Playing in the Sun for Work

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My Mum and good friend Ian, chat while enjoying the view. Laguna lookout at Noosa National Park, Queensland, Australia

One week remaining before Little One and I travel home – back South of the boarder again.

Amongst the work that brought me up here to Queensland, we have been playing in the sun, sand and surf (gentle toddler friendly beaches).  The highlight for me has been catching up with good friends who live on the Sunshine Coast and spending time with family.

Perhaps escaping the end of Winter, may become an annual pilgrimage.

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Work Holiday on the Sunshine Coast of Australia

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It’s lovely when you can mix business with pleasure.  Escaping Winter on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland has been an enjoyable ‘fringe benefit’ of work.

Little One and I will be staying a little longer in the sun with my family.

Soon I will share photos of a community garden which is around the corner from where we are staying – it is very cool.

Living Sustainably Helped With the Property Investor Credit Crunch

This is a blog topic I thought would never be covered on my sustainability ‘GreenerMe’ blog.

However last week it happened – the correlation between living sustainably and a property investing benefit.

The media has been so focused on the Sydney property boom that little is reported about the current property investor credit crunch.  Combank, NAB, ANZ and Bankwest have announced that they are tightening lending criteria for property investors and raising interest rates on variable investment loans (new and existing).  AMP have even announced that they will stop lending to all property investors indefinitely. 

This post is not about why this is happening but about our own experience with the restrictions in seeking a loan. 

One way lenders are tightening their  lending criteria, is by asking investors to prove their monthly, personal spending.

We were given a budget form, to fill out what we spend on food, clothing and household items etc. We filled the form accurately however once completed we were concerned. My husband stated what we were both thinking “they are going to question the small amount we spend in these areas”.  Therefore after discussion we decided we would add notes on the form explaining that we value sustainable practices i.e. buying 2nd hand, recycling, reusing and restoring.  These practises not only save the Earth’s resoures but also our savings.

Having a public blog of my sustainable living journey since 2008, certainly backed up our personal spending claims.

Despite the credit crunch our loan was approved and I am sure our sustainable living helped – even if just a little.

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Organic home grown mandarins - the joys of sustainable living.

Australia, Now This is Winter

It is hard to believe that last week it was snowing 30 minutes away from our house (very unusual).  This week the nights are still very cold but the days are bathed with warm sunshine.

Time to venture outside after our recent hibernation stint. Time to finally pick the winter mandarins.

This photographed mandarin tree is a miniature variety.  We have had this tree and pot since we lived in the inner City of Sydney.  Proof that you can still grow vegetables and fruit even if you have very little outside space. Space doesn’t limit you – your imagination and belief does.

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Photographs from Stage 1 Build of Buxton Community Garden

Stage 1 of Buxton Community Garden is complete!!  What’s next? We are planning two workshops on basic composting and building water reservoir, raised garden beds (wicking beds) – information coming soon. Both workshops will be in September. 

Stage 2 of our community garden will see more raised garden beds, building our meeting area, establish a three bay compost bin system and worm farm. 

Again I would like to take the opportunity to say “thankyou” to all the locals, community groups and businesses who sponsored and supported Buxton Community Garden!!

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Children of our Town say "Thankyou" to local businesses who sponsored and helped make Buxton Community Garden a reality

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With the generous free use of a 'Dingo' (thanks to Picton Hire), Buxton Community Garden stage 1 build was much easier

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Building the first raised garden bed which will be turned into a wicking water reservoir garden bed

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Our first raised garden bed is finished

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Down tools. It's lunch time

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Old black plastic garden pots, reused as planted seed markers - a permanent silver marker was used

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Stage 1 build of Buxton Community Garden is completed - two raised garden beds built and a large planted area (netted to keep birds away)

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The beginning of Buxton Community Garden

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Stage 1 of Buxton Community Garden is completed - this time next year, in 5 years and in 10 years, we will look back at this photo with amazement on how far we have come. We have a big vision!

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Buxton Community Garden grand plan

ANZAC Day 2015 – 100 years since Gallipoli

“I rise out of bed today in peace, safety and free because of generations of brave, selfless men and women. I look at my daughter with gratefulness – thankyou for your sacrifice.”

Australian and New Zealand Army Corps is ANZAC.  Today is ANZAC day – a very important and sacred day.  The 25th of April (today) marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.  It is crazy to think that when world war one broke out, Australia had only been a federated Nation for 13 years.

The Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli on the 25th April.  Eight months later, the allied forces were evacuated.  More than 8,000 Australian and 2,500 New Zealand soldiers were killed. Australia was never the same – the Gallipoli campaign had a profound impact on Australians at home.  The 25th of April soon became the day on which Australians and New Zealanders remembered the sacrifice of all the men and women, in all wars.

The 25th of April 2015 is exactly 100 years since the landing of allied forces on Gallipoli.

To those who left but never returned
To those who returned but never leftThank you

My Mother's Father - Pop - Australian solider in World War 2.  Pop's father, (my Great Grandfather) fought in Gallipoli. Thank you

My Mother’s Father. My Pop who was an Australian solider in World War 2. Pop’s father, (my Great Grandfather) fought in Gallipoli.

What Happened When I Cooked Gluten Free & Vegan Food for the CWA?

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The Country Women’s Association of Australia is an institution.

Since 1922 the CWA have been serving the community – with the aim to improve the conditions for women and children and make life better for families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia.

Over a year ago, I was invited to join my local CWA branch.  Yesterday we all met for our monthly gathering for an ‘Italian’ themed event.

I nominated myself to bring along a gluten free and vegan, Italian dish for everyone to try. I was a little concerned as CWA ladies are well renowned in Australia for their cooking and baking excellence.

So what happened when all the CWA ladies tried my gluten free and vegan roasted tomato pasta sauce? They asked for the recipe!!  Everyone said they couldn’t tell it was gluten free or vegan (a compliment in my books). I received many ‘yummy’ type comments.

Eventhough I have previously posted my roasted tomato pasta sauce recipe, today’s sauce was a different variation.

So here is the recipe for my roasted tomato pasta sauce that the CWA ladies enjoyed (bulk quantities – feed up to 12 hungry people):

30 roma tomatoes
5 large carrots
1 large whole garlic
1 cup of pine nuts
Fresh basil and oregano leaves
Balsamic vinegar

* Preheat oven at 200 degrees C
* Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up, on a large oven tray
* Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and place in tray
* Peel garlic and separate into individual cloves. Place into the oven tray
* Sprinkle the pine nuts over everything
* Place the basil and oregano leaves on top of everything
* Drizzle oil over everything  (I use rice bran oil)
* Sprinkle sea salt over the top of everything
* Place into the oven for 45 minutes  (turning the mixture half way through)
* Add everything including juices to a food processor and mix well
* Add balsamic vinegar to taste
* Add to your favourite cooked pasta (today I served gluten free pasta)

In closing I wish to say “thankyou” to the ladies of my CWA branch. You have been so warm and friendly towards myself and family. Thankyou for making us feel so welcomed.