Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Going Ons

Winter Plantings:
I tried to grow spinach from seed again with no success so ventured to the plant nursery and came home with seedlings of spinach, brocolli, silverbeet, basil, onions and leeks.
I also got a golden passionfruit. The old passionfruits have both died this past year. They lasted about 5 years and provided us with a mountain of fruit.
The seedlings were all planted in biodegradable potts. After planting out, the pots can be added to the compost and breakdown. How wonderful! Maybe these pots have been around for a while and I have only just discovered them? When we have bulk rubbish collections the main items I see being tossed are pots - those plastic ones of various sorts and sizes. I have collected a number of the larger black ones and some decent sized terracotta ones.

In The Garden:
I still have heaps of basil. Tomorrow I will make up some pesto and freeze. It seems that the more basil I pick, the more it grows. So if I pick a good bunch tomorrow I might still get some good growth from it before the weather gets too cold.
My carrot seeds have all germinated - very happy about this as I have found it hard to grow carrots from seeds before.
Citrus trees have various problems I need to deal with. The mature meyer lemon tree has some wasp gall swellings that I need to cut off and burn. Again this year there are heaps of lemons maturing on it. The mandarin tree has lots of fruit too but they are splitting before fully ripe. Must look up what this means. The infant lemon tree and orange tree have been sprayed with oil as something has been nibbling on their leaves and leaving a skeleton type track.
I have loads of lettuce, parsley and tomatoes that have sprouted from the compost heap when it was emptied onto the vege patch. The tomatoes probably wont have enought warm days to bear fruit but the parsley and lettuce are very welcome garden additions.

Reassessing Water Usage:
After getting thelatest bill - increased from the same period last year by much more than I am happy about. This year has been drier and I have used a lot more water in the garden. Our water tank ran dry part way through summer unfortunately so I had to rely on tap water. We really need another tank. Priority before next summer. Also Guitar Dude and Zippy (one a teen and one soon to be) spend way too long in the shower. There is a timer in there but it either gets forgotten or turned over and over way too much!

Community: There is going to be a community garden in my area! I am so thrilled about this and as soon as I heard about the plans sent off an email expressing interest to help in anyway. We are all meeting next week at the proposed garden site. It is still very early days but finding out who some of the eager people that are instigating this gives me great hope that the gardens will get off the ground and be a great success. One of the guys helping on the commity lives in my suburb. I don't know him at all but I walk past often to see his latest changes to his garden. First there were veges growing on his pegola roof in styrofome boxes (not sure how he got up and down to care for them), then he converted his front garden into a vegetable patch. Last week I noticed a section of the side garden fenced off and a few chickens there.
Not many of my friends are interested in sustainable living or enviromental issues so I hopefull of meeting some like minded people.
Also not too far away (just around the lake) has began a Transition Town project. I don't know too much about Transition Towns but have read a bit and the idea really appeals to me. Don't like the name though! From my understanding a Transitional Town is a locally sustainable community.

Kids: Back to school now after the holidays. Big ones not too thrilled, little one very excited! Time to get back into a routine again.
M xx

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have been somewhat of a slack blogger lately. I have lots I have wanted to share but just haven't had the time to get on here and write a post. So I will be making more frequent posts for a while now.

I wanted to share these very cute owls. Found the pattern in a handmade magazine and I have been collecting scraps of material for a while. These cute owls are all made from offcuts from old clothes etc. I made them as Easter pressies for two cute niecesof mine but guess what? As soon as they were finished Super Boy and Zippy claimed one each.
I had intended making a couple more but haven't had the time and now that school hols are here I won't be getting the sewing machine out for another few weeks yet.
The herbs in the garden are growing prolifically at the moment. I have heaps of basil, parsley, lemon grass, lemon verbena, marjoran, oregano, rosemary and sage. I tend to get a bit lazy and forget to use them. So yesterday I went hunting for recipes and found some wonderful ones I plan on trying. Not just cooking ones either. As I try them out over the next few days I will share them here.
Today I brewed up a batch of hair shine. I have made this before and it worked a treat, especially on my hair and the boys which is straight and brown. It even cleared up Guitar Dudes flaky scalp problem.

Rosemary and Sage Hair Shine

3 tbs rosemary

2 tbs sage

1 1/2 quartz water

Boil the sage and rosemary in the water for 15 minutes. Remove the herbs and pour the liquid into a container. I use a spray container. When cool refrigerate. Spray on hair and let the liquid sit for 2 minutes. Rinse off.

M xx

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I am on a power blitz. Mr Gadget is very interested in solar power especially with the rebates on offer - solar panels are a gadget to him and he does get mighty excitied about them. He almost blew me away when he suggested it. After a lot of research we have decided to go ahead and get solar power but first I want to see how much we can reduce our power usage. After all it is definately cheaper to reduce our use power use than to make it.

I started off with basic changes.
Turning lights off when we leave a room. All our light bulbs are the more energy efficient ones now.
Turning power off at the wall. Now this sounds so easy but I have been met with such resistance from Mr Gadget and the boys. They argue that it is too hard, not necessary, messes up the settings, doesn't save on power use etc. But really it is just laziness! Slowly they are coming around though. In the mean time I continue to go from room to room switching off power points. Some of the power points are really hard to get too -behind havy furniture but there is a power point gadget you can get with a remote control. Thinking this might be a good idea but I have resisted buying one because a) its another gadget and B) I have a bad relationship with remotes!
I have discovered that some powered items don't need to on continually such as the filter to the fish tank. I used to leave it running all the time, then decided to turn it off at nights and back on during the day. The fish were still active and alive, the tank was still clear. So now I have turned the filter off completely and it has now been over a month and all is nice.
The electric toothbrushes were always plugged in but now once the blue light is on indicating they are fully charged I turn them off and they don't get turned back until they are flat.
The pool filter I cautiously reduced the running time - just by a small amount at a time, and then watched making sure the pool didn't turn green. I think I have it worked out to the smallest running time to keep the water clean and blue.
We use appliances differently now too. I only turn on the oven when cooking a batch of things. I am using the gas bbq and cooking top more than the electric oven.
Our hot water is gas so no problems there.
The phones are cordless and rechargable and were once always turned on. Now I charge them up and turn them off.
So all these changes have resulted in lowering our power usage.

There is one area that is really wasting a lot of power and that is our fridge/freezer set up. We are a family of five and a few years ago found we never had room in our fridge so we brought a cheap small bar fridge for drinks. Then we began buying meats in bulk for freezing and making pasta sauces, stewing apple and freezing other produce. We ran out of freezer space in the freezer attached to our main fridge so went out and brought an electricity guzzling small chest freezer. So with our fridge/freezer, bar fridge and the chest freezer they add a lot to our power usage. I am in a quandry as to what to do since all three are working really well. Our best option is to make the cash outlay and buy the one fridge/freezer that is the right size for our needs rather than running the three we have now. I just dont like the idea of getting rid of perfectly good items and buying new. In the mean time we have emptied the bar fridge and turned it off. Mr Gadget is all for buying a new fridge/freezer but he is all excited about fridges with ice and water dispensers and the fridges with a mini pop open door to get out milk/drinks. Oh, he loves his gadgets! Me, I just want the most energy efficient basic design that meets our needs.

I will be standing my ground on this one too.
Stay tuned.
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