex, UK

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  3. I'm currently making my way through a citrus glut too (courtesy of my parents') and juiced a whole lot of limes the other day for cordial. It's so nice being able to control the sweetness. I boiled my limes for a couple of minutes to soften them for maximum juice extraction. I juice them using my food processor too and find that it needs that extra helping hand or I don't get all the juice available.

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    1. Your lime cordial will be lovely. Yes, fresh citrus from the tree needs time or treatment to loosen the juice. I leave the lemons in the bucket for at least a week before I juice them and this results in much more juice. I think I've heard of people microwaving their citrus prior to juicing as well.

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  4. I love to work listening to BBC Radio 4 (UK)

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  5. BBC Radio 4 is wonderful.

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  6. Morning,
    here is the link to my blog, going well with the challenge, can't wait to continue this week!!
    http://agluttonouswife.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/august-declutter-challenge-week-2.html
    I also blogged about the plight of Dick Smith as I hear him on the radio last week putting out a call to help support his company which is on the verge of closing due to lack of support. Have a read here if you like http://agluttonouswife.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/my-high-horse-served-up-with-slow.html

    Warm regards
    Jan

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  7. Hi rhonda, I would love to see your lemon cordial recipe xxBrenda

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    Replies
    1. Brenda, I've added it to the post now. xx

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  8. Ah yes Rhonda - lemons :0) I was given a big bag of them as we do not have a tree so they were turned into lemon honey ( of course), marmalade, used when I made up the ginger beer and the best thing is I made fermented lemonade that is fizzy after about a week and so much better for you than the artificial lemonade you buy in the stores.

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  9. Rhonda I have a dumb phone so I didn't know smartphones could get Internet radio. Does this mean you have to pay for the radio download or not?

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    Replies
    1. Yes Rose, you pay for the streaming but it's minimal. And I have 2.5GB on my plan that I usually don't do much with.

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  10. Rhonda, what sort of phone do you have? I use the app Tunein Radio on both my iphone & ipad. You can access any radio station Australia & worldwide on it and then save them as your favourites too.

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    1. Thanks Sandy. I'll look into Tunein.

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  11. I podcast "Conversations with Richard Fiedler" from ABC, since even when living in Oz, I never got to hear the whole thing because I was at work - he always has so many interesting guests - even ones when I read the blurb about who is on, think I won't get much from this one, and then I end up really enjoying it.

    You may also like Dishing up Nutrition podcast - it is a radio show from Minnesota about healthy eating and they are very different in their approach to nutrition than many other nutritionists - very much about real food, and how much impact nutrition has on your health. We've made huge changes to our eating after I spent many an hour walking or gardening listening to their back catalogue and really found some excellent tips included. Their accents are pretty strong though (much like the movie Fargo!)

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    1. I loved the accents in Fargo. I'll take a listen. Thanks Annet.

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  12. I grew up in San Diego, California with a lovely lemon tree. We'd go out, pick some lemons and make fresh lemonade to go with our supper. It is one of the things I miss the most from living in that climate.

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  13. This is the firt year I have lemons on my young tree, I have to tell you that I love to eat them like an orange, something I have done since I was a child. I don't think I will have enough to juice for cordiol this year, maybe next year. After cleaning my wardrobe and the linen cupboard I have just started in the kitchen. Where do the odd containers and lids come from? I seem to have a few of each.

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  14. A lemon tree was the first thing my parents planted when they moved into their home (which Dad built) over 50 years ago. It is a Meyer Lemon and is still going strong. Lots of fruit every year - though the local possums do like to skin them. Dad also had poultry (he used to show Silkies) and their manure, once composted down, would go on every part of the yard. It's no wonder the lemon tree is a prolific fruit bearer. Sadly Dad is now in care - so who knows what will happen to the tree. I do not recall my parents ever making lemon cordial. We had lots of different fruit trees - plums, apricot, peach, nectarine, pear, quince, apple - but the only thing I can remember is having stewed plums and quinces, homemade plum or apricot jam and being able to pick Granny Smith apples from the tree on my way to school. I cannot remember ever eating any of the other fruits.

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  15. Hi Rhonda, You could try BBC World Service. It's quite news orientated but they do have some interesting programmes covering a wide variety of issues. Also BBC podcasts are great, I download them to my MCP, so if you have one they are worth a listen.

    Anne, Sussex England

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    Replies
    1. If you like talk radio and very current news, try infowars.com. Alex Jones are quite verbal, but he believes in the truth and his topics are quite thought provoking.

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  16. I agree with the 'Conversations with Richard Fidler'. There are always really interesting people on that show!

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  17. Turning 50 a couple of years ago and tuning into Radio 4 were a surprising, happy coincidence for me. I especially love the comforting familiarity of 'The Archers' theme tune, reminding me of my dear old Dad who would tune in to listen to the Ambridge comings and goings, for what seemed like all my life, and now I'm becoming a bit of a fan myself.

    I'm really just posting to let you know that I've made my firt batch of laundry liquid!!! and now I have completed about 10 washes in the machine, I am confident in saying how delighted I am with it. I always appreciated the fact that the savings would make sense, but I didn't fully understand what great quality it would be. So yet again, dear Rhonda, I would like to say a big thank you for this very helpful recipe. I now am able to make our own cold pressed soap, I made the switch last year from tea bags to loose tea, I am greatly inspired to cook as much as I can from scratch and now I won't be buying commercial laundry liquid any more, and what's more neither will some of my family and friends. You are an amazing person and with your dual talents of teaching people the benefits of the simple life and your warm and friendly manner of communication, one step at a time you are helping to change the world, certainly my world and I am sure many of your other readers too. xx

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  18. Hi Rhonda,

    I would also recommend BBC Radio 4.

    It is a fantastic radio station with a really interesting variety and mix of news,art and consumer programmes and daily and weekly dramas. I always listen to it when I am pottering around the house!

    Diane, London UK

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  19. I'm joining the challenge late, but better late than never. As soon as I read about it, I jumped up & eliminated 5 things from my pantry that didn't belong there.

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  20. For radio, the BBC stations are generally very good. In the US, I find that we are almost always listening to an NPR (National Public Radio) station. There is some variation in timing of broadcasts and so on, but our local broadcast station which also streams (WOSU.org) carries BBC World Service at night and during some off-peak times, so that may not work well for you.

    At NPR.org you can listen under the "Listen" tab, and that might work better for you.

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  21. Here in the States I listen to NPR, my local is WNYC 93.9, and it has some great shows/podcasts on it like All Things Considered, Planet Money, Wait, Wait Don't Tell me! and The Brian Lehrer Show. I am sure you can find something you would enjoy.
    I know you can listen to it online, but I have no idea if you can get it on your Smartphone in Australia. I would think you could since everything is accessible these days. :)
    http://www.npr.org/

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  22. My whole life is one great declutter and rethink at the moment! You can follow our journey towards less at Http:.//onepairofshoesatatime.wordpress.com

    We can't grow lemons in our bit of the UK unless in the greenhouse - and that's already full! However, at this time of the year I am foraging for rosehips, brambles, elderberries (made the elderflower cordial in spring and anything else I can find. I still have the gooseberries and rhubarb in the freezer waiting to be turned into cordial and I'm planning on having a go at meadowsweet cordial for the first time this week.

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  23. Hi Rhonda: I am envious of your lemons. I live on the Canadian prairies and only see lemons in the grocery store. We have just recently moved from an urban to rural life. I am a gardener and can't wait to plant into all the open space and sunshine that I have now. It is interesting reading about a world whose seasons are the opposite of ours. I really enjoy your blog, thanks . Linda, Rural Saskatchewan, Canada

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  24. I am joining your de-clutter-a-thon with enthusiasm Rhonda and have blogged about it here.
    http://www.blackbirdhasspoken.com/2013/08/a-little-give-and-little-take-op-shop.html
    I am very tenderly (frost cloth, stakes, feeding and mulch, gentle words) nursing a young lemon tree in the hopes of one day having a cordial making bounty. I find i use a lot of lemons year around and like the idea of having some still clinging to the bush when the shops run out of the local ones out of season x

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    1. Good luck with the lemon tree and the decluttering, Mix. A lemon tree is such an asset to the home.

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  25. Another idea for lemons, limes and even stocks (chicken etc.), my grandmother used to juice lemons and such and put them in an ice cube tray, stick them in the freezer and when they were frozen she stored them in a labeled bag in the freezer and whenever she needed a little lemon or a little stock (like in a stir fry) there was just a little in a handy form and keeps forever -easy peasy!

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  26. Goodness Rhonda, that cordial recipe was so wonderfully simple that even I can remember it. Thank you! Otherwise, I have to write down all my recipes, even old favourites.

    Re radio: I have a smart phone too and listen via Tunein to BBC Radio 4 and national Swedish programmes when I am away from home. However, I listen all day whilst doing 1001 other things and I don´t like the fact that I then have to keep an eye on the phone battery.

    My solution is Wifi earphones connected to the computer - needs fast broadband connections of course. I hate things clamped around my ears so I hang the earphones round my neck. In this way I can go anywhere in the house or garden - up to 400 meters. I can still fully use the computer for other activities by opening more tabs.
    I can´t say how much this means to me. Couldn´t be without my radio link to the UK, my country of origin.

    Greetings from Sweden
    Ramona

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  27. I love my radio programmes too. I often tune in to the BBC online........even my old local radio station BBC Radio Leicester........it's fun to hear the accents again.

    Another favourite is the Radio for the Print Handicapped (RPH)where they have all sorts of interesting programmes. All seem to be volunteer readers, so not quite to the BBC standard, but enjoyable just the same. Lovely to hear the friendly voices. In Queensland it seems to be 4RPH on 1296 AM. I haven't listened to that one, so can't specifically recommend it of course.

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  28. Another one recommending BBC Radio 4! Desert Island Discs, In Our Time, A Good Read, Open Book, Gardeners Question Time, Woman's Hour - the bbc.co.uk/radio4 website has a "listen again" function too so you can choose when to listen in. SimpleMissP

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  30. I have a million limes on my tree, which I'm about to try with your cordial recipe Rhonda. Noticed limes were $15 per kg at Woolworths this week... and most of them were only the size of chook eggs - mine are more the size of 2 or 3 chook eggs together.
    Thanks for the cordial recipe.

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  32. For wonderful listening, try BBC Radio 4 - programmes on food, books and all sorts. It's great company.

    ReplyDelete

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