Weekend reading

27 March 2020
How is everyone going out there? We're okay and taking each day as it comes. Routines, good food and the process of preparing it, Gracie's antics and working in the garden help a lot. Hanno had to go to the doctor yesterday and I'm pleased to say, the doctor came out to the car park to see Hanno so he didn't have to go inside the medical centre.  He'd had hiccoughs the three previous days and he was exhausted. The doctor had no answers about the cause but he gave him some pills, the problem eased last night so he got a good sleep.

A wall of passionfruit. These will be ready to pick at the end of April.
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Simple and cheap meals

25 March 2020

Potato pancakes AKA kartoffle puffer, Hanno's favourite.

Judi asked the following question on Monday so I've racked my brain to come up with this. I hope it helps Judi and many, many others.  Readers, if you can think of other Australian food ideas that fit this frugal category, please add your thoughts in the comments.

"I am now 63 and living on my own, I have been wife, mother, stay at home Mum, and now a carer, my income is now very low and after having been used to raising all our own meat and vegetables and really eating quite well, I am struggling to feed myself. Having to purchase food is one of my biggest expenses and I am wondering if you could please put your thinking cap on and give those of us struggling financially with a good weeks menu plan please. I have all your books and I do love the menu plan in the Down To Earth book but I can not afford to eat that well anymore. Help, please.

"I am in Australia, I have noticed over the last month a big increase in the cost of fresh produce here, thanks to the drought and bushfires, I really like to eat fresh but have given up having things like avocado on my salad as they are $4 each, I am looking for ideas from the 1950s when we ate a little bit more simply but most of the information you find on the internet is American and we eat differently to them. It is quite frustrating and I am struggling with brain fog, that does not help."
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Living on one income and developing routines

23 March 2020
On the weekend, I received a message from a reader, "Emma", who is about to leave paid work and will stay at home to manage the family. This is some of what she had to say:

"I was just wondering how you plan your days (if you do at all). 
My partner and I have decided that I will cease work out of the home this year and manage our little family! I just feel a bit lost and overwhelmed with what to do each day to keep the house/garden and hobbies ticking over. I know it will be different for everyone but just seeking some guidance as I enter this more simple phase of life."



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Weekend reading

20 March 2020
We went to Bunnings during the week to buy plants, seedlings and seeds so we'll have a decent garden to tend in the coming weeks. I chose only one vegetable seed, rainbow chard, to plant in with what we have here now. I'll write about what we're doing in the garden soon and if there are some new or inexperienced gardeners out there, I'm happy to help with your questions if I can. The rest of the week, I took advantage of the time to think about our current situation and work out our best response. We won't be going out again for a while, Sunny and Kerry are doing most of our shopping, and I don't want to waste any opportunities provided by these extraordinary circumstances.

 Seedlings waiting to be planted.

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Weekend reading

13 March 2020
We've been at home most of the time this past couple of weeks. We're both over 70 and the advice is for us to stay at home if possible. I went to my CWA talk last Sunday and I stocked up on fresh fruit, vegetables and milk on Wednesday, the rest of the time we've luxuriated in the calmness of our own nest.  Of course, it's business as usual for us, we usually stay at home enjoying each other's company with occasional visitors popping in to provide interest and support.


A lovely parcel arrived in the post too. It was Pichinku organic cotton, in a delightful shade of pale pink, straight from EcoYarns.  Don't forget there is a 15 per cent discount at Ecoyarns for all Down to Earth readers. The following day I started a Miss Marple scarf that should be finished in the next couple of weeks. These scarves are a great way to stay warm over a milder winter, especially if you use cotton instead of wool. I wear mine with my normal clothes, slippers and an added cardigan or two over winter - I'm always the dag.

The rest of the time I worked on my genealogy, making quite a few discoveries and a lot of progress. My month-long access to the World Heritage resources ends on Monday and I still have a list of things to do but I'm satisfied with what I've done so far. I'm beginning to think building a family tree is like painting a portrait. Potentially, you could go on forever, tweaking this and that, but there will come a time when a firm decision to stop will have to be made.

I'm thinking of doing online blogging and writing for publication workshops again. These will probably be the last workshops and if there is interest, would start in late April. Please email me - my name at gmail dot com if you're interested. 

Are you isolating yourself too? I think it will be a good opportunity for many people to organise, mend, read, bake and rest. Or do you have other plans?

Have a wonderful weekend. Look after yourself, do something you love doing and try not to worry about the Coronavirus. ๐Ÿงถ

Didn't Know They Should Want for More
Portrait Artist of the Year 2020  - my favourite TV program at the moment
The Great Gardening Challenge
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International Women's Day and Apricot Custard Cake

9 March 2020
There was no better place to spend International Women's Day (IWD) than at my local CWA cottage. Yesterday, I went along to give a talk and spend time with about 30 other women. It felt good to speak about the life we live here and to acknowledge IWD with local women. Everything I've done publicly since I set up my blog in 2007, including three books published by Penguin, being a monthly columnist for the Australian Women's Weekly and Burke's Backyard, and being on ABC radio on and off for many years, I did at home. Right here in my sewing room, I spoke live on air and I tapped out words that seemed to take on a life of their own and ended up landing all over the world. Home is not only a place to live and grow, it can also be the base from which we launch ourselves and our ideas. We really can do amazing things when we have a passion and put in the hard work to achieve our goals.  


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Weekend reading

6 March 2020
Apricot and custard cake made with backyard eggs and pantry staples.

It's been another busy week here. I've been mending and organising and Hanno has been doing his outdoor work, although he's not been well. Our main complaint is dizziness, we both have good days and bad days, and luckily the good outweighs the bad. Today I'll be deciding on my topic at the CWA talk I'm giving on Sunday - International Women's Day.  Later this morning we're taking Gracie to a groomer to be washed and clipped.  Happy days!

I hope your week has been a good one. What have you been doing?

Here are some reading and watching links when you have some downtime.  Enjoy the weekend. I'll see you again next week.  ๐Ÿ’•

Tragedy of the Isle of Women
Pegging out the wash
13 Life-Learnings from 13 Years of Brain Pickings
Yes, There Is a Correct Way to Wash Your Hands—Here's How
Face-changing paper dolls
Killer sudoku
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Coronavirus stockpiling

2 March 2020
Last week, after listening to the ongoing updates about coronavirus, we decided to check our supplies and restock. No one knows what will happen in the coming days and months but one thing is certain, I don't want to go out into the community to get supplies if I don't have to, virus or no virus. So we checked our food stockpile and made a list of the medications and supplements we needed from the chemist.  It's all packed away in cupboards now and I feel secure knowing we can easily look after ourselves without having to go to the supermarket every week.

It's unusual for journalists to write about their own reactions to a current topic but here it is from The Guardian this week: It just seems sensible, the Australians stockpiling for the coronavirus


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