3 More things.

Bill Gates used to say do an extra thing each day and that will be another 365 things you get done for the year.

Me I am believer in the rounding function so for me do 3 extra things each day and you will have over a 1000 extra things done each year 🙂

One of the myths I often see in the alternative world is this thought a simple life being easy. It is harder than most people realise and that is part of the problem in a world where we expect life to cut us chances. But also more rewarding , or at least I think so.

So tonight’s 3 …

Sorted two barrow loads of bricks from the pile and cleaned those that needed it. For the next section of paving.IMG_9777


More firewood from down the street IMG_9774

The Daily Bread as always before bed. IMG_9776IMG_9775

Time for sleep 🙂


Preparing for Winter.

We haven’t had to use the stove since early December and it is unlikely we will see weather in the next few months that will require it but already I am getting ready for winter.

Last winter the pallet numbers dropped off dramatically late in the season as it got cold and people were looking for wood.

We chose to use up our wood for space with the granny flat project and had about 2 barrow loads come end of winter. I did a run up to wood for good and got a load and most of that is still left.

Since then I have managed to hit a few local fallen branches from people and locations, a good load from a friend up around Macedon along pruning from trees.

I am also getting in pallets making sure they are all heat treated timber and preferably hardwood.

So the hunt is ongoing. I have a hand saw and loppers in the car if I come across anything decent. Even a small branch can be a half to a full days heating in our very efficient stove.

Managed to harvest below and another barrow load locally after a large branch had come down in the wind over Christmas.


And tonight I noted a tree dropped and nicely cut up into foot long blocks by an arborist two streets down on my way home. A quick knock on the door and a question and invited to take half. But the best was to meet and speak to a neighbour who I had never meet. An older guy very nice chatted for some time on his tomatoes and gave him some advice on his new lemon tree. Good to get to know the locals.

Three big barrow loads and the offer of the rest if his friends do not pickup there’s by tomorrow. I took the longer pieces as I have access to cut them up the other people may not have this. You need to be fair.


Pity some of the branches where not a bit longer or I would have inoculated them with some shitake but beggars cannot be choosers.

As it is this wood is still a year of drying away from being used but it will get used.

And didn’t even need to use a car to bring it home that is local.

Cut up it will fuel us for a week or more 🙂


Working with or against Nature? (fat hen spanakopita)

I visited my parents place over the Christmas period had a really nice relaxing time. Foraged some items, took the family to a few different places but mostly just relaxed.

My father is the king of the drip system. He has beautiful rich red volcanic soil that is free draining, very free draining as such he tends to drip water the plants and along with 40 plus years of adding organic matter to the soil means his vegies grow incredibly well.

Because of this he also has minimal weed issues how ever one thing I did note that fat hen sometimes called lambs ear (Chenopodium album), dock and the purslane where doing really well. IMG_9318-2000

I grabbed some purslane to plant at my place and grabbed a large bag of fat hen which I made into spanakopita (recipe below).

To me it is interesting that this high protein crop that by my father’s admission (he is a rabid anti weed man 🙂 ) the chickens and sheep love is torn out spayed out and treated with disdain.

And there it is growing without water or love and just doings its own good thing. From a point of view of plants we are going to have to start to look at what will work by itself without lots of inputs or work and this is potentially a great option for fodder and food. The broad acre style of farming the crops you want rather that what will grow easily is simply not going to hold true in the long run.

And much to my father annoyance his granddaughter loves the fresh leaves of this plant and now it is naturalised in my back yard we have access to it for salads, cooking or as fodder for the chickens.

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As for the taste of the spanakopita. A. and I made up two batches of rolls and a pie with a half side fat hen and half spinach and apart from being slightly more beefy texture the kids and wife could not tell them apart and all was eaten.

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This is one good weed.

Recipe for Fat Hen (or spinach) Spanakopita.

  • Packet of filo or puff pastry (or if you are a better cook than me make your own 🙂 )
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 gram of feta
  • 75 grams of ricotta
  • 75 grams of quark cheese (could use another 75 grams of ricotta)
  • 2 bunches of spinach or equivalent or more of fat hen.( I like lots of green in my mix) shredded.
  • Butter melted and a brush
  • Two onions finely diced.
  • 1 or 2 Sprigs of mint finely sliced (to taste)
  • 1 or 2 Sprigs of dill finely sliced (to taste)
  • Dash of nutmeg.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

Mix all ingredients apart from the melted butter and pastry in a large bowl.

Lay out the filo or puff pastry. If using filo make sure you keep a damp towel over it put brushed melted butter over each sheet as you layer them. A. helped me with this process as two people make this easier. We use 3 or so layers for a roll and 3 or so layers top and then same bottom in a pie. Puff pastry is just one layer.

Spoon mix onto the pastry sheets and roll or make into pies. Do not over fill.

Butter top and make sure you butter the tray they are sitting on.

Put in an oven at 150 to 170 degrees Celsius till cooked through and browned (about 45 minutes) slow cook is a better option for your health than the western desire to deep fry/fast cook everything.

Once cooked leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a nice salad.

Back to Work…

Yes back to working for the man after a few weeks off.


While my job is good and I enjoy the work. It is still working for the man. It will take effort ensure that I don’t fall into the 40 hour week trap. I have been making all our meals from scratch and working around the house despite a few incidents (car crash – minor) it has been a very effective and productive time despite the daily nana naps or perhaps because of them. It is these simple cheap things that tend to go first when you are busy at work and earning the dollar. It is hard sometime to prioritise these things.

So last year ‘the year that said meh’ to us has shown that we need to work on a few things from a sustainable point of view, try though we will.


Time to try to get the debt back down and sustainability back up.

A couple of interesting articles below.

Time to go. Things to do 🙂

Your Life Has Already been Designed for you – http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/

The Year Ahead – http://bealtainecottage.com/2014/12/25/the-year-ahead-be-prepared/

2016 And Onward

So 2015 was very much the year that said meh to us. Definitely not good but not bad either.

It was summed up by the accident on new year’s eve. Car a bit of a mess, annoyance with insurance but no one hurt able to limp home with the trailer load of material for the path I am building in the back yard.

So what is on for the year coming?

Well below is the philosophy I am going to try to take into the year.


Maybe not ‘Epic Shit’ but definitely try to get shit done each day.

Spent the afternoon helping a friend with something he had been wanting to try for an extended time that one of the martial art I know teaches.

Also got the chance to teach him and a partner some foraging and plants we have in the back yard and send him home with plants. The start of a good year?

Just a start.

Let’s see how we deal with meh shall we!

Buy Nothing New October 2015

So Buy Nothing New October started yesterday. A. and I have decided that we will pledge again for this.



Given how over the last few months I have had to clear out 10 cubic meters of stuff into skips this will be a cathartic process for me.

It will also be a nice break for our bank accounts which have been pummelled by the work on the back yard and granny flat.

I have enough items to keep me in projects probably till the end of the year LOL J as does A. with our room looking like a quilting store 🙂

Our main driver is that we need to reduce our impact as a collective reduce the amount of stuff we are stealing from our kids future!

We all have to try to live by the motto

Reduce then Repair then Reuse then Recycle

So why not give it a try what is the worst that could happen?

Finishing Christmas with a simple meal and simple lesson in life

So we have had our Christmas splurge. In reality ours while generous it was not the masses of excess I have seen other years or from others.

I will say this, it may be the crowd I hang with but the year seems to be a lot quieter at this time of year. A great many people are simply not buying into the sales and mess (could have been spending Christmas in a depressed regional centre as well)

Our Christmas plans were interrupted to a degree by a bought of gastro in the house. We ended up simplifying them and reduced travel time by 2-3 hours and the pace just felt a lot more relaxed.

We ended up at my parents, dry and warm but quiet and relaxed.

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The meals for us where generous but relatively simple, presents where practical and not ostentatious and the main thing was simply time spent with family. In time this will become the norm rather than the exception. The decline perhaps has already begun with a great many people so the chance for waste and excess will become less.

On the last day at my parents place we decided to head to the local trout farm as we had promised the children that they could try fishing and sitting on a river bank for 4 hours to get nothing will not attract children to fishing (it put me off most fishing 🙂 ).

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So we spent about an hour got 9 beautiful rainbow trout

Cooked simply n a BBQ nothing better. A salad from my parents’ house, chips from their own potatoes. Simple but good.


And the kids well they again know where the food came from and the only comment was from the 5 year old that she would eat the fish but not bloody 🙂