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.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

New Beginnings

Things have been extra busy around here. I've been putting off an announcement for a while now, which I can't delay any longer. It's like If I don't write about it, it won't happen. But it is happening. It has happened! With good intentions yesterday, I wrote a rough copy which I had planned to publish yesterday afternoon. But alas, I still could'nt bring myself to complete and found other things to be doing.

My husband is/has flown out to Mackay today for a new job he starts on Monday. He will be working at Peak Downs Mine in Moranbah. With Moranbah being roughly 1800km away from home, it will take the whole day to get there via train, train, plane and coach. He will be tired by the time he arrives.

Two years ago Hubby was working in the Steel Industry here in the Illawarra and was one of 38 employees to lose their jobs when OneSteel closed their Steel Tubing Plant in Kembla Grange. It took Hubby 5 months to gain employment with another company. His work involved visiting industries to pick up their waste products to be recycled correctly. The hours were long with non-paid overtime, the work was very heavy and the company had no plans to buy a forklift or a trolley to help manouvre the +200kg steel barrels of waste. There was no room for improvement or promotion to climb the company ladder. My husband is used to being able to excel and grow in the work he does, and this was not the case. OH&S and WorkCover would have a field day at his previous place of employment.
Knowing he could never be happy there, he began training in his holidays to gain the necessary qualifications to gain employment in the Mining Industry.

Many Illawarra small business's depend on the Steel Industry here in the Illawarra and with the news of BHP closing down, they have had to re-evaluate their job security. You only have to turn on the news to see how tough it is at the moment to gain employment in the Illawarra. Hundreds, if not thousands of people will be looking elsewhere for work, and that often means relocating to another part of the country.

The original plan is to:

  • Travel where-ever necessary to gain employment in the Mining Industry
  • Once he gains roughly 12 months experience, then he will be able to get work closer to home. (At the moment, the local mines are not hiring people with no experience, so we do what we need to do) 
Hubby was originally supposed to begin work last week, but dates were doubled up, and he isn't able to complete the necessary Sight Induction until this week....so we have been extra busy around here trying to complete other things in that extra week together.  

On top of all that has been going on, my niece (Sh) fell critically ill with pneumonia while recovering from having her tonsils removed. She lives in Victoria and her sister (M) came from Queensland to help with her children and her recovery. Luckily M was there with her to notice her health deteriorating and got her to the Emergency Department with only minutes to spare. You must be very ill to have your clothes cut off you, so the doctors and nurses can work on you. 

I'm pleased to say that Sh is recovering well now from both traumas, but she still has a way to go. While visiting I have also built her a pot garden (pots because she rents) with lots of veg and herbs and flowers. Her back yard is not so empty now, and will look great when the plants begin to grow. I grew most of them from seed here at home and took them with me in the car. 

Here is a photo of the Rosemary I planted at the Bookham toilets on the highway to Victoria. I planted them on the way there, then watered them again on the way home...I also scattered Gazania seeds from Poppy's garden. If you have ever stopped there, you will know that the area needs a bit of colour. 

 Back to my Hubby! This is a whole new adventure for our family. While it isn't our first big change, I'm sure it won't be our last. Plan 'A' involves shifts of "5 on, 5 off". This means he will work 5 days, then have 5 days off, but I really don't expect him back for a few weeks first up, as I know he will take any work he is offered to 'learn the ropes'. He has already been told that he will be offered the chance to train in other areas, so I'm sure he will enjoy any work he gets.

I know the extra income will be a great help with the mortgage and a lot of much needed repairs on the house too. The ideal plan would be to pay off the mortgage sooner, and there's been a lot of talk around here with what to do with the extra income but.......
  • I'll still be me! 
  • I'll still be doing things from scratch. 
  • I will still do all the things I enjoy. 
  • I hope to have more time to commit to the Down to Earth Forum and my Blog, which I have been so horribly absent from lately....(Sorry Rhonda and sorry readers) 

There's going to be a lot of changes along the way, 
but I hope you will still follow with me in my/our journey. 
Please be patient with me!
People who have made recent requests, I will get to them shortly.
I haven't forgotten about that giveaway I spoke about recently either....

Here are a few photos which brightened my day a little, 
after saying goodbye to my husband this morning.


  1. Wow, a big change, I hope he gets a lot more fulfillment out of his new job and the money helps out. More $$ is always nice! Good to hear your niece is on the mend and I love the fact you planted rosemary by the toilets, what a lovely idea!

  2. Good luck to your hubby with the new job. My husband also works away, so I know the feeling. It can get lonely, but I keep busy!
    Loved the idea that you planted Gazania seeds and Rosemary by the toilets on the Highway!!
    Nice that your niece is getting better again.

  3. I'm sorry your husband has to work away. He sound as though he's a very nice man and a good provider. My advise is to get that mortgage paid off as soon as you can. When you are debt free, you really can live on the smell of an oily rag. We are retired now and we try to eat from our garden as much as possible. I buy very little meat these days with the exception of chicken. But life is good and we do certainly live in the lucky country. My best wishes to you.
    Blessings Gail

  4. Good luck with your new journey...life is full of them isnt it...but to embrace all the positives will make the time go quick and make the journey a great one....

  5. {{{{{{BIG HUGS}}}}}}}} I so appreciate the changes you are going through, and I really do understand the empty wee space you feel in your home/heart that was your husband... I remember the times when D was deployed, we didn't see each other for 6 to 9 months at a time.. it won't take long to get into a "you routine" make the very most of the time you get on the phone, via emails ect.. thinking of you, and you know my email if you need to drop a line...

  6. Thank-you everyone for all your wonderful words. I know I am not alone on this journey as I have had the pleasure of meeting many military wives since blogging. All wonderful too I might add. You all give me courage that I will cope just as well as you. Thank-you again.

  7. My brother works at the same mine - but his family live in Mackay, so he sees them between shifts. Even so, it can be hard sometimes - he had to leave for work at 3am last Monday, and it was his youngest son's birthday. But you just get on with it, and make the best of the 'new normal'.

  8. Hi Narelle - difficult when your husband works away. I sulk for a few days whenever my hubby goes away, and retreat into my shell. But then I get into the groove, and I can get loads of gardening and inside "me" things done. Go with the journey - and use some of the income to go visit him once in awhile. It's an adventure and Mackay is suche a lovely place!
    And I'll be waiting for whatever little stories and photos you want to share. Take your time and grow into this new phase of your life
    Greenie x

  9. Oh wow big changes Narelle! It will be tough but just remember the good it is for, I know you will be able to! Such pretty flowers there adding a bit of sunshine. I love the seed heads of these they remind me of my neighbours when I was 5.

  10. Your heart is showing wide open and precious. You watch over family and even stop for a planting at the rest stop. Rosemary for at least four of the senses and for the benefit of strangers. And Garzania - I have no idea what that is, but I'll guess it's a flower. You make me want to do roadside plantings.

    Some of these coming days may be hard, but your heart will carry you through.

    brenda from arkansas

  11. Congratulations and Goodluck to you both!

  12. Big changes for you, Narelle. I wish you both all the best and hope you settle into the new routine smoothly. Sending good vibes your way. :)

  13. Oh Narelle - I know your pain! You both sound like you are working as a team and that is very important in a marriage not only when you are together but especially when you are apart :) We have missed you at DTE and here, but of course family is far more important than time online... everyone understands :) I'm happy for you that this job for your hubby is a big step toward being debt free - what a great thing! You will always amaze, inspire and teach us something.... I am so thankful to have "found" you! XO

  14. I am so glad that your hubby found work and it looks as though it wont take long before he can move closer to home.

  15. Hanno worked at Peak Downs in the 1970s, I produced technical manuals for them in the 1990. I've heard there are about 30 mines around there now.

    Maybe your husband can arrange his roster so he has his days off together - having ten days instead of 5 in a row. That would get him home to the family and probably give enough time to book well ahead for the cheap fares.

    Take care, Narelle.

  16. Well done on the new job for hubby! You will get used to it and then you will have much better times together. Thank you for the suggestion on brightening up the roadside places - what a fantastic idea! I love that you have planted flowers and herbs!!!

  17. Thanks everyone, had a few sulky days, but yesterday I talked to hubby for an hour (oh well), I found it better to put the phone on speaker and it's 'almost' like he is in the room.
    I will just have to check and see if any of those seeds took next time I go to Poppy's.


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