Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lets Go Fly a Kite

Mr B went to the Henty Machinery Field Day with his solar trackers last week for work. While there he saw a man flying these amazing kites and had to bring one home for Little B (who adores kites).

Little B has been practising with his kite ever since at every given opportunity in the backyard.

On Friday it was the perfect windy blustery afternoon, so we all headed down to the local oval to let it loose…..

 Lets go fly a kite

 Up to the highest height!

 Lets go fly a kite and send it soaring

Up through the atmosphere

Up where the air is clear

Oh, let's go fly a kite :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jenny's Garden


Granny B works with a lovely lady called Jenny. We buy all our eggs from Jenny because she uses soy free layer and we know that her chooks are raised happily at home. Well today we were lucky enough to get an invite to visit Jenny, her chooks and her vegie garden. We are intent on getting our own chooks now we are settled at the new house and what better introduction than meeting the chookies who give us our eggs now :-)

Jenny and her husband let Little B feed the chooks by hand and look for eggs. Talk about love at first sight – he was very disappointed to hear that we wouldn’t be taking said chickens home today, but after assuring him we would get our own, he bumbled of into the garden to dust bathe with them LOL.

They also showed me around their vegie garden and fruit trees. 14 years young, the garden has 24 productive fruit trees (and that’s not including the 5 kinds of berries they also have). They have a very successful avocado tree and in a climate similar to hours I was overjoyed to hear they didn’t need another to cross pollinate nor has it grown to immense proportions (two bits of advice that discouraged me putting in a avocado this year).
Photo courtesy of Diggers

They were also keen to show me their propagating shed and how they raise their seedlings. I quite liked this little gadget from Diggers – a Bottle Top Waterer. Obviously we wouldn’t use a plastic water bottle, but it would go great on an old oil pourer we have.

It was also great to see polypipe covering a vegie garden in real life. I’ve always wondered how sturdy they would be in the wind we get, but Jenny & co have a similar problem and they hold up beautifully in the wild windy weather.

And who could resist the view. Sitting in the sunshine, drinking coffee and eating home-made cake and muffins, it was simply beautiful.

And we didn’t come home empty handed – a dozen eggs, 6 strawberry plants and a baby peach tree one of many they have self seed. They tell me that they found these peach trees to grow lashings of fruit.

It was a fabulous morning – I really do love meeting like minded people and learning from people who have been gardening for many more years than me.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Superheroes and Teepees

Yesterday was quite an interesting day…apparently superheroes live teepees. Really? Who knew?

So my job as the mum of a superhero was to provide said tepee. There are some gorgeous ones you can buy these days but they are mainly plastic poles and made in china. So instead I perused patterns – our teepee is an amalgamation of Spotlight, The Crafty Minx and A Beautiful Mess. Though My Poppet has a great explanation about tying the poles together.

I mainly adapted these to make sure the teepee would fit into Little B's bedroom because I found the patterns were mostly too small (more for toddlers) or way too big (better for outside).

It was surprisingly easy to make – and it took about 3 hours from start to finish. All up it cost me $65 with the most expensive part being the wooden poles. I used plain cotton drill for the teepee itself rather than patterned fabric as it lends itself to changing interests. Though I’m hoping to get some of these robot fabric decals from Love Mae as Little B adores robots as much as superheroes. In fact we have seen a few superhero robots around here.

Hey superheroes eat breakfast too :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012


:: Canoeing, canoeing, canoeing – I opted out this time because of my hip but the boys were in and out of the water for 3 hours (there was lots of adventuring to be had on the shores)

:: I sat watching the boys, listening to the water, chatting with other canoers/kayakers and enjoying the Spring Edition of Peppermint Magazine. Worth buying just for the beautiful cover if you ask me :-)

:: Making Blueberry Cream Cheese Icecream. It’s delicious…the recipe says to mix the blueberries through the icecream at the last stage but we decided to add frozen ones when serving.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Plastic Free??

I’m a bit obsessed by plastic at the moment. After reading Plastic Free – How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can too by Beth Terry and Plastic – A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel, plastic has moved back onto my radar.

As you can see here and here, we started removing plastic nearly 3 years ago after I read Chemical Free Kids & Slow Death by Rubber Duck. But after reading these two new books plus blogs like Mummy Footprint, I’m renewed in my horror at the pervasiveness of plastics in our bodies and our lives. I thought I was pretty up with plastics but have found that in some ways I am so not!! Then I saw this episode of Catalyst and was again inspired / had renewed energy to make further plastic free changes to our lifestyle.

This is a photo of my plastic waste for the last week (though it doesn’t include anything that could go into the recycle bin). Beth Terry really makes you think about what to do with this trash.

So what to do?? I really enjoyed Bec’s post today on A Less Complicated Life. How we do some things simply because they make life easier so that we can spend time on the things we want to do and think are important like gardening, bread making and the like and it made me think about the things I do (along with the trash) and about the things I could change…

:: I’d fallen into thinking our 1 tin of canned tuna per week was ok because a) Little B didn’t eat it (no BPA exposure for him) and b) because we bought Fish 4 Ever which is sustainably fished. After watching the Catalyst episode we no longer eat canned tuna.

:: I’ve also packed away our breadmaker into the shed. I make all our bread by hand (using a bulk River Cottage recipe) but if I ran out of time or we had a busy week, I would resort to making the dough in the breadmaker and shaping by hand and baking in our oven. After re-reading about Teflon and its effect on brains, this is a thing of the past. Now I buy bread by Phillipa’s as a last resort as it is made by hand.

:: Which leads to the unrecyclable plastics in my photo. Phillipa’s bread comes in a plastic bag :-( but I have discovered these great recycle bins by Red Project outside a local Coles where you can recycle plastic bags not accepted by your local council. Think bread bags, pasta bags, cereal bags, fresh produce bags, reusable green bags. These are then made into recycled outdoor furniture for schools. So I feel much more comfortable recycling my photographed plastic rubbish this way rather than sending it to landfill.

:: I’m also rethinking (yet again) what I purchase and aiming for products packaged in paper or glass. Plus we now keep all glass jars/ bottles that come into our house.

And oddly enough, I think this avoidance of plastic just encourages me to keep living the way we do – cooking from scratch, visiting local farmers markets, supporting local business, growing our own etc. Plus to be honest, why go to all the effort of growing my own organic vegies, if I’m poisoning my family in worse ways.

Do I think we need yet another thing to beat ourselves up about?? No - because as Bec covers beautifully, sometimes you just need to focus on the things you think are important. Little B has co-ordination disorder that was caused by a change to his neural pathways either in utero or early in life - knowing that these plastics can change brains, neural pathways and the like makes removing plastic something I feel is important. Did all those meals I reheated in plastic for lunches at work whilst pregnant make a difference? What about all the baby food I reheated in plastic because I was industrially making my own? I'll never know but I can make different informed choices now :-)

So for now, I’ve also decided to try one new thing a month from Beth Terry’s book. Her blog My Plastic-Free Life is also a great support. So for September, I’m decided to document all my plastic as a visual aid for me to know how much actually comes in the door and why I’ve made that choice.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fathers Day Canoe Trip

What better way to celebrate Fathers Day than by launching our new canoe?? Didn’t hurt that the weather was beautiful and sunny too :-)

First up we made Daddy’s favourite biscuits.

Then we launched

And the day wouldn’t have been complete without a little daddy solo canoe to try out all his moves (and make sure it wouldn’t sink LOL - it's not in the best pre-loved condition but we had hoped we made it sound enough for this foray)

We canoed for 3 hours and had a ball. We were both surprised that Little B just took to it – paddled a bit, stopped an investigated the shores, enjoyed all the interesting animals and sights – and then sailed sticks and collected rocks while we packed up

It has inspired the potential interest in a future canoe camping trip.

Happy Fathers Day, my love – you are absolutely the best daddy I could have wished for our babe.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Slow Living Diary August 2012

Once again, I am joining in with Christine from Slow Living Essentials for a monthly reflection of slow living…

NOURISH: We’ve been cocooning with the latest wintry blast of cold weather – think lots of Vegetarian and Vegan Pizzas as well as batches of Vegetarian (tomato free) Lasagna.

PREPARE: I made a batch of pear jam when we were gifted a small box of odds and sods pears. I’ve been making large batches of slices courtesy of my CWA cookbook for kinder, so Little B has a bit of variety in his lunchbox (think Banana Slice with Lemon Icing and a healthy faux marshmallow slice).

REDUCE: After this months reading, I’m now keeping every single jar that comes into our place and trying to find a use for it. I loved a suggestion by a local CSA to use them to make grab and go salad jars for summer. Quick shake and dressing is sorted.
GREEN: I’ve started making our own dishwasher powder (recipe courtesy of My Healthy Green Family). It works really well and we haven’t had any problems with our dishes. I tried making our own washing powder again but it just doesn’t seem to work (things just arent clean) – not sure what I’m doing wrong there.

Our grid connect flat panel solar was finally connected and we’ve been generating at least 3 kwh per day in pretty crappy weather. Plus our lovely solar tracker finally has all her panels – now to get her hooked up to the house!!

GROW: I’ve planted out two kinds of potatoes in grow bags and started sowing seeds (squash, pumpkins and capsicums). Today Mr B and I mapped out where future beds will go and it looks like I will get an extra 1.5 beds for planting this year..yay!!

CREATE: Sadly I’ve done very little creating this month – unless you count playing with recipes in the kitchen.

DISCOVER:  This month my reading has been mainly on toxic old plastic. How bad it is, how to get rid of it and different alternatives to tryout. We’ve been removing plastic for the last 2.5 years but I figure if you only learn one new thing it’s worth it. I really loved Beth Terry’s new book “Plastic Free: How I kicked the plastic habit and how you can too" and aim to try out some of her suggestions over the next month or two.

The other key book I read this month was The Coming Famine: The global food crisis and what we can do to avoid it by Julian Cribb. Talk about an eye opener – up there with The Great Disruption by Paul Fielding. Lots of things to think about and lots of changes coming to the House of B because of it.

Little B and I have been reading Mr Galliano’s Circus by Enid Blyton. My favourite fun reads have been Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (the much awaited sequel to Discovery of Witches) and The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman. The Dovekeepers was a really challenging read because it is quite dark and cruel towards women but at the same time really interesting because they characters feel quite real.

ENHANCE: We bartered in conjunction with our neighbours and engaged a local person to put up our back fence. Took a lot longer than the mainstream route but we finally have a secure back fence and privacy from the street (long story but you could see all of our backyard through our behind neighbour’s front yard from the street).

ENJOY: Little B and I have been having experiment days as he is really passionately interested in inventions and science. It’s been so fun working with him as we’ve grown crystals, balanced coloured water, made old fashioned tin can telephones and created his own water collector invention. We’ve also been learning / remembering to play checkers/draughts as a family. Makes for a great game after dinner :-)