Sunday, October 19, 2014

My challenge in being a no waste household

I'm over a week now into my challenge to eliminate waste in our household. Perhaps I was a little altruistic in wanting to be totally waste free. Especially with regard to waste water, sewerage etc. I have found that we are generating less rubbish. I have always had a compost bin and do separate our rubbish but now am realising that i haven't really done as much as I could have.

I did the shopping yesterday and found myself getting a little disillusioned about my objective, but thankfully I'm not easily put off so I will persevere
For example, paper can be composted, so now I am putting waste paper and cardboard into the compost where I might not have before. The dog has a much more varied diet now, with any leftover which do not contain, onions, leeks, garlic or chocolate being mixed into her food. For example if we have leftover bread, rice or grains of any sort i will ad them into her food.

My finances are such that i need to be quite stringent about how much I spend, so havent as yet started buying much in bulk ...much as i would love to. but I am going to have a look around and see what I can come up with.

I would like to get a small petrol driven  mulcher for the garden for example as that would eliminate the need to buy mulch and also have a garden bag which cost money, in the garden. However I need to be in a position to purchase it , probably about  $500 I imagine. But we have golden canes around our fence-line and if i could mulch the fronds and ad them to the compost that would be quite cool.

I suppose my goal is to minimise my waste as much as possible and recycle, reuse and renovate.
If you have any suggestions which don't cost money I would love to hear them . I have also been trying to buy Caustic Soda to make soap but it seems to be very hard to get, apparently people use it when making "ice" ( the drug...not the cold stuff!) You should have seen some of the looks i got when asking for it.....funny. Ive been making soap for years and not had this  problem before. Anyway I digress. Thanks for readying and any feedback is very much appreciated.
Watch this space.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Attempt at Becoming a Waste Free Household

In an effort to help save the planet I am going to create a challenge for myself to minimize our household waste and eventually with good planning become an almost waste free household. My reason is that we all want to live in a clean and beautiful environment and yet are filling our land fills on a daily basis. Pollution is not only an environmental problem but also a social issue. To help my cause I'm going to buy things in recyclable (to me) packaging, take my own baskets and containers to the butcher and the local market, grow more of my own produce, continue making my own soap, yoghurt and perhaps have a go at making cheese too , I'll use my compost more, make our own pet food, unfortunately there are some things I can't recycle for hygiene reasons but I'm still up for the challenge and believe it will make a difference. Not just to our household. But maybe yours too!
Please join me as much as is practical for you. Suggestions are very welcome too!

Please have a look at the Facebook page I have created
and complete my brief survey.

Let me know what you think :-) 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Consumerism and Stuff

Here is a really interesting video about consumerism. Its important
we look at how much stuff we are bringing into our lives and are aware
of the consequences we and our kids will face in the future.

Have a think about how much stuff you waste and how you can reduce it. I heard a
woman on the radio a couple of weeks ago , and she had made a goal to
become a waste free household, within a year. She simply didn't buy
packaged goods but took her own containers, baskets bags etc. Its not
entirely impossible. We created this consumerist society we CAN change

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Home Made Bread and a Festival in Cairns

Yum nothing better than home baked bread, and it always smells delicious!  Here in Cairns the weather is starting to warm up now, and everything is rather dry. I'm at university now studying so although the finances are a bit tight for now there is light at the end of the tunnel. .....which was a bit dark for a while there.
I had forgotten about my wonderful bread making machine which thankfully does the hard part of breadmaking for me; and today I got it out and made some beautiful milk bread and bread rolls. They smell divine when taking them out of the oven and are beautiful with simple butter and jam, or butter and vegemite and a cuppa! Yum.
Tonight I suspect we will have, bread rolls with homemade pumpkin soup.
I have been invited to be part of the Tropical Writers Festival in Cairns this week along with two other ladies who write blogs and live in the area. One is The Author of a blog called Foodvixen , which is a lovely foody blog about mostly local restaurants and coffee shops, and different food adventures. Here is a link: . The other is a blog called A FIFO Wife which is journal of Debbie and her family, who are a FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) family. You can read her blog here:
  If you are in or around Cairns on Sunday and are interested please come and join us! The special guest this year is Geraldine Doogue; Kier Shorey - breakfast presenter on ABC Far North will be there; and one of my Lecturers from James Cook University will be co-presenting a workshop on Saturday. Its all happening at the Tropical Writers Festival !
You can find more about it here:

Friday, July 25, 2014

Cassowary's in the Far North.

UP here in the far north there are some beautiful sights and some very beautiful animals and birds. At the moment it is the season where the Cassowary's are looking for a mate. Cassowary's are large black flightless birds which live up here in the rainforest.  Yvonne Cunningham writes a really interesting blog and here is a link with some great photos of Cassowary's strutting their stuff. The photos are great, enjoy!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Finally Winter is Here!

"Are you crazy" I hear you cry! Well not really, because Winter in Cairns means Sunny days, no rain, few mozzies and clear crisp nights.
Sorry to rub it in Melbourne!!
After what seemed like an eternity of rain, rain and more rain, our days are true to form sunny Qld days. The garden is finally starting to dry out and the plants will grow.
The sea has cooled down too so we can go for a swim without worrying about jelly fish and other nasties.Apparently the cooler night mean the reptile population like to sun themselves more.
On the way to Port Douglas passing over the Mowbray river  last week we spied  a large snoozing crocodile, about 4 metres long, this was our first sighting of a wild croc since coming to Qld, and I'm happy to say he was down on the riverbank and we were up on the bridge in the car!
Photo of crocs on the Mowbray river courtesy of the Port Douglas Gazette.
It suddenly hit home that we do live in the tropics and there are some quite scary predators up here. My son Sam took a video of him as he sat there snoozing but we didnt want to stop on the bridge so its kind of blurred. They are big , and will eat you if you go near them, but they are still quite neat.  When we returned about 3 hours later he was still there,  I've since read that the Mowbray is a bit like Bondi for Crocs !People do some stupid things up here and will swim where there is signage not to etc, but me, when i see something wild like that, I'm quite happy to stay in the car or at a respectable distance anyway. These guys can move fast when they want to and swim even faster, but from a distance are really quite cool.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Climate Change and Gardening in the Tropics

In the tropics we have a wet season and a dry season, this year we actually had a cyclone come through in April, so our wet season was running a little late!
In fact it rained right through to mid June, which is very rare. Seems Climate change is definitely having an effect and as a result we will have to learn to deal with it. Accordingly being more aware and planting out our gardens to cope with the changes and extremes in climate which we here in Australia will face is just plane common sense.
Where we live now we are on a flood plane and our home has actually been flooded on 2 occasions. During the wet seasons I have noticed how and where the water pools in the garden and am working on building the garden to prevent that happening quite so much. Although I'm sure the frogs and the cane toads enjoy all the puddles, walking in ankle deep water to get to the front door is not my idea of fun!
Originally our garden was lawn with some golden canes around the fences . The golden canes are still there as they provide quite a good screen from the road, but I have also now planted more shrubs , a couple of trees and some grasses and ground covers. I 'm of the opinion that the more plants we have the more water will get soaked up and this will also allow the soil to build up as plant debri falls and breaks down.
First the soil needs to be improved so the plants can grow, and the water drains away more.  I have already  put down 6cubic metres of mulch late last year. This would have lasted a year in Victoria but in the tropics with all the rain has already broken down and now i am planning on mulching again.
With all the rain then the heat things break down quickly, this time last year I had two mounds of garden debris on both lawns which have completely disappeared not because i moved them!
 Masked Owl in the making!
Trying to build up the level of the soil is hard work but that is my goal, and also to build a path from the driveway to the front door so you don't get wet feet in the rainy season. Many plants which I have planted have grown from cuttings, so the plan is to keep recycling plants I already have in the garden so I have a nice blend and some mass plantings as this is easier on the eye.
I have just gotten myself a garden plot at the local community garden too, this will be for veggies and fruit as my garden is very shady and not great for growing produce.

Mosaic is something which will also be incorporated into the garden. and around the house. Its a beautiful artform which introduces colour and design while incorporating the ability to use  recycled materials, whether they are ceramics (which i used here) or glass or broken bottles , bottle caps, seashells and many many other mediums.