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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making Pasta - Recipe From The Couch

This week you all know I have been a little indisposed with my back.....
So when asked, here is my pasta recipe.

Man: "Babe, what is your pasta recipe?"
T: "Allow one egg per person. How many are you cooking for?"
Man: "Dunno, just feel like making pasta,  I'll work with 4 eggs then"
T: " So allow 2/3 cup of flour per egg"
Man: (confidently responds),"Can do. OK" 

T: "Wait, within that flour egg ratio....I work with a 2/3 flour and 1/3 semolina"
Man: (less confidently) " Rrriiiiight" 

 Piece of cake and fool proof every time.
I do hope you'll try it if you haven't worked out your tried and true yet.
Let me know how you go.
If you do have a tried and true, please share it with us all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So Much Catching Up

I Love Slow Living Essentials and learn so much from this generous lady. This week I have learnt about Chia seeds and she has very kindly shared her experimental bread recipe here.

I also learned what a Trumeau Mirror is from "You Could Make That"
and just wait till you see what she does with it here.
Nan has some wonderful decorating projects on her blog and shares all. 
she really gets me seeing pieces in a new light.

For some stunning. soothing, soft



Find out how to make this fabulous homemade Citrus Cleaner
Just the sight of it warms my winter world and I think I can even smell it from here!

If you are looking for an inspiring and frugal craft idea to do with the children
(and maybe not just for the kids)
"Small Things" shows how to make masterpieces with dyed eggshells here
Even if you visit just to look at the photos they will brighten your day.
For a spot of intellectual interlude, read Hazel Dene's post about consumerism and the environment in her post titled 
She discusses the book by Paul Gilding "The Great Disruption"

Coincidentally I have just added the book
by Bill McKibben
to my wish list.

These books challenge the notion that sound economics equals a continually push for economic expansion. The cause and effect of this notion is evident in the world dilemma today.
Hazel also has a couple of interesting associated links to other bloggers and although it may sound heavy from my description, this post is in fact encouraging and uplifting and optimistic I think.

So that has been my inspiring couple of days reading around my blog list. I am constantly learning and sometimes just enjoying some beautiful words and pictures. It has been a wonderful browse in my enforced quiet time.
I am very pleased to say that I had an appointment with my osteopath this afternoon and he has performed another miracle and I am practically clicking my heels in the air.
Thank you for all the well wishes and words of encouragement.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Horizontal Musings and Other Trite Phrases

I have had two days in mostly the prone position and thus plenty of ponderings of the philosophical kind.
There is no immediate cure for soft tissue damage.
It takes time

"Time heals all wounds".....Chaucer?

Well I have to develop some patience to allow time to do it's work.

"Patience is the greatest of all virtues"......Cato

I like virtues. Virtues sound so noble and pure and virtuous.

"Love is patient and kind"......1Corinthians 13:4

Love is many things and comes dressed in many ways. 
What is the "real" definition of love?
For me, the deal breaker would be bottoms.
If I can look at someone and know that if they became disabled and needed me to help them with personal hygiene on a daily basis and I could embrace that in good spirit,
Then for me that is real love.

Two things about that.....
1.Mother Theresa is one woman who springs to mind immediately as a person with abundant love. 
2. If you've had a bad back you'll know how close I have come to testing out my fella's true love. Thankfully not on this occasion.

So I am wondering, as you walk down that aisle (even if it is a proverbial one), do people ponder that question about love? Loving someone is easy, but loving someone in spite of is something else.
Do we more importantly size that person up and imagine the extremes of reality that life may throw our way, and can we still picture that as a part of our life.

So to cultivate patience (virtue) and allow time (healer) I ponder the meaning of love.
I think of the people who are worse off than me and bed ridden permanently or often and I think of their families and salute you all. In particular I dedicate this post to 
Linda at Two Pink Possums 

One last observation,
have you noticed how when you are laid up, that the spiders seem to ramp it up a notch and really go to town on the cobwebs?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mind Your Back

You know how they are always using the "Bend Your Knees" slogans and advise holding the heavy item close to your chest (very hard to do given my decolletage I might add) as a wide campaign for back care...
Well here is another piece of advice...
Preferably stand with your feet facing the task you are performing.
Sounds pretty simple and straightforward but I seem to have a fail rate of once every four or five years.
It's very embarrassing to have to say "I hurt my back sweeping in the garden" or "just dusting a high shelf".
Upon recovery there shall also be some  strengthening exercises I'm sure.
In the meantime,
nobody make me laugh!

Now have you seen these....
My Naturopath has one of these on my back for the next 48hrs. 
WOW, I imagine it's like an old fashioned mustard poultice.
The active ingredient is cayenne pepper and it is soooo warm.
I'm thinking these are a good way to beat the winter blues.

"Capsicum directly interacts with the receptors of warmth and pain and so alters the perception of pain.
Blood flow at the site of application is stimulated which produces a sensation of warmth"
(direct quote from the packet)
Among the warning advice is; not to be used if allergic to capsicum, if pregnant or breastfeeding, not on broken skin and away from eyes and sensitive mucous linings and areas.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Re-defining After the Rat Race

I have had the most wonderful time away back in the State and the city where I (mostly) grew up. 
Primarily the visit was to join family members to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of one of my Aunts.
People came from far and wide.
I also had the opportunity to visit with family members on the paternal side and an old school friend, a wonderful highlight of the visit.
I stayed with one of my brothers and his family and their generosity of making a car available (and the Tom Tom navigation system) enabled me to visit many important people and places.
It has been about 23 years since I lived in Brisbane and the city and it's population have sprawled to such an extent that there is no discernible beginning or end between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
I was amazed to see at some points, six traffic lanes in both directions, but even more amazing for me is that those lanes were filled with cars. The roadways were filled with super stores, not just shops, but great big stores with big ugly signs and huge car parks. There were trucks everywhere, freighting everything imaginable to enable this high density population. 
I am going to admit to you all here and now that I have had a time of soul searching and questioning.
In the face of this excess, I floundered.
I thought, "What is the point?" "What does it matter what my little community in Tasmania does to take steps towards a more conscious living style in the face of such excess"
To be honest I felt like my efforts for the environment were like trying to bail a leaking boat with a teaspoon.
That is not to imply that Brisbanites aren't doing their bit because if you look, there are a lot of solar panels on roofs and people are using less plastic and are forced to be more water-wise. Public transport is very widely used and I know from some of my favourite bloggers living in that area, that there are lots of people growing and greening.
It is just disappointing to see people driving distances and crowding shopping centres to buy things they probably don't need or could easily buy around the corner. 
The prevailing mentality seems to be, "bigger = better".
The reality of dense populations and their associated problems really hit me hard front on.
So as I pick myself up and dust myself off, shake free the disillusionment and cynicism, 
I find a re-newed love for the people and my home in Tasmania and a stronger conviction that we can only live our life to the best that we can. I can't control the environment out there, but I can control what happens within my garden gate. I know that fewer visits to the doctor these past years is proof enough for me that our path is right for us.

My father often quoted us throughout our childhood,
"I once cried because I had no shoes,
till I met a man who had no feet"
It teaches me perspective and thankfulness for the things I have not the things I have not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Away For A Week

Hello all,
I have headed North for a week in Brisbane.
We are celebrating my Aunt's 50th wedding anniversary.
Emma is house sitting and feeding dogs and chooks.
See you when I get back 
Love xxx

Friday, July 8, 2011

Somebody Tracked In Some Mud

Some changes have been made.
This also ties in with my post entitled "Phenomenons"
Mostly what I post here is for broader discussion in the hopes that we illuminate the shades of grey.
Life is not black and white.
Most of the time, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers.
At all times there should be respect, generosity of spirit and plain ol' good manners.
Like many bloggers far greater than I,
I will be moderating every comment from now on.
I will NOT accept comment from anyone remaining anonymous or with blocked profiles.
I will not accept comments that do not enrich the discussion and experience.
By all means, disagree, but leave your judgments at the door.
....and for goodness sake,
wipe your feet!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Could You Go Paperless In The Toilet?

I came upon the subject by chance on the internet somewhere where a woman was making "Family Cloths" and I thought wow, that's dedicated to green and thought it was a bit too extreme and I dismissed the thought pretty quickly....
Until I read this post
on the Penniless Parenting Blog. It was very matter of fact and candid and held compelling arguments. The comments were probably what got me thinking the most; there were dozens of people doing this same thing. It is the "great unmentionable".
There were many questions in the comments that necessitated a follow up post so she wrote, 

The last time I went to the shop, I managed to find some unbleached, environmentally approved toilet paper on sale and I bought a few packages to stock up. It really has been the most unsatisfactory experience. Every time I use it the brown colour is a constant nag on my already guilt riddled brain about chopping down trees and using fossil fuels to manufacture and transport something miles and miles in order to wipe my nether. Add to that the dollars that are literally flushed down the toilet and worse still, the fact that as soon as it is slightly moist this toilet paper goes to absolute soggy tissue and for the heavier duty wipe there is a real danger of finger break through so I find myself using even more sheets than I normally would, laying on more guilt. It has really had me thinking again about the idea of going paperless.

Growing up I remember Mum telling us about how lucky they were growing up with their parents owning a shop. Do you remember how apples used to be transported in cupped cardboard trays and each one individually wrapped in soft pink or blue squares of tissue paper? That's what Mum got to use for toilet paper, not strips of newspaper like other people. Can you imagine using newspaper now? We would all have very black behinds!

So at the dinner table with friends the other night I didn't really raise the subject but just threw out there a "you know there a few people out there who use re-usable cloths instead of toilet paper" thinking I would get a groan of horror from the three men at least but instead was surprised to get an immediate gasp of agreement about how wasteful and expensive toilet paper is.
I left it there pondering and thinking well perhaps my man of the house won't think me so hair-brained after all. There are some households that use cloth only for #1 and there are households where the man of the house does not participate and that's OK. It's a personal choice. They still have toilet paper there for visitors but just have a system for themselves also. I won't get into the ins and outs because I think the dynamics have been dealt with quite well by the Penniless Parenting posts linked above. 
Other good reads include;
by Sortacrunchy
which lead to 
and by Bonzai Aphrodite

I'm thinking of trying this idea. I have a stainless steel flip top bin that has a removable plastic inner pail that I thought would be ideal for the nappy soak method which is the one that makes the most sense to me and would make the idea sustainable. My washing machine has minute water level settings so I have no guilt over small washes and I'm pretty sure my environmental impact with this method is way less than the paper route.

So is it something you would consider or do you dismiss it out of hand?
Do you feel guilty every time you go to the toilet or is it just my Catholic heritage that skews my guilt levels on just about everything?(LOL)

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Common Cold Recipe from Dorothy Hall

We are in the depths of winter now (here in Australia) and I thought it prudent to share my plan of action for a cold. I haven't had a cold for a couple of years now (touch wood) but they are not called common because they are minor incidents, but because they are widespread and commonly occurring. There is no less kudos in the illness stakes for having a cold and not the flu. Most people like to say they have flu as it sounds more grand but the two are vastly different and need to be treated differently.
It depends upon how you see a cold.

I don't think you "catch" a germ and get sick, I think there are always germs around you, just look at the people you come in contact with at shops, work, public transport, children...
I think it is more about your immune system. The body is a fascinating machine with the ultimate team-work action plan. 
Our first action in life should be to support the immune system and not constantly stress it unnecessarily with poisons, toxins and foreign chemicals. Smoking is bad for you but being a hairdresser is also very health threatening. If work is making you sick, get out.
The next thing I believe in is a stable body temperature. Body shocks, sudden chills or prolonged cold often leads directly to a cold, that's why colds are not confined to winter alone. Your blood and body temperature is key, not too hot, not too cold.
Sleep and rest are also vital for the immune system. We constantly monitor our children with their social activities and know when they get overtired they get sick but we fail to monitor our own activity.
So for a healthy immune system that supports the body;
good food, rest, warmth and no chemicals or stressors.
But life is not perfect and from time to time, one slips our defenses so here is what to do;
Understand the bodies response to a cold and work with it. 
You will probably be sick for a week and feel absolutely dreadful for a couple of days at with that.
There is no magic panacea. I am constantly amazed by people who get sick and expect to be well within a couple of days and if they are not then they are running to the doctor like it is some awful malady. 
A cold is serious, it is awful but you can deal with it.
The most obvious sign of your cold is a runny nose. In fact mucous membranes are in over-drive trying to 
a) prevent the entry into the body of germs and 
b) expelling attacking organisms as the first line of defense. 
Can you imagine if you were a germ party trying to enter and multiply, pretty hard when you are bogged down in mucous and cleared out all the time by nose blowing and throat clearing. Sneezing is the bodies way of violently expelling intruders.
Your throat may be sore as tonsils and glands step up and your head is feeling full and uncomfortable.
Lethargy and tiredness is the body's way of screaming at you "we are fighting a war here and have to send the energy to the troops on the front line, for goodness sake lie down we don't have spare for walking let alone washing floors!"
So rest. 
Let the body draw the reserves and re-direct blood supply to vital organs. 
Not only is your body working to attack and expel but it is also healing damaged soft tissues and cells. 
It takes extra fluid to form copious amounts of mucous but that's not all. Your kidneys are filtering and need to flush via the urinary system and even your skin will be trying to rid and cleanse the body.
It's a beautiful system all working together.
So help it and work with it. I use a recipe by Dorothy Hall from her book "The Natural Health Book"

here is the recipe;
In a large mug crush a garlic clove. This is a natural anti-bacterial and powerful purifier for your system.
Grate finely the rind of one lemon and then add the juice and pulp can go in too. It has an astringent effect on the mucous linings.
Next add half a teaspoon of ground powdered ginger. This helps sooth and settle an upset stomach from all the mucous and catarrh. It warms the stomach, increases blood flow and stimulates secretions to aid in quickly eliminating mucous to the bowel. 
A pinch of cayenne pepper. This is like a homeopathic dose of vitamin C for your body triggering your own vitamin C into action in your body.
Next a tablespoon of honey, this is to soothe and salve the raw red tissue linings, it also makes the brew taste nice too.
Pour over all of this some boiling water to the top.
After a good stir drink/sip it all down including the chunky bits.
And now this is important...
go straight to bed and cover up nice and warm. Rest.
The brew's ingredients will work away and the whole concoction will work to hasten the excretory action through every part of your body; lungs, nose, skin, bladder and bowel. You may get up quite a sweat as the body tries to expel through your skin. This treatment is ideal before bed at night.

Be kind to your nose and use soft handkerchiefs or cut up old sheets. Using tissues will give you a horrid sore nose adding to your misery and discomfort.

For colds with a lot of coughing from expectoration I find one dose of liquorice root tea works wonders. Make no mistake, this is not made from yummy liquorice you eat, but from the plant's root. It tastes foul and I recommend a hasty throw down gulp of the tea but it does work very powerfully.
So rest and drink plenty of fluids to help your body pass all that muck out.
If you find you are not fighting off colds or minor infections in a week then your immune system is compromised and you have some work to do.

As for flu...that's another story.....

Disclaimer; This is not advice intended to replace or contradict any therapy or treatment recommended by your health care provider. If symptoms persist, see your Doctor or Naturopath.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Quick Maintenance Tip in the Bathroom

My rule of thumb is to clean the bathroom once weekly but of course it depends on how many people are using it and how your cleaning it.
Because we don't use chemicals or bleach, just water and the Enjo cloths, I notice that nooks and crannies are starting to need a clean by weeks end.
In the between times though there are plenty of toothpaste splatters and water marks that can bring the whole clean effect down visually.
Here is my time saving maintenance tip....
I have a half dozen or so face washers in the drawer and keep one folded on the counter top. 
(And it is not product placement, I tried turning the toothpaste over to cover the branding but it is identical on both sides!) 
After using the bathroom to get ready for work or after doing the teeth before bed, I use the face washer to quickly wipe over the tap ware and basin. Usually just a couple of splashes, gone in a flash, but sparkle and clean is restored. I re-fold the cloth back the opposite way to duty again another time. Depending on the traffic and wiping, it's easy enough to grab another in reach.
It's 5 seconds that means the world of difference to me. I like calm and order in the bathroom and I don't have to think twice if guests call in,'s just the chaos in the kitchen and the lounge room that I have to deal with!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Egg Production-The Facts of Life

Commercial egg producers, whether they be battery or free range, have one goal in mind,
to make money.
The juggle is to achieve optimum eggs from a hen in the shortest feeding time possible in order to have the most profitable ratio.
A hen can only lay one egg a day at best.
At low light level times like winter when the daylight hours are shorter, hens go "off the lay" naturally and resume again as the days grow longer. 
Periodically they will get broody and "go off the lay" and want to just sit on the nest. It's a natural occurrence and will happen to hens in different degrees and definitely to some breeds in different degrees. For instance, bantams are known for their broodiness but that works in your favour if you are wanting to raise chicks.
Sometimes hens can get stressed by hot weather, lack of water etc and go into a moult and guessed it,
"go off the lay".

So a farmer raises his hens juggling the conditions and manipulating the environment to keep his hens laying, cos a non-laying hen is a mouth to feed. He will put artificial light in the coop to keep them laying. When they go broody, hens are thrown off nests or placed suspended in cages so they can't get warm and comfortable. I have known people to even put bricks in the nest!
Just like humans, fowls are born with a set number of eggs. 
They have a genetic pre-ordered number of ova at birth, that's it. 
Just like humans, they don't release an egg every day of their lives.
Production is high in their peak, sometimes they get clucky, and then egg production becomes more spasmodic in their 3rd year gradually dwindling away with age.
For the back yard fowl keeper, naturally you desire egg production but it's not that vital that we have them laying every day at all costs to justify their existence. Let them be and be natural. If you are really bent out of shape by poor production then only keep your fowl short term and dispatch or re-home them at the end of their second year. I tend to think nature knows what it is doing. As a woman, I know that sometimes fertility can take it out of you and if a fowl goes broody I let her hormones go and know that she will resume duty when she is ready, perhaps like mine sometimes, she needs a break.
Come winter, I accept the seasonal food changes and modify our diets. We are getting about one a egg a day on average here but that is fine for our needs.
Too often I see commercial "advice" crossing over into the domestic locale.
Have a bit of respect for your food and work with it. 

Dr. Harry can rattle off the top of his head the average number of ova a bantam carries and the average of a leghorn etc but the point is, there is only a set amount. Why do you think Isa Browns lay so methodically, reliably, exhaustably and rapidly? Because commercial farmers have bred them that way.
Go with the flow. Stop making your hens uncomfortable with bricks in their nest and light in their eyes and let nature be. If you get to a point where you do not want to keep financially outlaying for your fowl, then move them on and get new stock but seriously, the cost is not that great when they are free ranging and converting scraps to manure and keeping down the pests in the area. For a domestic grower there are far more benefits than just egg production.
(not one of our layers but one of our meat birds ie: rooster)

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