Friday, December 19, 2014

December demons

Here we are at the end of another year! My how fast it has gone. Here in the far north its very dry at the moment while we wait for the rain to come. The grass is brown and we in fact have level one water restrictions as there hasn't been enough rain to fill the dams up here. The birds are happy there are baby birds trying out their wings and we have rainbow lorikeet's in the golden canes . In the last month I've finished my first semester of Uni and my son has graduated from high school and started working and Christmas is only a week away.

Its been a difficult year for us, we have struggled through financially and in other ways too, and frankly its taken its toll. Starting my uni course was a great idea as it has kept my mind active and stopped the negativity most of the time. Uni has finished for the year now though and we are on our Christmas break. Its very hot and sticky this time of year and I am looking forward to the rainy season, bring it on I say!

Throughout the year I have persevered in looking for work but so far nothing has come up, I do have an interview coming up just prior to Christmas so am hoping something will come of that. We have had a lot of support this year from St Vincents and Anglicare, thank goodness  for them.With the financial struggle and not being able to make it to first base  with a job, I found myself sliding into a dark place in my mind that I had previously managed to ignore. My confidence was has gone and I am faced with constant negative self talk going on in my head.  It creeps up on you and before you know it is there all the time. After a couple of weeks of it I needed to put a stop to it - depression is soul destroying and a very steep downward spiral.   My GP put me on anti-depressants. To begin with it was great, as I felt I had made a positive move towards mental well being,the Dr had warned me they may make sleeping difficult however.  Consequently for the last 2 months I've been lying awake in my bed until 4.00  sometimes 5 am trying to sleep! When I returned to the GP I was offered Valium thus adding another drug to my cocktail.  Enough. It seems antidepressants have a huge long list of side effects, including, sleeplessness- dunno how that is meant to help depression, putting on weight - yeah that's gonna help someone who is already overweight; seizures - oh and if you take them long term - demeanture. So having been told  all that I've decided I am going to try the natural approach.Lots of Omega 3- fish oil is meant to be good for mood swings and will help my arthritis - some Krill oil and I'm going to give meditation and swimming a go. Now at least I am sleeping but that dark demon is still talking to me.

So Christmas is upon us, I'm a little terrified as we have 2 Japanese students staying with us and Sam. No other friends or family this year so it will be a bit strange. Wish me luck! I'm going to make a trifle, and we'll be having Roast Pork and Ham, which is always worth its weight in gold for Salads, sandwiches and yummy breakfasts after Christmas day.

To all of you who read my blog a Merry Christmas /Holiday Season and a happy and safe New Year to all of you and your loved ones. May 2015 be everything you want it to be.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

About Compost

one our compost bins

i drilled holes around the sides and cut the bottom out.

Here are some tips about good compost
  Get yourself 2 or even more compost bins. You can buy the expensive ones from the garden centre or just use a plastic outdoor bin with a lid and cut the bottom out of it and drill holes in it. app $16 as opposed to $30+.

Situate it somewhere in the garden you have easy access to that is on the ground -not on paving and gets part sun part shade daily.
In your compost bin try to layer stuff you can put the following in your compost without any fuss at all:
  • kitchen scraps fruit & veggie peels, egg shells(crushed). apple cores, stale bread,
  • paper, newsprint, old paper bags, non gloss junk mail, broken up egg cartons, cardboard- not waxed,
  • garden waste, leaf litter, lawn clippings, dead flowers, straw or wood shavings(not treated pine) especially if you have guinea pigs or chickens

 Every now and then give your compost a stir with a garden fork or a compost screw and      make       sure it doesn't drying out or becoming too wet.

Lawn clippings are good in compost as they have nitrogen, which Aussie soil is very deficient in-if that's where you live.  But be careful not to just dump it and leave, as it will slow the compost process down and make the compost stink try to mix it through.

Some things you don't want to put in your compost are:
  • onions-worms don't like onions and remember worms are good!
  • any citrus peel 
  • meat, dairy or any protein -no bones about it!
  • weeds especially if they have seeds on them, some people do but nothing will kill the seeds
  • dog or cat poo especially if you are using the compost on veggies
So that's about it give it a shot it doesn't cost that much and your garden will thank you for it .

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!