A Biome sale and a live train journey

24 March 2018
One of my sponsors, the fabulous Biome, is having an up to 60% off sale, online only.  Click here to have a look.  If you don't know Biome, read about this incredible store here.  I use products from Biome and recommend them to you for value-based products and superb service.

A PVC-free and phthalate insulated lunch box is hard to find in Australia...until now! New style made of durable raw uncoated linen. Now machine washable. Comes with a leak proof insert for easier cleaning. Bunny tile design - $29.56.

And while I'm here, there is a live train journey on YouTube now.  The train is driving through snow in Norway.  If you were hypnotised by the desert views of the Australian rail journey last month, you'll love this.

Weekend reading

23 March 2018
Very early last Sunday morning, Hanno and I drove over to a town about 30 kms away to buy our first seedlings of the season. 

Food choices - what and from where?

19 March 2018
There has been a sharp rise in the number of products labelled 'organic' and 'free range' on supermarket shelves in the past few years. Often I am asked if the weekly shopping should include organic or free range fruit, vegetables, meat and chicken, as well as the newer organic products we’re seeing now – butter, cheese, wine and tinned goods. It’s a tricky one to answer because there is never just one clear path to follow, we’re all so different; we have different needs, tastes and incomes, and we all know that 'organic' and 'free range' come at a price.

Weekend reading

16 March 2018
What I thought was going to be my second eye operation turned out to be a post-op check. But now, vision in my fixed eye is just below 20/20, there is no infection or inflammation, the lens is in place.  I go in for the second op 27 March. I'm pleased it will happen soon, I'm sick of having wonky vision.  

What's happening at the Hetzel House

14 March 2018
While I've been writing The Simple Home series, you've probably noticed I'm not writing much about what is happening here on a day-to-day basis. Well, my friends, we're still pottering around doing what we do. Currently we're moving from a fairly slow time, when the weather restricted what we could do outside, to our busy season.  March is when we plant our garden every year.  The garden beds are still full of weeds with only one 90 percent ready, the rest are waiting their turn. We hope to visit the market next Sunday and buy a range of seedings. These will be planted along with seedlings we have growing in the bush house, Glen Large garlic from Green Harvest, ginger plants and Welsh onions in poly boxes and a stand of potatoes in a cage. We're keeping it small, having reduced the size of the garden last year, but we should have a good range of what we eat and that will help cut back our grocery bill while giving us the freshest food possible. It will be good to get out to the garden once again.

Above are the new chickens and below are some of the new and old chickens together.
Below are two of our Barnevelders - a silver lace and a blue lace.

Green Living - a new sponsor

12 March 2018
I'm pleased to introduce you to a new Down to Earth sponsor. A few weeks go, Valerie Pearson from Green Living Australia contacted me and asked if I would be interested in working with her to promote our common interests.  Of course I'd know of Green Living and have bought jars from them in the past but for some reason, I'd never crossed paths with Valerie.

As you know, I only promote those businesses who share the values we live by here in my home and in the homes of many readers here, so I'm happy to advertise Green Living and Valerie's workshops and books and recommend them to you.  Please click on this link to visit Valerie's website and see the wide range of equipment, gadgets, books, workshops, cultures, crocks, brewing jars, preserving equipment and jars, cheese making equipment, craft information and materials she has on offer. Make sure you look for Valerie's recently published second edition of Home Cheesemaking in Australia and keep checking the sidebar here for changing information about the latest workshops.

This is from the Green Living website:
Green Living Australia is an Australian owned and operated company located south of Brisbane. The business evolved from a need to create home-made, preservative free, additive free foods, and chemical free body products to combat the ever increasing food allergy and chemical sensitivity within our society. From this, Green Living Australia has built a strong community, providing pure cultures, equipment and education for conscious foodies to fill their dietary requirements and gourmet food cravings and to make all natural body products that are chemical free and sustainable!

With our help, Australians are able to produce their own artisan cheeses, from chevre and cream fraiche to feta and camembert, and boutique lacto-ferments, such as kimchi, sauerkraut, natural pickles, kefir and kombucha. We support people in learning the skills needed to take back control of their diets and help develop their confidence to bring back the crafts of home cheesemaking and home preserving.

We believe it is every person’s right, and our society’s responsibility, to know what is in our foods and how they are produced. We want to pull back the curtain and tell all the secrets, and really get people excited about the science and art of cultured foods!

Look on the website for more information, general inquiries about products and Valerie's street address, phone number and email address.  They are open: Monday - Saturday 9.00am - 4.30pm.

Shopping for food

March, week 2 in The Simple Home

This week we'll focus on shopping for food and I'm guessing that will mean vastly different things to most of you. Some will be buying everything they eat, some will be producing a small amount - maybe herbs or eggs, some will produce most of their food and many of us will buy raw ingredients so we can home-make some of the products we used to buy.

A popular meal here and very easy to make and freeze - lasagne.

I’ve gone from being an ordinary housewife, using my food budget to provide as much as I can for the money I have, to being someone who looks for fresh food that’s produced locally and ethically. I only want to buy into a food chain that considers kindness and quality of life in close alliance with nutritional values and profit. I always check labels and never buy products from compromised locations such as China and Thailand. I silently sigh every time I pick up a food product that I know is grown in my own country, but it has been imported from somewhere else. We are shooting ourselves in the foot doing that.

Weekend reading

9 March 2018
It's been a busy week here. We started on another home maintenance project, I cleaned the fridge out yesterday and suddenly I have more room after four months of five people in the house. Gracie had a full wash and groom yesterday, I've been sewing and of course the everyday tasks of cleaning, tidying up, shopping and cooking.

I collect rubber bands and corks because you never know when you'll need a cork to plug a bottle or a rubber band to keep something together or in a bag.  These are sitting on my kitchen window sill.

A food revolution

5 March 2018
March, week 1 in The Simple Home

Going back to basics
This is one of the most important chapters in The Simple Home as it deals with something we all do - we all eat. Providing food for yourself and a family, getting value for your food dollar, buying as close to home as possible, storing food, organising your food stocks and being able to cook and bake in the time you have available, all come into play this month. If you can work out a food system that works for you, you'll increase your chances of eating well, you'll provide good nutrition in your family meals, work to a budget, get value for money and add the power of your dollars to your own community when you buy local.

Cinnamon tea cake is a favourite cake in our home. I made it again yesterday because Jamie loves it and it's a good cake for his lunchbox. He usually has it for afternoon tea with a glass of milk.  It's one of the many excellent recipes in The Country Table cookbook - details below.