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Showing posts from June, 2017

Homemade leather dressing balm

I don't own many pairs of shoes, so I really like to take care of the shoes I do own.  My favourite pair are these leather boots that I bought in NZ a few years ago (sorry Brisbane, but you didn't have any nice boots).  I've had these boots for about eight years.  I don't get to wear them very often, I have to wait for our short winter, but I will wear them at any opportunity!  The key to looking after leather shoes is a good leather dressing and the right storage.




I've been using a leather dressing that I bought, but I ran out, so time to make my own.  Leather dressing is made with neatsfoot oil, which is the fat from the legs of cattle.  This has a different melting point to the tallow (fat around their body).  Neatsfoot oil is popular for leather dressing and available from produce stores and horse supplies.  Its actually liquid at room temperature, so I added beeswax to make it solid and more manageable.  And some lavender essential oil for a nice fragrance as …

How to make coconut yoghurt

Lately I have been cutting back on eating dairy.  I know, I know, we own two house cows!  But I am trying to heal inflammation (bad skin) and dairy is one of the possible triggers, so as a last resort and after much resistance, I decided I had better try to cut back.  Its been hard because I eat a LOT of cheese, and cook with butter, and love to eat yoghurt (and have written extensively about making yoghurt).  I had to just give up cheese completely, switch to macadamia oil and the only yoghurt alternative was coconut yoghurt.  I tried it and I like it, but only a spoonful on some fruit here and there because it is expensive!





The brand I can get here is $3 for 200 mL containers.  I was making yoghurt from powdered milk for about 50c/L.  So I was thinking there must be a way to make coconut yoghurt, but I didn't feel like mucking around and wasting heaps of coconut milk trying to get it right....  and then Biome Eco Store sent me a Mad Millie Coconut Yoghurt Kit to try.  The kit is…

A soap saver sack

Have you heard of a soap saver?  I hadn't until recently.  A friend mentioned to me that she was putting the small bits of soap in a sock and that I should think about crocheting a little bag instead.  And then they keep popping up on social media, so I thought I would give it a go.  Am I the only one who hoards the little end bit of soaps that are too small to use?  I have a bit of a collection of them.  So I whipped up a little soap saver sack and filled it up with a few odd soap ends and I'm very pleased with the results.  If you can do basic crochet, they are very easy to make, but you can also knit or sew a simple soap saver (or last resort - use an old sock!).




Crochet soap saver pattern
I used cotton yarn from the local market.  You could use any yarn.  I liked cotton as it can be composted (wool, hemp, bamboo or sisal would also be compostable).

Chain 6, turn
Chain 1 and single crochet back along the chain
Don't turn, but keep going around into the back of the chain…

The story of our secondhand house - part 1

This is an article that I wrote for The Owner Builder magazine.  If you're building a house (or thinking about it), this is a wonderful magazine for those interested in alternative building techniques and DIY options.  I have just submitted part 2 of this story since we moved in, so I thought it was about time to share part 1 here.  If you are building I'm sure they would love to publish your story too, just get in touch via the website.

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In mid-2012 my husband, Peter, and I bought a 258 acre property in the small South Burnett settlement of Kumbia (near Kingaroy) in Queensland, with the intention of eventually building a house and setting up a small farm. Over a year later we were still trying to decide what type of house to build. Both of us were keen to use a sustainable building method, as we like natural materials and hate waste, but it wasn’t immediately obvious what would suit our property. Then we came across a removal house in our local area, advertised for on…

Experimenting with houseplants

I've never been a big fan of houseplants.  I had one on a dresser for a while and it leaked and cracked the veneer.  And I had another one that didn't get enough sun and it died.  Our new house is sunnier and less cluttered, it just felt like it needed some plants.  I've had others that I overwatered, or underwatered.  Its just seemed too hard to keep them alive.




Benefits of houseplants
You might be wondering why I would bother with houseplants, seeing as I just said I don't really like them.  I haven't actually read any scientific studies, but its does seem pretty obvious that plants are going to improve indoor air quality.  If you google it you will find lists of up to 15 benefits, I guess its just one of those topics that attracts fluff articles.  A basic knowledge of biology tells me that plants suck up carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen.  This is probably more useful in the city, as we are out here surrounded by acres of trees producing oxygen.  For me, it…

Farm update - May 2017

Even though its not "technically" winter until after winter solstice on the 21st June, its getting cold enough to really need to light the fire (not just want to light it because its fun) and to wear winter woolies, so I kind of call it winter already.  The past few days have been close to freezing overnight, with some very foggy mornings as well.  The dogs are still sleep outside, and we have somehow lost the dog coats in the move, so I made some more (very easy to make).  We have been going for "walkies" most afternoons, although there is not much time before it gets dark when get home at 4/4:30pm.  We go and check the cattle in one paddock or another and the dogs LOVE it.

We think that it won't get as cold at Cheslyn Rise because we are higher than Nanango and it looked like the house was above the frost line (from observing the grass, it stayed green the last few winters), and we will soon find out.  Here's some thoughts on managing frost.



Food and cooki…