22 May 2022

The Week That Was 22/05/2022

Sunday was glorious, and so warm, a perfect autumn day.

I added three mini cabbage seedlings and three mini cauliflower seedlings to the garden. These were grown from Diggers Club seeds. I like the mini versions of these vegetables as they are just the right size for two meals for our family, and that means I don't need to worry about storing and using them before they go black.

Two loads of washing on the line, dried and put away. Gotta love that solar clothes dryer!

Thomas and I had pizza for tea, made from pantry ingredients. It was just the two of us, so the roast has been put on hold.

Monday was cold and drizzly wet. After doing the Monday cleaning, I spent some time working on Home Among the Gum Trees, and working on a stock plan for the shop.

I made a big pot of tomato and vegetable soup, and used one of the soup packs from last week. I added in some lentils and a tin of diced tomatoes and used chicken stock from the freezer as the base. It was delicious and made lunches for the week.

Monday night we had burgers and chips for dinner. Wayne and AJ arrived home just in time to eat. I opened a jar of caramelised onions to have on the burgers and they were delicious.

Tuesday I woke up, then promptly went back to sleep and slept until 9am! And woke with a headache. No show, not much housework, other than the basics done. Dinner was spag bol using sauce from the freezer. Thomas made garlic rolls to use up some stale hot dog buns and dinner was quick, easy, and really tasty.

I've kept the routine of filling the thermos for hot drinks going. Combined with my thermal mug, my tea has been staying hot until the very last drop.

Still catching the shower warm up water and pouring it into the washing machine.

Picked the last of the capsicums from the garden, chopped and froze them.

Friday was packed with unexpected medical appointments for Wayne. We left home at 9am and didn't get back until after 4pm. It was a long day, with lots of running around and I was grateful for the spinach ravioli and the pasta sauce in the freezer to make an easy, no fuss dinner.

Yesterday was glorious too. The sun shone all day, hardly a breeze. It was cool though, but working in the garden warmed me up quickly. The fruit trees were weeded and fed; the veggie beds were weeded; everything was watered and given a drink of worm tea. We added compost to the empty beds and dug it in so they'll be ready to plant in a few days.

We have two more fruit trees on order (Packham pears), so we prepared the pots for them too with lots of compost and soil. As soon as they arrive they can go into their permanent homes.

Oh, and we dragged out the tunnels to put over the seedlings. They'll keep them warm (we have frosts forecast) and keep the cabbage moths and bugs off them until they are big enough to survive.

The garden is a lot of work, but it is feeding us, and will feed us, for minimal outlay, and with the price of veggies going up and up, I like that.

What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?

08 May 2022

The Week that Was 15th May 2022

The week started out cold, but the rain stopped, and the sun came out. The days were mild, not warm, but not freezing cold either.

The garden is going great guns of course. Between plenty of good rain and the warmer days, the seeds have sprouted and the little plants are growing so fast. I've been feeding them every week with either compost tea or worm tea, to give them a boost for winter.

Monday was a frustrating day. I had a shopping list, basic things to add to the pantry, partly to get ready for the One Month Pantry Test and partly to get ahead of shortages that have been predicted (by me for almost two years and now by MSM and supermarkets and State and Federal Governments).

One thing that I had trouble getting was eggs. I went to two Aldi stores, a Coles supermarket and finally found eggs at a Woolworths (and you all know that Woolworths is out of my way - yes, I made a special trip just to get eggs!). I could only get three dozen so they came home. 

Other frustrations are meat prices. Aldi is still selling beef mince for $10.99/kg; Costco sells it for $9.99/kg in a bulk pack (around 3.5kg per pack). I saw rump steak for $48.99/kg! I'm starting to think that eating meat will soon be the equivalent of a mortgage payment!

To get a little ahead, I prepped soup dump packs and casserole dump packs for the freezer. It just means I peel and chop and dice the veggies and vacuum seal them. They keep in the fridge for up to a month, which is handy. Or they can be frozen and dumped into the slow cooker or pressure cooker for quick soup or casserole meals.

They are pretty much the same contents, just prepped differently. Celery, onions, carrots, parsnips, swede. For the soup dump packs they get grated in the food processor. For the casserole dump packs they get cut into bite sized chunks.

Prepping ahead saves time - yes, it does! Only one clean up, and it takes around 15 minutes if I get moving, half and hour if I dawdle and fiddle faddle around and I have four soup dump packs and four casserole dump packs ready to open and dump. That's the base of eight meals prepped and cleaned up in 15 minutes, an ideal use of my time and energy.

 Veggies processed for soup
It was nice to get the washing on the line on Monday and Tuesday. Sunshine fresh is so nice.

On Friday of last week I was given a big bag of lemons, so Tuesday was processing day. Some were zested and juiced. I made lemon butter, froze some juice, made a lemon syrup cake and lemon syrup for Lemon Chicken. I used some to make lemon and orange marmalade and Whole Lemon Cake (one of my variations on Whole Orange Cake).

The fire has kept the house toasty warm on cold days and overnight. We haven't lit the pilot for the ducted heating yet, and we may not bother. Once the house warms up, if we keep the fire going, then the house stays warm, and we have plenty of firewood to use.

I'm still filling the thermos for hot drinks during the day.

Used tortillas from the freezer to make chips. This freed up freezer space and gave us snacks without having to buy anything. I kept some aside to use for Haystacks that are on the meal plan next week (there are no corn chips in the pantry so we will make do).

Caught shower warm-up water and tipped it into the washing machine.

We had some rain so I didn't need to water the garden.

Used the solar charger to charge my phone.

Kept an eye on power points and lights made sure they were turned off when appliances weren't being used.

Only two trips out this week, saving fuel.

Had a lovely day with Wendy and Hannah on Saturday, making cards. I managed to get five done, the most I've accomplished on a card day in months! And we still did plenty of talking.


What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?

The Week that Was 8th May 2022

Happy Mother's Day! 

The weather turned this week, and it went from a balmy 21C on Monday, with blue skies and sunshine, to wind, rain and a chilly 13C on Tuesday and it stayed about that for the rest of the week.

I've been fighting off allergies for a few days. Running eyes, itchy nose, itchy skin have been driving me crazy.  Turns out it's not allergies, and hopefully with a correct diagnosis I'll be on the mend soon.

The cold snap means we've eaten our way through two pots of chicken soup. It's so warming for lunch, and it's cheap and easy to make too. Six litres costs around $3 to make from pantry ingredients for about 25 cents per serve.

Speaking of pantry ingredients, we are about to embark on a pantry challenge with a bit of a twist. This pantry challenge goes for a month, until the 10th June, and there is only one rule: we have to live of what is in the pantry, and only what's in the pantry. No quick top-up shop for milk or fresh fruit. If we run out, we wait.

Why are we doing this? Well I issued the challenge to everyone on Tuesday night's show, as a trial run for a real grid-down, TEOTWAWKI, zombie apocalypse type event where we would be staying home, shops shut, no markets and not able to barter with neighbours. At the end of the month we should all know the gaps in our pantries, and know what we have too much of and what we don't have enough of, so we can get cracking on filling the gaps.

I've only been out once this week, so no driving means very little fuel used. The fuel money for this week has been moved to the holiday fund. I tend to do this when the fuel fund has a healthy surplus.

We have continued to be power wardens, keeping a close eye on how much power we are using. Lights off if no one is in the room, appliances turned off at the wall and unplugged. The thermos is still filled every morning for hot drinks through the day.

Washing has been dried on the clotheshorse.

Winter bedding was brought out and summer bedding is slowly being washed, dried and put away for the winter.

I picked sweet basil and mint from the garden.

I picked capsicums, eggplants and rhubarb from the garden.

Fed the pots with worm tea.

Cleaned the dishwasher and washing machine with bicarb soda and vinegar.

Fed the worms with veggie peelings.

Made a quadruple batch of pasta sauce, used one and put three into the freezer.

Made a quadruple batch of Mexican Meatballs, used one, and froze three for future meals.


Darned the heel of one of Wayne's woollen socks.

What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?

01 May 2022

The Week that Was 1st May 2022

It has been a long week! Or it feels long, even Wayne felt like it was dragging.

Hannah's car was towed (again) to the mechanic on Tuesday morning. It was an easy fix, our mechanic called, told us what the problem was, and said Wayne could fix it, and he was welcome to do it there, no charge. He is a lovely man and a very good mechanic. So that's what happened, with the car finally being fixed Wednesday nigh.

I have been wanting a particular item for about 18 months. Of course this is a tight budget year, so there really wasn't money for it. After talking it over with Wayne we decided to wait until it came on a good sale. Thursday I get an email to say one day only, 40% off! Off I went, to get one, and then there were only two on the shelf. I know that once they are gone, getting more will be hard due to the supply chain problems.

Little peas poking through the soil - so exciting!

I've been boiling the kettle once, in the morning, making my cuppa and then pouring the rest into our thermos. This saves me boiling the kettle each time I have a cuppa through the day, and depending on the how the day is going, sometimes I have a few. Every little bit of power not used keeps money in our pockets. 

Sold more dishcloths in our store Home Among the Gum Trees, so every time I sit down for a few minutes I pick up the knitting needles to get more done.

Made chicken soup using dehydrated veggies from the pantry (carrots, onions, celery), potatoes from the cupboard (canned earlier in the year), stock from the freezer and one small chicken fillet. It filled the pressure cooker. Sent some home with Hannah, and I've been eating the rest for my lunches each day.

Dried the washing on the clothesline each day. A little sunshine, a little breeze and it dries in no  time.

Packaged up a box of cards to send to the nursing home. Made a half batch of soap to use up the open/leftover bits of ingredients and tidy up the soap making box. It's a funny colour, but it smells nice and will be lovely to use when it's ready in about six weeks.

Cleaned the kettle with citric acid, then poured the water it into the toilet to clean it.

My face wash was empty - well according to the pump on the bottle! Off came the lid, in went about a quarter bottle of water, a few shakes and it will keep going for at least another couple of weeks, and I haven't noticed a difference in the way it lathers or cleans. I do this with so many things. I'll keep this bottle and tip half the new bottle into it and dilute it 50:50 with water like I do the shampoo, conditioner and dish washing liquid to stretch it even further.

Limited my trips to one this week and did all the errands in one go. Saves a lot of fuel, and when it's still over $1.90/litre that really helps.

Checked the toothbrushes each morning and made sure the chargers were turned off. They don't need to be on 24/7, using power. With four in the house it won't make a huge difference to the amount of power we use, but every little bit we don't use is money we're not spending on electricity.

Added to the compost with veggie peelings and lawn clippings.

Fed the worms with veggie peelings.

Rinsed and dried egg shells to use as either snail deterrent or fertiliser for the garden.

Fed the fruit trees, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries and veggie beds with worm tea.

What did you do to save money, time and energy last week?