Saturday, 30 August 2014

Peak Challenge - Must Watch Short Films

This week I came across some short animated films by Linda Cockburn who blogs over at Living the Good Life.
Linda (with the help of many other talented people) has done an amazing job with these short films and I think they are a great way of starting the conversation about climate change with people you know.
These are only about 4 minutes each and are presented in a way that makes the information easy to understand and relate to.  Please check these out and pass them on.

I will be emailing these to everyone I know and I encourage you to do the same.

What did you think?

I am looking forward to the follow on from these.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Nut Shortbread

This is just a basic shortbread recipe with the addition of the Lemon Myrtle powder and Macadamia Nut pieces that have been chopped up into small pieces.  You can adjust the amount of Lemon Myrtle to suit your tastes and swap the Macadamias for a different type of nut if you choose.

Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Nut Shortbread

250 gm Butter (softened)
3/4 Cup Icing Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
1/2 Cup Cornflour
2 Cups Plain Flour
Pinch of Salt
4 Tsp Lemon Myrtle
200 gm Chopped Macadamias

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two trays with baking paper.
Cream your butter and sugar in a mixer until the butter is pale.  Add  you vanilla essence, lemon myrtle and macadamia nuts and mix through.
Sift in your dry ingredients and mix together using a bread knife.  Once you mix is combined make truffle sized balls of mix and flatten on your tray.
Bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until the bottom of the biscuits just start to brown.

This mix is very short and crumbly are a slightly green colour and are perfect with a good cup of tea.  They freeze well and defrost quickly so are great to have on hand in case you get surprise visitors and want to offer up something a little bit special.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Harvesting And Storing Lemon Myrtle

One of our neighbours has a large Lemon Myrtle tree and recently I harvested some leaves to use in the kitchen.
Lemon Myrtle is a native bush food and has a strong lemon scent that will impart it's lemon flavour when added to foods.  I like to add it to fish, chicken and lamb and it makes a great addition to sweet treats too.  if you don not have a tree nearby you can buy it in the spice section from selected stores.

To prepare the leaves you first need to give them a good wash.  I soak them all in the sink and then pick them out one at a time and use a soft scrubbing brush to give them a gentle scrub on both sides of the leaves. This removes all the dust and spiderwebs that are attached.

I then spread the ones I want to dry out on a towel on top of the chest freezer.  Once they are dry I place them on a tray in the oven and set it to 50 degrees Celsius and dry them out for a few hours then leave in the oven to cool.  This may need to be repeated to get the leaves fully dry.  If you have a dehydrator then you can use that instead.

I do not normally only dry half of the leaves an the rest of them I add to a stock pot and cover with water and simmer covered for an hour.  Once the leaves have flavoured the water I freeze it in takeaway containers.  I use it to add to fruit juice and punch in the summer for a refreshing drink.

Once the leaves are dried I put them in my herb chopping attachment from my stick blender or my food processor, depending on the quantity, and chop the dried leaves until they are as fine as I can get them.  I then use my mortar and pestle to get it really fine.  I just pound it for a bit then sieve out the fine stuff and keep repeating until it is all as fine as you want.

You can then store it in an airtight jar until you are ready to use it.

There are a whole range of recipes online and you can check out some here for ideas.  My favourite is Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Nut Shortbread and I will post the recipe to that tomorrow.

Have you ever harvested your own lemon myrtle?
Do you ever use it in cooking?

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

A Lost Lorikeet and A Sick Chicken

This morning when I went out to let Jessie off from her kennel I could hear a very loud screeching from the hedge and when I looked under the plants I discovered a baby lorikeet.
I could tell it was young as it did not have a coloured beak and had not developed many tail feathers.  It could not fly and was trying to push through the hedge.
I had just take Jessie's coat off so I used that to cover the bird and pick it up.  I know from experince that lorikeets have very sharp beaks.
I called the local wildlife carer and she said I could drop it off with her as she already had 3 others she was looking after.  Apparently the Rainbow Lorikeets have breed earlier than normal for the last 2 years and this means that there is not a lot of nectar around for them to raise their young.  This means they end up kicking the babies out early because there is not enough food .

We also have a sick chicken on our hands.  I noticed that over the past week 'Squawky' was not coming to eat with the other chickens as was quiet and subdued.  I thought that maybe she had worms or mites so I dusted her and wormed all of the chickens but she did not want to eat so the worming mash missed her.
So last night I caught her and put her in our home made wire cage so I could check her out today.
When we have a sick chicken I like to isolate them give them a bit of TLC and see how they go.  They either get better or go to chicken heaven, we do not take $15 chickens to the vet not even if they are our favourite.
There did not seem to be any mites but she was very thin and lethargic.  I offered her some mashed boiled egg mixed with yogurt but she was not interested.
Today I got her out of her cage and gave her a thorough inspection.  Her vent was normal as was her comb and her eyes were still bright.  I felt her crop (where a chickens food collects) and it was not hard so I knew it was not an impacted crop.  But her crop was soft ans squishy and I could feel food in there when I massaged it.  This told me that her crop had not emptied overnight and even though she had not eaten there was still food in her crop.  So I did the sniff test as I suspected she might have sour crop and peww stink! Yep I think I found the problem.  Sour crop is a yeast infection in the crop and the if you massage the crop and smell the chickens breath it smells rotten.
So now that I know (pretty sure) what I am dealing with I can try and treat it.  I just hope that I have caught it in time.

I will keep her isolated for a few days and for the next 24 hours she will be on water only and I will be giving her crop a gentle massage a few times a day.  After that I will try and get her back onto an egg yogurt mix and see how things go.  I have seen suggestions to use and not use apple cider vinegar end even red wine but I think I will stay away from the acids and will instead add a pinch of bicarb soda to her water.

Do you have any experience with Sour Crop?  What have you tried or had success with?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Seed Raising And Summer Planting

Here in Australia we are technically in the last week of winter but because I live in the sub-tropics we are actually in spring already and only weeks away from summer if I had to guess since strawberry season has started.  You see we really only get a few weeks of spring and autumn, about 3 months of winter and about 7 months of summer.
In the past few years I have been caught out and one minute it is winter and the next we are into summer temperatures and I do not have my summer veggie seedlings ready.  Because the nights are still cool it is hard to get summer seeds like capsicums, tomatoes and eggplants germinated in time for the warm days so this year I am trying a different strategy.
I am still raising most of my veggies from seeds but I have also purchased a small number of more advanced seedlings that are already about 15 cm high that I have planted out this week.

Capsicums, eggplants, lettuce and basil with a whole
lot of self seeded coriander at the end of the garden bed.

The last of the winter veggies coming on are now sharing the garden
bed with lettuce, capsicums and zucchini.
When raising seeds I find the easiest way is to raise then in a foam box with a deep layer of seed raising mix which you can rad about here.

We have had some great rain here over the weekend and so It looks like I got my seedlings in just in time on Friday.  They have all been well watered in and now I just need them to grow as fast as they can because I can't wait to eat some tasty beefsteak tomatoes.

Are you thinking about summer veggies yet?

Monday, 25 August 2014

How Little Can You Spend - Update

This month I set myself a challenge to spend as little as possible over the entire month and I thought I would update you on how the month has progressed.

I have found it easy to make many meals from our veggie garden, pantry and freezer with just a few editions. Breakfasts were not a problem at all and I was able to do enough baking to keep us well stocked in snacks and lunchbox extras, there were plenty of eggs and an endless supply of cherry tomatoes, silverbeet and herbs from the garden. 
Dinners were where I had to add purchased ingredients, which I expected, but what I had not factored in so much was the amount of fruit and carrots we would purchase over a month.  I am happy to eat the citrus from our garden or that I can get from a roadside tree for free but Hubby is not a citrus fan.
Every day at the moment Hubby takes 2 apples, 2 carrots and 3 bananas to work plus some leftovers, dried pawpaw or a birdseed bar and often a couple of boiled eggs.  That might sound like a lot but he works in a very physical job and works from 6 am till 5 pm so he needs a lot of food.  I am also glad he chooses to take such a healthy lunchbox too.  I work from home so I make it up on the day what I am having.

I was hoping to spend less than $50 for the whole month and here I what I have spent so far:
1 Cucumber:   1.20
4 x 1 kg Carrots    5.64
1 Red Cabbage 2.98
6 Free Range Chicken Drumsticks 4.52
3 x 3 lt Milk 9.00 (we used UHT milk from our stockpile for the rest of the month)
3.84 kg Granny Smith Apples 7.64
1.215 kg Brown Onions 1.93
1 Red Onion .44
1/2 Green Cabbage 1.49
Peppercorns 1.10
359 gm Mushrooms 3.15
2.45 kg Bananas 8.56
1.35 kg Potatoes 2.15
Dried Pawpaw 3.79

Total Spent so far: $53.59 and I am pretty confident we can make it to the end of the month with just a few more dollars on fruit for Hubby.
Some of the meals we have eaten during the month for dinners (and for lunches as left overs) are:

Roast Pumpkin, Quinoa, Feta and Bacon Salad
Greek Salad

Home-made Lamb Sausage Rolls

Roast Chicken Drumsticks and Black Bean Salad

Vegetable Curry
We have really used up nearly every package of frozen meat from the freezer over the month and used up the last of our home raised beef which has allowed us to stick to our spending goal for the month.
While the challenge has helped use up some of the pantry staples that have been sitting around for some time (I used up a number of my jars of my preserved tomatoes and some preserved fruit from 2012) there are still quite a few items I have yet to use up including a heap of polenta (not sure why I have so much of it since we do not eat it that often - it must have been on sale), lots of dried beans, and things like my sushi rice and wrappers that need just a few things to make them complete.
So while I will not be repeating the challenge in the same way in September I will be focusing on using up these odds and ends and items I have lots of.

Now I guess I better look into how many ways I can use polenta.  Ideas anyone?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

QCG Stop bullying Wandoan farmers

I signed this petition today and thought I would share this as I think farmers should have more rights that what our laws allow.

Click here if you want to support our farmers too.

QGC: Stop bullying Queensland’s Wandoan farmers.  Treat them with the ‘fairness, respect and decency’ they deserve by giving them more than 21 days to prove their strategic cropping land status.  
The Wandoan farming community, who thought its farmland was protected as ‘strategic cropping land’, has been served with a notice from coal seam gas (CSG) company QGC proposing to strip 175 farms of their strategic cropping land status.
QCG has given these farmers just 21 days to complete farm surveys and collate evidence of farming history in order to prevent the foreign-owned  resource company from removing 125,000 hectares from  the Queensland strategic cropping land trigger map. 
The timing of QGC’s application has only deepened the community’s distrust of and disillusionment with the CSG industry.  By lodging the application just before the repeal of the Strategic Cropping Land Act 2011, QGC may negate the need to comply with more stringent environmental protection measures set under new legislation (the  Regional Planning Interests Act 2014) if wanting to pursue CSG developments in the area.
It is a completely unrealistic for QGC to expect that 175 field surveys can be commissioned and completed over 125,000 hectares within just 21 days.   
To do so is completely out of line with QGC’s ‘purported’ corporate principles of treating people ‘with fairness, respect and decency.’  
Such conduct, though legal due to a poorly constructed section of the strategic cropping land legislation, simply serves to further distress farmers already at their ‘wit’s end’ from dealing with CSG companies. Community depression is already endemic. 
Such conduct may also result in significant areas of valuable cropping land being afforded virtually no protection from the negative environmental impacts of CSG developments.
 Please sign to tell QGC to stop bullying Wandoan farmers and to treat them with fairness, respect and decency by allowing them at least 45 days to prepare submissions to prove their strategic cropping land status.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Feeding A Cow On The Cheap

Back at the start of July our cow "Freezer 2" was supposed to have been killed and be in the freezer but this did not happen.
We had planned to have her in the freezer before we ran out of feed which we knew was inevitable due to the lack of rain.  We also knew that because of the severe drought affecting much of Queensland buying feed would be very expensive (between $16 and $22 per week).  At that sort of cost it basically ruins any saving we might have made from raising our own meat.

So for the past 6 weeks we have been cutting grass from the roadside to feed to our cow.  We feed her 2 wheel barrows of grass a day and she has not lost any weight/muscle mass by the looks of things.

Setting off to cut grass

Hubby does the whipper snipping and I do the rake up
We cut a few days of grass at a time and store it in the neighbours open ended shed.  We have finished the grass on the roadside nearby and are now going around our neighbours shed.

Freezer 2 comes running when she sees the wheel barrow

The grass is not great but she picks through it and eats most of it.  You can see in the photo below that she is not at all interested in what is outside that gate when there is a pile of grass to eat.

We have a row of trees in our front paddock where she is at the moment and for a while now I have been picking up all the fallen branches and piling them around the base of each tree.  To this I add dried cow pats and now that we have been cutting this grass for Freezer 2, we are also adding any leftover grass she does not eat.  I am building a sort of Hugelkultur which is something often used in permaculture to build soil and it helps to deter the cows from wearing down the soil around the base of the trees and stops them rubbing on the trunks.  Cutting all this grass made me realise that if you are creative there are sources of free organic matter all around us we just need to go out and find them.

We now have a new butcher who is happy to kill our cow in September so we only need to keep feeding Freezer 2 for a few more weeks.
Thankfully we have just had some good rain (34 mm) and the weather is warming up so we should even get a bit of growth to help things along but I think we will still be cutting grass until she is in the freezer and that possibly means trekking 500 metres up the road and back with the wheel barrow a few times, but free is free right.

What frugal methods have you used to feed your animals?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Our Experince With House Cows - A book Review

I am an avid reader and on a normal day you will find piles of books on the coffee table beside the couch (and normally on the other half of the couch too).  I can currently count 10 books, 3 cook books and 3 magazines within reach and I know there are a few more on reserve at the library.

In addition to the other books that I have read over the past week I have also read this fantastically practical e-book 'Our Experience With House Cows' by Liz Beavis from over at Eight Acres.  We do not own a house cow as we made the decision to move back to New Zealand a couple of years ago and will obtain a house cow then.  However I grew up on a 10 acre farm where we milked a house cow both by hand and then on a small milking machine designed for either 1 or two cows, so I have some experience with the routines of managing a house cow.

Liz provides a complete novice with a good understanding of the basics of owning and managing a house cow without over complicating it and making the whole prospect seem overwhelming.
At the same time she emphasises the fact that owing a house cow is a commitment that requires some dedication and is not something that should be treated as a passing fancy.

This eBook is well set out and easy to follow and takes you on a journey through the different aspects of owning house cow.  From buying a house cow and getting her in calf through to the birthing and beyond, Liz provides the reader with enough of the basics to get you well on you way as a new house cow owner.  The information about milking schedules and managing the process of having enough milk for yourself as well as for the calf demonstrates that there are ways to own a house cow and not be tied to a twice a day milking routine.
Liz references other books to go to for additional information and provides some excellent ideas on how to use up all your milk.

I would recommend this book as a great place to start if you are considering getting a house cow and have very little experience as Liz has provided plenty of information in a glossary so that after reading this you will be talking the talk in no time at all.

If you would like to purchase a copy of Liz'z book you can click here to access her house cow ebook blog where you will also find other information related to the subject.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Tasty Mince - Many Frugal Meals

As part of the ongoing challenge of 'How Little Can You Spend' in our house I decided that some tasty mince was in order.
I used a few basic vegetable that I had on hand as well as some items from the garden and stockpile to make some tasty mince that can be eaten on it's own or combined with pasta, rice or potatoes to make different meals.
There was 1 kg of mince, 2 carrots, 1 capsicum, 2 onions (one of the ones in the photo had gone bad) some silverbeet and garlic chives from the garden, and I used 2 jars of diced tomatoes from the panty.

There was also this strange looking ball of frozen mushrooms that I found lurking at the bottom of the freezer.  Sure they were not much to look at a past their best but in a dish like this they just added to the flavour.

I also added celery salt, pepper and garlic and some red lentil at the end to thicken the mix and soak up some of the juices.

I am sure everyone has a recipe for tasty mince so I won't write one out here but I will say that my tips for maximum flavour are as follows:
Cook the onions until soft and translucent over a medium heat without browning so that they become sweet then remove them from you pan
Brown the mince in batches so that it gets lots of colour on it
Once the mince is browned add you tomatoes or liquid so that you can lift all of the tasty bits off the bottom of the pan
Add the rest of the ingredients and cook till done.

I have frozen this in smaller amounts and we will use it over the month to make a variety of meals.  It is easy to turn it into something new by just adding additional spices.

Do you make tasty mince?
How do you keep it interesting?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Blog Hop Around The World - Creativity

The Lovely Lynda has nominated me to be part of this blog hop around the world and I am please to be able to join in.  Thanks for the nomination Lynda and if you are reading follow this blog hop back in time as there are some excellent blogs out there to enjoy.

A couple of my cards

The theme for this blog hop is creativity and like most blog hops there are a few basic rules/guidelines to follow.  The ones for this blog hop are:
Within a week of your nomination answer the following questions:
  • Why do I create what I do?
  • How does my creative process work?
  • How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
  • What am I currently working on?
  • Who inspires me to create?
  • Finally provide a quote 

Well time is ticking so I guess I better get on with this, other wise just like many of my creative pursuits it might just get set aside.

Why do I create what I do?
I create because it gives me balance in my life.  As soon as I stop being creative I start to feel all out of sorts and I feel irritated without being able to put my finger on why.  I also create because life is all about creation. Everyday there are situations in life just waiting for a creative approach to come along and take things in a new direction, to do things in a different way and find a creative solution to a problem.  Lets face it without creativity we might still be clubbing mammoths for dinner.

When it comes to what I create my interests vary.  From traditional crafts such as knitting, cross stitch and crocheting, painting, card making and scrapbooking to creative writing and blogging to all things cooking, baking and preserving.  Then there are all the crazy projects for around the home that I dream up that poor hubby gets roped into helping with.

How does my creative process work?
For the most part my creative pursuits are about relaxing and unwinding, letting my imagination take over are allowing my thoughts to just flow.  My job is very structured and I find that I need to specifically set time aside and give myself permission to be creative.  Otherwise because I am a very task focused person I feel guilty and like I should be doing other things.  There is also a practical side to it.  I like to make things for others and I feel that handmade gifts show a deeper sense of caring and giving that just going out and buying. I also like to learn new skills and try new things like knitting, crocheting and darning.
So sometimes my creative process is driven by the need to find balance in my life and sometimes by need or a desire to learn.  There are many practical old fashioned skills out there that I really want to master too.

How does my work differ from others of it's genre?
Well because I like to try everything and anything it often means that I have multiple projects on the go at once.  This means that I do not always perfect the skill before I move on.  So I would say I differ from others in the sense that I am probably not as dedicated to any one thing as I need to be to become a master of that task. 

What am I currently working on?
Well lets see... there is a cushion cover kit that I have been meaning to paint (the kit comes with fabric paint) for a long time now, a cross stitch book mark nearly finished, a crochet dish cloth that I have been making to practice my tension, a few different scrapbooking albums I am working on, a hand made garden journal and a handmade recipe book that are in progress, I have started making this years Christmas cards, I have about 35 draft posts that I have started, there is a large blank canvas waiting for inspiration (and paint) to hit, granny squares that might one day become a blanket and then there are all the sewing projects and I will not even start on the things in the kitchen.

Practicing my crochet tension on a dish cloth - based on those wonky sides
I'd say more practice is required.

Who inspires me to create?
Well this is the point where I get to nominate two other bloggers who inspire me.  Both of these ladies inspire me to learn new things and to come up with creative solutions to problems.

Liz over at Eight Acres is always coming up with practical and creative solution to the things she needs. She makes her own soap and just recently she made her own dressmakers dummy from duct tape which I think is fantastic.

Liz also inspired me with this post to make our dog Jessie a dog coat.  Liz has also taught her self to knit which is something I admire (and hope to one day master myself) and she had knitted up some practical items such that you just can't buy.

Linda from Greenhaven is creative in the way she thinks and deals with problems so it stands to reason that she is also creative in a practical sense too.  Linda Knits socks and beanies makes lovely gifts for her family and friends, she makes soap and looks for crafty ways to dress things up at home.

More than anything both these ladies inspire me to see creativity as part of everyday life not just something you do as a hobby (although for now that is what a lot of mine is and that's ok).  It is a way to make gifts, devise solutions, clothe yourself, decorate, provide for your basic needs, celebrate and add a few more strings to your bow in terms of the things you can do for yourself.

So the final thing I have to do is offer you up a quote.  This is a quote I love because it applies in so many situations.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” 
― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

Stay tuned for what Liz and Linda have to say in the next week when they have their turn.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

How Little Can You Spend - Stretched Sausage Pasta

For the Month of August I have declared it "How Little Can You Spend Month".  This basically means that I will try and spend as little as possible on all things groceries.  Hubby is less enthused about this plan but I figure if I keep baking tasty treats for his lunch and dinner he will come around to the idea.

Tonight I managed to turn some very basic ingredients ad two lonely sausages in to 4 serves of pasta and meatballs.  If you are not someone who normally uses anchovies I encourage you to give them a try like this. They dissolve way to nothing but impart a rich salty flavour to the meal.

Pasta Sauce

1 Large Onion, finely diced
1/2 red Capsicum, finely diced
6 Anchovies, finely diced
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
2 Cups of Quartered Cheery Tomatoes
2 Good quality flavoured sausages ( I used Lamb and Rosemary)
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme

Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a large frypan and gently fry the onion  on a low heat until it is soft and nearly translucent.  Add the capsicum and cook until soft then add the anchovies and garlic and cook for 2 minutes before adding the tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water and stir to combine.  You then need to pinch off little portions of your sausages, roll them into balls and drop them into the sauce mix to cook through.
Cook some pasta and once cooked add the cooked pasta to the fry pan with a little of the pasta cooking water, mix together and serve.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Plastic Free July Wrap Up

Well Plastic Free July is over for another year and here is almost all of the single use plastic that we accumulated over the month.  In addition to what you see here there were a few pieces that I did not save as they had contained meat.  There were also a few bread bags but in our house these get washed and used at least one more before being put to their final use of picking up the dog poop around the yard.

Some of the things that were in the dilemma bag that I am not so worried about were the packages for the home brew ingredients which make 25 litres of beer, the coffee pack with locally made coffee and I am not sure what I could have done about avoiding the band-aids since I decided to try and slice the top of my finger off.

There was also this little pesky thing that came around the top of a jar.  I am not sure what the manufacturers put it on for because it does not actually do anything functional from what I can see. Does anyone know what they are supposed to do?

Then there were the packages that the pet medication comes in and the lid from the home brew mix.

Finally there was the empty bag of dog food which we replaced during the month.  The old ones get used for bin liners so they do get a second use but they are a really good example of a form of plastic that we just could not avoid unless we made our own dog food.  making it is something I have considered, but of all the things that I want to do for myself it is a long way down the list.  Sometimes when you strive for a simple life you have to look at where you will get the most benefit in terms of making things yourself.  For me the 1 bag of dog food we buy every few months saves me what I imagine would be a number of hours which I could put to better use so in this case I am happy to buy it.

Overall I am happy with how the month went and now that I have found some where to take all my soft plastic for recycling  it makes me feel much better about the small amount we do end up with.  I will still work at reducing what comes into our house where I can and I really hope that everyone who reads this will at least start to consider how much plastic enters their home and what they do with it.
Yes it takes a bit more effort to save it up and take it to a location where they accept it for recycling but I would rather do that the send it to land fill.

How did you go during the month?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Slow Living July 2014

Linking up with Linda who has taken over from Christine in hosting the Slow Living Nine.  I am so glad this is continuing as it is great to hear what everyone is up to.

Nourish -Make and bake as much as possible from scratch. Ditch over packaged, over processed convenience foods and opt for 'real' food instead.
There has been heaps of cooking and baking in the house over the past month and since we were also participating in Plastic free July it was all home made food for us.

Prepare - Stockpile and preserve. Freeze extra meals or excess garden/market produce. Bottle/can, dehydrate or pickle foods to enjoy when they are not in season.
Mostly we are making use of our stockpile rather than adding to it but I have been but I have been adding lemons and limes to the bag of them I have in the freezer.   I just throw them in whole and when citrus season is over I have them on hand.

Reduce - Cut down on household waste by re-using, re-purposing and repairing.
This month we participated in Plastic Free July and this again made us focus on the waste we create.
Since I found out that soft plastics can be recycled  out rubbish volume has dramatically. We now have only 1 supermarket bag sized bag of rubbish in out bin most weeks.  We are dropping all our plastic off once a month and it is shocking to see how much there is even when you try not to bring plastic into the house.  I think that in generally we will have about 1/2 bag of plastic and 1 bag of actual rubbish each week.

Green Start (or continue!) using homemade cleaners, body products and basic herbal remedies. The options are endless, the savings huge and the health benefits enormous.
Just the usual happening on this front.  As it is citrus season I have a catch of citrus cleaner on the go but since there is just the two of us we do not go through that much of our cleaning products.

Grow plant/harvest. What's growing this month? What's being eaten from the garden?
The garden is producing lots of Silverbeet, cherry tomatoes and herbs, we also have plenty of citrus.  I am having another go at broccoli and mini cabbages but I may have gotten them in too late and I am growing spring onions, beetroot, fennel and celeriac. I also have some peas in but they do not seem that keen on growing so we will see if they amount to anything.

Create - To fill a need or feed the soul. Create for ourselves or for others.
Creations have been on hold this month and reading has taken over.

Discover Feed the mind by reading texts relevant to current interests.
I have been reading lots over the last month.  Liz lent me some great books and I am working my way through them.
This month I read about 10 different books including A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of the Night and The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness which I really enjoyed.  I will talk about some of the other ones in another post.

Enhance Community
It is all systems go in organising the car show that I am involved in and things are just getting busier and busier in this area.

Enjoy - Life! Embrace moments with friends and family. Marking the seasons, celebrations and new arrivals are all cause for enjoyment.

Both Hubby and I celebrated our birthdays in July so we had a nice meal out with his family but other than that it was pretty quiet.

This is the goats milk and date panacotta I had for my birthday breakfast when we went out.
It was as good as it looks.

What have you been up to?