Caring for Australian wildlife affected by fires

25 January 2020
In the past week, I've had a couple of emails from international readers wanting to know about the native animals caught up in the unprecedented bush fires. We’ve had some rain over a large area but unfortunately, fires are still burning in some areas. We were all devastated to learn that three American men who came to Australia to help fight the fires, were killed when the plane they were fighting fires in crashed on Thursday. We send our sincere sympathy to their family and friends and thank them for the help they gave us. Rest in Peace.

This is a baby wombat rescued by Charles last year.  Sadly the mother was run over by a car.

Housework, it's never-ending

22 January 2020
I've got a good job. I rise when I want to, work and rest when I feel like it and every day I look after us and our home. Hanno does the same thing but generally, his work is outside; we also share a lot of tasks. Although I do the same thing every day, each day is different. I try to make as much as I can from scratch - that includes our meals, bread, biscuits, cakes and drinks as well as cleaning products such as soap, laundry liquid, cleaners for the kitchen, toilets, bathrooms, furniture, glass and floors. 

I start every day by making the bed. This is an extremely important symbolic gesture that reminds me to look after myself. Slow, simple tasks play a big part in my life.

A letter of thanks from Charles

18 January 2020
A few weeks ago, when Tricia told me that she was going to sew bat wraps and joey pouches for Charles to use in his wildlife rescue work, I suggested I call in our wonderful sewing bee girls to add a few more to the collection.  I didn't think that we'd end up receiving over 200 wraps and pouches but that's what arrived.  I know I can always count on you. Thank you, ladies, you've been so generous. ♥️

Charles with some of the parcels he received.

High fibre white loaf recipe

17 January 2020
I've been working on a new loaf - a high fibre white. I usually make either white or rye loaves and I do that because Hanno loves rye bread and our main toast loaf is white. When I plan to make something regularly, I want to be able to easily buy the ingredients in bulk. I can get good white bread flour at the local supermarket and good rye flour at an organic supermarket that I have to drive to get to.

Recently I've been adding extra fibre to the loaves, using mainly milled rolled oats, but in this loaf, I also added rice bran. The oats add moistness and the rice bran gives a slightly nutty flavour. Both the fibre additions make for a slightly heavier loaf which is absolutely delicious as sandwiches on the day it is baked and makes really good toast.  Of course, if I have ends left over I either add them to a bag of frozen bread I turn into bread crumbs when I need them, or, when they're soaked in milk, they make up a high protein extra meal for the chooks. That will help you cut down on your feed bill as it provides a nutritious boost for your hens.

Looking forward, looking back

13 January 2020
We don't go away on holidays anymore but always make sure that the time between Christmas and mid-January is like a holiday.  We both do what we want to do and make sure it's different to the regular things we do during the year. I forget about routines, my meal plans loosen up and I sleep when I'm tired. My main aim is to rest and recuperate, watch Test cricket, tend the garden, read and think and as I pack away another year, I prepare for the year ahead.

Peaches were prepared in front of the TV with the cricket on.

If you want to live a simpler life - identify your needs

8 January 2020

"Why are those pots upside-down on sticks?" - that's the question I'm asked more than any other. The second most asked question is this: "How can I start to live a simple life?"  Well, that's easy - stop shopping for things you don't need.  Of course, you could also take it one step at a time and start budgeting, menu planning, cooking from scratch, batch cooking, and making your own soap and household cleaners. You could mend your clothes, plant a vegetable garden and keep chickens. You need to keep up to date with your world, I do that via crikey.comThe Guardian and by maintaining a thoughtful connection with my online tribe; and you could lobby your local MP to find out their view of climate change and what they're doing about it. But if you want to start living more sustainably in a way that will help you save money, pay off debt, cut down on paid work or retire early, don't go shopping for "stuff". You don't have to prepare in any way, you don't have to research it, you don't need any special information or skill. You just stop. And you can do that right now. Today.