Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

All things beginning with C.

I think it is Tuesday March 17th, just checked and it is. it is 13:20 on a stunning Autumn day in the Huon Valley my home region in Tasmania. I have taken a while to get a sense of what happened recently the after affects impaired me and I felt no desire to do or be anywhere, to be with anyone, just being with my dogs, chooks and at home is the recovery and medicine I have required. It has taken time, and a lot of management strategies to not sink towards the black hole, it would have been so easy. I work constantly at not going back.

I moved on from beating myself up and began to consider what a really good person I am. Compassionate, to empathetic and kind. Would I change myself NO. No I am me, and I honestly do like me more and more. I am so very very fortunate to be able to be totally myself and still part of such an incredible community. I sigh as I write and know that I am so very very fortunate. I m safe here. What an incredible gift that is.

I look at the horse tail wispy clouds with the blue sky listening to the hum of bees, and flies, the chug of a Aquaculture vessel coming up the river and feel the sun beating on my legs as I watch cabbage moths trying to find unprotected brassicas to lay her eggs on. My dogs are chewing bones near bye. I am aware of the European wasp that has invaded Tassie. As it will seek out any meat left outside as too flies. I know that is why the blowies (blow flies) are zooming about Miss Treacle as she is eating hers. Busby’s is all gone.

A wattle bird just let out a call that is hard to describe and was answered by another. This morning I have let out the chicks and Frida Kahol too free range in the chook run with everyone else. She is an incredible Mamma, I am a bit fearful as I lost two chicks in one fowl swoop to a grey Goshawk two weeks ago. The decision was made by Frida as I had put a fence (I use it on the deck to keep the wallabies off it at night) around their chick house. I had let them out and was tending to the other hens and Roopert when I heard much distressed chirping Frida Kahol had flown the coop! The smallest of the chicks, a bantam I feel as it is a great deal tinier than the others, had managed to get through the bars but the other six chicks were not able to follow their Mamma.

I had to remove the fence and allow nature and Frida to take their chances with the remaining seven chicks. I have noticed that Henny (the darker of my two brown hens her sister is Penny) is broody and I am working hard to ensure that I do not have more chicks this season.

I have also it seems been able to keep all the poultry in the run. I do miss seeing them outside in the paddock, I do not miss the digging up of plants and seeds, and dust bathing hollows they leave in my garden and paddock where I can stumble into them unwittingly.

It is green looking over the river and at parts of my paddock grass, yet here on this side of the river we have had little rain compared to across the river. It is very surreal to be sitting here in March with almost full rain water tanks (from a couple of weeks ago) and green grass. It is normally dry and I ponder if I need to consider buying water.

Am I repeating myself. Maybe its Ok, Pretty normal for me after being triggered.

Life has not stood still even with the emotions and dealing with the aftermath of being triggered. I have shared previously that I have been waiting on being notified of when I will be having a colonoscopy, unlike the USA in Australia you do not automatically have one on turning 50. Here it is only if there is a concern. I was listed in the highest priority case due to symptoms. I had not heard anything and the timeline I should have heard had passed.
There are some things having been an RN helps with, and that is feeling able to contact the appropriate department to inquire. So last week I did phone them to discover my file was in a drawer, and who knows if I had not called when I might have heard. (off course my mind has taken me to dying with colon cancer and all that goes with it in the months I have been waiting). Knowing that Australia has one of the highest rates of colon cancer in the world does not help. Early diagnosis is the best help to survival.
I rang and was rung back the next day first thing in the morning. I am booked in soon. I have recieved all the instructions in the mail, and I feel that the actual preparation will be far worse than the procedure, having worked in colonoscopy as a casual RN I am very aware of what occurs and I am not too concerned about the procedure. My only concerns were with what to do with my dogs.

The thing that is extremely difficult for me with my CPTSD is actually telling people in the first place and then asking for someone to assist me in anyway. I find it almost impossible to ask for help.
At first I thought right I can not bare the thought of telling anyone, and I can not bare the thought of being away from my dogs. I wanted to drive myself there and back both things not supported by the hospital or I imagine my insurance. So I considered a dog friendly B and B for two nights. (My hospital wants you to be with someone overnight after the procedure, as its policy). That is not going to happen. I am not having a general anesthetic, it is a twilight one. While it is not safe enough to drive myself home, I do not need anyone with me overnight.
I did share with someone who has kindly offered to drive me and bring me home. The appointment is made and I will be away from home less than 6 hours all up (proviso that all goes well). My dogs are quite content to be at home as long as they have had a run and used their bowels. So I put logic and fugal me in charge and will be home before and after the procedure.

I am now aware of how much distress was on me with not having any acknowledgement other than the letter advising me I was highest priority a date range that had past and me taking the bull by the horns and following up.
I am so pleased I found the courage to do that. If anyone in Australia is in a similar situation contact the Endoscopy unit and ask them when your procedure will be please.

I have also been accepted for the National Disability Scheme (NDIS), and have a meeting with someone from their in the near future to see what I might need. As my mental illness/s has seen me accepted on the Disability Support Pension (DSP) it means that I can request my psychology appointments be on the NDIS, and that means my Psychologist can bulk bill me. I am not sure how she has been charging me before this, as I have paid nothing to see this wonderful woman.
The veggie garden is doing OK my tomatoes the few I have picked have been delicious, I noted this morning something has taken two green tomatoes and pecked them I am blaming the blackbirds or starlings. I have pumpkins, and a couple of zucchinis. My peppers are fruiting but will they ripen before the cold sets in? Not a cucumber or tomatillo has appeared. I have at some stage to pull up the sweet potatoes. I hold no hope for any this year. I will cut some slips for next year. I have not emptied my last pot of potatoes as they have not flowered yet.
It has been a better year this year for veggies than last year and I learn as I go. I am averaging 3 eggs a day. I will be winter glassing a lot of eggs. To provide me with eggs during the off season. I do not want to burn my girls out with keeping them laying or year. As hens only have as many eggs in their systems as they will lay over the course of their life.

I have not showered in way too long, and will be soon, I have been eating a bit better, and generally getting to bed early. Dogs are walking I am driving. Right now I am really just focusing on the things I need to do for next period of time and as too diet I have to follow instructions nearly every thing I actually eat is not on my menu for next period of time. Clear broths, clear juices, I have minimised my coffee in take already. I have noticed that the preparation fluid for the colonoscopy has aspartame in it sigh I really dislike any artificially sweeteners, but I have no choice. Thankfully I can take my medication.

While I know I am anxious about what is still to occur and the results. Just knowing the date and time it is going to happen is a relief.

blessings to You, Tazzie.


Spring flowers in my garden.

All photos below have been taken by me and are the property of Echidna Home.

Rocket Flowers are so beautiful, and the bee pollinating it wonderful

Apple flower this is a crab apple. The apples have red flesh.

Comfrey

I think these are Spanish bluebells not the English ones

Daisy bush in flower

Lilac

Iris.

Grevillia

Bumble bees are huge this year.

dark purple iris

sweet pea

native climber

Pineapple Slavia

my faviourite flower white daisy with yellow centre.

blessings to You, Tazzie

Nettle Soup

Today has been a day of cooking, it was cold and wet. So perfect. I made ‘french’ style easy bread today. It is lovely bread however the amount of time for rising is several hours, with some small work on it periods.

Compared to my other bread which is kneaded twice and only requires about 1 1/2 half hours or so rising time. It can be extended longer as in overnight but you just leave it. You do not have to work it during that time.

I also decided to make nettle soup. The Nettles are from my own garden so I know they are safe. I cut off the tips of the nettles about 10cms in length. I did not wear gloves as I had a container that when I cut the tips they fell directly into the container.

My soup had vegetable stock which seemed to be quite salty. It had onion rice and nettles. I did also add a garlic clove. The recipe I chose, was for four people. I decided to make half of the recipe. I picked a cup plus of nettles well packed.

I pan fried onions in olive oil and than the nettles which removes the

You then add stock and rice. I then bought the soup to the boil for a few minutes, and then used the absorption method for cooking the rice. I used my hand blender to puree it.

I did not have enough nettles, in the ‘soup’ The recipe has 500gms of nettles. That is a lot of nettles, I did not weigh my nettles.

I also added too much rice. So my soup was more like a risotto.

I ate it with one of my bread rolls. It was really interesting and I did enjoy it. It has a rich flavour. I have read elsewhere that nettle soup tastes earthy. It certainly had a flavour reminiscent of mushrooms I know go figure! I was assuming it would be green tasting. How do I describe that. hmmm fresh and light perhaps.

Stinging nettles are considered as a weed today by so many. In the past stinging nettles have been used to make fibre, sail cloth, sacking and fishing nets. Fibres have also been used to make cloth similar in appearance and feel to silky linen. In the Second World War the Germans used it to make cotton like fabric. The British used stinging nettles for the dye it makes for camouflage. It has/is also used as a food colourant.

The 18th Centuary English poet, Thomas Campbell, complained of the little attention paid to the nettle in England.  He says, “In Scotland, I have eaten nettles, I have slept in nettle sheets, and I have dined off a nettle tablecloth.  The young and tender nettle is an excellent potherb.  The stalks of the old nettle are as good as flax for making cloth.  I have heard my mother say that she thought nettle cloth more durable than any other species of linen.” (Plants and People: Choices and Diversity through Time 6.2 Humble Plants p273 edited by Alexandre Chevalier, Elena Marinova, Leonor Pena-Chocarro)

I will make it again, it was quick and easy. Tasty and simple. I would add more nettles and less rice. I was looking forward to a thin soup but as I said mine was like a poor risotto (I am not a huge fan of risotto).

I enjoyed the rich and hearty flavour. I intend to try more recipes using my nettles.

Such a low cost tasty hearty meal. I could imagine a vegetable soup with nettles would be delicious too. A quick soup to make.

I did not sow the nettles in my garden, they have come up in a good size patch. I know many people will look at them and see weeds. Mother Earth has provided me with this wonderful plant and I will enjoy and use it. It dies off each year and in Autumn it grows again as the cooler weather begins.


blessings Tazzie

Like any food there are potential issues for some people in eating them I include The following information is from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle#section8

Stinging nettle’s leaves and root provide a wide variety of nutrients, including

  • Vitamins: Vitamins A, C and K, as well as several B vitamins
  • Minerals: Calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium
  • Fats: Linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and oleic acid
  • Amino acids: All of the essential amino acids
  • Polyphenols: Kaempferol, quercetin, caffeic acid, coumarins and other flavonoids
  • Pigments: Beta-carotene, lutein, luteoxanthin and other carotenoids

What’s more, many of these nutrients act as antioxidants inside your body.

Antioxidants are molecules that help defend your cells against damage from free radicals. Damage caused by free radicals is linked to aging, as well as cancer and other harmful diseases (3Trusted Source).

Studies indicate that stinging nettle extract can raise blood antioxidant levels.

There is evidence based benefits that stinging nettles may be benificial in arthritis, and other inflammations within the body.

Stinging nettle may help reduce prostate size and treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate gland in men with BPH.

Stinging nettle may reduce hay fever symptoms. Yet, some research indicates that it may not be much more effective than a placebo. More studies are needed on stinging nettle’s effects on hay fever.

Stinging nettle may help lower blood pressure by allowing your blood vessels to relax and reducing the force of your heart’s contractions. Yet, more human studies are needed to confirm these effects.

While stinging nettle may help lower blood sugar levels, more human studies are crucial before recommendations can be made.

There are some potential side effects

Consuming dried or cooked stinging nettle is generally safe. There are few, if any, side effects.

However, be careful when handling fresh stinging nettle leaves, as their hair-like barbs can harm your skin.

These barbs can inject an array of chemicals, such as (1, 2Trusted Source):

  • Acetylcholine
  • Histamine
  • Serotonin
  • Leukotrienes
  • Formic acid

These compounds can cause rashes, bumps, hives and itchiness.

In rare cases, people may have a severe allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening.

However, these chemicals diminish as the leaves are processed, meaning that you shouldn’t experience mouth or stomach irritation when eating dried or cooked stinging nettle (1).

Pregnant women should avoid consuming stinging nettle because it may trigger uterine contractions, which can raise the risk of a miscarriage (40).

Speak to your doctor before consuming stinging nettle if you’re taking one of the following:

  • Blood thinners
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Diabetes medication
  • Lithium

Stinging nettle could interact with these medications. For instance, the plant’s potential diuretic effect may strengthen the impact of diuretics, which can raise your risk of dehydration.

blessings Tazzie.

Rock and Fossil

Living in Tasmania there are so many amazing and beautiful things naturally occurring. Many years ago I wanted to be a geologist. It did not happen. I do still have a love of rocks, and fossils, the strata of earth and formation of hills and mountains. I also love collecting sea glass and old broken pottery/china bits washed up.

Tasmania has the largest exposure of dolerite, and rock history from over 1260 million years ago! https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/echidna.home.blog/3339 If you are interested in the periods and geology of my island home the above is a condensed source of information.

One of the coves near where I live has fossils. I also love finding coloured glass washed smooth and shaped by the waves and rocks.

I do have a dream of one day finding some lightning glass. Not really likely here in Tasmania as we do not get a lot of lightning.

Here are some of the fossils I have found here in Tasmania. I have not taken these off cliffs or used anything to remove them from the rock itself. They are all rocks I have found on walks about the waters edges around areas I have been walking or swimming. They have not been taken from any areas designated significant geological areas nor National Parks. Some I have found under the water and others on the riverside.
I love the colours and the strata layers in some of the rocks.

I am not knowledgeable about what fossils they are in these rocks. I do believe some are; Fenestellio Bryozoa, Brachiopoda (lamp shell) “Terebratula” Happy for any information about my rocks and fossils. All found south of Hobart Tasmania

Life with CPTSD and not enjoying crowds taking my dogs and myself off to our faviourite swimming places and walks along the beaches that allow dogs is a very simple pleasure and when I find any of the list above I smile and pop them in my pocket.

blessings to you all. Tazzie

Rapidly Changing Life

As things rapidly change here in Australia, and life for us all will be quite different. I know I am so very fortunate.

The weather during the day time has been really lovely sunny with puffs of cloud and gentle breezes. I love using my solar powered clothes dryer. And sat reading a book having a cup of coffee before I headed out to do one or two things. This was on Monday 23/03/2020 Australia.

The photos above are of my drive to some friends, a lovely couples who live about 13 kms from my home. They grow wonderful vegetables and fruit for their stall at the Cygnet markets.

Unfortunately the market has been closed due to the Covid-19 virus. It is not just our local market Fanklin, Geeveston, Cygnet the Wonderful Salamanca Markets an institution that commenced operating 48 years ago, and the Farmers Market in Hobart, have also closed as all markets across Australia have.
Leaving many growers, producers, and artisans with no customers and a lot of produce.

This wonderful couple work so hard and are pretty savvy. They just got on to the local community pages on facebook and were inundated with people who wanted to buy their organic tomatoes. I have bought 3kgs/6.16lbs at $4AUS/$2.39USA/2.03 poundsUK a kg for my own bottling. They were red in colour (but picked for eating as I had forgotten to say I wanted to bottle them). It was lovely that they had picked the tomatoes in various stages of ripening for me.

My dilema was how to ripen them all so I could bottle them. My solution is leaving them in my car. A easy and cheap green house. Problem solved.

The above photos are of their house and gardens, no one is currently allowed in their vegetable growing area. They had also staggered the time people were to come and pick up their ordered tomatoes. They had tried to meet all the current hygiene and social distancing guidelines. Your tomatoes were packed ready to go.

The other photo graphs are of the drive home. On the way I wanted to check to see if there was any mushroom compost from the mushroom farm. They grow oyster mushrooms and other oriental style mushrooms. When they no longer use their bags, they put them in the old apple crates below and sell them on the side of the road. They really just ask for a gold coin donation to cover the cost of moving them with the tractor and driver to the side of the road. I had been keeping an eye out for a few weeks. I was thrilled when I saw them and that they were full. I got out and rummaged through the crates, looking for the ones I hoped would keep growing mushrooms for me for some time to come. I have grown from some over the years several kgs/lbs of basically free mushrooms. Once no more mushrooms grow, the leftover compost, gets added to my vegetable garden. Win:win.
Cygnet Mushroom Farm uses a zero waste model. They even have bags on the side of the apple crates to put the plastic the mushroom compost comes in can be left behind. More information at the site below.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2016-10-06/cygnet-mushroom-farm-success-tasmania/7907960

The drive back home was pleasant and grey clouds were moving in. All in all it was a very enjoyable day.

As the pace of life is slowing and closing down on many of us due to being perhaps not able to work, to being unemployed suddenly and unexpectedly. To having your children home all the time and your partner, to those in share accommodation. Be kind to each other and thankful to have each other. Everyone of us is under more and more strain and stress and worry. Remember these feelings are appropriate for the situation.

What many of us may be feeling is grief. The sudden loss of our jobs, studies, being able to do things that make us happy and feel connected. The loss of social life and sports life. Going out and chatting over a coffee with friend or to a restaurant.
Weddings now in Australia can only occur if no more than 5 people including bridal party are present. Funerals can have 10 people.

We here in Australia are being told to stay at home (not enforced as yet) and to only go out for essential things, groceries chemist/pharmacy, petrol, work, taking children to school and picking them up. Nail and beauty shops are closed, general massage are closed but ones for medical reasons can go ahead. Hair dressers are still open as long as appointment is less than 30 minutes. Food courts are closed. The list is long.
Queues around the Centrelink offices (benefits) grow each day and their phone and computer services seem to be not able to handle it.
This changed overnight. I imagine that tomorrow we will see more changes. The change has happened so fast. No time for anyone to catch his or her breath.

I know I am one of the most fortunate people in Australia. I will still have to deal with changes and uncertainty.
I can only know how it was for me in the 90s interest rates went so high unemployment back then was extreme, stress, anxiety were extreme. As hard as it was to try to keep me going I would look for anything that made me smile, and make me see the beauty about me while my world was crashing around me. No control no money, lost my home, and almost homeless, but for the kindness of a friend of a friend.


I am thankful that Australia has had so few deaths, I am thankful for the financial assistance I and many other Australians are being given to assist us. I am thankful that it seems the Federal and State Governments are working more cohesively. I am thankful that ultimately I am so fortunate if one can be with a mental illness. Having CPTSD sees my life basically the way it has been for the last three years. I was working on being more social as both my psychologist and the psychiatrist I saw recently were concerned I was becoming agoraphobic. I am thankful that I am really aware of this now and am making a concentrated efffort to leave my home and go for a walk about my acre. I am working up to get back to taking my dogs for a walk everyday. We are allowed to do this as long as we keep social distance. As I live in a rural area this should be no problem for me.
I am thankful to have access to such great local producers and services. I am thankful to be able to make some tomato sauce base for over winter. I only had two jars left from my sauce from last year.
I am thankful for being able to dry my clothes in the sunshine and breeze. I am thankful for the rain that fell over night filling my rain water tanks and watering my gardens. I am thankful for all I have especially my dogs who have seen me through and have been my company constantly. They make me laugh and give me something to hug. I am also thankful for having commenced this blog, and found so many other interesting bloggers out there whom I have connected with.

Keep safe everyone,blessings to you all Tazzie

Hedge Rows and Killer Ants.

I was out picking blackberries this morning in what I consider my hedgerow. I know it is not really a true hedge row.
I know that here in Tasmania mostly in the midlands and north of the state there are some amazing hedges and hedge rows. I recall driving into Perth Tasmania from Hobart and seeing these amazing structures, quite neglected but quite lovely still.

In spring Tasmania reminds many people of UK.

It is so green and rich looking, from mid Autumn to late early summer providing rainfall has been adequate. Combined with Georgian and Victorian style houses and buildings in towns and cities across Tasmania and rural areas.

Records indicate there are 3,000 kilometres of historic hawthorn hedges left.
Landline: Tony King

Along with hawthorn hedgerows, many planted in the first half of the 19th Century and stone walls. In reality the only similarities are the verdant green of the grass from autumn to early summer, the Georgian and Victorian built heritage that still remains and the patchwork of fields enclosed by the hawthorn hedgerows, many of which were planted in the first half of the 19th century.

The first hedgerows were planted and cared for them which then enabled the family that owned the property to plant crops for the early colony of Tasmania.
Sadly for the last 70plus years these hedgerows hae been neglected as barbed wire fencing became more accessible and affordable.
Mr Dumarseq a sith generation farmer said.

“We’re slowly now just starting to trim them again, lay them over in the traditional way and bring them back into traditional working order.”

The family has employed one of Australia’s few traditional hedge layers, James Boxhall to work on the property. James has been slowly beginning to trim and lay them as the convicts would have so once again the hedge rows will be back in working order.

James Boxhall at work in Tasmania

Since the introduction of barbed wire, fencing has taken on a whole new form, harsh on the eye, requires mining and high energy to produce and is lifeless. In stark contrast a healthy living hedge is not only a fence or boundary but a nature reserve full of diversity.

Flowering profusely in the spring, highly fragrant, buzzing with insects and the chatter of birds they attract, visually spectacular with painful thorns for the unwary. A sensory overload! Ever-changing autumn brings fruit, prized by the Green Rosellas, the swamp harriers and goshawks cruise the extremities flushing out prey, small mammals find homes among the roots and branches, all while these carbon sinks provide shelter from the elements for our sheep and cattle.

The satisfaction of preserving these ancient hedges and passing on a dying craft has kept people like Mr Boxhall on the job, cutting, pushing, bending and chainsawing the thorny and at times nasty plants back into the shape of the traditional fences.

“Science has shown your mortality rates in sheltered paddocks are 50% less than in unsheltered paddocks”, James says. https://www.outbackmag.com.au/sticks-and-stones/

We must ensure their survival long into the future.

In the UK their benefits are of such importance the government pays land owners to look after and maintain them in the Countryside Stewardship scheme creating gainful employment for many. Here in Tasmania we too should appreciate the great value healthy hedgerows make to the diversity, ecology and charm of the Tasmanian landscape as well of course as the cultural importance of our British colonisation.

Fortunately in 2003 John and Robyn Hawkins employed master hedgelayer and stonewaller Karl Leibscher from Shropshire in the English midlands to teach a small team these traditional skills and to restore the many kilometres of hedges on their property “Bentley”.

James says he has had the great privilege of being invited to the Patrons Event, a competition held this year on the Queen’s estate “Sandringham” by the Patron of the National Hedgelaying Society HRH The Prince of Wales.
“I travelled to England to compete in the National Hedgelaying Championships, becoming the first person from outside of Europe to do so”.
http://www.omlxi.com/sticks_stones/about.php#james

Along with 35 other competitors from most parts of the UK we were given six hours to lay, stake and bind our 7-yard section of hedge which was judged at the end of the day. Many of England’s masters of the craft were in attendance to advise and mentor which made it an invaluable experience. The chance to meet and talk with Prince Charles about Tasmania and hedges was wonderful, an opportunity I will not forget.

“It’s a big undertaking, it’s a long-term thing, it’s almost a five to 10 year plan that [the] Dumaresqs are looking at and it’s a big financial undertaking as well,” Mr Boxhall said.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-11-04/restoring-tasmanias-hawthorn-hedges/9106960


So I accept that my boundary is not a true traditional hedge row, as it is not made from bent trees and woven and trimmed. It does keep my dogs in. I love my hedgerow. It is full of life. It is not for stock and meets my needs.

Looking down the hedgerow.

I do wish I could say this is a fairy entrance into my garden, it is almost as magical. This is a pathway for wallabies and other animals it goes under the apple tree. The blackberries provide a safe escape. Quiet a few years ago I watched a blue tongue lizard eating blackberries just up from this spot. This has been a pathway for all the time I have lived here. I will not fence as I love having the wallabies come in and be part of my garden. So many new people are moving here and fully fencing their properties to keep the wallabies and possums out. I understand if you are having stock or horses, but just to keep the animals that belong here much more then we do out of their pathways and feeding areas not good.

Hedge row blackberries grass and bracken no fencing at all along here. The only small bit of fencing is where the apple tree is and the first bit of grassland as people would come onto our land to pick the apples. No problem with them taking them from the road side.

How lovely the rain has arrived and is falling as I type. It has cooled off.

Hedge rows (neighbours across) is a pine of sorts just a hedge) Mine blackberries bracken and agapanthas.(white flowers) I do not have any fencing along here at all.

Agapanthas I cut and had to go back to pick up because I had forgotten them. The clouds were coming over and as I bent to pick them up I felt two stinging burning bites. Really painful I was in a mass of Jack Jumper ants. I feel they knew it was going to rain. Why they were about the agapantha flowers I am not sure. They were no where about earlier when it was humid so sticky and humid. Below is the photograph I took of two of them and some information about these beasties! (I was also bitten earlier in the week in the veggie garden on my left index finger).

Photograph of Jack Jumper Ants in my garden

The jack jumper – Tasmania’s killer ant: 2012

By Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Jack jumpers (Myrmecia pilosula) are small, black and orange ants with extremely keen eyesight and an unusual ability to jump. This tiny creature is considered one of the most dangerous ants in the world – and, indeed, the most dangerous animal in Australia! In Tasmania, the death toll from the jack jumper’s sting is about one person every four years – greater than the toll inflicted by sharks or by the most poisonous of snakes or spiders.

They are named after the ‘jumping-jack firecracker’ because of their tendency to jump aggressively towards potential threats to themselves or their nests, and to follow up with multiple painful, fiery stings.

The ant’s fierce-looking, toothed jaws are ideal for holding insect prey in place while using the stinger at the end of its abdomen to jab its victim.

Jack jumpers are so very dangerous because the venom in their stings is one of the most powerful in the insect world; about three per cent of Tasmanians (some 14,000 people) are at risk of anaphylactic shock if stung.

While jack jumpers are common in the bush, their preference for disturbed, sparsely-vegetated and stony ground allows them to colonise roadsides, pathways and heavily-grazed paddocks.

For the same reasons, they can also be common in recently-established suburbs. Nests are typically found under logs and rocks and can often be spotted from the mounds of gravel that mark the entrance holes.

Not one single ant species, but a complex of seven superficially very similar species, jack jumpers hold a key position in native ecosystems.

Despite their notoriety, their nest-building improves soil structure, while their predatory and competitive behavior with other insects and invertebrates helps to selectively enhance plant growth.

They are also a food source for other animals. The most important predator of jack jumpers is the echidna, which – unfortunately for people – avoids disturbed ground and suburban areas.

Below please excuse my dirty feet, I have been working and walking about in sandles all day. Digging and on dirt paths in bare feet.
You can see my bites fortunately I am not allergic to them.

The first is on the side of my big toe, and it is swollen quite a lot now it feels like I have a huge blister or pad under my foot when I walk and the top and side is hot to touch and red. There is no pain just a burning sensation which is not unusual. This ant really had a tight grasp on me. It was still attached even when I pulled my sandle off.

Below. The one on my toe is not too bad it has not swollen any where near as much as I feared. (I could not bend my finger for 24 hours after it was bitten, and it itches off and on annoyingly so) It is burning still I know if it had swollen I would have found it really annoying as you can see I have webb toes and it would have impacted both of them. The redness you can see is the reaction but that has disapated and basically where the whiteness is and the small red dot (bite) is now red and the rest of my foot now clean is back to normal. Of course I was bitten on different feet. I can laugh now.

Even with this I have had a wonderful day and so have my dogs. We did our usual run this morning. I picked fruit and stacked some of my wood. I pruned some trees and bushes. (bushes mainly for access for my gas bottle delivery man. )
My dogs were wanting another walk so after their meal we went off on the way home one of my neighbours was out with her two dogs, so my guys played with them as we chatted for ages.

We waved as several other neighbours drove up or down the road. As the dogs played in their paddock.

Another neighbour came and joined us, bringing us each a gift of half a marrow, a zucchini/courgette that has grown huge. I am going to stuff mine and bake it, yummo on tuesday when I have gas again.
She also gave us each a jar of her homemade home grown apricot relish yummo!

We chatted for quite a while and her friend came looking for her and stayed for a while and talked with us more.
I had to go as Busby was so hot and tired and Miss Treacle was sleeping under the shade of a tree. So we all said bye. All smiling.

As I write I am listening to the rain and Busby snoring deeply as he has been since 5pm (it is now 8pm) and Miss Treacle making mmmering noises in her sleep. Neither of them raising their head if I get up to do something. Not normal. Sleeping the exhausted.
It is a lovely night, all dry our tummies full and comfy beds to sleep in.
I am not suffering with my ant bites. I have learnt about Tasmanias true hedgerows.

I am so thankful for lovely neighbours, other dogs for my dogs to play with, the rain, the gifts I received to day, the bounty of Mother Earth, I will have more blackberries, and the apples will be ready soon. I am thankful for I am truelove blessed.

Blessings to You all Tazzie

What is the Truth about Budgeting, frugality and living on a low income?

There are so many budgeting sites online, though for me it seems most are for families. The really interesting thing I am noting when I go shopping or seeing things online, is that supermarkets are aiming for bulk buyers, vegetables in plastic, and prepared foods.
I find so often that many of these Youtube and blogs do not really seem to discuss the reality and holistic approach to budgeting, frugal living or even simple living. Often they are just about food.

Budgeting can be affected by so many things. Where you live, how you shop, how you get to the shops. What services are available to you. Government services, doctors, hospitals, child care, education, shops, petrol, all the things you need to live today. For some trying to budget involves seeking work, and going to interviews. For others it requires medical costs and visits to doctors, specialists, hospitals. Paying rent or a mortgage is major necessity and should be first priority in my opinion.
Your income of course, and family size, are important factors in setting up a budget that is realistic and possible for you.

I can cook from scratch, and as I have said previously it is this that helps me save a fortune. I also have a vegetable garden, and encourage people to grow what ever they can.
So it is a single person budget I expound. I encourage single people to learn to cook from scratch. For me whipping up an ommlette

I live in a small populated community with a large area 5,497km² (1358338.2819acres) The Huon Valley is the Southern most Council region in Australia.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census (ABS 2016)
POPULATION (ABS 2016)
3,069 under 14 years
3,338 15-34 years
7,071 35- 64
3,197 65 years and over
16,675 TOTAL POPULATION(ABS 2016)

I bring this up so you will understand that I we have only one big Corporate supermarket, Woolworths, we also have Several Independent Grocery stores in each of the townships that make up the Huon Valley. However in Tasmania it is called Independant Grocery Austraila. Each store is independently owned, but they form I assume a sort of co-operative for buying in bulk. I personally love my local IGA as they will order things in for you, if you are known to them and you are a bit short they will take a note and you sign it and pay it asap. Very few places allow this these days. I can not imagine the likes of Woolworths, Coles or Aldi, or what ever your large supermarket chain doing this for you. They also carry your boxes to the car if required .

So I do not have ready access to ‘competitive’ pricing as most people who live in cities do. Perhaps the lack of competition is why I have to be a very aware shopper.

I could travel further a field to shop to Kingston but it is 93km return and takes about 40mins each way not including shopping time. Petrol wise it would cost me about $20 approx. So when I look at any savings is it really worth the wear and tear on my vehicle every fortnight, and time.
My answer is no.
I would very rarely save enough to make it worthwhile to make this a regular event.

However if I did have to go to Hobart(Capital City of Tasmania 224,000 people population of the Island state of Tasmania is only 522,327 as 2019 ABS) (a further 20km each way from Kingston), I would certainly try to look to see if there were things that might save money if I budgeted for them.

Most people on low incomes, generally are not able to buy in bulk as so many have rent and other costs that I perhaps do not. So again I am very aware that I am very fortunate.
For me I have to have a car to get to the shops. I have no public transport I can catch the school bus occasionally but it is not really aurthorised the drivers just know how hard it can be for locals. I take a freezer carrier bags and reusable material shopping bags. I take a shopping list. (I do not always stick to it believe me).

For my budget not going out saves me money. I usually go shopping once a week.
Budgeting and living simply (frugally) are often shown to be by people as just shopping. To me it is far more than this. To really budget you Have to know how much it costs to fill your car, and how much mileage you get. How much it costs per km/ml. How much it costs for services, tyres, oil, radiator fluid, coolant/anti freeze. Not just the price of fuel.

I do look at online shopping though sadly freight charges are often prohibitive for weighty items. I also do not use online for groceries, as I prefer to pick my own things, and It means I can look at lower levels on the shelves. Though I do see online shopping is spurring an increase in employment in supermarkets as people have to pick out the items to be delivered. (at least here in Tassie).
I imagine it is the same for many people living in rural areas on low incomes.

Most people who live on low incomes are frugal out of necessities. They are not following a trend, nor are they generally able to remain debt free. It can be just the way it is.

I also look at the huge differences in pricing. American budgeting sites especially about groceries seem to be so cheap compared to here in Tasmania. Then I read the comments and find I am not alone in seeing that not just for me but others including from other states in US.

Different countries have vastly different costs for everything, and where you live within that country can have vastly different costs. So for me you have to evaluate and consider your own area and needs, base your budget on only your personal situation.

The other thing that is not always mentioned is what income the family or person may have, nor are the annual costs shared.

I want people to remember that yes some people are honestly sharing how they budget I just wonder as some seem more focused on presentation and looking successful doing it.

Let me tell you I am not always successful with budgeting, as costs spring up and reality of life steps in and sees me eat the same thing for meals over a week or fortnight. Not many people share that on frugal life, or budgeting videos or blogs.

I also have to include in my budget the cost of rubbish removal, I pay to have my rubbish picked up,It is included in costs for my council rates. I do not have recycling as currently I try to recycle at home. Creating compost and worm farms.

Budgeting. I have written before about how I budget. I know how much money it takes for me to live a year all my bills. https://echidna.home.blog/2019/12/29/living-on-a-tiny-budget/

So to truly budget well it is knowing where every cent of your money is going annually. Know your bills and charges if late payment, know how much you save if you can budget to pay your bills annually such as for me registration and insurances, rates. Wood for heating and gas for the year Perhaps my bigger expenses are internet connection, mobile phone, and my dogs food.

I do wonder for some of the budgeting sites online, Youtube, when I see them talking about going from shop to shop how much time, how much petrol is used and how does that add to their cost, and is this actually included in the budgeting.

Blessings to you all Tazzie









Setting up a pantry

How do you begin if you have no idea especially in the cooking, shopping and eating area?

You hear about having a well stocked pantry. What does that mean and how do you achieve that? Why should you have one, especially if you are on a low income or budget.

You do not need to have a beautiful expensive ‘pantry’, hidden behind doors with a sink and whatever. My pantry is just in my kitchen and really it is usually having more on hand, so one in use and one if I run out! For example, I make my own bread often. So I will buy a 5kg/11lbs bag of plain flour I have food grade storage for it. I take about 2kg/4.4lbs and put it in the canister. When I am putting the next 2kgs into the canister I will put flour on my shopping list. As I have to budget for the larger bag, I will see how much plain flour costs and I may only buy a 2kg bag that week.


Having a pantry allows you more freedom with the food you cook. Cooking from scratch is perhaps the biggest and yet for many the hardest place to begin their budgeting and saving money. With fresh vegetables and meat you can make delicious meals, and you can make snacks such as sweet and savoury, biscuits, cakes, pancakes and even pasta if you wanted too.

A pantry is their not for the end of the world I am not talking about a preppers hoard for anything that may come. I guess if you live in China at the moment and were a prepper you would be managing relatively well in the current situation with the virus.

I am really talking about how you can have supplies that you use and LIKE on hand to make things easier for you to be more likely to cook a meal than spend money getting a take -a-way, or home delivery. All which convienient are expensive in either cost or lack of real nutrition. The cheaper meals such as McDonalds KFC Hungry Jacks, and all similar are generally high in sugar and fat. Or have been processed so the actual nurtitional value apart from maybe fibre is neglible.

So where to begin
I have basics in my pantry, and even though there is only me, I buy the best price, generally larger quantities, but not always. The supermarkets are getting savvy to budget shoppers, and now it seems you do have to check the price of each against the other. Looking at the price per gram or 100gms rather than the ticketed price. You have to be prepared to spend some time, in not only preparing a list of what you need in your shopping but also the cost. Otherwise you may be paying to much.

Best Before and Use by dates, now these for someone older are really only a guide to how long things last. It is up to you how and what you do in regard to them. My own life experiences and life before these ‘helpful’ dates is I am prepared to use some items beyond the stamped dates on them. I am not suggesting you do this.


My Pantry.
I have flour, just plain (all purpose) as I purchase baking powder to convert it to Self-raising. This means that I can purchase a larger quantity of plain flour (all purpose).
So plain flour and baking powder are on my pantry list.
I also have rye flour and whole wheat as I make my own bread and like rye bread.

Cornflour/Cornstarch (often in Australia this is made from wheat). So I have to check that it is real corn flour from corn.
Rolled oat, great for breakfast porridge, you can use them in biscuits and slices, and to crumb chicken and other meat. They can be ground to make gluten free flour.

Sugar, I have raw and brown. I usually have white icing sugar, (confectioners sugar)
Bicarb soda (baking soda)
Dried beans and lentils, great to whip up a dahl or a curry to extend a stew reduce meat intake
Rice I have white and brown. which ever you like what ever sort jasmine long grain short grain.
popping corn

I also have powdered milk (for those times I run out of fresh milk or the power is off and I dont want to be opening the fridge up)
I also keep semolina I make a sweet pudding if I am craving something sweet
polenta I use it instead of bread crumbs for meat and fish
I have almond meal use it in cooking, and added to porridge or yougurt
peanuts, I make my own peanut butter but also have them as a snack
almonds
brazil nuts
Currants
sultanas
Home made dried apricots and apples
coffee,
tea
coconut desicated
cocoa powder
stock powder for soup base,

Oils and Sauces
olive oil
rice bran oil
soy sauce
Worcester
sesame oil
mayonnaise
honey
mustard
vinegar cider, white, and balsamic
Home made sweet plum chili sauce

Herbs and Spices
smoked paprika
sweet paprika
thyme,
oregano,
chili
tumeric
coriander,
cumin,
pepper
salt
nutmeg
cinnamon
powdered ginger
Vanilla essence

Tinned Goods
tomatoes
coconut milk
beans
chick peas
baked beans
sardines
tuna
tomato puree

Jars
home made jams
peanut butter home made
vegiemite
anchovies,
pickles,
relish green tomato home made

I also have frozen vegetables
butter in the freezer which I buy on sale
meat also when it is on sale I buy extra and freeze it.
I also buy 1kg block of cheese when it is on sale and cut it up and freeze it.

I grow garlic, so have fresh garlic most of the year along with herbs that I grow.
I also grow vegetables, parsley, bay leave, onions, chives, spring onions, corriandor (so I have seeds to grind for cooking), garlic chives, fruit, and hazlenuts.

This is my basic pantry. I do not have biscuits or chocolates in it as I can’t I eat them in one go. sigh
It is a lot of food. You will notice I do not have tins of soup. I prefer to make my own and freeze it.
I also make my own bread mostly so very rarely have bread in the freezer.
It seems like a huge amount to have to get together. The reality is you begin simply. Buy one or two extra items if they are on sale and/or you can afford it.
Over time you will find you have things to assist in flavouring and preparing delicious home cooked meals. It helps with making simple food taste extra tasty.

Do not buy something because it sounds interesting or just because it is on sale. Only buy things you know you will use. It is not uncommon for people to get caught out buying something because it was on special or sounded interesting.

Herbs and spices can be a big on here. Buy only what you know you will use, and these sorts of things are best bought in smaller quantities.

Herbs and spices keep best in a air tight jars. Don’t be caught out paying the hefty extra price you might for a jar of herbs or spices. Wash up the jars from other items you buy and the lids, store your herbs in them. Or if you must buy the jar, do it only once then buy the bags and refill the jar. Dried herbs and spices are best kept out of direct sunlight.

My pantry has helped numerous times when I have had unexpected bills, or been ill and not able to go shopping.
Here in Tasmania most of our supplies are shipped over from the Australian mainland. We are supposed to have about three days worth of food available in supermarkets if for some reason shipping stopped. Which did occur quite a few years ago in the dockers strike. Another good reason to have a good pantry.

I am also a great believer that cooking extra and freezing it is always a good idea.

I am happy to answer or discuss the idea of having a pantry.
My pantry is maintained by ensuring I know how much of everything I have on hand, and adding it to the shopping list of things I need to buy. For me it is as simple as a list on the fridge. I use a wipe off marker and write how many or much I have and generally when I need to buy another one.

It is YOUR pantry no one else’s so you only have to please yourself and your family.

I am so thankful for my ability to have a pantry, and grateful for how it has helped me over time.

blessings to you all
Tazzie



Frugal tips to keep cool

It is the end of January and I have just looked at my out door thermometer which is on the eastern-south side of my home, under cover of my porch and has green deciduous plants covering it. The temperature was reading 38dC in the shade 100dF. It is 1.30pm eastern standard daylight saving time, for us it is horrendously hot here in Tasmania.

I watered my Rhubarb this morning and had removed big leaves and steams off three days ago, fingers crossed it picks up.

I

My frugal way to keep cool in my home with only a fan no air conditioning is to close all the windows, to draw all curtains before the sun hits any of them. Even though my curtains are cover my windows and are insulated rubber backed ones, the sunshine is still hot in my home.

So I was in my car one day and realised that the windscreen cover I put on my windscreen internally was excellent at reducing the heat inside my car.

I purchased a whole heap of windscreen foiled type sun shades. With some gaffa tape I stick the sunshades on my windows behind the curtains.

It works a treat for me and the dogs we are all cool. If the evening is cooler than the inside house temperature, which it usually is here I will open the house up once the sea breeze comes in and the temperature has become pleasant enough to open doors and windows to get the cooler air into the house.

One of my neighbours asked me if I was cooking up meth. I laughed and said no, it is my way to keep my home cool on hot days.

I bought the windscreen sun shades from BIG W three years ago, and they were only cheap about $5 each at the end or close to the end of summer. There were bigger ones and better quality but they were much more expensive, and these do the job I need well.

I am very very happy with this method of helping to keep my home cool.

When I worked nights and slept during the day. In summer I would freeze large plastic storage containers full of water with a lid so a two litre container. I would than get it as I went up to bed and set up my fan so that the breeze skimmed over the container. I got to sleep with a cool breeze, and if I woke up and was hot I would grab another one replace it and get more sleep.

I also will have a few freezer blocks and use them on my person as you would a heat block, but to cool down. I have also sat with my feet in water with a freezer block in the water. Sigh bliss.

Your wrists are one of your areas on your body that if you cool will help cool you down, I will have a ice pack and place it in a towel and put my wrists on it, and behind my neck.

keeping hydrated and reducing sugar intake is great sugar will make you hotter

If you do not have air conditioning it really does help. For hardly a lot of money and both of these frugal tips will last you for many years.

Nutritionist Kerry Torrens advises Ice-cold lollies, slushies and ice cream might seem like natural choices when you want to cool off, but they may actually do more harm than good. “Cold food and drinks might give you an initial cooling effect but it’s short-lived,” says Kerry. “That’s because consuming food leads to an increase in temperature as the process of digestion is heat-generating. This combined with the rapid cooling initiated by cold food and drinks means your body over-compensates by increasing your core temperature. So you may actually end up feeling hotter than you did to start with!” That sorbet doesn’t sound so appetising after all…

Drinking something hot on a sunny day might feel like the least appealing thing to do, but warm drinks can actually help regulate your body temperature. Kerry says: “Hot drinks make your core temperature rise and that makes your body want to cool down so you sweat more to lose heat through your skin.” ‘Thermogenic’ foods like spices and chilli also increase body temperature as they kick-start our metabolism. This promotes sweating, which has a cooling effect.

Makes sense when you think about India and the Carribean, Mexico, Chile and Thailand, Malyasia, other countries with hot temperatures and a diet with spicy and hot food.


I will have cold water in the fridge and flavoured cold teas, some I have made much better and cooling with no sugar added to keep you cool and hydrated.


I give my dogs a yogurt ice block I make for them just using greek yogurt no flavouring or sugar. I dont give them too them until they have begun to melt as it may be too cold for them straight from the freezer. They love these and my cool carrots, I place carrots in the fridge and they munch away on them they seem to really love carrots and chilled on a hot day, brilliant. I dont let them outside and we do our exercise in the cool if possible as I am aware of how hot the ground, tar and cement paths can be on their paws.

keep cool

blessings Tazzie

Frugal shopping?

You may have seen the following photograph and true story doing the rounds of social media very recently. I do not see it as a frugal shopping education yet some people are sharing it as such.

The Launceston woman said they tried to purchase the most value for money “basic” food items and the most popular cigarette brand.

“They were surprised at the amount of food you can buy for the same monetary value,” the grandmother wrote.

She bought a popular brand of cigarettes, which cost $56.95 for a packet of 40.

She then posted an image and receipt of all the food they managed to buy for almost the same amount, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Ms Kerrison and her grandkids purchased a variety of food items for $56.85 – from a few packs of Woolworths beef sausages to Zafarelli pasta, fruit, milk, cereal, cheese and other snacks.

She bought a popular brand of cigarettes, which cost $56.95, to teach her grandkids about what you can buy in food with the same amount of money. Picture: Facebook/ JudyKerrison
She bought a popular brand of cigarettes, which cost $56.95, to teach her grandkids about what you can buy in food with the same amount of money. Picture: Facebook/ JudyKerrison

“Must say, I hope this exercise has made them aware of life’s choices … and not to take up this habit,” the grandmother wrote.

Her post has gone viral with almost 10,000 comments and more than 16,000 shares.

The visual illustration of the cost of smoking left many people stunned, with Facebook users describing her challenge as “quite incredible”.

“Sometimes folk really need to visualise something and you did this beautifully, I hope all the friends and relatives will be inspired to give up when they see this. Again, thank you!” one person wrote on her post.

“Well done for putting this really great demonstration of what a choice can do,” one person wrote.

The grocery bill. Picture: Facebook/ JudyKerrison
The grocery bill. Picture: Facebook/ JudyKerrison

“20 smokes a day at $25, basically go to Italy twice a year,” another observed.

“Well done! Awesome experiment … what a valuable lesson,” another person added while tagging their friend.

“That’s right, I agree, I gave up smoking 8yrs ago now n there’s no excuse, it can be done, thankyou for sharing this!” said a third person.

Many reiterated that Ms Kerrison’s challenge was a “great way to make a point that involves them (the grandchildren) and they physically see the difference”.

“A lesson they will never forget. Well done,” one said.

http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/startling-truth-about-grocery-bill/3931607/

I am not a smoker. I do not know how any one on a low income can afford to smoke and buy food. Especially if like me he or she is on Newstart. Yet people do. I would love to know how. I certainly couldn’t and I own my house and have no debt.

You need to know that Australia has the most expensive cigarettes in the world. You also need to know we have very strict laws about where you can and can not smoke. You can not smoke in or around any where that serves food, you can not smoke in your car if you have children in the car. There are specific areas of some venues and restaurants that you can smoke in. It varies from state to state. You should look up the rules if you are traveling to Australia.

blessings Tazzie.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: