Yesterday We Owned The River

When we are cruising around our beautiful river and there is no one else about I always think that the river belongs to us - that {we} own the river. Of course I know it is exactly the opposite, we don't own the river - the river owns us!

I had the camera with me yesterday so I snapped some shots of the old buildings around the banks.

There are lots of old dairy farms on this island. There is also a lot of history around the area, with the river being used as the main transportation link for freight and milk. The whole area was once a bustling hive of activity. Now days, the river winds its way through the valley with most people too busy to even stop and look.

But I look....... and dream of days gone by. Days when being 10 kilometres from town was a long way and could only justify a trip there once a week at most. Days when the river was the centre of life - providing goods from afar and fish, prawns and crabs from it's depths.

You can see that cruising up the river, turning off the motor and drifting in the silence for a while, taking in the sounds of the birds, the lapping of the water on the bank, the friendly dolphins.... would make anyone realise after a while that {we} don't own the river, the {river} owns us!


Garden Update: Compost Bin Changeover

The time had arrived to empty the compost bin. We have a pretty plain compost bin. I won it in a radio trivia competition. That was about ten years ago and it still seems to be going strong.

I don't know whether we do it the 'right' way or not, but for years we have been using the same system with great success. We simply fill the bin with scraps from the kitchen, the garden and the some paper and try to keep the balance right between wet and dry materials.

The bin is made of two halves that are wired together in the middle on both sides. When the bin is full I simply undo the wire twists and am left with a perfect pile. You can see in the picture above that the material on the top hasn't broken down yet but as you look down the pile - it is perfect.

By this stage the girls get a whiff of what is happening and they start hanging around - begging to be let into the garden area.

I then move the compost to a new location (this time it is right next to where it was) and wire it back together. I sit the bin up on a couple of bricks and put some twigs in the bottom for air circulation. I then lift the top centimetres off the old pile and put it back in the bottom of the compost bin in the new location.

We then fenced off a small area and let the girls come in and have a good dig through everything for a couple of hours before we scraped it all up and put it on the garden. The girls went absolutely mad! They scratched and pecked and jumped on bugs. It really was a joy to watch!
We also cleaned out the chook house and added the manure to the compost.
It is amazing to think that we put the soil compost on the garden and grow things and then mulch up the plants and put them in the compost which in turn becomes the dirt that we grow things in again. It is a complete circle....... the circle of {life} !


Health + Yum = Chocolate Slice { ? }

You see lots of recipes that claim to be healthy and yummy. In my experience those two adjectives don't often go together. But...... I have found a slice that actually provides a chocolate fix and yet has only healthy ingredients..... and there is no cooking involved.
You will need:
Half a cup of sesame seeds
Half a cup of almonds ( soaked in water overnight and then drained)
Third of a cup of coconut
Third of a cup of cocoa powder
8 dried figs
Half a cup of chopped dates
Two drops of peppermint essence
Two tablespoons of water.
Throw everything in a food processor and churn/ pulse until the mixture is crumbly. You may need to fiddle with the amount of water or sesame seeds if it is too dry or too wet. Test by pressing some mixture together.
Press the slice into a small pan ( 20cm x 10cm) and refrigerate until firm.
The taste is nutty, yet chocolatey and most importantly it is very satisfying with a cup of tea!
We thought it actually tasted better on the second day in the fridge... not sure about the third day {lol}
Try it and see what you think.....


Bucket List {Tick}

Today I can finally tick something off my bucket list. You know that list you have of things you are going to do before you kick the bucket ?

Years ago I had put 'be a person that goes to the gym and actually enjoys it' on my list. In my mind I may as well have written 'climb Mount Everest' or 'parachute naked' because...... {in my mind} it was never going to happen.

You see, I don't mind exercise, I enjoy it on MY terms. But as I am getting older, the weight is creeping up, the flexibility is dropping away and I don't want to be forty and fat, I want to be forty and fabulous! Although I want to drop about 10 kilos, I don't want to do a 'weight loss programme'. I am after so much more than that. I am after a lifestyle change. I want to take charge of my health and my future.

I don't know what changed in me, maybe it was just my {season}. But I started getting out the front of my house and walking up and down the street. The total length of the street is 500m so it made it very easy to work out distances I was covering. It was also my cheat ticket because If I got too tired I could just come inside, rather than be such a long way from home that I would have the pain of walking all the way back. {hee hee}

Each day, it seemed to get easier. I have read and heard other people say this before but I never really got it. I started trying to jog from one telegraph pole to the next and then the next - with Hubbie's encouraging words and me screaming and cursing! Before too long I could jog the whole 500 m ( as long as I had the right song playing on my son's Ipod! lol)

Then on the 4th of September I did the unthinkable and went and got a fitness assessment at our local swim/gym centre. I had always imagined that the gym is full of people in 80s lyrca G-strings with perfect bodies and wearing lipstick! Well..... it's not. It's full of people like me who want to make changes in their lives. There's the overweight mums who drop their kids in the creche, the businessmen battling the beer gut and the retired couples who want to maintain their health. All of them surprisingly 'normal'.

So I now go to the gym. I have been everyday since then and I actually enjoy it, hence the bucket list tick. I started off really easy and have built things up. In the past I have failed because I have gone in too hard and hated it and declared never again. But the last few sessions I have felt absolutely brilliant and could actually say I enjoy it. I have great songs on the Ipod and have to stop myself from calling out "in the name of love" ( by U2) when I am on the treadmill!!! lol

If you are on a budget, your first thought may be the cost. If this is an issue for you, there are lots of ways around it - just grab your music and dance around the house, run up and down the stairs or get a workout DVD. The same applies if you have young children and can't get out. The choice is yours and there is {always} a way if your desire is strong enough.

I pay about $2 a day and am now more than willing to forgo the occasional signature coffee { vanilla latte on skim} in order to feel this good. My mind is clear, my energy levels are out of this world and I feel great. Because the focus is lifestyle not weight loss, I am really enjoying the process.

Are you ready to get started or to take it to the next level ?


Garden Update: Bean Feedback

Thank you to all the people that left a comment or emailed me regarding the broad beans. Having not grown them before we have no idea whether we are just wasting time, effort and precious garden space with them or not. From the comments, it would appear that we are on track to a bumper crop.
Here is some of the comment from Aussiemade:
I have been growing broad beans for several years, and yours look fantastic and are doing all the right things. If bees have not been about much(as they have not down here) due to wind,rain or cold, than you may not get as many broad beans as you thought, however the way it works is that generally every flower in a perfect world will grow into a bean pod. If they have not been pollinated they will just fall off. Now in saying that I have some very small pods developing, the way to see them are that as the flowers drop of you should (if a bean pod is developing see a thin pod like structure but very small. It grows relatively quickly once the warmer weather starts, so in a few weeks you should have some yummy broad beans.
When I read that comment to Hubbie we both said 'oh no, if every flower turns into a pod we are in big trouble!'. LOL When I was taking these photos I noticed that there are a lot of bees around and that the beans are now forming. That's okay, there will be plenty of beans to give away. I will have to put a sign out the front that says " free beans - bring own truck"

Here are some sprouts that are growing on the kitchen bench. They are the easiest thing in the world to grow.

Today I was taking out some older potato plants to make way for some corn seeds when I found these little beauties in the ground. I love growing potatoes. They are so surprising. The plants are ugly, ragged and unsightly and when you dig them up there are all these little gems in the soil. This year I want to grow lots more in cages so I can build the soil right up around them and get bumper crops. Last year our potatoes lasted really well in the cupboard - I just needed a lot more of them.
Now is the perfect time to think about what you will need for the summer period ( sorry US readers, but we are dreaming of sun and surf at the moment). It is only 16 weeks until Christmas. Considering most things take about 14-16 weeks to grow, I am looking at what we need over the Christmas holiday period. The summer holidays mean lots of swimming, boating, barbeques and easy meals. That means we need lots of corn, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, herbs capsicum and carrots. What better place to get them from than your own garden beds.

The Beginning of a Handmade Christmas

I have started making some Christmas Cards. Firstly, because I wanted to fiddle with some designs for some upcoming classes I am teaching and secondly to prepare my stash of beautiful cards, ready to send out joyful messages when the time arrives.


Milk Bubbles

Take one straw

One glass of milk

and two boys


who should be getting ready for bed


add a giggling mother

grabbing the camera

when she should really be cross


the waste

that's a half a glass of milk


haven't I taught you better than that


{giggle from mother}

{naughty giggle from the boys}

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 ...