I have started to spend a little bit of quality time in our garden. I tend to think of all that I am NOT doing, and all that I COULD do and less on what we are actually accomplishing so far.
I went around the garden with my camera this morning to record some of what is happening.
The garden is teaming with life. The tropical rains have nourished and brought forth life in abundance. Butterflies are everywhere as well as native bees.
Our guava trees we planted about three years ago are all fruiting this year for the first time. We ate our first strawberry guava (aptly named as looks like a strawberry growing on a tree). It has hundreds of fruit on it for a little tree (only about 1.5 metres tall) and I took a photo of the next ripe fruit ready to pick. I love the taste. I spat out the seeds as they are quite large and hard and I didn’t find them pleasant but the fruit was divine.
The small low growing shrub guava is also covered with dozens of fruit but am not sure what type this is as the tag blew away.
Our citrus trees (we bought a mixed half dozen trees very cheaply as they could not tell us if they were lemons, limes or orange trees) are all full of fruit. One of them looks like it may be an orange (fingers crossed) but there appear to be at least two limes from the size and shape of the fruit. The others are looking like different varieties of lemon and all look healthy.
My herbs are ready for picking and the basil (I have about three large patches) I am going to make some pesto with it.
A Thai Basil bush self propagated from seed dropped the previous year and is also looking good. The bees are loving it.
The view of the backyard is of dense tree growth and vegetable gardens. When we moved here it was just grass. It helps me realize how far we have come. It is swarming with bees, butterflies, insects and green living plants.
The Pawpaw and Papaya trees look healthy and are full of fruit. I read the other day that the seeds can be ground up and used as pepper. Just put the seeds into a pepper grinder and use that way. I am going to try it.
Also my Moringa trees (I have 3 large trees I keep cutting back and they reshoot) are full of long drooping seedpods again. The leaves look beautiful, fragile and fernlike.
I was reading that when the seedpods are young you cut them into pieces and boil or stir fry them and they are meant to taste like Asparagus. Also if you take out the seeds inside (like a bean) you can put them in a hand oil grinder (About $170 online to buy) and extract an oil to use for cooking that is extremely healthy for you. This is the first purchase I will make once I get some extra cash. The leaves of the Moringa tree I put into green smoothies and I also give to our chickens, as they are extremely rich in nutrients and minerals.
To be able to produce our own oil and pepper would be awesome.
Brett and I have finished the second draft of our soon to be published book for our website. We are on final stages. It has felt quite overwhelming at times, as the size has increased as we keep thinking of more things we need to clarify and say. However, we are hopeful it will meet a need and be received well.
I went and took some stem cuttings of geraniums and some herbs and have placed the roots in water after removing most of the top leaves. Waiting 2 or 3 weeks for them to grow roots and then will plant out in some pots.
The three coffee bushes have beans growing up the stems. Once they turn red/black I believe they are ready to harvest and process.
So, all in all, for February 2015 things are looking good in the garden.
Life goes on regardless of whatever stresses may be affecting us humans- and that is inspiring and hopeful in itself.
I had dreams when I left work of sleeping in each morning, long walks in the evening, half an hour or longer each day in the garden, a couple of times a week learning a new skill and in between working on our online business with my husband (writing and editing for our website).
However, what I have found myself doing is falling back into the same trap I adopted when I was working 9-5pm (or more realistically 8-6pm). I give all my energy to one project working like a steam train at it, and have virtually nothing left for anything else.
There has been no working on learning new skills, or working in the garden each day. It is still overgrown and looking sad and neglected to my untrained eyes (or maybe waist high weeds and buzzing bees and butterflies doesn’t constitute “sad” for a garden).
However, I have finished in 21 days the first draft for our first eBook (120 hours). It has a lot of editing that needs to be completed. And I know we will cut out some large chunks of work that I poured my heart into, and I will need to write more in other areas – but it is DONE; the first draft, a huge accomplishment.
And we have kept up our walking of between 3-6km each day.
And I have cooked at least half of every week (my husband the other half) and I have cooked without processed foods and healthier options than when I was working 8-6pm.
But, I still feel like I am on a treadmill. I still have not yet achieved that “balance” that I long for.
I know that some unexpected financial strains, and the emotional fallout from that, has meant that I feel an internal pressure to “produce” and “quickly”. I have focused all my energies into my writing.
I have an internal longing for a slower pace, more in connection with the earth and the garden and animals.
My 4 chooks, whom we let out in the garden at the end of each day, continue to be a source of satisfaction and amusement and relaxation for me. The same occurs with our 2 dogs and 2 cats. Taking our dogs for a walk at the end of each day is to be thanked so profusely and showered with so much gratitude that it is enough to make one feel like a King or Queen.
But, I know that the change has to come from within me. I need to go inside of me to find that internal peace and that ability to switch off from doing work that will bring in income (hopefully) and focus also on the “cream” of life, the stuff that I really long to do. To find that balance and fight that internal pressure to “do do do” and just “be”.
The change to actually purchasing and living on our little farm will help to facilitate this, but I want to be doing this NOW. I need to do this now. If I do not start doing this now, how do I know I will do this when we are actually living on our farm? I want to stop worrying that we may never be in a position to purchase a little farm, and focus on doing things now that make me happy – working in the garden, growing things, being more self sufficient, cooking, writing, learning new skills and spending more time with people whom I love.
It is about an attitude to life, a flow with life, a connection to other life – and I am in the process of learning it.
I am grateful that we are walking each day. We were not doing that before. I am starting to feel fitter and stronger. I love our time together as husband and wife each day working alongside each other.
Spending time with someone you love, just increases the love and respect and makes me wonder how on earth you can truly appreciate and love someone when you barely see them. Nurturing and loving are more a part of the fabric of our lives now, not just moments snatched in time when we both were tired. They are shared moments multitudes of times a day. I am so glad we have this opportunity.
This is the gift of a simpler life, with less money at the moment, but being together and working together. This is partly what we have dreamed of and we are thankful for.
One of the most awesome discoveries has been homemade chocolate (with coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla essence, peanut butter). What a delight! It just makes each day a little sweeter.
Today we set the alarm (just in case we slept in) and woke up at 6.45am so we could have our coffee and read the online news before we set out for our 3km walk at 7.15am (without the dogs).
It was awesome. The weather was overcast so was not too hot and we chatted away so the time just flew. We could have kept walking.
The days work schedule went well. I am still unwinding after the family left (who came from Christmas) so I had an afternoon nap of about an hour and a half whilst Brett succumbed and put on the air conditioner to work in.
Yesterday, we had gone to the shops after planning our meals for the week, and shopped. I made some chocolate treats to keep in the freezer for when the “sweet urge” hits to prevent me going out and buying processed packaged sweets or chocolate. This recipe I found on Just Eat Real Foods Group on Facebook and is made from 4 ingredients only (coconut oil, walnuts, maple syrup and cacao powder). Thats it! I cut it up before it froze solid and put it in a container in the freezer. If I limit myself to one small slice a day then I will be getting a daily dose of good fats and my chocolate fix at the same time. This is what I am telling myself.
I also made a snack of some zucchinis that I had in the fridge – I baked them in the oven for 20 minutes after slicing them in long thing wedges and sprinkling with a mixture of olive oil, mixed herbs and parmesan cheese. I had enough for an afternoon snack yesterday and for afternoon tea today. Here is where I found the recipe.
Exercise (Walking again)
Tonight, we took the dogs on a half hour walk (3 kms) and they nearly ripped our arms off in excitement. We were all pretty exhausted due to the high humidity and heat that we find very draining.
All in all, a great day even though we have not officially commenced 1 January 2015 our year of living more sustainably and healthier.
Well although it has been very hot and humid in Bundaberg, Queensland today we were the crazy couple who went for a walk at 10am this morning. We could have gone at the cooler and more reasonable hour of 6am or 7am but our adult children who have been visiting over Christmas were getting up then, and we cooked them breakfast before they headed off on the road for a 5 hour trip back to Brisbane.
We were only intending to walk 20 minutes and then sit in the shade at Burnett Heads overlooking the ocean and talk but we were so immersed in conversation we had walked over half an hour before we realised it and then had to walk all the way back to the seat in the shade! Suffice to say when we returned home, a cold shower, a litre of cold water, an ice-block and laying on the bed with the air conditioning on was needed to return ourselves to a stable state after overheating.
So what is the 80/20 rule? The 80/20 rule is that healthy living and maintaining a healthy body weight is 80% diet (what food we eat) and only 20% exercise. Our goal is to move a minimum of 20 minutes a day (hoping for an hour) then that is the 20% taken care of. How you do this – whether by aerobic exercise, running, walking, swimming or other sport or muscle building/strength building (or a combination of all over a week) is a matter of personal preference.
For myself, walking is the preferred and less stressful option. Preferably without dogs barking at me, and cars noisy on the road next to me. Today we walked along the path at Burnett Heads along the Coast and it was breathtakingly beautiful as always. It is a 15 minute drive but worth it for the relaxation and calm the scenery and surroundings create.
I know that part of my eating is emotional eating (comfort in sweet foods) and so have sourced some Paleo recipes using coconut oil, cacao powder and nuts to make a chocolate fudge. I think if I make a few sweet things and keep in a freezer bag in the freezer then I will have a more healthy version on hand if I get cravings. Tomorrow is the day for working out our meal plan for the week for 5 adults (3 adults and 2 teenage boys) and go shopping for food and pre preparing any food for lunches and healthy snacks to have in the fridge for when we are busy working next week.
So, the challenge will be to keep up our walking in this intense heat when we both hate the heat and find it incredibly draining (get up early), and to pre prepare our food for the week by means of working out a menu and then having snacks in the fridge or freezer. Will let you know how it goes!
On a side note, we launched our YouTube channel for Hoax-Slayer today. Got a few negatives comments but a bunch of subscribers and likes. Feeling confident it will provide an alternative to reading for those who prefer a visual means to absorb information. It is still early stages and we will do a few tweeks and refinements but hope to get 3 videos a week created and uploaded.
I’ve been invited to be a guest on the Circle of Insight program on the Therapy Cable network. The web television show is hosted by Carlos Vasquez, a former congressional candidate for the US House of Representatives. I’ll be participating via Skye in an interview examining spirituality and child abuse. The internet podcast explores psychology in many areas including economics, politics and religion. My interview will occur in February 2015 and I will put up a link once it is available on therapycable.com.
Well, have a relaxing evening and hope your plans and goals for 2015 are well thought out and your motivation continues high.
My 3rd child Olivia turned 21 today. We officially celebrated her birthday yesterday as this year she is spending Christmas with her partner’s family. She requested a family dinner and an ice-cream cake for her birthday cake. As we live in Australia and it is super hot at this time of year this is a good choice!
My goal was to make one from scratch and not go out and buy one as I would normally do. I found two great recipes and decided to make them both as odds were that one at least would turn out. The Australian Woman’s Weekly September 2014 (given to me to read courtesy of my sister-in-law) had a great recipe “Frozen citrus delicious” on page 180 that looked fabulous.
Frozen citrus delicious
6 egg whites
½ cup caster sugar (110grams) (I just used normal white sugar)
1 ¾ cups (430mls) of thickened cream
2 teaspoons of finely grated lime rind
2 cups prepared custard
1 lime, segmented or sliced thinly
2 oranges, segmented or sliced thinly
1 pink grapefruit, segmented or sliced thinly (I didn’t have this so did not use)
½ cup caster sugar (110grams) (I just used normal white sugar)
Grease a 20cm springform pan; line the base and side with two layers of baking paper.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. (My electric mixer broke so I beat the by hand with a handheld egg-beater). Gradually beat in sugar until peaks form and sugar dissolved.
Beat cream in separate bowl until soft peaks form.
Fold whipped cream, and grated lime rind together, then fold into custard, then fold into beaten egg white mixture.
Spoon into prepared pan. Cover, freeze overnight.
Just before serving, remove from frozen pan, and transfer to chilled plate. Top with segmented citrus (remove all white pith) and drizzle with a little of the citrus syrup.
Remove rind from one of limes, one lemon and one orange (either using a fine grater or zester). Squeeze juice out of all fruits.
Combine juice and sugar in saucepan and bring to boil until sugar is dissolved. Stir so it does not burn. Simmer until slightly thickened (it said 5 minutes but I only did it for 2 minutes).
Cool and pour into jug ready for pouring over at time of serving.
Blueberry Strawberry Banana Ice-cream Cake
The second recipe I discovered on a website called OneGreenPlanet. It is a Blueberry Strawberry Banana Ice-cream Cake. The recipe is found in link on website above.
Both turned out amazing. The Blueberry Strawberry Banana Ice-Cream Cake has no dairy or added sugar and was scrumptious. It was amazingly simple to make if you have a blender. The vanilla cake layer was made by blending cashew nuts, banana and dates thinned slightly with coconut water (I used coconut milk from a can watered down 50%). The fruit layer was made by blending frozen blueberries, strawberries, a banana and some coconut water.
I made them both the evening before we celebrated her birthday and took them out the freezer about an hour before we ate them so they were creamier and less icy. I have included some photos taken during the process of making them both.
Exercise: Brett and I are gearing up towards our integrating healthier habits in our life. Our exercise goal (commencing Monday 29 December) is to walk from 7.15am in the morning for one hour, and then at the end of day after we have prepared the evening meal walk for half an hour only (with dogs). Our aim is to do this every Monday – Friday and on weekends we will walk during the day at a designated location.
Food: In regard to food, I am really keen because of my ongoing sinus and inflammation to try the Paleo diet. Brett is less keen due to concerns at cutting out two major food groups (carbohydrates and dairy) and his reading on Paleo. I think we are going to compromise by eating NO processed foods whilst at home, and I will forgo dairy and grains myself for a couple of months to see if it makes a difference. Brett is keen to try making a sourdough bread each weekend as this is a treat he has enjoyed most Sunday’s and this will be a healthier alternative and by making ourselves hopefully less expensive.
The goal is to stop buying as many products as we can, and make them ourselves or do without them if we don’t really need them.
Well happy Christmas and New Year everyone and we look forward to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.
I left my job! After 5.5 years working in a relatively secure and well paid job for State Government here in Queensland, Australia I resigned and worked my last day on 19 December.
We are both equally excited and nervous as well as realising the great potential and opportunity this brings us. Our business which has been going since 2003 (a website) now regularly has over 1.5 million readers a month and my husband who has been the sole operator since 2003, now struggles to keep up with the workload. We have been wanting to develop our own educational products, e-books, Youtube channel and write a “real” book, to meet the requests of our readers, but this has not been possible for a one man operation. We will both be free now to take the site to another level as well as work together from home as a couple, which has been a goal for a long time.
We have let our healthy eating and exercise take a back seat in the last year whilst we have been pursuing other goals, and to tell the truth, it has been an ongoing struggle for us to maintain consistency in routines and eating in the last 6 years we have been together. Brett has been busy developing the site, and I self published a memoir under a pseudonym which had been a goal for many years. It’s won 2 international book awards (Beverly Hills International Book Awards and Readers Favorite International Book Awards) and two honourable mentions since its release in January 2014 and over 50,000 people have either downloaded or bought it.
We are determined that this year, we will integrate a healthier work/life balance, with producing and using more of our own food, and making and using our own cleaning products for the home and for personal use (shampoos, soaps etc). In other words, increasing our self sufficiency. Weight loss should be a natural outcome of all of the above.
We are so excited to now have the time and motivation to truly be able to put into practice many of our long held dreams and interests. We will be documenting our journey towards integrating all of this into our daily, weekly, monthly and yearly routines – to achieve our desired outcomes and to help us reach our goals.
It will be great to document our journey as it is so easy to lose sight of what you HAVE done and instead focus on what you have NOT done when you are both goal orientated people.
The next major move for us will be purchasing and moving onto a few acres of land, but this won’t be happening for another 12-24 months. Up-skilling and getting workable routines and a lifestyle happening that is natural and we no longer have to “think about” will be the goal prior to this occurring.
Happy xmas and new year to you all (especially our scattered family and friends all over the globe) and we wish you all a fulfilling and exciting 2015.
WHAT to feed CHICKENS who are not free-ranging every day?
Brett and I get tired of forking out money on grain, and chicken pellets or mash for our 4 girls. There must be a more sustainable way.
We are free ranging them for a few hours each day on the weekend and once or twice during the week for an hour or two in the evening. Other than that they are in their pen which is about 6 metres by 4 metres approximately which has a few fruit trees growing in it for shade for them (mulberry, lemon, orange, coffee tree, chocolate custard tree, and persimmon tree).
I have been researching what other people have been doing and found some interesting posts.
One lady has a great blog post on fermenting mash naturally before feeding to her chickens and she outlines the benefits of doing this.
So basically, feeding fermented feed with naturally occurring probiotics is like setting loose an army of microscopic disease fighters inside your chickens… every time you feed them. … probiotics when put into the wet feed. I’m not going into a huge amount of detail (because this post is already going to be way long, but if you’re interested in more information you can see our ridiculously information-packed, long-winded article on the Natural Chicken Keeping blog).
This man has some great suggestions on “treats” for his chooks. I had been investigating breeding “mealworms” and black soldier fly larvae as main source of protein for my girls and a cheaper source than commercialluy bought pellets but he gives an interesting warning about why more than a few at a time could be damaging to them. Alot of food for thought:
As good as it is, commercial feed should not be the only thing that your hens eat. A standard-sized hen will eat between 1/4 and 1/3 pound of pellets a day, if it’s the only food offered. However, it remains essential for our backyard hens to have …
We do not buy grit for our chooks but I crush up egg shells and put a few in their feed each day. That way they do not recognise that the shell looks like their egg they just laid and start eating their own eggs, but I have a cheap supply of grit. So far in the last two years it has worked for me and I have had no problems with shells not forming properly on their eggs.
This lady sprouts organically sourced bulk whole grains and then sprouts them for her chickens.
In order to avoid buying conventional chicken feeds, I’ve been simply buying organic whole grains (“feed quality”) from our natural foods distributor, Azure Standard. They are the ….. I’d like to stop using bagged chicken feed (the ingredients list is terrifying), but I’m afraid of my chickens not getting the nutrition they need. Reply … Arsenic seems to accumulate more in the eggs than the meat, but is probably added to broiler feed more often than layer pellets. Here’s an …
One of the big things I have wondered about though is that as chickens are omnivores by nature, should I be feeding them meat? I have heard stories that during the depression children would be asked to catch rats and mice to feed to the chickens to keep them laying eggs.
Didn’t that make them carnivores? … And then I read in Joel Salatin’s book “Folks, this ain’t normal” that years ago, one of a young boy’s winter chores was to make sure that the hen house was supplied with critter carcasses throughout the cold months precisely to … This winter, instead of leaving the carcasses in the back woods for some hungry animal walking through, we’re going to be feeding them to our chickens (who will eat them only after I’ve turned my head.).
Of course, when they free range they catch insects etc and scratch for bugs in the ground. But what sources of living protein can chickens safely eat? and can I grow worms or bugs specifically just for my girls to eat? Would this be a smelly exercise?
Should I feed by chickens meat? Chickens are omnivores, which means that they naturally eat both meat and vegetables.. So giving chickens meat is quite alright. Even if you do not intentionally give your chickens meat, they …
… being a free ranging poultry farmer is not always easy. Buying pellet feed for our chickens is a quick feeding solution but it’s expensive and won’t necessarily give your birds all the nutrients they need. … Why not try a more natural, home-based, self-reliant feeding methodology? Putting it simply, we could try growing our own chicken … Learn what the poop from a healthy bird with an efficient digestive system looks like. If you make a change and start getting a lot of …
It made it into this infographic on which composting method is best for you, but it’s fair to say that grub composting—or the practice of disposing of organic waste by feeding it to black soldier fly larvae—is.
Chickens will definitely eat it. Ducks too, most likely. I don’t know about goats, but goats are said to eat anything. What about grasshoppers since grasshoppers eat anything? Grasshoppers! Yeah, they eat grasshoppers in …
USING CHICKENS NATURAL FORAGING BEHAVIOURS TO DEVELOP YOUR FOOD FOREST
And if you can grow a food forest you can use chickens to establish this and prepare the way by eating the weeds and preparing the soil. Here is a great video by an amazing man who explains how he uses his chickens natural behaviours to contribute to his food growing. Brett and I completed our permaculture certificates online with him last year (2013).
Don’t feed the following things to your chickens (I’m sure people have experienced exceptions to this list, but if we want to raise our birds the best way possible, it’s “better safe than sorry”.) Food Stuff Why Not Raw green potato …
To help clear up some of the confusion about what is toxic to chickens and what isn’t, we decided to sort through the various misconceptions running rampant, and use some reputable sources such as the Merck Veterinary …
Salty foods – Foods containing large amounts of salt can lead to a condition known as salt poisoning, salt toxicity, hypernatremia, or water deprivation-sodium ion intoxication. The small bodies of chickens are not meant to …
Garlic, onions, and other strong tasting foods – These aren’t necessarily harmful to your chickens, but they may import an undesirable taste to the eggs that your hens lay. Avocado skins and pits – These contain persin, …
Some people feed their chickens anything, not knowing that some foods are toxic to chickens. We all know that chocolates are dangerous to dogs; these too are dangerous to chickens. The following foods are not advisable to …
Acorns: Toxic Feed For Poultry. 7 October 2010. 15 Comments. Acorns are very plentiful here since we have so many Oak trees. They are gathered between September and October on our place and since I have several uses for Acorns, I like …
Basic general cleaning liquids are quite easy to make at home. There are a lot of different recipes for such products. For my first attempt, I opted for a very simple recipe using apple cider vinegar, water and tea tree oil.
What you’ll need:
One cup of water
One cup of apple cider vinegar
30 or 40 drops of pure tea tree oil
500 ml spray bottle
Making the mix:
Add water and vinegar to mixing bowl
Add essential oil
Stir mixture thoroughly
Decant to spray bottle using funnel
Shake bottle thoroughly for final mix
Thats it! Its now ready to use.
White vinegar, or perhaps other types of vinegar could be used in place of the apple cider vinegar. You could also use other types of essential oil. Or you could leave the essential oil out of the mix.
It is very easy to use – just spray and wipe with a clean cloth or sponge – and the vinegar smell is not unpleasant and dissipates quickly. It is a good general purpose cleaner for the kitchen, laundry, bathroom and other areas of the house.
It is also really good for streak-free cleaning of mirrors, windows and other glass surfaces.
Being a skeptic at heart, I’m often a little leery of some of the claims made about substances such as vinegar. And, it must be said that the supposedly miraculous properties of vinegar are often overhyped and I’d take some of the claims with a sizeable grain of salt.
One could reasonably assume that combining the two substances should increase the overall germ fighting power of the finished product. Of course, that assumption is entirely non-scientific. Without laboratory testing, I can’t know for certain how the two substances work together or how efficient they are at killing germs in the environment when applied as a cleaner.
But, I can say that the product does a good job of cleaning around the house and should certainly help to kill germs. It may not have quite the germ killing power as strong, chemical laden commercial cleaners but it is still an effective, very cheap and safe household disinfectant.
A note of caution:
Tea tree oil in its concentrated form can be toxic, especially to pets. It may also cause allergic reactions for some people. In this cleaning mixture, the tea tree oil is highly diluted, and should be safe. However, if you have concerns, you could substitute another oil or just omit the oil altogether.