Hi! Margy here. It has been a long time since I have written anything on the blog. A big thank you to Racheal for keeping things chugging along.
I wanted to share with you a little project I have been working on. After being motivated to investigate visible mending at Jane Milburn's Slow Clothing Conversation last year, I have been checking out different pictures of this technique on Pinterest. There I came across a form of visible mending that is inspired by sashiko, a form of Japanese embroidery and boro, a traditional style of patchwork used in Japan for mending. I bought a pair of second hand jeans and I wanted to experiment with different embroidery patterns. I used a washable glue stick to secure the pieces of fabric to the jeans and crochet cotton for the stitching. It was a lot of fun playing around with colours and patches of material. I also experimented with how to make a hole in the jeans to make it look like a natural hole. Usually with mending you don't have to worry about making a hole! Believe it or not using a razor was the best technique. I am hoping to do a workshop on this technique later in the year so if you are interested keep an eye out for our workshops.
Come and learn how to detox your cleaning regime with homemade alternatives to commercial products…using simple, often inexpensive ingredients.
In this workshop, which will run for approximately 1.5-2 hours, I’ll show you how to make your own laundry powder, kitchen spray, gunk/adhesive remover, scouring powder, boot polish, liquid soap, air freshener, toilet cleaner and window cleaner.
Cost: $35. Payment can be made by selecting and buying this workshop online at birdsongmarketgarden.com.au/2018/09/18/birdsong-green-cleaning-class-wednesday-26th-september-10am/
. This will automatically book you in. Price includes a take-home kit with some ingredients to get you started!
Details: Wednesday 26th September, 10am at Birdsong Market Garden, 118 Boundary St, Cranley, 4350
PS. For those who love the idea of homemade, local, non-toxic cleaning products, but aren’t keen on making them themselves, check out Green Dandelion (online). Suanne makes and sells these products.
First of all, the above link is to Michele's blog on SLT's September workshop, well timed with the carnival of flowers this month in Toowoomba!
Linda Brennan, author of "A Delicious Bunch" came along and inspired us all with her edible flowers and recipes...and tips on organic gardening. I was very impressed by Linda. She and her husband have even gone to the effort of doing a green house flip on their home, making it eco friendly. She obviously LOVES gardening and eating of her produce. I noticed other little things too, like the fact that Linda wasn't using the latest and greatest kitchen equipment, she was even being green in that department, using her perfectly functional old-style food processor.
The above picture is a sunflower seed biscuit, decorated with an array of edible flowers, that we assembled at the workshop. Wouldn't they make beautiful high tea snacks? Beautiful and very wholesome.
I believe our next workshop will be with The Source Wholefoods, sharing with us ways to go green and make whole food/organic eating more affordable. Keep an eye out for details! To be the first to know, just email us on the "contact" page and your email can be added to the mailout list.
Wow, it's been a while since I updated the blog! Sorry about that. Winter has been busier in the market garden than expected, so time has been short.
SLT's Recycled Fabric Workshop in June looked to be inspiring, and Michele blogged about it here.
Yesterday we held the Cheese Making workshop, with the focus on Feta and Mozzarella. For those who've never tried making cheese, most cheeses take weeks or even months to mature/age, so we had to stick to 'fresh' cheeses that can be made in a matter of hours rather than weeks!
Our teacher, Patricia, is a science teacher with a emphasis on microbiology, so she was able to explain a little of what's going on with the bacterial process in cheese making.
We were able to sample these lovely fresh cheeses and there will be some class notes coming, which I plan to post when I get them :-)
Patricia recommends getting cheesemaking supplies from GreenLivingAustralia
While we've just mentioned recycling fabric, has anyone heard of The Clothesline second hand clothing store in Toowoomba? In our home, we're big fans of op shopping and second hand just-about-everything, so I was surprised to find that there's a second hand clothing store that's been going for 2.5 years and yet we'd never heard of it!
The Clothesline is at 2 Mann St (next to Hanna's department store). They specialise in used upmarket and designer brand clothes. Their prices are higher than a regular op shop, but then they're not actually an op shop. They buy as-new designer clothing from people who no longer need them. So for anyone who wants quality used clothing, it's definitely worth a visit. And with that in mind, their prices are excellent for the quality of the clothing. I bought a gorgeous pair of girls printed trousers and the cutest girls clogs I've ever seen at $8.50 each. Both were as new and obviously would have been quite pricey new.
I will point out that parking is a little bit of an issue. The Clothesline have a tiny car park right next to their store, but its only got about 3 spaces. You can park at Hanna's if you plan to go in there too (because you need a token from in the store to be able to exit that carpark). I parked at Toyota since they have a huge car park with plenty of space available. Not sure if that's allowed....
So if you get a chance, it's worth checking out.
Not long now until SLT's Beeswax wraps and Cold Process Soap workshop. Two very fun and practical skills in one class! The class is almost full, so be sure to email Michele at email@example.com to RSVP
Class details are on the Workshop Informatoin page
This year I'd hoped to run lots of classes from Birdsong, especially as last year there were often requests from people who missed various classes if they could run again. Up until now it had been crazy-so much work to do on the farm etc. But now life is calmer, classes can start again.
No doubt just about everyone has heard of bone broth, it’s a hot topic, especially in regard to it’s gut healing capabilities.
We’ve been making it for years, and actually started making it because Rick was trained as a chef back in the day, and when we got married he liked things like real gravy made on real beef stock…and making it seemed a lot more economical (and satisfying) than buying it!
Then as time went on and more and more info came out about the vast chasm of difference in quality between your standard supermarket stock/broth and homemade stock/broth, there was no way we’d go back to buying it.
Last Autumn we held a bone broth workshop, and as the chill of the season sets in again this year, it’s such a lovely time to have a pot of broth on the stove (or in your slow cooker).
We’re holding another bone broth workshop Wednesday May 30th, 1:30pm here at Birdsong (118 Boundary St).
I’ll show you examples of what to include in your broth, how to make it, how to pressure can it (to make the broth shelf stable) and how to make boullion (reduced broth jelly, EXCELLENT option if you want to freeze broth but have limited freezer space).
We can also give you a list of where to source bones, whether fish, beef or lamb.
You will go home with a little starter kit of Birdsong herbs, seasonal produce (suitable for broth), instructions and a jar of broth (likely beef) to try.
Cost: $30. You can either pay on the day (must RSVP first) or you can pay by selecting the class from the webstore and paying online. www.birdsongmarketgarden.com.au
To RSVP, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday May 27th.
First of all, a big thanks to Jane Milburn, who spoke at out last Simple Living gathering, on Slow Clothing. I loved how down to earth Jane is, as well as creative! And she encouraged us with the fact that she doesn't believe she started out being creative, but rather it was something that grew in her as she created.
We just returned home from what I believe was the most relaxing holiday we've ever had! Rick and I read, took the children down to the beach several times a day, explored rock pools and generally took it easy. A lovely change from the constant demands of the farm we run here.
Destination: Minnie Water, NSW. Some of you have heard of it, or heard of Wooli, the nearest village. Minnie Water is a rarity in that it's surrounded by National Parks...the Yuragir National Park and the Solitary Islands Marine Park. It can't get any bigger or more populated. If you're like us, that's a big draw card. Not being fans of crowds and the excessive commerce that litters the beaches closest to Toowoomba, we trek down to Minnie Water (an hour North of Coffs Harbour) where it's almost like taking a step back in time and definitely a step closer to nature.
We go off season, and usually have the privilege of having the pristine beach all to ourselves!
I wanted to mention where we stayed too, because if you like a rustic beach shack (that's also got beach frontage) with all the amenities so all you have to do is BYO food and linen, then the Taipan is a great find. If you go at the right time of year, you can literally watch the whales from the dining room table!
Here's a link to the house...
It's such a refreshing change from the high-rise apartments and over crowded scene of the Southern QLD beaches, and being in a beach house is also a bit more relaxing than camping...it rained a little every day we were there, which would have been a bit of an issue with 6 children if we'd been staying in a tent!
Check it out if you're after a quaint village where you can escape the rest of the world for a while (just be aware there's only mobile reception for optus customers...which may or may not be a good thing for you! I enjoyed having no contact to the outside world for a few days)
Thanks so much to local herbologist, Josh Neideck, who came and shared his time and knowledge with us yesterday on using herbs! What a turnout! I think it was our biggest class (in numbers) yet. We just managed to squeeze everyone in and Josh managed to answer a lot of questions in between sharing his experience with us.
It has been suggested that we ask for more recipes people use for salves and other herb based remedies to post here for those who are interested.
One of the basic ways we have used a herb, is picking a leaf of plantain (English Ribwort) to stop bleeding of cuts. I've done this for a slice on my arm , and was really pleased my 10 year old son remembered this little aid when he was swimming at a dam with his mate and his mate got cut. They were nowhere near a house, so my son was able to pick some plantain and stop the bleeding before they headed back to the house. It's very effective!
Plantain is a weed at our place, this is what it looks like (above). Very distinct ribbed leaves. In our present state of drought (I know we're getting some rain, but it's still a bit dry here!), plantain is a little more sparse than in the photo.
One thing I learned last year, is that herbs are mineral and nutrient powerhouses. I was looking at the top sources of selenium (an essential mineral) and catnip was right up there after brazil nuts. Then looking further down the selenium list, were virtually all the herbs that help with lactation. Interesting.
So in an effort to get more herbs into our diet, we bought the above book, the Herbfarm Cookbook. It's from the 90's I think, but full of French inspired wholesome goodies that feature herbs. I've tried a selection of the recipes, and they're so flavoursome! We just don't realise how much flavour we forfeit when we leave herbs out of our meals.
Josh mentioned using bicarb soda as toothpaste. Tooth powder has been around for ages, and is so much safer than commercial toothpaste (have you read those labels?!)
Our tooth powder is just this one:
4 tablespoons bentonite clay
2 teaspoons naturally extracted baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons unrefined sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons clove powder, or ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground peppermint leaves, or 5-10 drops peppermint essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a clean glass jar.
Sprinkle a little on a wet toothbrush and brush as normal.
One to three years
So Josh had a list of health aids he suggested, not all herbs. Things like taking bicarb soda to alkalise the gut, colloidal silver as an antibacterial (we've done this, it's amazing stuff!), apple cider vinegar too.
As for herbs, he's a big fan of Feverfew (not so tasty, but great for fighting certain illnesses!). It grows quite well here, our survived the drought with little attention.
And the common culinary herbs are worth having...basil, parsley, coriander (he uses coriander seed for fresh breath), rosemary (great for the brain), sage, thyme...
So, if you have a recipe using herbs, that you'd like to share, please do so in the comments :-)
Here are a couple of opportunities you might be interested in...Jamie's Ministry of Food Mobile Kitchen is coming to Toowoomba Feb 22nd to run their 5 week cooking course.
There is space for a few more participants, and the cost has been reduced by 50%. So it's only $50 for the 5 week course! The link above will take you to the website where you can book in.
They're also looking for more volunteers "vollies" as they call them, to help set up, clean up, welcome participants and help the classes run smoothly. It's just a 2 hour commitment at the same time each week for 5 weeks. It's a great way to help out in the community, helping people learn the basic life skill of preparing their own food at home.
The mobile kitchen will be operating out of the Bailie Henderson car park, in North Toowoomba.
Hi, my name is Racheal and I write the blog for Simple Living Toowoomba. Thanks for joining us on this journey to living a simpler life and encouraging others to do the same.