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Showing posts with label old fashioned living. Show all posts
Showing posts with label old fashioned living. Show all posts
Old Wisdom and the Spring Equinox in Australia

Old Wisdom and the Spring Equinox in Australia



















I just love spring! It has such a special feel to it.

The Spring Equinox happens in Australia between September 21 and 23. This year it happens today at 6.23pm.

Mathematically, we are at a quarter point for the seasonal year. Day and night are completely equal in time and from tomorrow day will be longer than night.

This balance in the earth’s days reminds me that we should stop and calibrate things in our own lives. We should seek balance. This often means that we need to do a clean sweep, re-evaluate and change things a little.

In days of old, the Spring Equinox held great hope to people because it symbolised the end of the cooler weather, the emergence of seedlings and the anticipation of new crops. The houses were opened and the soot of winter fires cleared out.

We still hold onto this time of ‘Spring Cleaning’. It’s time to pack away blankets, tidy our cupboards, donate clothing that doesn’t fit and generally de-clutter.

We take this time to sow our summer seeds, work out what seedlings we will need and think about harvesting what is abundant now.



Lavender is in abundance at the moment, which tells me it is time to make new skin care products and soap. After harvesting this crop of lavender and picking some rosemary and spinach for dinner, the house smelt sensational ! 


On the 28th of September I celebrate my birthday, another reason to stop and think about the season and the year to come.

The many new colours of the flowers, the sounds of the birds and the smell of a potential summer breeze on the wind makes me stop, think and bring everything back into balance, ready for a fresh new season.

Do you have a spring ritual, a cleaning ritual or any other special things you do to bring in the new season ? 



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Podcast with 'The Greening of Gavin'.

Podcast with 'The Greening of Gavin'.





I was lucky enough to be interview recently by Gavin from 'The Greening of Gavin'. It was so much fun chatting with Gavin and his wife Kim because we have a similar approach to life. After the podcast recording finished, we ended up staying on the line chatting for another hour or so !

If you would like to hear the interview, click on the link below. Don't forget to drop by Gavin's site as well. Gavin and Kim share a huge amount of their knowledge freely with everyone.

The book I referred to in the interview is now available. You can click on book/articles in the menu above or the picture on the right hand side to see more details.


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The Jam Stick

The Jam Stick



Can you see the 'jam stick' in this picture ? It has such a history.


My grandmother gave it to me a couple of years ago. The story is that when she was making jam on the farm one day a visitor noticed that the spoon she used was too short and she often burnt her hand.

The kind visitor went down the paddock got a piece of wood and crafted a new, longer handled jam stirrer and gave it to her. She used it for many many years.


Here I am, some sixty years later, using it again - bringing it back to life. I use it as a spatula in my mix master. I love the long handle.

I am not sure what type of wood it is, it is so weathered now - but still quite strong.

Not long ago, hubbie and I were fooling around in the kitchen comparing our favourite cooking items. His consists of an old frypan with no handle that he uses to make a perfect omelette ( so perfect in fact that he brings the pan, held in a tea towel, into my office to show me just how clever he is!), and an old scraper that he says he is going to pot rivet back together because 'they just don't make them like this anymore'.

Mine consists of the mix master ( an anniversary present about three years ago), an old spoon and the jam stick. You can read about the spoon here

All of our favourite cooking utensils were really old! I guess Hubbie is right ... they just don't make them like they used to!

You know what is really sad though....... when we were studying the jam stick the other day, Hubbie smelt it and said......
........ 'it smells like Nanna's kitchen '
. ...... and I smelt it ...............
.....and it does .............
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Working with a cash budget (repost)

Working with a cash budget (repost)








































Over the years we have tried many different methods for controlling our spending and working on a budget. By far the most successful method for us is to work in cash. I have worked out what we need each week and I withdraw that amount of money.

The following are our ' cash categories'.

Groceries
Fuel
Entertainment
Christmas
Holidays
Birthdays
Scarlet Ribbon ( clothing shoes etc)
Kids Banking

You can see in the photo that I use resealable plastic bags with the category and the amount written on it. Each week I go to the bank or post office and I have a little card in my wallet that says " 3x $50, 4 x $10 etc and get the exact breakdown. When I come home I give the cash to our young sons and they go through and put the amounts into the bags. Then, when we want to do something like hire a DVD or buy a present etc, we just go to the appropriate bag.

Having the money in cash is great for a couple of reasons. When you have cash in your wallet you are much more careful about spending it. My sons have also learnt the value of money because they control it. We are also empowered by the fact that we have money in advance for needs that may arise.

I call one category 'scarlet ribbon' because of the proverbs 31 woman who has no fear for her household for when the winter snows come her household is clothed in scarlet. It is a very old proverb but one that has always stuck with me.

I have also calculated how much we require for bills. You can do this by looking at what your bills are over a year and dividing the amount by 52 or 26 depending on when you get paid. Then I transfer that amount into an account we use for bill paying.

So.... what do you do when you finally sit down and add it all up and the results are frightening ? When I did this the first time I was totally shocked at our living expenses. Son number one was about 12 months old and I was faced with the prospect of going back to work. I was a school teacher then and was going back to work just two days per week. I hated the thought of it! So, we sat down and worked through everything in a huge amount of detail. I called it my " Plug the holes audit". By this, I meant that I thought the ship ( our house) would sink by the little holes that were in it, not the gaping big holes. So I set about saving money on little things, $2 here, $1 there. I changed phone plans, shopped for cheaper insurance, worked out a price book to track specials and calculate unit pricing, worked a cash budget etc etc. The results were amazing and I gave up teaching at the end of that year.

I often hear people talking about how difficult it is to make ends meet ( while they are watching pay TV and smoking and eating take away food). My answer is to be totally honest with yourself and live within your means. Take control of your money so it doesn't control you. It is such a wonderful feeling to jump in the car and go for a holiday with the freedom of knowing that you have the cash for it all and you won't have to face the credit card bill when the holiday is over.

If you can't be bothered with the hassle of micro-managing it all then you will need to be happy with staying in debt and having no money and having lots of stress. The choice is yours to make, so which path will you choose ?
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