Monday, 31 October 2016

R.S.V.P - October 2016

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my blog this month. It is always a thrill to hear from you. I have listed some of my favourite comments from October below.

This comment was from Meg from "A Hopeful Nature"
'My plans for my veggie garden in the coming months is just to grow salad veg (lettuce, cherry tomato, cucumber) because that is what we'll eat a lot of over the warm/hot months. Growing zucchini and spring onion too because we eat a lot of that as well. Currently, I've got Queen Anne's Lace that's flowering ... so pretty! I plant flowers that appeal to me, veg that we eat all the while thinking about how well something will grow in a particular spot. Aren't cosmos wonderful flowers...I like the way they sway in the breeze, how the bees love them, how they intermingle so happily in among veggies.'  

And another comment from Meg 'Hi Sherri. I've just borrowed David Holmgren's book, "Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability" from my local library and what I've read so far is so interesting! 

I do think it's really important to support local businesses so that they remain viable and offer choice within a community. There's a little organic market shop not far from where I live, it's reasonably new and I like to go in and see what they have. One day, I bumped (literally) into a hobby farmer who had brought some of his excess produce into the store for them to sell. Beautiful, fresh, chemical-free peas. Yum! We talked for a while about his hobby farm and what he grew and how he grew it and I came home with some lovely fresh peas at a great price. Little shops like these offer up these kinds of connections for people which I think is a lovely thing. Meg:)'

Sally from "Jembella Farm' wrote,
'Small and slow is the way to go...
I prefer to master one thing and do it properly before marching on to the next big thing. Before we knew it, we had so many things on the go until I looked around and saw that some things were being neglected, so I'm winding back now, to catch up. With organics comes all the added tasks like worm farm, composting, weed teas and liquid manures, which all require added energy. Wouldn't have it any other way though. :) '

Susan from "Simple Cozy Living" wrote, 'Love shopping locally and supporting these hard working business people. I live in a townhouse so there isn't any place for planting anything besides some basil, mint and oregano. However, I live in an area surrounded by farms and dairies and have access to wonderful, chemical free produce and cheese, etc for many months of the year.'

Jane from "Hope and Thrift" left a comment that touched me deeply. 'Since my husband retired I noticed that our lifestyle is much more leisurely, but I think that's a good thing. Time spent doing something you love is never wasted.'

Chris from 'Gully Grove' is always helping and inspiring me regarding Permaculture with her comments on my blog and when she answers my comments on her blog. She wrote this in response to my post "Use Small and Slow Solutions." 'When you're a husband and wife team, working on acreage, I think small and slow solutions are the ONLY way to proceed forwards. There's no other choice. ;)'

Sunday, 30 October 2016

What Sherri Did - In October 2016

"The love you liberate in your work is the love you keep." ~ Unknown

In General

I had my first appointment ever with an optometrist, and now I have my first 'real' pair of glasses, or prescription glasses as I believe they are rightly called.  I have been using magnifiers for reading, but have now graduated to multifocal glasses. I am still adjusting to these glasses. As the reading area of the lens is located at the bottom of the glass I now have to tilt my head at a haughty angle and look down my nose to read my computer screen. 

 I have finally started a Google+ page. Yep I know many of you have had one for as long as you have been blogging but it just took me a bit longer to reach that stage of acceptance. Now I can really see a benefit. Though some weird stuff has appeared in my 'stream' I have learnt how to 'mute' those posts. (Notice how I am learning the Google+ jargon).  Anyway do pop over to my 'profile page' and have a look.

I have been setting up a little outdoor spot that catch the midmorning shade and summer breezes. I have begun referring to it as 'gardeners nook'. This is a place where I can escape the heat while I am working in the garden during the hot months.  Even early in the morning and late in the afternoon can be very hot when you are moving about in the sub-tropics. So I have designed rest areas into my property design. Of course this will also be a nice outdoor escape on summer afternoons even when I am not working in the garden. A place to sit with a cool drink and a good book.

And stop the press! At the end of October I finally received the TAFE certificate for my Permaculture course. As many of you know I had been studying Certificate IV in  Permaculture for a couple of years. I finished that course in May and had to spend months chasing up my actual certificate which of course I need in able to prove I have actually completed the course. 

What I have been reading

I haven't had much time for reading this month. Though as I look across my bookshelves I see I have a number of books I am in the process of reading. So I will try and finish one or two of these during November. No doubt I will be spending more of my discretionary time reading as the weather hots up.

I did read the October chapter of Rhonda's book "The Simple Home". October's chapter is dedicated to spring cleaning. 

What I have been watching

As mentioned in another post I like to watch a bit of T.V. whilst doing simple craft activities. During October I started watching Series four of House of Cards.

I have also been watching River Cottage Australia. Both my husband and I have been enjoying this very much. I find watching one episode motivates me to go back out and work in the garden some more.

I have been watching a fascinating 2009  BBC documentary called How to Live a Simple Life. 

No, he doesn't belong to us, but he does like making himself
 at home in the back of our truck.


Best of the Web.

Hands down my favourite item from the web during October was this absolutely terrific video from Mr Money Mustache.

What is happening with vocational education? This article and video from the Sydney Morning Herald consider the problems in the vocational education system. I know some students who have undertaken certificate courses in Aged Care only to find as they reach near the end of the course their RTO (Registered Training Organisation) has just vanished. These students are left in limbo, not knowing if they will ever be awarded the certificate that they have spent so much time and effort studying.

How long has it been since you have had a decent pay-rise? 
This article and video look at the topic of wages growth.

How was your October?

Thursday, 27 October 2016


This photo was taken at a local farm and has nothing to do
with the subject of recalibrating. I just like farm photos. 

"Thrift of Time is equal to thrift of money. Franklin said, "Time is gold." If one wishes to earn money, it may be done by the proper use of time." - Samuel Smiles

We have had changes around here this year. My husband spends more time at home now than I do. As a consequence I now have a little more free time each week . My husband currently has much more unrestricted time than previously. 

Despite this we are still moving along in much the same manner as before. We have yet to adjust and settle into new routines. We are still getting things done. But we are lagging quite a bit when it comes to the 'proper use of time'.  In short we could be much better organised.

I also really like photos of the ocean and rivers.

We are considering establishing some new household routines. At at this point I don't want a 'his' list or a 'hers' list, just a list to help remind us of what we need to accomplish each day, week or month. 

When we have decided how we will get this working for us, I will post an update. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Use small and slow solutions

This little fellow works for me making compost.

"The bigger they are the harder they fall."
"Slow and steady wins the race"

Ah! Now we come to my favourite principle - Use small and slow solutions. I have always seen myself as the turtle that keeps determinedly picking away at what I want to achieve rather than the speedy hare. So slow and steady wins the race is an old adage that resonates with me.  I can design systems that are small and slow in order to work more efficiently, naturally and regeneratively. Small and slow solutions are easier to implement time and money wise, and easier to maintain.  A small well-tended vegetable garden can produce more food by area than a large industrial farm and produce less waste.

This composting bin is one of the ways I make compost.

I don’t use synthetic fertilisers because though they can produce great looking results in a minimum amount of time; the chemicals pollute the environment, the gardener, and those people eating the food. Instead I am slowly building up my soil using compost, mulches etc. It is a big learning curve and a slow process in bringing it all together but I hope the end result will be perfect soil with all the inputs into its manufacture coming from within the boundaries of my property.

In the left bay is brown matter ready to add to the compost tumbler. In the right
bay is banana leaves that have been put through the mulcher. 

David Holmgren wrote: "Whenever we do anything of a self-reliant nature - growing food, fixing a broken appliance, maintaining our health, we are making very powerful and effective use of this principle. In the future I would like to be able to repair broken items and make and mend my own clothes.

Communities that identify their own problems and articulate and implement their own solutions to community problems are also applying this principle.  David Holmgren again, "Human scale and capacity should be the yardstick for a humane, democratic and sustainable society."   In my mind the small and slow solutions involve using old methods and seeing with these with new eyes and integrating many different small and slow solutions together to create self-supporting homes and communities. 

The Queensland township of Maleny provides a good example of a self-supporting community using small and slow solutions, and in many areas of Tasmania  communities are gaining reputations for innovative solutions to the age-old question of how to earn a living. "Whenever we purchase from small, local businesses or contribute to local community and environmental issues we are also applying this principle." David Holmgren

Monday, 17 October 2016

Creative Discontent

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Harold Whitman

 I love the quote above from Harold Whitman about asking yourself what makes you come alive. Pause for a moment to think about what makes you come alive. Is that 'something' present in your life or is it still just a dream? (My dream is to develop a self-supporting household. ) 

Last month I wrote of managing concerns when a dream or goal  isn't showing up fast enough. When on the journey toward making dreams a reality, its delay in manifesting can cause feelings of discontent. The point I would like to make here is that feelings of discontent, though uncomfortable, do not have to be a negative thing. Discontent can be the flag that signals your current circumstances are less than  ideal; that you are dissatisfied with your present circumstances, and wish for something to change.

Make those  feelings of discontent work for you. Use discontent as a source of motivation that can help you rise up and work toward the future you really want. That is turning discontent into creative discontent. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

In My Garden - October 2016

"Plant fashion may be slower to wax and wane than clothes on a catwalk but it exists certainly and I intend to ignore it."  Christine McCabe " A garden in the Hills'

Ignorance is bliss, so they say and I ignore plant fashion too. Do you? I do find plant fashion does at times make the plants I am looking for harder to find at plant nurseries.

The weather is now warm to hot. I am not gardening during the middle of the day. Instead I and the midges are in the garden together in the mornings and afternoons.

Last month I planted out one mauve and one red pigface (Mesembryanthemum), a pink crepe myrtle tree, some white salvia seedlings, a red hippeastrum, a variegated brunfelsia, a pink geranium, white assylum seedlings and a wisteria vine. I transplanted a cherry tomato seedling, and divided and replanted some agapanthus and silver leafed yellow flowering gazania.

During one of the rain storms we had during September I had three King Parrots decide to shelter from the rain under our patio. One male and two females.  It was a lovely visit.

This month I would like to plant some lettuce seedlings but probably not much else. I want to prepare some other areas for planting and to finish top dressing with pelletised manure and mulching some of the garden and orchard areas. 

I am waiting for the citrus to finish flowering and then I need to start feeding them every six weeks with pelletised manure.

If I can manage it I will also sprinkle some blood and bone over the lawn areas and water in well.

What are your plans for the garden this month? 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

What Sherri Did in September 2016

"The difference between creativity and innovation is the difference between thinking about getting things done in the world and getting things done. Creativity thinks up new things. Innovation does new things" Professor Theodore Leveitt.


In General

This month I managed to catch a virus that was doing the rounds in the local community. A car drove through our front fence causing over $1000 worth of damage. On the positive side, no one needed first aid - and yes the occupants of the vehicle were all checked out by the ambulance. The side fence of our property is undergoing some maintenance to make it animal proof. Much tidying up has been done and a huge pile of plant waste - trees and shrubs- has been dealt with.

A friend had a cancer scare but it has turned out to be another illness, but it had us scared for a while. Unfortunately the biopsy she underwent to see if the tumours were cancerous or benign did some damage that left her very ill, but she is on the road to recovery now. Another friend has been ill following his radium treatment as has a neighbour.

We have had 55 mm of rain this month.  I have been busy planting out new plants, which is an activity that will largely come to an end in the next few weeks as the weather heats up. My crochet and knitting projects have advanced a little.

  What I have been reading

If you are at all creative in nature do yourself a favour and obtain a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic - Creative Living Beyond Fear'. I am, in turns, enchanted, nourished and encouraged by this book.

What I have been watching

I have been watching a DVD miniseries  'Mildred Pierce' with Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce.  I like having something on TV when I am doing easy yarn or needlework. If the project I am working on is not of the simplest in nature I sit away in my study to work.


Best of the web

For decades climate scientists have been warning that global warming would lead to extreme weather events. We often look at an extreme weather event and ask "Was this due to climate change?"  This article discusses how scientists are endeavouring to provide reliable information on  weather events that are influenced by climate change.

This video reminds us that holding onto a burden, even one that is small can create a lot of stress and exhaustion. 

I hope September was a good month for you and that October brings you health and happiness.