Community garden

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

what if?....

So I have been pondering lately....

What is stopping us living the life we desire where we are?

We have no idea if we are going to sell our shop or not.  There are people still seriously looking but still it does not mean alot, and it is taking more time then I ever imagined.

And I started thinking......What if we cant buy a farm?  What if it takes us 10 more years to get there?  The economy in SA is the worst in Australia.  We may well be stuck for longer then we ever imagined.

The thought got me pretty down.  I must admit.

But then I got thinking "what can we DO about it?"  If we do have to stay here, how can we introduce the life we dream of and value into the life we have now?  And also "whats holding us back?"

So what is holding us back?....
Our lack of imagination.  Really is a part of it.  We had a vision for what we were working towards and we were not willing to alter our dream for what we had in front of us.  Sure we do bits and pieces, but we can do more. 

Imagination and creativity - it is essential in all aspects of our lives.  Not just in the sewing room! 

But what we have in front of us is amazing.  We have a very big block.  But a lot of it is wasted.  We tried to establish a big veggie patch down the back but we made a mistake where we put it.  Instead of ripping it up, and re-evaluating the land we have and learning from our mistakes and re-doing it we gave up on it and stuck to my raised beds of herbs and greens near the front.  It is still some but not as much as we COULD be doing.  We decided since it was not our dream that we were not going to fully invest where we are.  But that's ridiculous - because we only have what is in front of us right now.  In this very moment.

So on the weekend we sat down together and talked.  We talked about where we are, what we dream of and what we want to teach our boys through our lifestyle.  We reflected on where we are falling down, and where we can improve.  We reflected upon the changes we can make right now to throw ourselves into the lifestyle we value.

We drew up plans of the garden.  We will be dividing the back half off to plant a giant veggie patch.  We will be cutting down a big tree to allow more light into that section of the yard, dis-mantling some garden beds and moving them, moving decorative plants, and extending the chook yard.  We will be getting a range of duel purpose heritage chooks for meat and eggs and we will butcher our own chooks.  We have started exploring getting fertilized eggs to show the boys some simple things like chickens hatching.  There is always the possibility of having a hive.

It will mean lots of building, digging and research.  We will have to be thrifty in materials and think outside of the square to transform that space.  But I'm excited and the feeling of restlessness and frustration what was creeping into my heart is giving way to excitement and contentment.  

So I feel like God has smacked me over the back of the head.  The only thing we can do is whats in front of us now.  Today has enough troubles of its own.  I have been reminded to be more present.  To stop waiting for tomorrow.  To slow down.  That there is so much right here, in front of me I am not doing.  To trust in Gods plan for our lives, despite the fact the time line seems to differ greatly from my own.  To give thanks and be present in all the moments of the day.  

Homeschooling is another thing that keeps coming back into my mind.  Despite trying to shove it to the side.  So I am going to research this, thoroughly.  Perhaps realistically explore the logistics over the Christmas holidays.

Because I will not be any happier on a farm then I am now - happiness doesn't come from a place.  It will come from living a life we see as meaningful.  For us that means God is central, but it also means life is simple, family based, in the garden.  Teaching our own children.  Being on a farm will not equip me any better for these things then where I am now - it simply means we will have more space and seeing we are not utilizing the space we have now to the full effect we could, then more space will not serve us much good!

Anyway - gotta dash! 

Much love!

xx




Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Bushwalking...

One of the things we love to do is to go bushwalking.  So here are a few pictures of our latest walk on the weekend.


Best seat in the house! 

Collecting banksia ops to make "Banksia men" from the famous May Gibs book.

A good time for William to chat to Dad.  


The kids love it when we see kangaroos! And the reasons the dogs are on leads at all times in national parks.  :) 



Xx



Friday, 17 July 2015

Interesting links this week

This week has been a quiet week at home.  I have been chronically run down and fighting illness and have forced myself to have a week at home, while I'm on antibiotics.  Resting and sleeping where we can.  It is so important to say "no" every now and again to the world.  There is a "suck it up" attitude in our culture and it is so unhealthy.  I swear it leads to chronic long term illness.  I should have done this week after the long weekend when I first became unwell.  I SHOULD have really stopped until I felt fully well, but instead I took minimal time off and got on with it.  I have been struggling with fatigue since then.

I have to remind myself I AM NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!!  The world will continue to rotate if I pull back. People WILL find work out a way to work in the groups I volunteer in if I take a few days off.  And also that I am worthy of rest.  "No" is such a valuable word, and one I am learning how to use as I get older.   

As usual I am only just getting into the swing of school holidays and they are sadly nearing an end.  These lazy, unstructured days are good for all our souls!

It is looking highly possible that the business people who are looking at our shop may put an offer on next week.  Our old real estate agent is a lovely fellow.  But he does everything by snail mail, no email, no smart phones.  He is an old school man of his generation.  It is charming but slow!  It means each side of paperwork takes a day or two extra from every angle.  But he is good, and we very much like his old fashioned approach.  So we are still waiting, weather we get an offer in the region of the price we need is yet to be seen.  At times it feels our dream farm is tantalisingly close, but still just out of reach.

The little boys and I spent sometime inside near the fire playing with puzzles, it was lovely to watch Angus encouraging little Henry,  gosh those guys can be so deliciously cute and sweet to each other!

So this week I thought I would link you to a few things that have been topic of conversation in our house this week.  I hope you have a lovely weekend!

xx

This is a link from Grant - we have been dreaming about farming a a lot this week and how we would farm on a smaller acreage.  
You tube clip of a chook tractor farm

The fellow who makes the Chook tractors, great technology.
about the chook trailors

This link is not for sensitive stomachs.....but it kinda links in with my desire to cloth nappy and the environmental impacts of wet wipes.
modern day crisis in our sewers....

I love stories like these!  Grant linked me to this story earlier in the week suggesting we take on this life.....?!
self sustainable living - an interesting woman's story.

An Australian lady who sells excellent Waldorf doll kits, her instructions are fantastic and I often use a pattern or two of hers depending on the doll I'm making.  
Sarah Dolls

This is a link with some great, free online tips to help form a Waldorf doll.  She also sells full kits but check the postage to Australia and this is a group of Canadian woman.  
Bamboletta waldorf tutorial


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Waldorf dolls and needle felting.

I have been struggling to find the time and energy to sew much lately, I have been so busy out of home with volunteer church groups and so fourth and I added up the time spent and it was 20 plus hours a week some weeks on a big week.  I love it and it is certainly a choice I consciously make but I have not had much time for doll making.

This week I am having a full week off.  I am filling my tank, going to bed early and sewing as much as I can.  I have woken up with terrible sinus pain and have a Dr. appointment booked.  It's been a long time since I have needed antibiotics but I think it may be the case today.

I caught up with a good friend of mine who lives on the other side of the city yesterday.  My goodness it was lovely to talk weaving, sewing and fibers with her!  Our children played so beautifully you would never have known we had 5 children in the house.  I was just what my soul needed.  I gifted her some of my home made soap and she gave me a gorgeous posy of flowers and a scarf she wove from hand spun wool from her spinners and weavers guild.  I was truly spoilt!  This girl is an amazing weaver and she gave me a hard talking too about gifting my dolls, or compromising on my price. (basically being too soft)  Etsy is not working as a selling platform.  Its simply too big.  So this week I will be FORCING myself to look at that. 

I recently taught myself how to needle felt, it is a technique I am loving and it allows me to add more definition to my dolls faces.

Here it is here mid process.....

and here she is finished....


And here she is with her details sewn on.  I'm currently piecing her together.  I love this part.  Stuffing, sewing and forming.  Its where the dolls character takes shape. 

Ready to be pieced together...

I also finished off another sweet fellow who is going to his new home today, I have made this mama a doll for her eldest son before and he is so incredibly loved, smooshed and taken through the absolute ringer whilst going to all kinds of little boy adventured and still holding up - which is always good to see!

And have another cuddle custom doll on the go for a sweet mama as well.  We will see how much I can get through this week.

It appears I have a house of very grumpy little boys today so best get going before they get too out of control.  ;)

xx

Friday, 10 July 2015

Reality!

I was reading online this week about a Mama who felt inadequate after reading blogs and and so forth.  She felt disappointed in all she achieved, and she was doing just beautifully!  The beautiful professional pictures, the inspirational lists of achievements.  It made her doubt herself.  But we forget that some blogs are not an online diary, they are in fact a deliberately created image, a source of income.  Just as magazines are airbrushed, there is a similar style of marketing that exists the "simple living" world.  We forget sometimes I think.  I know I have. 

Online can get a bit like that I think.  That's why I try to make my space real. I'm blogging to truly record our life to look back on, to show our boys our family story one day. 

Sometimes reality in family life is messy, it is unglamorous!  So here are a couple of pictures from this week that made me chuckle and sigh at the same time.

The boys asked for noodles for lunch, so I cooked up some vermecelli noodles with some veggie sticks on the side - they were clearly a hit!

Its midday here, my boys are still in their PJ's, there is the telltale empty coffee cup and the high chair try is neglected from breakfast.  Clearly I had the intention to clean it up but I must have gotten distracted.  Such is a mothers life.  Angus has cream in his hair as I was softening the cradle cap on his head to comb out.  I was tired, there is mess, but there is laughter and joy. 

My life will never be shown in a glossy magazine, it will never be moment or picture perfect.  But it is mine, and through the tiredness, the challenges I love it.  I love them, more then I have the words to express.
 
Tessa the Lab loves to help clean up!  She is equally delighted in the boys mess as they are.  They make a great team.  Although i do think more food gets dropped on the floor when she is about, I think it makes an interesting distraction at meal times for the little ones. 

She saves me picking up all the big bits, then I simply have to wipe over the floor.  Everyone is happy!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

xx

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bush table


One of the things I love about Waldorf/Steiner ideas is the emphasis on the seasons and for fourth and having a seasonal table.  So this little nook was a lean on that.  Except I thought we could do a "Bush Table" because I had some beautiful wool felt native animals on hand which I found when de-cluttering I had totally forgotten about.

So I shuffled some furniture around (again!)  and set up this little quiet corner.  The boys are very excited.  William was straight into it dragging out his big books, writing names and labels for all the animals, we have talked about native animals, marsupials and all sorts!  They have collected leaves and gum nuts, made more animals our of craft bits and generally made a mess and had fun whilst learning about Australia. 


Here are a couple of our Australian themed picture books, I have a few more around the place.  We can match up the animals with the books for little Henry and Angus can practice his pronunciation.  His language is OK but his pronunciation is terrible.   There is something for everyone!


We have a lovely nature reserve and park down the road.  The little boys and I went for a walk to the Bush Park there and explored the rocky riverbeds, the beautiful mosaics and other artwork that's hidden amongst the little paths.  It really is a lovely area!


Henry is such a trendsetter here- still wearing his pj top and his big brothers hand me down vest! there are little huts where the kids have dragged sticks together to explore.

Exploring an artistic sculpture area hidden by little paths and bushes!

Henry growing more confident as he climbs up the wall.

Gus and I talked about salt bush when Henry was playing on the slide, how the bush stores its water in its leaves, and how they feel waxy to touch.  That salt bush can live in areas that are very dry.  


We hope to go tomorrow, the walk does us all good!  It was a beautiful morning.  

xx

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Cloth nappies - the story of a converted Mama!

Simple living is a journey we are on.  We did not start where we are today and odds are in 5 years we will not be in the same place either.  Cloth nappies have been a part of this journey and I thought I would share my thoughts and experience.

When we had our first baby 7 years ago I disliked the idea of using cloth nappies.  I didn't want to deal with scraping the poo off, I didn't want poo through my washing machine.  I thought it was all too hard and too messy.  It had been sold to me by older parents, who had to cloth nappy due to disposables not being an option, how wonderful disposables were.  Quick, easy, clean!  How amazing! 

I had seen some mothers persist for a while and then throw in cloth nappying.  They had spent huge amounts on various kinds of nappies and ended up forking out for cloth and then back to using disposables in the end.  This also was a turn off.
  
But as time went on the reality of disposable nappying sank in, it was extra money we were literally throwing in the bin, with NOTHING to show for it.  We hoped to have several children 3-4, crunching the numbers for wipes/nappies over that period was phenomenal.  Little did I know at that stage, my now my 7 year old is still in night nappies.  The reality of how long my boys would be in nappies began to sink in.

Then one day I read a statistic which was a light bulb moment for me.  If we swapped just ONE disposable nappy/day for a cloth, we would save 300kg of land fill/year.  That's just ONE NAPPY!  Mind = blown.

From that point on it triggered me to begin the move to cloth nappies.  I say begin, because for me it did not happen over night.  It was a process of trial and error.  I started cloth nappies with my middle son, he was a few months old I guess?  I cant remember now.  I bought up on one big brand but I hated them.  I wont name them as many people love them, but they didn't work for us. They leaked constantly, they took forever to dry.  It really turned me off.  So I sold them all second hand and re-couped most of my costs.

I then thought about what I wanted in a nappy.  I wanted to support an Australian brand, I wanted a higher waisted nappy for practicalities, my boys wet high out the front.  I needed a nappy that would grow with my child.  I needed a nappy that the layers separated out so the sun could get to them and that would dry fast in winter.  I wanted to have a nappy stash of only one brand so all the bits and pieces went together.  I'm a little lazy, I didn't want to be stuck trying to play "match them up" with 500 different nappy parts.  We have since been given various nappies from people finishing their cloth time but I always reach for my Bambooties.  They are by far my favorite nappy out of the many I have tried.    

After much research I settled the company Bambooty.  The nappies are manufactured in China these days but the company is Australian, started by some Aussie Mama's.  And from there my cloth nappy journey has gone from strength to strength.  I have now cloth nappied two of my three children and these babies are still full of life if we decide to go for a fourth baby.  ;)

I used hand-me-down Bambooty newborn sized nappies then baby was tiny.  I loved them.  They were more absorbent then disposables and I had far less leaks.

I still do disposable nappy the boys at night time once they start sleeping through or start wetting through the cloth.  Which ever happens first.  But it has been niggling at me to find a better option.  I have one night time Bambooty nappy and it is more absorbent and chunkier.     

As with many baby products there is a certain lingo that goes along with it.  But don't be daunted, its not complicated!

MCN - Modern Cloth Nappy

Its a nappy with a layer of water proof  PULL then layers of soakers.  They have elasticized legs, are done up with Velcro or snaps and a great option for cloth nappies.  These are the style of cloth I'm going to talk about as its what we use.  There are other options of the old pre-folds with covers and terry squares and so forth which many people still love and use! 
 
OSFM - One Size Fits Most

This nappy has lots of snaps on the outside and it folds down to very small to medium to large.  Personally I was not in love with this nappy on its smallest setting but LOVED it on its medium to large setting and has been the most used nappy we own.  You snap in or slide in extra soak pads depending on your child's needs.  I think these are the most economical nappy.  As you only have to buy your stash once and they snap to change size as your baby grows. I cannot rate these nappies highly enough.  They have been amazing quality, durable, reliable, comfortable and are cute to boot as an added bonus. 

This nappy folds out so the layers can dry quickly, which is a necessity lets be real!


AIO - All In One

An all in one is exactly as it sounds.  Usually a sized nappy where all the padding is sewn in.  These babies are easy.  No folding, no bits but golly they take a LONG time to dry in winter especially.  I'm talking days.  I just don't have time for that.  But if you are somewhere hot or your happy to have a big stash then give them a whirl.

Pocket Nappies.

These are pretty much as they sound.  They are a PULL cover with a pocket in which you slide soak pads into.  These are easy to pull apart for washing/drying and quick drying due to this feature.  You can boost them with extra soak pads also.  Pocket nappies are a touch more fiddly. 

Cloth wipes

And now wipes.  You can buy expensive specially made baby wipes but the concept of them baffle me.  Instead I just stocked up on bulk white cotton flannels.  I made them all white so that they are color coded.  White = bum wipes.  They are easy to nappy-san if I need also.  Then I fill a spray bottle with water and what ever I use in babies bath, perhaps a couple of drops of lavender oil if I have some on hand and spray each wipe as I use it.  I keep it all on hand at the nappy table, just like you would with anything else.     

I keep a big plastic nappy bucket with a tight lid in the loo and pop the lot in there after flushing anything that needs flushing.  I don't rinse the nappies, I dry pail.  Every second/third day I whack them through the wash on the longest wash with a soak in there somewhere and then hang them out to try.  It really does only take a few extra minutes.

Every month or so I pop my machine on a "clean" cycle.  My machine has a special cycle in which it does this itself but if yours doesn't I would put it on the longest hottest cycle with a scoop of your usually washing detergent and a cup of white vinegar to give it a good soak and deep clean. 

So I'm well and truly converted to the benefits of cloth nappies.  To me I don't even think about it now.  Its just what we do.  Grant often comments how much money we save when we have to pick up a box of nappies for night time, and its true.  It has saved us many thousands of dollars.  Money we can spend on music lessons, and actually LIVING our life and building experiences and memories as a young family.  It may seem expensive to set up for cloth nappies - but don't let it put you off.  Bambooty often have huge clearance sales of their end of prints, around tax time and so forth.  You can save by buying in bulk also.  It saves to keep your eye open.  And it is in the long run, a far cheaper option, greener option.



Here is a link Bambooty online shop

There are various second hand buy/swap/sell facebook pages especially dedicated to MCN nappies.  Well worth checking out also. 

xx
  




Friday, 3 July 2015

Sick children and winter sniffles and dolls!

My week this week has consisted with a lot of this....


We are house bound.  Henry has been unwell.  He got swabbed for whooping cough but it's a bad virus and tonsillitis.  He is on the mend now, but still chesty, on antibiotics for his throat and needs to be kept warm.  Much to his disgust!  

The boys are doing well after the passing of their dear old dog, and we are home.  Today is going to be a TV free day I think.  I used to do a lot of TV free days but have slacked off recently.  Time to get back on that band wagon I think! 

They are bickering and irritable.  A sure sign they need to be challenged and need some directed play, perhaps some school work to focus and extra jobs.  ;) 

There is broth to put on, nappies to wash and some sewing to do today.  I might make the boys some sweet camomile tea to see if it helps wind them down today.  

I have been working on a couple of new dolls.  One is nearly done, I just need to whip up the last of his clothing today.  He is for a little fellow who has his name all ready to go and is waiting in anticipation.  


I taught myself a new technique to add more shape and definition to my dolls heads which I'm really excited about!  It includes needle felting as well as the traditional head forming method I usually do and I think I may be a bit in love.  I cannot wait to get the tricott on and embroider her face.  



Happy days!  Have a lovely day.  :) 

Xx