Taking a leap of faith…

A little snapshot of what’s been happening over the last few months

So the last few months I’ve flown underneath the radar.  Essentially my world has turned upside down and it really has been for the best.

At the end of January I decided to resign from my high stress job and focus on restoring my health and well-being.  It wasn’t an easy decision but it was becoming clearer that my health was suffering to a point that it was making me physically and mentally ill.

In the time I have had off I have thrown many ideas up in the air and it as been wonderful experience to be able to do just that.  Everything from community volunteering, writing, making craft, making cupcakes and setting up a nursery.  Nothing has been set in stone but perhaps for someone like me that is a good thing.

One thing that I am growing more committed to is how to become more sustainable and self-sufficient in a regional town.  I have been researching urban examples of this but the context is usually based around more metropolitan living arrangements.  For me this is still useful as I don’t have acreage but living in a regional town presents its own issues like access to resources and services.  However it invites you to be more creative and be more in contact with your local community.

I’m currently in the process of turning my very productive spring/summer veggie patch over to hopefully a very productive autumn/winter veggie patch.  If I cannot grow it I’m trying to find local supplies and with that I’m finding some interesting things.  I managed to get hold of quinces the other day and had a go at making quince paste.  Mmmmmm quince paste and cheese.

I am also having a go at making a sourdough starter.  My first attempt was a bit of a failure.  However I’ve done a little more research and I should have another one ready to start by the end of the week.  Once I’m in the groove with it I’ll post the recipe/manual of the starter and any subsequent recipes I might try with it.

My partner and I are also about to embark on an adventure.  We are going to be travelling half way around Australia in a few weeks so I am sure there will be plenty to come on that.

Feeling great to be writing once again and there is so much more to update you all on but I must be off for now.

Take care for now.

Shaszi xx

 

Monday Catch Up…

So I’m starting to get a bit of an idea how I would like to structure this blog.  I’m thinking on a Monday I’ll do a bit of a catch up with you and fill you in with what’s been happening in my world.  Later in the week I would like to share a piece that I have taken the time to do a little research on eg. zero waste, native bees, recycling etc.  Leave a comment below if there is a subject that you are interested in.

Well this weekend was an absolute scorcher! By 9:45am on Saturday it was already 37 degrees Celsius.  By mid afternoon under the verandah it reached 47 degrees.  Let’s just say by 9am we were indoors and watching the cricket (a quick shout to the Aussie boys for winning the Ashes 4-0).  However that did not stop us from doing a little bit of gardening.  Most importantly ensuring everything was well watered.  We even managed to do some harvesting and we were very excited to pick our first apple cucumbers.

img_2795

Another fantastic harvest from the garden

 

For dinner I made a salad showcasing our home grown produce.  The cherry tomatoes just burst with flavour.  The best thing though was actually being able to share our produce with friends.  We gave away a bit of everything and kept what we would use within a reasonable time frame.

At the moment I have tomato plants popping up everywhere.  A legacy from “The Great Gender Fluid Chicken Saga of 2017”.  So we dug up 12 and gave to friends who were after tomatoes.  I love sharing produce and plants.  I love it because it is a great way of bringing people together.

I have also set up a Pinterest account for readers and myself to be inspired and motivated.  I do like this social media platform for inspiration.  I liken it sometimes to a pictorial version of Google.  If you would like to check it out for yourself click here.

Well not much else has been happening due to the extreme heat.  Apart from watching cricket,  doing some of my jigsaw and reading.  Then in the evening taking the Artoo down to the River for a swim.

I hope everyone is managing to be keeping cool (or warm on the other side of the world).  Until next time.

Take Care

Shaszi xx

Catch Up Time…

Well it’s that crazy time of the year again.  I’ll admit that I’m struggling to find a good work life balance at the moment.

I’m finding my life is being consumed by my work to the point when I am at home I’m often thinking about work.  Being a Town Planner in a regional area of Australia can be quite demanding.

That’s why I have decided to write.  It is such good therapy and for myself it takes me to a good place.

Let’s begin with an update of the my veggie patch.  Well I must say it is booming!!!  I even have some bonus plants that have come up as a result of composting.  Rockmelons, I think (just waiting for the fruit to become a bit bigger to be able to identify), pumpkins and tomatoes.

I have been harvesting Lebanese zucchinis, cherry tomatoes, beans, basil, capsicum, eggplant and chilli.

img_2562

So much colour and taste coming from the garden

We now have the veggie patch fenced off (Artoo took a liking to digging in the soil) and have connected some irrigation to it.  The soil quality has improved so much.  Mulching has also been a very big factor.  Home has already been rocked by a few days over 40 degrees (and not even in the hottest time of the year yet).

With little spare time I have had a go at making my own peppermint sugar scrub.  I love the smell of peppermint and it is just delightful to use on your hands and feet.  I have even put some into jars to give as Christmas presents.

img_2683

Homemade Peppermint Scrub

I had never used sugar scrub up until recently and I’m sold.  A great environmentally friendly alternative to some of the exfoliation scrubs out there on the market that use plastic (microbeads) in their products.  Many governments are starting to call for a ban on microbeads being used in personal products as they have a big impact on our lakes, rivers and oceans.

Here is a great little video about microbeads.  It’s amazing what plastic is found in and has made me look for alternatives or make it myself.

If you would like to share your environmentally friendly beauty treatment tip please do so in the comments below.

Well that’s it for today.

Take care for now.

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.

img_2077

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).

img_2085

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.

img_2093

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.

img_2089

 

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

img_2091

 

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.

img_2059

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.

img_2063

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.

img_2065

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.

 

img_2067

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

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