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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cleaning, Foraging, Divining

Our Living Better group met last week and we celebrated our first anniversary.
We had a speaker from the group talk about cleaning without chemicals. There are a number of ways to achieve this and each style suits different people, their lifestyles and methods.
There is the Enjo method which is reliant on just water and the micro-fibre of the cloths. There is also the home based methods of pantry items like bi-carb soda, vinegar and lavender oil for the very industrious. The third alternative that Elisha presented to us was by Nature Direct. It relies on the micro-fibre cloths AND different blends of essential oils and extracts, like pine, cypress, eucalyptus, clove and rosemary. It is an Australian company and nearly all the products are made in Australia which is important to us. Chemical cleaning manufacturers are not required by law in Australia to list their ingredients but they are required to list warnings....and there are plenty of those. The products from Nature Direct list all their ingredients and while you wouldn't want to ingest them, they are certainly not going to cause great harm. Check out their "Did you know...?" page here.

Our next guest speaker was Bridgette from Urban Farming Tasmania.
She runs a "market" on a Monday at the Tasmanian College of Arts and the idea is that people bring produce from their gardens or foraged along with any other trade items like music, artwork and design. Her group essentially wanted a community style market where no money changed hands and people supported each other by trading their surplus. They are passionate about seasonal living and not letting food go to waste, in fact they are wanting council to plant more food instead of ornamentals. They have produced a free food map of the area plotting figs, walnuts, apples, sloes, quinces and more about the greater Launceston area. We all received a gift from Bridgette (pictured above) of quince paste made from local foraged fruit. We were very excited by her project and many more tree sites were suggested 
stay tuned for there is more to this story.
In the few days since we met Bridgette, Council has been made aware of the group through a newspaper article and they are coming down hard but I want to discuss this more fully in a day or so when we see their final stipulations. You can see this all unfolding on their facebook site. There is a can of worms here.
A very controversial point still in debate at the moment is the legality of foraging fruit from public land. They seem to have an issue with the food map. People on both sides are scrambling to find legalities. 
Does this mean fishing is not legal? To me that is foraged food from public land?
Anyway, we will have this debate in a day or two. In the meantime please show this group your love and support with kind messages.

Our last speaker introduced us to water divining. The image above from WikiHow is very similar to the rods we tried (as usual I got caught up in the moment and no pictures!)
Martin told us his story and demonstrated as he walked about the room how the rods moved and swayed. Each of us had a turn and were amazed at how the rods swerved and we were not able to control it. It is very hard to understand and though there is plenty of documented anecdotal evidence, I don't think there is any scientific specific evidence. 
It was a really interesting and fun way to top off our night. This is a new venue for us too and I am pleased to say that it was wonderful having a large quiet room all to ourselves. We would not have been able to have the cleaning demo or the water divining demonstration as well in the pub. The lighting is good and it is heated and we have our own toilet amenities too.  

Our next meeting is 27th June 7-9 at the Workers Club in Launceston
We'll be discussing winter remedies and bee keeping and possibly fruit tree pruning.


  1. Hi Tanya, sorry I missed the Living Better Group, but I had a bad case of needing to be in three places at once! I am really trying to cut down on packaging at the moment, and looking for alternatives for my cleaning cupboard. Do you make your own cleaning recipes? (apart from your lovely soap?)
    I find it very odd that the council is fussing about foraged fruit. You'd think a) they had something better to fuss about and b)people who pick fruit before it falls onto public pathways and parks would be doing the council a favour.
    I have been to the first two produce swaps, and they are fantastic.

  2. Hee hee... I thought you were knitting on those strange L-shaped rods!!! Water divining makes more sense.

    Foraging for food on public land makes perfect sense. It is for everyone... and yes that is exactly what fishing is. One of my fondest memories of living in Darwin was going for walks and picking mangoes in the parks. Brilliant. My man is a forager ... he knows where all the good lilly pilly and olive trees are... and as for anything hanging over a fence in a lane way that's fair game too.

    Loving the tea towel with the birdie embroidery too by the way.

  3. I wish I lived in Tassie for lots of reasons, one of them being I would be able to come to your Living Better meetings Tanya x

    p.s. I've got a lot of catching up to do on your blog - I see you have been having a lovely little holiday at 'home'

  4. This will be very interesting to read the out come ... :))

  5. Some very interesting ideas ...
    M x

  6. OW I had always thought we needed something like this but worried it would spoil the secrets we knew... I even had a lady come out on to the street where I was collecting almonds from a public tree which my neighbour used to pick for the last umpteen years tell me off... Walked away after explaining I was picking them for him as he is now to elderly but really enjoys them... Was not good enough for her.

  7. Divining is called "witching" in my area. We had three wells witched on the farm - good water, too.

  8. I love the idea of the bartering market.
    I'd be interested in the outcome of the foraging fuss (you've probably already posted about it but I'm working my way through my backlog of blog reading and it may be some time before I get to your next post!).

  9. Interesting subjects in this post. We've been enjoying foraging edible weeds that I now let grow purposely in the garden (lambs quarter) .. I mix tehm with radish tops and the one or two lone asparagus that is not enough for a single serving as I gather lettuce and salad fixings. The 'weeds' are steamed and a little butter and fresh garlic added at the very end.


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