Sunday, 19 February 2012

Where has the time gone

Wow - well far from the simple life I have created a hectic life....I am an absolute wizz at Vacola now and regularly preserve goodies - I have Mandarines, Lychees, Beetroot, Plum Pudding and Pickled Onions in the stockpile now :)  I have also bought a dehydrator and a vacuum sealer and have lots of dehydrated fruit - YUM!  I am finally starting on the house I was hoping to have finished by now but have finished my teaching degree and now am embarking on my Masters in Education.  I have also finished my Owner Builder Course and Food Supervisors Course and am hoping to become a Thermomix Consultant very soon:)  The Marriage Celebrant business is going nuts with about 25 bookings now..... I also have a part time teaching contract and spend most days exhausted.  Since the last blog post in 2011 - I have managed to kill lots of seedlings but have had monumental success with Basil, Rosemary and Chilli.  I also have lots of geranium cuttings doing very well for our new house.

This week I start Cheese!!!  I have raw milk (shhhh) and am ready to make some cheddar - I was going to start tonight and then re-read the recipe and worked out I would still be working tomorrow morning on it so I gave up and thought I would add a blog post.  I will endeavour to be more regular now but with this life who knows:)  Cheers

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Oh Dear

So glad I called this post the simple life - ha haha haaaahhhaaaa rolls on floor laughing....since last posting I have managed to vacola some beetroot and it was AWESOME - even my 80 year old mum marvelled at how tasty and lovely it was ...mmmmm yum!  This is quite the accolade I must say because she is the queen of vacola in our parts :)  I have done some volunteering at the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival this last weekend and have finally become accredited as a Marriage Celebrant, so now can perform Weddings, Renewal of Vows, Anniversary Ceremonies and Commitment Ceremonies.  Instead of the simple life, I have been very busy building websites ( and establishing my business in the local community.

So I am feeling tired and battle weary as are my plants and surrounds!  Just a little over the world right now and children who hurt you so unwittingly but so deeply!  They have no concept of the impact they have on your sense of wellbeing.  I just wonder if the expectation of giving absolutely everything you have to them ever stops and there comes a balance with some reciprocity???  Anyway enough of the negative energy....I am back on task and tomorrow hoping I can plant out my broccoli and parsely at least and then concentrate on the sad little beetroot and silverbeet and cauliflower seedlings :)

I have more beetroot and pumpkin than I can poke a stick at after the festival on the weekend plus my son will bop me soon if I don't try the Vacola Plum Pudding idea hang in there ...will let you know how I go :)

Friday, 29 April 2011

Vacola Rings

Well the rings finally arrived today for my vacola jars, so after a few days on the coast, I am looking forward to coming home and doing some beetroot and whatever else I can pick up cheap from the markets.  The rosella jam is still going down a treat and I am hoping to do some marmalade as the citrus is going out really cheap at the market at the moment.  Noone in the family is a real fan of marmalade but then they weren't of rosella jam until I made it either. 

I have found a lady giving away some chickens so am thinking about whether or not to actually build a little pen and have some chickens while still in the big smoke!  We had chickens years ago when the children were little - 4 gorgeous little chooks that my husband lovingly called charlie, charlie, charlie and bill!  Bill was littler than the rest otherwise he would be Charlie as well!  The kids loved them and the free range eggs were awesome - the yolks were so yellow and yummy and it was such a great way to get rid of the kitchen scraps and gather manure for the garden....think I am talking myself into it already!

While my pea has sprouted in its little pot (yes I know pretty lame that I only planted 1), I am still waiting for my other produce to poke their heads through the top of the soil.  I have had such a hard time sprouting spinach that I gave up and opted for silverbeet - maybe that will be easier and better!

So anyway, this weekend we are headed to the coast for a weekend of veterans hockey which should involve lots of catching up with old friends from all over the place and a few sherbets of one variety or another!  Really looking forward to a fun weekend and then coming home and vacola, vacola, vacola (cha cha cha).  Have a great weekend :)

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Rosella Jam

Well today I made Rosella Jam!  What a triumph!  It tastes so gooey and yummy and just as I remember from when I was a child - so simple to make and to know what has gone into it is wonderful - no numbers to worry about!  I used a recipe that called for a grannysmith apple and some lemon juice.  I say this because many of the recipes I found only used rosellas and sugar.  I am not too sure what the taste difference really is but I think I will stick with this recipe as it worked first time.  I sterilised the bottles in the microwave on advice from a trusty friend so I hope that works for me.

I also had a few not so good looking rosella seed pods so I set them aside and have been researching about how to grow rosellas - lets see how I go!  I think I will need to put them in a pot and take them down to the block next time I am down so that I can plant them.  That calls for some more design work on my plan.  Given that our block is almost an acre and on a bit of a slope, I need to really be careful how I design the gardens and groves!  I know it sounds naughty but I do want a bit of lovely green grass out the front as well!!!

So all in all I am feeling a bit chuffed with my efforts and am looking forward to going out for a bike ride to the shops tomorrow to get some cider vinegar for my sweet chilli sauce - it is pouring rain here at the moment so the push bike is staying in the shed - hopefully tomorrow will be fine and I can get out and about.  I am going to make a batch of scones for the children to have warm after school so they can enjoy some fresh rosella jam as well :)

Still Looking

Wowee - the more I learn the more I know I have to learn.  To think just a few weeks back I was blissfully ignorant of how much there is to know about living simply - a bit of an oxymoron really!

So I have found this great site and have actually found people in the area where I am moving who have reverted to the simple life and are looking into permaculture and eco-tourism and green living.  AWESOME!!!  So I have been consumed with reading forums and websites about Mandala Gardens and Geodesic Chook Pens and Heliotrope and getting off the grid and living without shampoo - meanwhile I think my bottom is getting a little bigger from sitting around reading things on the computer.

I was delighted this afternoon to see that the pea I popped into a little pot last week has poked a shoot through the surface - I am a mother :)  Lets see if I can actually get it to produce peas as my last effort with snow peas was an unmitigated disaster!  I am very talented at growing chillis and basil but I think I need a little more than that to be self sufficient.  It is all learning and now that I have moved from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence, I am consumed with the need to know more about the complexities of living simply!  So for today, I am still looking !!!!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A Fromager???

Well things are heating up for me as the learning curve gets steeper and steeper.  Today I planted some autumn seeds so am hoping to at least get some seedlings in a week or two....I have ordered the rings for my vacola unit and am awaiting their arrival so I can do my rosella jam and beetroot.  Once the shops are open again I am going to go down to the market and pick up the boxes of fruit and veg on the throw out shelves - most have small imperfections and the boxes sell for only a couple of dollars.  Then I am going to go nuts with preserving.  I was given a load of fresh chillis and am going to make some sweet chilli sauce - the recipe sounds delightful, so I hope it works.  

I also bought a cheese press, so am going to embark on making my own cheese - hence the title "A Fromager?"  Many people say that making cheese is really not as hard as you think, so it is on the agenda.  I am researching the process and think I will start with something simple and go from there.  It appears that home cheese making is becoming a bit of a thing who knows, I may be one of the in-crowd before long - hahahaa...

I am still researching draftspersons to obtain quotes and need to start my "Owner Builder" course this week so that I can get the know how to build this mansion of mine and save a few bucks at the same time :)  I keep thinking $100 for a course is expensive but if it saves me the thousands I am expecting then it really is a drop in the ocean - perhaps I am just a little tired of the red tape and capitalist nature of everything in our society today.  After all this is the reason I am heading for the simple life.  Off to do more research....what a truly great day and in honour of our Aussie Diggers....They shall grow not old, As we that are left grow old, Age shall not weary them, Nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun, And in the morning, We will remember them. Lest we Forget. Please remember those that never made it home and died fighting for your country. Those men and women have shaped your lives and ANZAC Day is the day to give thanks...

Friday, 22 April 2011

So today was exciting - I bought a Vacola unit and some bottles - all second hand and dirty and it felt so therapuetic to wash those bottles to sparkling and clean.  To know something old and discarded could be returned to something looking like new and again useful vindicates my decision to revert to the simple life.  The process of using this unit to preserve excess crops is so exciting and I am now in the process of gathering items to preserve....I already have some beautiful rosellas and some beetroot and these will be my very first produce to experiment with.  For some - very boring but for me very exciting - if I can get this process down pat then I should be able to ensure I have the products I love in and out of season.  I have also planted some peas, cauliflower, brocoli and tomatoes as I am told these are good crops to sew in autumn.  While still living in the city, I am learning some of the tricks of the trade ready to really take on the challenge of a self sustaining lifestyle when I move to my country hideaway.  Next week, I have to embark on finding a draftsperson to draw up the plans for my house - I guess 3 quotes are in order but there is a heck of a lot of research to do to ensure I get the best bang for my much to learn :)   I am loving this sense of excitement and anticipation - but in typical corporate style, I want it all now!  I know that this needs to be an exercise in patience and winding back expectations of instantaneous "everything" that I am so used mother always said patience was a virtue and I am finally beginning to believe the wisdom in her words.