Mischiefs' Folly

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by mischief, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Weellll, the forestry export market fell over a couple of months back and everybody has either had to take their outstanding holidays and/or drop afew days each month. I was put on 3 week months and now am on alternate weeks. Oh Yay! (not). 50% drop ouch, but better than being sent down the road.
    Good thing I had already worked on clearing all the debts out of the way.

    After I got over the shock of it all, I realised that this is the perfect time to ramp it up on reducing consumption, recycling etc...
    I've got my power bill down to $65 a month and as soon as I get the last lot of my brothers meat up to him, I can do away with the old freezer thats in the garage. Its seriously old and very rusty so its probably wasting afew dollars more than it should be. It will be interesting to see how much it has cost to run.
    I still have my one in the laundry which I think I'll keep for a little longer but am looking at how I can manage without that one too.

    All the appliances that are not being used have been unplugged and removed from their socket. I'm not too sure this makes much of a difference, but a friend told me it does so out they all came.

    I rediscovered my thermos flask and have found that I only need to boil the electric jug once in the morning, 2 coffees and thermos that lasts me for most of the day. I have a kettle sitting on the firebox all the time, either on the hot plate to bring it up to temperature or sitting on the trivet to keep it warm.

    I had already decided to cut back on my sugar intake and have found that I can drink tea without sugar, so out came my little teapot.
    I tried making tea how my mums' chinese bosses do, by refilling the teapot with hot water rather than using a new teabag each time.
    I started off with some of the green tea they had given us to try and liked it. Every now and then I add alittle dried peppermint or chamomile that I dried last year....the peppermint from a friend and my own chamomile.
    So I am now down to 2 cups of coffee and alot less teabags than I would normally have used.
    Actually I found that the teapot stays nice and warm sitting on another trivet at the back of the stove.
    I discovered a pot of honey tucked away it the back of the top cupboard and noticed that my teeth feel better for having used it rather than the sugar.

    I am still cooking on the fire box. I do start off my stir fries/casseroles ( so much nicer sounding than stew) with the gas hob and then transfer it to the firebox once they are both hot.
    I am still using the same 9kg gas bottle from the beginning of the year. Not too sure when exactly I put that one on. I thought it was january, but it must have been april.
    I havent got the hang off cooking the rice on that properly yet, it just comes out gluggy, so I'm still using my old electric rice cooker.

    I decided to eat my way through all those canned things that I put away for emergencies. Those were supposed to have been when somebody arrived unexpected and needed feeding, not this.
    I have found that I do NOT like tinned stew. Its bland, I doubt its very nutritious- I felt hungry after eating one, so they get used as a base with little more meat or beans with garden vegies thrown in. I still have a glut of turnips that self sowed all over the place. Good thing I find them very tasty.
    Down to my last few carrots, well the ones I could remember where they were. I was pleasantly surpirsed to see lot of little seedling sprouting up in the garden,Finally! Maybe spring is really here again.

    The Urenika spuds are almost a meal all by themselves with a little butter and parsley.Still got shit loads of homegrown beans dried and I think I am becoming acclimatized to them now.
    I think I will grow the white potatoes this year. I had so many of them I couldnt stand the sight of them last year. The Urenikas are lovely, but the make lousy scalloped potatoes (pommes dauphine?)
    Last week a friend told me that her neighbour decided to have a go at growing some vegies instead of just flowers. She didnt want to dig out her flowers so she grew her first ever crop of potatoes in three of those plastic two handle laundry tub basket thingies. These apparently grew huge and she is still chopping her way through the last basket. Didnt bother to harvest them when they died down, just stored it all as is in her garage under the bench. Its times like this I hate that I hate plastic and am supposed to be ridding myself of things made from this.
    I have already assigned the old bath to the kumaras this year and have been eyeing up the old plastic compost bin my daughter in law gave me that I didnt dare throw away.I might have a go at growing some Cliffs' kidney potatoes in this or maybe some Desirees.

    My little box of 'neighbours' walnuts is still half full and these I snack on or toast, chop up and sprinkle over my dinner.
    The oranges are not quite ready to eat even though they are a lovely bright orange and I have a dinky little lemon still left on the tree.

    The water tank is just under half full now. That didnt take as long as I thought it would. I started to worry that I will have a full tank and no way of using it, til it was pointed out that the attachment at the bottom of the tank will fit the hose fittings so I can water the garden with it over summer, at least til the water level gets down to the height of the garden.

    With the vegie garden, the first two beds have been squared off. The first long one in the middle of the garden and the smaller one in front of the hedge.
    The large one has mainly the leeks that were put in way too late and still smaller than pencils, so I guess they be great in summer. The shallots are doing okay, actually, I couldn't help myself and bought a dozen from the supermarket cos I had never seen that sort-I'm sure it had a crazy name like banana shallots. very long and big. We'll see how they do.
    I found the last lot of the elephant garlic that got buried in the oats experiment last year. Thankfully most of them seem to have grown again.

    Late in summer, I dug up some garlic I had planted under one of the fruit trees and decided to rebury only some of it and use the rest in the kitchen. I found it nice and plump, easier to to peel and deliciously juicy. So I ask myself why do I pull out and dry out my garlic only to get bitchy when it starts to sprout in late summer and go bitter. Why not just either leave it where it is or dig it up once its died down and bury it somewhere out of the way.
    I'm going to try it this year and see how they go.

    In the smaller the bed, I have transplanted the asparagus plants that were rescued from the paths. These are at the front right next to the main path to the lawn. The middle one has huge buds on it compared to the other two. If the chooks left me any strawberry plants, I'll pop them in there too.
    The rest of the bed has been hoed to get it ready for the Jersey Ben potatoes. Everyone loved the potato salad
    I made with these at Christmas time.( bought tatties). I saved a handful and planted them along the top of the rock wall. The sprouted and grew and died down again. Unfortunately, the chooks also love little potatoes and ate alot of them, so not enough to give to my brother. Whats left should be just about enough to plant the smaller bed out with and these are currently sitting in an egg tray to chit up.
    These should be going in before the end of September, apparently, to give them time to grow nicely for Xmas. I have the frost clothe hoops in place to so once they go in, the frost clothe will go on and anchored down to keep both the chooks and the local cats out of there.
     
  2. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I did a 'power nazi' blitz at my place a few years back and unplugged stuff and we obsessive about turning things off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby. Drove the kids nuts as they had to reset the clock on the microwave every time they wanted to use it. It made a significant dint in the power bill. Then I went back to being lazy, but not quiet as bad as before! I too have started using a thermos flask rather than boiling the electric kettle multiple times a day.

    There's a lot of skill in living lean. I love getting ideas from other people about how to make do on less and less. Friends think I'm weird but - who cares! Your spuds and beans sound awesome.
     
  3. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Power bills with kids are/were horrendous. I find it funny when I hear them bitching about theirs now, they had no idea just how expensive they were, That and the phone bill drove me nuts.
    The difference in not constantly using the jug, according to the latest bill, was only $7, but I'm not sure when I started using the thermos flask, so I'll have to wait for the next one to see.

    With this drop in income, my little projects around the house and yard have come down to what have I got lying around that I can use. Thats not so bad because I am slow to throw things out.
    Last week I went up to Auckland, dropped off maybe half of my brothers meat that I had left in the freezer. Had a jolly good talking to him about taking something out in the morning or the night before so it was defrosted. He had been forgetting about it and was buying stuff instead. I told him if he didnt change his ways then I would eat his meat myself.

    I cant really see where else I can cut back. I have stopped using the clothes drier and gone back to using the clothes horse or the line I strung up in the empty bay of the wood shed. I dont use makeup, buy the latest fashion in clothes, takeaways, cancelled my sky subscription due to lack of interest. I did stop buying my 'Chateau Cardboard' (wine) and have managed to cut back on my smoking even if I havent yet been able to cut it right out.
    It isnt so bad for me because I no longer have a mortgage so its just the power, phone and rates and as I have always had a fully stocked food pantry, I get to eat really well still, so in a lot of ways I am in good nick.

    I managed to get the next long vegie bed edged with the pavers and have put up the hoops for the frost clothes.Its driving me nuts that somehow they are not square though.
    I checked with the planting by the moon calendar and have another week apparently before its time to start sowing things out.
    I have one more long one to square off and edge . The rest of the shorter ones in front of the hedge are still covered with corro iron in an effort to smother the couch grass that has infested this area.

    Southernwoods nursery will be shipping the trees I ordered next week so I am on target for getting everything ready for those. I'm still going to look out for the tea camillias though. I like the idea that I can grow my own tea plants, even if I cant grow coffee and know just where I am going to have them when I find them.

    I have bees in the garden. I had an argument with a friend last year about bees being out and about in winter, they said no, I was wrong. hmm well august is technically still winter here and once again here they are. The mustard I had sown for them has not started flowering for some reason but my rosemary is covered in flowers and covered in bees, so too is the broadbeans and violets.
    My nana's plum tree is finally in full bloom and looking spectacular.but I havent noticed any bees on its flowers. I have been given an old recipe for fruit cheeses and am looking forward to making a plum cheese with the fruit from this tree. The one in the courtyard flowers alittle later and apparently is the right sort to use for the Umeboshi plums, so I have dug out my recipe for that and dusted off my sauerkraut pot in readiness.

    ( I love the auto save function on this site, I thought I had just lost that lot, but yay there it is again, magic).

    I found where the girls are laying their eggs again so am again enjoying fresh eggs for breakfast. Now if I could just get the sour dough to go right I'd have bread or toast to go with them. It always turns out doughy and tough.
    These hens are the only ones I have ever had that insist on changing their nesting sites as soon as I find their eggs. I think I might have to spend more time with them and flick them the slugs n snails I find, perhaps they'll start thinking of me as their rooster and start putting up with my theft.

    I manged to get one of the avocadoes off the tree by using a long hazelwood stick that had a fork at the top. I should probably have nailed a tin can to hold it in which would have stopped it from hitting the ground and severely bruising it.
    After looking at pics on the net and the fruit on sale at the supermarket, it still doesnt look like a Haas type but they are apparently what is ripening up this time of year. It has longer neck than the Haas but still the thin gravelly skin. Delicious anyway, what ever they are.
     
  4. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Mischief, so sorry to hear about the creep who sexually harassed you! That's illegal, not to mention just as scummy as can be! Even pond scum has more value on the planet than a guy with that frame of mind! Of course, we Permaculturists know just how valuable pond scum is :) You go, girl, kick his butt!!

    I think it would be a great idea to start a Living Lean thread or even a forum category. Great ideas for paring down and keeping it simple. Living in a rural place doesn't make it easy to live simply because doing it all yourself starts taking up time over and over again, so it's good to hear from others who value it and have good ideas. :)
     
  5. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Thanks sweetpea, I decided to just let it go and expect the Universe will deal with him as he deserves. My trust in others however has hit an all time low and I am back to thinking I should just get things done by myself.....which of course just doesnt work in the real world.

    Lean times.
    I'm not too sure I would have alot to write about for a whole forum. There have been many a time I have had to exist on less than an oily rag and it isnt something I recommend.
    Not too long ago, someone on the forum said they "didnt want to go back to the old days!!!!!". That made me feel sad for a couple of reasons.
    1. That caring for our familys' future should mean living without or in hardship.
    2. That people cant see past their own wants and want to be's.
    Bit of a mixed bag there.

    One of my first pieces of furniture was an old wardrobe, no idea now where it came from, possibly my parents in law. It had 2 drawers underneath and inside the cupboard were 3 triple hooks hanging from the top of it. Completely impractical we thought at the time and hung a pole across the top for coat hangers.
    People from the timeframe this piece was made for, had very few clothes. I think my nana said 3 plus Church clothes. Nobody thought anything of it. Times change.
    I have a chest of drawers that I havent even looked in for months that has some clothes in it that I havent worn for years. Not too sure why I keep them.
    I have a feeling we buy things on impulse and because 'we are supposed to have lots of things' in order to show how successful we are in life. Um....does the word "conditioning" mean anything here?
    9andalf posted something recently in general chat I think, that takes this further than I could do well at, so worth checking out.

    Because the main purpose of permaculture seems to be to get food grown where the people are, the emphasis feels like it should be on how well the garden is growing, but when you look at the ethics, to me at least, the emphasis changes to Caring...
    Giving a damn, stopping and taking a good hard look in the mirror. You/I cant change everybody but I can change myself, if I care enough to do so.

    There are somethings and some attitudes from the old days that are worth reinvesting in.
    When my mum was little, her dad wound up in hospital following a traffic accident and was consequently off work for 6 months. There was no such thing as the dole/sickness benefits etc, instead the community rallied around and made sure there was a parcel of necessities on the doorstep every week without fail.
    Somebody elses house burnt down, the community helped them rebuild it and provided them with clothes, furniture etc. People cared.

    Now we are expected to be insured and expect those companies to honour their agreement, but more and more they don't, but find reason why the claim is invalid.
    I have a friend who is as of this week without hot water due to her hot water tank splitting after a severe frost-shouldnt have happened but it did. They refused her claim stating that they believed she has lied about how the water came to be leaking out of her ceiling and accused her of putting a hose up through the access hatch.
    Are they @#$&@'ing mad. She's just had spinal surgery, why the would they think/say that. To top it off, the company they sent round to dry out the roof space and insulation she had just had installed, removed them and she is now having a hard time getting them to return them. Initially they accepted her claim, then changed their mind in spite of a report from a plumber supporting her claim.
    Whats missing here?
    Caring!

    Giving a damn for more than the profit line.
    Or in our case, our personal comfort.
    Our sense of place in the community. God forbid that people should laugh or think less of us for not following the party line.

    So we have a TV that replaces having a life/spending quality time with our friends and family.
    Things in the cupboard that we tell ourselves are food, that arent very nutritous at all.
    Clothes we dont really need or even want if we were honest enough to say it.
    And debt incurred getting things we allowed ourselves to believe life wouldnt be worth living without.
    Its a sad wee circle going nowhere.

    Last week I learnt that my kids are spending more in rent than I pay for everything each week.
    That doesnt make me feel good.
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Jeez, I sound morbid!!
    Can I put it down to this really nasty bout of the flu I'm still getting over?

    Sweetpea, yeah, we do need to share what we do to deal with lean times and yes when you're doing it all yourself and all over again time after time, you do wonder if someone a has better way.
    Your lean time thread sounds good.
    I still have my raggety copy of 'how to live off the smell of an oily rag' in my little library.

    Spring is coming,yay!
    Nana's Plum is in full bloom and looking absolutely glorious And covered in bees so there should be fruit this year.
    Seeing them up there reminded me that I need to get started on building my first hive with the old pallets I've gathered up.
    I had decided right at the start that this would have to be some sort of horizontal hive, which is why the top bar hive system appealed so much. I know very well that my back would not tolerate the heavy lifting that the normal type hives need.

    While I like the concept of the top bar, I'm still going to go with frames for the bees to build comb on.
    I'm still reading my way through some early works and am nutting things out with a friend who had an old-timer type bee shed years ago before varroa hit the scene. Michael Bush has managed to get his hives to the point where they can cope with varroa and I hope to be able to do the same thing.

    My current viewpoint of bees is that I see a similarity to people living in impoverished conditions. They suffer form illness and disease far more readily than we do simply because they are subjected to poor housing, poor food and lack of it, inadequate water, stresses from having a constant lack,having their lifestyles up ended etc.... not because they are stupid, black or of some other religion.

    I just spent afew days staying with my daughter in their hovel of a house they rent and came home sick as a dog. They got locked into a second 6 month contract just before winter and cant move til its up for renewal. So we got to experience what happens when you live in a cold damp house- you get sick.

    From my marathon reading of the history of beekeeping, the conclusion is that the management of bees and their hives has been based on what is easiest/ convenient or most workable for beekeepers and not the bees and just as our immune systems have slowly been deteriorating over all, so too have theirs. Slowly bit by bit, they have succumbed to the pressures of trying to thrive in inadequate conditions and constant lessening of adequate food sources, topped off by genetic diversity being degraded through the intolerance of drones in the hives.
    wow, there you go , I just solved the problem and found the solution, now I just need to do something about this unseemly aggression I just cant seem to shake off.

    One of the comments my bee shed friend said was that they felt that the frames used in hives were too small or rather too short. This is something similar to what Dadant wrote about and was the reason he made the Dadant deep frame, so I assume this is an observation and opinion that other experienced beekeepers have had.
    I dont think I can do any more harm to bees than has been by trying out afew ideas I have, so thats going to be this years main objective.

    So the game plan for this year is to build two hives and try to attract swarms to them.
    Get the new and improved vegie garden pumping out all the vegies I need throughout the year.
    Finish all those unfinished projects from last year and get the old woodshed turned into a decent cool store.
    Start growing enough tomatoes in particular so I can process my own sundried and pasted for winter, seeing as most of my meals are tomato based.
    (As I empty out the cupboards slowly of all those bought things, I'm looking at what they are and how I can replace them with what I grow.
    I am not buying firewood this year because I just cant afford it at the moment, instead, I am taking up the offer of going out to a farm and cutting up trees that fell over a couple of years ago that is surplus to their needs.
    I did want to have a go at making a solar oven and a rocket stove too.

    My order from Southernwoods tree nursery should be arriving at the end of the week, in this lot is a NZ native called Horopito, which is supposed to be a good pepper substitute and if so will be another tick on the list of things to achieve.
     
  7. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    Hey, Mischief, very thought provoking thinking you're doing there! I would be feeling the same about trusting others. That's one of those real violation kind of things. Karma has been set in motion, and it might not happen on as quick a schedule as we'd like, but it most likely will.

    I like the idea of living lean because sometimes it's just more efficient, it helps bring my expectations back into line with reality, and growing our own food, preserving it seems to be crucial these days with all of the poisons floating around. And I think one of the most important things my parents taught me was to Plan Ahead. That has worked out as the most reliable kind of thinking. Preserving food, taking care with resources, keeping our environment as safe and toxic free as we can takes planning ahead. Preserving food is a wonderful skill, and I always sleep better after I've canned fruit and dehydrated vegetables. And they look beautiful.

    Saving money and using less of the repetitive things we have to buy just feels good. I was reading where a family decided to just try to use three-quarters of the amounts of things they usually used, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, daily food items and they didn't even notice a difference. So maybe we could make it last longer, and that feels good, too.

    I thought the living lean approach would cover more, rather than off the grid or something extreme. Just small ways to make improvements, maybe even to simplify. I am so tired of buying things like pantyhose or knee highs or laundry soap (I've stopped buying detergent since it's so bad for everything involved). So to find ways to make the repetitive buying less annoying, it's fun to find clever fixes for that.

    I recently started using a homemade vinegar/lemon peel cleaner in the kitcher, and it's wonderful. It's not supposed to be used on wood or marble, but on everything else, including windows, it's great, and it hardly costs anything. I mix my own laundry soap (20 Mule Team Borax with washing Soda) and I use way less of it and get great results. I made a solar water heater out of the guts of an old gas water heater, and it not only heats water, but I put wet socks (the slowest drying items next to jeans) on the glass door to it and they dry in about a half an hour on a warm day. I make my own yogurt, buttermilk and cheese out of organic milk. It doesn't take that much time, but it sure feels safer than buying products that come from heaven knows where theses days, costs a fortune and keeps going up.

    So I'd be looking forward to how others have done things, clever ways of making daily living smarter or easier or cheaper.

    Yeah, the bees are having a tough time. I think you're right about how their lives resemble/parallel ours. It is the professional beekeepers who take their hives from place to place who are seeing the worst of the effect on their bees. I have found natural bees at my place making hives in plastic sheds, large stacked plastic pots turned upside down and in dead tree crevices, so I try to keep those places available to them. But natural honeybees move because their hives are invaded by mice and snakes and rats and ants. That's how they stay healthy. Keeping them in boxes going from monoculture orchard to monoculture orchard with pesticide residues and pesticides in neighboring fields, they are suffering for it. China has used so many pesticides, plus plenty of the ones that are not allowed to be used in the US, they have killed their pollinators. They have to climb up into fruit trees with feathers and pollinate the fruit themselves. It's tragic and why do they agree to it? Why have agricultural practices that breaks down the ecosystem? People will end up paying for it just as much as the bees already have.

    Your To Do list sounds great. I really like cutting my own wood, it's very meditative and satisfying, it tidies things up and keeps me in good shape. Nice that you have a source with a win-win situation.

    Horopito, how interesting! I've started using organic raw sugar from sugar cane. It has more nutrients in it and you use less of it, so it isn't all that more expensive. Give me real food any day, and food that I've grown and I know what's in it, that makes all those sweaty, long, hard-working, muddy, tiring days worthwhile. :)
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    part one.
    Hey, Mischief, very thought provoking thinking you're doing there! I would be feeling the same about trusting others. That's one of those real violation kind of things. Karma has been set in motion, and it might not happen on as quick a schedule as we'd like, but it most likely will.

    I have been working alot on 'letting go'.I have had some amazing results with in other areas and once I got over the shock and indignation of the whole thing I decided to see how letting it go work on this too.
    Simply put, I have better things to take my time up with than this shit. A work in progress still though.


    I like the idea of living lean because sometimes it's just more efficient, it helps bring my expectations back into line with reality, and growing our own food, preserving it seems to be crucial these days with all of the poisons floating around. And I think one of the most important things my parents taught me was to Plan Ahead. That has worked out as the most reliable kind of thinking. Preserving food, taking care with resources, keeping our environment as safe and toxic free as we can takes planning ahead. Preserving food is a wonderful skill, and I always sleep better after I've canned fruit and dehydrated vegetables. And they look beautiful.

    Plan Ahead!!! is the key I think. You are well ahead of me with preserving food, I've just a little bit here and there, not taking into account things like potatoes and pumpkins that dont really need all that much. I have been making sure there was alot of bought basics always to hand with some added extras.
    This is why I m not in a major panic with having just had 50% drop in income....I did, as you say, plan ahead because I did know it was likely to happen and consequently have time enough to see it as a challenge rather than a threat. This year its 'for real', rather than just thinking about it or 'gaming it'.

    Saving money and using less of the repetitive things we have to buy just feels good. I was reading where a family decided to just try to use three-quarters of the amounts of things they usually used, soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, daily food items and they didn't even notice a difference. So maybe we could make it last longer, and that feels good, too.

    I started out something along this line too. With toothpaste...did you ever notice that the ads always showed how to 'correctly' apply your paste to your brush by filling the entire length of bristle with paste?
    I decided to see just how little you really needed 'to get that feel alive flavour with(insert fav toothpaste here)or however the line went...... its been awhile.
    I discovered my teeth felt just as clean with a teeny dab and best of all I didnt gag on all that foam their amount made. I know tooth paste isnt good for you and make damn sure I dont swallow any of it, but hey, I've got how many tubes to get through? before they're all gone for good? I use it, I dont send anything to the dump until I absolutely have to.
    This may seem like a poor person cheapskate trick, but really, why use more than you should, or need to?
    If you try it you find the same thing with shampoo.
    Did you know that the word shampoo came from India? I havent yet followed through with that little research but I do wonder what the rest of the world was doing before learning from them.


    I thought the living lean approach would cover more, rather than off the grid or something extreme. Just small ways to make improvements, maybe even to simplify. I am so tired of buying things like pantyhose or knee highs or laundry soap (I've stopped buying detergent since it's so bad for everything involved). So to find ways to make the repetitive buying less annoying, it's fun to find clever fixes for that.

    um, I sort of went to route of buying bulk containers of things and so am still chewing my way through the last of it. My ex sister in law made me mad one day when she told me I was so attractive when I wore makeup....
    ok what was when I didnt...Ugly?

    It sort of led to me deliberately not buying things that were being promoted along the lines of, 'you will be sooooo beautiful...', so No pantyhose, they always annoyed me cos they never lasted longer than a week anyway.
    I always understood that lean living thing is a very personally approached thing and based on what each person felt was the right next step....or truth be told, in my case, was that I had priorities like kids-clothes, school gear, etc, and there just wasnt anything left for non essentials. Maybe that has made it easier for me to do it willingly after the kids all left home. Because you experienced living without things you once thought was essential, you knew very well just how UNessential they really were.

    I recently started using a homemade vinegar/lemon peel cleaner in the kitcher, and it's wonderful. It's not supposed to be used on wood or marble, but on everything else, including windows, it's great, and it hardly costs anything. I mix my own laundry soap (20 Mule Team Borax with washing Soda) and I use way less of it and get great results. I made a solar water heater out of the guts of an old gas water heater, and it not only heats water, but I put wet socks (the slowest drying items next to jeans) on the glass door to it and they dry in about a half an hour on a warm day. I make my own yogurt, buttermilk and cheese out of organic milk. It doesn't take that much time, but it sure feels safer than buying products that come from heaven knows where theses days, costs a fortune and keeps going up.

    I am probably The Worlds' Worse HouseKeeper, I much prefer to go fishing or play in the garden, but I do like the sound of your vinegar/lemon peel cleaner. Especially now that I have my very own producing lemon tree, so, please feel very free to post it either here or on the recipes etc forum!!! or both.
    I only use warm water and newspaper(it comes to my letterbox every week unasked for) to clean the windows and they always turn out clear, bright n shiny.

    There is nothing better for breakfast than fresh homemade yogurt! Unless its with jam that didnt set properly and needs to be eaten pronto!
    Good for you on the cheese thing too!
    I had to discontinue with mine mainly because I made the mistake of making blue vein cheese that I adore but it turned every cheese thereafter blue and then the farm I was getting my milk from sold to somebody else. I should just bowl on up one day and say 'Hey how bout it?', but I havent so yet.
    The taste is so much more than the bland same old same you get in the supermarket.
    I have noticed that supermarket camembert is absolute rubbish is the last year too- it doesnt ripen and doesnt go that lovely gooey soft-centred yum that it should.
    Ahhh, I'm dribbling now, I am going to have to dig out my milk bucket and get back into it again.
    Maybe if I clean the entire kitchen out with something like methelated Spirits I might be able to decontaminate my kitchen.

    So I'd be looking forward to how others have done things, clever ways of making daily living smarter or easier or cheaper.
    You and me both babe!
    Easiest? Think,do I really have to do that, if not, dont bother.
    Cheaper? Tell yourself you dont have the money to buy 'that' so whatcha gonna do now then?
    Smarter? I think you already got that part straight.
     
  9. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    part two.

    Yeah, the bees are having a tough time. I think you're right about how their lives resemble/parallel ours. It is the professional beekeepers who take their hives from place to place who are seeing the worst of the effect on their bees. I have found natural bees at my place making hives in plastic sheds, large stacked plastic pots turned upside down and in dead tree crevices, so I try to keep those places available to them. But natural honeybees move because their hives are invaded by mice and snakes and rats and ants. That's how they stay healthy. Keeping them in boxes going from monoculture orchard to monoculture orchard with pesticide residues and pesticides in neighboring fields, they are suffering for it. China has used so many pesticides, plus plenty of the ones that are not allowed to be used in the US, they have killed their pollinators. They have to climb up into fruit trees with feathers and pollinate the fruit themselves. It's tragic and why do they agree to it? Why have agricultural practices that breaks down the ecosystem? People will end up paying for it just as much as the bees already have.

    Its called greed and "I dont give a damn"

    Your To Do list sounds great. I really like cutting my own wood, it's very meditative and satisfying, it tidies things up and keeps me in good shape. Nice that you have a source with a win-win situation.

    Yeah, I have a small tree that just died over winter and one that needs a trunk taken out cos its grown oddly, but still leaves most of that tree intact. They are going to get cut out shortly too.
    I took heaps of cutting of an NZ cabbage tree that had started producing insane amounts of growth around its base after being thinned. Hopefully these will all take and I will have plenty of plants in the future to collect the leaves from for kindling.
    I found it makes a big difference in the firewood bill when you dont split the bought stuff up for kindling.

    Horopito, how interesting! I've started using organic raw sugar from sugar cane. It has more nutrients in it and you use less of it, so it isn't all that more expensive. Give me real food any day, and food that I've grown and I know what's in it, that makes all those sweaty, long, hard-working, muddy, tiring days worthwhile

    Dont forget that you can grow things like Stevia for sweetening where you dont need the preservative properties that sugar has in things like jams and bottled/canned fruit. =cheaper
    Apparently, honey should not be heated.
    On the raw sugar.... um double check. Sugar cane sugar is the norm here and raw sugar was being promoted as more nutritous, but....not necessarily so. The colour was apparently added back into it later. That was a long time ago and I dont recall the specifics. the most nutritious sugar is from fresh press cane.
    As far as I know there is nothing wrong with beet sugar. I'm going to have another go at growing it. This time I will make sure there is nothing flowering of the same family at the same time as it does. A friend wants to have a go at using it straight as is, in her preserves.
     
  10. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    sugar beets

    they grow a lot of them in this state/area and most of them are now GMO'd to be glyphosate resistant.

    i dislike the idea, but think that because the sugar is so heavily refined that any strangeness coming into the sugar is taken off into the molasses. a real scientific analysis of the molasses would be interesting to find if it had comparison between GMO and non-GMO sugar beets...
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    The place I get my seed from is not supposed to get GMO seed.....but I guess you never can tell, can you. Hope not. Gods rot them!

    The last time I grew sugarbeets,I didnt follow the recipe and boil the shredded beets. Mum has a juicer that my dad gave her so we decided to have a go at juicing it and then reducing it to molasses.
    It was very tasty but not highly productive with one small 400g (I think, cant remember) from a couple of litres of juice on average.
    I kept one in the cupboard for a year to see what would happen and it did crystalize. it did have a different flavour to bought sugar.

    I'm more interested in seeing if I can do better with bees and honey, but a friend wants to try it out with her preserves, so I've got some fresh seed to grow it for her. Its too cold to grow cane sugar here.

    I'm almost over this horrible bug after some serious self imposed bed rest. I did manage to handle sitting in the sun yesterday, but today was too windy and cold.

    Cheap and easy tomato soup.
    Finely chop a small amount of celery, onion/greens at lest one clove of crushed chopped garlic and what every else you want.
    pop in the bottom of your soup mug/bowl and spoon in a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste.
    Add boiling water and season to taste.
    Add alittle milk if it tastes a little too sour and/or too hot and sprinkle with a small handful of grated cheese.
    Butter a couple of slices of bread and pop back into bed with mug, bread and a spoon.

    I like to tear the bread into little bits and sprinkle on the top,let them absorb some of the soup and eat them with the spoon rather than dunk the bread.

    I dont like the powdered soups, especially not the tomato ones. Theres something not right about powdering tomatoes.

    Tomorrow, our power company has decided to do some work on the lines....? You'd think if they were going to do work that would mean cutting the power off, that they would do this during the week when everyone is at work wouldnt you? Not this lot, this will be the second time they've done Saturday work, so hopefully I'm feeling better and can pop down to mums place while they are at it. Last time, it was supposed to be 3-4 hours and wound up being 8. My neighbour wasnt very impressed. I missed it all cos I was working, which for some reason he didnt think was fair.

    My daughters lease is up in a couple of weeks and they have found a more suitable flat to move to so they are getting set to move. I'll go up and give them a hand to move.
    I think she's going to ask the neighbour she made friends with, if they can warn the next lot of tenants so they know they know to move before they get locked in over winter or at least so they know what they'll be in for.

    My son in law has a standing order to fill their freezer with fish for me to bring home. I forgot to bring the carcasses last time and so missed out on making the stock.
    The last lot I started off on the gas hob and got it to a hard boil then switched it over to the firebox and let it do its own thing was the best I have ever made. It had been on the firebox on a really slooow simmer for hours, so from now on thats how I will make it.

    The neighbours flowering cherry tree is in full bloom now too and once again loaded with Tui's. I think one has set up home in my big tree along the back hedge. Not too sure if its the same one that usually roosts in the Banksia out the front, I havent been outside enough yet to find out.
    I just love the sound of them. With more and more people getting on board around town in growing native friendly trees, we seem to be getting alot more all over. At least one street a friend lives in,has them all year round now.
     
  12. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    oops, that tomato soup should only have a couple of teaspoons of tomato paste per cup/bowl, not tablespoonsful.
     
  13. sweetpea

    sweetpea Junior Member

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    That is so right about those toothpaste ads! Ha! Just how many of those things have brainwashed us into thinking we need to use more than we really need? *notices all the kitchen appliances that were a mistake!*

    Tomato soup with the bread, that's a good one.

    We're having a drought and I'm making bird baths all over the place, and there are so many interesting little birds showing up. Some of them have a real hierarchy, one waits off to the side while the first one bathes, then when he leaves, the waiting bird gets his share of water! Hadn't seen that before!
     
  14. bluesapphire

    bluesapphire Junior Member

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    just a comment on powdered tomato. I dry a lot when they are available and if enough blend the dried ones to a powder it keeps for a very long time and blended with some dried chilli and black pepper makes a spicy sprinkle. Add some water and you get tomato paste.
    And what is a Tui?
    Cheers
    Cathy
     
  15. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    i'm glad you're starting to see the other side of the flu bug. i hate being sick and especially when there are so many fun things to do out in the gardens.

    i can't remember when i first heard it but that you are never supposed to use more toothpaste than the size of a pea.

    there is a way of scraping the tube along the edge of a counter to get every bit of it out. hold the bottom firmly (hmm... : ) ) and apply pressure to the edge of the counter with the tube as you draw it towards the nozzle pushing the contents upwards.
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Hi bluesapphire, Thanks for that tip. That would cut back on the amount of jars to store my dried toms. I never thought of doing that.
    A Tui is a New Zealand native bird. Most of the time they tend to stay in our local native bush reserve but come into town at varying times of the year. I have one that turns up when the Banksia starts to flower around mid winter. They love nectar-full flowers loke our native Kowhai, the banksias, and flowering cherries. I've only once seen them n my nectarine tree. Downside is they love the flowers so much, if its a fruit tree that they have become attached to, you dont get fruit from that tree.

    Update on my friends water tank......the people who were hired by the insurance company were J.W's, they must not have liked the fact that my friend is a spiritualist and practising medium and had all her paraphanalia lying all over the place. Apparently is was them, NOT the assessor that told the insurers that their was something not right with this claim..
    She had to put up with 2 weeks of NO water cos the plumbers had to turn the water off at the toby, while they sent in 4, yes 4 plumbers to inspect the situation and advise the insurers that the claim was ligit.
    She had a good long chat with the insurers and got her point across that these people were not qualified electricians, plumbers or builders and that their opinions should have not been given the weight they were. I have a feeling that particular company will not be getting much more work from them and that they have been told that their prejudices against other peoples religious beliefs and practises will not be tolerated. Her hot water tank has been replaced as well as the ceiling panels that disintegrated, I forgot to ask her about the insulation but assume that it was also replaced or returned and a painter is coming next week to paint those affected panels. The painters said if she flicks them a hundred, they'll repaint the entire ceiling to match. Yay!!

    Today, I just went off for a job interview, yes on a sunday. It went well and I have a couple of jobs lined up, one a lawn to mow and another as a general support person for someone with Multiple Sclerosis. That one is sort of on call, so not regular but every little bit helps.
    Oh and I have a new puppy coming when he's old enough to leave his mum. He's only 4 weeks old at the moment, so I have to wait another 4 weeks before I can bring him home. I havent had a dog for 4 years(?) since my old one died. Not too sure why the hell I decided to accept a puppy but I'm looking forward to him all the same. He's a staffy cross, sort of a pale creamy beige colour with a white splash on his forehead.
    My brother will be happy to hear this cos he thinks every time I go visit, that I am trying to steal his dogs' affections from him.

    This bug I got was really odd. It was mainly in the throat and the voice box, well the congestion was. The head aches and all over achiness has gone just got a little cough and swollen sinuses, that could actually be due to the fact that we have also just had a major pine pollen drop in the last week or so, alot of other people feel like their head is in a vice too. I'm keeping on with the vitC, high fluid intake and taking it easy for the next little while though.

    Next week, I'm doing a major seed sowing bonanza for both me and a mate.
    I just picked up two of the mints for the terrace tubs and all the black raspberry cuttings for along the last bit of wooden fence......which of course means I must get onto digging out the hedge long there. Its been cut back ruthlessly a couple of times so the roots should be getting stressed and hopefully easier to dig out.
     
  17. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    My trees arrived and all got planted out and are starting to sprout. Some how I managed to knock the top of one of my columnular apple trees. I hope it will be okay and somehow manage to create a new growing tip or whatever you call it.

    The last avocado finally fell off the tree and luckily landed on the frosted and blackened side so I still had over half that was edible. It was slightly under ripe but still lovely and sweet.
    The new seasons flowers are budding up nicely and the baby fruit didnt seem to get knocked about by a hard frost we had recently.
    One of the younger trees has also started to get flower buds, so maybe there will be two fruiting trees next winter. So far I have got 6 fruit in all, haha, not many but I think it will be improving from here on out.

    My baby Kowhai tree flowered for the first time- all four flowers. Not enough to interest the Tui's but maybe next year it will be in full bloom.

    I have been slowly digging out all the clumps of comfrey that have sprouted up all over the place. Some of it has been transplanted into the boundary hedge. It seemed to behave itself when I was growing under the old hedge. While the bees do seem to like it, I dont now that it sets seed. The chooks have never eaten it as I expected them to, even when cut and popped into their run, so I dont need as much as I have to make comfrey teas for my baby plants.

    The bath has been put in its new spot, drainhole unblocked, covered with weed mat and filled up with a mix of compost and garden soil in readiness for the kumara cuttings to go in.
    Traditionally, Kumara are supposed to be planted out when the Kowhai flowers which has always been in November....only this year they are all a couple of months early. Not too sure what that is going to mean for this summer. Its still way too cold to plant kumara out.

    In spite of my bitching about the old weedmat paths helping that nasty weed get everywhere, I have used it again.
    At least with the edges tucked under the pavers lining the beds, I will have somewhere that the convovulus wont be able to grow while I do a two prong attack of pulling out or tucking the ends of the tendrils is small jars filled with a pine based weed killer. The paths were supposed to be covered with crusher dust, but due to lack of funds, wont be for now. It still looks good and if nobody drops a spade etc on it should stay weed free.

    The soil that I had tucked away in a spare compost bin from doing the water tank is being used to level a hollow spot in the main path.
    Still have the last half of the paving stone edging to put of the 3rd 6metre long bed. The first one looks good and seems to be working well. The hard neck garlic should have lovely fat bulbs if the stalks are anything to go by. The leeks are starting to fatten up and all the shallots have sprouted madly and looking good. I mulched it all with fallen leaves collected from in front of my garage- a mix of Rhododendron and Avocado leaves.
    This has definitely helped keep weed seedlings from sprouting.

    I have been spending way too much time watching the honey and bumble bees enjoy the mustard/mustard lettuce and rosemary flowers. A visiting friend asked if I had got my beehive up and running thinking they were my bees. But no, I am busy feeding somebody elses. I hope they are growing things specially for our friends too so mine will have somewhere to visit.
    I am sowing alot more different types of bee friendly plants, most are perennials with afew annuals like sunflowers.
    These will be out of the vegetable beds and have finally got my mothers permission to plant things in her yard too.
    Another friend has just asked me to help them weed out the badly grass infested gardens in their new place and is keen to get plants to replace this with. Unfortunately thats not going to be of any use to my bees because they are too far away, but thats okay, they'll be helping their locals out.

    I might not have built the hives yet- still need to get the heat treated pallets from my brother, but I am now the proud owner of a jacket and veil type bee suit. At least I will be more appropriately clad when I help my friend with their bees til I do get my own.

    I took my puppy over for a play date with his siblings and wound up bring two home. Ok, not too sure what I was thinking but now their is Amy as well as Jack. For some reason Jack got really sick and had a really bad case of the shits So I was up all night getting boiled water into him with an eye dropper so he stayed hydrated. 3.30am and he finally decided that he felt well enough to want to play and has fully recovered.

    I have been given to loan of a large kennel and bedbox for them to use when I have to leave them to go mow the lawns but they go to a friend to be babysat when I have to go to work on the weekends, at least til they dont need 4 hourly feeds. In exchange, I built her a corrogated fence. It looks quite good. I dont actually like corro fences but thats what she wanted and had to use so, so be it.
    A couple of doors down from her were some builders building a house and apparently they were taking quite abit of interest in what I was doing. She saw them sneak over to check it out and said they were impressed, so thats good.

    One curious thing I noticed with the hens when they realised that there were dogs in the back yard was to quietly band together and drift off to their pen. They havent been out since even after I had the dogs locked up and left their gate open for them to come out and forage in the rest of the yard. I dont have to hunting for stray nests any more,Yay!

    The house unfortunately is still a puppy palace from hell. I have almost got them trained to go right down the back of the yard to poop......but not early hours of the morning.
    I didnt know you could train dogs to do this til my friend told me that was what she intended to do once she got her pup. Her last dog would always go right down the back of the yard to go even when they were out visiting friends.
    I am looking forward to not having to pick up dog shit from everywhere.
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    How is your water tank BTW? Did you get it all hooked up and working in the end?
     
  19. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Um, no it isnt connected to anything yet. The fittings are in place with ball valves and screw on hose thingies so I can use it to water the garden, which was the main priority. So I wont be feeling guilty about watering the garden this year or ever again.
    Apparently, tank water is not considered pottable til it has a filter between it and the house. That makes me laugh when I think of all the years at my grandparents when we thought nothing of drinking tank water and had never heard of things like filters.
    Must have had better immune systems back then.
     
  20. andrew curr

    andrew curr Moderator

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    A tui is also a brand of beer ,just like in NSW 'i feel like a Tui"

    I thought the kids were taking the piss out of me when they told me !!
     

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