About Me

My photo
Fifty six year old empty-nester. Wife to one, mum to four and nan to three precious grandies. Living simply is my passion, I enjoy growing food, living healthy and playing with a variety of crafts. I am always up for a bargain and love to op shop for vintage treasures.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Living Simply

Rain water storage and solar hot water.

I know I have posted about this before, but I had a reminder the other day when I became a member of Living Simply on Facebook. One of the other members asked for people to respond with the 10 most significant things you have done/do, big or little, that has made your life more in harmony with simple living.

I responded with my list:

Things I/we have done to live a simpler life:

1. Installed solar panels for our house

2. Solar hot water

3. Harvest rainwater

4. Grow our own vegies

5. Have chickens for a good supply of fresh eggs

6. Spend less on the needless stuff

7. Decluttered and donated/give away the excess

8. We recycle our plastics, cans, cardboard etc.

9. Grow our own fruit trees.

10. Recycle waste water to garden

Below is a pic of our solar panels that we installed two years ago.

These solar panels generate dc voltage that goes through a regulator which charges our back up batteries. Once the batteries are charged during daylight hours any excess power generated from the solar panels is sold back to the grid.

Our electricity bills are now between $150 -$200 for three months.
Rainwater storage that we would like to increase soon. We have about 15,000 gallons (67,500 litres) on hand. By the condition of our local water supply,
the River Murray we are going to have to depend on our own supply of rainwater at some time in the future. At the moment the rainwater is not connected to the house as we need to purchase a bigger pump than we already have. It is not powerful enough to do the job. We also need a plumber to come out and help with connecting up the air conditioner and toilets, so that they stay on mains water otherwise all our rainwater will disappear very quickly.
Our sad vegie garden at the moment. I haven't got to do much out there yet, hopefully I will be starting on this next week. I have cleared away all the weeds and tidied up but that is as far as I have progressed.

Our chickens provide us with a constant supply of fresh eggs.

We have about twenty chickens at the moment. They are mainly Isa Browns.

Some new ones to our brood. These four baby chicks are doing well.

Any excess roosters end up in here for our consumption.

I had forgotten about these frozen nectarines from last year so took some out for tonight's dessert.
There is also some frozen pulped tomatoes in there.

What we can't give away we preserve.

Last years preserves waiting...

In South Australia we are able to recycle our aluminum cans. We get paid 10 cents a can, a good incentive to recycle them.

Other recycle goods that I cannot make use of go into the yellow bin for collection once every two weeks.

The waste water from our house is used to water our fruit trees by way of a french drain.

Our trees consist of:

A young mulberry tree...I look forward to this becoming a big tree,

Two olive trees...

A fig tree....

starting to bud....

A young apricot tree....

with it's first fruit.

An orange tree....



absolutely loaded with fruit.

We have tried to grow lemon trees but with no success, unfortunately.

and we also have two nectarine trees.

I use a twin tub washing machine, and usually use just one load of water for the whole wash.

The water is pumped out onto the back lawn which is still surviving, just.

It is a difficult task to grow things where we live because of the low rainfall. We also live near a saltlake and the soil is very sandy so doesn't hold moisture. I am hoping to use garden beds this year and put a lining underneath to hold the moisture better.

Other simple things I do is make my own laundry liquid using this recipe. Make knitted dishcloths which can be washed and re-used over and over. All my cleaning products consist of vinegar, bicarb, lemon juice and water. I plan our meals (menu planning) and try to cook from scratch and avoid the dreaded junk food urge. Our meals are extra healthy now with more effort put into them on my part.

Our house is surrounded by a huge verandah to keep out the heat and cold and an evaporative air conditioner for cooling. There are plenty of things we need to improve on still and will continue on slowly improving where we can.

Hubby is very resourceful and a great recycler. He attempts to fix things that other people have thrown away. Nine times out of ten he is successful.

Have a great day,



  1. Your fruit trees are looking so healthy, you have done so much to make your lives simpler well done...it is a great journey isn't it and there is always ways we can improve...I know that I have a long way to go yet but you inspire me...

  2. Well done, Tania. So many good things that you are doing to 'keep it green'. I can't fathom why you can grow oranges, mandarines and grapefruit but not lemons? Maybe your hubby should try peeing under the lemon tree - I have heard that works sometimes. Lol!

    Cheers - Joolz

  3. He did try that(peeing)Joolz, not sure whether it killed the tree or something else lol.

    It's a mystery to us as well.

    The grapefruit tree was ripped out of the ground from another location, we didn't really care if it died or not, plonked in the ground and it has boomed. I suggested planting a lemon tree nearby the grapefruit. Have to wait until next year now.

  4. I am very impressed Tania, especially with the orange tree. I have wanted to plant one for 2 years, imagine how big it would be getting by now.

    Yesterday my husband told me he used some wire that was originally from a car, that he found in the ground in our backyard while he was digging, at the newer house.

  5. You definetly do your share for the environment and a inspiration to others.We just missed out on the solar water rebate so we will have to wait until we can afford to do it.Your fruit trees look great, I bought a white mulberry trees a few years ago but it is not doing very well.

  6. wow that is so inspiring!! Incredible how small your electricity bill is!1 In winter ours can be known to cost that WEEKLY eek!

    Great job! I'm coming back to learn more :)

  7. You have done a lot. Our waste water goes to our fruit trees too. So when I have a bath I don't feel guilty because it is being used twice.
    We have a big tank that is full and we are in the process of connecting it to the house for our own use. Then I will feel even less guilt.

  8. gosh you are so lucky to be able to grow citrus trees. It's much too cold where we live.

    Gill in Canada

  9. You are doing so well in your conditions. Oh your temperatures are so high. I find I get wistful looking at blogs from the northern hemisphere as they get cosy. I find the extreme heat difficult and each year I am more and more worried about bush fires. I love living near the bush, so that is the price to pay I guess. I went to a Community Fire Unit meeting last night. So much to do to prepare our property.

    I have not visited for a while, sorry. I love the music....
    A year and a sad anniversary....
    We are having a weekend of memorial services for an aunt who died adn then in a fortnight, is a 10 year anniversary for a life cut short in our family as well. It does not get easier for the families in the way that each year brings other things that they miss.... thankfully time does provide happiness in other forms.

  10. Fantastic!! Will look into the battery option more too... thanks.


I love reading your comments and will do my very best to reply. PLEASE NOTE that if using an anonymous account to comment, you MUST add your name within the comment otherwise I will not publish them. Thank you for understanding.