The trouble with simple living is that, though it can be joyful, rich, and creative, it isn't simple. ~Doris Janzen Longacre

The best way to bring a sustainable change in the world around me is by bringing the change in myself

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Walking around my house ...

Come take a walk with me around my dusty house, I did the best I could with such short notice, but then antique shop are sometimes a little dusty aren't they. I got a few more treasures to show you, so lets start here just inside the entrance hall. Inside these glass bottles are dried roses, which came with love and ended up dried and brittle to the touch, some have lost their colour but a little rose oil keeps them smelling nice. Dried proteas and a few sticks shoved into a copper jug, a brass bunny sleeping soon it will be easter and then he wake up. A set of rusty rabbit traps hang on the wall and a witches broom made of dried grass and twigs stand in the corner. Just under this lovely table George made for me are a few old scales and a cherry boxed butter churn.See those 3 wooden reels to the right, I bought them in Tasmania, made from Hyon Pine, they are for winding up bits of coloured sewing thread.

Just as you enter the dining room on the left is a huge entertainment unit which I use for storage, on top is my sunflower display and a wreath made of dried twigs and more sunny sunflowers, brass candle stick holders I had forever, a recipe book holder with a book on making candles. And to the left is a huge glass container full of wine and champagne corks we drank over the last 16 years we been in Australia. And wedged in them is a rooster sign pointing to Roosterville, Hen House peep show 10cent cheeky don't you think.

Just a little further to your left is the meat safe where I hang my beef jerky during winter, but now it houses my collection of jelly moulds and other old wares. 3 old ceramic kettles and an amber paraffin lamp.

This mould has a huge chip on the outer ridge, it is very old. Just check out that beautiful pattern jelly shape in the inside.

Now our American girl might recognize these beautiful mixing bowls. They're Homer Laughlin (as in fiesta ware) bowls, it comes in a set of 4 bowls of which I have only 2, but I will be looking for the missing bowls soon, it's just prority post is so expensive to send out to Australia. I will just have to bite the bullet and do it! A row of apple trees decorate the outside of these scares turquoise bowls. Hmmm excuse those silly chicks they just a little early for easter. Talking about easter ... had you seen they had easter eggs and hot cross buns out just after valentines day, it crazy!

Just a candle holder I bought from Everyday Living holding 9 candles, it makes a lovely center piece for a table, on top of this huge sewing room cabinet George made Me, it has a little hole just big enough to house my stereo and a small TV, plenty space for my CD's, and 4 doors to stash material and sewing stuff. This pretty pink plastic basket I bought in Tasmania for a dollar, never seen one like it before. An enamel pot and lid and a little matching teapot sit hugging in the corner.

An old ladder hangs from the ceiling with a selection of enamel colanders, teapots, pots and some old beaters and a few new lanterns. A little artificial ivy winds it way amongst them.

Anyway there's still heaps to show you but that can wait for next time, I think it time for a cup of tea and a Apple turnover from the bakery up the road. Your coming aren't ya

Friday, February 25, 2011

Buying Memories ....

Well yeah that's what I been up to this week, you can wonder how that's possible but the Ebay offers are hard to resist for this collector of old wares. I had promised myself to stay off Ebay and stop going to the antique auctions but it so hard to bypass these memory making items. Oh some 45 years ago (now I am giving away my age)my mother and I were baking biscuits, lots of biscuits, the kitchen table was packed with baking trays and cooling racks, hot biscuits just out of the oven. And more baking trays with pretty shaped flowers, stars and other shapes, dough just piped out with a biscuit maker. Filled up with dough and then pushed out like an icing set thingy. I remember making rectangle biscuits and spreading an icing filling on the smooth side and then putting another biscuit on top, just like a sandwich. Strangle how a child sees things so much simpler than an adult. This is what I purchased to make memories with my grandsons and maybe grand daughter one day. We're going to bake biscuits!

My childhood was sometime a little lonely as a only child, but I got to spend a lot of time at my Grandma's house. Those were the best days and I had her all to myself, Mom was like an only child, her half brother was at least 20 years older than her. He never really came to visit my Grandma (she married her brother in law, a sheep farmer, when her sister died, it was different those days, the child needed a mother and out of duty? she married my grandfather. He passed when Mom was 18yrs old)
Now one of the things we did at Grandma's house was make butter, real butter! Stirring that butter churn was hard work for a little girl, waiting for those little yellow specks to form and then bigger blobs of yellow butter. Then Grandma would take over, add a little salt after draining off the liquids. She'd mould it into a square block and we'd give it a taste tester on freshly baked bread. Those loaves where raised high with a round crusty top. So as you might have guessed by now, I bought a glass bottled butter churn, it's got a metal screw on lid with a wooden paddle, that tells it the real thing, used long ago by a busy housewife caring for her family.

Talking about my uncle, he had owned a small saw mill and struggled to make a good living. The farmhouse they stayed in was old and in need of TLC, and no power. My cousin was just a few months younger than me, so it was quite a novelty for me to have candles burning and kerosene/paraffin lamps to light up the house. My mom had just bought me a new wardrobe for the holidays, old cloths was just not on you know, and this was our first stop, then on to the other family. Well by the time we left there I had only the clothes on my back cause I had given all my new clothes to my cousin. Mom had to buy me more for the rest of the holidays, something that she can laugh about now but it was done and there was no going back. My next purchase was a set of green glass paraffin lamps. It is made in China so is not very old but it will be handy at the farm and blend into the deco.

I did also buy a whole lot of seeds, so tomorrow we need to go get a few bags of mushroom compost to dig in ...
and I have a date with a few chooks ...
Happy weekend for everyone

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekend news ...

A rough start to our weekend ... the blond one came home at about 7pm, slamming the front door and bolting for the bathroom, which was unusual as she normally would say hi first. We looked at each other and knew something was wrong. She had been out all afternoon and around 3pm, she got ill but could not leave earlier, so with cramps and spewing drove another 1hr home on the M5 highway in peck hour, from the city. By Saturday morning she was begging us to take her to emergency, food poisoning no, pregnant no, after blood tests for hiv, hepA & B, what ever they could think of, it became clear her appendix was about to burst. Well she had keyhole surgery at middag today! Well she's awake and giving orders again lol.

Yesterday was the day I was going to slaughter at least 10 chooks, what was I thinking, by myself 10 chooks yeh right. Needless to say nothing got done yesterday. But this morning, after my cup of coffee and breakfast, it was time to start with them chooks. I ended up doing 3 chooks, skinned them and cut into portions, man they are big chooks with very solid drumsticks and big heavy breasts. (That sound a bit like me lol) Anyway I am most impressed ... and there's still 20 chooks to go ... I need help!!!

I'd been thinking skinning them would save me a lot of work, yeh I did pluck them but not 100 per cent, and cause we are on this healthy trip around here. Minimal fat on meat and skinless chooks, that's the blond ones doing. It's been super easy, chop into portions with the cleaver, wash dry and refridgerate, and bag into meal sized packets. I got 5 good sized meals out of the 3 chooks. Even saving the back bit for chichen stock. Out of interest we passed the meat section of Woollies supermarket and chicken breast was $15 kg for organic, not sure if mine classifies as organic. Who is going to pay that?

I decided to take the day off tomorrow, to be on call to her ladyship in hospital, and to slaughter 4 more chooks first thing in the morning. George gets to do the deed while I do the dirty work. My what a team ....
Well I sure hope you all had a good weekend
P.S. Just a reminder to Feral Female I need your address please for your copy of the readers recipe mag please

Saturday, February 19, 2011

20 Lessons from the Great Deppression ...

Found this great advice at Little Mountain House
Save a dollar for every dollar you spend. I’m a big believer in the Pay-As-You-Go rule, but if you allow more cash to go out of your door than goes under your mattress, you’re asking for trouble.
New doesn’t automatically mean better. New this and shiny that may get you a lot of attention and give you a feeling of importance, but new stuff usually costs more than old stuff. Slightly used, gently used, or just plain used will often to the job.
Be thankful for what you have. All of us have complained about eating leftovers when we didn’t want to or complained about eating the same thing three times a week, but there are quite a few people in this world that might not know where the next meal will come from. Just be thankful you have what you have … if you have it.

Learn how to fix/maintain what you have. Nothing can be more frustrating than having a piece of machinery, whether it be your car or your laptop, that you rely upon, paid good money for, and have to pay someone to repair it. Eliminating the need for the repairman will save you countless hours and dollars over the years.

Waste not, want not! If you’re discarding a substantial portion of what you bought (or made yourself), you’re essentially throwing money in the garbage can. Either cut back on what you’re making, or find ways to reuse it at a later date.
Make cheap food taste like a million bucks. I probably violate this suggestion most of all because I’m a wannabe chef, but during my college years, my food budget rarely exceeded $100 per month. Learning how to make good eats on the cheap will save you thousands per year if you can learn a few cooking basics.
Don’t pay what you can do/make for yourself. It seems like an odd question to ask, but why would you pay someone to do something that you can do for yourself. I understand that we’re all super busy and we may not be an expert in everything that modern society pushes upon us, but thanks to the Internet (praise be Google!), you can find a DIY video for almost anything on your Honey Do List.
Preparation can keep you from being blown off course. Many times during your life you’ll face some type of adversity. The more prepared you are to handle it, the better off you’ll be at weathering the storm. As the old adage goes: you can’t control the wind, but you can adjust your sails!
Family time is fun time. I’m one of the least social members of my family, but nothing beats a classic game of Monopoly with the folks. This weekend happened to be catching up over baseball games on TV and lots of hanging out in the kitchen. Funny how positive social interactions work aren’t they?
Make your big purchases off season. One of my cardinal rules of shopping (which I loathe to do) is buy most of my winter clothing in April. This way, the retailers are desperate just to break even on their investment and clear the excess inventory to make way for Spring/Summer months. This works equally well when buying summer clothing in November.
Marry someone who complements your weak points. No this doesn’t mean someone who will say “good job” each time you do a good deed. Not that kind of compliment. In a complementary relationship, your strong suits will make up for your companion’s weaknesses and vice versa. In the end, the marriage is stronger than the two individuals!
Exchange time, skills or service as currency. If you know how to play the piano and your neighbors want their kid to learn to play piano, find something they have that you want.
Learn to preserve and store food. Even if you’re not into growing your own food, it never hurts to buy in bulk and keep it frozen for a few months.
Start a garden and pay yourself for growing your own food. Why pay a grocery store for food that you can grow yourself? Many people these days are under the false impression that gardening is too difficult to try and best left to the hippies and hillbillies. Hardly the case since Michelle Obama and started a victory garden on White House grounds.
Credit cards are the devil. If you tell my Grandma that you bought her Christmas present on credit, you better hope you got your fill of pumpkin pie prior to opening gifts. Chances are, she’ll cut you off and give you a 10 minute lecture from Proverbs. Most old school consumers won’t even think about buying something unless they pay in cash.
Patience is a virtue. Be patient, save your pennies, and wait until they turn to dollars. Paying cash is the only way to go. I admit, this doesn’t translate well to 2009, but if you can rely upon your debit card more than your credit card, you’re on the right path.
Work hard, and work often. My family wasn’t exactly the affluent type back in the day, so I’m glad to have some of that blue collar mentality rubbed off on me. I never really understood what it meant to say “I built that” or “I made that from scratch” when I was a kid, but I certainly learned what those phrases meant once I became a bit older.
At the end of the day, think how to make tomorrow a little better. This phrase is fairly common, but it’s been sitting on my grandfather’s antique desk for as long as I can remember. Probably longer than I’ve been alive. But to me, it’s a testament to how both of grandparents lived their lives. Over time, little improvements add up a lot quicker than you think.
Envy is still a sin. Even though I’m the blaspheming evolutionist of the family, it doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to sound advice. Believe it or not, the Bible has really good tips on debt avoidance and the “debt is slavery” principle.
Speak convincingly and be a leader. We all know a hierarchy exists in most families, and if that happens to be you, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Even if you hurt a few feelings here and there, they’re family and they’ll eventually forgive you.
article from Steadfast Finances

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More preserving ...

Guess what I been up to this weekend? But now I over this preserving kick for a while. I made another batch of Mrs Ball's (med)chutney with the raisins. Queen Peaches are still in season here and at $2.99kg it's so worth making. Then a batch of plums jam but I did not have enough plums $3.99 kg, so added a few slithers of peach to it. It looks good with few lighter bits of peach. Just hope it going to gel ok. I just waiting for the peach jam to cook then bottle it.

There's a new veggie shop out our way called Fred's, it actually been around for ages in a small cramped premise. Recently they moved to a nice new premise, with a deli section, fish shop and a butchery. All in one shopping with plenty parking. What a pleasure to shop there. That's where we went to first thing this morning, then to the produce store for more chook food. Then home to start cooking.

Green beans and carrots had to be peeled and cut up and packed into small ziplock bags for the freezer, just enough for a meal. Still got a 5kg bag of onions left after dehydrating a heap of them. And while I managed to get 2 small buckets of mushrooms, I thought I might just try dehydrating them too. Success to both those two vegetables. Unfortunately the pears were a disaster in the dehydrator,but the sheep loved them.

Friday I popped into our local Salvos (Goodwill store) and found 3 large glass jars with lids for cheap, just had to get them. Great for storing pasta, lima beans and extra rice. That was a good buy.

Well the weekend is over again and tomorrow is work so here's to another week may it soon be over! lol
see ya and have a great week

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meat chooks and veggie patch news ...

They started their lives as cute little yellow chicks, 24 of them, they looked a little lost inside the box. Meat chooks the man from the Hatchery said, all they do is eat, drink, sleep and grow. Not very active at all. This is my first ever opportunity dealing with meat birds, so it's been a learning curve. My first post on them was 19-11-10

First lesson work out a better time to get the chicks. Our summers here get very hot then keeping the bird from getting heat exhaustion is a fulltime job. Unfortunately I did loose one bird but managed to resuscitate 2 little chookies, they were so nearly gone. Your looking at 14 weeks of fattening the bird and slaughtering them.7 weeks on Chick starter, then another 7 on grower mash. And maybe another week or two if they still too small
Lesson no2, 12 birds is more than enough.
Lesson no3, you need a bigger deep freeze, so I had to go buy a chest styled one only it has a pull out draw at the bottom, works like a dream. Bargain shopping at Laws Auction "buy now"

This little rooster has a fine looking drumstick don't ya think. I going to find it difficult doing the deed, cause they rather sweet in their own way. Every afternoon the gate is opened wide, and they love coming out the front. We removed two of the side panels and hinged it so come night time they can be locked up safe from mr Fox. A few star pickets and some bird wire makes a little run for them, and some shade cloth over the top for a cool/windy spot to sit in.

They know the garden hose well cause they get cooled off enough times, it just got so hot 42degress the last week.(I even took time off from work to make sure they allright) So far this week it's been bearable. They so cute when I rounding them up, waddle 6 steps, and lie down for a rest. But it is hard work making sure they got cool water all the time and food to eat. A sprinkle of clean new saw dust bedding daily just before they go to bed for the night.

Weekends I get to dig out the spent saw dust (stinky job)and fill up the compost bin with it. Last seasons composted sheep poo and hay has broken down nicely and most of it is now in the raised bed where we planted the sweet corn in. Plus a few wheel barrows of the new chook sawdust to fill up the bed again, the bed is still to hot to plant in atm. I am thinking of planting some potatoes in there.

With some shade cloth we covered just more than half of the veggie patch. Fernando our landlord kindly donated some black plastic hose to form an arch over the patch. It's been a struggle to keep the patch alive. Tomatoes has died down, cucumbers are finished, pumpkins have boar the fruit. I cooked all the pumpkin making pumpkin puree, ziffy bagged it ready to make pumpkin pie or scones. The beans had a good crop which I cut up, bagged and froze. A new batch of seedlings have gone in, beans, tomatoes, leb cucumber,chinese cabbage and broccoli, red banana peppers and beetroot.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cheesy Vegemite Scrolls ... savoury

Now I been blabbering on about Veggiemite scrolls forever in the Survival game story, you must really wonder what up with them. Vegemite is a vegetable extract spread, instead of a meat/beef extract spread , some of us know as the Marmite or Bovral being from overseas. You can even substitute a teaspoon of the above if your needing a stock cube and don't have any available. Well here's a recipe you might want to try. (It's also not as sinful for diabetics.)

1 1/2 cups of plain flour
1 1/2 cups wholemeal plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
100gr butter/margarin
1 1/4 cup of low fat milk (I use normal milk)
1 cup low fat grated cheese (tasty cheese in my case)
1 egg lightly beaten
180 gr slice ham (optional)

Mix flour, baking powder, salt add add butter working it into the flour with your fingers/knife
Add milk gradually, stirring until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Roll dough out to a large rectangle 30x40 cm (Thinly)
Spread a layer vegemite over the surface, top with ham and cheese. Loosely roll the dough to enclose the filling, slice into 12 pieces and place side by side on a prepared baking tray. Brush with egg. Bake for 25min or gloden brown, store in an airtight container.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Photos of Cyclone Yasi ...

Photos of Cyclone Yasi

Nilo & Des said...
Hello everybody. By the grace of God no one was hurt in this devastating Cyclone. I believe it is because of all the prayers from all over the world.
We only got the edge of the wind and that was bad enough. Have a friend that lives in Tully who sat thru the eye, he said it was extremely scary and that he wouldn't wish it on his worst enemy.

February 5, 2011 8:03 AM

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cyclone Yasi update ...

Nilo From Beautiful Airlie Beach.
Cyclone Yasi made landfall at Mission Beach, Tully area. Reports are that there has been no fatalities obviously very early still and day is just breaking. Heaps of wind around still. TC Yasi has now been dowgraded to a Cat 3 as it is tracking inland

According to the live broadcasting on TV. The whole banana plantations have once again been wiped out 95present of Australias bananas come from there. Roofs and houses destroyed. Tully and Mission Beach copped the worst of the storm.

J...It doesn't seem to have been as bad as they predicted, we will get a better idea as the sun rises..glad you are okay Nilo
Yep J... it's actually answer to prayers, the whole world was praying. All praise to God who sent his Angels to protect us all.

Rina... Morning Everyone it's with a lot of relief that we here sit in front of the computer, to see you and most of Australia made it through the night Nilo your right it was probably all the prayers
How you going this morning8:35am
All good Rina, nog baie windy (still very strong winds But it looks like everything) maar lyk my alles
.. is amazingly fine all over N Queensland8:37am
Sh.. it still not over, there is more injures afterwards than during cause people being silly any damage to roofs or trees8:37am
Lets pray that people heed the warnings8:38am
will talk later love ya8:38am
Bye my friend

More good news, because Yasi slowed down before it hit the coast, it hit on a falling tide, not a rising tide, and the storm surge that was possible did not eventuate and many areas that were expecting innundation were not affected by any surge....Garrett from Cyclone Yasi Update

There is still flying debris in many of the affected areas, please guys, stay inside and stay safe until they give the all clear, emergency services have enough to deal with this morning without having to worry about sightseers, I know it has been one very rough night for many of you, please just stay put until they give the all clear...Garrett

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cyclone Yasi .....

More updates ... From FB Nilo'says...

Went to bed at 12 and up at 5 just couldn't sleep anymore. Rather nervous about the Cyclone, it is Cat 5. Pray people Queensland needs your prayers...

‎12 Hours before STC Yasi and the wind is picking up already. We are all set for the event, Des has just connected the Generator and is load testing it. We have water, fuel, gas and food a radio, torches and batteries. The necessary windows are boarded up and we have our emergency pack ready to go if need be.If you have prepared well and you use your common sense we will all be fine. Stay safe Airlie.
57 min ago
From the offical sites:
Details of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi at 7:00 am EST:
.Centre located near...... 16.1 degrees South 150.9 degrees East
.Location accuracy........ within 20 kilometres
.Recent movement.......... towards the west southwest at 30 kilometres per hour
.Wind gusts near centre... 295 kilometres per hour
.Severity category........ 5
.Central pressure......... 922 hectoPascals

From another Queensland Blogger ...Yasi has been up-graded to a Strong category 5 this morning.It is 5oo kilometres wide.The eye is 30 klms wide.It will take an hour for the eye to pass over ,and then the 280 - 300 klm winds will return.
It is the biggest storm we have ever experienced.The frightening radar images shown behind our Premier Anna Bligh gives you a good idea of the size.
Yasi is moving fast and still growing.Now due to hit 10pm tonight.(Wed 2nd feb)
It is so hard to believe this is happening..just when you think it cant get any does.
My thoughts are with all my fellow Queenslanders further north.
Stay safe...


Path Cyclone Yasi is taking. Nilo's son and Girlfriend managed to get to them from Townsville and they sitting somewhere down just past Mackay. It looks like a category 5 and they expecting it by lunchtime today. with the eye crossing at midnight.
According to the weather people it will cover an area of 800km wide while the eye is 100 km wide. Severe winds up to 280km per hr that is as strong as Katrina. 400 mls of rain is expected.This cyclone is stronger than Cyclone Tracy that devistated Darwin many years ago.
Elise says ... Wow, Willis Island weather station has not updated for 40min, they presume it has been wiped out!! And they say this is the BIGGEST cyclone ever to hit Australia... May God protect all those who are in danger!

She's a BIG girl !!
North Queensland is now preparing for a Huge cyclone to cross land ,
1am Thursday morning.
She is being described as a dangerous giant,
category 4 ..massive system.
No more rain is need in the state,and the days to come will be a nervous wait.
Where the rain travels after that is however, a big worry.
Our forecast is for winds and high seas for now.

A few of our friends will be coming face to face with Cyclone Yasi. We're thinking of you all and pray you will be safe. Nilo and Des, who moved up to Airlie Beach a few months ago. Hope Al's well at your place, we'll be thinking about you.
Stay safe everyone...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Apple pie ....

Peeled Granny Smith apples or pie apples, add a few raisins, 1/2 sugar and sprinkle Cinnamon. Stewed until just tender, or just use a tin of pie apples. Let it cool while your making the pie mixture.
2 Eggs, 2 tablespoon margarine or butter, 2 caps of vanilla essense, 1 cup sugar, cream together. a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk (if you got any handy)
2 cups of self raising flour
1 cup of milk
Mix well and pour into pie dish.

Pour mixture into a pie dish, place a layer of pie apples or stewed on top of the mixture.Bake for 1/2hr or until golden. Pour over a sauce made of 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon margarine, 2 tablespoon sugar and a little sweetened condensed milk, just zap it in the microwave or bring to the boil in a small pot. Return to the oven for 5minutes to soak in and brown.

Yummy apple pie served with a little fresh cream or custard. They going to the freezer to be eaten another day.

Turning over ripe bananas into little muffins, they're going inside the freezer to be eaten another day. When needed they get defrosted and then just zapped in the microwave for a second or two and their as fresh as ever.Cut in half and spread a lick of butter on them (extra cals)

Homemade chalk and other great ideas...

I just found this blog and am so impressed with it I just had to share.Penniless Parenting ... extreme frugality

Homemade Chalk (This is something the kids could help make during the school holidays)

Plaster of Paris
Tempera paint (optional)

1. Mix plaster of Paris powder with enough water to make a wet paste. Add water a little bit at a time. Note that it'll thicken considerably when you mix it. Add enough water that it mixes easily and is relatively wet. No matter how wet you get it, the plaster of Paris will still dry; the wetter it is, the longer it'll take to dry.
2. Add some paint if desired. If no paint is added, you'll get white chalk. If paint is added, you'll get colored chalk. Note that the color of the chalk will lighten considerably once dried.
3. Put mixture into a mold. Crayon molds work fine, as do any non deep molds. I made my chalk in the plastic cover of one of my containers that was approximately 3/4 of an inch deep.
4. Let chalk dry for a few hours.
5. After it hardens somewhat, score it with a knife where you want to break it later. If you don't do this, it's ok, but this step makes the next step easier.
6. Let the chalk finish drying 100%. Overnight is usually enough.
7. Break the chalk into pieces.
8. Give to your kids and watch them entertain themselves!

This recipe is terrific because plaster of Paris is dirt cheap and easy to get around here. I made a nice amount of chalk, and it cost me less than 25 cents.
I find the cheapest place to get plaster of Paris is at hardware store. I can get a 2.5 pound bag there for a dollar. Craft stores charge much more money for this.

Please pop over there and have a good look around, I for one want to know more about edible weeds and repurposing stuff.