Who would like to spend a winter afternoon relaxing with good conversation and playing with flowers where you will be able to learn some tips and tricks to making your arrangements not only look amazing but last longer? Belle Bouquets is a small floral business run by Lisel Vonhoff and she has a workshop running on 29th July from 1pm-2:30pm in the front room at Canvas Coworking Inc in Toowoomba. This would be perfect for a Mum and her daughters to enjoy! The event is hosted by Ladies Stepping Out Lifestyle and you can book your tickets here - https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/belle-bouquets-work-shop-tickets-35556729134 or for more information contact Lisel at email@example.com
About 6 weeks ago we had maybe 5 heads of purple cauliflower that Rick had grown. They were precious and we weren't very willing to part with them! This month is an entirely different story. A whole row of the market garden was filled with purple cauliflower ready to harvest. It's been selling nicely, but there's so much that we had to start looking at other ways to use it! I didn't consider the chickens worthy of this delicacy!
A customer had mentioned she was going to make cauliflower rice with hers. I'd heard it mentioned before and was curious to see how this grain free rice would turn out. So we gave it a go! It was really easy to make. You just remove the bulk of the stem, grate your cauliflower (we cheated and used the food processor!) and then heat a fry pan or large saucepan with a little oil/butter and some garlic if you're a flavour junkie. Then gently cook the grated cauliflower for 6-8 minutes. Easy! Rick and I were impressed...so much so that we made it again the next night!
If you react to grains or just want to sneak some more veg into your diet, give this one a go :-)
And I'm sorry there's no pic of the finished rice. I did take one, but one of my little monkeys must have deleted it accidentally from my phone!
Anyone else inundated with chilies?
Ours have been pumping out chilies for months, and recipes like chili paste and sweet chili sauce don't actually use up that many of them.
So in the past few weeks we've found two recipes/ideas that can handle as many chilies as we can throw at them!
One is making our own chili flakes, which we like to use in soups, ferments etc.
The other is homemade Tabasco sauce, which Rick has been wanting me to make for a while. I'd never known until looking into it that Tabasco sauce is actually a ferment!
Anyway, to make chili flakes, it's a very simple process. Pick your chilies (and if they're slightly shriveled, that's ok) and lay them out in a dehydrator. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can dry fry them in a frypan or dry them in a low temp oven. I left mine for about 24 hours in the dehydrator (stalks still on).
This is them dehydrated. To test dryness, just pick one up and see if it snaps cleanly. These definitely did, so I snapped all the stalks off and then put them in the blender on low for just a few seconds.
Then I just poured the flakes (using a funnel) into a glass jar for later use :-) Pretty simple, and a great way to make use of all these chilies!
For instructions on how to make your own tabasco, go to honest-food.net/fermented-hot-sauce-recipe/ (I will warn you, it's a LONG ferment, but looks very worthwhile)
Sashiko- Japanese for "little stabs" as this form of embroidery involves decorative little stitches for reinforcement.
Margaret is going to share this skill with us in a hands on workshop on 22nd July from 10am-Noon. Margaret will be supplying all the materials...except the ruler and 2B pencil that each participant needs to supple themselves.
Cost is $10, payable on the day, and numbers are limited to 10! So book in quick (to firstname.lastname@example.org) if this interests you.
We'll be meeting at Range Christian Fellowship (13-15 Blake St, Wilsonton, 4350)
Hopefully I'll organise the next Birdsong class for July soon too! I'm getting there!
Hawaii, Iceland and the Lockyer Valley's Mt Sylvia...what do they have in common?
You're probably thinking "not much!" These three areas are places that palagonite, a rare rock dust formed through the interaction of water and volcanic glass, is found. Normally it occurs where there is recent volcanic activity, but in the past 11 years has been found at Mt Sylvia! Interested in how it happens? www.mtsylviasoilconditioners.com.au/products/understanding-palagonite-video
I'm mentioning this because I know a lot of you are into gardening to some extent...and most of us have soil that needs help. It's either too sandy, too clay ridden or too depleted of organic matter.
And that's where palagonite can help. Palagonite has the natural ability to hold and retain water, which is great news for a lot of gardeners, but when mixed with manure and microbes it becomes a powerful growth agent for gardens. The mine at mt Sylvia has already exported their blend to Dubai, where it was able to support the growth of healthy grass in a polo center! This was desert...and then they added the palagonite/manure blend and grass grew!
In a more local example, Bauers organic farm used palagonite in addition to some other natural goodies for the soil and gained a 50% increase in their ginger crop.
Of interest to my husband and I with our organic market garden, is the paramagnetism of palagonite. We already use blue metal in our compost brew to increase the soil paramagnetism and recently found out palagonite has triple the paramagnetism of crusher dust/blue metal. It also improves the soil pH, microbial activity and adds many trace elements to the soil.
If you live in the Toowoomba area and want to try palagonite out, check out www.birdsongmarketgarden.com.au where we will soon be offering this supplement for sale to home gardeners.
The link below gives you some more info about this mineral:
Permaculture! Michael Wardle from Savour Soil Permaculture is coming this month to give us a run down on this environmentally friendly way of gardening and living.
Remember that the location has changed! We'll be meeting at Range Christian Fellowship (13-15 Blake St, Wilsonton, 4350)
This will be on Saturday 17th June from 9am-midday. Cost is $5, payable on the day.
Book in to Margy via the contact form on the website.
Also in June we'll be looking at winter skin fixes with natural products like therapeutic grade essential oils, salt, coconut oil etc.
This will be a make and take class...all the materials and instructions are provided and you get to make some custom products to help naturally protect and moisturise your skin this winter.
This class will be on Wednesday June 14th, 1pm at Birdsong Market Garden in Cranley.
Cost will be $15 and you'll go home with a couple of handmade skin products.
More more info, or to RSVP, contact Racheal at email@example.com
Right from when I was young, decluttering has always been refreshing and fun for me. I used to prune out unwanted items and lay them out on my bed and then invite my siblings in to take what they wanted. We called it a garage sale!
But things change when you add a husband and children to the mix. Suddenly it's not just my belongings, but that of 8 of us that are building up in our home!
Last Saturday Margy enlightened us with some sobering statistics about the stuff we hang on to and some fresh ideas to cut back and be free of the clutter.
One that really hit me was that we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time! So true. Even for my children. My elder two girls will wear the same couple of outfits each ALL the time! And I wonder why we bother keeping so many clothes for them that they don't wear. But I'm just as bad. There were (I say WERE because upon returning from this workshop I reevaluated the wardrobe and turfed out a LOT of clothes!) far too many clothing items that I hardly ever wear. Especially skirts, because skirts and farming aren't especially compatible!
Margy had collected some great ideas to inspire us to simplify our lives. One was to look at each item and rather than asking "do I really need this?" asking "does this bring me joy?"
Another idea was to treat the op-shop like your storage space...ie if you don't use something often, why not just op-shop it and if you happen to need it again, go and inexpensively replace it by buying another at an op shop.
The most extreme idea was to have a 'packing party' where you invite several friends over and box up everything you own...then as you need things, pull them out again to use and all the stuff that is left boxed and obviously not needed can be discarded. I can't imagine going to the effort of boxing up everything unless moving house! But it's probably a great drastic measure to help severe hoarders!
Some of us love to prune like this, but have family members who are hoarders. Some advice in this instance, was to make boundaries and let your family member know that you need at least one room or space in your home that is clutter free. Some breathing space.
Another simple idea, is that when a new item is brought into the home, turf an item out in exchange.
Thanks to all who came and shared their ideas and stories, it was a fun and helpful morning!
Letting ewe know what's happening...
After something like 5 years of the Good Shepherd Lutheran church loaning us their lovely kitchen hall for SLT classes, we're moving! Thanks so much to the Good Shepherd Lutheran for your generosity in loaning us your facilities :-) It's been a great venue and many people have been really blessed and inspired by being able to meet there for these classes.
And now we've secured another great venue. This time it will be Range Christian Fellowship in Wilsonton (13-15 Blake St). So keep posted for changes to the May and June classes. The May Decluttering forum location is to be confirmed, but in June (permaculture workshop) we will be starting to meet at Range Christian Fellowship.
Hope to see you there!
It seems I'm not alone in the war on seasonal sinus issues. So many people flare up with the change of seasons and it can get to the point where your nose becomes red raw from excessive wiping with tissues.
One way our family (and many others I'm sure) have found to ease this problem, is to use flannelette hankies. They're so soft! And cheap to make too. And there's even a no-sew option, for those who cringe at the sight of sewing machines :-)
Another benefit is that you choose the hankie size. I must admit that because my flannelette featured stripes, I used them to 'measure' the hankies and couldn't tell you exactly how big they are!
Anyway, if you frequent op shops like we do, you may have noticed flannelette sheets are often available there for a couple of dollars. Mine was a single sized, Australian made sheet in good nick...for $3. A single size sheet makes a lot of hankies. I didn't count, but the end result was a nice tall pile of them.
Now if you want to opt out of the sewing option, you'll need pinking shears (dressmaking scissors that cut a zig-zag rather than a straight line). Then all you do is measure (if you're that way inclined) and cut your hankies to your desired size. The zig-zag will prevent any fraying without the need for a hem.
My Nanna blessed me with an overlocker, so that's what I used. I just followed the stripes to keep my hems even, and then folded the flannelette into a triangle (so it would unfold into an even square...as pictured above).
If you want to sew with a regular machine there are several options. You could get all fancy (more time consuming) and fold over the hem and then sew a straight line, or you could just sew a zig-zag stitch around the edges to prevent fraying
So there you have it...soft and economical...eco friendly hankies that are very simple to make.
This idea can also be used for making cloth toilet paper. Yes, I"m serious! Maybe use a different colour or print to the hankies though so they don't get confused! That might be a separate post for another time. :-)
Next up for Simple Living Toowoomba is an open forum on decluttering. Lightning the hen here (pictured), needs help with her hording of pot plants!
This forum isn't just for people who need help with decluttering, but also for those who have some skill in decluttering and can shine some light on the subject for the rest of us!
Decluttering children isn't too bad...I just 'clean' their room when they're sleeping over somewhere else and chuck out the rubbish. But how do you declutter husbands who manage to fill three sheds and the bedroom with their possessions and still not feel satisfied with their storage space??! Not so easy to sneak their stuff into the bin.
Also in May, is a possible sausage making class at Birdsong Market Garden in Cranley...yet to organise this! We ran one in March '16, but this would be on a weekday for those who can't do weekends or missed the last one.
If you want more details on this, make sure you're on the Simple Living Toowoomba email subscription. That is where the info will be published.
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.