Thursday, May 31, 2007

Going back in time

Prize pumpkinsWe had a wonderful time at the show. We spent the first two hours on our stall trying to encourage people to fill in a feedback form for the Council and explaining when our new building will be built. When we left there, we went to the craft hall where we found jumpers, rugs, hats, tapestry, cakes, slices, relish, jam, lemon and passionfruit butters and many, many flowers.These are

It's show day!

It's show day! Actually it's today and tomorrow but today is the day H and I go. Our local show is celebrating its 70th show year so everything is set for two days of dairy cows, chooks, show jumping, wood cutting and country cooking, right in the heart of Maleny.It's just after 5am but I've already got bread on the rise, I've showered and washed my hair, I'm charging the camera battery and I

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Making the bed

There was a time when I really didn't like anything vaguely resembling housework. Not only didn't I like it, I didn't do it, I had "help". But that was in those days when I rushed through life looking, but not seeing, and wondering why I never felt like I had my own space. Now I have a much more relaxed life and I think about what I do. Now I see what we all think of as "housework" as something

Personal responsibility

I believe that simple living is about reinventing yourself and making yourself happy. Being debt-free will help with your reinvention because controlling your spending will overflow into your life in many non-financial ways. Personal responsibility plays a huge role in getting yourself back on track with your money. I cannot help you with that, except to say that it is up to you to make a

Step 5 - Writing up your budget

WRITING UP YOUR BUDGET A budget is really a spending plan. Having a budget does not restrict you but instead it gives a feeling of freedom and relief. When you spend according to your budget, YOU make the decisions on where your money will go, YOU decide how much will be spent and YOU decide how much you will save.I resisted having a budget for years because I thought it would be a restriction

Step 4 - The Plan

So how do we achieve this highly esteemed state of being financially sound and debt-free? Stop spending. That is the most important first step. When you’ve done that, when you have really decided that now is the time that you’ll grab hold of your life and direct it towards the path you want to take, then it is time to make a plan.THE PLANYou need to plan for the best future you can imagine for

Step 3 - Knowing what you spend

So this is where you actually start doing something. This is an extremely important step on your road to budgeting, don't skip it.TRACKING WHAT YOU SPENDMost people know how much money they earn each week but few know how much they spend. You must have a realistic understanding of where you money goes to be able to budget and stick to it. If you want to know how to stop your money disappearing,

Step 2 - Get organised and start saving

GET ORGANISEDMake sure you know when all your bills are due. Forgetting or spending the money on something else is not an option. Store all your bills in a folder and mark on your calendar when they must be paid.CONSERVING YOUR RESOURCESAlmost everything you use will cost you money. Now that you’re trying to save you should be mindful of everything you do that will save you money. Try to cut back

Step 1 - Thrift

Thrift is the glue that holds simple living together. It allows you to live well on a lower income and it will help you to get out of debt and stay debt-free. Many people come to the fork in the road that directs towards simple living or continued consumerism when they are deeply in debt. We have filled our world with products and dug ourselves deeper into debt to get them. Why? Why would you

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Get your stuff off my bed!

My sister, Tricia, made this for my birthday several years ago. The various symbols are things she and I have shared over the course of our lives. We two are symbolised beside the heart, which contains my name. I love the look of this piece and the feeling of love it gives me when I look at it, but I see more in it. I see the time it took to make it, the care in planning to make it meaningful; I

Monday, May 28, 2007

Ginger Beer

This is some ginger beer I made last summer. I also put up some tomato relish on that same day. In days gone by, before Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Sprite, women used to make their own soft drinks and cordials. We gave away buying soft drinks years ago as it's full of preservatives and who knows what else. We wanted to know what was in the food and drinks we consumed so we rediscovered a few old

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Being organised

It's nothing special, just a recycled ring binder and old plastic sleeves.I've never been an organised person, and never had a good reason to be until now. Living simply gives you a reason. It makes sense to me now to make lists, collect recipes, keep records, have up-to-date information and generally know what I'm doing around the house.A few years ago I started a housekeeping journal that

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Diving into simple living

These are some of our girls.Generosity was one of the values I hoped to develop when I left full time work to live simply. I used to be a technical writer and journalist and ran a writing business for about 20 years. When my husband was retrenched, we left the mining town we'd lived in for 13 years and came to live in our present home. I opened an office in our little town here and continued to

Storing food

This is my main stockpile cupboard, just off the kitchen.If you have a productive vegetable and fruit garden or if you stockpile for any reason, you would have had to think about how to store your food correctly. It is something I think about frequently and monitor from time to time. Recently I changed how I store some of our food. Our main food source is our backyard, supplemented by the

Homemade gifts

We try to live on a very small amount of money. This is a decision we made a few years ago and it's working well for us. One of the things we do to cut costs is to make gifts for friends and family. This is a peg bag I made recently. I did one for myself and put a couple of them in the gift cupboard. I'd love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for simple homemade gifts that people love

Friday, May 25, 2007

Preserving the harvest

Preserving fruit and vegetables in jars is a thrifty way of carrying your garden harvest over several months, or even into the following year. Even if your vegetable garden doesn’t produce much you can buy and preserve seasonal fruit and vegies when they are at their peak in taste and quality, but at their lowest price. Basic home preserving is a simple process that requires sterilisation of jars

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Self-saucing chocolate pudding

This delicious hot pudding is a real favourite in our home. It uses common pantry ingredients and it's very easy and quick. It's made in two parts, the pudding and the sauce. Although the sauce ends up under the pudding, it's actually added last.PUDDING RECIPE1 cup self-raising flour 2 tbsp cocoa 60g (2 oz) butter ½ cup castor sugar 2 eggs ½ cup milkSAUCE¾ cup brown sugar 4 tbsp cocoa 1½ cups

THE look

What is it with cats? They can be so evil at times. This is Hettie, our 10 year old white cat. Time to back away.

Growing food

We put a lot of time into growing our own food. Our aim is to grow most of what we eat and although the amount varies, at the moment we'd grow or make from scratch about 75 percent of our food. Going into the garden and tending our small crops is an important part of our day. We both enjoy the time spent in the garden and I doubt I'd feel right if I didn't have food growing in the

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bread routine

I used to hate being organised, I saw it as rigid and oppressive. Now I realise that being organised actually helps me live the life I want to live. It gives me more time in my day because I’m not looking for things or wondering what I’m supposed to be doing. You only waste time on purpose when you're organised. Now I like having a routine.Bread is baked at our home almost every day. My husband

A drop in the ocean

Everyday we try to cut back on our use of electricity and water. I used to read our meters every day to help us understand what areas we could cut back in. I stopped doing that for a while but I've started again so I can log our meter readings here. One of the things I’ve changed in recent weeks is my washing up routine. I used to only use the dishwasher, then I went to hand washing, but I found

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I love knitting

I love knitting. If I could curl up in a big lounge chair in front of an open fire and knit while it was cold and raining outside, I’d be in my version of heaven. I’ve collected a few vintage plastic needles over the years and they’re a real pleasure to work with. Not only because they are fine tools but also because I feel connected to the knitters who used them before me. Some of my favourite

Friday, May 18, 2007

Today was that day

This is my husband and one of my Airedales, Alice.

There is always one perfect day in Autumn. It is that day when absolute equilibrium is reached, when the air is neither warm nor cold, when movement seems superfluous and flamboyant.

Today was that day.

I moved a chair into the backyard under a tree that I never sit under. I wanted to see my space from a new perspective so I would

Making cheese

The photo above is my quark cheese - one is a savoury cheese with salt, pepper and chives, the other is sweetened with a little honey and topped with my home made strawberry jam.We love cheese so what better reason is there to learn how to make it. I've been making simple quark cheese for a while now but wanted to progress to something that challenged me. Camembert did just that.I went to the

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Living on the edge

I’ve always lived on the edge. It used to be quite obvious but as I’ve aged, I’ve hidden under a CWA exterior so now people think I’m just one of the gang. But that exterior lies. I’m still pushing that envelope, still seeing what I can get away with.I planted asparagus. How can this be the act of a rebel, you ask? I planted it in the aquaponics garden. Asparagus lives for about 20 years, it has

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Make your own laundry detergent

The equivalent amount of laundry liquid (10 litres) from a supermarket would cost around $43. To buy all these ingredients will cost you around $6.70, less if you buy generic laundry soap. This will give you enough materials to make this recipe twice, and you'll have some ingredients left over. Give it a try. It really does work.CONCENTRATED LAUNDRY POWDER4 cups grated laundry soap or soap flakes

Living Simply

There is something special about people who decide to live simply. They share a determination to step away from the mainstream to pursue a life where they are content with what they have, they reconnect with family and environment, they reduce spending, conserve resources, slow down and live each day with a purpose. They see beyond the crass consumerism that supports much of modern life, to a

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pickled cucumbers

BREAD AND BUTTER CUCUMBERS5 medium cucumbers cut into 5 mm slices350g onions, sliced very thinlygreen capsicum and red chilli are optional50g salt350 ml cider or white wine winegar vinegar350g sugar 2 level tablespoons mustard seed2 level tablespoons celery seed½ level teaspoon turmeric¼ level teaspoon cayenne pepperSlice the cucumbers, onions, capsicums and chilli and place in a bowl, and salt

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hook, line and sinker...

I knew about aquaponics for about two years before I dived and got hooked on it. It's a wonderful addition to our productive backyard. If you haven't come across the concept before, aquaponics is like organic hydroponics - but you grow vegetables and fish in the same system. We have a 3000 litre fish tank and two grow beds planted up with tomatoes, peppers, silverbeet, kale, cabbages, parsley and

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brandywine tomatoes

The Brandywines are growing fast. It's incredible to think that this pair has been in for just eight weeks and the small, firm, green tomatoes are already the size of golf balls, and there are many flowers. If you don't know Brandywine tomatoes, they're an old heirloom variety, supposedly cultivated by the Amish in the 1800s. They have a superb taste, just like those old tomatoes we grew up with,