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

 

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

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.

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