Moving day woes

Moving house is not easy at the best of times. It’s good to be a minimalist when you have less than 4 weeks to pack the house up and you are working full time. Even so, I soon discovered we still have a lot of stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only thing worse than moving on a sunny day is moving on a rainy day. Yes, it was a day of intermittent torrential rain as the truck was packed.

But the worst was still to come. At our destination, the truck backed a wheel off the driveway. It sunk into the ground and dug in further when the driver tried to drive out it out. It leaned over at a treacherous angle, with all of our ‘stuff’ inside, Continue reading    

It’s time to move on

When we moved to the fringe of the city it felt like we were going a fair way out. Especially after living in the heart of things for decades. But the city started moving out to us. So we decided it was time to move on. (No) thanks to a  pro-development council, more and more of the natural envionment has been destroyed to build housing estates. Habitat for koalas and other wildlife has been lost forever. The strong push for growth has seen the subdivision of acreage areas that many of us bought in order to escape close neighbours and high density living. There’s a pond in the way? You know, one of those water holes that kangaroos and wallabies drink from, and that supports several species of ducks and other water birds? No problem, just fill it in so another house can be built.

 

 

 

 

 

Attracting more people to the area has added to existing traffic congestion. The M1 no longer has a peak hour. It can be choked at any time of day. The photo below was taken at 1.30 pm. Even walking at 6 am, the clicking of frogs in the ponds after rain is drowned out by the rush of traffic on a secondary road. Continue reading    

The hidden costs of earning money

Have you ever noticed that is costs money to earn money? My usual job is part-time. But due to some changes in the team this year I put my hand up to work full time for 6 months. I describe this to others as ‘falling on my sword’! But in reality I really don’t mind because I’m one of those increasingly rare people who loves their work (most of the time anyway!)

What I have learned during this time is that the more money you earn the more you spend. Some of this is choice and some is necessity. Spending on clothes and food goes up. There are increased costs to run a car, and more is spent on parking. My petrol costs have gone way up.

Many people comment about the extra money they spend on daily takeaway coffees and buying rather than bringing lunch. It’s an effort to plan meals for the week, organise lunch, and prepare something after a tiring day at work. Eating out or getting takeaways at Continue reading    

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?

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