2014 a plan … well maybe

So another year has rolled by. Which is good because we have a whole new year to work on 🙂

And true to last year the year is already swinging by SO Fast.

I missed posting so far, working out how to clear out a rodent infestation (more on that later) and just life in general.

I don’t really have resolutions for 2014. Just a general sense that I want to improve how things are moving our lives. Improve my impact on the planet and just generally feel better about things.

Now for those trying to avoid a rant you can skip to the bottom for a very nice recipe for Thai Salad 🙂


While this is general a couple of things clarified in my mind for this year.

  1. Drop our energy usage below the 50% for Australians (a Paul Wheaton definition of being green)
  2. Improve the back yard as far as it carrying capacity goes (permaculture Principle 3: Obtain a yield – you cannot work on an empty stomach)
  3. Eat more locally, sustainably and ethically and importantly buy a LOT less from the duopoly in Australia
  4.  Feel generally better about our position in life.

The first three are measurable and I will be measuring them over the year.

Our renovation on the house will make it significantly more energy efficient so that will help with the drop. Bike gets serviced on the weekend so that will help some more. We decided to drive rather than fly to QLD for a number of reasons one being the environmental effect. The other being you get see the country and experience it.

On the trip we made the effort to shop local. We took local whole foods, cherries from my parents local apples and local ham and sandwich bread on the first day. When we did buy we avoided the fast food joints heading into small towns and hitting local bakeries and IGA. Fruit stalls along the way.  We gave the friend looking after our place a local ham, cherries and emptied out our fridge of perishable items.

When I got back I kept this moving. Avoiding the supermarkets. Cheese and yogurt from the local factory, greengrocer fruit and veg. Small family business for as much as I could and only when I had run out of options did I hit the big guys. We will keep this going and it is measurable as we keep a budget of all costs one of the things we spend on I want to decrease the amount of money spent in the big 2 by 50% this year.

The back yard is a work in progress, with the kids around time gets eaten up but this year I want to double the food coming out of the back yard. The wicking beds and forest garden stood up to the heat in our absence really well. Other garden beds did not and are going to need some love. This is going to be the year of the back yard for me. Once the reno are under way the single biggest item I need to look at is the location of the shed and this scheduled to be moved by April until then it will be working in the area’s not impacted by this move. Getting production up and the beds healthy. Runs up for manure from my parents another load of wood chips from the tree surgeon we got the last load are in order.

The last item is not measurable but is by far the most important. It means walking the walk and getting things done or not done. But also means getting the money in order. I don’t want to be riddled with the doubts that come with the financial and social issues around us. This is going to be ongoing. It will mean that I have to do a few more things as there are things that I have learned that I cannot unlearn and the issues I have with plastic bags are not the only ones I have when I look at the disparity in the world and the way I as much as any interact with this. And it is going to require me to continue to remember that enforcing my way on those around me and nearest and dearest to me is not going to lead to the good places. Acceptance of the view and life styles of others is absolutely necessary to fulfil this.

So it is hopefully going to be a blast 🙂 hope you can all come along for the ride.


On the first night of the year we started on 2,3 and 4.

We had Thai beef salad as below. Local beans, vegies from the local famers market and our garden. Local organic beef. I even roasted the peanuts from raw so that I could guarantee no palm oil in them.

At the end we feed 3 adults (our neighbour came across) and two kids and each of the adults including the neighbour got lunch as well so good value and tasted good.


  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar (I avoid palm sugar which is recommended as even the certified organic stuff is leading to the deforestation and destruction of tropical forests and the animals in them)
  • 1.5 table spoon of fish sauce
  • 2 Teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Chilli
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoon or so of fresh grated ginger.

Wisk together and then pour half over around 600grams of strips of good organic beef and let it sit for 20 minutes to 2 hours. If you get good grass feed organic beef then this will be enough for 3 adults and two kids as unlike the cheap option at supermarkets it is not pumped with water so you get 600 grams of beef.


Roast a 100 grams of raw peanuts coated in sunflower oil in a 200 degree oven till brown (be careful they burn easily)


Cook a packet of your favourite noodles as per the packets instructions (I used hokkien noodles) and set aside

  • Blanch 750 grams of green beans and chill to stop them cooking they should be crisp
  • Finely slice a red onion
  • Use a vegetable peeler to thinly slice 3 carrots
  • Finely slice 2 cucumbers (I used Lebanese ones)
  • Goof bunch of mint
  • Good mix of coriander, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint etc (whatever I have in my garden)
  • Kaffir lime leaves finely sliced


After the marinade time fry the beef to your desired level of cooking in a hot pan and set aside for 10 minutes to rest then slice finely.

Mix all of the above including the noodles and the peanuts with the remainder of the sauce add the sliced beef at the end and give another mix.


Tastes great as lunch the next day.



One thought on “2014 a plan … well maybe

  1. Pingback: 2014 in Review. | I am NOT an urban hippie

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