Did you miss me? *I* sure did!

All hail the prodigal blogger, for she returns in a glorious rain of, um… rain. It was raining today, so I stayed inside mostly, and did self-sufficienty house-type things, and oh BY THE WAY I have internet connected to my HOUSE now – the sum of which is tada!! Me here in your face. Poor you. Oh well.


This is what I have done so far today:

(I am sure it will look much less productive when I write it down. Perhaps I should abstain so I can keep my gloriously successful-at-pottering-about glow… lets give it a GO, shall we??)

Used my new CAST IRON* camp oven on my woodfire/stove to make a lentil/potato curry thing. Ate some of.

Used my new cast iron camp oven to make rice and vegetables to feed my dog. Did not eat some of.

Started simmering some soap nuts in water to make liquid soap.

Made a batch of sugar stuff with which to “wax” my legs (I haven’t dabbled in the dramas of hair removal for oh, a goodly couple of years now, because duh, I am perfect as I am, but lately I’ve been thinking it might be fun to tear all my leg hair out by the roots, just for kicks, so…. sugar wax it is)

*Mid post note – I had a short argument with my cat today when he leapt onto my keyboard mid-me-doing-something-vaguely-important. I hauled him off but ha, he wins because he took the “i” key with him as he was hauled away and nabbit, I cannot find the thing now. So this post is a bit tricky to type, although I am getting used to it. It will turn up soon, surely? END OF MID POST NOTE*

Tidied up the house somewhat. Messed it up again. You know how it goes.

Organised a new book shelf area so all my books are organised TIDILY now, with some of them even being in vague categories!! I know!! Thrills!!

Boiled some eggs. See, all of this seemed much more impressive when I was looking back upon it vaguely wth just my brain. I think it feels more productive to cook stuff on the woodstove because… well, you know. It’s wood. And fire. So. Anyway it just does. I BOILED SOME EGGS! RAWR!!

Fetched wood in from the woodtanks. And fetched an egg. Singular. What’s up with that, chookies??

Okay, now I am starting to sound a bit pathetic. Perhaps I was not so productive after all, but only if you’re comparing it to a productive day (which would have included weeding and slashing lupins and mulching trees and carrying lots more wood) when IN FACT, it was quite productive for a mooching around inside on the internet because it is raining and I don’t want to get out of my pyjamas kind of day. So there. Oh, I had a shower too. Which is not a daily thing for me, so it counts as an EVENT.


Oh ALSO, I just remembered!! I have a freezer now, thanks to the kindness of strangers (or handsome men who used to be strangers but aren’t really anymore, teehee, girlish giggles and so forth). So today I plugged it in, whch SOUNDS EASY but wasn’t really, because it is outside in the garden shed, which doesn’t have a plug, but the garage does, which is next door to the garden shed, so I fed an extension cord over the top of the dividing wall and pushed it an appropriate distance through and uncoiled the rest and climbed down off the garden bench and trekked past/over all the junk on the floor (it’s good junk. Wormfarms and styrofoam boxes and so on) to plug the freezer in, and then reversing the whole process because I had pushed the wrong end thorugh into the garage. Shame. Especially considering that I DOUBLE CHECKED to make sure I was sending the right end though for the express purpose of not having to do what I then did, but hey. And eventually my freezer was plugged in (I cleaned it first! Also counts as something) and I put some water bottles in it and lo. I am civilised once again. I can have ICE. And frozen bananas! And ooh! A week’s worth of ground flaxseed! Thrills and chills.**


* I am excited about my new CAST IRON camp oven; can you tell? I constantly lust after cast iron cookware but have only a couple of pieces myself, and never a big pot/oven… until NOW. Yay for THAT. Also due to the kindness of ex-strangers. Ex-stranger. Whatever.


** See what I did there?


No pictures for you!!

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This is my clothesline area when I arrived. Actually, I had done a bit of mowing at this point. You can see to the right the capeweed is not quite so wild and woolly. Manual push-mower… yeah baby.And over the next few months…


Currently harvesting from this garden: Parsley, silverbeet, lettuce.

Very very soon: Lettuce seeds and zuchini

Pretty soon: Beans


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I have apples! On an enormous apple tree! Far form ripe and under mild attack form parrots already, but still. I am thrilled. The biggest tree is a Granny Smith, according to my neighbour Jack, who incidentally used to live at my house, and the smallest tree is a “Cleo”, whatever that is. The middle sized apple tree is juuuuust right. And also I don’t know what kind it is.

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Long time no post.

I know, I know. I am truly abysmal at keeping this blog up to date.  The past two or three times I have been in town with access to a computer I have been fully INTENDING to post, but left it to the last minute when invariably there was a power failure or internet issue that kept me from doing so. So you’d think that this time I would have done it as soon as I got online but no, I duly procrastinated this time also, and luckily no mishaps have prevented me (so far) from now posting this. Which so far is a pretty rubbish post really, but lets hope it improves somewhat as we go on.

Ah, it has improved already. It just needed a goodly dose of sleepy cuteness. Or perhaps, TWO goodly doses.

They are like, “What? Any food? Just a photo? Psh. Back to snoozin”

Like so.

In other news (actually, the only news, so far, in this whole post) I have been trying to get my houseyard slashed back to short grass or mulched garden beds because it is snake season now!

I know it is snake season because I was standing barefoot in ankle high capeweed when I saw a snake slither through and around the legs of one Startled Moose about 10 feet ahead of me. He jumped backwards twice looking very surprised before I realised that it was in fact a snake and not, as I initially thought, a goanna (cause I have goannas at my new house dontcha know) and called him away. He actually came, which made a nice change, and then we both hot footed it to bare ground where I could see where I was walking.

 So barefoot wander days are over for this year, le sigh, unless I can get some serious slashing and clearing done. The houseyard will still be a Barefoot Zone, although perhaps not in the middle of a sunny day considering the amount of bees around at the moment. A billion.

I was stung by a bee while mowing the lawn one day, on my left foot. Must have stepped on one. Oh well. What’s one bee sting? (apart from the poor bee who gave his life in vain). I did some more lawn mowing in a less bee-populated area without further incident. The next day I went to cut some long grass with my scissors, to use as mulch on a new garden bed. The very first handful I grabbed apparently had a bee hidden in it, and lo, I was stung once again. Left hand.  I laughed all the way back to the house to get some bicarb to put on it. Because one sting is annoying, but two is quite amusing, really, apart from the pain factor.

So, quite sensibly, I put a GLOVE in my left grass-grabbing hand, and finished the cutting quite uninjured. i was still barefoot though, because it was such a lovely warm day. The very last two armfuls of hay/grass that I was tossing onto the new garden bed, I somehow kind of stubbed my toe on a bee??? And was stung this time on the TOP of my left foot, which I have never had happen before.

This of course put me in a fit of helpless giggles because haha THREE beestings in two days haha is quite hilarious ow ow ow. But then I went to have a cup of tea and a book because really, enough is enough.

And will I wear shoes from now on when i mow the lawn?? I don’t know. There’s a 50/50 chance either way, in my opinion. Sensible is not my middle name.

My picnic area. That’s right. An actual picnic area in my backyard. Who’s the coolest? Me, obviously. Further evidence that I am the coolest? My obsessive kindling shed. Have a twig, everyone. I have plenty.

And this little guy I actually ran over with my lawn mower, but he didn’t care, cause he’s so tough. and also i think my pushmower is maybe less dangerous than motor mowers. but I could be biased. All I know is I ran over him, and he jumped out the other side. So. I recommend you get a push mower. For the awesome.

Possibly the best photo I have ever taken in my life, incidentally. Total fluke, but high five to me!

And lastly, I have the best moon rises. View from the sofa on my back verandah.

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The hills are aliiiiiiiiiiive…. with the SOUND of springtiiiiiime….

So there I was, mooching around the garden after pruning some grape vines, checking the trees over to see what needed pruning immediately. Lots of broken branches and crossed wood, ooh look at that one, mm there’s another one there, which should I try first? mmm maybe I better try to get that netting off again…

There was bird netting left over one tree, that must have been there a goodly while because some fairly serious branches had grown through it, making it a right pain to remove without pruning everything off as I went, which I didn’t want to do. I’ve had a couple of half hearted goes and given up each time, and I figured today would be another half hearted go followed by another rueful giving up. I set about trying to disentangle the net, again, talking to the tree while I did so. “Oh, sorry about that, here if you just… yes, exactly, that’s great, oh, this bit is caught… I wonder when you’ll start budding…” and LO and BEHOLD not only is the tree budding, but it has actual flowers on it!! Well, the regrowthy tree bit does, not the big original bit. But still! It’s awake! So this led me to two conclusion: 1) I will definitely get that net off today no matter how difficult it is and 2) Probably other trees are budding too and I just haven’t noticed!!


So I did finally get the net off, with a few hasty prunings at the end as I lost my patience with teetering on top of an upturned crate with twigs in my face and catching my hair every 20 seconds and the wind blowing the net right back onto different branches as soon as I managed to untangle a couple.

And then I went on a bud hunt!

Complete with corny rendition of “I’m going on a BUD hunt, going on a BUD hunt, I’m not scared! I’M not scared! Gonna see a BIG one, gonna see a BIG one” and so on. Moose looked at me a bit oddly as I stomped through the orchard on my hunt, but I found: lots more buds on quite a few trees, and ACTUAL FLOWERS on another big one (possibly an apple    EDIT: actually probably not an apple). I had a bit of a mooch around just introducing myself to the trees I hadn’t really met yet ands making guesses as what fruit they will eventually bear, but apart from the really obvious ones (ie has mummified peaches still on the branches from last year) I am a bit clueless really. I have a hunch on a couple, but I shall have to wait until fruitset to see if I‘m right. I don’t have much experience with fruit trees really so I’m viewing the next couple of years as an apprenticeship of sorts. Exciting times!!

I can’t believe I have Real Live Actual Genuine Bonafide FRUITING TREES in my yard, that I can wander outside anytime I want and look at and laugh because hey! That loquat looks nearly ripe! And there are hundreds of them!! And I wonder if I’ll get any chestnuts!! And the fig tree will look so cool when it leafs up!! And there’s an orange on the ground!! My Personal Orange!! Concerts and parties don’t float my boat but put me in a garden in springtime and I will get a serious groove on.

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Spending for August

$90 Diesel for my van

$14.30 Groceries (2kg flour, dry egg-type noodles, dried figs and cherries, 6-pack of toilet paper)

$20  Phone credit


That is all for August. I didn’t spend one cent on anything else at all. As you can see, diesel is my biggest expense, but as I moved two hours drive away from every single person I know… not much I can do about that right now.  The dried figs and cherries were for a friend of mine, and are not a usual expense. The toilet paper and the noodles should both last a couple of months, and one day I hope to stop buying flour altogether and grind my own instead.  And of course I could be making my own noodles, but that’s on my longer-term to-do list.

How much did you spend in August?

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No Electricity

***This post written a couple of weeks ago now***


I arrived home the other day, and set about unpacking the van, before feeding my lonely cats and apologising for being away so long. I took a quick look around the garden to see what was new (not much) and then scurried inside out of the rain. Decided it was dark enough to justify turning the kitchen light on to start cooking, so switched it on while I ferreted through my “fridge” for vegetables that needed to be used Right Away. And then!! Drama, intrigue, suspense!!! The light went out. Electricity failure.

Excellent. My first New House power outage. How would it affect my highly technological life? How would I cope? Well. Instead of the kitchen light, I lit a candle. Ha, dinner by candlelight. It was just about bright enough to see which parts of the veges to put in the soup and which to compost. I cooked the soup on top of the woodfire in the loungeroom so no real difference there. Water pressure was down a little in the taps because the pump was obviously off, which gave me the answer to a question I’d been wondering for a while: namely, would the house still have water if I switched the pump off? Answer: Yes. Excellent. Although if the answer had been no, I would still have had water. I would just have had to trek outside to the tank to fetch it myself. Which I do often anyway, because I don’t want to use the electricity for the pump. As a sidenote,  I’m looking forward to getting my first electric bill. How low can I go? I’ll let you know.

Usually in the evenings I would read, and lately I have been using the electric light to do so, but for the first week or so here I just read by candlelight so it was easy to enough to go back to that for the evening. I have a little booklight that I use as a torch during the night if I need to get up (to tell the possum on the verandah to give up and go away, for instance) so actually? Pretty much nil effect, except that it was ever so slightly less convenient to cook with just a candle for light. But quite fun.

That’s the upside to having barely anything run by electricity. I have lights, which probably are on for a couple of hours in the evening, max. The pumps to supply the house with water. I do have a laptop, but no internet, and this is the first time I have turned it on since I got here nearly a month ago. Other than that, I have:

A crockpot, which I use occasionally when the woodfire is not going. (once a fortnight?)

A charger for my mobile phone (once a fortnight?)

A charger for my camera batteries (once a fortnight?)

Some computer speakers that I hook up to my mp3 player occasionally to listen to music. (a few times a week)

That’s it. Nothing else electric in the whole place. Did I mention I’m looking forward to my electric bill?

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Bits and pieces

 This was my bed for the first couple of weeks, just a mattress on the floor in the lounge-room by the fire. But sunflowers!! And such a handsome bed companion too.

And this is the only real casualty from the entire moving process – just a pair of glasses. Of course, they are my only remaining pair of expensive prescription glasses that I need to use a computer, but hey. I’ve done worse to them and they’ve survived.

I put the lens back in and yes, the crew was missing, but I wired it together anyway. Now the only thing wrong with them is the missing nose-support bit thing, which I suppose I will glue back on one day. Oh and since then that arm that is taped on there, has fallen off, which I will also fix one day. Porbably with more tape. Becuase I am handy like that.


And for everybody who was not satisifed with cake, this is a picture of my cats.


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Moving Day is here! (or was, and is gone now)


I planned to leave The Old House early morning, all packed up and well organised, so as to be at The New House before noon. This would give me the whole afternoon to clean the house a bit, unpack, find wood, cook a meal, settle the animals and so on.


 Of course, being me, I didn’t even roll out of town until sometime after noon so arrived at the New House around 3pm. It’s winter now, so dark well before 7pm, which left me say, 3 hours to unpack the van, settle the animals… and so on. This is how I went:


 Arrived safely without getting lost. Picked up the front door key (which supposedly didn’t even work) from the real estate folks on the way. I wanted to take a picture of the full van before I started to unload stuff but I couldn’t find my camera, inspiring a mini-panic that perhaps I had Left It Behind. Eventually I found it in the piles of stuff and snapped a picture of the remaining vanload.


The dog had already been unloaded. He just really really likes to be in the van.


Especially the driver’s seat.

 I just brought everything in and dumped it in the kitchen, which left me a neat pile of stuff to work with.



And from disorder I brought forth beauty!


Whole foods, matching jars in tidy rows… better than cake any day.

Which is lucky, because I never got around to making any muffins to bring with me, and in fact, did not bring any sugar or flour with me at all. Enforced Healthy Eating anyone? I highly recommend it. Except it might be not QUITE always better than cake, because in my spice jars in the last photo there, I dion’t have enough of the yellow lidded jars so there are the green lidded ones on the right. Which is OKAY, but not optimal, because really, ALL the jars need to be the same. That’s the dream folks. You can donate here to make it a reality. Changing the world, one matching jar at a time.

And let’s just have a close up of my tea set here… because my tea set is truly awesome.

 What’s that you say? It’s just a pile of mismatched crockery? Well yes, but it’s FREE mismatched crockery, and therefore is made of awesome. I just need a teacosy and some reusable cloth teabags and I will be perfectly sateasfied…. ha, see what I did there? I know you did. Don’t pretend.

And maybe that is enough pictures for one post?

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Make a rollaway nest box

Step one: Obtain one of these boxes. Dog optional.

Step Two: Make a sketchy plan on some scrap paper. I did mine kind of fancy and involved-like. You don’t have to go to so much effort.  

Step Three: Try to prise the side staples out with the best breadknife you have. When that starts to look like it will take more than 30 seconds, give up and cut down the seam with the breadknife instead. Do the other side too.

Now you have this:

At this point I took a moment to consider giving up.

Thought some fancy tools might make the task easier and more fun so I found my cardboard clamp

and measuring device

and with a bit more cutting and some hearty application of duct tape, I had this

I took a break here, because seriously, making the hidey bit for the eggs out of cardboard seemed like kind of a stupidly ambitious plan at this point. So I had some soup. It had barley and split peas, and it was good.  I read about other people’s nextboxes, which all looked far far better inferior to my masterpiece.

The dog comes in handy here because he hates me sitting at the computer. I got tired of his stareful whining and went back to the nestbox, because it is easier to convince him that I am “busy” if I am physically doing something. Reading a book or a screen? No dice. He won’t buy it.

Anyway. With more cutting and duct tape I finally ended up with this. The chooks lay their eggs in the back part, whereupon the egg rolls down into the covered part. The whole thing will be on an angle in the pen to facilitate the rolling process. Once the egg is in the covered part it is safe from being squashed or eaten.

How do we get the eggs out without bending our arms at funny angles and sticking our whole head in there? Well.

Beats me.

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