Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thursday thrift.......

I'm sitting at my desk, gazing out across our backyard at all the trees and plants and I realized last night that I have planted each and every one! At the time I wasn't thinking about that fact, instead I was focused on transforming our bare acre from pasture land into an area which would feed and nurture us.

Now that everything is growing I have been able to begin to appreciate the planning and thought put into that transformation. Our garden is but a baby-18 months old; yet it is already a place of fulfillment.

How does that relate to a Thursday Thrift post I hear you ask? Well, yes we have spent money on fruit trees and fencing, on shelter trees and concrete areas-but there are also plants which were free. Plants which are cuttings or divisions from others.

Much of the edging has been created from rocks which were dug up when the house was being built-and His Lordship dug out the seasonal ponds with a shovel!! The pathways winding through the garden beds have been marked and dug by me-also with a shovel!

We have used leftover colorbond from the roof for some fencing sections and leftover pallets to block areas between the watertanks. Instead of planting lawn seed or turf, we are encouraging the grass which is already in situ to spread-if it's tough enough to stand up to cows grazing it in the past, it will be tough enough to stand up to the kids & dogs which will trample all over it!

When you are creating a garden from scratch it need not be an expensive exercise-paying a small fortune for a landscaper is not necessary. Instead, allowing yourself to dream of a space which becomes your sanctuary and then gradually creating that space yourself will become a cherished part of your life-and it may only take a little digging!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday thrift....

Entertaining essentials.

I was thinking back to the early days for His Lordship and I and how little money we had. Our first mortgage, a wedding to pay for, two children with a third soon to follow!

We rarely went out together-we just couldn't afford the cost! With no family nearby we couldn't even afford to pay the teenager down the road to babysit-in fact, we would book my mum a year in advance to stay for a weekend in Decmber so that we could both attend a work Christmas Party!

Sounds like a dull life doesn't it? Nothing could be further from the truth! In those days we had far more dinner parties than we do now!

Friends seemed to love coming to our house for a 3 course meal-all cooked from scratch with very cheap ingredients!

Our street at the time resounded most Saturday nights with lots of laughter as we took turns gathering at one home or another-sometimes it was bring a dish, at others someone or another would host us all

In the years since then our income improved-and at times we became "busy" with the number of social outings to attend. Our children are no longer at home, so babysitting isn't an issue!

Now however, I find playing host at home much more satisfying. Once again I am enjoying cooking those meals for appreciative friends & family-these days the young children playing in the house are our grandchildren and their friends and I couldn't be happier!

It doesn't take much to pull together a meal for people and in this colder weather something cooked in the slowcooker is always a hit!

Pasta, roasts, curries-all relatively cheap to provide and please most! Homemade Pizzas are usually met with enthusiasm by younger generations-especially if they are allowed to assemble them!

What do you do to entertain on a budget?

Monday, June 11, 2012


Saturday morning saw us driving more than 3 hours with our 5 year old grandson in tow to Melbourne. We were going to visit our middle daughter, her husband and our 8 week old youngest grandson and decided to meet at Costco.

This was a first visit for His Lordship and I; as non-residents of Melbourne we have never seen the need to pay the $60 annual membership in order to go in for a look. However, our daughter & her husband are members and can take a visitor each in, so we made the most of it!

As it was 11am Saturday by the time we got there it was incredibly busy; however we still managed to spend more than 2 hours there! Some of the products are no cheaper than we could buy elsewhere-but some items were much cheaper!

For example- I bought a 12.5kg bag of Bakers Flour for $9-99 and a 5litre bottle of white vinegar for $2-39-which is what I usually pay for 2 litres!

We ended up spending $100 on items which would normally cost around $150 locally-even when buying generic items.

We have calculated that by visiting Costco twice a year when in Melbourne to see our family we will be able to save a substantial sum-even taking into account the annual fee. We will be able to buy in bulk items which we use every day-what about you? Do you bulk buy for the savings?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday Thrift.....

I don't have any money saving tips today. Instead, as I sat down at the laptop and gazed out over our currently lush, verdant backyard and watched the hens scratching under the fruit trees I began to muse...

That's when I decided that this week I would post about something which is absolutely free; yet could make a massive difference to your life and how you live it.

What could be so momentous I hear you ask? What could possibly change or better yet, confirm  the direction your days are going in and cost nothing?

Dreams, meditation, musing. Call it what you will, but take the time to just sit and let your mind wander where it will. Let your heart quietly bring your hopes and dreams to the fore and then, yes then, decide how you will move towards them.

It has taken more than 20 years for us to be where we are now. In that time we were often too "busy" to think about what it was we really wanted-we were caught up in striving for "enough" to provide for our family. The thing is, in reality what is "enough" ?

For us, it is an acre of land close enough to town that we can still work in paid employment-yet far anough away that it is quiet.

It will be another 20 years before His Lordship considers retirement ( I work part-time and will "retire" when we have finished what we need to do to set this place up) and by then the fruit trees will be in full production, our vegie garden will be following the rhythms of the year, our hens will be still scratching around and our needs will be few.

That is our dream.

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." - -- Henry David Thoreau

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday's fridge.....

Forgive me, it has been two weeks since my last Friday's Fridge  ( apologies to any offended religious sensibilities- although non Catholic I love the idea of confession!).

A quick post because I have to drive to town for the car to be serviced-and to do some others tasks I have been putting off....would much rather spend all day home in the garden!

Today's Friday Fridge has pork belly, bacon, salami, eggs, pumpkin, cheese, milk, yoghurt, sourdough starter, green tomato pickles, carrots, celery, homemade pea & ham soup and spicy eggplant relish-oh, and some leftover lemonade. Not in the fridge, but defrosting is some casserole beef.

Ergo-tonight's meal will be Slow Roasted Pork Belly with roasted vegetables ( we have a friend coming for dinner).

Snacks for the weekend will probably be lemonade scones...

Saturday Meals:
Breakfast-grilled cheese with relish or chutney
Lunch- Frittata
Dinner- Slowcooker sweet Beef Curry with rice

Sunday Meals:
Breakfast- Eggs Anyway
Lunch-Pea and Ham soup with sourdough bread
Dinner- Homemade pizza or Fridge forage!

How does your Friday fridge look?
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