Community garden

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Who knew?

Our washing machine has been dying a slow and tedious death for many months now.  So with the mid-year sales on we finally decided to buy a new one and we opted for a front loader.  We have never had a front loader before, but they are meant to be more efficient, and a better use of space as there is a possibility our laundry will end up in a cupboard and the washer/dryer can be stacked. 

Today is its first wash.  Apparently a front loader is endlessly amusing.  The boys crowded around spotting their clothing as the washing swished around, with delighted gurgles of laughter.  Stating "this is even better than watching the dryer!"


So apparently doing the washing is more entertaining than the T.V.  Who knew?  I’m sure their partners will thank me one day, yes?  

Much love,
Emma
xx

Saturday, 15 July 2017

The joy of creativity.


Creativity.  It’s one of the things that makes us as humans completely unique.  The ability to be creative.  We can express the creativity we possess through a multitude of ways.  In the kitchen, in the garden, writing, painting, music, sewing, knitting and weaving.  Through woodwork, through building, through craft.  The possibilities are truly endless, which is beautiful.  There is something for absolutely everyone.    

Creativity is not only fun, it can serve as a wonderful form of stress relief.  To build something and to make something with our hands.  It gets us back to a slower time.  Back to a pace we are better designed to work at, rather than matching the hustle and bustle of the modern world.  I always find my hand sewing helps me find a place of stillness in my mind.  As my hands rhythmically do their work, that my mind slows to match.  After a period, I find myself formulating a plan to tackle any worries I have, or that I have simply processed the pile of thoughts that have grown to teetering point and filed them all away in my mind where they belong.    

I have been lacking opportunities to busy myself with a practically creative outlet lately.  I have been writing which I love, but I also love to create things with my hands.  I used to make Waldorf dolls, and occasionally I still do.  But I have been craving a new outlet.  I went through a raggedy quilt sewing period and also a clothes sewing period.  These things are still things I love.  Though I’m lacking time for large, time consuming sewing projects at the moment.  But I have been wanting something new to sink my teeth into.  Something rhythmic, something I can do for 20 mins, walk away from and come back too.

And the other day I found it quite by accident. 

Spinning!   





Now you may ask how one accidentally stumbles upon spinning and receives a lesson in it, and I would have to say it was fate.  I have been wanting to learn to spin for years, but the lessons I could find are in the city over an hour away from me.  I was attending a local Mothers group and they were having a display of various crafts and one of them was spinning.

I completely sucked at it, but that’s beside the point.  I am hooked!  So now I am on the hunt for an affordable second hand spinning wheel, with spare parts.  The only way to get better is with hours of practise, and now I know someone who is willing and able to give me lessons!

I’d love to hear how you are creative, what you currently do, or perhaps what you would like to do? 

Much love,
Emma
xx 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Here & Now

I thought I would try something a little different today and link in with the blog "Say Little Hen" and her invitation to share our HERE & NOW.  If your interested in joining in, follow the link and play along!  Or even if you are wanting to add some more blogs to your readers list, there are some beautiful blogs out there yet to be discovered!

Loving
Lazy winter school holidays! 



Eating
Goden syrup dumplings, I have discovered the most simple and delicious thermomix recipe HERE


Drinking
Coffee, always coffee.  I would like to say Im brewing some special ultra healthy, winter, disease killing potion but I'm completly boring.  Tea, coffee, milk and water here for me, though I did get a scoby from Sally at Jembella Farm, so wish me luck with that!

Feeling
Thankful after a visit with Sally at Jembella Farm for friendships and the oppertunity this blog has given me to meet with new people who are treading a similar simple pathway.  Im thankful the boys and I get to visit a beautiful, ethical farm, to feed sweet baby lambs and for knowledge and wisdom shared.  Experiences over things any day! 

Making
A little knitted scarf and blanket for one of my neices waldorf dolls I made HERE.  I'm working on my knitting after a lesson from a friend the other day.  I can now knit pearl.  Woo hoo!



Thinking
That I need to get on to college and find out what text books I need to order this semester.  Time to get reading and organising. (Where do the holidays go?!  Nooo!)

Dreaming
About our farm to be, always about our farm to be and what it will feel like to finally get there after all these years of hard work.  Hurry up and SELL little shop!

Much love,
Emma
xx

Monday, 10 July 2017

Budget challanges.

According to the recent news, South Australia has a new claim to fame…..We have just received a 20% rise in our electricity prices, which has given us the title of having the most expensive electricity prices IN THE WORLD.  On top of that we can also claim the prize of the lowest wages in Australia AND the highest levels of unemployment in Australia at 6.9%......Let the reality of that sink in for a minute……

OUCH….

Our government has worked hard to push green energy, which in it’s self is certainly a wonderful thing to aim for, if done well.  But the reality is they have done it badly which has left the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable high and dry.  We live in an area where is a large proportion of people on modest incomes.  As a result we see many people being forced to do without heating and cooling, often putting their health at risk as they simply cannot afford the exorbitant power prices.  Solar power is wonderful, but it is often out of the price range for the people who need it most.  Not to mention ,completly unattainable for those who are renting and relying on their landlords to maintain the property. 

We cannot justify the cost of solar on our little old cottage, as we do not plan on being here in 5 or so years’ time.  Which is roughly the time it would take for the solar to pay for itself.  So, what does that mean when the home budget is about to cop a big hit?

It means sitting down, and crunching the numbers to work out where we can save to prepare for the price rise. 

Gym membership? Gone. (hmmphhh, I may have made golden syrup dumplings to comfort myself….Ha!)

Mobile phones? We have gone into Telstra and re-jigged out plans.  We ended up getting more credit and more data for $30 less/month.  I also got a free 6-month trial of apple music, which took the sting out of losing the gym membership.  Win, win!  It pays to keep an eye on phone plans.  (We need Telstra for the rural coverage, and we have always found them very good.)

Other Bills? Check with your provider, we usually keep pretty on top of these as a part of running our business, but it’s worth keeping an eye out on who is offering the best value for money. 

Entertainment?  Well, we have been pretty good at frugal entertainment.  Our monthly camping trips help create a regular special time as a family, bushwalks, the beach, gardening, board games, play dates with friends, maximising the use of our zoo passes which were gifted to us at Christmas.  We do not need to GO somewhere to have a great time as a family, as much as we are told otherwise by commercial media.   


A local hidden gem..."The Rocks". 

Aggie is built for this kind of exploring, she is such a strong, energetic, sturdy little dog!

Food?  As a family of 5, it is not hard to drop $60+ on a meal out.  So, bringing drink bottles, and simple snacks helps immensely.  Even bringing a pack of rice biscuits can hold off the “I’m starving’s” until we get home.  We have embraced hot chips as an occasional treat for a lunch out as $10 can feed us all, and it means we support a small, local family business – Bonus!  Looking for specials on meat is a great saver, chicken marylands all the way!  They are so cheap, and have heaps of meat on them.  They must be an unfashionable cut at the moment or something, which is fine by me.  Making broth from bones, as a base for soups.  Embracing more simple “rustic” meals helps too.  (goodbye fancy cheese, I’ll miss you!) Certain roasts are cheap to buy/kg, and are my kind of cooking.  Whack everything in a couple of big pans and forget about for a couple of hours.  Make a gravy from the juices and serve. Good, easy and cheap!  Being aware of seasonal veggies and growing our own herbs to flavour meals helps bring flavour to meals and save money.  A lot of these things we do anyway, but usually there is always room for improvement.  Baking snacks, rather then buying pre-prepared goods is another.  There are lots of blogs that share great frugal recipes so I won’t go into it, but you get my drift.

Home made chicken soup, made with bone broth and simple veggies.  Costs next to nothing for dinner for 5, and enough left for the boys and I for lunch the next day. 

Cleaning?  Commercial cleaning products are expensive.  Bi-carb, vinegar, and eucalyptus oil do a lot of the work around here, and the bonus us they are both cheap and natural.  I keep a couple of commercial products on hand for the particularly tough times like a bought of gastro.         

Anyway, here are a few of the things that have been in our radar over the last couple of weeks as we juggle our budget.  There are always more, and I’m happy to write about something more specifically if there is interest.

Much love,
Emma
xx
  

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Quiet winter days.

Well it appears winter has finally settled in….It has been raining here for what feels like forever, but the reality is it’s only been a week or so.  Even then it has mostly been short showers that deliver a few mls at a time, several times a day.  Such is the way after so many beautiful sunny winter days. 

My kitchen is currently filled with drying racks, but I throw my hands up at the sheets and towels.  They are currently going straight in the dryer.  There is no room in this little cottage while it only has 4 rooms for this many people, animals and sheet drying on top of that.  It’s madness I tell you!   


Aggie is patiently waiting for any tid-bits to drop. 

You see, we are on school holidays here, three whole weeks of them!  Though I can’t believe one week is finished already.  We have spent lots of time at home, resting and simply catching up.  There has been cooking to do, and the boys are enjoying taking part peeling the veggies, and cutting things up for hot soups, and various other bits and bobs.   


Fresh baked sourdough....

William and I have made a fresh batch of sauerkraut, and there has been sour dough baking too.  My sauerkraut recipe is basically 1 tablespoon of salt to 1Kg of veggies, this time we used cabbage and grated carrot.    


Lots of squeezing and bruising the veggies to release the juices. 

Will has been so helpful in tending to the fire for me, it appears he has taken it over as the young man in the house.  Yesterday was one of those days I felt like I just couldn’t get warm.  The wind whistled and howled all day long!  

Much love,
Emma
xx

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Just like that...


The other morning, we were getting ready for school, just like any other morning.  It was time to get Henry dressed and he stopped me, explaining that “he would do it.”  So, I laid out his clothes and left him to it.  And he did it, perfectly.  Just like that. 

This little guy is growing before my very eyes. 

And then it dawned on me, I am no longer the mother of “smalls”.  My smallest can toilet himself, feed himself and dress himself.  He can tell me what he needs, and often, he can fulfil those needs all by himself.

Where did the time go?  How did I miss it?

Oh how I miss feeling Henry's soft breath on the back of my neck.  And look, William looks so little here!  Gussy must be about 4 here I think.

Of course, I didn’t miss it.  I was here all along, guiding and teaching.  But somehow we left the world of “small” and entered…..Well I don’t know what exactly, but we are firmly in a new season and I’m a little bewildered as to how exactly I got here. 

So I have been pondering this the last week or two…..Reflecting on the season of parenting little ones, and realizing the all-consuming challenges of having babies, or toddlers are no longer mine.  But in that, little chubby hands, and sweet-smelling babies no longer are either. 

Just like that..... 

Much love,
Emma
xx

Monday, 3 July 2017

The power of encouragement.


A couple of days ago I attended an online blogging workshop which was ran by Rhonda from Down to Earth.  My blog may have been up and running quite a while now, but I sit firmly in the camp of small time blogger.  I'm also a little bit of a complete technological numpty.  There is always something to learn, and fresh ideas to embrace and it was a great opportunity to learn from one of my favourite bloggers. 

The workshop was very helpful.  We received a clearly written file, with screenshots and tips regarding many of the ins and outs of setting up a blog from the very beginning.  There was also an online small group skype chat where we talked and discussed these things together.  It was so lovely to speak face to face.  To hear voices, and see faces - its nearly as good as being in person!  If this course is offered again, and you’re interested in starting a blog, or perhaps have one but have lots of questions then I really recommend you go along. 

I came away with a better understanding of some of the features of blogger, which was great.  Though I still have no Pinterest pin in my sidebar after trying again for the 548th time.  I have a link, but no pretty picture.  (Ha, but I WILL get there, statistically speaking the odds are really coming into my favour now....yes?)

But I came away with a renewed love for the generosity of the simple living blogging world.  The bloggers who line up their side bars with blogs they read, to try and give traffic to to others.  The knowledge readily shared to help others to live a simpler, greener lifestyle.  The empowerment of people like Rhonda to help others start blogs and refine them.  The visiting and the comments left behind by readers who share their lives and thoughts.  It's a special corner of the internet, and I am thankful to be here.


 This kid and his fur friends.  So much love. 

Can you remember a time where we would have all had to buy a magazine to read an article, or go to the library to find out information, or even buy a book?  Now sure, we can still do all those things, especially if we want to cover a specialist topic.  But we can also go on line and look into to other worlds, to read, to be encouraged, to learn.  It’s amazing, isn’t it? 

Encouragement and thankfulness, they are powerful things, aren’t they?

Excuse me whilst I diverge a bit - I’ll come back I promise...The other day I received an essay back from college.  I had worked very hard on it but only received 73% which is a very high credit, a distinction is 75%.  I was, however disappointed.  But then I got to the comments.  You see, I am learning a new writing style whilst studying theology, and I am only a couple of subjects into the degree.  It’s quite different from my previous science degree.  Each essay I get stronger, but I know I can do better, and most importantly I want to do better.  My lectuer's comments were encouraging and helpful.  She recognized I was trying hard, and that I had the potential to help me bump up my writing without too much trouble.  So, she kindly offered to meet with me for a one-on-one to help me tackle the problems I am having, and bring a fresh light upon them.  I am so grateful for the people willing to support and share their knowledge in this world. 

The power of encouragement....I was left to ponder what I would have thought if I got that essay back and not received the helpful feedback.  If I had of worked extremely hard on an assignment to receive a grade lower then I was hoping for.  If my lecturer had not spent the extra time to reach out and encourage me, to offer a little more guidance.  Perhaps I would have been disappointed.  Perhaps I would have wondered if I had reached my potential? 

Encouragement - it’s important to give it, it’s important to receive it.  It can absolutely change lives, it can change the path we are on.  When we are encouraged to try something new, when we achieve success at something we have worked at.  It’s the best feeling. 

I think we all need to encourage those trying to live greener, to live more simply.  All those little baby steps that people make.  They are awesome!  Got yourself some cloth bags for your shopping - good on you!  Learning how to cook from scratch?  Awesome!  Feeling like you’re never going to master a new skill - do keep trying, its ok.  We have all had disasters!  Oh the disasters I have had.....I should share them here.  Just for giggles.

The internet if full of curated photos, of the whole #simpleliving phenomenon.  Some of it is wonderful and authentic.  Some of it is not.  But my encouragement to you, is don’t be dismayed by it.  Look around your home and look at all you have.  Start small, baby steps.  A marathon is won by putting one foot in front of the other. 

I’m not a minimalist, nor do I desire to be.  But I love living in a house that suits our needs.  Where we fit.  Where we value the people who live here, more then the stuff that fills it.  That things have a place and we can tidy them up pretty quickly.

Aggie and Max are tolerating eachother better all the time - an unesy truce.  See my Scottie height fences over the bedroom door?  Keeps the toys chew-free! 

I don’t cook absolutely everything from scratch - or I would never have time for anything else, and whilst I don’t mind cooking, my favourite part is the knowledge I am caring for my family, rather then the actual cooking process.  It is not a deep-seated passion for me.  I do it well enough, and happily enough, but I would never receive a Michelin star!

But my point is, we don’t have to do this simple living thing perfectly, meals don’t have to be Instagram ready.  Its ok to potter along, trying, experimenting.  Learning along the way.  To reach out to others who are also trying to live simply.  To bring encouragement to one another as we try to build lives that care for this planet we live on.  What truly matters is that we give it a shot, that we consume mindfully, that we try and make choices that are better, that are greener.  That we support ethical companies so they grow and can care more widely for the vulnerable.  That when we stumble and eat take out for a week, or buy the crappy thing we go gently on ourselves.  It achieves nothing to dwell on it.   The quicker we accept it as a learning moment, the better we will be able to move forward to continue our own simple living path.  Whatever that path looks like to you. 

Much love,
Emma
xx