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Friday, June 29, 2012

June Better Living

We had another lovely night last at our Better Living Group meeting.
The thing that I like the most about the group is how much the individuals contribute themselves.
We are very lucky to have some wide and varied skills, what binds us together is a common interest,
"Living Better With Less"

Last month, two in the group picked up crocheting for the first time and when we met up this week they had already made a dishcloth and was using it. One lady continued with her crochet this month as I shared with her another pattern.  Last month another one of the group took up knitting for the first time and reported back that she had made a dolls blanket for her daughter and then took up crochet for the first time last night! 

As they practised away with their crochet last night we talked of winter and the food that was still available during the month. We talked about dried beans and when they are best to harvest and how to cook them. We heard from another in the group who had approached a vineyard who happened to have a lot of olive trees and asked them if they would sell them some olives for home. They were more than happy to let them pick 4kg and for $16 it was good value and they were gathering from their local area. 

We talked about roosters, their natures, habits and various methods of dispatch. One man in our group was telling us that a lot of people call him to collect their roosters as they don't want to "deal" with them themselves. He averages 2/week and he was telling us some methods to catch them as they have quite often gone rogue and wild. He is doing a wonderful thing as nothing makes me more cross than to see dumped roosters. We also talked of eggs and incubation and one of our group who has been self sufficient for years is a real wealth of knowledge about poultry and fowl of all kinds (and much more).

We learnt from another lady in our group how to make "no sew" blankets and it gave everyone ideas for "Little Athletics" blankets, blankets for school fetes and for gifts. Kicking myself I didn't take photos!
We talked about the irony of the modern patchwork quilt but also talked about the Depression and thriftiness of people with fabric and even how they would unpick cotton thread and wind it back onto spools.

We looked at some new soap examples and discussed recipes and calculators and the natural additives from the pantry or the garden for colouring the soap. We talked about the different kinds of fat and the storage of rendered fat.

....of raspberry canes, fencing gardens, mushroom growing, scrap buckets, preserving jar sizes, op shop finds, pillow slips, winter poultry ideas.......

And on and on, so much knowledge, sharing and ideas.
If you live in our area you are very welcome to join us on the last Thursday of every month but if you don't live near us, consider starting your own group. It costs nothing and you gain a LOT!

There are still two kinds of soap left in the shop "Jubilee Jumble" unfortunately the Orange Blossom has sold out. 
Don't forget if you live in the local area, we also have our Bloggers' Catch up on Tues 3/7/12 see information in the side bar under events.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Playing along with Evi at Sister Sun today and digging out some photos from the archives for a green theme.

***** Don't forget The Living Better Group meets this***** 
****Thursday 28/06/12 from 7-9pm****
 ****at the Cock and Bull hotel (probably upstairs)****
All Welcome


****The Bloggers' Meetup is****
****Tues 03/07/12****
**** At the QV art gallery in Wellington St****
in the cafe please RSVP for numbers

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Natter of Non-Knitters' Faux Pas

I belong to a knitting group whom I met on Ravelry  and we meet in a pub once a month for a couple of hours to knit and natter, as we did on Thursday night.
We are a broad range of people and age groups and experience levels which is was makes the night so random.
I also like that by knitting in public we raise the profile of knitting in the community and hopefully keep it alive as a useful and artful skill. Some people stare at us, some look and smile fondly and some even engage in conversation with us which is the best of all.

While I regale you with our knitting night, I am showing you some images from the wool that arrived this week from "Jellywares". Jodie is having a sale and here is a selection of the exciting yarns I have purchased. I was also so excited by the pretty buttons Jodie included. That has definitely decided the fate of the raspberry merino/silk and it shall become something for me.

So what do knitters talk about?
Knitting....lots of it...yarn, patterns, needles...
But we also talk about science, medicine, education, food, nutrition, travel and religion but I can't recall us ever touching politics.
This month we had quite a lengthy discussion about non-knitters and the things they say and I thought it is probably valuable to pass on to prevent potential faux pas.

To summarise in point form;
  1. Knitting is the weaving of a fine thread into a form of fabric, this takes time, a LOT of time. While we include it as an enjoyable hobby it is still hours of work.
  2. We don't consider it a "favour" that you have found us a little project for us to knit for you. We always have a list of projects that we would like to do for ourselves.
  3. Yes the yarn is a significant cost in a knitted item but it is far outweighed by the cost of the man hours so when you offer to "buy the wool and you could knit me something" that doesn't really cover it.
  4. Think very carefully before you venture to put a price on something we make. Someone once gushed over a pair of socks newly finished and said "These are gorgeous! You should be selling these, you could get $20 for these." When you say something like that we are liable to keel over in shock. 
  5. If you would like us to knit you something it would be acceptable if you bought the wool AND then offered to trade the number of hours worked on the piece for something in lieu. If I spend 15 hours knitting your garment, then you could offer 15 hours of gardening or housework in return.
  6. A knitted garment is designed to last for many years and it is worth the time and effort and should be looked after accordingly. They are not in the same league at all as "one season throw away fashions" and you break our heart to treat them in this way.
  7. A proper "thank you" is required after someone has spent hours making you something, even if it is dish cloths or dolly clothes. 
So if you are a knitter think about joining Ravelry it's a great place for patterns and guidance and if there is not a group in your area, then start one. If you are looking for some beautiful yarn check out Jellywares
If you are a non-knitter, then consider becoming one, there are so many benefits. But if knitting is not for you, do study the above list and it will set you right on etiquette with knitters. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bloggers Catch Up For Coffee - Its a Date

I promised this waaaayyy back in January and Mrs Smith has kindly reminded me we are well overdue.
We Bloggers are due for a meet up in person.
I'm setting a date for

 Tuesday the 3rd of July 
at the Launceston Art Gallery 
say 1.00pm-3.00pm.

Obviously we are not going to be able to find the ideal day and time for everyone but I hope this will enable as many people as possible whether they be on their lunch break, before picking up school children or able to flex or swap a shift....
It would be so great to meet people from all over the State but I realise it is a big ask for our Southern and far Western folk. If you can't come please feel free to email me a photo of yourself and a short hello to the group.
If you can come please comment so that I can book a number to help the cafe out.
Not only will we catch up and put faces to names but I would also like to talk about some technical issues people face with blogging, how you comment and deal with comments, how you choose your content,  do you use blogging for networking for professional reasons, blogging manners and the impact blogging has on your life. 
Hmmm sounds like a bunch of girls chatting and talking about their feelings....I hope I haven't put any of the men bloggers off!
I really hope to meet lots of new faces.

PS please also spread the word on your blog too so we can reach as many people as possible.
Love T

Monday, June 18, 2012


Linking with Evi at Sister Sun for a Yellow Day.
The idea is to resurrect some of those photos out of the archives and glory in some colour.
You'll be surprised the photos that you find that you'd forgotten.
Again the majority of mine seem to revolve around food!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Beans - A Winter Harvest

Someone said to me the other day,
"I suppose you are not getting anything from the garden now"
Incredibly though that is absolutely false.
Still, in winter, there is produce to be had in the garden.
We are still harvesting Granny Smith apples, silverbeet, coloured chard, rocket, leafy greens, stinging nettle, carrots and protein packed beans of many kinds.
Beans are something that Australians don't seem to embrace very well.
We tend to grow beans for harvesting in summer when the pods are tender but rarely for dried beans in the winter.
Some varieties like Blue Lake and Scarlet Runner are well suited for blanching and freezing while others like bush Butter Beans are better used fresh in glut. They tend to be very flaccid after freezing.

Once I have had enough of beans and they are starting to over-mature on the vines, I let them go and leave them to fully develop and dry. A handful are saved for sowing next year and the rest are harvested for dry beans for casseroles and bean salads.
The variety is huge and they take up very little space and are easily stored.
The only preparation required is soaking for about 24 hours prior to a gentle simmer till they are tender. 
They are a good source of fibre and protein and other minerals and give nuttiness and meatiness to lovely tomato based casseroles or curries. 

A small stash may not look very much but they go such a long way and provide more meals than they look.
There is nothing more satisfying than sitting in the sun and breaking open a few dried pods for hearty winter meals. They really are the ultimate in low maintenance, low cost, high yield, high nutrition and a must for every child's backyard. Grow them simply up some bamboo sticks like these and create a living hideout or cubby house.
I'm a big fan of beans.

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