Podcast with 'The Greening of Gavin'.




I was lucky enough to be interview recently by Gavin from 'The Greening of Gavin'. It was so much fun chatting with Gavin and his wife Kim because we have a similar approach to life. After the podcast recording finished, we ended up staying on the line chatting for another hour or so !

If you would like to hear the interview, click on the link below. Don't forget to drop by Gavin's site as well. Gavin and Kim share a huge amount of their knowledge freely with everyone.

The book I referred to in the interview is now available. You can click on book/articles in the menu above or the picture on the right hand side to see more details.


Make Time


The Fire Pit




The boys had been wanting to build a fire pit for some time. They had been very mathematical in measuring out the hole, planning the surrounds and dreaming of their nights toasting marshmallows.



There was quite a lot of clay where they decided to put it, so the digging was quite difficult.

Unfortunately, it rained and rained not long after they dug their hole and it become nothing more than a duck pond for quite a few months.

They had almost given up on the idea and signed it over to the ducks permanently, but as the cold nights hit, they had a renewed interest in the project.




They dug it out and lined it with old bricks, tiles and anything else they could find.




Of course, when it came to lighting, no ordinary match would do. They wanted to experiment with lighting a fire with a battery and some steel wool. It worked really well.


 As they built up the layers of wood they could find from around the property, it settled into a beautiful warm fire. We moved some chairs down there and brought down a really nourishing meal of slow cooked meatballs and mash and all sat around chatting.

It was such a slow relaxing night. It felt like we were camping, but we were 100m from the house.


My Grandmother's Ways


(This post first published 2010)

It is now over six months since my Grandmother passed away. But it’s funny, I don’t feel that she is gone. I feel that she is still at her home in Bathurst, where she moved to when I was a baby.


I took this photo in about 2005. It captures the feeling of driving up the driveway after a long trip to finally arrive at ‘Nanna’s House’. Her house was an old coach stop in the gold rush days.

When I look at this picture I smell the corned meat cooking, the apple pies, the fire going in the lounge room. It is real.


There is so much of my grandmother’s ways that I try ( often without success!) to incorporate into my own life. It seems now, that I am not the only one. Since frugal has become the new black, more and more people are adopting the wisdom of the old fashioned ways and making changes in their lives.


The Global Financial Crisis combined with growing environmental awareness has meant that many people are embracing some of the lost arts of yesteryear. Cooking, sewing, gardening and entertaining are gradually becoming more mainstream as people embrace the joys of home.

I have witnessed what I call a ‘collective sigh of relief’ that frugality is now ‘trendy’. It is much easier to keep up with the Jones’ when they are being frugal that when they are constantly updating to bigger and better things.

I see a resurgence in the vegie garden, chooks in the suburban back yard and home cooking.


In my grandmother’s day these tasks were carried out because of necessity, whereas today we do many of these things by choice – we chase the joy. Where once, throwing a microwaved meal onto a plate in a rush was a hassle, now we spend hours in the kitchen with a glass of wine and an Italian opera to produce an artisan feast and it counts as ‘stress relief’.

Whether you work full time or are a stay at home parent, there are many ways to reconnect with the joys of home. Here are some of the things that have brought me joy throughout this journey.

Cooking from scratch – trying new recipes and flavours and venturing into what I once would have thought of as a waste of time – like bread and pasta making.

Growing Your Own – never underestimate the joy of collecting something that you have grown – even if it is a handful of basil or a sprig of parsley!

Finding or buying Used – whether it be a vintage table cloth or an old wooden spatula, used items are fabulous in quality and bring the essence of their previous life with them. ( I always cook better with my great grandmother’s spoon)

Mending and Making Do – there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from being able to mend something or find a way to re-use an item instead of racing out to buy a new one.

Slow Living – turning off the television gives opportunities for everything from family discussions to games nights and story telling.

Getting Ahead – time is a very valuable commodity and thinking about what is coming up in the weeks and months ahead and tackling some of it now brings tremendous peace. Running around at the last minute brings nothing but stress!

Cash Budget – this is one of the best things that we have ever done in terms of our financial management. It has helped us get out of debt, have holidays and taught our children how to save and use their pocket money wisely.

Have you embraced any old fashioned living principles ? Is it just me, or do you think that frugality has become ‘trendy’ ?



Mandarins and Macadamias: Mother Nature's M&Ms


Wandering around the backyard with a basket in hand, there are so many delicious offerings to be found!

I am starting to call this area 'the food forest' because there is always something to snack on.

The Macadamias are starting to fall from the tree. They are in a green pod which breaks open to reveal the hard brown shell. Inside the nuts are creamy and lovely tasting - a true Aussie Bush Food !

I add macadamia nuts to banana bread instead of using walnuts.


Making Money in the midst of the Greek crisis.

This is a heart- warming story about how some Greeks are surviving hard times by setting up a community currency.



The market stall at the end of the story which works on the community barter system makes everyone feel very valued.



The Jam Stick


Can you see the 'jam stick' in this picture ? It has such a history.


My grandmother gave it to me a couple of years ago. The story is that when she was making jam on the farm one day a visitor noticed that the spoon she used was too short and she often burnt her hand.

The kind visitor went down the paddock got a piece of wood and crafted a new, longer handled jam stirrer and gave it to her. She used it for many many years.


Here I am, some sixty years later, using it again - bringing it back to life. I use it as a spatula in my mix master. I love the long handle.

I am not sure what time of wood it is, it is so weathered now - but still quite strong.
Not long ago, hubbie and I were fooling around in the kitchen comparing our favourite cooking items. His consists of an old frypan with no handle that he uses to make a perfect omelette ( so perfect in fact that he brings the pan, held in a tea towel, into my office to show me just how clever he is!), and an old scraper that he says he is going to pot rivet back together because 'they just don't make them like this anymore'.

Mine consists of the mix master ( an anniversary present about three years ago), an old spoon and the jam stick. You can read about the spoon here

All of our favourite cooking utensils were really old! I guess Hubbie is right ... they just don't make them like they used to!

You what is really sad though....... when we were studying the jam stick the other day, Hubbie smelt it and said......
........ 'it smells like Nanna's kitchen '
. ...... and I smelt it ...............
.....and it does .............