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

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,


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Dust Storm at Broken Hill

This film clip was on

Take look you will be amazed!

Have a great weekend and go the "Cats" in the AFL Grand Final, that is about to start.

Have a great weekend wherever you are,


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More weather pictures

Welcome to Spring in Port Augusta... again...

These pics were taken yesterday afternoon at 2pm... the sky went dark and orange....

It's raining mud...

and more mud!

The force of the rain by the pressing winds...

We lost one of our favourite trees, it is so hard to get trees established here and it is disappointing to lose them... under the tree is a playgym, now no longer usable and a swing set

This is what we found when we arrived home in the foul conditions...

As you can see the roots don't go down very deep...

I have figured out the problem with my photos, thanks to Sarah,
What would I do without you?

More strong winds are here again today and bringing some much needed rain, not as strong as yesterday though.


Wind, Dirt and Raining mud

Yesterday brought weather like I have not seen before. The dirt was so thick and the wind so strong. An eerie orange sky. Then the rain.....one big downpour and it was raining mud!

I am having trouble loading photos on blogger, does anyone know why and is anyone else having this problem? I was able to upload this small video, but not any photos.

Thank goodness today is a little better although the wind has picked up outside and there is more rain coming.

How's the weather where you are? This year is producing some very strange weather indeed.

Hope you have a good day,


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

One-cup Fruit Slice

One-cup Fruit Slice

(taken from The Secret of Healthy Children)

*This is one you can throw together and have in the oven in under 10 minutes. Any other combination of dried fruit can be used in place of the dried apricots and sultanas, as long as it amounts to 2 cups.

1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour

1 cup coconut

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped dried apricots

1 cup sultanas

1 cup reduced-fat milk

Grease a 20cm x 30cm slab tin.

Mix all the ingredients together evenly. Press into the tin.

Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes.


(I used 2 cups of fruit medley in this one and there is no butter/margarine added so it is good for the waistline)

For you Linda, Dr Fuhrman has a website.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Super Foods

Some of you may have heard of these but for those that haven't, superfoods are the most healthy foods to eat. They are the ones that can protect your body from disease.

I have been watching with interest 3 of my favourite blogs, Tatersmama, Joolz and Linda who have been on the 30 day throw down challenge brought to our attention by Robynn's Ravings.

The last two weeks I have been doing my own research on food.

Hubby has a high cholesterol problem that is genetic and sadly his father passed away when he was 62 years old, probably related to high cholesterol. Our dear son has had a blood test that shows he has it too, and it has a name, Familial Hypercholesterolemia. He is required to have a blood test every twelve months to monitor it. Scary stuff as we all know high cholesterol can cause all sorts of health problems. A lot is said about bigger people being more at risk but hubby is of slight build and weighs only 71.5kgs. Our son is small build as well, so don't think because you have a small frame that you won't have cholesterol problems.

I have never had my cholestorol checked but have had my gall bladder removed about 9 years ago and which I have since learned that gall stones are made up of cholestorol so one would pressume that I have high cholesterol also.

A couple of weeks ago I experienced some chest pain and went up to the hospital to get my heart checked on the ECG machine. To my relief it showed up as normal, but it did give me a real scare. A good reason to get my life back on track.

Since that day I have been experimenting with different recipes that include the superfoods and have collected my own list of superfoods which I will put in this post. I have also started walking briskly for 4kms when the weather permits, I hadn't walked since last Thursday but fitted one in today while the weather was so nice. Hubby comes along with me when he can which is good because he makes me push myself to walk faster.

My weight before I started was 73.5kg, and before that I had weighed up to 78kg which was very depressing. Somehow I managed to get some of the weight off by watching and recording what I ate. I have been having trouble with varicose veins in my left leg so I figured if I could lose some more kilos my legs and feet would thank me for it. So far I have got down 71.5kg.

Usually the food for my day consists of :


Porridge and a dash of Manuka honey, freshly squeezed oranges and grapefruit juice.

Soon after breakfast I enjoy a cup of tea.

About 11 o'clock I have another cup of tea and a low fat snack like sakata crackers.

At around 12.30pm if hungry I will have ryvita crackers with varied toppings and a tub of soy yogurt
or a piece of fruit.

I snack on almonds and fruit whether dried or fresh throughout the day. I sometimes drink hot water with lemon juice added instead of tea.

I use a side plate size for my dinner time meal. Amazingly I don't feel hungry by eating a smaller amount. I have cut out desserts, except for tonight I made a chocolate pudding.... naughty, naughty, I did only have a very small bit! Call it a reward!

(the following information taken from Cut your Cholesterol by Dr Sarah Brewer)



FISH - one portion(115g/4oz) four times a week reduces heart disease due to the omega-3 fatty acids that thin the blood and stop abnormal heart rhythms.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES (excluding potatoes) - 400g/14oz daily (at least five servings) reduces blood pressure due to the antioxidant content.

ALMONDS - a handful (70g/2.5oz) per day significantly lowers total cholesterol levels due to the monounsaturated fats present in almond oil.

GARLIC - two to three cloves every day may not win you any friends, but garlic is a source of allicin, a substance that lowers cholesterol, reduces high blood pressure and makes the arteries more elastic.

A DAILY GLASS OF WINE - 150mls/5fl oz) cuts your risk of coronary heart disease due to its high antioxidant levels. Although the scientists did not specify what colour of wine to drink, research suggests that the antioxidants found in red wine make it superior to white wine.

Although wine is often considered a health no-no, omitting the daily glass of wine had the strongest negative effect on the so-called Polymeal's beneficial effects, lowering the reduction in heart disease risk from 76% to just 65%.

DARK CHOCOLATE - yes, chocolate! Enjoying 100g/3.5oz dark chocolate per day (one small bar) can lower our blood pressure even more than fruit and vegetables. Chocolate is a rich source of the same type of antioxidant polyphenois that give red wine and green tea their heart friendly reputations.

Surprisingly, olive oil was not included in the Polymeal, as the researchers did not find enough sold evidence to support it as a single ingredient rather than a s part of the Mediterranean diet!

My list is made up like this:

Red wine, water, green tea, avocado, broccoli, onions, capsicum (peppers), soy, spinach, sprouts, hot peppers, leeks, radishes, acai, apples, blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin, kiwi fruit, oranges, tomatoes, salmon, tuna, mackeral, turkey, eggs, beans, barley, seeds, nuts, lentils, oats, walnuts, beans, walnuts, yoghurt, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, cinnamon, dark chocolate, garlic, honey, extra virgin olive oil (cold compressed), sea salt, bok choy and other Asian greens, basil, rosemary, oregano, green herbs, almonds, grapefruit, tea, ginger, flax seed, sweet potatoe.

I am adding to this list as I go along.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Happenings and Banana Bread

We have some new chicks. Four little ones hatched out right on time today. Bantams make the best mothers.

This is the daddy, Homer the rooster.

Homer was hand reared from a little chicken and was one of four. He got is name because he would try and beat the others to the food and he definately wasn't sharing, he was the biggest of the brood. Now he is the boss in the chook house with about 15 girls around him.

Finally today we had some nice washing weather. Friday and Saturday weren't very good "anything'"days, with heat, dust and strong winds. At least the cool change is here for a few days.

It's nearly time to pack the firewood away for another year and get the air conditioner uncovered and serviced ready to go.

Tried my hand at making some healthy Banana Bread, nice with butter on while still warm. (healthy plant sterol margarine of course)

Found the recipe in this book which is my best friend at the moment. I am trying out some of the other recipes as well.

Banana Bread

60gms butter or margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed banana

1 tspn vanilla

1/2 cup low fat milk

1 cup wholemeal self raising flour

1 cup white self raising flour

1 tspn bi carb soda

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1. Cream butter and sugar until well mixed. Add eggs, banana, vanilla and milk.

2. Sift together flours and bi carb. Add to banana mixture and mix lightly. Add nuts.

3. Spoon mixture into a paper lined nonstick 14 x 21 cm loaf pan and bake in a moderate oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into loaf comes out clean. Turn out and cool.

Nutritional information per slice

Protein 3 g; fat 4 g; carbohydrate 13 g; dietary fibre 1 g; 430 kJ

Until next time,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Welcome to Spring - South Australian Style

35C (95F)

Lots of dirt with a hot, blustery north wind...

Lovely day to spend inside with the doors and windows firmly closed.

A cool change due tomorrow so we will get all the dirt back again from the south.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Prayer Request

Please pray for Mandy and her family as they grieve the loss of their husband and father, Greg.

Especially sad as today is Father's Day.

Wishing all the Dad's a wonderful day.