Saturday, June 16, 2012

The girls have arrived!

Ever since we started looking at a bit of land I have dreamed of owning a house goat.  That became a reality of Wednesday when Princess and Spot arrived to live with us.

Princess is the Alpine (brown and white) and Spot is a Nubian.  She is only a kid, born last spring but great company.

They have tested the fences and lost so that is one less job.

The pigs on the other hand continue to find the smallest gaps and squeeze themselves out.  On the upside the pigs LOVE chickweed of which we have heaps.  The chooks are not that keen so looks like Teddy and Salami will be eating a lot of chickweed salad.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

So much to say so little time....

We are on our lifestyle block!  Have been here about 8 weeks and that time has been a blur of packing boxes, garden trimming and bonfires.

A week after we shifted in one of our ewes had twins.  They are VERY early but that's what happens when ones father leaves the ram running with the ewes! 

3 weeks later another 2 lambs appeared.  Fortunately the weather has been kind to them and they are all doing well.

Thursday saw the arrival of two black Kunekune pigs.  Along with a friend we are raising them for the freezer.  I've nicknamed them Chops and Bacon.  They are helping to clean up the excess Blackboy peaches and figs that have been frosted.

The chooks are now free ranging in the orchard area, although their numbers are decreasing with another one falling off the perch tonight.  They were old hens, bought with the place, and most of them are past it to be honest.

I have a goat on the way but she is running with a buck at the moment so fingers crossed for kids in spring.  Hubby has been busy building the shelter for the goat and it was moved into the paddock today.

Plans for the next few weeks;
Clear area for workshop
Cut back more trees/shrubs in the garden
Get rid of more ivy.......
Tidy up vege garden and rest for winter
Finish and paint goat shelter
Tidy up herb garden

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blown no spend Feb but still smiling........

It's true February is stacking up as a big spend month now, however, March will be bigger.
We've bought a 7 acre lifestyle block and went unconditional today.  So it is  definately an investment for the long term.
Has about 15 fruit and nut trees, 12 hens, glasshouse, vege garden which will be more than enough to keep me busy.
I can't wait to move in but I have to wait 5 weeks so lots of packing ahead of me.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

All things soap!

After much dithering I have decided 2012 will be the year I will make my first soap.

I found a great recipe for a basic Lux flakes soap at Down to Earth.  This contains no caustic soda so safe to make with children.  Might have to give this one a go to start with I think.

Anyone got some great beginners recipes?

Update. 11/2/12
I've made a batch.  Works out at $3.70 for a batch.  Not sure I added enough milk, and it was getting very hard to mix at the end.  Definately way too hard for Miss A. I'll upload photos once I have cut it.  I put Lavender Oil in but all I can smell is the lux flakes.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Just me and the coal range

We have just returned from 6 days at the family crib where the only cooking facilities are non electric - a coal range and a kerosene cooker.  (I'm too much of a novice to use 'Beatrice" so hubby gets to deal with her and I use the coal range).
Normally hubby's grandparents are at  the crib too so I can ask Grandma for help but not this time.

Got to crib about 3pm on Wednesday.  Opened fire to light as the rule is to always leave it set for the next person.  Not done!  Locate paper and kindling.  Set fire and light, all the while dying for a cuppa.Fill jug, sit on top and wait.  Hot drink before 4pm so quite pleased with that.
Pasta and custard for tea.
6:30am Thursday awoken by small person so up and lighting fire.  Hot water in half an hour.  Feeling pretty cocky!
By Saturday I thought I really had it mastered, even though the roast chicken had to be served as a second course to veges on Thursday night!

Mission: Bread.
Get recipe book.  4 1/2Tbsp yeast.  Yikes that sounds heaps but it's in "the book" so it must be right.  Just so you know it wasn't and the bread tasted awful.  See No spend Feb comments re bread.
Sunday second attempt at bread was more successful although going from 80C to 220C quickly in coal range not easy.  Especially as the thermometer was Fahrenheit.

So al things considered I would still love a house with a coal range, and despite hubby's reservations I would use it lots.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Spend February

I've been thinking that I've been guilty of unconscious spending of late and I need to take a bit more care when it comes to my disposable income.  Way to do that?  No spend challenge for the month of February, and no it's not because it's a shorter month it's just that it starts tomorrow and there is no time like the present!!!
Now when I say no spend I don't mean at all.  Obviously bills still need to be paid; power, phone, internet, groceries, petrol, rent etc.  What I want to eliminate is the impulse spending that adds up quickly.  The magazine with one interesting story that catches your eye at the checkout, the treat coffees just because I felt like it, takeaways and my achilles heel - Trade Me!
I'll let you know how I get on.  The first few days should be quite good as we are heading to the family crib, miles from anywhere, for a few days.  No electricity apart from generator, no TV, internet, cell coverage.  BLISS.
I'll master the coal range this time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Starting the Wee Wipes revolution

Ok so I posted in another post about my miscarriage earlier this month.  I am know in a physical start to resume using my cloth wee wipes and I can't wait.
I challenge all my readers who are currently not using wee wipes to find an old soft towel, an old flat nappy or similar and try it out.  Have a small container in your toilet to keep clean ones, and somewhere to put the used ones.
Now some WWW (Wee Wipes Women) will rinse and reuse but I have not progressed to that yet. 

So give it a go, feel the difference, save some money and toilet paper, and be kinder to the environment.

Just to clarify for newbies wee wipes are just used for wee/number 1's/pee/urine.  NOT number 2's!  They do not need to be soaked, or put in laundry soaker.

Get creative and find some funky patterned material.  Check out the net.  There are some awesome sites that talk about wee wipes and/or sell them.

Let me know how you get on.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Toilet Paper; it's not just the packaging!

While the company behind Paseo toilet paper and facial tissues claims to be supplying a premium environmentally sound product, it is not in labelled recyclable packaging, and it appears the source of the paper is in question too. 

Greenpeace has openly named Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), which supplies the paper for Paseo products, and also Cottonsoft, as being involved in rainforest deforestation.
For more information, or to show your support for the Greenpeace cause click here.

Many Pulp and paper companies bandy around different certifications claiming they lesson their environmental impact.  I'll let you do some research and make your own decision on that one.  Vote at the supermarket.

Check out Green Living Tips for more on Toilet paper and the impact on the environment.

Perhaps we should start a Wee wipes revolution ..........

Jammin.... and Preservin

Summer fruit means dusting off the preserving jars and stocking up on sugar.
So far I have 9 jars of plums and 7 jars of apricots preserved and 6 jars of raspberry jam, and 3 of apricots done.
There are still more plums on the tree so I need to get out there but the rain has put a spanner in the works.  Hopefully they don't split now with the dampness.

The jam looks great and the fruit has all come up pretty well too.  Talk about having your hands full though with a pot of boiling water to sterilise jars, the oven on as a secondary sterilisation, syrup bubbling away, and the lids boiling.  It sure is hot and not a place for a young child!  The end result is worth it though and in the middle of winter some plums or apricots will be a lovely treat.

Considering the start to the year I am pleased with progress on the fill the pantry plan.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dusting off the jam pot

We went raspberry picking on Sunday, and while it would be delicious to eat all 5kg we brought home I have filled some jam jars instead.  They were beautiful raspberries from the Waitaki Valley.  Large, juicy and very very good.

North Otago Raspberries

1.9kg of fruit made 8 good sized jars of bright red jam.  Makes me want to make some scones right now!

To do list;
Pick and process (jam, preserve) plums over next couple of weeks
WEED, WEED and WEED garden
Help hubby chop firewood which arrived yesterday
Play with Miss A over the holidays
Plan family holiday

Monday, January 16, 2012

Big changes

I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted.  Here is a brief run down on what has happened with my family since September.
1.  We have sold our house.  Finally, after 15 months it sold.  Very easily in the end.  Initially we had to move out by the end of October, but fortunately that changed.  We are still renting the house of the new owner.
2. I got pregnant. It was planned but perhaps not the best timing.
3. My 3 hens were killed by a wandering dog.  Less said the better here, but it still annoys me some people with dogs can't be more responsible.
4. Christmas and New Year craziness
5. I lost the baby last week and so I am back looking for a little focus in my life.

The garden is looking good.  We had 50mls of rain in less than 24 hours over Thurs/Fri of last week which has set the garden and local farms up for the rest of summer.
We have been eating broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, rhubarb and currants out of the garden.  The plum tree (which I will sadly miss when we finally move) is heaving with fruit and I have been sneaking down for the odd one.  Not fully ready but not far away.
I've stocked up on sugar and preserving lids ready for the onslaught.  Will be good to fill the preserving jars again.

Dublin Bay is in full glory as I look out the window.  Nature certainly heals you when you are low.

Taking deep breaths - what I breath out is what trees breath in; what I breath in is what trees breath out.