Thursday, February 26, 2009


My life gets really busy, Work, family, church and social commitments can really take over to the point where there is no time left.

My training is in the area of social work, and so is my employment, and one thing that we really focus on is reflective practice. It's all well and good doing the job, but if we can take the time to reflect on what we are doing and ask some questions - why do I do that? How does that make me feel? what am I trying to achieve by doing that? - If I can do this I have more control and start to work in a proactive rather than reactive way. I have a great manager who supports us working in a critical, reflective way and encourages us to take time to do our work well, not just do our work.
But, isn't life the same. Shouldn't we value our life enough to stop and look at how it's going, what we are using our time and energy for, and where we are going?
A friend of mine has set days each year when he reviews different aspects of his life. At the beginning of each calendar year he looks at his life, his life goals and how he is going with achieving them. Around Valentines Day each year he revealuates his relationships (including but not limited to his marriage) and resets his goals for that area of his life. Around the end of the financial year he takes time to look at his financial situation and his goals in that area. He also tells me that every now and then he sets aside time to be creative. To imagine.
I like that idea, and also work well with goals, but am not as disciplined as my friend about reviewing them.
Life: This year I have been to new zealand, gone campervanning, and hiked and camped in the snow. I have begun a weaving course to learn how to weave the wool I am spinning with my weaving loom. I took on the role of camp director for a camp I have been involved with, a role I have never done before. I bought a house and am working on converting the garden to a productive and attractive space.
Life Goals:
Go Hanggliding
Climb Cradle mountain - overland track (planned for October this year)
Write a book - need to work on that one
Relationships: I'd like to say I met the man of my dreams etc but it hasn't happened yet. Too bad it takes someone else to realise that goal. I did however do my foster care training and now provide regular respite for an adolescent girl who is in a long term foster care placement. I have developed new friendships and deepened existing ones and especially value my back fence neighbours who are like family.
Relationship Goals:
Be bolder in relationships with the opposite gender (and eventually meet a godly man who I love and spend the rest of my life with)
Be a better sister/daughter/friend
Build relationship with the girl I foster
Build closer relationships with my neighbours and those who live in my street.
This year I bought a house, and have (with a little help from falling interest rates) been able to pay off a significant amount above the required repayments, saving up a reasonable emergency fund I am able to redraw and reducing my interest.
I have begun to sell my produce through a local cafe
I have joined the local community exchange (similar to LETS) which allows me to exchange goods and services with members of my community without using cash!
Financial Goals:
To pay off my HECS debt this financial year.
By the end of next financial year to have saved $20,000 and purchase an investment property.
To continue to reduce waste
To be generous in my life, continuing to support my sponsor children and financially contribute to my church and other ministries.
However, more than setting goals, I think it's important to set aside time that is to be still. To stop. It's easy to fill space with activity, with tv, with music, with books, with phone calls. It's almost as though we are afraid to spend time with ourselves. Are we afraid that we won't like the people we are?
I think it's important to take some time by yourself. Journal, paint, pray, meditate, just be. Be aware of yourself, of the world around you and of who you are. It might be hard at first, but generally you'll find that you aren't so bad and it's fun to hang out with you.
If there's anyone out there who this speaks to please leave a comment, share a goal or a success.
God Bless

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nowra Show

Look at what I won. I entered a bunch of stuff in the show, some preserves, some craft, my famous bread and some things from the garden. Came away with a bunch of certificates and some prize money.
I have to make a confession, that the weekend of the show was such a heatwave that I didn't actually go. I will next year I promise.
One of the most exciting things was that as I was picking everything up the president of the show society, said to me that the entries in the produce (aka vege) section were of a very high standard and that the awards I won were well deserved. How cool is that.
I entered some of the items in the weaving because I'm a member of the spinners and weavers, and won a second for a scarf, didn't expect that as it was the first thing I ever wove.
I was excited I won the prizes in the vege section (first for collection of herbs, seconds for pumpkin 10-15 cm diameter and for runner beans) because I want people to see that you can grow things of good quality in the home garden. Yeah. Hoping to enter (and win) even more next year!

Guerilla Gardening

I'm a bit of a fan of guerilla gardening, the idea of beautifying (often with edible plants) public spaces which are in disrepair. This is often done in secret or at night and aims to get the support of the local community to maintain the area. Sometimes it is done by secreting seeds, often in seed "bombs or balls" which have seeds and compost inside a clay ball which will remain intact until a significant rain event. (These are attributed to Fukuoka, a japanese natural farmer) Path to Freedom have an instruction sheet

Well, I'm very excited, because for the first time in a while, a show has come on TV that has got me wanting to sit in front of the box (well, I'll be recording it as I'm out at muso practice for my church on wed nights. Guerilla Gardeners airs for the first time tonight on channel 10 at 8pm.

Welcome to the show where six young warriors are armed to the teeth with attitude and gardening tools, working together to make-over the most barren and concrete-filled spaces in our cities. When the sun goes down and the city workers retreat to the ‘burbs', the Guerrillas undertake covert operations that transform the biggest eye-sores into an oasis of greenery and recreation for local communities and families to enjoy.

The Targets: Bleak public spaces, concrete jungles, disused land, roadside wastelands left by councils and developers who just don’t care.

The Challenge:Turn these eyesores into beautiful spaces for people to appreciate and enjoy.

The Guerrilla Gardeners"Ally – gardening guru, Lilly – 'Jill of all trades' with a penchant for power tools, Scott – construction expert, Pete – construction expert, Dave – keeping the public and the law on side and Mickie - the mastermind behind the disguises

With youth and enthusiasm in their favour, the six Guerrillas will stop at nothing to reach a potential site – they will abseil, rope and parkour (picture the opening scene of Casino Royale) to get to the make-over site on a 20 foot high ledge, or a gated median strip between a freeway and a tunnel. They routinely defy trespass laws and development consent in their quest to beautify our cities.

The Guerrillas have just 12 hours to transform the ugliest urban eye-sores into an oasis of greenery. And when the sun comes up and workers start to creep back into the city, they sit back and watch the reaction - job done. Our Guerrillas then blend into the morning crowd and head off to their mild-mannered day jobs.

Some of their best work is also done in broad daylight. Wearing hard hats and safety vests as a disguise, they perform their unique ‘raids’ right under the nose of police, council workers and government rangers.

Against the clock.Against the law?Guerrilla Gardeners – bringing your city back to life.

Doesn't it sound great!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A bike trailer

I have a bike trailer! I am trying to use the car less. Especially right now, as I had a little but of a ding and it's going to be written off in two weeks. Still completely driveable, all minor exterior damage, but because it's old and it's not really valuable, the work to fix it would cost more than them paying me out. I considered buying it back off them and fixing it myself, but then found out friends who are moving to UK are selling their car cheaply, and it has roofracks with fittings for my bike (and of course the kayak can go up there too!)
So, I will be getting a new car, okay so it's older than my current car by a year, but new to me.
Now, back to the bike trailer. I have been riding around town and have a small rack I can put a couple of things on, but unable to put much by way of shopping. Couldn't afford a new trailer. Then my friend started up a local Community Exchange group. This is a cashless exchange system, you join up to your local area and start transacting.
To join up you have to offer 3 things, they can be items or services (eg old magazines you are finished with, cutting people's hair, washing cars etc) Then you can get on and see what others offer. When you purchase something you go into debit and the person you buy off goes into credit, but you don't have to have enough to pay them, so you are encouraged to spend before you earn, so long as you are committed to earning credit in the future. I have sold some seedlings, and given haircuts, and currenting have some mending waiting to be done to earn credit. Michael had offered to make bike trailers for people so I decided to take him up on the offer. Check out his blog for more of his creations.
Well, I picked it up the other weekend and Michael fitted it to my bike, it's a converted golf buggy, the handle still on so that you can detach it from the bike when you're shopping and use it as a trolley!
I've asked Michael to have a go at making me a rocket stove next. Check out the exchange, the more people join and offer, the better it will work. Oh, and they are all around the world, why don't you see if there's one near you.

Thanks to my Brother and his Girlfriend, (aren't they cute) for driving me and the bike out to Michael's place. Of course we went for a swim at the beach down the road as well.
And we couldn't leave without a tour of Michael's garden. Here you can see his chook tractor, with a repurposed real estate sign providing some extra shade for the chooks in the hot weather, and lots of healthy corn.

Michael's 10,000 Litre tank is enough for his household use, they use town water to water the garden. Beacuse Michael is on the coast there is much more rain that at my place, only 15 mins away. Microclimates!
His garden was doing well, tomatoes had been burnt in the sun just like mine have, but lots of things growing well, especially his eggplants which were covered in fruit.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Summer days

Sunny days of summer, testing out the equipment.. Jill's first sleep in a tent (22 and never slept in a tent before!!!!)

Me and Ally at Flat Rock, Upper Kangaroo Valler River, absolutely gorgeous!
Usually cooler than at home as it's up in the mountains, and always somewhere shady to sit, laze around on the rocks reading, talking, eating, or swim up to the rapids and make your own natural spa. What could beat that????

I guess Chinaman's Beach at Jervis Bay could also be considered quite stunning, white sand, cool water, gentle waves, and lots of coloured fish swimming around our legs.....

Or hanging out with my cousins at Colo River, teaching Emily how to jump off the rope swing, floating up the river, building sandcastles and playing boardgames on a picnic table under a tree.
I can't decide!