Thursday, 31 July 2014

Yandina Community Gardens

If you have a community garden in your area and have never visited it, I would urge you to do so. If you ever needed inspiration or advice to start your own garden, then these are the best places to go. You can see what grows well in your area and there are volunteers more than happy to answer your questions. I love the Yandina Community gardens even though they are a 40 minute drive away, because they are open on a Saturday morning, unlike my local gardens which are only open when I am at work. They also utilise permaculture principles which is always good to see in action.

This is an insect hotel full of different habitats to encourage beneficial insects into the garden.

An aquaponics garden using an old bath tub.

Raised beds with a variety of herbs and edible plants.

Banana circles are a central feature.... are the chickens.

I love the myriad of pathways linking up the various permaculture zones.

This is a hand made cobb oven... the shape of a bullfrog.

This is a habitat to attract native bees.

A creative mosaic table.

Everywhere you look there is produce, citrus with underplantings of nasturtium.

And the homestead where you can swap produce, stop for a yarn or attend a workshop every now and then.

I will certainly be visiting again at the end of August because they have very cheap plants for sale - from $2, and I picked up some bargains last time I was here....and Costas from Gardening Australia is there for an open day and doing some presentations which I don't want to miss. Plus, on a Saturday Yandina has a great farmers market, so I am looking forward to that!

Do you have a community garden where you are?

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Angel Gowns Australia - Donate Your Wedding Dress!

I am home this week on leave from work, and have just unpacked my wedding dress to get it ready to donate to an amazing organisation called Angel Gowns Australia. I thought I would create this post and share what they are all about in case you have not heard of them, and in the hope that you think about donating your dress, or just spread the word around to others that such a beautiful non-profit organisation exists.

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In their own words Angel Gowns Australia are:

...a community organisation of volunteers who hope to touch the hearts of everyone in Australia especially those who suffer the tragic loss of their baby.

From donated wedding gowns we lovingly hand craft Angel Gowns which are then gifted to Neonatal Intensive Care Units, and Hospitals all around Australia for babies who are born sleeping and grow their wings far too soon.
With your help we will be able to gift our Angel Gowns to all Australian families when the most unimaginable loss happens.

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So, in a nutshell, what these beautiful women do is transform donated wedding gowns into stunning creations for babies who 'grow their wings too soon.' The dresses are sometimes donated by those who have lost a child, and some gowns are especially ordered and made from mother's wedding dresses for their own child.

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For me, I have not lost a child but know of many who have miscarried and would like to think that a little magic from my most special day would be passed on to a grieving family - courtesy of some amazing seamstress volunteers.

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When I mentioned to my husband that I was doing this he thought it was rather morbid, my wedding gown being remade to go into a coffin or to be cremated...but I see it differently, and so do many, many others. I will never wear it again, and chances are it will get donated to the salvo's or remain in it's memory box, but I think the scalloped design will make for beautiful angel gowns...and bring a smile to the faces of families who are grieving. Who could want more than that?

If you want to know more about Angel Gowns Australia or want to volunteer to be a seamstress (heaven knows I cannot sew at all), or even want to donate much needed funds for cards and angel pins, please checkout their Facebook Page and give them a will be inspired by the daily posts, I guarantee it.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Simple Living Sunday 35

Gee Monday's roll around so quickly don't they? We went over our usage for the internet this weekend so were unable to use it - when they slow the satellite speed down it is non existent. It has still been a weird week of weather with frosts and two days of gale force winds - my greenhouse ended up in the gully and I had a lot of cleaning up to do around the yard.

Another pest problem...something has been eating this pumpkin. I would guess at possums or bandicoots.

So, I have now moved them upstairs to keep an eye on them. I cover them each night due to frost and dew, and am hoping they will ripen soon so I can store them downstairs, away from hungry critters.

I opened up the frost-bitten corn to give to the chooks and it did not form very well...only half a cob. Better luck with that next time.

Another loss is the cape gooseberry. This is a shot of an unripened berry...they go yellow when ripe.

But the frost has attacked it and the berries did not drop so I never got to see what they taste like.

The cauliflower is coming back and getting leafy again now that the caterpillars are under control.

This spark of colour is from a bougainvillea forgotten in a pot underneath the gum trees.

My husband loves nothing better than lighting a fire, so he did a lot of burning off with the long grass from the pumpkin patch.

This is my new toy - my birthday present from money given to me by my dad and sister. It is a 5 in 1 multicooker which has a pressure cook and slow cook function.

I made this beef stew in 30 mins using the pressure cooker so I can see huge benefits in terms of time.

You can also brown the meat in the pan, which saves on dishes too. The other functions are steaming and soup making so I can see I will get adventurous during my holidays next week.

I have even prepped another meal for the week. I have boiled the sausages to remove fat and taken the skins off. I will pop this in the pressure cooker with some water when I get home from work...easy, peasy dinner.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Monday, 14 July 2014

Simple Living Sunday 34

Well, it's all about pumpkins at the moment. I had to pull up my vines due to the frost...twenty eight pumpkins were in my patch! So, together with the ones I picked before Christmas and over the last few weeks, my yield was about 35 pumpkins. This is my first time growing them and I would not expect such a huge result every time...they just kept going with the extended summer we had here. Pumpkin recipes anyone?

I have them on the back porch on the moment on a metal rack drying in the sun. I will turn them over in a couple of days. Some are only small (about a kilo) but most are 3 kilos or so. They should all ripen nicely with our lovely warm winter days.

I had a wander around the garden yesterday, checking out what was frost affected, and what was not...a good exercise for planting next year. I was hoping to yield before the usual frosty month of August...but mother nature changed my plans.

This calendula is one of the few flowers in my garden at the moment.

The passionfruit are just starting to ripen although I won't have as many as last year.

This kale in the gumtree garden is not as large as the ones growing in the lemon tree garden, and it handles the frost well.

The beans did not like it.

But the celery and lettuce were not affected.

Nor were the beetroot.

I was hoping to get tomatoes from this fellow before any such luck.

I will plant corn earlier in the season next year.

The mystery leafy greens growing on my lawn are still thriving.

And a heavy dose of dipel, plus the frosts, seem to have kept the caterpillars at bay. I have quite a few broccoli heads growing...and they don't mind the frost.

My favourite red russian kale was also unaffected.

I have several huge piles of pumpkin vines for my compost heap. It was alot of fun pulling them up.

I am now able to get to the other side of the lime tree...and am still astounded by the abundance. I have been picking them for five months now...and they are still going :)

I have been using the slow cooker heaps lately. This is a potato and kale soup I made for my lunches this week....

...and a yummy lasagne for dinner last night.

We didn't do much over the school holidays as I was working but we did manage to get out for a game of ten pin bowling on Saturday.

We had a lot of laughs...and I managed to beat the boys, much to their disgust haha.

I hope you had a lovely weekend at your place. What would you do with so many pumpkins?

What did you get up to?

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