Sunday, October 4, 2009


Went to Brisbane Organic Fair today. It was held at Albion Peace hall, under the albion overpass.
There were heaps of great stalls, loads of plants and seeds and books. Absolute heaven for me.
I came away with some seeds, $1 dollar a packet, who can pass that up?
I got Rosella, European dandelion, Purple Tomatillo, True Chamomile, and grain Amaranth.
My son spent most of the time in the "Livestock" section/petting zoo... It took a glass of real lemonade, made with sugar cane juice and real lemons, to tear him away.
Who could blame him?
delicate sweet bambi"Is this my good side?"

Naptime...Tamworth pig:

Baa Ram Ewwe....

Oh awww, can we get one mum??? pleease I'll be good , I promise.......

A gorgeous Dame... French Houdan

Saturday, October 3, 2009

grey days

This is my response to Towards Sustainability she seems to be having a grey day, which happens to me all too often :) (I also have a lot of red days- where i'm angry and snappy all day, *sheepish grin*)

Working the jobs i do, I am privy to a lot of different people's lifestyles and I get frustrated when I see some of the things people do. Some of the things, I have been guilty of myself, so i try not to be judgemental, but the simple fact is there really is no excuse for not knowing better, anymore. Even mainstream media has newspaper articles and tv shows on simple, green living, so most people are aware of the issues...

Some of the things I have seen, (perpetrators shall remain nameless)...

  • 4 (!) airconditioners on at once, with windows and doors open... the mind boggles.
  • Televisions left on all night, with no one even sleeping in the room.
  • Manicured, monoculture lawns, that are as productive and useful as a carpark, and use more resources; petrochemical fertilisers, precious drinking quality water, etc.
  • Driving less than 1 kilometre round trip, just to pick up "dinner" through a drive thru.
  • Dozens of cars waiting in a line for over half an hour, engines running, to pick up children from school.
Digression (rant alert):
This annoys me, a fair bit. It takes me 1 hour total, to catch the bus from 2 kilometres away, get son and other hangers on, and catch bus home again. Sometimes we walk home, because we enjoy the walk! Some days, I hate the walk, and the chunk it takes out of my day, I will admit. However, it has cost me $2 for the bus fare, the bus goes that way whether i'm on it or not, so I'm not adding to emissions and I get a bit of exercise.

Also I can:
  • chat to my son, who isn't really a talker, (when we are walking, there's no chores/tv/homework to get in the way of chatter),
  • collect flowers for my cockatiel to nibble,
  • drop off letters at the post box,
  • collect seeds and leaves from street trees for craft,
  • chat on the phone without worrying about causing an accident,
  • read a magazine/book at the bus stop, (guilt free 5 minutes of sitting down, oh yeah)
  • listen to my mp3 player,
  • or just "be" in silence (it's truly amazing how quiet the suburbs can be, especially between 8am and 6pm, when no one is home!).

Some, not all, of the people in the pick up line have thier reasons, like not wanting to disturb a sleeping baby, that's fine. Seriously, though people, if you can, - walk, or turn your darn car off!

Anyways, back on topic...
How to feel less frustrated/angry/depressed/worried about the world ending in a human wrought environmental disaster...

Truthfully, it's hard. It's enough to make you want to take up goat farming in woop woop.

The only thing you can control are your own actions, which is pretty sucky.

Wouldn't it be cool to be the government for a day, or a week?

To just blanket declare pesticides illegal, or to ration car use, or to give away water tanks and alternative energy systems?
We could make it compulsory for every school to be a permaculture site. How great to go to a school that is passive solar designed, shady, airy, non toxic and has chickens roaming around?
We could ban MDF, chip board and air fresheners... sigh.

(Actually, the first thing I would do, as President of the world, would be to ban the use of perfumes/body spray/cologne and cigarettes if you plan on using public transport... this is purely selfish, i find the cocktail of smells mixed with stale cigarette smoke makes me feel ill when i'm on the bus. Why do teenage girls think they can cover the fact they have been smoking with half a can of impulse?)

To combat the hopeless feeling, the "why do i bother being vegetarian and using bicarb soda to clean the bathroom, when next door is flushing scented bleach down the loo, and eating preservative laced factory farmed chicken nuggets" feeling, I remind myself that I am not alone.

There are people just discovering how to have less of an impact on the planet, and there are people who have been living frugal simple lives forever, before 'eco' was a buzz word, or before even hippies for that matter. And there are plenty of people who also feel that the world is going to hell in a plastic shopping bag.

You could bang your head on a brick wall, or you can slowly chisel at its foundations.
Simply by sharing fragrant bunches of fresh basil, and sunripened homegrown tomatoes with friends, I motivate them to grow their own herbs and some vegies. When a client needs plants, I use local organic nurseries and substitute productive/native plants for ornamentals and exotics. When I give a friend a handmade gift, they feel special, the extra effort on my part is worth more to them than if i spent more money. When I turn up to a friend's house with some fresh baked breadrolls, or a bowl of home made dip, they are blown away, it's much more impressive than a bottle of wine you bought on the way there.

Keep on imagining a better world, living as simply and as greenly (is that a word?) as you can and take your canvas bags to the super market.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

River cottage

I guess i'm making up for lost time, i havent been able to post for awhile, either that, or i'm just procrastinating....

Anyway... I love watching/reading about people who are leading the kind of life i'd like to have...
Living in the country, running a smallholding, and so on...
I really like shows like "River Cottage Spring" if you are in oz you can watch it on Iview
but I have to say that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a little, well, annoying. His heart is definitely in the right place, and his shows are great.

But i can't help feeling jealous of his beautiful cottage, with its pretty vegetable patch and its neat paths. And all his employees..... no wonder the house is neat and tidy, his rows of vege are straight and weed free.... He has a team of gardeners and people to look after his livestock.

He is, if not rich, comfortably well off and a bit out of touch with "poor" people, (like me), who out of necessity, put budget ahead of other considerations. When you are living on $250 aud a week, which is what the single parents pension is, nearly all of that goes to rent. So even a couple of dollars more a kilo for free range, or organic food, is simply impossible. Instead of belittling people for choosing cheaper food, we need to educate people about growing their own, and preparing food from scratch. (Which I admit he is trying to do... in his own way... but still average Jill will be intimidated by the fact he has loads of people to help him.)

I cannot afford organic, free range meat, so we simply do not eat meat. If we could harvest our own meat, and be sure of the animal's quality of life and it being chemical free, i'm sure we would eat it sometimes, well not me but HH definitely. We generally can't afford organic fruit and vege either, so we try to grow as much as we can ourselves, which isn't easy, living in a rental and working/studying/parenting fulltime.

Obviously, I don't have a solution or I would be living it already. I think generally simplifying where you can is the answer. Eat simple food, which is as ethical as possible. Take baby steps, for example, buy free range eggs, before jumping in and setting up your own chicken coop. Eat at home more often, and prepare as much food yourself as you can, before agonising over the environmental costs of rice farming, or soybean production.

Just start where you're at.... Bloom where you're planted... and don't beat yourself up if you can't keep up with the Greenes'...

This quote from Homemaker Ang kind of sums it up:

"Instead of eating the white bread we all grew up on, one of us decides to break the mold and start buying whole wheat bread at the grocery store. We feel so proud of this accomplishment because we are feeding our family more healthy than how we grew up. Then we meet a woman who buys organic whole wheat bread from a posh health food market, and she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread in her bread maker everyday! Then she meets a woman who bakes her own organic whole wheat bread but kneads it by hand everyday rather than using a bread maker…. But she meets a woman who grinds her own organic wheat berries each day and bakes her own organic whole wheat bread and then she meets a woman who GROWS her own whole wheat to bake her own bread but this lady even meets a woman who grows her own whole wheat but hers is actually organic! YIKES! I could keep going on and on couldn't I…?"

She goes on to say "Ps. I don't like the woman who grows her own organic whole wheat…"

Ode to Pepe

"pepes home im very happy
my song /im vary vary hapy my cats home
happy happy happy
my cats home la la la la la la da ha"

-By Jella B. (Number one son), NB: "vary" = very

Our cat went missing on Tuesday 22nd, we didn't think too much of it, he can sometimes stay away for a couple of days.

The dust storm happened on Wednesday, and he didnt come home.... He still wasn't home by Friday and i was very worried. I walked up and down the street, rattled his biscuit box, called his name, a number of times, but still no Pepe. On Sunday, I snuck into my nieghbours yard, who is away, and called out again, not much hope by now, but I still had to try.

And guess what? There lying under some bushes, alive, but skinny, and dirty, was our cat! I picked him up and noticed his back leg was all floppy. I took him home and called the vet, thinking he had a tick, or had brocken his back. Of course being sunday, our vet was closed, I had to take him all the way to Brisbane vet hospital, in Albany Creek. My knight in shining armour (my sister), drove us out there, the gps getting us lost on the way... I love technology....

It turns out that he had smashed his upper back leg and his hip socket, which required massive surgery and a few days in hospital, (and a big chunk of the savings for our house deposit!). He was probably hit by a car, because his claws were shorn down.

It cost a heck of a lot of money. But I know it's worth it, especially when I know my son has cried himself to sleep for the last week, and I shed (more than) a few tears myself, thinking he would have to be put down.

Right now, the patient is sleeping in a make shift bed, with a certain 7 year old lying next to him on the cool bathroom floor. He's looking a bit punk/emo, with a pink arm cuff (painkiller patch) and his leg, thigh and random patches of fur shaved. He is also a bit groggy, but he can limp around and he's alive, so i'm breathing a sigh of relief.

We can always earn more money, but we can never get another Pepe.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

i read a news item out loud to my son, because it said that doctors were telling people to stay inside, and i wanted to convince him that im not the meanest mother in the world for making him stay inside today.... but some how he picked up on the advice to clean all surfaces with a damp cloth.... and he is now washing all his hot wheels cars...

"people should minimise their exposure, cover their mouth and nose if going out, and damp wipe and mop their house to further get rid of any lingering dust."

Dust storm Brisbane

I'm bunkered down inside my house, all the windows are shut. It's sweltering hot, and the light has an eerie orange quality. There is a beautiful breeze, pity i can't let it in. We can barely breathe the dusty air inside let alone the thick orange cloud outside. We are both feeling a little wheezy and our noses are running.

10 am this morning facing south west from my back verandah:

12pm (note the crane- its almost the same view)

10 am facing south from my verandah:

and again at 12pm:

my neighbours backyard:


Braved the dust and went exploring, my son was jumping and running around like a skittish kitten, strange how kids and animals are affected by weather....

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Parenthood is....

...standing on an incredibly sharp piece of bionicle and not only are you not allowed to swear through the pain, but you have to console the owner of said bionicle because you got blood on his toy.

... getting up 1 and 1/2 hours before sunrise and making breakfast in your sleep. Only to be told you made it in the "wrong" bowl.

... sweating over the contents of a lunchbox every night. Red light food vs green light food; no peanuts, tree nuts, or eggs; no excess packaging; no preservatives, colours or flavours; nothing that might spoil or go soggy; nothing politically incorrect, (e.g. nestle or coca-cola amatil,) trying to stick to local/organic/fairtrade.... and then finding the untouched lunch in his bag come 3pm.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

As i was walking

i love geckoes, i miss them in winter.
this baby was sunning himself on a fence this morning... totally lifted my mood :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Crystal waters pics

These highly colour saturated photos were taken by Mike New on the PDC tour up to Maleny

sitemeter makes interesting reading


I set up a sitemeter account, as a joke really, and it turns out that people actually read my blog. Other than immediate family, I mean.

Well, stone the flamin' crows, you could knock me down with a feather!

Does this mean I should actually bother to write something interesting? or make an attempt at regular posts?

Don't hold your breath, lol. I'm a mum, wife and uni student, so that's not likely :) I'm just going to write whatever happens to be in my head, whenever I get a spare few minutes in front of a pc. Seems to have worked so far....

Daytime curfew?

I had never, ever heard of this, until I happened to read a casual comment about daytime curfews in this article.

I didn't know what the author meant, so I googled it, (gotta love google).

A copy of the Curfew Law for Dallas can be read here, it starts on page 63. This is an American idea, I haven't heard of it being implemented in Australia, so far.

I am shocked. Basically, anyone under the age of 17, must be at school, home, work, or supervised by a parent/guardian, or they are breaking the law. This is constitutional?

This is ridiculous.

1. At 15, a person needs to be supervised by adults? They are starting to become adults. Part of growing up is developing a sense of identity, away from family. It's about becoming independent, about learning how to grow up, and that process will be severely stunted if they aren't allowed out of their parent's sight.

2. What trouble can you get into at 2pm on Thursday, that you can't get into at 2pm on Saturday?

3. What if you are late for school? Can you get arrested for walking down the street, at 9.30am?

4. How come it's ok to wag at home, but it's not ok to wag in a park?

5. If you and your boyfriend are at his place "watching Buffy reruns", during school hours, do they arrest you both, or just you, because he is at home and therefore technically not breaking the law?

Monday, May 25, 2009


I stayed up late last night choosing subjects for next semester, and then enrolling in said subjects. It gives you a heart attack when you realise how much one subject costs, (between $600 to $1000 AUD per subject), then you start having a panic attack when you realise how many subjects you've failed and you still have to pay for. Well, if you're me anyway.

And i still need text books....... this is where HH starts having heart palpitations. I love new books, so i don't mind so much, he he.

I have posted a want ad on the uni forum for 2nd hand text books, so we'll see if i can get them cheap.

I'm also a bit panicky about having enough time to study. My family gets neglected when it comes to exam time...

hmm, i've worked myself up and it' still 2 months away......

Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh ha bloody ha!
Stupid climate change, stupid el nino/la nina!
10 years or so of drought, then we get a years supply of rain in 48 hours!
grumble mumble razzafrucka sassafrum (muttley style grumbling)

NSCF went under, because Enoggera creek broke it's banks.
Roads were shut all over the place, and despite Anna Bligh saying all was well with buses etc, it took me an hour to get my son to school (from Lutwyche to Wilston, 2kms/1.25 miles). We ended up walking, after waiting for ages, then, as can be expected, the bus passed us just as we were almost there.
I didn't bother to try to get my assignment back from NSCF, yesterday. It was hard enough just getting 5 minutes up the road.

Some people are complaining that all the roadworks and developments have fiddled with the drains and creeks. It is possible, especially around the Bowen Bridge Road area, and Toombul shopping centre, but the floods were all over SEQ and North NSW. Can't really blame Clem7 or the airport link, for floods in Beerburrum. Fun to try though :).

I'm not sure that building tunnels under flood prone creeks and rivers is really a sensible idea, Mr Newman, Ms Bligh. General consensus on climate change is that storms will increase in intensity, cyclones will become more frequent and will range further down the east coast of Australia.

[T]he intensity of the 1-in-20 year daily rainfall event is likely to increase [...] by up to 30% by 2040 in south-east Queensland [...] The frequency of severe
tropical cyclones (Categories 3, 4 and 5) on the east Australian coast increases 22% [...] from 2000 to 2050, with a 200 km southward shift in the cyclone genesis region, leading to greater exposure in south-east Queensland and north-east NSW. (IPCC 2007, Chapter 11, Australia and New Zealand, "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability")

If the last few days is an example of what happens when a low pressure system hits Brisbane, I'm not sure we'll stand up to an actual cyclone...

Saturday, April 25, 2009


This is my response to this article "BP backs Jatropha as a biodeisel feedstock"

we don't "need" cars, we want them.
Without cars/transport, our lives revert to about a 50km radius, with very few trips outside this. Society is conditioned to living in a larger radius than that. Our food is grown in other hemispheres, most people live more than 50km from work, friends and family. A lot of people live hundreds of km from major hospitals.
Until society constricts back to a smaller radius, man made fuels may be a bandaid fix, but we really need to focus on "relocalising", or "transitioning".

Whole cities, even countries, not just people, need to restructure, so that all necessities are within a reasonable distance. Unfortunately, for state government, this means no mega hospitals, instead build up a resilient network of smaller hospitals. The same goes for educational institutions, like child care and Uni. For Coorporations, this means more cottage industries, more local general stores, etc, instead of humongous Westfield Malls. On a personal level, we need to build our community's resilience and diversity. Don't invest your life in a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom house on 400m2, in an estate that is 1/2 an hours drive from schools, shops, and doctors. (I think we are all on the same page there. lol)

If you are already invested for life, make friends with neighbours, grow vegies/herbs guerrilla style on the nature strip, on one of those stupid traffic slowing islands or on your roof. Rent out an unused room, or invite gran to live with you in return for free childcare. Work from home. Carpool, or do the shopping for your elderly neighbour, to get the most out of each trip. Use your local convenience store, (if its not already 7/11), it might be more expensive, but you are paying for the convenience, and when they go out of business, you will have to spend more on petrol to get to mega mart anyway.

We are investing in the wrong things. (Why spend billions of $$ on Clem7 for example?) We need to focus less on preserving our current lifestyles, and building a system that will be resilient in the face of energy descent, so that the impact is positive rather than doom and gloom.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Talking about Jerry Coleby-Williams and potato substitutes. Here is a link to his post about plaintains.

ABC Gardening expo

I forgot to post about The ABC Gardening Australia Expo.
We went on Saturday, the 18th.
It was great. I wanted to see Jerry Coleby-Williams and HH wanted to see Colin Campbell. We love the TV show and the website is so useful, it is the first place I go to for gardening tips and info. Northey St City farm had a stall there, and they had a couple of chooks in a chook tractor, that mesmerised my son. We bought too many books and plants (me), ate junk (my son), drooled over huge ride on mowers and mulchers (HH), and basically had a good time.

Jerry Coleby-Williams did a talk on survival foods. It was really interesting. Basically, he gave a whole heap of subtropical alternatives to potatoes. Potatoes can be hard to grow in humid weather, but sweet potato, yams, arrow root etc, just look after themselves. He also talked about a couple of things I'd never really considered, the plaintain and green (unripe) pawpaw! I had to try green pawpaw, I have a huge tree full just sitting there. We don't really eat our pawpaws. The ripe fruit is not that great, we have the yellow kind, I prefer red pawpaw, also we rarely beat the fruit bats to it anyway. That night, I cooked some up, without telling the boys. It tasted sort of like sweet potato. They totally ate it, no complaints. It's surprisingly good, we will do that again.

We also joined The Digger's Club, which I had been trying to talk HH into for ages. When he saw thier stall and talked to one of thier sales people he was finally convinced. I think the free seeds pulled him over the edge ;)
Recently, Ps. Ron Favaloro, a family friend and the pastor who married my husband and me was on Australian Story.

When I was googling for info about the program, I found this photo, I just had to share.

From left to right: Ps David Warren (my dad, he he), Ps Ron Favaloro, and Ps Terry Walker.

The photo was in the local paper advertising a charity bike ride to raise money for Zoeys Place.

Photo from ALBERT AND LOGAN NEWS, FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2008 p3, Dale Haberfield
view original article

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The environmentally responsible child

My son cares for the environment in a number of ways.
The first is by showering once a month at the most, to save on electricity, water and soap.
He also reduces the amount of washing up we have to do, by drinking out of the milk bottle and eating with his fingers.
He chooses to fertilise the garden, instead of flushing his nitrogen rich pee down the loo. When it comes to flushing the toilet, his motto is: "if its yellow its mellow, if its brown, let it sit there and stink!"
He also tends to wear his clothes to bed, saving loads of washing.

See, his mother may find it irritating, but he is just trying to do his bit for the planet.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I haven't had a chance to post anything for awhile. I have been having loads of fun, but I have been thinking of you, lol.

HH has just returned to work after having 4 whole weeks off. We made the most of the time together. We spent a weekend on the Gold Coast, just HH and me. All three of us went to Fraser Island for a week. The two boys went off for a boys weekend, camping at Neurum Creek, while I flew to Melbourne for a big family do with my sister.

We also used the time to set up a business. So much paperwork, ABN, insurance, registration, phew. Finally, it all came together and "Ellaby Yardcare" is open for business. Visit the website here.

And no that's not the Irwins in those photos, it's just me and HH, dressed up in khakis lol.

Our weekend on the Gold Coast, was soo relaxing. We saw Tim Minchin, at the Gold Coast arts centre, which was hilarious. Then we had dinner at an italian restaurant. We also slept in past dawn, such bliss. We stayed at the Meriton, which was inexpensive, but really stylish. HH commented that he really liked the apartment and its furnishings, I just really relished having a shower in a bathroom, which didn't have holes in the walls and missing louvres. I also liked applying make up without having to stand on tippy toes, in the dark (our mirror is installed too high, and the bathroom light doesnt work).

Side bar:
I think the main reason we felt so relaxed, was probably because the place wasnt full of our junk, I mean stuff. I tried to explain to HH, that books piled up against walls (mine) and unpacked boxes in the hallway (his), not only clutters the walkways, it clutters your mind. We have pledged to rid ourselves of junk, hallelujah, he has seen the light. He is even letting me sell some, ahem, wedding presents that have never come out of the boxes, let alone been used. We got married in 2007, people. Fingers crossed we don't offend anyone, not that that has ever stopped me before. We just have to be brutal, we live in a tiny, tiny unit, with (I am not making this up) no cupboards! There are no cupboards in the bedroom, none in the bathroom, we don't have a linen cupboard, we dont even have a pantry. There are some shelves in the kitchen, and a cupboard under the sink, that is it! Think about it, for a moment, where is your vacuum cleaner? your broom and mop? your toilet paper? your towels? I am guessing in a cupboard somewhere? Oh ho, not me folks, all my stuff is out, in the open, for every visitor, in law, and door to door salesman to see. Anyhoo, back to talking about holidays.

After our cozy weekend, we all traipsed off to Fraser Island in the 4runner.
(or should I say we bounced, jostled and jarred our spines?) The weather was absolutely perfect, it was lovely and sunny, yet not too hot. We stayed at Fraser's at Cathedral beach.
We slept late, and ate when we felt like it, like all good holidays. HH did some serious 4 wheel driving, I read trashy novels. There was no TV, no phone, no computer....

I took heaps of photos of bush tucker, which I think I will upload in a different post. We saw dingoes, kookaburras, turtles, goannas, eagles. It was heaven to use an overused cliche.

After we got back, the boys took off to Neurum Creek, to eat junk food, burn stuff and behave badly in general. My sister and I flew off to Melbourne for my Aunts 50th birthday and had a girly weekend, catching up with our family from over the border.I think that catches everyone up...

Living in an elevator

You know how you step onto an elevator, and immediately, every one shuffles back for you to fit, with out a word said and no eye contact made. Everyone faces the front, and the trip is in silence. Temporarily, your personal space bubble shrinks. You politely ignore the fact that the briefcase of the guy next to you is digging into your side. You breathe shallowly, feet together, elbows in, taking up as little space as possible.

I have a theory, that the same unspoken rules apply to modern life, with so many people, living in such close proximity.
Living in a block of units, with large blocks of units on two sides of our block, and another block across the road... We are living in an elevator.

(The purple arrow is pointing to my place)

When you live in an elevator, your personal space bubble is permanently shrunk. We pretend that we don't see each other. You ignore the fact that you can hear each other laugh, sneeze and cry. You pretend you can't hear anyone fighting, or making love, and pray that you are quiet enough, yourself. Curtains have to be closed, because it is too easy to see across into the neighbours place, and for them to see into yours. You feel self conscious hanging out the washing, taking out the rubbish, even checking the mail. You never say hi, or make eye contact, because of the unspoken elevator rules.

Life can be claustrophobic, and pretty lonely.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I've been away for a while, on holidays. Pics and lengthy posts on their way...
I have also been working on a project with HH.... see I can't wait to post about it.
In the meantime, read 'The one straw revolution' by Fukuoka, 1978

I have embedded it at the bottom of my blog, so scroll down...

or read it at SCRIBD

Monday, March 9, 2009

rain lovely rain

Ok, I understand that cyclones are bad, but i have to thank Cyclone Hamish. The perceived temperature here has dropped, there is a cool fresh breeze that smells of wet earth and soft misty gusts of rain. sigh.
Brisbane weather satellite image

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"You really should clean that, it's a disgrace!"

I want a backyard oven

I want a backyard oven. I want fresh bread, but it's too hot to bake, and it hurts to pay $3.50 for a loaf of bread. especially when i know flour costs them less than it costs me!

Ages ago I bought Earth garden's Backyard Ovens and i've taken to casually leaving it in conspicuous places. Unfortunately, HH just sings under his breath, "put it back, put it back, put it back where it goes" and shoves it back in the bookshelf. He has to shove, because my poor bookshelf is about to burst. I say the sagging shelves add character to the decor (what decor? would that be hand-me-down chic? or dumpster diving deco?).

Maybe if i just go on strike, not buying or baking bread, or muffins, or pizza, until i get my oven? Huh, that would hurt me more than him, I'm a carb addict. it might take him months before he realises.

I'm researching making bread in a camp oven, but i think we aren't allowed fires in our yards. Something about getting smoke on peoples sheets hanging on the line. I've tried googling it, but i can't find out from BCC. It's not like anyone in my neighbourhood uses their clotheslines any way, even in summer when there is free solar power to power the hills hoist.

I'm eagerly awaiting NSCF's next diy cob oven workshop, i'll drag him kicking and screaming. He might even have fun(?). Somewhere deep (very deep) inside him, there is a green hippy just waiting to get out, i know it, lol.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Its so hot, still, at 9pm.
Its only 26 degrees or so, but the humidity makes it feel worse. Trying to get comfy is hard when you are irritable and sticky.

I'll stop whinging now. Here is a recipe for my lime cordial:

1 cup lime juice
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup water

Go next door and "borrow" about 10 limes. To juice the limes, sit them in hot water, or zap them in the microwave for 10 seconds. Roll the limes on the bench to loosen the juice, then use your citrus juicer. You should get more juice this way. (Save the rinds, the zest freezes well. You can rub the spent half limes all over your kitchen sink/bathroom sink/bathtub/toilet to freshen them.)

Heat the sugar and water until the sugar is all dissolved, do it in the microwave if you can't stand the thought of turning on the stove in this weather.

Add the juice to the syrup. Pour it into a bottle. Store it in the fridge, labelled, or someone, possibly your husband, will take a swig from the bottle and decide it tastes terrible and never touch it again. No matter how many times you tell him he should try it diluted.

To drink the cordial, you can add just a dash to cold water, soda water, or lemonade. Top up the glass with lots of ice and stick a few mint leaves in it.
Lie outside on the verandah, in the dark and tell the kids you are on strike.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Budgie, the Cockatiel

I am sitting here at the pc, at nearly midnight, enjoying the quiet and solitude that can only happen late at night or early in the morning.

Then my cockatiel, [whose name is Budgie :)] starts whistling. It seemed like her whole repertoire was stuck on loop and she was being very loud. She can wolf whistle, whistle a cockatiel version of reveille and say "here buttabutt". I kept saying "night-night budgie" which is her cue to be quiet, even in the day time, but after awhile, I was saying "shut up budgie!"

Finally, I got up and took the cover off the cage to talk to her about indoor voices and not waking up grumpy heads of households. And I found two disgusting, big cockroaches, the flying kind, in the poor bird's food dish. I felt really mean, and guilty and I said sorry to Budgie. After i shooed them away (I don't stomp or spray), she started preening her feathers, and has now gone back to sleep.

I shouldn't have ignored her "noise". She was just calling out for help from her mum :(
So to make it up to her I'm posting this picture. Isn't she beautiful? She could give us all hair and make-up tips. (yes, that's my overflowing bookshelf in the background. what's the emoticon for embarrassed?)

And I have to tell you how smart she is. She has a special hello shriek, just for family members. She never shrieks at our neighbours, just us. She can tell when HH pulls into the driveway, and she lets everyone know he's home. She shrieks at me when she hears the keys in the door. Such a warm greeting, it makes you feel loved. (Actually, it kind of makes me think I'm getting yelled at before I've stepped in the door. "Shriek, here she is! Where have you been young lady?")

She also has a cute 'arck' sound she makes when she gets woken up before dawn, by HH on his way to work. It kind of sounds like f---, I wonder where she picked that up?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Food Connect

"Food Connect is leading the way towards responsible food production and distribution in Australia. Unlike most national food distributors, major supermarket chains and produce box schemes, Food Connect sources its predominantly organic produce from local and regional family farms. We provide our family farmers a fair price for their produce, which encourages them to continue growing our food. This, in turn, helps our region to be more food secure. Furthermore, the environmental benefits of eating Food Connect produce go beyond just eating organic. Our local food distribution system ensures a significant reduction in the carbon emissions that are associated with transporting food long distances.

Your food choices matter! As a Food Connect subscriber, your choice contributes in very tangible ways to building an ecologically and socially sustainable world."

If like me, you wonder how you can possibly wade through the supermarket, figuring out where everything is from, then don't. Subscribe to Food Connect and they will deliver you fresh food from local growers. Too easy!

p.s. I haven't received anything for this plug and i am not affiliated with this company, I just think they do a great thing and more people should know about it :)

Brisbane Transition Town

On Sunday, I went to Brisbane Transition Hub Induction Workshop.
The workshop was wonderful. The room was full of diverse, enthusiastic and intelligent people, who are working towards making their home town sustainable.

I was overwhelmed by the caring atmosphere and by the flowing exchange of ideas.

There was also a bring a plate lunch, focussing on local food, which was delicious. Breads, curries, fruit, salads, cous cous, and so on.... sigh.

I made some contacts with people in my local area, which felt great. I have been trying without much success, to interest friends and family in the idea of transition towns.
It has been a bit frustrating, to feel like the only person who cares about climate change and energy descent. Most people seem unable to accept that their lifestyle has any impact on the environment, or that they are in a position to change things for the better. Some people even say, although they know that over consuming is affecting the planet, they don't see why they have to stop if their neighbours don't.... a bit of round about logic.....

Anyway, some really constructive, and positive ideas were formed at the workshop.
Hopefully, at a later date, I will be able to post some more about the specific objectives the group decided on and some projects that are in the works.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I haven't posted about the fires in Victoria or the other freak weather events happening around the country. This is mainly because I have been feeling overwhelmed and a bit helpless.
If you are feeling like I am, visit this site to get information on the many different ways that you can do something to help people affected by the fires. You can also donate to the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal to help those affected by the North and North West Queensland floods.

Brisbane Transition Hub Induction Workshop

I am so excited. It looks like Transition Town Brisbane may be generating enough momentum to get off the ground. There is a workshop happening this sunday to "develop a strategic direction for the network of Transition initiatives[...] and of course be inspired to 'transition' Brisbane."

Have you heard about Transition Towns?
It started in Totnes, England, and has spread throughout the world. Basically, instead of heading for the hills, and burying a cache of weapons and ammo, (not that there is anything wrong with that ;)) a bunch of people looked at the looming peak oil crisis and decided to reduce their personal addiction to dinosaur juice and facilitate a peaceful, economic and social transition to post oil in their community.
This Handbook outlines the process that some communities have followed.

I first encountered the idea of Transition Towns while I was researching Permaculture. This website, was written by the co-founder of permaculture, David Holmgren. It outlines a lot of issues related to peak oil, which Holmgren calls 'Energy descent'. It is a really informative website. Holmgren has also written 'Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability', you can order the book and read free excerpts of it at Holmgren's website.

I have set up a facebook group, 'Towards Transition Lutwyche', to try and promote the idea within my circle of friends and family. I have compiled a lot more helpful links relating to Transition Towns and if you'd like, you can access them from the group's facebook page.

I really hope to be able to go to the workshop on Sunday. I'd love to hear from other 'Transitionites' and bounce ideas around.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Here are photos of my two new babies. I had to wait to take them in the daylight.
Thanks sis.
Now, where to plant them??

Saturday, February 7, 2009

happy birthday to me

In a few hours it will be my birthday.
I am pretty much at an age where I want to stop telling people how old I am so that in a few years, they will have forgotten my age, and then I will be able to lie about it. :)

I spent today with my sister, just the two of us. It's not often we get to just be alone together, without partners, or kids. We had a delicious lunch at a great local place, called Cafe Conti, the portions were huge, and delicious. Then we went down the road, to Northey St City Farm. I had to pick up my secateurs, which i left there after a propagation class, yesterday. Thanks, Caitlin, I thought I'd never see them again. :)

We spent ages wandering around the nursery. The plants they have there are all edible and/or useful, and suited to my local growing conditions. I could have bought one (or more) of everything. There was native tamarind, which i long to sample. I didn't even know there was a native one until today, lol. There were, teeny tiny blueberry bushes, citrus galore, olives, sapotes,vegies and herbs out the whazoo. Sigh. As a birthday present, My sister bought me a luffa vine, and a coffee bush. Soon i'll be roasting my own coffee (how many beans does one plant produce? lol) and drying my own sponges, yay. I think the next plant I will buy is a wampi, i have tried it once. The fruit is so delicate and juicy, sunwarmed and straight from the tree. It has a grape like texture and is sweet, yet slightly acidic.

Then we went to a landscaping store, who shall remain nameless, although I am assured they are an ethical company, I prefer small local shops to chain stores. I needed clean sand to make cutting mix though, so i swallowed my pride, bit my tongue and bought 25kgs.

So hopefully my next post will be all about potting up cuttings, and sowing trays of seed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

RIP Baby blue tongue

This morning I found Baby Blue Tongue under the front stairs dead. I guess the great black and white hunter got him after all. :( sorry buddy

Freedom Harvest Challenge

I have signed up for the "Freedom Harvest Challenge". The challenge is for people to collectively grow 1 million pounds (453 600 kgs) in their backyards, (or front yard, or window sill, or where ever). Anais at Little Homestead in the City says this amounts to about 400 pounds each (181.5 kgs) eeek!

Oh, well, one of my goals for 2009 was to get the garden back up to scratch, I guess this will help get me more motivated.

I wonder if I should weigh every handful of parsley I sprinkle on our dinners?

Anyway, I'm off to plant some zucchini to pad out my total, ;) they always grow like weeds, he he.

Sign up here:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day of Action Encircle Parliament

Tomorrow is the first sitting day of parliament. There will be a protest to let the Australian government know that we want more action on climate change. People from all over Australia wearing red and carrying red banners, as a symbol of the climate emergency, will join hands around parliament house, Canberra.

I will be there in spirit, wearing a red shirt.
I wish everyone the best of luck. I don't expect it will be covered by the mainstream news, but I will be checking out You tube.

Hey, Kevvo, 5%? Not good enough, Mate!

More info here

Another 2009 goal

I have enrolled in The Northey St City farm's Permaculture Design course.
My first day was great. I am always really nervous meeting a group of new people.
I also had these wierd half formed ideas, that maybe everyone would be uber hippy green and they would think that i was terrible for eating cheese, or using soap, or something. He he. After awhile, I felt really comfortable though, with everyone so welcoming. There was a lot of diversity, in age, political leanings, "greenness", etc.

I have learned so much, my head is swimming. It is so refreshing to study something that gels with your worldview. (Unlike so many university arts subjects, which are approached from either a feminazi, socialist viewpoint, or focussed on past world events, and really can't be applied to life.)

Lunch is provided for the students, by the students, on a roster. (And everyone has to pitch in with dishes and cleaning up after, which gives you a chance to chat. Not like uni, at all! Reminded me a bit of school camp lol.) Every week lunch focusses on a different subtropical seasonal ingredient. This weeks ingredient was Bunya Nuts. We had bunya nut stirfry, with rice, and bunya nut patties - think felafel, with lilly-pilly chilli jam. It was so exciting for me to see Bunya nuts 'in the flesh'. I've read about them before, and have always wanted to try them. There was also a presentation about the nuts, you know, habitat, uses etc. We also discussed how the Bunya nut is a special tree to Indigenous people. A lot of the significance of bunya nuts is only allowed to be shared within the Indigenous community, which I respect. For an interesting insight into the Bunya nut festival visit this blog. The festival is invitation only, which i think is great, because it stops it from turning into a tourist attraction.

I also loved that I was eating a meal prepared by other people, yet I could eat everything on offer... It was all vegetarian, yay! No making excuses, or apologising for putting people out. The ratio of carnivores to vegos was about 50/50, so i didn't feel odd.

I am thankful this is something I am able to do, and I hope to put my knowledge to use at home now and on our property, when we get one.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mary river DAMN

This letter arrived in the post today. Ages ago, I emailed the premier my opinions on the proposed Traveston dam. I am glad that I got a response, but it does nothing to allay my concerns.

Basically, I said in my email, Brisbane residents do not want the devastation of an ecosystem on their consciences every time they have a glass of water. We don't want our endangered species in a zoo, or a "scientific research facility", we want them in our landscape, enriching the planet.

I suggested some simple, constructive ideas in my email, for example, spending the millions of dollars on residential and commercial grey water systems, water tanks and fixing leaks, instead.

Brisbane does not have a rainfall problem, it has a rain harvesting problem!

I look at huge shopping complexes, such as Westfield Chermside and all I see is hundreds of square meters of rooftop catchment being wasted. What about all those toilets and handbasins in commercial buildings? A large waste water treatment system, such as Biolytix, could capture and reuse that water.

It doesn't make sense to me, that the solution for a drought, is relying even more heavily on rainfall. Dams are an inefficient way to harvest and store water. The large surface area means that in our hot, sunny climate the dam will suffer huge losses from evaporation. Also, the runoff that the dam captures, could have manure and fertilisers in it, which means the water will have to undergo a series of expensive treatment processes before it is drinkable. All of that, just to get flushed down some Mcmansion owning @#%$er's toilet.

For more information and actions you can take go to:
you could also join this group:

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Fridge words

I love fridge words and the stream of consciousness poetry that some people create with them. However, I do not love the price. :)

So in the spirit of anti-consumerism and "refuse to consume", I made my own. Use any words you like, mine all lean towards ethics, creativity and politics. Include pronouns, adverbs and determiners, if you want to make up a narrative. Try to be creative. Pick strange words, e.g. "dastardly", or "autohagiographer". Pick a theme, use words from a poem or quote you love, or only pick silly sounding words.You can also include names of friends, family and pets. If you've got kids who have sight words or spelling lists to memorise, you could make them a set. Hmmm, fun, (yawn) better yet get them to make their own!

  • Sturdy card board or construction paper. I got some sheets for Christmas from my Mum and Dad, they came wrapped around a piece card board, I don't know why. I kept the card board, as you do.
  • Magnetic strip. I used strips of magnets from off the back of those ubiquitous calendars politicians and real estate agents bombard you with at this time of year. Promotional magnets and magnetic business cards would work well, too. They are surprisingly easy to cut with normal scissors.
  • Pens, Pencil, Ruler, Scissors, Glue. I used Glustick, but I would recommend using something a bit stronger, maybe UHU power stick, or craft glue. The magnets are slick, so you need something that will adhere to plastic.
  • List of words.

Step 1: Write your words onto your cardboard. My handwriting is notoriously messy, so instead of trying (and not succeeding) to make all my letters neatly identical, I used a variety of pens and font styles. If you like, you could print out your list , then glue the paper onto your cardboard.

Step 2: Stick your magnetic strips to the back of the cardboard. Tip: Do this before you cut out individual words, working with one large piece of cardboard and a few pieces of magnetic strip is easier than dozens of teeny pieces of cardboard and magnet!

Step 3: Cut out the individual words.

Voila! Fridge words! Have fun :)