Monday, October 31, 2011

It's time....

At around 5am I awoke and was laying there  in my warm, comfortable bed mulling over some thoughts-as you do; and it came to me! Time is our biggest issue these days.......

Think back to how many times you've heard friends and family, frazzled and complaining that they just don't have time...... time to walk the dog, time to play with the children, time to tend to the garden.

I remember a conversation I had some time ago with an aquaintance; she commented on my vegie garden, stating "Oh I wish I had the time to have a vegie garden!" When I asked her why she didn't have the time, she said "I have to work" and when I politely asked why she had to she replied: "To put food on the table and pay for the childcare!" As I smiled politely ( and perhaps a tad knowingly) I saw the look of awareness dawn upon her face!

You see, my husband and I realised very early on that my working full time was not the best for us-financially or emotionally! We created a spreadsheet and listed ALL the costs involved with my employment: travel, clothing, makeup,haircare, childcare, convenience foods etc etc. Much to our surprise, we were only $20/week better off with my working! From that day, I have only ever worked in paid employment where the children were either with me ( or able to be cared for by my husband) and have found that I have the time to do most of the things we used to pay others for! Yes, at times it has been financially difficult-and we didn't have family around to help us with babysitting etc. Yet, we have managed to bring up 3 responsible, reliable members of society and our two daughters have both been involved with sport at a high level-travelling Internationally. We have a nice home and have worked hard for what we have-managing to do it on mainly one wage.

I'm constantly bemused by those who are rushing around madly, dropping the kids off at childcare, going to the gym to work out, complaining about the price of both these things and the fact that they seem to spend their lives in the car! Think of this: if you are not spending your day behind a desk, but are at home doing the housework and gardening to provide food for your family, then you won't need a gym membership to stay in shape! If you work less hours ( or none at all) you won't have those high childcare fees-and somebody else won't be bringing up your children! You can be the parent who is assisting at the school, being involved with excursions and reading programs.

I know that there are many who would lift up their voices to shout me down-mentioning women's liberation etc etc.....and to them I say that women have actually had many choices taken away from them-what sort of a society are we that women are leaving their babies of a few weeks old in the care of others for a full day, so that the mother can go back to work???

I shall step down from my soap box now..but I'm interested in what you think.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A whiter shade of pale.

A few days ago I made up some home made laundry powder and have been using it since. I've been satisfied with the results..............until today! Today I soaked some whites in hot water mixed with 2 scoops of the laundry powder-one of the items was His Lordship's cricket shirt from last season which was stained with sunscreen around the collar area. Now, I had tried many things to get that stain out-much to my frustration! After a few hours soaking today most of the stain has disappeared 8-) !!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

DOWN TO EARTH: On my mind ...

DOWN TO EARTH: On my mind ...


I've just finished mowing around much of the block. At the front of the house we have a section of grass ( in a semi-circular shape) surrounding a beautiful gum tree. As the grass is mown there, the smell of eucalyptus melds with that of the freshly mown grass-it is pure heaven!

Up  the back of the block is the orchard, chooks and vegie beds ( fenced off to keep the hounds out!) with grass pathways-so as I mow there I am checking the growth of the trees & vegies. i throw some snails to the hens and muse that we have apricots, nectarines, apples, plums and quinces forming-not bad considering all the trees were planted last winter!

As I head back to the house, it strikes me how lucky I am.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Domestic Deeva...........

I'm quite the Domestic Deeva today! That's Deeva with two "e's"-see what I did there? My name's Dee ;) Gosh but I'm funny sometimes! :-)

I've made a massive batch of biscuit dough, split it into 4 and put 3 in the freezer. Note for young players: When adding flour to wet ingredients, do NOT turn the mixer to full speed immediately! Yep, we had a flour cloud in the kitchen! You'd think that after all these years of baking I'd be beyond making a newbies mistake...........nup, still managed it.

I've also cleaned the windows along the back of the house-a very considerate husband of mine had been mowing and edging. He managed somehow or another to get grass clippings all over the windows ( maybe a similiar situation to my efforts in the kitchen today...) .......nothing a wet broom and elbow grease couldn't fix.

I also whipped up some more laundry powder, so my tin is now full. I think there's enough there to last at least 6 months! 8-)

My other effort today was to start on some homemade Christmas decorations. I'm taking part in a "Thrifty/Frugal Living" Christmas Decoration Swap-you have to make a decoration for someone else doing the challenge and post it to them. Maximum cost is $ far I've created the following decorations:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Somebody stop me.....

I'm on a roll! After yesterday's laundry powder making session ( oh so easy!), today was the day I entered the world of soap making! I'm amazed that it takes only four ingredients ( one of which is water!) to create a household necessity!

Anyone who can cook can make soap-it follows similiar processes ( albeit with a couple of precautions due to the caustic soda)-in fact, I developed a craving for custard once my mix reached trace point!

I'll add photos after I've turned the soap out of the molds tomorrow..................imagine, me- Domestic Goddess!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cleaning up the cleaning..........

As someone with sensitive skin who also wants to spend less on the essentials, I was eager to try the recipe for home made laundry powder found on the Down To Earth site ( link: .

This morning I made my first batch of concentrated laundry powder-and it is so easy!!!! Have to love that! :-)
I mixed together:
4 cups Lux soap flakes
2cups washing (lectric) soda
2cups borax

and placed it all in a plastic container. 2 tablespoons/wash will work out very economical and will give my skin a break too!

Next project is to make some homemade soap using olive oil & copha. If the soap turns out I'm contemplating putting together some gift baskets with home made, green cleaning products for Christmas presents....

Monday, October 24, 2011


We had a thunderstorm which lasted more than an hour last night-one of the dogs and the cat were quite unimpressed; whereas I enjoyed it immensely! Apart from the fact that I had spent some time about an hour earlier hand watering the vegie seedlings!

Earlier in the day a Great Egret had landed in the back yard and I watched it for 15mins or so, feeling blessed that I had the opportunity to do so. I didn't take a photo, so have borrowed one from the net!
Great Egret | Ardea alba photo

Thursday, October 20, 2011

While my back was turned...

I got home last night from a week away with friends ( and yes, I do feel fantastic and refreshed-thankyou for asking! :-) ) and went to bed wondering how the seeds I planted last week were going.

This morning I couldn't wait to get outside and check. I'm pleased to announce that the corn has sprouted, the beans are bursting through and lettuces are springing up too! The potatoes are at the point where I will have to start hilling up some soil around them soon. Tall strong spears of asparagus were reaching for the sun ( not anymore-I picked those babies!) and the cabbages have headed beautifully.

Ah, Mother Nature-you are simply wonderful!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In the cabbage patch....

A few months back I decided to raise a few garden beds for vegies...being in a country area I found a supply of sheep manure close by and layered it with straw scattered with Seamungus pellets. After a few weeks I planyted various seedlings of cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. We have been eating cauliflower & broccoli for a little while now. Tonight I harvested a cabbage and decided to make a version of my Mum's chowmein-yummy!

Bev's Chowmein ( Dee's version)
500g mince
1 onion- sliced
celery stick-sliced.
2 minute noodles-chicken (crushed)
Curry powder to taste
pinch of chilli powder
hoisin sauce.
1 cabbage-shredded

Brown mince, celery & onion together. Add shredded cabbage, two minute noodles ( include seasoming from pack) and stir until combined. Pour in around half a cup of water and cover until noodles are cooked. Remove lid, allow most of water to dehydrate, then stir in Hoisin sauce.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mad day away from home!

I've just finished one of the longest days I've had at work in quite a while! Tired much? :D

Although not being home for more than 10 hours I still had the enjoyment of letting the hens out this morning, then collecting their eggs when I put them into the henhouse tonight! I also took one of my flatbreads filled with homemade rhubard chutney, homegrown spinach and cheese. Tasty and satisfying!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Warming the cockles....

In my ever so humble opinion there's nothing to warm the cockles of your heart more than the sense of satisfaction when a job's well done! This morning I felt the buzz of achievement as I walked through the vegie garden to let the girls out of their pen-the beds planted out yesterday were glistening with the last beads of rain from the overnight drizzle, there were a few spears of asparagus to be harvested and I cut the first cabbage head.
Then this afternoon I tried my hand at making some simple flatbreads with the assistance of our 3 yr old grandson. Angus took great pleasure in helping roll the breads out thinly; although I think he enjoyed it even more when I sprinkled a freshly cooked one with cheese, rolled it and handed it to him! He immediately went to his Dad and requested that they make them at home! :-)

 Above: The potatoes make their appearance
 Above: The teepees on the left are for beans and the drink bottles are mini cloches for tomato seedlings. On the right of the pic you can see one of the potato strips. This set up is mirrored on the other side of the block.
 Above: Raspberry beds on the left, vegies on the right.
Above: The girls doing what they do!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Plant the seed...

The husband & I have spent the afternoon in the garden ( the term loosely applied to the area out the back! ;-) )...all the grass paths in the orchard area are nicely mown due to his diligence!

I spent the time planting 2 varieties of corn, broccoli,3 types of beans, spaghetti squash, 3 varieties of pumpkins and I also threw down some more lettuce seeds. I'm kind of following a moon planting guide-and today was supposed to be good for plants producing crops above the ground..ergo the varieties above!

After planting I collected a couple of handful of snails ( which seem to congregate on the sides of our water tanks) and threw them to the hens-much to their delight! It seemed a small payback for their efforts in supplying our lunch today-frittata made with our eggs and every vegie in it was from our back yard...ah, bliss!

I really must dig out the camera and post some shots!

The potatoes are sprouting nicely. I don't bother chitting ours ( chitting is the process of letting the seed potatoes sprout from the eyes prior to planting). All the fruit trees look incredibly healthy-except for the nectarine which has leaf curl...grrrr.

Our septic dispersion lines run the length of the three apple beds and the trees look exceptional at the moment-covered in buds and the leaves are a vivid green. Let's hope we can get a few pieces of fruit this year!

Friday, October 7, 2011

On my mind......

This morning for some reason I bought the AWW- a magazine I purchase rarely! The story which caught my eye was about Rhonda Hetzel and her husband-people who has chosen a frugal way of life; people after my own heart!

There was a link to Rhonda's blog and I immediately went over for a looksee! I can see that I'll be popping in there more often! :-)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sweet,sweet corn...

I finally managed to get outside and do something other than mow or spray weeds today-YAY!

 Planted the first tomato seedling from the seeds I'd sprouted on our kitchen window sill. The variety is "Santorini" and came free with the Burke's Backyard magazine last month-be interesting to see how they go as they are meant to be able to survive on natural rainfall once established. I've used a 2 litre soft drink bottle as a "cloche" to give it a bit of a head start-will plant out more next week when they are a tad stronger.

I also planted 40+ sweet corn week I'll plant some pumpkin seeds to grow through the corn to keep the roots cool. American Indians used to plant what they called  the "Three Sisters"together....corn, squash and beans.......I might add some beans too and see how they all get on!
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