Monday, September 27, 2010

Spring Growth and Sudden Ducklings

 Spring weather is keeping us on our toes and as I have been typing it has swung from being a beautiful sunny day to raining heavily and icy, there have been blustery blasts as well. The garden has been growing well, the first spring growth has begun in earnest for the new hazels and apples which is very exciting for us as we were ever so slightly worried that we had bought sticks or that we would kill them before they grew. The old apricot tree is flowering and now in leaf and I hope the wild winds haven't blown too many blossoms off because the old fashioned fruit it produces is so very flavoursome. The boys and I are out mulching, weeding and planting as often as we can and my little helpers are getting the hang quickly, in fact Sir Talks a lot begs me to plant with him "Mummy, can we pweeeease plant some seeds...I weeely want to!". In the face of such cute begging I have acceded to his requests we have planted many seeds, more peas(the last ones died) beetroot, red ribbed dandelion, German Chamomile, radishes, red cored carrots, sunflowers, calendula, nasturtiums, basil, feverfew and some chilis. we are also trying the deep stem cutting technique we saw on Gardening Australia last Saturday to grow some lavender and Rosemary. We are also trying to grow some old potatoes in a tyre which I have been plonking the soiled straw(actually sugar cane mulch) from the hen house. We are getting right experimental this spring... It all sounds very impressive but the garden is still scruffy and not overly productive!
 The chickens are doing well, the boys love collecting snails and feeding them to the chickens who love them and give us giant tasty eggs.They love the scraps and the weeds too so it is a good arrangement for everyone.
I have started to trim down the number of toys the boys have, they both can spend hours with snails and sticks and kicking a sod of grass around but toys don't keep them entertained for nearly as long, some of the toys don't capture their imagination either so Freecycle is doing well out of me at the moment as many toys have been given their marching orders. It was entertaining to have the boys cull their own toys but unfortunately the initial pile contained a much loved train and four of my childhood teddy bears so we needed to offer some guidance with what is the right kind of toy to give away- one that you don't play with and is actually yours!
Yesterday our little family expanded again with us finding four baby shelducks wandering about the suburbs with nary an adult in sight. When we saw them for the second time we decided that we should collect them for their own safety as cats roam Launceston constantly so now we have four baby ducks. They imprint very quickly and think we are their parents now and they love to wander about inside (once our long suffering but bloodthirsty cat is locked in his favourite cupboard).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Can Coffee Change lives?

I have been the fortunate recipient of a share hamper of Goodies from Cadbury Bar of Plenty and Republica Fair trade Coffee. The chocolate is fine, I prefer mine darker and the Bar of Plenty theme doesn't seem to add much to it being not particularly more interesting than a standard bar but the coffee, oh goodness me!
It is from Republica Coffee in Sydney and we are drinking the organic and fair trade Timor. Not only is the coffee delicious but I have noticed some other effects which were totally unexpected. I normally get a wee bit jittery from coffee, increased heart rate, sometimes a "plum stone" feeling in my throat and it can spark off my anxiety and for these reasons I don't drink it that often but four days into having a cup daily and this Coffee doesn't affect me in the same way. On the contrary I just feel healthy and efficient, happy and determined, I have also cut down on my tea as I don't feel like I need as much and my appetite has lessened so I am not scarfing biccies and chocolate as much because I am just not craving it. I haven't done any research on this but I wonder if it is because it is organic? I wouldn't normally attribute great effects to produce being organic, I would just prefer that they were because to me it make sense to farm organically but  my darling husband and I are having the same experience with the wonderful Republica coffee. we also had the same experiences with our cheap and nasty coffee which is why we rarely had it, loved the taste (but the new coffee tastes so much better!) but didn't like the effects.
We will be buying the Republica all the time now, Husband of mine is now scared of running out and is already devoted to his stove top espresso with low fat milk! Luckily the local supermarkets stock it...
And of course one can feel happy that one is supporting fair trade and organic whilst feeling so much better. 
Can coffee change lives? Oddly enough I can affirm that it is changing our lives and I hope that the coffee workers are enjoying the benefits too!
Has anyone else had this experience with something unexpected, does eating or drinking organic make a huge difference to you? Has anyone else had this quality coffee epiphany? I would love to hear from any one who has anything to say on this!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

25 things post!

As inspired by  Mumma Troll and Kezz here are 25 things about me you may not know...

1. I have never met my father and would have no idea how to track him down if I wanted to.

2. I eat just enough (ethically sourced) fish and seafood to not be considered a vegetarian

3. I used to suffer badly from panic attacks, migraines and severe anxiety. I don't so much anymore which I think is to do with my husband and lifestyle.

4. I used to have the ability to sink enough alcohol to sink a football team I just don't do it anymore, I have a light beer every few months, just enough it would seem to prevent me from calling myself teetotal!

5. I have enrolled in University three times with nothing to show for it.

7. Somewhere in me is a writer waiting to get out but I don't know what to do with her!

8. I love sprouts and sprouting seeds I have two sprouter, one jar type and one triple layered, I found each of them at charity shops.

9. I am yet to find a vegetable I don't like eating.

10. I am messy, I have always been messy and trying not to be is a real struggle for me.

11. I feel very passionately about the plight of the hardworking poor in India and other third world countries but not much sympathy for the poor in Australia, most of whom live lives that 3rd world poor could only dream of, all paid for by welfare handouts!

12. I spent my childhood living in books and daydreaming.

 13. I spent my adolescence reading, daydreaming and acting- I wanted to be an actor until I was 19.

14. I was 26, married and a mother before I passed my driving test. 

15. I now own a car hire company which I started with my husband!

16.I was terrible at maths as a child and even worse at managing money when I first started working, I think I am better now...

17. I think showering really frequently is a waste of resources and time and probably causes premature aging!

18. I have hyper mobile joints which means I am lovely and bendy for Yoga but also can turn and sprain an ankle easily.

20. I gave birth without drugs both times, not because I was passionate about it, I gave birth within 10 minutes of arriving at the birth centre for my second son- there was no time for pain relief (or the birth pool unfortunately!).

21. I love chocolate, shoes, the colour pink and think Johnny Depp is gorgeous (yes I am female and breathing!).

22. My nails break easily and as much as I would love to maintain glamorous red nails I normally have grubby little paws with dirt under the nails.

23. I adore the island state of Tasmania where I now live but don't particularly care about the mainland any more than any other country.

24. I am not actually related to many of my relatives, they are mostly friend of family and step grandmothers... the only people I share blood with I don't really talk to.

25. I am not a fatalist and do believe that we control my own destiny... however my husband is definitely my soul mate and I do get the feeling that some things are or are not meant to be...

So there you go.. that was harder than I thought it would be, I though that talking about myself would be easy!
I would love to read your 25 things as well!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Frugal Fun!

I know some of you out there will appreciate the odd sentence that follows.
I am enjoying being flat broke. 
It really it is a wake up call as it is easy to slip into complacency and not appreciate money for what it is. We have found that once our needs are met the only  desire we have for the stuff is to try to help others (unfortunately our pie in the sky dreams for this are very large scale so we will need much money for them!).
 We have sold our little car which was excess to our needs and have managed to scrape together some big ticket items which have sold on eBay (a convertible roof hardtop, a Mazda engine and gear box) as well as my old maternity gear which are doing quite well. We collected scrap metal and we got a princely $47 for it, which paid for $20 of chicken wire and $15 for three hens rescued from the poultry farm nearby.(more on hens later) The remainder has gone on chocolate, cream and strawberries for the Little Man's second birthday today. I found everything he needed at charity shops, a toy wombat, a solid tonka digger, a hard hat and a Thomas the Tank engine doona cover all in excellent condition, this combined with a $2 bottle of bubble mix has given him a lovely stash of toys he is very impressed with and totalled $11.20. I always make my own cards and I had the whole lot set on the coffee table for him to find in the morning I didn't use any wrapping, he is too tiny to find excitement in the removal of wrapping and the mess and waste have turned me against it!
Last weekend we went to Hobart to have a look at some properties again but I made sure we didn't spend any unnecessary money. I packed a thermos of coffee (real stove top stuff, not instant) as I find that tea just isn't very good from a thermos, some popcorn, left over latkes cakes from the night before, carrot sticks, coffee and walnut muffins, boiled eggs, stawberries and blueberries,  water for the boys to drink. This went into our giant picnic basket and after our tour of real estate we went to the Royal Tasmanian Botanical gardens and had a lovely picnic. There was a curious duck who made the mistake of coming to see the Littlest man and was promptly and joyfully chased and we had a great explore of the organic Veggie patch as seen on Gardening Australia and Sir Talks  A Lot asked what every single plant in the veggie patch was... every single one!
Yesterday was the Littlest man's 2nd birthday so we went to Cataract gorge for yet another picnic (they are big in our house.. or rather out of our house) which was quite flooded due to the wild heavy rains of Saturday. We had popcorn and cream puffs and chocolate cake and went for a trek which in retrospect was a bad idea with two sleepy toddlers who made our lives difficult but hey! all a learning experience. Cataract Gorge is just amazing and we are blown away every time we visit which is why we were so determined to have a walk around despite the foolishness in hindsight (muddy tantrumming toddlers anyone?).
Over the last week we have finished our chicken coop from recycled and salvaged pallets and roof iron and we are very delighted to have our rather moth eaten looking chickens in situ. unfortunately it has been raining so the coop is in the shed but we hope to move it into the sunshine today- once those dastardly sheep have left (they have eaten all our grass and keep knocking over the gate so it is back to the farm for them.. today!) Our hens are brown hi lines and they have already given us four eggs!the eggs are much much bigger than the tiny free range ones we normally buy- I think one of our eggs is worth two shop bought ones!
All said and done we are having more fun than ever since our economy drive started in earnest!