Want to help the environment? Visit an op shop first!

Awareness of the environmental impact of our consumption-driven society is slowly increasing. Whether we are talking about clothes or other goods, every new item we purchase has cost the environment in some way. The raw materials used have come from the earth. Equipment has been manufactured to craft the products, is run on electricity and requires maintenance and parts. Once made, products are packaged in plastic, paper and cardboard. More resources like oil and fuel are used in their transportation, often from overseas. Then there is the human cost. People are very often exploited in factories and sweat shops, and work under poor and sometimes dangerous conditions for very little pay.

Too often, items are purchased, briefly used and enjoyed, and discarded. Little thought is given to the environmental and human resources that have gone into their making.

There are 3 things we can all do to help. Continue reading    

Cumquat Jam

My brother lives in Toowoomba and can therefore grow anything! Last time I saw him, he presented me with a 2 kg bag of cumquats from his tree. I asked what I was going to do with so many, and he suggested I could make jam. I’ve never made jam before, but thought ‘why not?’

I divided the bag into two 1 kg lots, fearing that I might ruin my first attempt and need a back up for a second try. Even with just a kilo, it took me 2 nights to make the jam. I’ve said it before – it’s a bugger when full time work gets in the way of one’s hobbies and interests!

 

 

 

 

You would not believe how long it takes to wash, cut, and squeeze the pips out of Continue reading    

Full time work = Better planning needed!

I’ve temporarily returned to full time work, and immediatedly noticed the need for better planning. As much as I love to cook, I don’t like the thought of having to face it every night. And apart from dinner don’t we all need something prepared ahead of time to take for lunch? So on the weekends I try to get ahead of myself a bit. On one such weekend recently I roasted the last of my home-grown pumpkin, along with some bought eggplant. Whilst the oven was hot I baked a loaf of bread. From the garden I picked a big bunch of coriander, some cherry tomatoes, snow peas, bok choy, and zucchini. I found some forgotten-about yellow split peas in the pantry and looked up a recipe to make them into soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pumpkin went into Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese and Spicy Pumpkin Soup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The eggplant became baba ganoush. I made a pesto with the coriander which we stirred through pasta later in the week for a quick and effortless meal. Continue reading    

Pumpkin Macaroni Cheese

The last pumpkin that my vine produced this winter decided to grow over the top of the netting on one of our raised garden beds. It weighed 6 kgs. That’s a lot of pumpkin and a lot of pumpkin dishes to have to create!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do with that last piece when you are a bit tired of Spicy Pumpkin Soup , Pumpkin & Prune Cake, and vegetable curries? You make Pumpkin Continue reading    

The Country Show – adventures in show cooking

Last week I shared my reflections on the country show, and my personal history of show-going from infancy. Country shows are just so important in keeping traditional skills alive. I love watching the woodchop, and the Mudgeeraba show also has displays of blacksmithing, beekeeping, and the young farmers’ challenge.

 

 

 

 

The skills of cooking, patchwork, sewing, knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, and craft are also kept alive through the challenge of the exhibitors pavilion.

 

 

 

 

I’ve needed little encouragement to enter exhibits in the Mudgeeraba Show for each of the last 6 years. Every year I eagerly await the release of the pavilion Continue reading    

The Country Show

I was raised in a rural area, and the local agricultural show was a highlight of the year’s social calendar. My love of a country show started in infancy. Here I am, aged about 18 months, all dressed up at the Innisfail Show.

The show is an event that brings the community together. It’s a chance to showcase skills, talent, and creativity. We see it in the woodchop and equestrian events, livestock showing, dance and band performances, cooking, spinning and weaving, photography, quilt making and more.

My family moved to Brisbane when I was 14. The tradition of going to the show was replaced with an annual trek to the Ekka. The focus shifted to rides and sideshow alley, though I remember still loving to visit the pavilions.

I moved away from Brisbane when I started work, and my show-going tradition ceased. That was until we moved to the fringe of town. Then I discovered the Mudgeeraba Show. The charm of the country show from my childhood was Continue reading    

Why I talk to my chickens

It’s a good thing that our neighbours aren’t too close. If they heard me constantly talking to my chickens they might think I’m a bit nuts. The chickens have a large run called the Hen Mahal, but they are also allowed to free range. So from the moment they arrive as new chicks I chat away to them, ask them if they’ve been good, tell them how clever they are when they lay, thank them for the lovely eggs, and generally go on with a lot of nonsense. Like in this video.

Why do I talk to my chickens all the time? When they become familiar enough with their surroundings to be let out, they will wander back themselves when it becomes dusk. But sometimes I need to get them in earlier. Because they know my voice, I call them and they come! Here’s the proof!

Who would have thought that you can train a chicken. If you have chickens, do you chat away to them?

Challenging our takeaway culture

Saving $ and the Environment

I was once waiting for a colleague to pick me up at a location opposite a well known drive through coffee business. During the 15 minute wait I was astonished to see the volume of traffic that snaked through the carpark into the drive-through lane and back out onto the street. The cars numbered in the dozens in this short timeframe. The sight actually left me feeling a sense of despair. It made me wonder about the lives of people who don’t have time for a cuppa before leaving the house. And if there wasn’t time to make a coffee it’s unlikely they Continue reading    

I’m on the list of 20 mature Aussie bloggers worth following!

I was so suprised and delighted to recently receive an email from Janet from Middle-Aged Mama. Janet named me amongst the 20 best Aussie bloggers for mature women! This was so unexpected! You can read Janet’s full list on YS People here.

There are certainly lots of ‘mummy bloggers’ out there. So it was good to read Janet’s article and see her highlight some bloggers who are at a different stage in their life.

Mature though I may be (and some may dispute this!), I hope to also have appeal to people of all ages who are wanting to live a little more simply and thoughtfully. So please do share my blog with your friends – young, ‘mature’ and everything in between!

5 Tips to reduce your grocery bill

Last week on the blog I challenged you to think about the work-earn-spend-waste-repeat cycle that characterises the lives of so many of us these days. Whilst I would not describe myself as particularly frugal, I try to make thoughtful purchases and not waste money. Spending less money means I don’t have to work as much in order to support a consumer lifestyle. It also means I don’t accumulate a lot of ‘stuff’. The weekly shop is a good place to begin decreasing overall expenditure. Here are 5 tips you can try in order to reduce your grocery bill. Continue reading    

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