Community garden

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Garden progress

Finally we have started our veggie patch!  Well we are working on the structural aspects of it anyway for now.  Grant surprised me with the most beautiful gate he made out of scraps that were lying around the yard at the old cottage.  Paths are being laid from old bricks that were also here when we bought it, which will act as dividers between the beds. 

We will be spending the next month or more working in the garden, while we save for the cladding on the house.  The fence needs to be mended thanks to the dogs, (grrr...) a little more rubble to clear, soil turned and manure and straw brought in ready for some seedlings. 

One of the hardest parts for me in this move would have to be the yard.  Its huge yes, and there are fruit trees.  But that was about it.  There are still the old falling down sheds which we will need to get the abspestos people to come in to professionally and safely remove the roof off before we can demolish it.  Piles of building rubble remain, though there is certainly less.  Many trailor loads have been removed, light timber has been burnt and good hard timber stored in our woodshed for winter.  A bonfire makes for great free cold weather entertianment! 

But to see the bones of the veggie patch start to go in, the front garden started.....well it feels like we are moving in the right direction.    

But, you know, in the aim of keeping it real and honest I don't know if I would do this move again if given the choice.  There has been plenty of good to come out of it.  But plenty of difficulty too.  This was a move to substantially reduce debit.  Financially it has been good, and it has certainly been beneficail to Grant in all aspects of his life.  He was under huge pressure and he is certainly happier here.  But I just don't feel settled here. Families, we always compromise for the best for the family, hey?  It is silly to say I wouldn't do it again, as it is not like I can go back in time, best to make the most of it all.  :) 

I miss my old 3 bedroom house, with the big lined out shed where visitors could stay, where I had a wonderful bright, airy sewing space.  I miss being in town, where school was a 6 minute drive down the road, rather then a 1hr return trip.  I miss my girlfriends being able to pop in for a cuppa after school run, I'm lonley here.  I have plenty of company, and oppertunity to chat.  But I miss that deep connection I had with dear friends on a regular basis. 

There is plenty of good here, mind you.  We are close to our business, being involved in the renewal of a lovely country church, my ministry work which I love, financially things are much lighter.  Grant is far happier here. 

But I don't feel like this is home in my heart of hearts.  I do my best to notice the quiet, the lovely outlook.  I get plenty of delight from each step of establishing our new garden.  I love to see the chooks with a great big space, the fruit trees.  There is plenty of good things, of lovely things.  Perhaps if we hang around long enough these things will grow in me. 

Perhaps I am simply a wanderer at heart!  Since Grant and I have been married we have moved about 8 times in the last 10 years.  Or perhaps I am a homebody who has simply not found my home yet.        

But either way, I am excited about the prospect of a veggie garden.  Its shaping up to be a good size space and we should be able to grow plenty there.  Hopefully we will be able to sell the excess in the shop too. 

My new gate.  Im in so much love with it!  And it cost us nothing which is always a bonus. 


A new path in the process of being built. 

Salvias are in full bloom, one of my very favorite plants!  Tough, hardy, beautiful. 

This little lempon tree is a ripper.  Its a terrible shape, old, gnarled.  But it gives fruit like a tree twice its size would!  It's all heart.   

Oranges and grapefruit are also in abundance....Pity we all dislike grapefruit.  Ha! 
Well it's best I get going, work to do and all that. 

Much love, and I hope you can find some time for peace and reflection in your week. 

xx

Saturday, 20 May 2017

A quick camping trip.

We had a quick camping trip togeather over the weekend.  Checking out free camp sites.  This one was lovely, and importantly not a long drive away seeing as we were only nipping away for a weekend.  At a place called White Cliffs.  Beautiful river, lovely bushy area.  We recently decided to commit to go camping one weekend a month, with the challange to do it as cheaply as possible, and as easily! 

Our set up might not be fancy, but it does us just fine!  We didn't bother setting up the annex, it was a short trip and we were not expecting rain. 

The old Franklin, hitched up.

Our campsite - a little muddy!  But very pretty.

Getting in some studying in.  And a vintage van simply MUST have bunting - yes?

Our big comfy bed, Henry often joins us.  ;)

The river, a beautiful crisp morning.

The boys exploring the bush.

This wee girl came home three shades browner from all the mud - she had a blast!

Here Aggie is trying to look dignified - dont be fooled.....She is anything but!

Ronnie had a good time too - he loved exploring with the boys.

The boys had the most wonderful embankment to slide down - though I will be soaking their socks for a week!  So. Much. Mud.  Mud - glorious mud!

Henry doing his tricks! 

There are planty of ways to explore cheap/free camping.  Looking at your states national parks is one, going to an powered or unpowered site of a smaller, simpler country caravan park is another.  We have paid as little at $45/night for a powered site before in the off peak season, and had a lovely time.  There is something so beautiful and invigorating about the beach in winter! 

There are also RV friendly towns.  HERE is a website to explore. 

A camping set up does not need to be expensive.  Ours has been built up over a couple of years.  The van itself was $1000, and came with a working duel power fridge and oven.  It was in a real state mind you.  But then we spent another $1000 fixing it up, over a period of 6 months or so, buying things we needed as we went along.  The little air con was second hand and works very well, the lino the end of a roll and out for clearance.  The timber for the benches was old timber we slavaged from somewhere for free.  The dining table is new plywood, cut around the old table shape and the old leg attached.  Many things can be bought second hand over gumtree, the boys tent was.  It was brand new with tags on for a fraction of the price it would have been to buy it new.  It just takes a bit of patience and searching to find what you want.

You can spend a huge amount buying a van and setting it up - but the thing is you don't HAVE too.  A bit of elbow greese, patience and thrift can do you well.  Then you get to spend the money actually going on trips and enjoying your time off.  I reckon avoid camping shows - they make camping look far more complex then it needs to be.  It makes them plenty of $$$.  ;)

Alternatively, you can camp with tents and keep it simple.  Though I know people who have spent as much as we have on our van, by the time they have put togeather their camping set ups, and it takes them a whole lot longer to set up and unpack their camp.  It depends on your season of life, your energy, your budget, and what you want to get out of it.  It can be done on any budget, I do believe. 

Also camping things make for wonderful, practical birthday/christmas pressie ideas.  The boys swags have been joint gifts from Grandparents, same as torches, chairs etc.  Corckery/pots/pans can easily be op-shopped.   

By keeping things ready to go in the old van, or otherwise in big plastic tubs, it makes camping a quick and easy option.  We can be out of the house and hitched up within 2 hours if we try hard from the time we start packing.  For us it's about keeping it simple.  By keeping the van stocked with it's own bedding, it means we are not in to rush to wash it all when we get back.  An extra load a day until it's gone is all it takes.  Then it all goes back into the van clean and waiting for the next trip.   
It takes a few trips to get a pattern and routine down pat - but once you have there will be no looking back I promise.  Paying for nice accomodation is simply not in our budget - but it is important for our family to get away and spend time in nature.  In a time where modern lives are often dominated by technology, to be free of it, to sit around a campfire and talk, I mean really talk.  It's a beautiful and powerful thing. 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Friday, 19 May 2017

Grab a cuppa and pull up a chair!


Well, hello there!



I didn’t realize it had been quite so long between posts.  So today I thought I would sit down and have a good chin wag.



I posted HERE about my POD reflection, and then I realized I never actually got back to you!  I have sat down with a panel of 6 for an interview and my call to formal ministry has been affirmed so far.  The affirmation was unanimous, and very encouraging.  I felt relived and thankful.  But this is only stage one.  The next step is to face a new panel of the same size, over a two day/one night interview process.  Sounds joyful huh?  😉 I’m not too worried about it, what will be will be.  I’m happy to get on with life in the meantime!

Studying, always studying! 

There have been birthdays, bonfires and new gardens built.  Little Henry is now 4!  Where on earth did that time go?!  We had a bonfire for his birthday with a couple of friends and family.  Baked spuds and birthday cake was on the menu.  He wanted a “pussy cat” cake, always a pussy cat!  So together we browsed the old vintage Woman’s weekly cake book and settled on “Puss in Boots”.  What great fun!  He was given the most beautiful Hape marble run by his grandparents, a lovely Folkmanis cat puppet and mouse by us, which he thinks are hilarious. (quite appropriate considering we are in the middle of a mouse plague.) some magnetic building shapes, warm clothes, a magna – doodle from his other grandparents.  There were other bits and bobs I’m sure, though I can’t remember what!  The bonfire was a wonderful night, kids running about, marshmallows to roast, and a glass of red or two by the fire with wonderful company, is there anything better? Not to me. 





We have decided to hold off on the rest of the renovations for a while and just relax.  We are taking the old van away tonight!  It is so very needed.  We have been pottering in the garden, building a new bed out the front.  Finally, the little old cottage is beginning to look like someone loves it – even if it is salmon pink still!  This bed was my birthday/mothers say gift.  It has been planted out with Jasmine over the arch, roses, salvias, lambs ears, seaside daisies, stratis, and various other hardy bits and bobs.  The arch was a barter deal with our neighbours, I spied it unused in their back yard.  We have also been planting out the rear back garden bed some more and planted some climbing roses bought bare rooted to hide Grants ugly shed.  It feels wonderful to be pottering in the garden again.  Taking turns to clean up rubble, and gardening.  Next is our veggie patch.  The fruit trees have been pruned, (by Grant…..with a chain saw……*eye roll*, there will be no peaches for me this year…or next for that matter…..but the trees will be better for it in the long run.) the demolition rubble is mostly gone.  It’s totally normal to build a garden before the house right?!



Will went on a school camp and things were oh-so-quiet without his constant conversation!  He had a great time though.  Goodness we are lucky to be able to send the boys to such a wonderful school. 


Aggie the Scottish Terror is well, big now!  Still biting shoelaces, still full of trouble.  She ripped up a buch of brand new plants......Fortunetly we were there and quickly re-planted them.  The rest of the animals are well, the cats are enjoying sleeping inside, the dogs love to play and wrestle, though old Tessa is getting a little stiff in the cooler weather.  She is 12 now, or 13 later this year?  She is doing well for an old fat labradoor.   




I know there is more, but I cannot think of it to be honest!  I have washing to do and packing to do as we are taking the van away tonight. 



I hope you are all well my dear readers!



Much love,

Emma

xx





     


Thursday, 20 April 2017

School holidays and ordinary days.

Holidays, Im so glad they are here, though disapointed the first week is nearly over already! 

The boys have "soul fever".  Tired from a long first term at school, a little run down, disconnected, out of sorts.  This week has been a combination of a couple of trips out and about and lots of time spent at home.  Resting, watching movies, eating nourishing food and simply spending much needed time togeather. 

They set up their tent in the backyard and have loved sleeping in that!  Mostly, though have snuck into their own beds a couple of times, teddies and precious softies in arms when the wind has picked up and shaken their tent!  Ha, my sweet boys.  Such a desire to be big, but the reality is they are still little at heart.   

Excuse the bad photo, but you see that?  It's a roof!  And the frame for the walls of the extension. 

The boys are in love with marbles at the moment, here they are making marble runs with their Grimms rainbow. 

Chatting, chilling out....I't turning a blind eye to the mess, because play and creativity is messy right? 

We enjoyed a morning out at the Tanunda vintage festival.  Gosh I love the Barossa!

Bringing in rhythem, and hot nourishing lunches togeather.  A treat in the school holidays. 

My beautiful hand made mug from a local business Ottimade I got from the markets.  So beautiful, a special treat.  I have long admired her beautiful, simple, earthy work, but finally I have a piece!

The reality of renovating on a tight budget.  We did a big push to get the roof on.  Now we are skimp for a few weeks.  There is lots of pasta, soups and slow cooked roasts on the menu!  I have HUGE bag of lentils a local farmer kindly gave me from their crop - time to work out what to actually DO with them.  Im thinking a curry?  I did not grow up eating lentils and legumes, I quite enjoy them though I'm not very good at preparing them. 
I have promised the boys pom  pom making, and I have sourdough to prepare so I best be off. 
Blessings,
Emma

Monday, 10 April 2017

Discernment and a call.

Today I thought I would do something different, I umm-ed and ahh-ed a little about sharing as it's a little different from my usual posts, but this my space, a space to share my families story.  A space to look back on.  I have not been here much lately, and this is why.  Over the past couple of years I have been doing something called a "Period of Discernment" or POD in short.  Esentially it is a mentoring program designed to give insight into ministry within the church.  I have mentioned it here and there I think on the blog.  It is also the first step to ordination, though it doesn't have to be if you discern otherwise.  This is why I have been a bit quiet lately.  Work, study and tidying up my POD paperwork, which has come to an end.  One of the things I needed to do was a reflection.  So I thought I would share it here, as part of our story, my story.  I'n not sure where it will end up, but thats the good part about journey's isn't it?



I’m not really sure when I first felt called to ministry.  A couple of ministers in my life hinted they felt I should consider exploring it a number of years ago.  But to me it seemed like an absurd idea.  Ministers were wise and gentle.  Always kind, and patient.  They were all kinds of things I wasn’t.  I was sarcastic, a little cynical, opinionated, feisty…..I was a good nurse, who adored my patients.  I was their advocate, their carer.  I intended on becoming a midwife.

But over time, this idea of ministry continued to niggle at me and stir me.  I came to a point in time where it was necessary for me to go back to work to keep my Nursing Registration.  But in my heart of hearts I had come to know God was calling me elsewhere.  I wasn’t sure exactly what it would look like, or perhaps I wasn’t ready to acknowledge it out of the fear of how utterly ridiculous the prospect of me going into ministry was.  But I did know this; that in my heart of hearts that God was telling me to walk away from my nursing and to trust in him.  Every time I pondered not leaving nursing because the alternative seemed ridiculous, a feeling of utter shame and disobedience would wash over me.  I could feel God say firmly say “NO”.  I still felt called to help people heal, but the avenue had changed.  I knew God was calling me to help people heal through helping them know Him, his grace and the forgiveness of Jesus.  So, I made the difficult decision to leave my nursing behind me.  I knew if I didn’t make a clear cut from it, I would never walk into the unknown. 

A while later I entered my POD.  I was given an amazing mentor.  I knew as after our first meeting that this was right for me.  She was wise, gentle, encouraging and didn’t miss a thing.   

My POD has been an interesting period.  One full of change I wasn’t expecting when I embarked upon it.  I decided early on to use this experience to say “yes” to as much as I possibly could in ministry, even the things that terrified me.   

But life has many dimensions and things are not always smooth sailing.  We own a country General Store and Post Office, and the winter after I started my POD business was rough.  It had dropped significantly, finances were too tight for comfort.  My husband was incredibly stressed, which is unlike him.  After much prayer, we decided to sell our home in town and move out to the country and buy a little old rundown cottage to renovate near our business.  This decision allowed us to buy in cash, reducing debit and financial pressure substantially.  We were trying to batten down the hatches for what could possibly be a difficult economic time. 

My mentor and I talked extensively about what God was calling us to do in our new town.  I talked about wanting to build families and community, perhaps start a play group or something for mothers.  I wanted to help care for them, to encourage the women, to walk with them in the often difficult and lonely time of early childhood.  As a mother of three little boys, supporting other mothers is a passion of mine.  We live in a time where mothers today often feel socially isolated, families live apart, PND is on the rise.  When we support a mother in a strong, caring community, we help an entire family.  I had also started helping my mentor with a program run for youth on the edge, which I love.  We even brought a coffee machine into our shop with a table and chairs, and a couch and a basket of toys as to encourage families to sit and rest so I could build relationships and hopefully build some kind of families ministry from there if there was intrest.  I knew there would never be a chance of paid ministry in the town, as our local minister only works one day a week between three congregations, but that was fine.   

Not even two weeks after moving into the little old cottage the devastating Pinery Bushfires came through.  My husband was in an accident and got caught in the fire front as it swung around.  By the grace of God the only thing we lost was the 4WD which was a write off.  After the event the stages of recovery were a surreal experience.  In 2010 we went through the Stockport floods.  I remember I was 34 weeks pregnant with our second child.  We lost nearly everything we owned and were displaced from our home.  I knew God was preparing me for something through these events.  I was being stripped back, exposed, bare.  But each time I was reminded of the verse “I will not leave you nor forsake you”. He was teaching me to trust in him.  Wholly and fully.  Each time he brought amazing people who could help shape me, guide me, pick me up and dust me off, who would help lighten the load so I could do what I needed to do for my family. 

As time passed, our 3 boys settled in.  We found our feet among the move, the fire and renovations.  Our business improved and grew and has remained strong ever since.  The local Rev and I got in contact and we talked about the local church.  The church had essentially closed down its Sunday service a year or two prior.  Instead they now met once a month in people’s homes for a simple service/fellowship style night over dinner.  We met up and discussed the potential for a families ministry in town.  My old Rev was very supportive throughout this period of transition in guiding me, in giving advice, in mentoring me.  My new Rev gave me the encouragement, support and green light to see if I could start a families ministry.  I got in contact with a couple of local families and not long later we met up over a shared dinner.  We decided to meet monthly, on the opposite fortnight of the other homegroup.  I also started attending their homegroup to get to know the oldies better, which I greatly enjoyed. 

Sometime in amongst this I officially left my old church with their blessings.  I knew God was calling me elsewhere, but it had been a formative place for me in my christian walk and they were like my family.  They had stood by me while I took my first wobbly ministry steps and gave me opportunities to try different things, they were there as I unpacked my old hurts, learned about this sometimes messy and complex thing called “church”, sat with me as I began to heal, forgave me as I made mistakes and loved me unconditionally.

About 6 months after the Pinery Fire I was surprised to get invited to apply for a job to help in the Pinery Fire Recovery effort.  To help women and children come together in community to help them recover.  My role is technically “Pinery Fire Recovery Project Officer”, but I simply call myself a Chaplain who works with women and children.  This came as a huge affirmation to me, and I felt incredibly humbled and blessed to be able to work within this role.  Suddenly I could clearly see the path that God had been laying for me, what he had been shaping me for.  Since this point my certainty about my call has depend and clarified immensely.  I love my work, and the people it allows me to work with. 

Back in our new town, our little families group was going well.  Over time we decided to combine both the “old” and the “new” groups.  Which worked beautifully under the Rev's gentle guidance.  We now all meet fortnightly, in the church hall as we outgrew meeting in the home.  We usually get around 25-30 people who attend, our biggest night we had 40 just a couple of weeks ago which was a delightful blessing!  Our group ranges in age from 1-90.  We have a healthy childrens ministry usually between 9-14 kids and we meet over a shared meal, scripture, prayer and children activities.  We try to include something for all ages, and it is a wonderful time of togetherness, sharing of faith and worship.  It’s sometimes messy and chaotic, but there is a deep sense of love, acceptance, realness and community.   

My POD journey has been rich, diverse and full of change, it has taken me the best part of two years.  I have explored so much.  Preaching, worship leading, going back to study at college, working with youth, families, children, community work.  I have been blessed to be a part of a Church that has come back to life.  To see the healing hand of God, to see Him work and be present in the seemingly impossible.  It has been challenging, it has shaped me, it has brought me to tears, it has filled me to the brim with joy and wonder.  It has helped me to trust in God so deeply, to feel his peace and presence even among the chaos.  This journey has shown me Gods call on my life, in every possible way.  He has taken me on a path I never intended to go.  A path that uses every piece of me.  I often feel inadequate at the task at hand, like what I have is simply no where near enough.  But God has shown me time and time again, that HE is enough.  And through Him all things are possible, if only we can first trust in Him.        

If your still reading after all that I'm impressed!  A long post today, as it was part of a report, but you know what they say, reuse/recycle - ha!  ;)
Much love,
Emma
xx

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A new slab!

We have a new slab poured!  This will be the extension of our little old cottage.  It will contain a lounge, master bedrrom and a small ensuite.  Which will be a girl only bathroom, what a luxury! 

The cost of the slab came in well under what we were expecting and the fellow did a very thorough job of it all.  Working nearly, carefully, quickly and happily around our family situation of children and pets.  He was wonderful to work with, and he was so thorough and particular at every stage. 

Where the old timberframe, lean-to was.

Prepping for the new slab..

And its in!  No more dirt at the back door! 

Much love,
Emma

Friday, 24 March 2017

ponderings and a cement truck.

Here I sit, listening to the rumble of the cement truck outside.  Pondering about life.  The next stage of renovations.  The new slab gets poured today.  The beginning of a new stage for the little old cottage. 
I have learnt alot living in this little cottage of ours.  First when we lived in the outside room, all five of us sharing a tiny room.  Then into the main cottage, all five of us sharing a room again, but a bigger room.  Then the boys shifted into their own little room, once that was fixed up.
It feels like we have been here longer than a year or so.  A lot longer. 
So much has happened.  You know the best part? 
Realizing how little we all need.  Joyfully appreciating the simple things in life, like running hot water, a celling, working lights and heating/cooling.  When you renovate on this scale with a young family, you spend a lot of time essentially camping. 
I have learned to let go even more, to go with the flow.  (There may have been the odd period where I let go of my sanity temporarily also, but let’s not go there....kidding!) To work within the periods of work and rest with the house.  I LOVE clean floors.  Love them.  I’m a shoes off in the house kind of girl.  Renovating does not lend to clean floors.  At all. 
So, we have a deal.  On a Sunday, after a weekend of dusty dirty work, we stop, take the time to tidy our space and vacuum and mop.  Because it keeps me sane.  I appreciate it while it lasts.  We do it at night, when the kids are in bed so I can savour it for a few hours before the chaos starts again.  It might sound strange, but I appreciate that window of time.  Where I can relax, forget about the chaos and things are relatively calm and clean.
It is easy to look at those around us who look to have everything.  But do they?  No one really knows another’s story.  The feeling that person has deep in their heart of hearts. 
There is something that happens when we are challenged.  Like when a fruit tree is pruned.  It sometimes hurts, it sometimes seems rough and brutal.  Sometimes we are left feeling bare and exposed.  But then something changes within the very core of who we are.  It triggers a new growth.  A more resilient growth.  The old and restrictive is stripped away, the light and air is allowed into our hearts and then that....that is when the best fruit appears.
We are entering a new season of renovating here at the little old cottage.  A new extension, a new kind of building.  The demolition is finally finished.  Now we get to the good bit.       
But throughout it all we give thanks.  For the good, for the lessons we have learnt through the challenges.  For the surprising closeness and thankfulness, we have found as a family by choosing less.   
Aggie is growing, so much love for this wee girl.....she looks like she is guilty in this prcture.  She probrbaly was.....little terror!

Giant Jenga we made for church.  $40 of  2"x4", cutting and sanding and we have an awesome game with so many open ended play possibilities.  Grant is going to make Henry a set with ramps for his cars for his 4th birthday next month. 

Puzzles, I love puzzles.  So does Gus in particular.  They suit his need for order.

Henry continues to kick Grant out of bed on a semi-regular basis.  Grant continues to good naturedly tolerate it. 

Still studying.  Always studying.  With a sleeping cat to keep me company usually.  Or two.  Thank goodness for cats!

Much love,
Emma
xx 


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Simple waste reduction.

Zero waste....What an inspiring movment.  One that, at times, seems miles away from where I currently am.  But whilst I may not be able to identify as zero waste, we ARE strongly on the path of waste reduction.  We are activly making more environmentally/ethically aware choices, and long term changes of our families daily habbits.  Which already has, and will continue to reduce our waste footprint.

Which is awesome.  Small changes matter.   

There are loads of DIY tutorials online about making your own beeswax cloth to replace glad wrap.  There are loads of tutorials about making your own fruit and veggie bags too. I fully intended to make them.  I'm more then capable of making them. 

But I wasn't doing it. 

My time in this season is precious.  With family, work, study and the renovations on the little old cottage continuing in full swing, my craft game is weak.  Like, non-existant weak.  Eventually I decided the financial cost of out sourcing these things was less then the environmental impact of not doing it.  So I jumped on line and poked about to find a company that could provide me with the things I wanted at a fair price.  A company that was ethical, and supported other small business. 

I came accross an Australian business by the name of spiralgarden.  I have been SO impressed by their customer service I just had to share them here.  This is not a sponsered post, I simply want to show this business some support and appreciation for their desire to go above and beyond. 

A little while ago I put in an order for some things.  Beeswax wraps, mesh bags, large and small fair trade woven baskets and a fair trade "Jenga" style building set for Angus's 6 birthday.  There was a small technical glitch, as sometimes happens and which was no ones fault.  When I emailed to enquire the it was too late for the Jenga set to arrive for Angus's birthday.  They were also a little short on supplies of the large baskets after the big christmas rush.  I completly understood, and as we are also a small, family run business.  I understand all to well how frustrating supply issues can be! 

But what most impressed me was their desire to fix it above and beyond what was necessary.  They kindly offered me a beautiful larger, more expensive basket for the price of the one I enquired about and promised to post me a set of beeswax wraps on them when they arrived.  Which was completly unnecessary.  They also increased my post to express to ensure the birthday present arrived ASAP.  When my goods arrived I was very impressed with the quality, they are just beautiful.  I LOVE my large basket and comes in handy all the time for packing drinks, snacks and bits and bobs for when we are out and about.  This kind of customer service is rare these days.  I will certainly be going back in the future, and highly recommend others checking them out too.  They have a wonderful range of Zero waste producs and information, courses, books, eco-friendly/ethically made childrens toys.  There is a beautiful simplicity in the range of products they stock, and their products are an absoloute pleasure to use. 
This was my order, just so beautiful.  The boys have already mis-placed a wooden block, but at least it is a hit right?!  Im sure it will turn up soon enough!  ;)

Another simple way we reduce waste is to use cotton tote bags as shopping bags, here are just a few of my stash.  When these are worn out, they will be composted.

When cooking alot from scratch, food storage is another simple area where waste can be reduced.  I love these pyrex containers with their plastic lids.  Dishwasher safe, able to go from the fridge to the oven for re-heating and sturdy,  They stack well in the fridge and come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  They are also affordable and easy to source.  I have a couple of sets of these and the rest are currently in the fridge.  They are in constant use here.   





Cloth napkins is another thing I have mentioned before.  This bundle is all op-shopped.  I love them, we dont iron them of fuss with them and it takes no extra effort but saves on wipes/napkins or other things people often have on hand. 

My waste reduction journey is not contained to one glass jar of rubbish for the year.  Though that movement greatly impresses me.  But these are a few simple changes we have made which significantly reduce the amount of disposable goods that are needed in our day to day lives.  Add recycling and making conscious choices to purchase things with the least packaging.....Well these things all begin to add up to a meaningful shift. 

What simple changes have you made that help reduce your waste footprint? 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Friday, 24 February 2017

A sweet surprise....and a chase!

Just the other day we were having a family debate about who last saw the Red Hen and when.  I could not remember seeing her in a few weeks, neither could Grant.  Will insisted he saw her a few days ago, but I didn't believe him.  He has a habbit of saying the opposite to us, just because he likes to debate I think.  (He gets that from his father...) Grant and I promptly concluded she had been eaten by a fox, or escaped and thought nothing more of it.   

But the other day, when I was unwell with gastro, I found out otherwise.  I have no idea why these things always happen when you least need them....

Henry rushed into my bedroom crying - "Ronnie is going to eat the baby chickens!"
Me - "Is the gate open?"
Henry - "No!  Ronnie is going to eat them!"
Me (with all my motherly wisdom) - "Well if the gates not open he can't get in there."
Henry - "They are getting through the fence, quick!! There is lots of them!!"
Me (patiently explaining) - "Henry, there is only two, they cant get though the fence they are too big."
Henry - "Quick Ronnie is going to eat them, the lots of baby chickens!!"
Me - Gives up on bed rest, haules nauseous self out of bed, cradles bucket and stumbles outside feeling like I was going to die.  (OK, I'm exaggerating a little....)

Where I find that Henry was infact, right.  Ronnie is actually about to eat some baby chickens, LOTS of baby chickens.  But not the big babies, there are a bunch of new tiny day old chicks that are running back and forth through the timber lattice.  Where Ronnies nose is pressed up ready to catch one next time it pops through onto HIS side.  Turns out Will was right, he probrably had seen her.  She had simply been hiding so well that we had failed to find her.

Me - "Oh shit, there are baby chickens.  RONNIE!!!!!"

I quickly sent Henry inside with Aggie.  I then tried to haul Ronnie by the collar away from his tasty snack....instantly realizing he had slipped his collar AGAIN and I had nothing to hold onto....The stubborn dog REFUSED to leave his post despite enthusiastic calling, then scolding.  I briefly considered dragging him away by his fur, but quickly decided that would be cruel.  So I did the only thing left.  I put down my bucket, cursing under my breath and picked him up.  All 20kg of Boarder Collie.  I lugged him to the laundry so I could keep him out of the way.  My head was pounding and my stomach churning.  The second I got him in, he made a mad dash to escape and I fell to my knees trying to force him back through the door.  With one hand pushing on him, the other trying to close the door without shutting it on his nose.  I was, at this stage swearing under my breath, feeling rather seedy. 

Next I called our old Labrador Tess who happliy trotted over and I gently closed her in the bathroom.  Tessa, the good one, is MY dog.  She actually listens.  (Fancy that...)

I returned to the chook yard where tried to capture the little chicks.  They took great delight in popping back and forth through the fence, making the job as difficult as they could.  Lucky they were cute.  Eventually I caught them and popped them in a basket.  I secured them in the chook shed so they were safe.  Then I grabbed an empty milk crate and popped it over a very cranky Mother Hen, slid some mesh under her and safely transported her to be with her babies.  Thank goodness I got them all.  I filled up the chick feeder and water feeder and closed up the shed tight. 

As I brushed myself off I wondered to myself....Why does this stuff always happen when Grant's not home?!  I mean seriously..... *rolls eyes* 

I let the dogs loose and good old Tess wandered out completly un-fussed.  Ronnie ran straight back to the fence, dissapointed his self serve snack was no where to be found. 

Some days, hey?

When I rang Grant to tell him later, he of course thought the entire situation was completly hilarious.  Which in hindsight it may have been.  Though I do wonder if the old neighbours next door were watching through their kitchen window, which has a beautifully clear and un-obstructed view into our yard now the lean-to is down.

Mother hen and her chicks.  Two red, and two yellow.  She is a hyline so the yellow chicks are roosters and the red will be hens. 

Aggie is getting big!  She stole Ronnies bone here, doesn't she look proud?

Ronnie, however looks a little puzzled as to what exaclty happened and how he got pipped from "Top Dog" by this little black bear. 

The back yeard is a mess, though we are lookfing forward to a jumbo bonfire this winter!  I look forward to the new foundation to be layed in a few weeks.

Cloth napkins, a vintage plate, handwoven basket and embroidered linen.  All op-shop finds, bought for next to nothing. 

Well the weather here is glorious, though Grant has been working on a jack hammer bringing up the last of the foundations which has had a bit of an earth shattering effect on my peace and quiet.  He seemes to have finished now and has moved onto a crow bar and shovel which is signifiacantly quieter.  I best pop the kettle on and make us a cuppa and force him to knock off. 

Much love,
Emma
xx