Weighing in on sustainability…

This week I have finally reached my half way goal.  To date I have now lost 30kg.  Finally I have lost my baby weight (my baby is now 19) and I haven’t been this size since I was around 16-17 (I’m 43 now).  Here is a before and after shot to give you some idea of the physical transformation I’ve gone through.

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BEFORE

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NOW

So you may be wondering what my weight loss has to do with sustainability?  Well I believe it has a lot to with sustainability, clean living and even enjoying the great outdoors.

I decided just over twelve months ago that I was never going to diet again.  Instead, I thought about all the information I had gained throughout all my years of yo-yo dieting and did some further reading on the Paleo lifestyle, which seems to be the latest trend.

Now I’m not about to go into a full Paleo meltdown and go all hardcore on you but I did like some of the concepts.  I bought myself some Paleo cookbooks, joined some different Facebook groups and checked Pinterest for inspiration.

The concepts of this Paleo lifestyle that rang true to me and I believe have a lot to do with my success include:

  • Get rid of the processed crap;
  • Buy organic where possible;
  • Grow your own; and
  • Buy as locally as possible.

For a person who wants to reduce their ecological footprint these concepts really related to me.  Plus there are some really great recipes out there.

So that was the basis of my journey 12 months ago.  It really made me look at my lifestyle rather than just my diet.  It also helped me get to know what wonderful produce is available in my town/region.  The Riverland is never short of fresh fruit and veg.  With that, it has also helped me form some great friendships, which brings me to mindset.

This healthier way of living has not only helped me lose weight but it has increased my confidence and improved my mindset.  A healthier more positive mindset helps you to become more resilient  and I personally believe it has helped me to lose weight.

Now I’m going to put it out there that I have indulged in both eating and drinking.  However this also has a lot to do with a better mindset.  If I am going to enjoy the local beer, wine and food I’ll do it on a weekend with friends and family.  I’ve learnt to think more positively about food by enjoying and celebrating it in more creative ways and sharing that with the people I love.

If you are looking to shift some stubborn weight ditch the dieting and look at your lifestyle.  A sustainable lifestyle could just be the key to your success.

Until next time.  Take care.

Shaszi xx

North Moolooloo Golf Classic Trek…

Flinders Map

The Trek Map

Over the last week I’ve been on a much needed holiday.  Stressed and burnt out from work I was eagerly looking forward to my first trip to the Northern Flinders Ranges.  It did not disappoint.

We left last Wednesday morning from Morgan at about 9am and headed up the Pine Valley Road to Yunta.  Not far up the road we were joined by a family of emus.  Dad and the kids were certainly in no rush the get out of the way.

It wasn’t too long before I was getting into the full swing of identifying native plants and seed collecting.  In fact the whole journey was abundant with native flora and fauna.  We saw everything from emus, kangaroos (unfortunately we hit one with the car), yellow-footed rock wallabies and plenty of lizards.  I was on sensory overload with the plant life.  I think my partner and his mate learnt more about Australian native plants than they ever really wanted to but they amused my need to make regular stops to go and explore.  In fact they ended up becoming quite handy for seed collecting.  It was great stopping for Quandong seed.  The trees were full of yummy fruit

We arrived at Yunta early afternoon and fortunately the pub was open for a cold one.  This was going to be our last bit of civilisation and phone reception possibly until late tomorrow.

The Yunta Hotel was like something out of an Aussie movie complete with the Art Deco styling.  The Publican was a nice fella. After a chat and a cold beer we headed off to top up fuel and head to our camp for the night (wherever that would be).

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Inside the Yunta Hotel

So once again there were plenty of stops for seeds and cuttings.  At one stop we had a campervan race past us.  In fact it was enough for us to make a comment how dangerous the person was driving.  We headed off again and further up the road we came across the campervan.  The campervan was going nowhere fast.

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Scary stuff – Luckily no one was hurt

We got out the ute and to our surprise no one was hurt.  Another vehicle had pulled up.  A Station Manager from a nearby station happened to be driving past as well.  Between us all we got the campervan upright again but it still wasn’t going anywhere fast.  Just really makes you realise that you need to respect outback/dirt roads, especially with no phone reception.  The driver was just lucky that he wasn’t hurt and we happened to be driving past.

We decided to pull over and set up camp under some She-Oak for the night, approximately 130kms from Arkaroola.  I was a little bit excited about sleeping in our new swag for the first time.  Given the weather was so warm we didn’t put the canvas over and had full view of the stars and moon for the night.

We set off about 9am the next morning.  The views of the Gammon Ranges and Flinders Ranges were stunning to say the least.  We arrived at Copely in the mid afternoon.  Straight to the pub before we headed to the North Moolooloo Station.  Once we set up our campsite we headed over to the Shearer’s Quarters.  A nice warm shower beckoned my name.  We had dinner, which was a BBQ put on by the  Station.  Nothing like fresh lamb chops and believe me, they are nothing like the chops bought at supermarkets.

So day 3 I believed the weather was being blown straight off the Antarctic shelf.  A bit of a shock to the system.  It rained overnight (lucky we can confirm our swag is waterproof) and we woke to very cold weather.  I wore three long sleeve tops at once for the day.  The temperature only got to 14.

We decided to go for a bit of drive.  We headed to Lyndhurst, the start of the Strzelecki Track (that’s a trek I have on my bucket list).  I must say there wasn’t much to report from there.  On the way back we stopped at Aroona Dam.  An amazing man-made structure built to supply water to the township of Leigh Creek.

After another stop at the Copley Pub (yes I took out best on ground and required a nana nap. The boys are yet to let that one go) we went back out to the Station.  Lamb chops on the BBQ once again.  I could sure get use to this.

The day had finally arrived.  The North Moolooloo Golf Classic was about to get underway and I stepped up to help the boys form a team as they were a player short and one member hadn’t arrived at the Station when we registered.  This was going to be interesting as I had never hit a golf ball in my life, little lone played a game.  At 9:30 we were rounded up and put into the sheep trailers, which were our rides out to our allocated starting point.  Oh and I should point out the weather was a complete turn around from the day before and was forecasted to be over 30.

I found there is a lot of pride on the line with this tournament as it only happens every two years and let’s just say it’s no St. Andrews.  However a lot of time and manicuring (grading) goes into preparing the course.  There was a lot at stake for Morgan as they had never won the Classic since it had started.  The Morgan Mob started off hopeful and ready to enjoy a fun day of golf.  Our fourth member of the team was dropped off just as we teed off with the beer car not far off for first drinks.  I must say it is  certainly interesting when the ball heads off the fairway into the wattle and salt bush.  One player I spoke to lost 36 balls during the course of the day.  The Keg Shed Stop was welcomed by most.  A keg of beer is put on and you can keep drinking it until the next team comes along.

I completed half the course.  As I was very much a late comer I wasn’t dressed appropriately (too hot for jeans and boots) and the heat was a bit too much. As we were playing Ambrose style golf the boys continued on while I stayed back at the campsite after lunch.

Finally the boys made it back in at about 5 or 6 o’clock.  Enough time to get ready to clean up and head over to the shed for dinner, the auction and of course the big announcement.  Roast for dinner and once again there is nothing like country grub.  After dinner came the big announcement.  Would you believe the Morgan Mob had done it!!! After all this time Morgan was finally on the trophy.  My partner said it was like winning the U.S Open.

I must say this would have to be one of the best fundraising event I have ever been involved with.  This Station with its bi-annual golf event over the last 20 years has raised in excess of $150,000 for the Royal Flying Doctors.  A service that many in the outback are grateful for.

Still on cloud nine the following morning we packed up our campsite.  With our mission completed successfully we headed for home.  Once again seeing some great countryside coming down on the bitumen rather than the dirt road.  We opted to head straight for home rather than camp another night out.

I think my partner just wanted to get his medal hung in the “man cave”.  That’s one medal he is very proud of.  As for me I am considering retiring from golf while on a high or the other option is to start training for the PGA Tour.

Until next time.  Take care.

Shaszi xx

When life gives you oranges…

The temperature of late has been glorious.  However this weekend it was not the temperature, it was the wind.  Oh my goodness the wind was horrendous!! The wind was certainly not conducive to any type of gardening. The orange tree in my backyard decided to start dropping oranges left, right and centre.  I just couldn’t bare to see all these oranges go to waste.  So I got my thinking cap on as there were way too many to eat over the next week without getting a sore tummy.

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So many oranges

 

So in the end I decided to zest the oranges and then juice them.  I would the zesting in two different ways.  Large pieces of zest cut with a knife (to make orange cleaner) and small pieces of zest done with a zester (I’ll freeze and use that zest for baking).

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Zest for the orange cleaner

 

After I have zested the oranges the next job was to juice them.  I decided to measure the juice into 1/4 cup quantities and used my silicone muffin tray to freeze them.  I use a few cake recipes that have orange juice in then and usually require 1/2 – 1 cup of juice.  This way I only need to take out what is required.

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So juicy

 

I found a really simple recipe and I have heard of others trying it.  So let’s give it a road test.  I’m hoping it will work as I am trying to find sustainable homemade cleaning alternatives to all the chemical products that seem to inundated our homes.

Here is a quick recipe with pictures that I have tried out.  I would be very keen to hear if any readers have tried this and what their feedback is.  Alternatively if you, like me, have never tried this please feel free to share your thoughts.

Orange Peel Cleaner

  1. Fill a jar (I’ve used a repurposed coffee jar) with orange peel.

 

2. Once the jar is full of orange peel top up with white vinegar.

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3.  Place lid on jar and stand for two weeks.  Give a shake once a day.

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4. Strain into a spray bottle and use. N.B. I have noticed on a couple of recipes that it refers to using the cleaner with water to a ratio of 1:1. I will err on the side of caution first time round.

We have beans!

What a glorious weekend! Proper spring weather with plenty of sunshine and the garden is really starting to burst into life.

I was a little worried that my beans weren’t going to come up. However some warm days and they are starting to raise their heads above the ground. Seven in total at the moment.

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The rising of the Purple King

 

I have planted Purple King beans. When they grow they are purple but when you cook them they turn green.  I often tell children they are magic beans.  Nothing like capturing the imaginations of children especially with nature.

Many other things were accomplished over the weekend and the veggie patch is certainly starting to take shape.  My zucchini, eggplant and tomato seedlings were planted.  Planted some Giant Russian sunflowers.  I just love their bright sunny disposition and this variety are huge.

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Things are slowly starting to take shape now

 

My lettuce is well and truly up and going.  Secondary leaves are now growing.  I have found over the years I have had a lot of success growing lettuce in broccoli (foam) boxes.  Easy to manoeuvre around if too hot or cold, windy or the snails are on the march.  The germination rate is close on 100%.  This variety is a heirloom given to me by the Diggers Club for becoming a member.

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Australian Yellow Leaf Lettuce

So apart from the garden my partner interrupted his development of the “man cave” to paint my planter box that I bought from an auction at the Cadell Club a couple of years back.  We have given it a new lease of life.  My Dad gave me some birthday money back in August so I bought the hanging pot/planter for it.  I have sowed some Italian parsley in it.  I have all these old seed packets so I’m just trying to use them up before I purchase any others.  Just have to line the bottom part of it with some thick plastic and I’ll plant that with a variety of herbs.  The idea is to have it reasonably close to the pizza oven so fresh herbs can be used on yummy homemade pizzas.

 

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Loved once again

So there you have a bit of a sneak peak of what I got up to over the weekend.  So much more to do but I’m so glad I am once again enjoying being out in the garden and the Zen that comes with it.  I hope you all had the chance to do something for yourself over the weekend and enjoy some Zen time.

Take care.  Love Shaszi xx

My Garden

As promised here is a post about my garden.  It is slowly coming back to life but there is still a lot to do.

First I’ll give you a run down of what I have growing in the garden (edible).  My aim is to supply the household with enough edible food so I do not need to rely on shops.  A big advantage given my town is what most would say is remote (I personally don’t think the town is too remote and there will be more to come about my town).

Now being a realist (well sometimes) there will be at times when I will need to supplement.  This may be due to needing some tropical fruit eg. bananas.  If I am not growing it I will endeavour to purchase keeping in mind food miles and my ecological footprint.

So at the moment this is what edible plants I have growing in my garden (or about to be planted:

  • Orange tree
  • Apricot tree
  • Peach tree
  • Chilli (carried over from last season)
  • Capsicum (carried over from last season)
  • Zucchini (seedlings to be planted this weekend)
  • Eggplant (seedlings to be planted this weekend)
  • Beans (planted seed two weeks ago and still no sign)
  • Lettuce
  • Silverbeet
  • Lavender (several varieties)
  • Rosemary (pink and blue flowering types)
  • Chives
  • Rhubarb (waiting and hoping it shall come back from its dormancy)
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Yummy chives

Like I have previously said I still have so much to do.  The biggest issue I have at the moment is the garden was left for so long before I moved in and thrown in our long extremely hot summers the soil in many areas has become water resistant (hydrophobic).  Essentially this means not only has there been a lack of water in the garden but there has been no organic matter added into the soil.  Believe it or not it is very important to feed your soil.  If there are any readers that have had similar issues I would love to hear from you and hear what tips you have to beat this problem.  I’m hoping with the set up of my compost bin and soon to be set up worm farm I will have a continuous supply of soil food.

My other big threat to the overall maintenance of the garden is this little chap.

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Artoo

His name is Artoo as in R2-D2.  He was born on Star Wars Day and it just seemed to be such an appropriate name.  I must admit he is quite a good puppy and when he does find something of interest he takes back to his bed (I believe he could be part bower bird).  He hasn’t dug too many holes and even the ones he has they have been out the way.  My partner and I will be putting a fence around the veggie patch to prevent any heartache.  I’ve been utilising the front garden as well as he doesn’t spend a lot of time out there.  I may as well use the space.

Well that’s my serve today.  Now the weather is warming up I have plenty of projects to get underway and I’m sure I will share them with you.

Take care.  Love Shaszi xxx

Let me introduce myself…

Peach Blossoms

My name is Sharon.  I am a Town Planner with extra qualifications in horticulture, arboriculture and sustainability.  I am also a mother of a 19 year old boy and two fur babies, Artoo (Staffy X) and Ed (Maine Coon).

I have decided to give blog writing a go again because I really do enjoy writing and sharing knowledge.  I would also like to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and by sharing my experiences I am hoping it will keep me more accountable and encourage others.

Writing for is also good therapy and after a pretty rough 12 months and quite a bit of soul searching I’ve decided to start doing some of the things I’m quite passionate about.  Sustainability is most certainly one of them.

So I live in a little town on the Murray River in South Australia.  There is a population of approximately 400 people in my town.  Mind you the population explodes during the summer months with all the shack owners and people wanting to enjoy some of the River lifestyle and to be honest, why wouldn’t they?

My house is a beautiful old place with high pressed tin ceilings and a gorgeous cottage style garden.  Unfortunately the garden has lacked some TLC over the years.  I have tried over the last 12 months to do something with the garden but with all my other troubles my heart was not in it.

This blog won’t be just about my garden.  It will also be about my overall lifestyle and sharing experiences as I find more ways to live in a more sustainable manner.  Sometimes my remoteness will have its advantages but in saying that it will at times provide more of a challenge.

My next blog will be about the garden and some of the challenges I am facing.  I hope my readers can share their tips as well.  Especially if issues have me stumped.

Until next time.  Love Shasz xx