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Showing posts from May, 2017

Pack your own lunch recipes - May 2017

Are you still with me?  Packing your own lunch and/or cooking in bulk to save money and avoid nasty takeaway food?

We always cook in bulk in the weekend and make all our lunches for the following week.  These are ideas for lunch or just bulk cooking.  You can find recipes from previous months here. I also share them on Instagram each Sunday or Monday night (you will also see them on the Facebook page).  I hope these posts are inspiring you to cook from scratch and take your own lunch to work - both to save money and eat better.

I'm not great at following recipes, and I'm also not good at writing them, because I tend to just use up what we have in the fridge/pantry/garden, things that are on special or we've been given at our local produce share.  I'll tell you what I made, but I'm not saying you should follow exactly, just use it as a rough guide and use up whatever you have handy too.
You might think that we just seems to eat the same things all the time.  And now…

How to avoid soaping mistakes **AND my soap eBook!**

I'm not saying that I never make soaping mistakes, but I have figured out how to get my recipes right 99% of the time.  I am on a soapmaking group on FB and every day or so someone will post that they forgot to add an oil or a butter to the recipe, or wondering why the soap hasn't turned out right.  I am surprised because I don't have this much trouble.  Here are three tips from my experience with soapmaking that will help you to avoid soaping mistakes:



Accurate scales
You can skimp on all equipment except for scales.  It is absolutely important to have stable and accurate scales so that you can measure exactly the right amount of fats/oils and caustic.  One of the biggest causes of soaping mistakes is inaccurate measurement of oils or caustic, which results in incomplete reaction and soap that turns out too soft (or too caustic/ high pH).


Keep it simple
The more complicated your recipe, the easier it is to make a mistake, leave something out or measure something incorrectly…

Plastic: a toxic love story - book review

This is a post that I wrote in 2012, but I want to republish because I think its an important post about the dangers of synthetic chemicals.  I never really understood the difference between synthetic chemicals and those present in nature until I read this book.

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I just read a book that I couldn't put down, its called Plastic: a toxic love story.  Its about how plastic has became so pervasive in our lives and so dangerous to our health and that of our planet.  I've read about this kind of thing before, particularly in "Slow Death by Rubber Ducky", but this new book really explained a few things that hadn't clicked before.




First, plastic is a new thing.  I was born in the eighties, so I've grown up with plastic, but only a couple of generations before me, plastic was totally new and people were trying to find new uses for it.  While it is true that there are no new elements on earth, there are new combinations of elements and therefore new chemicals, such a…

The China Study: a guest book review

A friend told me he had read the China Study and it sounded really interesting, so I asked for a review.  Here's what he thought about it and, spoiler alert, he's decided to go vegan as a result!  I can't see myself following the same course, but it was interesting to read the review and his comparison to Michael Pollan's writing and diet recommendations.
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I came across Dr Campbell’s ‘The China Study’ (The China Study: Revised and Expanded Edition: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health - affiliate link) as I do with so many other reads, even music. When watching a documentary or a film, I graze the credits for future readings. This is how I have built up my jazz collection, or how I first read Michael Pollan thanks to the film Food.inc.  Lately my Netflix has taken a turn towards food documentaries, not only for the acclaimed ‘Cooked’ but following its trail, and as part…

Cleaning my kitchen with Biome

As you know, I do not enjoy cleaning at all, it just feels like a waste of good gardening time.  However I do enjoy living in a clean and tidy house, so it is a necessary evil.  My aim is to spend minimal time cleaning, and I also don't like to use chemicals.  Recently Biome sent me some natural cleaning products to try out in our new kitchen.  If you haven't heard of Biome, they can be found online as well as five locations in Brisbane.  They believe in zero waste, toxin free and ethical choices, so its just the kind of business that I like to support, and they have some great options for cleaning.  Lucky for me, as there is nowhere local to buy this kind of thing in rural QLD, so I have to order everything online or make my own.




The new dishdrawer
In particular I was looking for a suitable dishwasher detergent as we had never owned a dishwasher before and I really didn't know where to start.  I read some of the ingredients of the supermarket standard dishwasher detergents…

What to expect from a cow and calf

This is an article that I submitted to Grass Roots magazine a few years ago.  With my recent post on Instagram/Facebook showing Molly with her calf, and my tale of finding her with the calf and going to get Pete and both of us coming back, but Molly had already hid the calve and we did not see it again for two days.... I few people have asked about cows hiding their calves and this article covers that and other weird things that cows and calves do!  
Also we haven't milked yet - trying something new to see if we can get away with not milking all the time, which has been successful so far, will write more when we have fully tested this method.


If you haven’t spent time observing a cow with a new calf, you might be surprised to learn how cows go about their mothering. I have heard of people who are used to sheep who get quite a shock with the apparently blasé attitude of a new mother cow. Unlike ewes, who keep their newborn lambs with them at all times, cows tend to hide their calve…

Designing our kitchen

This post is a bit late as we've had the kitchen finished for a while, but its given me a chance to try out some of the features of the design so I can tell you how they worked out.  The only thing left to do is paint a small section of ceiling, so please ignore the blue masking tape!




We had an cabinet maker design our kitchen after the wood floors were done.  I had already done a very rough design using the Ikea online kitchen design tool.  This confirmed to me that we would NOT be using Ikea as it did not fit well in the odd space of our kitchen!  But at least I was able to show that to the cabinet maker to get us started.  He measured everything and asked me way too many questions, and then went and drew it out in his software.  So unlike the bathroom, where I had full control of the design, I was not able to check everything as I only had the limited time when we I met with the cabinet maker to look at the design in detail.  Fortunately the kitchen turned out great, but I woul…

Gardening in pots

I miss my garden!  It was just starting to get very productive and self-sufficient - I mean, I had a lot of perennial plants growing and other things self-seeding, so I didn't have to do much to it, and now I have to start again *pout*, but my new garden will be even better, eventually.  For now I just have pots, and thanks to everyone who suggested what to plant in those pots.  This is what I have to far...



1) Celery in a self-watering pot from our Nanango produce share.  I wouldn't have thought to choose celery, but I'm pleased to have it as I like to use it to flavour casseroles and roasts, so it will get used.

2) Chard also from the produce share.  It was nice to get this as a seedling and have a headstart on some greens as I've been slow to get the rest of it going.

3) Peas and radishes - I wanted to plant things that you can keep harvesting, so as much as I love carrots and turnips, I thought they were best to wait for next year, and peas will get me a better har…

Our new woodstove

Since we finally moved into our secondhand house, one of the top priorities was to get the woodstove ready for winter.  We bought the stove back in February when it was very hot and hard to imagine that we would ever need a fire, but of course we've lived in this area for eight years, and know very well that winter can bring very cold nights and frosty mornings as we are up in the mountains.  Also being on the top of a hill, it is windy and old Queenslander houses are typically drafty, so we knew we would need it eventually.

First fire in our new wood stove 🔥 its supposed to start getting colder here this week, so we made an effort to get it installed yesterday and today (we bought it several weeks ago during a heat wave! Pete re-tiled the old hearth to match our bathroom tiles). #woodstove #amongstthegumtrees #winterishere #eightacresblog #southburnett A post shared by farmer liz 🐶 🐓🐔🐮🐃🌳🌱 (@eight_acres_liz) on Apr 23, 2017 at 12:26am PDT

I have written about woodstoves a …

Farm Update - May 2017

As anticipated in my last update, we have indeed moved into our secondhand house.  It wasn't such a huge effort because we had been gradually moving things for months, as soon as the floor was finished we started moving things every weekend, so we just had to do that final transition with all the kitchen things and clothing and now our old house is nearly empty.  We have a lot more to move from the shed and around the property, things like water troughs and round bale feeders, but we will just keep taking a few things every time we go past and eventually it will be cleaned out and ready to sell.

The dogs seem to have settled in, they now have a dog yard out the front, which is handy when visitors come (Gus does like to greet everyone and sometimes fresh from swimming in the dam, a big black leaping dog is bad enough without also being dripping wet).  They love coming on walks or bikerides around the property to check the cattle.

This time of year is lovely for getting work done o…