Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cleaning up the Pantry

This is my pantry, before I took up the challenge Rhonda at down---to---earth set last week to clean & organise the pantry. I was thrilled to find I had some things I didnt even know about ! In Qld its good to keep the pantry well stocked and  also have a bit of a stockpile of stuff, just in case we have a cyclone or a storm. The Bruce Hwy which is the main connecting road Mackay and Brisbane is very prone to flooding at this time of year so its nice to be prepared.


As you can see the pantry was in need of sorting and a good clean!So I set to work on Sunday when we were having a bit of a stormy day. It's quite a deep cupboard and as I am vertically challenged can make it difficult to see things so I wanted to organise it a little better so I can actually see what I've got.
Our pantry is quite small and as we live on a modest budget I buy no name brands most of the time and make a lot of things from scratch.

There are three shelves and on the top shelf I've put things which are easily seen and light. I had a lot of different types of Japanese noodles, which were just the right size for some empty pasta sauce jars I had in the cupboard. I have a couple of step shelves which are useful to ad an extra dimension so I have packets of pasta on top of them and some jars underneath.

The next shelf is the one which gets used the most this is where all the herbs and spices and sauces and oils go. The sauces/dressings are down one side and the herbs and spices on the other. Once again a step shelf is very handy especially in a small cupboard like this. I also have little shelves attached to the inside of the door for smaller things which might easily get lost in the cupboard. When space is an issue it pays to be organised.

 Finally the bottom shelf has all the stuff which hasn't been opened yet.  Its made such a difference when I'm cooking to actually be able to see what I'm looking for! If you're a person with a busy life or a mum or dad whose family rely on you to cook meals etc organization is the way to go! It gives you time for more important stuff, like going to the park, or taking the dog for a walk!

This is our little stockpile I always make sure we have extra milk and pet food, plus the ability to prepare a few quick meals. We also have a couple of large bottles of water in my wardrobe, 8 ltre bottles just in case the water is disconnected, and some cheap led lights from the $2 shop, and a little butane stove, in case we lose power in the event of a cyclone.
So now I'm all organised I can get on with more creative things. I hope you have a great day, thanks for reading.
Please remember comments are always welcome it lets me know someones reading.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Rain and Summer growth



The wonderful thing about living in the tropics despite the sometimes unbearable humidity, is this time of year, it rains like crazy and then the sun pops out and everything grows. Hooray for that. Tonight as I drove my son to work we could see rain being made in the hills at the back of our place, as the temperature rises after rain , the water in the rainforest evaporates and forms clouds over the trees. This is our next lot of rain being made, if we chop those trees down - it wont happen. Nature is very cool but we need to respect it and nurture it.




Our garden is taking shape slowly but surely some of our newly planted trees have actually developed into trees! and others are quietly getting there in their own time. The grass is green again now, for a long time everything was brown, as we didn't have rain for a while, but things are back to their beautiful tropical green again.As the thunder rolls around the hills.

I've made myself a new pot stand out of the old BBQ i got online for 15.00; turned out you had to pull it apart to light it so i figured it would make a pretty good pot stand if I removed the workings of it and just used the frame. I will probably paint it to brighten things up and give it a layer of protection.  and will  also be using recycled dog food cans to plant some veggies in . Its quite strong and is an excellent height for potting so is ideal.


not very glamorous at this stage but I will get to that, now's not a great time to paint things.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Up the Garden Path


Here in the tropics we have 2 seasons, Wet and Dry. During the dry season which is everyone elses autumn winter and spring, the weather is generally quite fine to hot, and around the middle of the year the nights are cool, its a beautiful time of year and a great time to visit.  In the wet season temperatures usually hover around 29-35c with high humidity, its very hot and sticky and sea temperature is around 28c.
Now I'm a newby up here so am definitely no expert. However we are coming into our third rainy season, and the issue of getting around the garden without wearing gumboots has arisen yet again. So I am researching a garden path which will get us from the car to the house without being ankle deep in water.  It needs to be cost effective and something which I can build myself with a bit of help possibly, I'm thinking maybe pavers and gravel, or river stones or just gravel although it needs to be built up with sand first.  Something which will allow the water to drain away/through, not wood as this will become slippery and dangerous and will attract termites which are very prevalent up here.



A garden I built for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, springs to mind. With a metal edge on it to stop the gravel ending up in the garden.

I quite like this idea although maybe the pebbles need to be larger and a tad darker.
This one in the centre is a great idea for a straigh path although I think the contrast to the pavers are some type of nut shell??
I quite like this idea of recycled pallet's as a path, but not in our garden.

Or this, the colours I like but its a little formal


I think maybe something like these would be more my style and suit our garden. Gravel is better as it wont break down mulch breaks down here in a couple of months.

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 https://www.facebook.com/pages/A-Load-of-Rubbish/842698262431207?fref=ts
and complete my brief survey.https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DJTPC2X

Let me know what you think :-)