Tuesday, March 22, 2011

... the changing seasons ....

i can tell the seasons are changing.  the biggest teller that our days are getting shorter is that the chooks are not laying like they used to!  our plethera of eggs is gone and we will be using them mostly for weekend fare now, with the odd cake or cookie recipe thrown in.

i'm about half way through pulling all my tomato's up.  i enjoyed this season .... still not a huge success .... but better.  I had heaps of my little yellow cherry tomato's again and a fair few roma's (here is a pic of some greening up, away from the birds, in our front window).  i know we had a wet summer and as a result i had a lot that went straight to rot rather than red.  but i managed two good bottles of passata out of it all.  note to self:  next year make sure and use the large tomato stakes and manage the vines a bit better.  grow genovase and amish as well. 

soon i'll be putting in the onions (i can't seem to get these right), leeks and garlic ... along with heaps of other yummy winter veg.  i want to try celeriac this year.  i keep hearing it's a great food, especially as a hearty addition to a winter stew or soup.  broad beans go in soon to .... whoo hoo .... but you already know how much i love beans.  (i wonder if there is a challenge in there somewhere?????)

does the changing of the seasons feel like a refreshing of the soul to you?  it is for me .... taking stock of the cycle of life i was just in .... did it or didn't it work?  not just my garden, but my own life as well.  it is a chance to evaluate, think and ponder .... where will God take me this time?  what lessons have i learned that can be applied, thoughtfully, to where i am going now?  have i prayed about it?  sought His face?  and what will i be doing next? how will i be embracing the principles of caring for our world, caring for those i love and simplifying my life? 

already have my diggers order ready to go and look forward to using a new planting technique i got from my Intro to Permaculture course that i took from the guys at Milkwood.  it is supposed to simplify my planting and move me towards that "no dig" principle .... you can't get much simpler than that!  <g>

Friday, March 18, 2011

What's the Stink All About Anyway?

closing the loop .... at the end of the day to be truly sustainable we have to close the loop.  can take a while to get there .... but we have to try. 

huh?  you've lost me .... what do you mean?  well .... what i means is that if we grow things in this wonderful rich soil in our back yards, and then eat it .... well, hmmm .... it has to come out somewhere!  and we all know where that is!  but the ironic bit is that poo and wee is just about the most exciting stuff you could ever put on your compost .... which, of course is what you use to grow veggies in.


well .... that was my first response.... i'm honest to admit it!  but i have been reading and learning and thinking (a really terrible thing to give me the time to do, btw) ... and guess what?  the phosphates and phospherus from our toilet time is just what we need to make our compost gorgeous rich and healthy.  hey .... we use our chook poo to liven up the decomposition process .... we even buy bags of cow manure to put on our compost .... so why not keep our own stuff?  i read an article that said would you rather it go into your sustainable garden to be used to make rich earth or into the oceans you swim in.  pretty frank observation.

my friends at Milkwood Permaculture are years beyond in taking up the challenge.  and what about Alice Griffin, who has just come back from a tour of looking at all the amazing recycling toilets!

i have to admit .... i don't know if i am up to a complete conversion to this system.  with three small children and a husband who is a closet hygiene freak (love you sweetie!) there are some hurdles in the way.  but i do envision one small way of making it work .... as my compost heap grows up the side of the house ... when the boys are outside they can pee on it .... and watch the magic of transforming our waste into that golden hummus begin!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

musings on the humble bean ...


i am not afraid to say it .... i do .... they are amazing!  these little jewels have a delicate nutty flavour that can be used in so many ways.  i love cooking and the myriads of things you can do with all types of beans (from falafel to risotto to stir fries and beyond!).  i have had so much fun this past spring and summer putting beans in just about everything i could.  great natural source of protien!  and then it came time to harvest for seed saving (another topic,another day) and i realised that i had planted heaps of beans, used heaps of beans ..... but hadn't planted any to put aside for my winter soups and stews.  i have about a third of a jar of beans .... gorgeous colours and textures (isn't God's creativity amazing!) .... but not enough for even one meal.

so i vow to plant so many beans next year that we'll have them coming out our ears!  you can never have enough!  i got my latest posting through for what i should be planting and was so stoked to see that BROAD BEANS should be planted in April where we live .... woohoo!  i am NOT complaining!

 but you know what else?  i cannot believe how important beans are in preserving and creating our good earth.  they are part of the legume family .... and have all these nitrogen fixing nodgels thingies that do heaps of good things for soil (that's why it's good to plant a root crop where you've just pulled up your beans as they reap the benefit from what's been left behind).  i had a hard time believing all this stuff really went on .... so this past year when it was time to pull up the broadies .... i looked at the roots and oh my ..... there were thousands of these little white nodes all over the roots ..... woohoo .... making good soil and i didn't have to anything but eat beans!

so why not try planting some beans.  i'm going to add snake beans to my bounty this year .... letting go of the scarlet runner as they didn't do much (if you have a solution to my lethargy about them, let me know!).

so ... one of God's amazing gifts to us in the humble bean.  and He made it so that all we have to do is plant and enjoy the bounty .... the bean takes care of the rest!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


i have just turned 50.  woohoo.  <g>  instead of a big party i did something for myself .... i indulged in what has until now been a fairly closet passion: a greenie love of the environment. i went to a permaculture course, had a blast -- and had my eyes opened!

surely my christian friends would laugh at me.  surely compared to the need to show God's love and grace to others this is miniscule in comparision.  so i rarely talk about it .... rarely discuss what sits heavy on my heart: God gave us this world to use, love and be wise stewards of .... and, quite frankly, we've screwed it up.  this time away taught me that i should no longer be quiet about it.

we have a mandate now more than ever to care for the Creation that God has entrusted to us.  i want my kids to enjoy fresh, non GM food and to live an abundant life .... and to know our Saviors love through that.   so for me, being a wise steward (trying ... not perfect, but trying!), and teaching my kids how to cherish God's world will only make them fall in love with the Creator more ... and want to share His amazing Love with others.

i learned a term this weekend ... Evangelical Environmentalism.  it is the new term for those believers who take seriously our stewardship of this world.  now this course was certainly not about faith or about religion!  but i saw the core principles of permaculture and said .... man!  those are straight from the bible!  they are using God's mandate to love others, care for others, live in community and be wise stewards .... all which can be scripturally supported. 

 i am forced to reflect on so much.  i have wanted to live today better than yesterday and hope for tomorrow more than i have today.  i think of two things from the weekend that have been profound for me.
-- life happens!  it is the way that God designed it.  i see this in the area that our chickens are scratching away at ... the left overs i feed them and the borlotti beans and cherry tomato's that can't help but spring up!
-- we have all been made in the image of our Grand Designer.  He has given us the ability to design and reclaim this world in the way He intended it to be.

reflection  ..... 5 July 2011

so ... i've been doing this blog for over 3 months now .... is my heart still passionate about our role in God's redemption of Creation?  of what he has called us too?  for me, and more importantly, for our family .... that answer is a resounding YES.

each day we are learning a little bit more about the small and big things we can do to honour our Lord by understanding how He created this planet, the systems that are the best for growing things and providing for our family.  what does that mean?  well, truthfully .... it means heaps of fun!  we are learning about cool things in our garden .... mushrooms, aquaponics ... how to grow stuff with less effort and more reward -- and regenerating and making good soil to boot!  understanding that we don't have to have things brand spankin' new .... but that recycling and reusing is actually MUCH MORE REWARDING!  and ... learning about our friends and neighbors .... living in community more.

so yes ... we are continuing to move towards a creation care mentality .... and with each step we take, we are more committed to it and this call that God has placed on our hearts.  will you join us?

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
His hand the wonders wrought.

Monday, March 14, 2011

.... a transparent process ....

premise: that as i enter the second half century of my life i am learning that choosing to live in a simple, uncluttered way will provide me with the opportunity to be happier than i am now. and if i believe nothing else it is that at my age .... i know more than i did at 25.
i am a middle aged wife and mum to a 4, 6 and 8 year old. i would be classified (yikes! if you believe in those sorts of things!) as a novice environmental evangelical permie.  what do i believe? i believe in lots of things .... and here are a few. 
  • i believe that a simple life is a better life ... and it can begin at any age
  • i believe that you and i are loved, yea cherished, by a loving and Almighty God who is the Grand Designer of our world (don't walk away ... you respect me, i'll respect you ... that's your challenge!)
  • i believe that our Grand Designer made us stewards of this amazing planet and that we have screwed it up .... and it's time to redeem it .... square meter by square meter
  • i believe that my children and husband are just about the most incredible gift i could have ever been given
  • i believe in making mistakes ... BIG mistakes .... then learning from them!
  • i believe in laughing ..... LOTS -- with my friends and family. laughing alone is ok .... but laughing with someone makes your heart smile!
this blog will no doubt morph from time to time .... but i hope to share how i am learning about a simple life .... in relationships, in the way i live and care for my friends and family.

i wish i would've learned about the fulfilment of simplicity when i was younger. but hey! let's not cry over spilt milk! i choose it now .... even at the ripe old age of 50 and 2 days!

my question to you is simple .... wanna come along for the ride?