Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden Update

I’m starting to get all excited about spring planting. The weather has been so cold and grey this winter but there have been a few tastes of spring recently:
The blossoms
A bit of sunny weather
Some slightly warmer days that scream of spring

Our local seedlings have been ordered for a November delivery (we have some late frosts) and the beds have been planned out so we hopefully get a bigger harvest this year.

I’ve been sorting through our seeds for the veggies we want to plant out directly like beans, snow peas, sugar snap peas, and carrots. We are also getting ready to grow our lettuces from seed as well as some more herbs like basil.

We have spent the last few weekends digging out some flower beds so that we can put in 2 more raised veggie beds at Granny B’s. As well as digging over the current summer garden beds. Just need to get some cow manure and chicken poo and they will be all set for planting.

And all things being well, we will hopefully have our new beds going in next weekend, ready for some soil :-) Yay!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison
- Veggie burgers with roast veggies
- Baked Rice Pudding
- Gingerbread Cookies (hammers, planes & dinosaurs)

- The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw

- How to spend a lazy sunday?
Crocheting a beanie

Making some bread

A little car chasing, sorry racing
Checking out some rogue veggies that have sprouted in the veggie patch

Friday, August 27, 2010

Playing for change

Just a little something to bring hope and inspiration to your Friday :-)

"Playing for Change is a multimedia movement created to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music".

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Singing in the rain

And if it rained ten thousand rains
and torrents swept down streets to drains
we’d build a boat and sail away
to where the sun shines bright all day

- Stormy Weather by Debi Gliori

Monday, August 23, 2010

Beans, beans

Beans, beans, good for your heart..I usually cook from dried beans but as any parent will know there are times that you need meals in a hurry. You need those meals yesterday. That’s where canned beans are handy but nearly all canned foods have BPA in the can lining.

What’s a little BPA in can lining going to do, I hear you say? Unfortunately A LOT!! In 2007, the Environmental Working Group tested canned food bought across America, and found BPA in more than half of them at levels they call "200 times the government's traditional safe level of exposure " within single servings (Lloyd Alter, 2008).

There is growing awareness about BPA's toxicity, and laboratory links suggest it contributes to trends in human diseases -- a chilling list including breast and prostate cancers, increases in urogenital abnormalities in male babies, a decline in semen quality in men, early onset of puberty in girls, metabolic disorders including Type 2 diabetes and obesity, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (Nena Baker, The Body Toxic: How the Hazardous Chemistry of
Everyday Things Threatens Our Health and Well-being, 2009).

Luckily you can get Eden Organics here in Australia. Now I’m all for buying locally as much as I can (I shop for everything in my little locale including Eden’s Organics) but I now prefer my food toxin / poision free. Thus this opens me to consuming imported foods. Eden’s Organics stopped using BPA in their cans in 1999, so are a great back up for your cupboard.

The catch? They cost $1 more than standard organic canned beans which do have BPA. For me, I save money wherever I can but don’t compromise on the things that are important to me. Eating more whole foods, and cooking from scratch means I save money with our food shopping, and that we can buy these beans and still not compromise our meagre weekly budget.

$1 in my mind means that I am not poisoning myself, my son or my husband with hormone disruptors. So dried beans, canned beans are all great options in a healthy diet and if I can avoid BPA than it’s a bonus!!

“Beans, beans good for your heart, the more you eat the more you fart. The more you fart, the better you feel, so lets eat beans for every meal”. After all girls don’t fart do they (wink, wink).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison

Garden Preparation
- have made a bulk order of seedlings from our local CSA, these beautiful seedlings are being grown locally so are more suitable to our climate (thanks Belinda :-)

- Banana Spelt Muffins 
- Grilled Flathead, Roast Vegies and Lentil Salad
- Slow Cooker Yoghurt
- Homemade by Readers Digest (lots of interesting recipes that I can adapt for Little B)

- we have spent the whole day out in the garden. Sprayed our peach, nectarine and pear trees for leaf curl (we lost all our baby peaches to this last year).

- Digging over the summer beds, ready for spring planting. Just need some more cow & chicken poo :-)
- Digging out some space for new veggie beds at Granny B’s (goodbye annoying bushes).
Granny B trying to rip out the roots

Friday, August 20, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I heart...

When I first started going plastic free, I searched high and low for stainless steel ice cube trays. And there where none to be found – zero, zip, nada…..but now you can get some here in Oz from AshnJuls. YAY :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


When I first started making my own bread, I received Dough by Richard Bertinet as a gift. It was a really good introduction to bread making.

Bertinet is a Brittany born bread-maker, and has a few different ideas on the general breadmaking process. He kneads his bread very differently to traditional methods (more about getting air into the bread) and "knocking back" is done without pounding the dough within an inch of its life.

I moved to a breadmaker when Little B was 2, due to his constant dissatisfaction (read tantrums or unhandy fingers) with my breadmaking by hand. But I have gone back to breadmaking by hand recently after finding out all breadmakers contain teflon (read toxic poison ;-)

And it's like coming home. Gosh I love it it - there's something so satisfying about getting your fingers all grubby!! Also I find the method in Dough really quick to produce a pliable dough.

Bertinet also believes that even young-ish children can make bread. This meshes with the advice given by a Greek friend who was learning at her grandmother's knee from the age of 4. So now I get Little B involved in the process. He's become a dab hand at kneading. I give him his own small section of dough to knead, rest, knock back and prove. He's actually very gentle with the process.

The other thing is he enjoys it immensely and it's become an easy part of our morning routines on the days when we require bread. I hope as he gets older and older, I can get him to make larger portions on his own.

We are slowly moving our way through different recipes in Dough.   We've been making pain de mie and next up is fougasse.

** I love taking pics for this blog but I always seem to forget the end result. The rolls were lovely and tasty and are now residing in the freezer - all without a pic taken - whoops!! **

Monday, August 16, 2010

Starvation in his lifetime…OMG!!

Dick Smith with Barry Mangelsdorf, watching the burning of Barry’s citrus trees at his farm near Loxton in South Australia

The other night I saw the end of Dick Smith’s documentary - The Population Puzzle. Gavin gives a great snapshot / intro over here.

A friend rang and told me I had to turn on the tv, so I only managed to catch the last 15 minutes. But the thing that will stay with me is the statistic that there is a 30% chance that Little B will see starvation in his lifetime.

I’m a girl of visuals and that gives me such a strong visual. And while it inspires horror in me, it also makes my inner mama lion roar and I feel strong and angry and passionate. I will do everything I can to prevent this happening to my baby, and makes me hold fast to our move to a more simple, sustainable and community-based lifestyle.

I’m also glad that we have started teaching him fundamental life skills – like growing veggies, cooking food from scratch, and fixing things. And there will be more to come as he gets older as he gets old enough to expand on the things we want him to know how to do. For example, he’s gagging to learn to knit but we’ve decided that he will get his knitting bag and things for his fourth birthday.

I know that some people will be in denial about this documentary, and some will find it too depressing but I hope that it inspires people to make change, do better, to build community, to be inspired to fight for our future and our well being.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison
- Minestrone Primavera
- Pear Betty
- Home-made roast chicken and gravy rolls (for Mr B who is hard at work building solar trackers for work)

- The language of secrets by Dianne Dixon (this is a really interesting debut novel)
- I'm back working on my jumper. I tell myself that I will finish it one day LOL. But it feels monotonous some days, so I launch into other mini knitting projects.

- Making a mood board to visualise our ideas for our back deck / courtyard. It is a horror to look at, so we are hoping a succulents garden and some paint will give us a better view from the kitchen. This is the first step before I attack the back steps with some red paint :-)

Friday, August 13, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Thursday, August 12, 2010

You can polish your shoes with what?!?!

I found this tip on a forum the other day. Apparently banana skins are great for polishing your shoes. So I decided that it was such a novel idea, that I had to give it a try.

Take one very dirty boot
Apply your magnificent polishing skills with said banana skin (organic of course LOL).

And voila:
One very clean and shiny boot.

I did wipe the boot over with a cloth and plain water afterwards (to get the little bits of banana off). But I have to say I am very impressed. These boots were muddy and scuffed and now look great. I'd been avoiding shoe polish because of the nasties and now I have a natural alternative, that I am very happy with :-)

Plus it's good to get another use out of our bananas!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Meet my new freezer bags

Being as anti-plastic as I am, one of my last frontiers has been the freezer. For the majority of items, I use Pyrex or stoneware containers to freeze meals or meat. Then I use greaseproof paper for things like home-made pizza bases. This left our bread, muffins and rolls.

So I bought some cotton tea towels, soaked them for 48 hours in salt to fix their colour and remove formaldehyde, washed them a number of times and sewed them together.

The only thing I'd change next time is to only use 1 tea towel per bag. I used 2 and they are huge LOL. I may even unpick this lot eventually and make that change. But I am happy with them as they are at the moment.

They work brilliantly as freezer bags and it has meant that I can get rid of yet more plastic from our lives. And that can only be a good thing :-)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison
- Fresh bread rolls (by hand - my breadmaker is currently banished as most have Teflon to make them non-stick)
- Vegetarian Croque Monsieur with sourdough bread...yummm
- Butterscotch Pudding

- Slow death by rubber duck: How the toxic chemistry of everyday life affects our health by Rick Smith & Bruce Lourie

Listening to
- The Circle by Bon Jovi

- lunch with my younger brother. We don’t get to see him very much, so it’s lovely when he can visit and we get the family together.

Friday, August 6, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  Inspired by soulemama

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Slow death by rubber duck

"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushed down remorselessly all that stands in its path".
- Miss Marple

I'm currently reading "Slow death by rubber duck" and if "Chemical free Kids" hadnt put me on the path to making our house plastic-free then this has made me hit the ground running to ensure it occurs yesterday.

By Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, this book is a must read. Each chapter deals with a different life experiment of another toxic nasty. Since I was already avoiding PVC, Triclosan, Teflon and BPA, the chapters I found most shocking were those on the levels of mercury we absorb (goodbye canned tuna) but also the insidiousness of BPA.

"Picture a drop of water, in which BPA is present in a concentration of one part per billion. Now tell me how many individual molecules of BPA would be in that water drop".

"A few hundred thousand?"

"Not even close. Try 132 billion. And each one of those molecules is able to turn cell receptors on and off just like hormones do"

- Slow Death by Rubber Duck (Smith & Lourie, 2009)

I knew the obvious things that some of these nasties were in but others surprised me (like my glasses lenses - vomit, vomit). Also the fact that people have known that these chemicals are toxic for 70 years in some cases, and that we have still gone ahead and produced things for both ourselves and our children is horrendous.

But it's not all doom and gloom. They have a great chapter with a roadmap on how to detox yourself, your house and your lifestyle, which I think is both very upbeat and helpful.

I believe this toxic pollution of our bodies, our health, our home environment and our children is as important as climate change. We are poisoning ourselves, the ones we love and our planet, so if you agree about even one of those areas, then you must read this book.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Boys and their toys...

Mr B races remote control cars at State level (such a 1980's boy) and we have been waiting for Little B to be old enough to join in the fun. We recently introduced his first real “big boy” car and Mr B has been helping him learn to drive. They have great fun careering all over our front and back yards – on the drive way, in the grass and in the mud (it’s an off road car).

This time is quite special at the moment as there is the potential that Mr B may be seconded to Sydney quite soon. And unfortunately we will be unable to go with him for the first 6 months due to the nature of the project. Lots of visits (as location permits) but just wont be the same as concentrated day-to-day daddy time.

So for now I relish watching my boys and their toys :-)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lazy Sundays

Artwork by Art Harrison
- Banana muffins
- Red lentil vegetable soup
- Twisted bread rolls

- How to raise an amazing child: the Montessori way to bring up caring, confident children by Tim Seldin

- some new mini dishcloths for Little B. He wants to help clean all the time now, so following some Montessori ideas, I’m making him his own little cleaning kit :-)

- making doll’s furniture out of toilet rolls, Lego and cardboard for the new doll house. We now have a table, a fridge, an oven, a toilet, a fireplace, a bed and a lounge.

Op Shop Grooviness

There was lots of Op Shop grooviness to be had today:

Dolls house for Little B (the faux bugs have already moved in and the trains weren't far behind :-)

A shabby chic bedside table using here for some serious reno inspiration

A groovy retro phone for our study

A basket for our ever changing nature collection

More baskets for toy storage in our new backroom living space

A bookcase for the same said new living space - needs a bit of a rub back and some oil

Total cost? = $60
Fun we had fossicking through the opshops x 2 = priceless :-)