Soaring diesel costs push truckies to the edge

Picture from Food Magazine

Did you see the 7.30 report on the ABC last night ? If not you can see it here: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/ or read the transcript here: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2008/s2311384.htm You can also google 'trucking industry strike' for the latest in news articles.

It seems that fuel prices are crippling many of the truckies. We have heard drivers saying that every time they go to fuel up it adds $100 to the bill. The difficulty for us as consumers is that EVERYTHING comes by truck. Most things you find on the supermarket shelf have travelled many hundreds of kilometres to get to the store. Eating Local suddenly becomes extremely important.

In all the articles I have read and watched the drivers are talking about a strike, 'go slow' or blockade on the 28th of July. There has already been one ' go slow' on a Sydney Freeway. The Transport Worker's Union say they are not in support of a strike, however other industry groups have formulated a list of demands to present to government.

Online forums are buzzing with people talking about their husbands, brothers, sons and cousins who are truckies that are going to strike. Diesel prices have risen 50c a litre since October and their runs are now unsustainable.

This has a major impact on us as householders. I do not blame the truckies, as there are numerous issues which must be addressed for them. Regardless of how those issues are resolved or played out, the matter of importance for me is the impact on households. Ask yourself this question..... How long can you sustain your household without going to a shop ?


" Truck drivers are planning a nationwide two-week strike that could limit the supply of food and fuel. Requesting better pay and conditions, the organisers, led by the Australian Long Distance Owners’ and Drivers’ Association, are asking truck drivers to strike for two weeks from July 28.
The planned strike could have serious consequences on food industry supplies.One of the transport company owners said that the stoppage would highlight the impact the economy would be subjected to if the industry was to collapse. “On day three of the stoppage shops will run out of food, on day four service stations will run out of petrol, on day five we will run out of [drinkable] water … and on day 10 industry will shut down because there will be no power,” Hervey Bay’s Peter Schuback said. "

SOURCE: Food Magazine: Food and Beverage Industry News

Be wise. Apply the 6P principle. Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Always make sure that you have sufficient supplies on hand to lessen the impact of any events which prevent you from obtaining food. You never know what these events may be: power shortages, floods, storm damage, sickness in the family, trucking strikes, petrol shortages. Having a good supply in your cupboards is a great insurance policy.


Garden Update

The garden is coming along steadily. I can't wait until the weather warms up a little to be able to get right into it.

At the moment we are growing tomatoes, lettuce, corn, capsicum, carrots, beans, peas, broccoli, radishes, strawberries, passionfruit, coriander, parsley,mint, zucchini, silverbeet. The corn that I have in is starting to go well, so yesterday I planted a lot more.

 We also planted extra beans.

Once the weather warms up a little I will put in lots more so that I have some staggered harvesting. I have been really enjoying the garden. I close the front gate and in my mind I am on 3000 acres.

The day I can sit back and eat a cob of corn freshly picked moments earlier will be the day that I can sit back in a state of joy and say that all is well with the world!


My Most Used Kitchen Appliance

Who would have thought that a mix master could bring you so much joy!

This was a gift from Hubby a couple of years ago for our 10th wedding anniversary.

I use it all the time. I love it because the design hasn't changed a great deal in the past 30 years.

 I have a book for an older model and it hasn't changed much either. It is very good quality and I hope it will last and last.


This is What 101 Years of Simple Living Looks Like....

This is my Grandmother who turned 101 on the 15th July. She still walks around, has a wonderful memory and she certainly has " all her marbles". She lived in her own home up until 6 weeks before her 100th birthday.

When the local Newspaper were interviewing her they asked her what the secret of a long life is.
She said it was 'keeping busy'. I guess that is true. I have never known Nanna to procrastinate over anything. She was always prepared for anything. Her freezer was always stocked with freshly blanched vegetables and she had frozen meals she had made bursting out of the huge chest freezer she had. We always joked that if the Apocalypse came, it would be okay, because Nanna's freezer could feed all the survivors! LOL

When asked if she made a wish on her birthday she said she didn't need to make a wish because she had everything she wants and needs. She enjoys living in the nursing home because she doesn't have to do her own washing, cleaning and ironing. She views it as a luxury.

When asked about society today, she said the children are little brats. Her thoughts are that children should be put to work early for their parents so that they learn to do the right thing.
She was asked if she had ever used a computer, and told the journalist that although she had used my lap top, the only mouse she has ever known is the one you set a trap for !

So.... 'keeping busy' is the key to a long and lovely life ? What was she busy with ? In the earlier days it was milking, baking, cooking meals, washing, cleaning, gardening, ironing, farming, knitting, sewing. Then, when she moved to town it was ......... baking, cooking meals, gardening, washing, cleaning, knitting, sewing....... hmmmmmm I guess she was just too busy to grow old.

So, what can I learn from this ? Am I doing my best in the areas listed above? Am I seduced by the advertising devil that tells me to slacken off, rest because I 'deserve it', buy because I 'deserve' it and think about myself because, after all, I am the most important person in the world! No.......... I think I will adopt the more humble life. I will work hard for the joy and peace that comes in knowing that I am 'ahead' and prepared for the days to come.

Proverbs 31:21
When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

What An Adventure.....

We set off on Thursday morning for our 'Epic Journey'. All packed with the good ol' 1970s airpot and the home baked ANZAC cookies. We were travelling in the poor old four wheel drive this time, which hasn't been allowed to venture far from home since the fuel price increases. She was chewing at the bit to be allowed to head up into the mountains like the good old days. We head over the mountain via Thunderbolt's Way- a lovely road that links the coast with the inland plains.

We stopped for a picnic lunch at Nowendoc, a little "area" ( couldn't even call it a town) that consists of a shop on a hill, a hall and a police station/residence. We always stop there as our half way point. This time, it was the COLDEST picnic I have ever had. The wind was blowing and it was ICY.

Determined not to be beaten I set out the table cloth, pinned down by everything I had in the basket and proceeded to make lunch. Lovely sandwiches and fresh coffee. Well..... the kids ended up eating in the car and hubbie and I huddled up together, making ongoing comments about how lovely the day was, if it wasn't for the wind. At one point my long hair was standing straight up! - should have got a photo. LOL When the wind turned and my hair flew into my mouth with the sandwich I realised it was time to move on. - As we were packing up the clouds were rolling in and I said..... "they look like snow clouds over there" ( I hadn't read your comments at this stage)
Well...................... just up the road we were greeted with this.................

The kids went mad! As we drove on there was more and more snow. The pine forest near Nundle was like something out of a movie. We all got out of the car, took lots of photos and played in the snow. The funny thing was that it was a really warm day at home and the kids were in shorts and t-shirts. As we drove along, they started singing Christmas carols...... ( well, if you count ' jingle bells, batman smells' as a carol). If you are a fan of the Australian movie the Castle, you would understand our delight when we were proclaiming " why would you want to go to the gold coast when you can have this!"

Here are some more photos. The bottom one is taken at the Nundle Woolen Mill.


A Winter Break.

Last week we finally got our tank of petrol off layby, remortgaged the house for the second tank and set off for a little tripping around. Ahhhhh the sweet freedom. No deadlines, no return date, no expectations.

First stop was to stay with friends in Sydney - a little place in the Sutherland Shire called Oyster Bay. The sign says " a little bit of country in the middle of the city" and I have to agree. The Kookaburras are the loudest alarm clock and there are plenty of possums about.

It's always nice to go down there and see the progress on our friends house. They have done the most wonderful renovations on their block over the last few years and I was lucky enough to get some super pumpkin seeds to plant.

While we were there we caught the train into the city and spent the whole day at the Powerhouse Museum. It was wonderful and I could have spent a lot more time there. The boys really enjoyed it.

On one of the days we tripped down to the South Coast to see some of the places I used to live.

( Shame you weren't home Libby, I could have used a cup of tea and a chat! ) I navigated us around Albion Park, Oak Flats, Mt Warrigal, Shellharbour. It has all changed so much. I did manage to get a couple of photos of houses that I lived in for my scrapbook. They have really changed, especially the house at Mt Warrigal. Someone has rendered over our lovely 70s red brick ! LOL The photo above is of Hubbie fooling around at the beach at Shellharbour.

We came home on Monday night. Just enough time to unpack and wash, build another couple of garden beds, plant some seeds and plants, bake some bread, cakes and ANZAC biscuits and now we are off again, This time we are heading out to Quirindi to have some time with Hubbie's family. I am looking forward to the trip over the mountain and stopping at the little town of Nundle. We will stay there for a few days then I will meet my Mum in the Hunter Valley and head over to Dubbo with her because my Grandmother turns 101 on Tuesday.

So....... with news headlines this morning that petrol has reached $1.75 per litre, you can see why I am remortgaging the house for this trip ! LOL. It will be our last for a while now. So that will allow me to lay-by the next tank of petrol for another trip.

On the home front, there has been so much happening. Once I am home I will upload a progress report, but the exciting news is that Hubbie and No2 son enjoyed two home grown tomatoes this week on their sandwich and Hubbie reported the taste as 'sensational'. So, that's good.

Signing off now......... time to fill my 1970s airpot with hot water and pack my basket with lovely home baked goodies and head off over the mountain, coasting down the other side to save petrol.


We Apologise for The Break In Programming.....

The past two months have been a huge transition time in my life and in our house.

I have decided that I will leave my paid employment and come home. The reason it is such a huge transition is this. I used to be a teacher. While I was off work on maternity leave I did a law degree and in October 2005 I began working for a large law firm. I was admitted as a solicitor in 2006.

Working as a lawyer is really a great profession, despite what stereotyping may tell you. I worked in an area of law that really helped people in crisis. The best thing about helping them was that it didn't cost them anything. I enjoyed this because I enjoy helping people. I get a real 'buzz' from empowering others.

Over the last couple of years I had been questioning my priorities. Making money is a very good thing, as it gives you choices. But making money doesn't do it for me. It sounds like such a cliché but money doesn't necessarily bring me happiness. The lack of money ( and I have been there too) gives me anxiety where as the middle ground brings me joy. The problem with making good money in a job is that you constantly trade your time for the money. Throughout my life it always seems a shift between having lots of money and no time or having lots of time and no money. So I have been on a quest for the middle ground. What if I could design my life the way I want to. After all, nothing is permanent. If I make the wrong decision I can go back, can't I ? There are thousands of sheets of notepaper laying around this house with lists. When the going gets tough, the tough make lists! Lists of pros lists of cons, lists of values, lists of qualities, lists of strengths, lists of weaknesses, lists of assets and lists of liabilities. Lists of goals, aims,objectives. Not that I am into astrology but apparently I am the typical Libran- weighing it up all the time.

Then on the 19th of April I got a call to say that a friend from work had lost her husband all of a sudden. This was a lady who is a real role model to me. She has two children about 18 and 21 and they were a very close and loving family. I looked at her son and hoped that I would be able to raise my sons to be fine young men as well. There she was in her mid 40s - a widow. She had lost her beautiful husband so suddenly. As I sat at the funeral I realised that life is as delicate as a butterfly's wings. It clings to us like a fine spider web that is gone in a breath of wind. Yet we treat it like it is permanent, like it is set in stone, that somehow it is our right to have it for as long as we demand. Truth is, it can be blown away with any breath of wind like a dandelion seed.

With this new found perspective I listed on yet another list what really brought me joy and how I really wanted to design my life and how I really want to raise my children. It always comes back to the way of the old days. How did they afford to live ? Of course they didn't have many of the 'luxuries' that we call every day items, but human needs have not changed at all in the last 50 years. We still need water, food, shelter and love. The only thing that has changed is our unquenchable need for items introduced to us via advertising. We buy because we have a need to fulfill. The items fill that need for short period but then we need something else to fill the void. What is the void we are trying to fill ? We needs in our human psyche are not being met ? The great philosopher Epicurus surmised that we need friends, freedom and an analysed life, that is, to discuss the philosophy of life with friends, while sharing good food. I think I tend to agree with him.

So... once I made the decision there was no turning back. Suddenly there arose a further list of very important things. A To-Do-List of the mammoth proportions. Firstly, secure food. As I have always thought, my Grandmother would never have had only some parsley and coriander in the garden and told the kids to get in the car and take them to McDonalds! Of course there was no McDonalds and no car ! LOL

It was just taken for granted that there would be things to eat in the garden. So..... we built more garden beds and started studying up on when to plant and when to harvest etc. At the moment, there is not much to show for our efforts because it is winter, but the seeds are sown for a wonderful spring.

I have been doing quite a bit of reading. I have stated many times before that no matter what perspective an article is written from it always adds up to the same conclusion to me. Whether it is about green living, peak oil, permaculture, frugal living, voluntary simplicity etc etc it always comes back to living like it's 1940. So I will take on many things from the past whilst keeping the treasures of our modern society.

Only my closest friends can truly understand my reason for living my career, that is, "that I have an overwhelming need to till the earth while my children are young" LOL ! I am sure that many will believe that I have had some sort of breakdown. If you remember the very first episode of "The Good Life" you will be laughing now I am sure.

I guess this means it is time to put my money ( or lack of it) where my mouth is and commence the experiment. Can a thoroughly modern mum live freely in a modern world. Can she produce food? Can she cook from scratch? Can she knit socks(gulp!)? Can she raise chooks for eggs? Can she learn to sew properly (gulp!) and........ can she still afford to buy the occasional vanilla latte on skim milk that has become her signature coffee ?

I believe that my user name "BusyWoman" is about to become an extremely accurate assessment of the days to come. I look forward to it with a sick sense of excitement. I hope you will stick around for the journey.

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...