Earth Hour - A Step Back In Time

Last night we had dinner with some friends to celebrate a birthday. It co-incided with Earth Hour, a now annual event where participants are encouraged to turn off their lights for one hour from 8.30pm as in indication of support and to raise awareness of global climatic concerns.

Our boys knew all about Earth Hour because they had been discussing it at school. They packed torches to take with them and I packed a few extra candles, not sure what our hosts would have.
The kids ( there were nine of them) were watching a movie, playing the playstation and generally doing modern day kid things! When it was time to turn the lights out, however, out came the torches and games of spotlight and spooks started, as well as going out to look for flying foxes ( bats) and jumping on the trampoline with torches ( to the tune of squeals of delight). After that they came in and played the piano and we all commented on how lovely it was. Two of the boys in particular play really well and we enjoyed their Pachobel's Canon duet.

The grown ups continued their dinner party by candlelight and it was all very lovely. When the birthday cake came out we joked about not blowing the candles out because we needed the extra light until 9.30pm.

It always surprises me that as soon as our modern convenience is removed it doesn't take long before we revert back to our natural ways. We adjust very quickly to the inconvenience. The kids suddenly rely on their imaginations and have the greatest fun, the grown ups have a lovely night because of the change in mood or ambiance brought about by the softer lighting.

....and of course, as Pachabel's Cannon was playing in the background, it was a moment of joy when someone said ' you know, this is what it would have been like in the olden days'......... joy of joys!


So Dark Before The Dawn

I am really missing my morning quiet time. I like to have some time before the sun comes up to sit and ..... well just sit, or download all the ideas that raced around in my head throughout the night, or blog, or read or write lists.... and lists..... and then summary lists! lol

But the sun is coming up very late at the moment. It is after 7am which in my books is way too late! I don't have an alarm clock. I sleep with the blinds up so I can see the stars and hear the first bird warn me of the impending daylight. But 7am ? That means by the time the birds start, it is already close to 6.30am and I feel robbed of my quiet time.

I try to start each day with a strong morning routine. If I can get through that then all is well with the world. Households with children can be danger zones in the morning. Having a predictable steady paced routine is much better for everyone's mental health. Believe me, I have tried looking for that pair of shoes at the last minute only to attempt getting out the back door and realising that one child doesn't have a hat which means ' no play' - it is a much saner option to opt for the night before readiness programme and the subsequent peaceful morning.

After the whirlwind has left I can start my 'whip round'. Finish making the beds, swish the loo and perform the meditative daily sweep.

In keeping with my focus of health and fitness I have been taking the time to do some exercise and fuel up with a huge breakfast. Breakfast like a king and dinner like pauper.

Thinking back to my Grandmother's ways - routines were an integral part of life. Can you imagine the family getting up to have no fire going, not hot water, nothing cooked ..... because the wife 'didn't feel like it today' lol How times have changed!

Routines were essential to the running of daily life. Now days, we seem to be able to take it or leave it. If we don't feel like doing the washing, the family has more than enough clothes in wardrobes. If we don't feel like cooking there is always the drive thru! In my grandmothers day if she didn't wash, there were no other clothes. They had work clothes and church clothes. If she didn't cook, they didn't eat because there were no take away restaurants! I remember her telling me that on one occasion she didn't iron the pillow cases and they had unexpected visitors drop in and stay the night and when she had to pull out the un-ironed pillow case she felt humiliated because it was a great shame! lol Yes.... things have surely changed.

But back to my world....... I have to wait until April before daylight savings finishes and I get my extra daylight in the morning. Until then..... I will continue blogging away in the dark feeling cheated because the day is well underway yet the sun is not doing her job!


A Day At Saltwater

Photo from www.chilternlodge.com.au

Yesterday I spent the day as a parent helper with my youngest son's class. We went to Saltwater National park for the day as part of their "by the sea" unit of study. Saltwater is an area that has the beach on one side and a lagoon and mangroves on the other. It has walking trails all around it and is a popular picnic spot and an aboriginal historical site.

We were broken up into small groups and I had my son and two other children with me to wander around in the scrub and on the beach to discover as much as we could and classify things into living and dead.

Number Two son is a real nature boy anyway, so he was in his element. I loved seeing his eyes light up as we found three different star fish in the rock pools. I can't wait to see his drawings.
So......A joyful day because I was able to watch some real learning take place and secondly just because I was there, something I would have missed if working full time.


Time To Evaluate

It has been 9 months since I threw in my job as a solicitor and started living a more simple and deliberate life. Today I was re-reading the entry from June last year that I wrote regarding the decision.

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.

Time for an evaluation.......

I haven't been blogging as much lately about the usual topics because it seems that I have those things under control and blogging about them again seems somewhat repetitive. I haven't even been reading many simple living blogs because I have found them to be following the same themes all the time. Is there only so much one can write about the topic before there is nothing new to say and day in day out it is just the same ? I hope not!! I am always looking for a new challenge.

You see, in June last year I was worried about whether or not we could produce our own food, whereas today I am in the habit of going and grabbing things out of the garden as required, especially things like herbs and shallots which are generally an after thought on the shopping list. The thing we need to improve on is succession or staggering the planting so we don't have thousands of vegies harvest then nothing for the next two months.

Cooking From Scratch..... another thing that we have under control. It seems so natural now to bake bread, make pasta or try new things like the challah loaf.

Chooks...... another normal part of the day now to get up and feed them and talk to them and in return they fill the fridge to overflowing with their beautiful eggs. We certainly need to give away or sell some more because one fell out when I opened the fridge door yesterday! lol

On the knitting front..... well........ my excuse is that knitting is a winter thing and I don't sit down long enough in the summer months to be able to do it! ( are you convinced?) Ask me again in the winter months how I am going.

Even our house seems to be slowly falling in to line. I like a clean crisp and clutter free environment, it's just that it usually only stays that way for about 35 minutes! Over the months we have thrown out more and more "stuff" which makes things a lot easier to keep clean. Once I started doing yoga I became very conscious of our living environment. It's hard to relax and do yoga poses with a clear mind when you are staring at a basket of ironing! lol I believe that your home environment has a HUGE impact on your mental well being. It is much easier to relax and feel at peace in an uncluttered space.

There are still a couple of projects I want to do in this department. Tackling the filing cabinet is one of these jobs. time to clean out some old paperwork and revamp the file headings. Can you out your hand on any piece of paper or financial record in less than thirty seconds or do you have to go digging? My aim is to be the thirty second girl!

So.... with the food gardening, cooking, home management and even the cash budget under control is time now to move towards looking after myself personally. Time to work on regaining my personal health and becoming more active and fit. I don't mean a " lose 30kg in 3 weeks" type of thing, I mean adopting a more healthy approach to eating, drinking and exercise for no other reason than to feel great! That includes looking after my skin, hair, nails etc and doing the best with my god given self, in a way that still reflects my values for an old fashioned approach ( meaning I won't be getting botox injections for a wrinkle free face lol! )

I have been really inspired recently by Libby ( www.libby.withnall.com ) who blogs in her fitness section with tremendous honesty about her weight loss journey. I love the way she shares her ups and downs, good days and bad days. She gives me so much motivation !

So, my question to you all is this........ If you're reading this blog you obviously have an interest in simple living. How would you rate your health? Do you nurture your body the way you nurture your garden? Do you feel healthy and happy and energised? Are there changes you would like to make about the way you look after yourself ?

Are you interested in following a journey to health, the simple, frugal way ? No group programmes, no personal trainers, no membership fees and no hype? I wonder if it can be done. let me know if you would like to join me on the journey.


Garden Update

There hasn't been much to report in the garden since Christmas. We battled with extreme temperatures and then a long period of daily heavy rain and floods.

With the addition of some extra soil and lots of compost things have bounced back to life again. We have capsicum,cucumbers, beetroot, beans, tomatoes, basil, coriander, shallots, radishes, corn, broccoli, spinach, strawberries and butternut pumpkins.

Our most successful crop of tomatoes are doing well - in an old recycling tub.

We have had to fence off the area with a makeshift fence to keep the chickens out. While they are pretty good with established plants, they do like to scratch around the new seedlings. We are not complaining about them too much however, because they are making a valued contribution to our local eating campaign!

The area up the back has affectionately been christened ...'the farm'. Just goes to show that even very very small scale farms can produce a lot of food for a family. The good thing is that there is a lot more room to add more and more plants for the autumn season.


Snaps of Daily Life... from Yoga to Falafel.

::been doing lots of this and feeling fabulous for it ::

::nothing like a sun salute to wake you up and energize you for the day::

:: been hanging out here. So early that there is no one else on the river. Number one son says 'we own the river', but I think the river owns us ::

::determined not to let falafel get the better of me ~ thatnks for the helpful feedback, I feel success is close at hand::


A Cry For Falafel Help

After our third falafel disaster I am putting out the word for some falafel help. We have tried two different recipes and we are ending up with a soggy mess. So I am calling for your help. We need some falafel training.

Attempt number one - mixture two soft and fell apart when I tried to turn them. They also absorbed a lot of oil.

Attempt number two - mixture looked okay - had the consistency of a rissole when laid out neatly on the plate but fell apart and went soggy during the cooking process.

Attempt number three - hubby tried a different recipe. First batch disintegrated. Second batch stayed together (with the addition of some plain flour to bind them) but the outside was crunchy and the inside soggy.

So.... a plea for help from all you fantastic falafel makers out there.

What is your recipe? What oil do you use? Do you use canned or dried/soaked chick peas? Do you deep fry or cook more like a pancake? Do you hold the spoon in your left hand or right hand ? lol

I really want to get this right. The recipe I have tastes really yummy and I would love to have something that I can serve up on a plate, as opposed to drinking it through a straw.

thanks in advance.

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 ...