Monday, July 27, 2009

winter - don't go yet...

Signs of spring are all around us. (Its too early though - go away and give us some more rain...)

The daffodils are popping up.

The wattles are flowering.

Buds are forming on decidious plants (those that still bother to drop their leaves.... anyone else notice that many don't bother dropping their leaves so much anymore.... scary)

I've seen birds with nesting materials, the lambs are all born (not ours- we don't have sheep... yet)

And we have heard of snake sightings - Brad even got to do his first snake capture - when picking up some old corrugated iron from a neighbour's place - under the last sheet was a sleepy tiger snake. The neighbours wanted to kill it with a shovel, but Brad managed to convince them to get it into a bag and relocate. Understandably the snake was pretty pleased with this!

Its been so windy - luckily for us we have this....

Its just an old generator, 200W, so not a real big one either, but it helps, for now, while we STILL wait to hear if we will get a government grant for our off grid power system.... By the time we get the power system we wont know what to use all that electricty on!!!

Lots of work to be done - we are trying to priorities jobs (many jobs need to be done before summer - lots of cleaning up before bushfire season..... ). Planning the spring garden, just recieved a big box full of seeds for the vegy garden, plus my seed potatoes - YAY!

Checked out my 'new' local town, and they have a great health food store that sells orgaic fruit and veg and has a decent range! So I am pretty pleased about that!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Don't rush

Meet Stanley. He is our slow combustion stove. Just a run of the mill Stanley Traditional, made in Ireland. You can still buy them new, just the same. We got Stanley second hand, in pieces, and had the interesting task of putting him back together. It was good as we now understand where the heat travels and can problem solve if things don't work right. But it wasn't fun, if you like your sanity intact!

So, Stanley is an amazing multitasking individual, with a perculiar sense of humour. He has replaced our kettle, toaster, hotplates, oven and microwave (we no longer have any of these in their conventional form), hot water service and he is also good at drying clothes and proving bread. I think that he replaces these better than the electric/gas versions, and we don't get bills!

The slow combustion stove is great for baking (there has been lots of scones, biscuits, bread and baked dinners around here) and slow cooking. You can leave things to cook all day without worrying about what the electricity/gas bill will be!

But there is one thing about Stanley that makes him challenging at times... You just can't rush the guy. He seems to know when you want to get the fire going quickly, say because the kids are up and whingeing that they are hungry and you need to go out in an hour. You try and put on some bigger wood too quickly, before he is ready, and its all over, you can start again! Then after you have had your lukewarm coffee and barely toasted bread you will have a roaring fire ready to go....

Slow combustion cooking is for a slower pace of life. Not really suitable if you work all day outside the home (unless you know how to keep it ticking over for 8 hours or so). But a slow pace of life is a good thing in my opinion. We are enjoying our new life here, its lovely to wake up to the chorous of birds, and go and give the horses an apple. Spending time in the garden, planning the spring crops and finding the time to do some of the things we never had time to do before. Its nice to not have a feeling of rushing, although there is a lot to do here, most of it can wait another day. When the weather is nice (which seems to be more often than not) its nice to go out and potter around. Our next project is to build a moveble pen for our chickens, so we can finally bring the girls home (and add a few more and even a rooster!).