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.


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).


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.


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.



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



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.


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.


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.


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.



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)

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.



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