The Secret To A Long Life.............

When my grandmother turned 101 in July she gave an interview to the local Newspaper. She told them that the secret to a long and healthy life was keeping busy and not worrying.

She failed to add that she grew all her own food, never smoked, and didn't drink. I guess if you are busy going about your daily work you don't have time to get old. Daily work keeps you mentally active and physically active. It is funny how no one went to the gymnasium in 1940 ! doing a hard days work was just part of life.

Now..... advertising tells us that work or effort is bad. We drive 1 kilometre to the shop, we have a clicker button that changes the channels on the TV because, lets face it, we don't want to have to get up and take three steps! We are so sedentary because we have machines that do everything for us. As a result we are completely out of balance as human beings. We are overweight, take medication to reduce our cholesterol and more medication to keep our blood pressure down.

Maybe if we took the 1940s approach to life, things would fall back into balance. Walking to the shop, digging in the garden, growing and eating our own food would reduce our waistline, our blood pressure and our cholesterol levels. The work would give us a tremendous sense of satisfaction that money can't buy and the changes we make would improve our family budget.

Then we would be as humans are meant to be. Balanced. Are we the only mammal that is self destructive?

Hubbie snapped the photo a couple of days ago. It is entitled "why do you ask?"


Family Eco Challenge

When we first began this blog, one of our focuses was our Family eco Challenge . We designed areas of focus and worked hard at reducing them. That was 18 months ago. Many of the things we were struggling with back then, have now become every day activities.

Now it is time to take it to the next level. We will do another Family Eco Challenge and try and improve our numbers once again.

The original areas were:





Here are the original ideas that we brainstormed:

1. Energy

a) Turn off lights when not in use

b) turn off appliances at the wall

c) Have shorter showers

d) install energy efficient light bulbs

e) use re-chargeable batteries

2. Water

a) shorter showers and water saving showerheads

b) catch cold water when waiting for hot to come through – use this to fill water bottle and kettle

c) wash up in the small sink

d) flush when necessary

e) install water tanks

3. Transport

a) Ride bikes to school and work

b) Limit trips to town – by planning and grouping trips

c) Get Dad to ride motorbike to town for smaller items/ errands

d) Walk

e) Find cheaper fuel, drive more economically

4. Garbage

a) Compost Food Scraps

b) Stop Getting Plastic Bags

c) Buy items with less packaging

5. Consumption

a) Don’t buy unnecessary things

b) Work on a cash budget

c) Use things sparingly-

d) Do instead of buy – make it yourself.

When I look back at this list it looks so easy, but when we first start out it was quite a stretch.
Now we will move to the next level.

We haven’t had our family meeting to brainstorm ideas yet, but I am thinking of possibilities like:

Can we make more and buy less ?

Can we drastically cut electricity usage ?

Can we not set foot in a supermarket for a month ?

Can we go ‘zero waste’ for a week or (gulp) a month ?

Can we run tank water through the whole house?

I look forward to what the family will come up. Children are so open to new and exciting ideas!

Are you interested in doing a Family Eco-Challenge ? What do you think your family could do ?
I would love to hear some feedback from my readers. I am not sure if I am just talking to myself here LOL – drop me a line!


Splendid Tomato Staking

We are attempting something a bit different with the tomatoes this time.

Firstly we have moved them to the side of the house, right along the driveway.

 They face west and get lots of afternoon sun. S

econdly, instead of staking them up with stockings or scraps of materials, this time we are using a technique that Hubbie saw at a tomato farm.

They loop a piece of string under the heaviest part of the plant and tie it to a frame above. As the plant grows the string is tightened. The frame is made from tomato stakes with a whole drilled in each end and a cable tie looped through the holes to keep it together.

It seems to be working magnificently.

The plants are doing really well and have lots of flowers.


Garden Update

One head missing...... for the stir fry tonight!

Making The Most of Your Waiting Time.

Today I had some waiting time.

Waiting time often catches us by surprise. We rush to an appointment only to sit for half an hour waiting. We are meant to meet someone and they are late...so we wait.

I used to hate waiting time. I would constantly look at my watch. I would subconsciously practice the narrative in my head “My appointment was 1pm. It was half past by the time I got in” The more I looked at my watch, the slower the hands moved. I would memorise every poster in the room.

Now I am always ready for waiting time. I secretly love it!

Today during my waiting time I pulled my tiny notebook out of my wallet and began writing my lists. You know that I love a good list! Sometimes I can’t think straight until it is down on paper in front of me. My tiny notebook is made with a few pieces of paper about credit card size, cut up and stapled together. I have little tabs that break up the ten or so pages.

Today was very productive waiting time. First, I wrote out things that I wanted to add to my ‘sustainability’ list. You know, making more soap, growing loofahs, planting out the cucumbers, cutting up the towels for cleaning cloths. Next I got on a complete roll and began mentally going up and down the aisles of the supermarket writing down things that I could make instead of buy. Next I made a list of all the activities I could do with the kids in the school holidays- things that cost nothing or little but will be great fun. Then I made a list of jobs for my morning, afternoon, and evening routine , revamped my basic weekly plan and listed what jobs should be done during my weekly home blessing hour. In the time I had left I brainstormed all the places that I could go to get my goods and services locally avoiding the chain shops and trying to support local businesses.

By the time the waiting was over I was very pleased with my efforts. I had mapped out so much and developed a plan out of the fog that was floating in my brain.

Sometimes it is nice to wait. All I need is a little notepad, a great pen and my brain, then I am off.... a million miles away...... who’d have thought such tremendous productivity could happen right there in the waiting room. Give it a go... it beats a trashy magazine hands down !


10 Useless Pieces of Information About Me.

1. My signature coffee is a vanilla latte on skim milk.

2. I have a stationery obsession. Nothing excites me more than a good notebook, matching pen and coloured tabs in a folder.

3. I am a visual/ kinaesthetic learner- meaning to take things in and remember them I have to write or draw them – Visual to remember the image or notes and kinaesthetic meaning I remember by the movement of writing it down.

4. I write lists. Then I collate lists and write a list of all the lists I have.

5. My first car was a 1978 Mazda 323. When I drove along the keys used to fall out of the ignition and if I tried to turn a corner the steering lock would come on. This made for many fits of laughter in my uni days and kept my speed to 40 kilometres an hour.

6. I play the piano, but I don’t have one in my home. Our family piano is at my mums. If I go somewhere where there is a piano I sometimes pour out my soul into a long sonata and then feel fully cleansed and ready to face the world again!

7. I met my husband when I was assaulted by a gang of 10 juvenile criminals on a Sunday afternoon in the main street of town. He was my blue eyed policeman who came to the rescue. I believe that we were destined to cross paths. I have learnt through this that my greatest blessings come from my greatest adversities.

8. When I am nervous I say the most ridiculous things. It started when I was bitten by a bee at the town pool in Scone where I lived when I was eleven. I had to tell the manager because I was starting to swell up. He was a cranky man who said “ where did the bee bite you?” I replied “ up the deep end” He screamed “where did it actually bit you?” I cried and said “ on the second step on the ladder up the deep end” He screamed “DID IT BITE YOUR ARM, DID IT BITE YOUR LEG?” between tears I had a bit of a chuckle and showed him my finger!

9. For about eight years I was a school teacher. Now I see young men and women around town who remember me and say “ you taught me in 3rd class”. I go to the mirror and check my wrinkles. Surely I haven’t changed at all in the last 14 years.

10. When I was pregnant the first time my other Nanna who died in 1999 told me “when that child is placed in your arms you will feel a love like you have never known before” It is my single handed duty to tell this quote to every pregnant woman I come across.


Are You Fun To Live With ?

Poster from allposters.com

I was at an event recently where the keynote speaker opened her address with this question. It nearly knocked me off my seat.

Are you fun to live with ?

It really got me thinking. Am I fun to live with ? What would my family say about me if they answered the question honestly? If my husband was interviewed without me present, what would he say about me ?

I am asking you to ponder the question about yourself. Are you fun to live with ? Are you easy going, reliable ? Do you speak to your family respectfully? Do you model behaviour to your children that when they mimic it back to you they get into trouble for being cheeky and disrespectful?

Or, do you save your best manners and behaviours for strangers – because let’s face it, you don’t want people to think you’re rude and not like you ! Why do we serve up our worst behaviour for those that we love the most?

How can you be more fun to live with?

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 ...