Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Filling the tank

"We will need to have made the transition from oil dependency to other forms of energy. We will have to find new sources of food and ways of producing it that don't rely on today's quantities of fertiliser, water and soil....If we fail to address any one of these issues effectively, our economy will face an inevitable and almost fundamental crisis. The only unknown then will be how quickly the system fails."

~Dick Smith 
Dick Smiths Population Crisis

My husband mentioned to me that he heard on the news this morning that petrol prices are set to rise, in the biggest quarterly increase seen in over a quarter of a century. 

For most of us this means we will have less money left in our budgets. 

I wonder will the petrol price rise stop at this level, or will it continue to increase? Will prices drop again any time soon? Does this mean that everything that is produced using oil - like our food - will now go up on price? What are your thoughts on the subject?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Housework Routine - Part 3

'Well, now, there is one very excellent, necessary, and womanly accomplishment that no girl should be without for it is a help to rich and poor, and the comfort of families depends upon it. This fine talent is neglected nowadays, and considered old fashioned, which is a sad mistake, and one I don't mean to make in bringing up my girl." 

~Dr Alec
Eight Cousins
By Louisa May Alcott

The accomplishment Dr Alec was describing to his niece Rose in this wonderful novel by Louise May Alcott, was that of housekeeping. The young Rose was very surprised that her uncle held something so ordinary in such high esteem. Later in the conversation he referred to housekeeping as the "most beautiful as well as useful of all the arts a woman can learn." There is a lot involved in learning to become "a skillful, frugal cheerful housewife; the maker and keeper of a happy home." This is the attitude I work at maintaining with regard to my house keeping and why I am trying to re-create a housework routine that helps maintain order in my home and peace in my heart, and creates the space both physical and mental for other important life activities. 

So in part 2 did you wonder why I never mentioned cooking dinner? That is because my husband and I both cook dinner. Sometimes he cooks, and sometimes I cook, sometimes we cook together, and other times we have leftovers. If I am not cooking dinner in the evening I try and get something else done, as you will see in my routine below. Sundays are not included in my schedule as I try to keep Sunday as quiet and slow as possible. So listed below are my scheduled chores that are in addition to my daily routine. 

Menu plan
Cook Dinner/Dusting  

Cook Dinner/Fold Washing and Tidy House

Cook Dinner/Clean a window/Clean a ceiling fan
Write shopping list
Wash Towels - this is in addition to the daily load of washing

Grocery Shopping
Cook Dinner/Ironing
Wash Sheets - yes I have a bottom and a top sheet. I know it is quite trendy to go without a top sheet these days but I don't have time to wash and dry a doona/duvet  or quilt cover every week.

On Friday we usually have an easy dinner like toasted sandwiches.

First and Third Saturday of the month
I spend a lot of time in the garden and I try and catch up on some reading.

Second Saturday of the month is baking day.

The fourth Saturday of the month is a general catch up. On this day I may also visit op shops, garage sales or markets.

Well, I think that just about covers my home keeping routine. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

Housework Routine - Drudgery or a Supportive Framework Pt 2

"Your kitchen is directly related to your ability to attract money. Keep your pantry and refrigerator organized and full of fresh food you actually use. To attract more money, keep the stove clean every burner must work and be used equally. Lastly, remove all clutter from the kitchen table.

~Feng Shui consultant Suzanne Metzger.

In part one of this post I wrote how I find a routine is a supportive framework that enables me to  look after my home and keep my life organised. It also safeguards  the things I hold dear, because I allow time in my routine for things that are important for my future self; like exercise and study, and for things that nourish me like craft and reading. And as can be seen from the above quote regarding Feng Shui and one's home, the way I manage my home-keeping duties could even affect my prosperity. 

This is what I would love to be able to say my routine looks like. Oh, if only I were able to get that much done in so short a time! My routine is very different and at the same time nothing remarkable. You may remember when I first wrote about establishing a routine I wrote that if the new three weekly routine wasn't the right routine for me I would review and change it. Well that has turned out to be the case and I have made some adjustments. However I will share my routine as it is now.


Make the bed.
One load of washing.
Vacuum the house
Wipe over the bathroom basin and laundry sinks in the evening, using baking soda. Don does the kitchen sink.
Wipe over shower walls with a squidgee and spray with Method daily shower spray. This only takes a couple of minutes after a shower.
Exercise on the treadmill
Water the vegetable garden - truthfully Don usually does the watering. But I keep it on my list in case I need to follow up on it instead.
Spend a bit of time working on a crochet or knitting project at night. This helps me wind down and relax before going to bed.

Now I don't always achieve this every day. Remember I am trying to create new habits here. However if I only vacuum the lounge and kitchen today, and the bedrooms tomorrow, and the rest of the house the day after that, then that is OK. Now aside from my daily routine, there are things I do on certain days, and I will write about that part of my routine in my next post.


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Australia's Aged Care System is Changing

From July 1 the aged care system in Australia will change. This may be of interest to you if you use aged care services or home and community care (HACC) service; or a carer for someone who uses these services.

The Commonwealth Home Support Program will commence operation on this date. You can read more about it here.

On this date too, all Home Care Packages will become consumer directed care packages. 

Further information on these changes can be found on the My Aged Care website and on the Department of Social Services website.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Obtain a Yield

"You can't work on an empty stomach"

This is the next installment in my discussion of the 12 principles of permaculture. This time I am sharing my thoughts on the third principle, Obtain a Yield.  Please go to this link  for my thoughts on principle two. For expert information about the principles of permaculture you may like to check out the website of David Holmgren who formulated the principles. 

In a self-supporting household all systems need to be designed to be productive in some manner. 'Obtain a yield'  encourages us to hone in on the practical. This is illustrated by the proverb "You can't work on an empty stomach."  However when someone is hungry they need food now, not at some future point in time when the crops we may have planted are ready for harvesting. So another way of obtaining a yield would be sharing in the productivity of others such as through a local community supported agriculture programs, time banks, or bartering.

What we do now to obtain a yield

We grow some of our own fruit. Mulberries, lychees, mangos, starfruit, passionfruit, mandarins, and lemons are what we have been able to harvest  so far. We have also been harvesting chokos, a vegetable my husband really enjoys. Unfortunately a few days after I planted my zucchini seed and my bush bean seed we had terrific  downpours of rain which seems to have washed away the seeds that were planted. The strawberry plants I planted around the same time as the seeds were eaten down to nothing by unidentified culprits. Our tomato plants are still growing well.

My husband enjoys fishing which is a hobby that obtains a yield. I am also beginning to obtain a yield with my hobbies of knitting and crochet. 

What we would like to add in the future to obtain a yield

We would like to keep chickens in the future both for the eggs and for the fertility of the chook manure. I really want to have a Dexter cow at some point in the future.   I would like to keep bees and harvest some of the honey they produce. I also planned to include an aquaculture set up but our neighbour told me he is working toward having a big aquaculture set up and in time we can barter some of our produce for fish. Having neighbours who use the terms self-sufficiency and organic gardening is a great source of happiness to me.

What other people have done

Horticulturalist Peter Cundall has always been, for me, an inspiration for obtaining a yield. Many Australians would remember Pete’s vege patch sited in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.  Countless people would have been assisted in obtaining a yield thanks to the practical instruction in organic vegetable growing provided by this man. This in turn means that Peter’s yield has included countless of organic gardeners.

Are you familiar with permaculture? How do you apply the principle obtain a yield in your life?

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Canada Day

I have prepared an arm chair travel to Canada activity program  and I thought I would share it on my blog. It may be of interest to home-schooling mums  or carers.

Canada Day is celebrated on July 1.  

Arm chair travel is a leisure and educational activity used by   not for profit community organisations and schools. The basic premise is being a tourist without leaving home so to speak. The usual activities included in an arm chair travel are a DVD on the country you are visiting, perhaps eating some of the cuisine from the country and discussing the culture.  DVD's can usually be sourced from local libraries.  Though I must admit if I was using this as part of a home schooling lesson for girls I would be using the Anne of Green Gables DVD. Of course this is centred on Prince Edward Island, and not on Canada as a whole but it would be an introduction to a long cherished piece of Canadian literature. The program I prepared includes word games and simple craft activities. The craft activities can be done on the day or in advance if you were wanting to decorate your place for Canada day.

Decorations and Craft activities

There are so many interesting blogs on the web sharing their lovely home-made Canada Day decorations. Some of these blogs include downloadable PDF patterns for bunting  as shown on this great site Botanical Paperworks and other decorating ideas. A Little Pixel is another great site well worth checking out and it has some lovely Canada Day decorations.  

I am also planning on using a template of a maple leaf which can be printed out. Some can be left white and others can be painted in red. These can then be cut out and used as decorations around the place.

Word Games

There are many sites on internet that provide word games. For instance, this link will take you to a Canada anagram word game, a word search and a word mining activity. 

Together we are Canada Poem

This is a great little  poem listing the Canadian states and a bit about them