Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Glimpse at unit living

I wanted to show some pictures of where I live and the small steps we've taken so far on my journey to self sufficiency and living simply -

Tahitian lime, dwarf lemon and cherry tomato plants all growing pretty well on one of the balconies. The lemon tree I got from my sister as a gift and it has been attacked by a myriad of bugs but it's doing much better now since I gave it some much needed TLC and now two little fruits have appeared! I'm so excited!

Check out those baby lemons, aren't they so cute! Let's hope they make it through the winter.

This is my other balcony - it's about 1 x 1metre! That's it! But I have bush tomato (mening we just found the plant on my partner's property in the bush) on the left, tomato and basil in the centre and lettuce on the right.

Hanging basket hanging from that balcony roof above the tomato, basil and lettuce has more lettuce

And another hanging basket with a strawberry plant

This is a side shot of that balcony to show how small it is! So that's it for my outside growing area. Although I have been considering using the neighbours roof! You can just see a bit of the purple roof in that top picture. I have access to their roof from my bathroom window. Hmm not sure what they'll think of that!

This is a picture of our little library containing very simple and frugal recreational activities - plenty of fiction and non-fiction books (including gardening, sewing and baking topics of course!) and in the bottom right hand corner a bunch of second hand board games we picked up. We barely watch TV and would rather spend our time more productively.

Lyndon in the kitchen cooking up a (vegetarian) storm! It's such a tiny kitchen but we make do cooking, canning and baking. In this picture you can see one of Lyndon's charcoal pieces of art behind his head. His first love is art (after me of course!) and spent years studying it in Houston and Chicago (he was born in Aus then moved to the States with his parents when he was 14, only moving back to Australia a few months before he met me). He is looking forard to having more time to create art when we move to our dream country homestead hopefully within a few years.On the bench behind him you can see a few jars of my latest jam. My worst so far, but that's another post! Then on the windowsill above the sink you can just see a few black pots - we have planted some cumquat seeds, passionfruit seeds and an advocado seed to see if they shoot. It would be great to get as many fruits started in pots while we live here then transplant them into gardens when we have our property because they take so long to bear fruit. The sooner we start growing them the better!

One of our frugal heat saving measures! It's just a towel rolled up to act as a draught stopper. I will be sewing some proper draught snakes at my mum's this weekend to replace these, but they work just as well in the chilly few days we've had recently.

We use these Soapnuts instead of laundry liquid. I was quite skeptical at first but they work reall well! The Soapnuts are the casings of the berries from the Chinese soapberry tree. You can find out more information or order them from here.

Any finally, one of those frugal recreational activities after our yummy dinner, a board game. This one is trionomoes and we abandoned it when we saw there was a lot of adding up required. We instead played Kingston and I am happy to report I WON! Hehehe 4 out of 4 games so far! Come on Lyndon, give me a challenge!

I hope you liked my photo post. Pictures tell a thousand words, so I hope you learnt a bit more about me rather than if I just wrote a really long post.

Good night!


Monday, June 28, 2010

The beginning of my list of goals....

I mentioned in my previous post about the goals I have, and I think it's a pretty good post to have at the beginning of my blog. It will be great to look back on after a few months and see what priorities have changed and what I would add.

 I just had to put a pic of me and my boy up so everyone can see how lucky I am! :)

My fiance and I have both come to the same realisation (seperately, but at around the same time, which was lucky!) that we each want to move towards living a more self sufficient lifestyle. This article really sums up why I want to live more self sufficently, and also I don't want to continue to work for the man! It really outlines what I aspire to be able to do - cook, clean, sew, mend, produce my own food, electricity, survive a crisis, basically I want to know how to properly look after myself! Isn't that a weird thing to hear from a 26 year old! You would think I would be able to at my age. But I mean really provide for myself, especially if the sh#t hit the fan (which I have no doubt will soooner rather than later). I believe, people of my generation would be totally lost if they were forced into a situation like the Depression. We'd have no hope trying to sew, cook or be frugal. Even living WITHIN our means is a tough ask for some, but to actually reduce that living to a point where we can save and have an emergency fund is almost scoffed at amongst my age group.

So enough yabbing on, how do I actually think I can achieve this simple, self sufficient life that I desire? Well I have put a lot of thought into this list and have already refined it many times(!) but I've settle on this list for the moment. Putting it into words will hopefully help motivate me to achieve them!

Pay down all debts and build savings and emergency funds
I will do this by:
  • reworking my budget (looking at reducing expenses, tracking all expenditure, setting up the direct transfer of funds into a savings account)
  • start living frugally (no extravagent purchases, buy second hand or make items required)

Learn skills necessary for self-sufficient living (sewing, baking, knitting, vegie gardening, preserving, etc)
I will do this by:
  • reading books (rediscovering the library has been so much fun!), taking courses, researching online
  • and then continue practising those skills to become better at them 

Declutter / simplify life 
I will do this by:
  • re-evaluating the material possesions I own, fully considering any purchases
  • prioritising time better and including time for myself
  • decluttering my mind through meditation, mindfulness and yoga

Investigate ways to earn a (small) income from home
I will do this by:
  • initially reducing my need for an income to as low as possible through the achievement of the above goals
  • looking into online businesses that would be suitable (Etsy maybe, if my sewing, knitting are up to it!)
  • selling produce/products that I grow/make at markets, to friends, neighbours, etc
  • relying on my partners income (wouldn't like to do this solely, and would eventually like to have some way where he doesn't have to work either, hmmm what do you do to earn an income while still growing produce, home-making?)

Buy land and build our homestead
I will do this by:
  • building our savings so that we can buy the land outright, then live in a converted shed while we build our strawbale home, with solar power, tank water, with a few chooks vegie patch, fruit trees....oh I could keep going but I am trying to focus!
  • start living as self-sufficiently as I can now to make it easier to make the transition
 Phew so thats quite a few goals I have there, must get started working on those! I would love to hear your goals or feedback.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

First post

Well this is a bit daunting!

I've been reading blogs for a few months now, well obesessing over them really! They are so addictive. And it's even better when you can relate to them, if the bloggers are from the same area as you (well just seeing someone from Australia gives me a thrill!), with the same interests. I find blogs so interesting! I have learnt so much in the past month about sewing, baking, canning, soap making, vegetable growing and homesteading, that I have become even more excited to be on this journey to simpler living. I thought it would be so much more difficult. Granted, I have a LONG way to go, but I am feeling a lot more confident with the help I have received from everyone in blogging land.

So all of this has motivated me to start my own blog, and looking at a blog with no posts is a little bit scary as I said, but hey I've already written a paragraph! Hehe. My blog will be a place where I will detail my triumphs, failures (expect a lot of these in the first few months!), discoveries and thoughts as I teach myself the basics that a lot of people of my generation have never learnt, but all of our grandmothers had to know to survive. The lost arts I guess. 

So what's my story now, at the beginning of my blogging adventure? Where does this all begin? Well at present I live in a tiny 2 bedroom unit with my fiance, Lyndon. We live in Brisbane. Far enough from the city that's its a hassle to get to work everyday, but close enough that the traffic wakes you up sometimes and we have no yard. I work in a 9-5 job in the city. I am determined to start living simply now and not just put it into some far off dream that I will do "..when we move to the country" or  "...when we have paid off our debts." So in my posts I will I will talk about those changes that we are making now, that are enabling us to live more deliberately and enjoy the present moments, while still working towards those end goals. 

I will leave those goals for another post. I just wanted to open this blog with a bit about myself and where I am at now so I have a starting point to work forward from.

Phew! That wasn't so hard!
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