Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Friday, April 29, 2011

Recycling glass jars for preserving

I gather glass jars from anyone and everyone...my neighbours all know to gather them for me....and I put a call out on freecycle when ever I need some and am running low..it's not uncommon for me to come home from somewhere, and find a bag of jars on the front step.

When I recycle empty glass jars....I do the following:

As I collect them, I sort them into boxes of 'labels on'  and  'labels off'.....
When I have a good supply or need to clean them for a day of preserving......I do the following......

The jars with labels need to be soaked to remove the labels, some will slide off easily....and I use the back of a knife to scrape the glue residue away from the jars.....occasionally I will get a jar that will leave the glue sticky and I will need something petroleum based to remove the sticky glue...I get about 3 or 4 a year like this.
Soaking recycled jars to remove the labels.

Once I have a supply of jars
they need to be cleaned, sanitised and stored until needed. 
I clean and sanitise all my jars in the dishwasher.
I am able to do far more this way than on the stove.
Ready to go, in the dishwasher.
All lids are stored separately.
Once they are dry, I store them by size or type in cardboard boxes.
Large Fowlers Vacola Jars..this box is to be sealed on all sides and edges with tape.
Then I seal all the sides of the box with wide tape due to cockroach problems. 
This way I know that I can take a box of jars from the garage and they are ready to use immediately. 

A lovely gentleman at the local club gathers glass coke bottles for me when I ask him to.
I use these for my Plum, Tomato and BBQ sauces.

Un-sterilised but sanitised.
All I need to do then is place them in a hot oven for 10 minutes to sterilise them....
I sterilise them on the day that I need them.
When I have a supply that are mixed sizes...
I clean and sanitise them amongst normal cycles with the dishwasher.

It is very handy to have this shelving close to the kitchen....I use clean glass jars for all sorts of things including storing foods just opened. Some are ideal sizes for canisters. Some are used to store my own dehydrated spices. The list is endless........

Now that I have all the lids gathered in one place,
I will boil them briefly, drain  and dry them,
then store in a sealed container.

I love that I am recycling them. I also find that I am getting jars back that have my label on them too....so they get recycled and reused MORE than once....and that's way cool.

Doing this is far cheaper than buying jars for your preserves....You just need to inspect the lids, and if any are scratched, dented or damaged; discard them and replace with new ones from the internet.

Do you recycle glass jars, 
or do you buy them new?
Maybe I have inspired you to
start saving your dollars 
by saving your jars.

If I have inspired you to start, 
let me know by leaving a comment
I love to hear from you.


Since completing the composting/recycling course a few weeks ago, I have made some great changes in the house and the yard.
I have set up a Recycling Station with many smaller sub-stations around the house.....Yep that's what I will call them...the Recycling Station & Sub-Stations.....

Now since I don't have a lot of space, because I haven't de-cluttered since I became sick with my hip....I have had to put the main Station in the hallway for now. Because the new procedures are New.....and we are still getting used to it ....it's actually handy having it in the hallway.

First of all........Just a bit of info I have learnt since the course...Here goes

If I am going to be working in the garden I shred papers and cardboard the night before, so I have it ready to add to the compost bin. I am learning how to manage my compost bins really well now....

Two parts CARBON to one part NITROGEN......Carbon from the brown and dry materials and Nitrogen from the green moist materials.

Examples of Carbon to add to your compost bin are raked up dried leaves, dried or dead twigs and branches cut up into smaller manageable sizes, shredded paper and cardboard etc...

Examples of Nitrogen to add to your compost bin are Fresh Lawn Clippings, Freshly pulled plants that are finished, fresh veg scraps, Bokashi Bin waste, etc.....

I remember them both now by saying in my head: 
"Nitrogen has a G in it, G for Green Waste, 
and Carbon has Car...in it...
Car for Cardboard....
which is dry...
so the dry stuff is Carbon".

And I used to think it was all very complicated.


The top shelf is just for the purpose of this photo....

  • On the top of the shelving, I have added some jars that still need to be put through the dishwasher before being boxed up into their sizes.....
  • Next to that are some Fowlers Vacola jars I received off freecycle, but that is another post coming soon...as I want to show you how I store my empty jars......
  • The green-circled box belongs in the kitchen and holds recycled papers from anything I buy at the deli...like cold meats, ham hocks etc...I use this paper now instead of Paper Towel....It soaks up oils just fine, and its free. 
  • The bucket belongs in the kitchen and is for ALL my food waste..including cooked leftovers, meat, fish, chicken bones, fish bones, food scraps and peelings...stale bread....Once the kitchen bucket is full, it gets transferred to the Bokashi Bucket on the back verandah. 
  • Absolutely all my food waste goes into my Bokashi Bucket. 
I even put all my prawn shells in there over Easter...and just yesterday, I put in 5 chicken carcasses from making a Chicken Stock,. You can even put in your wilted flowers, cheese, coffee grinds, tea bags, tissues, cooked and uncooked meats and small bones from chicken, lamb and pork chops
This Bokashi thing is truly amazing!! 
And next weekend I am doing a Bokashi course 
where we learn to make the Bokashi powder....
Even Better!!!

  • Beside the shelving is my Paper Shredder tub, which I store papers ready to shred...It's really full at the moment because I sorted out One draw of my filing cabinet...OMG , just one!!

The next shelf shows the following:

  • Empty egg cartons and shredded paper for the bokashi bucket or compost bin......
  • Trash bags I received at the course for rubbish in your car (made from recycled papers), I have also handed many of these out to friends.
  • Fridge magnet memo boards also from the course...displaying "Slim your bin", and "Compost your kitchen scraps at home"....I have one on my fridge and one on mums fridge...I have also handed them out to friends.
  • A tub for empty pill bottles, I use these for storing seeds I have collected from the garden, Once my gathered seeds are fully dried, I use these medication containers...some of the lids even have a built in gel thingy to absorb any moisture.
  • Clear plastic tubs from bought foods like cheese and strawberries..
  • A box for dead batteries....which when full can be taken to Battery World to be disposed of properly.
  • A box for corks...which I am yet to use, and may change as we don't drink bought wine.

The next shelf shows the following:
  • Heavy cardboard from packaging, I may break this down and make paper seed tape....
  • A tub for small cardboard boxes including medication boxes, biscuit boxes, foods that are packaged in small boxes.....
  • Margarine containers, meat trays
  • Ice-cream tubs, small plastic tubs....
  • Mail bags sent to me. I recycle these and use them to send on parcels in the mail...I collect all sizes but the smaller ones I keep here now...I just turned the box on its side so you could see them better.
The bottom shelf shows the following:
  • An empty box, I haven't found a use for yet, but it fits....
  • A box for things to donate to the local Pre-School like yoghurt tubs, kitchen wrap rolls, any of the tubs above,  and the cardboard rolls from dishcloth cottons....(I am using left-over cottons, so I am gathering a lot of empty rolls.)
  • A box for Shopping Bags..I used to have these stuffed everywhere in nooks n crannys...now when the box is jammed full, I take them to the recycle bin at Coles to be recycled.
  • Newspapers, we get two free local newspapers every fortnight, and I also order Saturdays's newspaper. These are stored ready to shred either for the worms, the compost bin...I also wrap soft drink bottles of ice...if going on a trip...It makes them stay cold a lot longer. Newspapers are good for wrapping sanitary napkins at that time of the month too...and wrapping broken glass before being put in your normal bin.
Broken Glass has just reminded me to add my sharps bin to this area. My mum is an Insulin Dependant Diabetic, so we have a Sharps Bin in place too.

Substations around the home:

Here is the new area for my compost bins, I still have the soil bins down the back yard, but this is for the good stuff. I am going to build another garden bed here mainly for a Passion Fruit vine....
The green bin is the one I received for free from the course..and the black one is from the tip for $2 with a 4 inch split in one side....So What!!.....I still have to move all the bricks and the huge slab of cement...but I think this will be a good use of this area.

I have posted this photo before, but when we bought the house the back yard was bear, besides this concrete  wall in the middle of the back yard...so I came up with the idea of putting a sink in (from the tip for $5, and its a double sink)...This is where we clean all the fish we catch...Where I rinse out seedling pots...etc...

  • I store cut soft drink bottles for protecting young plants. 
  • The black bucket is used for my SeaWeed fertiliser which I wrote a tutorial on....
  • The dishdrainer is from the tip...and its heavily plastic coated so it will never rust unless it gets cut....
  • Seedling trays are gathered from freecycle friends
  • The shelf is from the tip....
  • The lattice work behind, is from the tip.....Nothing a coat of paint can't fix....
  • I even get buckets from the tip.....

  • If you have been following my blog, you will know that this is where I bury the Bokashi Waste....but may put it in the compost bins now, to feed the Passion Fruit vine....Oh it will be so happy in all that good soil I am planning and preparing.........

  • Here is  a view into my Bokashi bucket at the moment, In it is prawn shells from Easter, leftovers, all my food waste since I completed the course......When you start putting meats and fish and bones in your Bokashi Bucket, you will find you need more of the powder to help break it down...but I recently added the Chicken Carcasses and it still smells fine....Truly Amazing this Bokashi thing!!

  •  On the back veranda which separates my house with my mum's granny flat, is where I now store the Bokashi Bucket and my new Worm Farm......I don't need to go down stairs to the shed when I want to fill the Bokashi, and I am not going to COOK my worms, like I did last summer...It seems everywhere in my back yard is a potential killing area for worms....but under the veranda its nice and cool... 

Please, if you like what I am doing, or can share some ideas on how to improve this....I would love to hear from you. 

If you have set up your own Recycling Station, take a photo and put it on your blog, leave a comment linking it back to your blog....so we can all share our ideas.....

If I have inspired you to set up something similar in your home, I would also love to hear about it.

Mushrooms, Mushrooms, & more Mushrooms

You may remember the last trip I made to the mushroom farm when I got a flat tyre on the trailer in my street.......well I  have some update photos to share with you......
I get my mushroom compost bags for $3 each from the Fort Drummond Mushroom Farm in Mt St Thomas .....you need to ring ahead to pick them up, and I was recommended Thursdays for pick up......
There details are:

Fort Drummond Mushroom Farm
Television Avenue,
Mt St Thomas  NSW  2500, Australlia
 Phone number(02) 4228 5403

I would also recommend that you tell them you are planning to use the compost bags for the garden, and possibly gather a few a few mushrooms before hand if any pop up.  Of course when you water them lightly twice a day, and store them in a cool, dark place like under the house.....You will reap a few harvests of lovely fresh mushrooms like I have.

I have had three good harvests so far from this lot...and there is still more to come....when you see little tiny pin-head mushrooms coming through, its important to remember to water them, as they are vulnerable to drying out and not growing on to huge mushrooms. 

Also when you think there are no more mushrooms coming up, keep watering them twice a day for anything up to 10 days or more, and you will find more little pin-heads poking through the soil, ......just when you think there are no more mushroom spores.....you get more.

I drool over these photos

My good friend Sonia told me that if you sprinkle broken mushrooms in a garden bed and cover with soil, that you will get mushrooms to grow. I have a little experiment going in the new Berries garden bed....I covered the mushroom bits....and keep the soil moist.....I just have to wait now....
Thanks Sonia,, for the great tip....If I get mushrooms come up, I will post about it.

21 April.....First harvest

25 April......Second harvest

28 April........Third harvest...Wow!!!
So about every third or fourth day.....I am picking mushrooms. I just can't complain.
Sonia, I hope your bags of mushroom compost are producing for you as well.

Preserving Lemons - Part 2

This photo comes a bit later than I had wished, but I have to tell you about the preserved lemons I did earlier. The jars I used were not the best.....For some reason, the lids kept popping off....I tried removing the top layer of lemons, I even tried taping the lids down with wide brown tape...and the tape stretched so the lids could still pop off.

I have now decanted the lemons into these clip-lock jars....which is a much better option. I have no problems with them now.

These jars are not recommended for preserving lemons.

Clip-lock jars are suitable.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New garden bed for Berries - Part 2

No time for chatting today, sorry. Hope everyone had a lovely Easter. I also wanted to welcome my new followers.
Here are a few more photos of an update on the garden bed for the Berries...I like how its coming along.

I still have to mount the wire supports and plant the vines....but nearly finished now.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Anzac Biscuits

Some people call them Anzac Cookies...I know them as Anzac Biscuits.......

When researching my family history, I love to get a view of a great great great grandfathers' handwriting....or anyone else's for that matter....it is a huge thrill to get a glimpse into the past through handwriting....

"Where is she going with all this?"... I bet your'e wondering.......Well, as we are heading into a future with handwriting a thing of the past...I like to write out some of our popular recipes...I don't have the prettiest handwriting, but it's mine!....and I like to think that one day, someone will cherish the recipes I have written .......... just the way I  cherish my Nan's recipes....

So here is the recipe for Anzac Biscuits....keep an eye out for a photo of the biscuits after they are baked........I will be baking them in the next few days.


the quantity should read TEASPOONS....not TBLSPNS.

Sorry for any inconvenience...(When I get time I will rewrite the recipe and scan in a new photo.)

Hot Cross Buns

First of all, I would like to welcome the newbie followers to my blog, and also like to take the time to wish everyone a happy and healthy Easter holiday....If your'e travelling, stay safe!

Now, I have never attempted to make hot cross buns before...nor do I like the ones in the shops...As I don't like spitting out the fruit peel, I only buy the ones that are fruitless, and then only if they are marked down. I have seen in the stores these last few years, Choc-Chip hot cross buns, and also Mocha hot cross buns....who ever heard of them?  I'm sure fruitless, are closer to the original buns than these two flavours...I wonder why they introduce other flavours of a time honoured traditional food such as Hot Cross Buns? Is it just to appeal to the sweet-tooth and the coffee addict? I can kind of see where they are going with the Choc-Chip....the whole chocolate and easter egg thing comes to mind....but coffee??? Where does coffee (mocha) fit in to all of this.

I suppose I can't gripe tooo much, because as I don't like the store ones for reasons I mentioned earlier....I decided to have a go at some I would like.

Both my husband and myself like a fruit loaf....with lots of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and fruits like apricot, apple, sultanas and cranberries...so that's what I used...Well; I didn't have any dehydrated apricots left so they didn't go in, but the cranberries, sultanas, and dried apple did. ...The recipe called for 3/4 cup of dried sultanas....so I just made a mix of the fruits we wanted. Easy!

Did you make Hot Cross Buns for Easter? Leave a comment and a link back to your blog showing your Hot Cross Buns for Easter.....

Here are some photos of the Hot Cross Buns I made for Easter.

Next time I will make the paste thicker, but it's my first time...lol

The glaze made it so yummy.
 NOTE: The recipe calls for the glaze to be heated in a JUG in the microwave....now don't do what I did, and ASSUME that because it's only a small amount; think that a coffee mug would suffice.....Because it WILL boil over, and you will only have half the amount of glaze, and a whole lot of mess in the microwave.

Remember to link back to here with a comment if you have made your Hot Cross Buns for Easter. Even if you haven't made any you can still leave a comment.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anzac Day - 25 April

I love seeing the younger ones today following old traditions and participating in the parades on behalf of soldiers passed away. It was only a few years ago that the last WWI veteran to be alive; Harry Patch died....at the age of 111. You can read more about Harry here.

Like WWI veterans, there will one day be no veterans from WWII marching; so the younger generations need to step up and keep the Anzac traditions alive by representing those who have fallen in both war and peace. I think it is important to remember the sacrifices that these young men endured so that we can live as free as we do.

For Australia and New Zealand, Anzac Day is approaching, and if my father was alive today, he would have started polishing his shoes about 4 weeks ago...and also his medals, his belt, and anything else that needed polishing...It is an endless task to polish a veterans shoes for an Anzac Day March.....No chemicals are used, no cleaners, no buffers....just spit from your mouth, a nice soft cloth and lots of time, patience and the love of why you are doing it.....

For the past 7 years I have enjoyed the pride that goes along with seeing my own children participate in Anzac Day Parades....My boys have been members of the Australian AirForce Cadets.....This year they will not be marching in the parades with the other members of AAFC as my DS19 has had to step down due to new work commitments....and my DS16 finds it awfully demanding with the exams that they have; so he has also stepped down from AAFC. I am very proud of the achievements of both my boys being involved with Cadets. In 2010  DS19 was promoted to a Corporal and would have completed his Sergeants Course this year had he not found full time employment; and DS16 was promoted to a Leading Cadet.  

Normally Anzac Day for us begins with a parade followed by Dawn Service at Port Kembla at 6am....then on to Shellharbour for a parade and service at 7.30am.....and finishing the morning at Wollongong; attending the largest parade in the area at 9.30am..

In the past, DS19 has worn medals (copies) and marched on behalf of my father and grandfather and DS16 has worn medals (copies) on behalf of both my father and my husbands grandfather.

My boys have gone away to Victoria for the Easter Holidays with Mum....They left for a 600km drive this morning. Their medals are packed, as they will still be away from home on Anzac Day. My niece also has her boys wear a miniature copy of my fathers medals....and they joined in the parade celebrations in their home town last year for the first time...I hope that my boys will be able to join my nieces young boys..and walk beside them as they march with their schoolmates. I'm sure I will hear all about it when they get home....

Here are some photos of my two boys from the Anzac Celebrations of 2010. It was hard to narrow it down, I could have added many more photos, but here is a small selection.

DS16 , Hubby, DS19

Dawn Service 2010...about 6am

DS19 leading the parade as a flag bearer.

I'm so proud of my boys.

I'm so proud of my boys

Me between my two boys.
I'm in my wheelchair after breaking my ankle in 2 places,
tearing the ligament from the bone, dislocating the ankle and breaking my leg,
and four operations later, I still attended the Anzac Parades.

Another closeup of DS19 being a flag bearer.

Arriving home after all three Anzac Parades.
All very tired.

The bottom medal set is a copy of my husbands grandfathers'...
The set above them is my fathers medals, (a set of 10 medals).
Dad served in both  British and Australian forces in War & Peace.
Serving in the British Royal Navy for the duration of WWII, then moving to Australia in 1946
he joined the Royal Australian Armed Ordinance Corps (RAAOC) for the duration of the Korean War.
On return from Korea, dad was a member of the Australian Army for another 30+ years ending his military career as a
Warrant Office Class 2.

Rest in Peace. 1927 - 1987.

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