Saturday, 9 June 2012

Why Compost?...

...Its a question I have been asked a few times since discussing our new composting adventures with friends. Quite simply, its cheap, its natural and its darn good for the environment and your soil! I also discovered that composting at home for one year would save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or what your washing machine would produce in just three months.
Another question I was curious to learn the answer to before we delved into composting was, 'why bother when we have landfill'? After researching this I found a pretty clear answer; When waste is sent to landfill the air struggles to reach the organic waste. As waste breaks down harmful methane is produced. However, if the same waste were to be composted above ground like we do at home, the oxygen is able to help break down the waste while producing significantly less methane, not to mention the added bonus of awesome fertiliser for your garden after 9 or so months..

After researching what the big deal was regarding composting it was a no-brainer and a few months ago Luke got busy whipping up our very own compost bin for out the back. Time will tell if it produces good soil, but hey, you can't go too far wrong!

Luke used left over chicken wire and metal grates and stuffed them with 'hay' we have grown and harvested down the back

There is a hatch that we open when it rains to get some water into the soil
The inside (growing some weeds)

Lila is an awesome composting helper now, whenever she sees food scraps in the kitchen she grabs the bowl and heads straight to the back door.

We've been experimenting with some new recipes lately as a result of going wheat free (which I will go into more detail about at a later time). For now lets discuss my annoyance at cooking beautiful stirfrys in tiny frying pans! It was driving me insane, it was a fine art of slowly turning the food to ensure it stayed in the pan and by the time I got through mixing it all together the food had usually been on the heat longer than I would like and the crispness of veges lost. As well as the lack of cooking space issue there was the chopping of garlic nightmare, after making some changes to our diet we have been using more raw foods than ever before; gone are the jars of garlic, we always buy it in its purest form. This is all well and good except when the recipe calls for minced garlic and crushed ginger. Sitting there finely chopping the two with a toddler clawing at my legs was not how I liked to spend my evenings. Needless to say we had to find some solutions, and today in the Op-shop we did.

Our garlic crusher, $2

The Wok - My initial reaction was "ugh gross", Luke apparently knew what to do though so I took his word for it. $3 

Luke hard at work with a wire wheel on a drill to clean the scum off the wok 
All cleaned up...
...and seasoned with peanut oil. Stir fry cooking tonight confirmed the wok's awesome non-stick characteristics after seasoning.
We have also been on the hunt for a grater to more efficiently grate our bars of soap when making our laundry powder, we had a win with that also. $4.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Time doesn't tick by... bloody well zooms past before you can even catch a breath. Life with a toddler is getting busy, being back at work is even busier. Our poor poor blog has been so terribly neglected.

Mothers day has been and gone. I had a brilliant day this year (last year with a very upset sick newborn was not the best first mothers day), we are prepared for events like birthdays, mothers/fathers day, easter, Christmas and the like to be non-events this year as we continue with this challenge, but what has made it fun is the challenge to show as much appreciation as you would usually do without having to buy a ton of gifts! This year I woke up to coffee in bed (a necessity to my day), and Luke had written me the most beautiful letter which beats all the gifts in the world he could have bought me. I did received one bought gift from him, a lovely jacket that he found in an op-shop. It was perfect, just the right size and colour on me and I think it cost him all of a couple of bucks.

The jacket
As well as gifts from my family I also received a beautiful package from a dear friend over east. I have never met this woman but we have talked online for over 2 years now and are two peas in a pod with our lifestyle choices and taste. I was lucky enough to receive some fair trade chocolate (I had been craving chocolate something chronic) a book titled 'Choosing Eden' which is all about sustainability and the Peak Oil Crisis, a lovely home-made diary, an assortment of seeds for various veges for our own vege garden, and a beautiful handmade baking apron. The gifts were just beautiful, I feel so thankful for the generosity and thought behind such gifts.

My stash
The awesome apron

Our dear Lila has gotten to the point where there was a need for more sleep space. As much as I would love to have her in bed with me it just isn't viable. I'm a play thing for her, and as much as that is awesome, it really sucks at 3am. We made the decision to get a toddler bed and started trawling the papers for second hand beds. We thought this was going to be tricky as we are pretty particular with our tastes in furniture for Lila's room. You would never pick that we have created her space for just under $300.00, including everything, even the painting. It was then I remembered this old looking bed in an op-shop I had been in recently. I couldn't remember whether it was decent, in fact I wasn't even sure it wasn't broken or missing pieces, but I never second guessed it after I mentioned it to Luke, as I knew he would be able to turn it into something awesome... he did just that!

All the tools he could need (all second-hand, just the way he likes it). Acorn finials salvaged from an old shelving unit.

How it looked before - an old plain wooden bed

Luke making a rail to match the bed - he used scrap wood from a previous bed we had

Adapter to connect the recycled turned posts to the old bed's side rail.

Painted with old paint and partly assembled

Assembling the masterpiece

Final product! - Total cost  = $10.00

Wow, I have just realised how much more there is to write now that I am actually writing. Things such as our compost bin, our dietary changes. How we coped with our bankcards being hacked and thus out of use. I really will do my best to get back into the swing of blogging, and trying to find some time to share our news with everyone.