Thursday, January 31, 2008

Starting your simple life

I was quite overwhelmed at the response to yesterday's post. I never fails to surprise me that so many readers enjoy reading about our very ordinary life. Thank you all so much for your comments. I will respond to every one of them in due course and have written a list to go through. Today I have a mixof two requests - a photo of the drive to work and a post about being at home in your home, for

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The familiar rhythm of the unremarkable

Painting by Carl Larsen from allpostersWith the Australia Day holiday last Monday I had only two days at work this week, but they were very busy. As well as all the phone calls and people coming in, we're getting ready to move to a new premises, I'm teaching myself MYOB (one of my new tasks is that of bookkeeper), and there was a new volunteer to train on her first day. She has a lot of great

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fast food

This isn't a post about that greasy stuff that comes in a polystyrene box, it's about the food you eat when you're in a hurry. Yesterday I spent too much time on the computer (because Hanno used up all our internet Gbs streaming German radio stations, and now we're speed limited) and didn't have time to pack my lunch for work. I didn't get mad at him, I just showed him how to check our usage and

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cleaning with rags

Paula has asked me to do a post on rags, which, of course, I'm happy to do. This is her request:"I would LOVE if you would do a post on rags. And a pattern for the adorable rag bag you made. What are rags (please don't laugh)? What do you use them for? How many do you need? Are they the same as kitchen towels (I use these as fabric "paper" towels)? Thanks for your blog. I am learning so much."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Getting ready for planting

I'm really pleased to let you all know that Kerry is fine. He has a few bruises and sore bits, but he's fine. Hanno and Shane have gone over to see him as Shane is applying for the job Kerry is currently doing. I've spoken to Kerry a few times since the accident and apart from feeling a bit silly because he rolled the car, he's in good health. No doubt Hanno will tell me all about it when they

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The phone call

At 11.30 last night we got the phone call no parent wants to get. It was Kerry. "Mum, I rolled the car." Kerry is out west at the moment helping an Australian friend he met in Canada. They're running the kitchen at a five star resort, with their accommodation a few kilometres down the road. Kerry finished work and drove home in the company car but lost control on the unfamiliar road and rolled it

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mending and repairing

There is mending to be done today. When I stripped the bed yesterday, I noticed a tiny rip just under Hanno's pillow. The cotton sheet is thinning, but it's still worthy of repair. Mending will give that sheet at least another summer with us before it goes on to other duties like polishing clothes, tomato stake ties or wipes for Airedale beards.I have to tell you I love mending. It is one of

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Controlling your money

There's no doubt about it. Almost everyone has money problems at some time in their life. We all use the stuff, it is a requirement of modern living and for the most part, we don't get much of an education in how to handle it. Usually our lessons are by trial and error and many times we learn a lesson too late to avoid a financial disaster.Hanno and I made the choice to live on a very meagre

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Staying on budget

There is something about January that always sends me a bit nutty. It's kind of a non-month for me. I can't quite organise myself, I'm forgetful and a bit crazy. January is a mad jumble of holidays, relaxation, cricket and the self reflection that comes at the beginning of the year, along with the excitement of new year's celebrations, Australia Day my sister's birthday and going back to school.

Three gifts update

I couldn't get back to post this yesterday but I want to update on our three gifts challenges. I know there are a lot of you doing this, so how about letting us know what you've done so far and if you've found any difficulties.Remember, it's not too late to join the challenge if you missed it first time around. The details are here.My three gifts are: stop accepting plastic shopping bagsstop

Monday, January 21, 2008

And the winner is ...

Drum Roll .....PEBBLEDASHCongratulations Diana. Please email your postal address and I'll get the book in the post as soon as I can.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Choosing Eden

Don't you just love blogs! Here we all are in various parts of the world, being inspired and changed by people we don't know but feel we do because we read their blog. I guess the best part of any good blog for me is the sharing - the showing of another life in minute detail, seeing inside other homes; being privy to the thoughts of someone many miles away is strangely hypnotic and always

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Organic vegetables in the backyard

From this (above), to this (below) in a few short weeks. The picture above was the garden at Christmas time, below was last week. We were grateful for the rain but it hit the garden hard.We've had a lot of rain here since Christmas and while that is wonderful it has really devastated our vegetable garden. We're still harvesting tomatoes, capsicums (peppers), eggplant, cucumbers, radishes, chokos,

Tea Cosy Swap

Hello swappers. We seem to have only one lost swapper now . Would Ingeborg please e-mail either Lorraine at: ma_pabarney at hotmail dot com or myself, Sharon at: cdetroyes at yahoo dot com so we can get the last of the swappers together. Thank-you so much. UPDATE: we now have only one lost swapper. Aimee, if you could e-mail me (Sharon) or Lorraine so we can get you together with your

Friday, January 18, 2008


It was one of those days yesterday when nothing much happened, yet everything did. My labours of love continued with the daily chores and catching up with odds and ends. We have a friends little dog, Iona, staying with us for a week while she is in Sydney. Rosie and Alice stared long and hard at her when she first arrived, but now they're settled into a respectful relationship and all is well in

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tea Cosy Swap

I just wanted to remind all of the swappers to make sure they are in contact with their swap buddy. If anyone has a problem contacting their swap buddy please let Lorraine or myself, Sharon, know so we can work on getting the problem fixed. Don't forget that you can make your tea cosy any way you want so have fun with it! Remember that the deadline for sending your tea cosy is Feb. 8, 2008 When

Homemade dog biscuits or treats

I've been experimenting with dog biscuit/treats recipes for a while now but finally have come up with one that suits all of us. I'm happy because they're healthy, easy to make and quite inexpensive, and the dogs are happy because they prefer these biscuits to the bought ones. I've tested this several times by putting a handful of their bought biscuits in a bowl next to one of the homemade

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Homemade from the cupboard

There is no rhyme or reason for this list of simple homemade recipes. If you are stockpiling, they're all recipes you could probably make with what's in your cupboard right now. If you've never tried cooking from scratch, these recipes are a good starting point. You'll find, especially if you taste as you go, that the results will be much better than the same thing bought from the supermaket.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The growing challenge

Melinda over at Elements in Time has a great gardening challenge going at the moment. Check it out here.

7 things meme

Kate at Our Red House tagged me for the seven things meme. I'm not really good at these things but here goes.


I have two wedding rings. One I received the day I married Hanno and another he gave me on our 25th wedding anniversary. I will give one ring to both my sons when I die.

I woke Hanno up at 2am this morning to tell him there was noise coming from the chicken coop. He mumbled all

Monday, January 14, 2008

Recycling and reusing

This is the little tote in a pouch I've put in my bag to take whenever I go out now. The little blue pouch unzips to reveal a full sized shopping tote. With this in my bag all the time, I can easily pick up milk or cheese from the local area and not have to bring it home in a plastic bag.In the past couple of years we been able to decrease the amount of rubbish we dispose of to a fraction of

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Three Gifts Challenge

Our new environment minister, Peter Garrett, is floating a proposal to ban plastic shopping bags in Australia by the end of the year. I think this is a great idea. Not only do these bags pollute every corner of the earth, they also kill a large number of marine creatures.Australians use 4 billion plastic bags each year; in China 3 billion bags are used per day; in the United States 380 billion

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tea Cosy Swap Partners

Hello swappers! The following are the swap pairings. You will notice that there are no e-mail addresses by the names (except for Sarah). All you have to do is return to the tea cosy swap announcement and find your partner and her e-mail address. This helps us keep the spammers away! There are 20 pairs so Lorraine and I are splitting the list in half. If you are among the first 10 pairs (numbered

The Daily Dose

I've been kindly given the Daily Dose award by two of the lovely ladies who read here. Lib at Lib's Private Paradise and Tracy at Seaside Enchantement. Thanks gals! Both these ladies have great blogs so if you haven't visited them yet, do yourself a favour and click on the links.

This is from Xandra the creator of The Daily Dose Award.:"This little award is called The Daily Dose - and here

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A gentle day at home

I caught up with my chores yesterday and had a free and easy day just going back and forth through the house tidying up as I went. I cherish the time I have to work at home, so as I do this and that I am thankful for the ability to work as I do.It was a rainy day here yesterday so I hung washing under the cover of the back verandah. It took all day to dry, whereas if it's on the clothes line it's

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tea cosy swap

The tea cosy swap looks like being a lot of fun but I realised today I won't have the time to join in. : ( I'll be interested to see the photos as they come in.Sharon and Loraine (chookasmum) will be organising the swap and assigning partners on Saturday. You can still join today and tomorrow.I found a few more links to inspire some wonderful creations - here, here and here. Your tea cosy can be

Caring for your kitchen knives

One of the things that will make your work easier in the kitchen is to have a good set of knives. I use a variety of knives from good quality German chef's knives to cheap Chinese choppers. They are all used for their own purpose. Generally knives are expensive but they will last a long time if they're cared for properly.Store your knives so the blade doesn't hit or rub against anything. I use a

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Storing food and dry goods - UPDATED

One of the many things you can do on your journey towards simplicity is to learn how to store things in a way that will stop them spoiling before you use them. It’s an important part of our philosophy to look after what we own.When I lived in Europe I noticed it was commonplace for houses to have cellars. These were used to store potatoes, onions, garlic, jams, chutneys, sauces, beer, wine, seeds

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tea cosy swap

My life has been far from simple this past month as I've had so little time to relax and think about my world. Life continued at its fast pace when I started back at the Centre yesterday after a break of two weeks. Truth is I only had a few days off as I was up there cleaning and organising while the place was closed. I'm now going to work three days a week as we don't have enough volunteers

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Bush tucker

This is part of last year's rosella harvest.Bush tucker is the aboriginal term for edible plants and animals. There are a few bush tucker foods in our area, we have lilly pilly, macadamia nuts, lemon myrtle and rosellas (Hibiscus heterophyllus). I'm sure there are more but I've never had the time to identify what grows near us.This photo, taken this morning, shows an opening rosella flower with a

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Getting closer to your simple life

Sometimes I think people are scared to live simple lives. They look and see a life lived with none of the props of modern living like recreational shopping, one upmanship of the Joneses, no designer labels, new appliances, or dining out, going to the library instead of buying books, no pay TV, gossip magazines or convenience foods. The starkness of that scares them. They say they don't want to

Friday, January 4, 2008

Have you voted yet?

I found this webpage today. It the bloggies! It's calling for you to vote for your favourite blogs. There are categories for all over the world as well as various categories. Voting closes next week.

Green cleaning - the kitchen

All things return to the kitchen. ; - ) Put your apron on and let's tackle it. It will probably take a few hours to deep clean a kitchen, so put aside a morning or an afternoon to get it done.The night before you do your kitchen, you can start cleaning your oven using the following:Oven Cleaner¼ cup ammonia2 cups of warm waterBe careful of the ammonia fumes. Turn on the oven and leave to heat up

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Green cleaning - floors and furniture

You have probably spent a lot of money on the floors and furniture in your home so it makes sense toprotect your investment by caring for them properly. You could easily go to the store and buy specialist cleaners for wood, leather, glass, fabric and carpet but if you want to be sure you don't add harmful chemicals to your own environment, use cleaners that you know are safe.Buying a carpet

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Green cleaning - the bathroom

Today we're cleaning the bathroom using green cleaners, plus a little bit of bleach if you have a mould problem. Before we proceed though I want you to understand that every single compound you use - including green ones - can cause environmental damage if used in high concentrations. When you start green cleaning don't expect vinegar and bicarb to be as fast and effective as your commercial

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Simple cleaning

The way I do my housework has changed considerably since I started living more simply. In days gone by I would sometimes just quickly do what I absolutely had to do and sometimes I would ‘not see’ what was around me. When my boys were young, I felt so tired I didn’t want to do anything, and when I did do what had to be done, I felt resentful because I was working, looking after the boys and their