About Me

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Life on two acres of arid dirt, on the edge of the Australian outback.

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Simple Living...

Over at Rhonda Jean's blog she is encouraging us to write about our simple lives, so here is my story:

I was raised on a large farm on the far West Coast of South Australia and could not have wished for a better life. My parents have always been happy to live frugal and are now in their retirement.

I have inherited many of my parents' qualities by not spending money I dont have on unnecessary things. If I need something, I save the money until I have enough to purchase. At the moment I am looking at a new lounge suite (old one has had its day). I have never owned a new lounge before, have always had second-hand. Most of our belongings are second-hand. We have a mortgage but are trying our best to pay it off as quickly as possible. This is the only debt we have.

I will have to live very simply from now on as I have decided to take a break from working (as a home daycare provider) as my eldest daughter has moved back home for awhile after living in Adelaide for ten years. I found taking a break to be the best option so I do not become too stressed over everything. This way I can cope with all that I need to do without putting myself under pressure.

We live on a 2.5 acre (1 ha) block and grow our own vegetables, as well as having planted plenty of fruit trees. We have a french drain that waters our fruit trees; a french drain runs underground, and rather than transporting household grey water to a treatment plant, it flows onto our back lot and from this the fruit trees and grape vines we have planted benefit. I will blog further about this at a later date.

Our fruit trees include orange, mandarine, lemon, olives, mulberry, nectarine, apricot, grapefruit and grape vines. We also have chooks for our own use (eggs), and sell our surplus eggs for profit. We are looking at getting more chooks as we have plenty of people wanting to buy our eggs - people are attracted to the thought of free-range, organic produce at a reasonable price.

I am cooking from scratch when possible. I have had a bit of an issue thinking of things to make for a vegetarian daughter, but thanks to the many bloggers out there who love to share there recipes I have discovered a valuable resource.

When doing the grocery shopping I buy generic brands where possible. I use my re-usable shopping bags, look for specials and keep a stockpile. Any excess fruit and veg that we grow we turn into preserves, jams, sauces etc. I purchase only what we cannot grow.

For cleaning I use bi-carb soda and vinegar. I knit my own dishcloths, and soon I hope to make my own washing machine liquid using Rhonda Jean's recipe. I use cold water to wash clothes and they are all line-dried (I do not own a dryer). We have a spare clothesline under the verandah for the rare occasion that it is raining.

Our house is heated by a wood fire; hubby collected wood all year from different resources for our winter stockpile. He collects trees cut down by the council and left on the side of the road and asks our friends not to throw away any wood suitable for burning. He also offers to chop trees that need felling.

I save fuel by not going into town unnecessarily. I make sure I have several errands to do before heading off to the shops. It is a 7km drive so it doesnt take love for the fuel to disappear. I try to make do with whatever I have when I find that I have run out of something. It would be nice to be able to walk to the shops sometimes.

Entertainment-wise, we dont go out all that much and we dont drink alcohol or smoke. This saves a lot of money.

We have also recently installed solar power, and hopefully in July we will get some money back for putting power back into the grid. Wind generators will be our next venture. We also have four large rainwater tankls around our house to collect the little rain we get. Due to severe water restrictions this has come in handy for watering the gardens. We have not had rain here since before Christmas. The dirt has turned to bulldust - it is like talcum powder at the moment.

This is a summary of my simple life; please refer to earlier posts and posts to come for more information and pictures.