Author Archives: Janice Graham

About Janice Graham

I was born in England in 1938 and migrated to Australia in 1976. During my working years, along with my husband Ken, I managed a goat dairy and distribution business supplying health food products. At the same time I took up the challenge of helping build a mud brick home and lived a somewhat 'alternative' lifestyle. Since retirement I have published three e-books, two on vegetarian cookery and a collection of short stories from my younger years. My pastimes are studying the Spanish language, volunteering as a Crisis Counsellor and Community Visiting. I have been married for 54 years, have a son and a daughter and five grandchildren plus a little terrier called Sophia.

Old fashioned service, two inspirational women, do we need a big kitchen, prawn and broccoli stir fry recipe, e-bikes

Where have I been?   Recently I’ve neglected blogging as I have spent a lot of my time in the activities of the South Gippsland Spinners & Fibre Arts Group  together with continuing my studies of the Spanish language, which I absolutely love, plus pursuing lots of outdoor activities with friends and family.   Now I’m ready to get writing again, so here goes.

Appreciation of ‘old fashioned’ service

I’m as guilty as the next person of shopping in the big stores, on line or looking for the cheapest price, but recently the appreciation of what is termed ‘old fashioned’ service was brought home to me.  I have been making a satin blouse, inspired I have to say by watching a film where a female detective, who during the course of the series, wore the most beautiful selection of satin blouses;  so feminine.  I always use my overlocker to neaten seams but practicing on a spare piece of material, I soon realised that threads in the satin were being pulled.  Seeking information on the internet I was told you have to make french seams when using satin.  What a job that would be, so I went to my local dressmaking/material shop where I knew the owner was very helpful.  I took a sample of my material which I had overlooked;  she immediately told me that I should have removed one of the needles in the overlocker and explained the reason.  She then spent time with me choosing the best buttons to enhance the blouse.  The ones she suggested weren’t what I would have considered until she laid them out on the material.  Yes, her prices are a little higher than an outlet that sells absolutely every need at low cost, but her help and guidance were priceless.  

Heidi’s steps

Usually you would expect steps, as in steps down from a verandah, would be a job for a contractor, not a retired lady.  Well, Heidi Norman will prove you wrong.  Heidi came to live a few roads away from me some 10 months ago.  The house she bought was a relocated house with a garden on a slope backed by large trees.  Heidi had vision for her plot, having the trees removed leaving large stumps which in time also had to be removed.  She laboured away moving earth, flattening and planting, making raised beds and installing a shed.  Recently she had a deck built but needed steps down to the garden.  I was amazed when she told me she had been building the steps herself.  I went around to have a look and couldn’t believe my eyes.  I asked her where she learnt her skills and she told me by watching her husband (now separated) over the years.  I am full of admiration for her.  

Not only a ‘step builder’ Heidi has recently turned her hand to learning to spin.  Like all new spinners it takes a while to get the hang of co-ordinating hands and peddles, but progress is being made.

 

 

Robin’s Pond

When we look around their are inspiring ladies everywhere.  For example, Robin Blakely, who also lives a couple of street away from me and will be 83 this year, dug out a pond in her garden.  Apparently Robin carefully planned the pond which is 2  metres long x 1 metre wide and 140cm deep and only removed sufficient material that she could comfortably wheel barrow to a different area of her garden.  She didn’t want to end up with a huge pile of dirt.

Pond under construction

She told me the project took her some 6 weeks to complete.
As the earth was removed Robin had to stand down in the hole, filling buckets with earth and placing them on the edge by the barrow. 
She used her kitchen steps to exit the hole and always had her iPad close by in case of emergencies.  She lined the pond, filled it with water and stocked it with 5 fish whose numbers have now risen to 30.

Completed pond

 

Robin contacted a local iron worker to construct a canopy for the pond to deter Herons from catching her fish.

What a wonderful achievement and asset to her garden.

 

 

 

 

Do we need a big kitchen?

I’m probably posing this question because I have a very tiny kitchen and have to admit to a certain amount of jealousy when I view a beautifully appointed space.  My husband reminds me that when he was in the army a cook could produce hundreds of meals in a small galley.  What do you think?

I love to have a bake-in but because of the space available have to be very tidy and wash up as I go, filling the dishwasher at the same time.  Do any of you follow Mary Berry on ABC or Youtube. She’s been going since the 60’s when I used to follow her avidly as she always promoted bake-ins in those days.  I’m still following some of her ideas.  Here’s one of my efforts from which you will see my really small work bench.

Although I still do the occasional cook-in, I have to say that I’m more inclined to quick recipes so am sharing one of Mary Berry’s recipes from her book, Mary Berry Quick Cooking.  I usually only reprint vegetarian recipes but the prawns can be substituted by an alternative such as flavoured tofu.  For myself, I would use chopped up quinoa or lentil burgers which I always have available in the freezer.  

Mary Berry’s king prawn and broccoli stir-fry with black bean sauce

“A lovely, quick dish for a midweek meal. If you can’t find oyster mushrooms, use chestnut mushrooms instead,” says Mary Berry.

Ingredients:   (Serves 4)

2tbsp sunflower oil, 2 large shallots, very thinly sliced, 2cm knob of fresh root ginger, peeled, and thinly sliced, 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced, 350g peeled raw king prawns, deveined, 250g broccoli, broken into tiny florets, 150g oyster mushrooms, thickly sliced, 6tbsp black bean sauce, 2tbsp dark soy sauce,  Juice of 1/2 lemon,Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Heat a large frying pan or wok until very hot. Add the oil, shallots, ginger and chilli and stir-fry over a high heat for 30 seconds. Push the vegetables to one side of the pan, then season the prawns with salt and pepper and add them to the centre of the pan. Fry for about two minutes until starting to turn pink.

2. Tip in the broccoli and mushrooms, toss together using two spatulas and fry for two to three minutes.

3. Mix the black bean sauce, soy sauce and lemon juice together in a bowl. Add to the pan and toss everything together well. Stir-fry for another two minutes until the prawns are cooked and the broccoli is just tender but still crunchy.

4. Serve piping hot on its own or with rice or noodles.

 

Having an electrical bicycle

My husband’s cousin, a Welshman living in a country village in Denmark, bought an electric bicycle to help him get around.  He was having trouble walking due to arthritic knees and was suffering due to lack of exercise and getting out in the fresh air.   Recently my daughter and her husband, although not yet retirement age (but creeping closer), bought themselves an electric bike each to enjoy riding the rail trails.  Obviously two different reasons for having an electric bike so I thought I would have a look at the advantages for retirees.

Apart from bicycles being a wonderful means of transportation that helps preserve the environment, reduces air contamination, ecological footprints, carbon emissions and is healthy and fairly inexpensive, an electric bike gets you out on the road having fun.  Electric bikes will never completely replace the regular bicycle or the car but by eliminating the barriers that stop so many people from riding, such as their health, hills or distance, the combo of cruising and cycling that e-bikes provide saves effort and some sweat so that you can burn calories but prevent your ride from becoming a full-blown workout.  

Does any reader have an e-bike they could tell us about, do post a reply if you have and tell us about your experience.

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I’ll sign off now with this quote:

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream

Janice

p.s. don’t forget to have a good time

 

 

 

 

 

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What stands out from your Christmas celebrations, Considering going to a retreat, Who’s heard of or tried eco dyeing, Butternut squash pasta bake

Hello everyone and Happy New Year to you all.  I know it’s been a long long time since I posted on my site.  I don’t really have a valid reason except to say other activities seem to have taken precedence and the weeks slipped away.  However, having received numerous requests from readers to continue writing, I feel inspired to get going again.  

What stands out from your Christmas celebrations I wonder

I wonder what stands out from your Christmas celebrations.  For me, it was something unexpected.  During the present unwrapping at my daughter’s house, where we always celebrate Christmas, my grandchildren, Nic 24, Jesse 21 and Emma 19 recounted how their Mum had used them as her “shopping elves”.  She and her husband went off to Mallacoota the week before Christmas and delegated the shopping to Nic, Jess and Emma.  As each gift was unwrapped they recounted the story of how the purchase was made.  I couldn’t believe how much thought and enjoyment they had put into purchasing each item.  They recounted searching the internet, finding the best bargain, making sure the colours were suitable and checking sizes and had us all in fits of laughter at their antics.    They saw it as an enjoyable experience and not a chore.  Long may that continue.

Does anything stand out for you?  If so share as a reply.

Considering going to a Retreat!

I had the idea it would be invigorating and fun to try a retreat as an alternative holiday.  I knew Ken wouldn’t consider it so I suggested it to my daughter who looked at me a little pensively but agreed to consider the idea.   I trawled through the internet but everything I came up with offered luxury accommodation.  My idea was being out in the bush in perhaps a mud hut, meditating and eating vegetarian or vegan food and skinny dipping in a creek.  Nothing like that seems to be on offer.  I conveyed what I’d learnt to my daughter who had a big smirk on her face whilst handing me a book titled:  Nine perfect strangers – can a health retreat really change your life forever?  by Liane Moriarty.  She had read it on her holiday. 

Now having read the book myself, I have to say it gives cause for thought – do they put a little something in your green smoothy?????   Here’s the theme of the book which I thoroughly recommend:  Read and enjoy.

The retreat at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation.  Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.  Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds.  These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

Sad news

Late last year my dear friend Joan Blain passed away at the age of 85.  She was a reader and contributor to my blog from the beginning.  I did report to you that she had a bad fall and broke both her legs from which she never recovered.  Such a brave woman continuing helping her husband on the farm even though she had MS from her early 30’s.  Joan contributed a story from her early days in my post of November 14, 2014, about starting up a printing business on the farm.  The building, though crumbling, still stands and one of Joan’s son’s kindly transported her to the location so she could look through the window and recount her memories.

Joan looking through the window of the shed that housed the Print Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s heard of or tried eco dyeing?

There’s always something new and exciting to learn.  Glenda, Treasurer of the spinning group of which I’m a member, attended a show where eco dyeing was being demonstrated and introduced the group to the technique.  We were all absolutely amazed at the results achieved.

Eco printing or eco dyeing is a contemporary application of the traditions of natural dyeing  In eco dyeing plants are enclosed in textiles or paper, bundled by winding over rods or stacked in layers and then steamed or immersed in hot water to extract the pigments and produce a print made with plant dyes.  Leaves, stems, flowers, buds, seeds and roots may be used also bark and wood.  

Here’s a link so that you may read all about the process and perhaps be inspired to try it out yourself  http://www.frankie.com.au/blogs/craft/5206-frankie-exclusive-diy-an-introduction-to-eco-dyeing

 

Butternut squash pasta bake

This recipe is vegetarian but it’s so hearty meat eaters won’t be disappointed and it has the added advantage of freezing well.

 

 

 

 

1kg butternut squash, cut into chunks (about 2cm), 1tbsp olive oil, 500g macaroni, Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cheese sauce:   60g butter, 60g plain flour, 1L whole milk, 60g Parmesan, finely grated,1/4tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the topping:   A handful of sage leaves, 40g tomatoes, roughly chopped, 50g fresh breadcrumbs, 2tbsp olive oil, 2tbsp pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Fan 200°C/Gas 7. Line a large roasting tray with baking parchment.

2. Place the squash in the roasting tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Cook on the top shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the squash is tender and browned at the edges. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly for a couple of minutes. (Keep the oven on.)

3. Tip three-quarters of the roasted squash into a blender and blitz to a purée; set the rest aside.

4. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the macaroni and cook until almost al dente (two to three minutes less than the time suggested on the packet).

5. Meanwhile, for the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute, then whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until the sauce thickens slightly.  Parmesan and nutmeg. Stir until the cheese has melted, then stir through the squash purée to make a rich, smooth sauce. Take off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Drain the macaroni, add to the sauce and stir well. Tip into a large, deep baking dish, about 25 x 30cm. Scatter over the rest of the roasted squash, the sage, sun-blushed tomatoes and breadcrumbs. Drizzle with the oil. Place on the middle shelf of the oven, turning on the oven grill at the same time. Bake for 10 minutes.

7. Take out the dish, scatter the pumpkin seeds evenly over the surface and return to the oven for five minutes or until the topping is golden. Serve at once, with a green salad.

To freeze: Cool and pack in a lidded foil tray (or several trays). Defrost fully in the fridge, then remove the lid and reheat in an oven preheated to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 for 30 minutes, until hot all the way through. If the surface appears to be browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.

 

I’ve really enjoyed writing this blog so hope you enjoy it too.  I’ll close with this quote:

When you love what you have you have everything you need

 

Janice

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So easy – knitted expandable shopping bag using one ball of wool, The nostalgia that certain foods bring, Recipe for Banbury/Eccles Cakes, Volunteering, Spring is on the way in the garden

So easy – knitted expandable shopping bag using one ball of wool

Have you ever thought about knitting your own shopping bags, extremely relevant at the moment with the phase-out of plastic bags at the supermarkets?  Recently the South Gippsland Spinners & Fibre Arts Group, of which I am a member, held a workshop conducted by one of its members, Deb,  who had devised a pattern for these bags.  The beauty of them is that they are expandable and are capable of holding a large amount of shopping but fold down so small that they take up very little space when not in use.  Saves all that cluttering up the back of the car.  

Since the workshop, the ladies have been beavering away making their bags and displaying them on the group’s Facebook page.  I’d like to share the pattern with you but first here’s a sample of what you can expect to produce:

 

 

 

DEB’S AMAZING SHOPPING BAG PATTERN

MATERIALS: 100 g of acrylic yarn, 6-7 mm  x 60cm circular needle, 4 mm x 60 cm circular needle

PATTERN

 Using the larger needles, loosely cast on 40 stitches.  Work 30 rows in garter stitch.

Place marker, then pick up and knit 15 sts along side of work, 40 sts across the cast on stitches and 15 stitches up the other side of your work.  Knit across the original 40 sts. You should be back to the marker now (110 sts)

Working in rounds, work 10 rows of stocking stitch

Pattern rounds

Round 1 : * Yfwd k2tog* rep until you reach the marker again

Round 2 :   Knit until you reach the marker.

Repeat these 2 rounds until work measures desired length. Approx  25cm (10 inches)

Change to 4mm needle (and black yarn optional).   Work in k1, p1 rib for 5cm (2 ins) Remove marker on last round

Handles – Flatten bag out to determine where sides are.  Rib to the closest side position and place marker.

Rib 20, cast off 15, rib 40, cast off 15, rib 20 to the marker.   Next row: *Rib 20, turn work, Cast on 15, turn work, rib 20 * rep from * to*.   Continue in rounds of rib for 5 cm

Frill Top –  Work rounds of stocking stitch for 2.5 cm (1 inch) 

Next row: *K1, M1 * repeat until the marker is reached again.   Cast off loosely.  Weave end through work to finish off.

The nostalgia that certain foods bring

Do you often long for foods from your childhood that are no longer available to you or if they are they are produced in your country of origin or have disappeared from menus?  I absolutely love Banbury and Eccles cakes (they are the same thing but shaped differently).  They are rarely found in Australia but I’m always on the lookout.

For those of you who don’t know or may be interested in the history of these cakes, here goes:

Banbury Cakes, a special fruit and pastry cake, are still produced. At one time they were being sent as far afield as Australia, India and America.

The town of Banbury is on the edge of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, England and has been a busy market town for centuries.  A nursery rhyme, ‘Ride a Cock Horse’, has made Banbury one of the best-known towns in England.  It has been suggested that the ‘Fine Lady’ of the nursery rhyme may have been Lady Godiva or Elizabeth I. More likely it was a local girl who rode in a May Day procession.

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross

To see a fine lady ride on a white horse

With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes

She shall have music wherever she goes.

The written history of this ‘nursery rhyme’ goes back to 1784

Eccles cakes are named after the English town of Eccles, historically part of Lancashire, but now classified as a town in Greater Manchester.   It is not known who invented the recipe, but James Birch is credited with being the first person to sell Eccles cakes commercially.

So it transpired that I wanted something really nice for a morning tea with my daughter to celebrate a milestone birthday (which by the way I am trying to deny because I can’t believe I am so old).  A Banbury cake was what I desired most so I had to make them myself.  I have a cookery book handed down to me by my Great Aunt Helen called Farmhouse Fare which is a collection of recipes sent to the publisher during the second world war.  The recipes give the name and town from which the author comes.  I have to tell you there are some very grisly recipes in the meat section.  However, the Banbury cake recipe is superb and to me authentic so I’ll share it with you.

Firstly you need some flaky pastry.  You can buy puff but you won’t get the proper effect.  I use Deliah Smith’s easy recipe.  110g of plain flour, 70g of butter, iced water.  Freeze the butter then grate into the flour, fold in gently with a pallet knife, add 3 tablespoons iced water slowly and combine.  Rest in the fridge before rolling out.  

Filling – 60g butter, 50g candied peel, 150g currants, pinch ground cinnamon, pinch mixed spice.  Beat butter to a cream then mix in fruit and spices.  Roll out pastry, cut out large rounds, place about a dessert spoon of mixture in centre, pull pastry over and pinch together.  Turn over and flatten, score two cuts in surface and brush with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Bake in a hot oven for about 30 minutes but check to make sure they are not browning too much.    SUPER YUM

Having dusted off my Royal Dalton Tea Service and baked the Banbury cakes my morning tea was ready:

 

Volunteering

What people see and what they don’t about volunteering.  I absolutely love this description sent to me by Noelene Lyons who is a long time volunteer.  I wrote about Noelene’s talents in a blog some two years ago (could be longer) under the heading:  Meet 2 interesting and gifted ladies.  Noelene is a genealogist and family history researcher.  Go to the Category Interesting people to read again or put her name in the search box.

volunteer.jpg

 

I think Spring is on the way in my garden

I think Spring is on the way in my garden but sitting here at my computer with the wind blowing and the rain pelting down outside, it sure doesn’t feel like it.  However, the plants certainly think so and the blossom is out on my almond and nectarine trees, though a lot of it is scattered on the ground.  The pea pods are swelling, the broad beans have flowers, I’m harvesting carrots and swedes and the beetroot should be ready soon, so things are looking good.  

 

 

I hope you are all keeping busy with your various activities and enjoying retirement.  I’ll take this opportunity to send all good wishes to Joan Blain, a dear friend and longtime reader of my blog.  Joan has just turned 85 and has been laid up with two broken legs after a fall.

Until next time:

DOING WHAT YOU LIKE IS FREEDOM, LIKING WHAT YOU DO IS HAPPINESS

 

Janice 

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What has happened to singing while we work, Our brains need constant stimulation, Hearing loss symptoms, Give an old geezer a camera and a Spanish Tortilla recipe, ready in 20 minutes

Hello – hope you are all enjoying your retirement and finding many activities to keep you occupied.  There’s so many things to do and see and many tell me the are busier now than when they are working.  However, unfortunately some of our number are not so well and I want to send special good wishes to one of my readers, Joan Blain, who has had MS for more than 40 years.  She has taken a bad fall and broken both her legs and has some internal bleeding.  I’m in contact with her daughter so hope for some positive news soon.

What has happened to singing while we work

I wonder do you remember your parents singing or whistling while they went about their chores.  As a child I lived in a small cottage in the High Street and in the early morning you could hear men walking by whistling or humming.  My mum could always recognise who they were and would comment saying ‘……. is a bit late this morning’ or other such comments.  My paternal grandma was always humming or singing hymns.  We lived next door to her for most of my childhood and I can’t remember an actual conversation with her.  In later years I understood that she was very deaf and found it hard to communicate so singing must have been her outlet.  My mum loved all the old hymns, especially those of Ira D. Sankey.  To diverse Sankey was an American  Gospel Singer (Born 1840).  His most popular Sacred Songs and Solos, widely known as “Sankey & Moody” are still in use today.  Mum’s housework was always accompanied by one of these hymns sung with vigour.

Are we now too embarrassed to sing out loud or do we rely on the radio or other popular devices to uplift our spirits.  I suspect that’s the case.

Our brains need constant stimultion

Has anything new inspired you recently.  I know our brains need constant stimulation so what about trying to learn Arabic.  Spoken by nearly half a billion people, one of six official languages of the United Nations, Arabic is the fifth most spoken language in the world and is fast becoming a mainstay of international communication.   It’s probably a crazy idea but a language school named LanguageConvo are offering a free trial – dare I press the button to have a go.  I’ll let you know in my next post.  In the meantime post a reply about what’s inspired you recently. 

Hearing loss symptoms

I subscribe to Silversurfers – over 50’s lifestyle and news website from the UK and thought you may be interested in a list of hearing loss symptoms discussed in a forum.  Hearing loss runs in my family and when I was told I needed a hearing aid I absolutely hated the idea.  I must admit to not wearing my aid all the time.  Fortunately I was able to be fitted with one that sits inside the ear and is not easily visible and has three settings.  My biggest problems come when I am with a group of people so I just have to wear the aid otherwise I miss what is being said.  This admission will cause a few smiles from people who know me !!

Here’s an exert from the article:

Hearing loss is something that affects most people eventually but social stigma around it means the average person takes about 10 years after they notice the first symptoms, to seek help.¹

Untreated hearing loss can make understanding conversations and joining in more difficult, which can lead to stress, social isolation and even depression. Recent studies have also shown a link between hearing loss and the development of dementia in older adults.

Here are some of the common signs of hearing loss. If you recognise any of these situations in yourself, or someone you know it would be a good idea to book a hearing test.
* You have the TV or radio volume uncomfortably loud for other people
* You find It difficult to hear dialogue in the cinema or theatre
* Telephone conversations are hard work
* You ask people to repeat things or misunderstand what they say
* You have difficulty following conversations in groups
* You feel isolated because you cannot hear properly
* You avoid situations that you used to enjoy because of the way you hear
* Someone suggests you might not be hearing as well as you need to

 

GIVE AND OLD GEEZER A CAMERA

Ken has produced a medley of his outings over the past year which I thought you may enjoy.  I have already posted some of these in their entirety in the past, so you may need to fast forward here and there.  He so enjoys his camera and making short films, it’s a great hobby for, as he puts it,  an old geezer.  It seems many men find it hard to adapt to life after full time work, so a camera is a good opportunity to get out and about.

 

 

Spanish Tortilla

Though Spanish Tortilla is a great brunch dish, it can also be cut into smaller pieces to make a nice little appetizer or tapas for a party.  Either way, it is a great dish that takes very little time to cook and only 10 minutes to prepare.  Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

* 1/3 cup olive oil
* 1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
* 1/2 large white onion, thinly sliced
* 6 eggs
* 1/2 teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 8″ oven-safe skillet. You can use a 10″ or even 12″ skillet, but know that your tortilla espanola will end up very thin and more difficult to slice.

2. Add the potatoes and onion to the skillet, flipping and stirring so that they are coated by the oil. Fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden and beginning to brown.

3. Remove the potatoes and onions to a paper towel to soak up some of the oil, and reduce the heat to low.

4. Whisk the eggs with the salt in a small bowl.

5. Return the potatoes and onions to the skillet, and pour the eggs over the top. Cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking the skillet occasionally so the eggs don’t stick to the bottom. After a few minutes, the eggs should be browning on the bottom.

6. Slide the skillet into the oven and turn the broiler on high. Broil for 3-4 minutes, or until the top of the tortilla espanola is cooked through and browned.

7. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.

 

I’m going to say bye bye for now with a quote from Amelia Earhart

THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO DO IT, IS TO DO IT

 

Janice

 

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Friendship – what does it mean: Visit to a Saffron Farm: Indulging in a craft: A delicious Coconut Slice

My readers probably think I’ve discontinued blogging, my last post being in January.  Many things have happened but I think a break has revitalised me.  As a blogger you worry that readers are becoming bored with your style or your message;  I certainly hope not but it’s possible.

Friendship – what does it mean

By the time we reach retirement and beyond many people have passed through our lives who we call friends but are they actually friends or acquaintances who we call ‘friends’ because they move in the same circles as we do.  Facebook comes to mind where people appear to have hundreds of friends.  

There are friendships we form in our younger years that we are lucky enough to maintain throughout life.  These friendships have endured the test of time and whilst we may not be in contact as often as we would like, the ties that we formed never break.  I am blessed to have one such friend, Olive.  We met when we started school, dare I tell you, around 75 years ago and know each other inside out.  There is nothing we wouldn’t do for each other.  I also maintain a friendship with Joan Blain through e-mail and the occasional phone call.  Joan is in care now in the UK as she has MS.   We met when our children went to judo club.   I so admire her bravery and true grit.  

Then there are friendships that come upon us unexpectedly and form into strong relationships that stand the test of time.  It’s not easy to be a true friend.  There are times when loyalties are tested, misunderstandings occur, thoughtless acts cause pain and in the worst scenario the friendship is broken.  Through life I am sure we have all experienced the loss of friendship and for whatever reason it inevitably hurts.  We always have to ask what part we played in the breakdown.  Was it my fault, could the break have been avoided.  You analyze yourself and question what type of friend you are.  Can a broken friendship be repaired and be the same as before I wonder.  

I believe we all need friends, someone we can confide in, know we can rely on and trust, whose company we enjoy and feel a sense of well being when we are together.  A lot to ask – what does friendship mean to you ?

Visit to a Saffron Farm

I was fortunate enough to be asked to visit a Saffron Farm with Janet Staben, a member of Women on Farms, as her guest at one of their monthly meetings and outings.  This turned out to be a very interesting experience as I had little knowledge of the production of Saffron and the hard work involved.  We were able to participate in the picking of the crocuses.  Every crocus is counted and records meticulously kept.

The saffron crocus is thought to have originated in south west Asia or the Mediterranean region.  It is a sterile flowering plant, i.e. it does not produce seed and therefore its spread throughout the world has been dependent on human activity and the trade and transport of the corms.  Each corm only produces one flower.  Saffron is one of the world’s most expensive spices by weight and is often adulterated by the inclusion of other materials.

In Australia the season for harvest is March to May, the flowers being picked early in the morning, the stigmas removed and dried before being processed.  It seems the actual flower itself has no use.  I did ask if they could be used as a dye but apparently no colour is produced.  Imagine he cost of dyeing with saffron powder which results in a striking yellow/orange colour.  

I found a really interesting article on the internet entitled:   Dyeing with real Saffron – here’s the link:      NOTE:    Click on Dyeing with Real Saffron not Reconstructing History

Dyeing with Real Saffron

INDULGING IN A CRAFT

As many of you may know I am a member of the South Gippsland Spinners and Fibre Arts Group, based in Korumburra, Victoria which gives me the opportunity to meet with other like minded ladies (sometimes a few blokes) in pursuing our various crafts and sharing our knowledge with those wishing to learn.  My particular interest is in wet felting;  it’s absolutely amazing what can be produced from this ancient craft.  Last week some members of the group came to my place to spin/felt and chat.  Chat we certainly did over lunch.  Our theme was felting baby booties which turned out a treat.  

 

If you are looking for an activity in your retirement and have an interest in a particular craft or set of crafts, I urge you to seek out a group, go along and see what’s on offer.  It will give you the greatest pleasure and allow you to develop your talents.  

INA’S COCONUT SLICE

I have been given the opportunity to share this recipe with you by Teresa Verney (member of South Gippsland Spinners & Fibre Arts Group) who inherited it from Ina a friend of many moons ago.  While Ina was alive it was a guarded secret but now we are able to enjoy.  Teresa brought the slice to the spin/felt/chat day and we did it justice by eating every morsel.  I baked the slice myself today and it’s absolutely yum.

Ingredients – 1 cup self raising flour, 1 cup coconut, 114g butter melted, ¾ cup sugar, 2 eggs, ½ cup milk

Method – mix melted butter and sugar together then add dry ingredients followed by beaten egg and milk.  Turn into a lined slice tin and bake in a moderate oven for approximately 20 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  Ice with lemon icing while still warm.

Teresa says she makes up a butter cream icing and mixes with lemon juice to cover cake then sprinkles over additional coconut.  I varied this slightly by mixing icing sugar with lemon juice and coconut and spreading over cake – worked really well, though have to say the butter cream icing makes it just a little bit more special.

 

Here’s my quote for today:

Do not listen with the intent to reply but with the intent to understand

 

Janice 

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Who pens letters now? 1950’s tip how to look after your husband, What on earth is frogging, Enjoying good company, Turmeric, the golden spice

It’s wonderful to get back into blogging. Hope you have all enjoyed the holiday period and looking forward, like me, to catching up with all your projects and planned activities for the year ahead.  I didn’t make any New Year resolutions but thought I would try to keep up with the ones I made a couple of years ago, one of which was to practice the piano every day.    O’h dear is all I can say.  I did finish the blanket I spun, dyed and crocheted for my grandson’s Xmas gift and have since made him a cushion with the wool I had over.

WHO PENS LETTERS NOW

During the break I took the opportunity to read some of the letters my mother wrote to me while she was alive.  I have them all in a big box.  Unfortunately she never dated them only the month and most of the post marks on the envelopes are illegible. Reading them brings friends and relations back home in England to life.  She was a brilliant writer and filled up pages with vivid descriptions of her daily life.  My letters to her are stashed away in my brother’s workshop in UK so my history from 1976 until 2000 is there to be retrieved one day.  

The penned letter has been used over centuries to create history, biographies, novels and films.  What is going to happen now that we use electronic messaging;  all those texts and e-mails.  I am now guilty of hardly ever writing an actual letter unless it’s at Christmas time when I write to a couple of cousins and friends who don’t have computers.  

I wonder if you write letters or keep those that were written to you.  Let’s make it a discussion topic;  it will be good to see your replies.  

A TIP FROM THE PAST

I am always looking around for tips to pass on to you and when I found this in the advert for a Retro/Vintage Market at Rosedale in Victoria, I fell off my chair laughing.  Really though this isn’t a laughing matter because it was what wives were expected to do.  Amazing how expectations have changed thank goodness.

 

WHAT ON EARTH IS FROGGING AND TINKING

Although I have been a knitter all my life, when I saw the word “frogging” in a post on a Facebook page I manage, I really didn’t know what it meant so did a bit of research.  I do hope that I’m not the only one to have to admit ignorance, so here’s what I found.

Frogging and Tinking Your Knit Mistakes
Knitting mistakes happen to everyone.

If you happen to notice a mistake on the same row you are on, you can carefully work backward across the row to the place where the mistake happened and fix it right away. This is a knitting technique known as tinking. If you didn’t catch that, tink is knit spelled backward (again, a bit of knitting humor).

However, if you don’t notice a mistake for several rows, you might be forced to do some frogging. If the mistake is substantial and has changed the look of your project – you accidentally swapped the right and wrong sides or missed a cable turn – the easiest way to fix it is by taking the project off the needle and ripping back to before the mistake. You will then have to put the stitches back on the needle.

This is called frogging because knitters are punny and when you frog, you “rip it, rip it.”

As quirky as the word is, it’s not much fun to have to frog your projects. Yet, you will be glad you did rather than leaving a mistake that you could have fixed.

ENJOYING GOOD COMPANY

It’s so stimulating to meet new people and hear their stories.  At a recent coffee morning I had the opportunity to meet Linda who was wearing the most beautiful outfit which I couldn’t help commenting on.  She told me her trousers (blue) were a gift from a deceased friend, her top (multi coloured) was bought on an outing with girl friends and her very unusual necklace was made by a wire worker who was a friend in her craft group.  Of course when I heard the words ‘craft group’ my ears pricked up.  Apparently Linda has recently returned to Victoria after having lived in Tasmania for many years where she participated in quilting, beading, weaving, crocheting, knitting and more.  I asked her if she would like to share a photo of her quilting work on my post and here it is.  I’ve invited Linda to come to a meeting of the spinning and fibre arts group I’m involved in, so hope we will be able to share our interests into the future.  It’s amazing how new friendships can be born.  

 

TURMERIC, THE GOLDEN SPICE

I’ve been looking for more ways to use Turmeric.  Up until recently I have only used it in soups or stews but having read about its wonderful properties, I decided to try it out in a few other dishes.  I have to be bit sneaky or Ken will turn up his nose.  One thing I must warn is that you don’t use too much otherwise the taste will be overpowering.  So far I’ve tried sprinkling into rice, adding to a hummus dip and adding to scrambled eggs.  I did try adding to a latte but that wasn’t to my liking.  

Here’s an exert from an article I read in Silversurfers UK blog about Turmeric.

For ages, health buffs have been telling us that turmeric is a pretty wonderful thing, thanks to its nifty healing agent curcumin – which has some mighty anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Now a new study published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry has found even more evidence that this golden spice can ward of disease and mental health problems.
Research conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that a daily supplement of turmeric boosted people’s memories by nearly 30% and eased the symptoms of depression.

I have so much more I could write but think I’ll leave it until next time.  Do write in with your comments and ideas.  It would be so good to hear from you.  

Remember we are not too old and it’s not too late to pursue our dreams

Janice

 

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A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE TO MY READERS

Christmas is almost here

Yes, Christmas is around the corner and I know you will all be very busy.  Like weddings, Christmas is more expensive and lavish than it was compared with 50 years ago, but at its heart it’s still about being with family and friends, even if the way we do it has changed.  

Putting up the tree, however, small gives me a festive feeling and displaying some cards that I have stored away from long gone relatives, especially my Mother with her words of love, fills me with nostalgia and happiness.

As mentioned in my previous blog I have tried to make as many of my Christmas gifts as I can.  The task is almost complete but I have to admit wondering what I was doing to myself whilst beavering away. 

The blanket I’ve made for my second grandson, Jesse, a big lad, was a huge job, spinning the wool, dyeing in various colours and then crocheting.  Here’s a photo of the completed work.  It’s not a secret gift because he requested it after seeing his brother’s blanket which I made for a 23rd Birthday present.  

I can’t post photos of the other items until they have been distributed.  Ken asked what I thought I would be doing next year.  To be truthful I think I may be buying small gifts.  It’s not really the making of them, it’s deciding what everyone would like which is hard to determine.   I read recently how so many gifts are unwanted and stored or thrown away.  That’s a bit of a worry isn’t it.

Thank you all so much for reading my blog posts throughout the year;  I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and interests with you and receiving your comments.  Continue making the best of your retirement.  I know some of you or your partners are battling ill health and to you I send my hopes for a speedy recovery

None of us knows what 2018 will bring but don’t stop planning your projects and activities, it’s what keeps us looking forward with enthusiasm.  

SEASONS GREETINGS

Gingerbread House made by my granddaughter Emma -a yearly tradition.

 

Janice

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Make your own Christmas gifts, Recipes for Radiant Skin, Crystallised Lemon in microwave, 5 pointers for art of growing older, Showcasing skills/weaving

Hello everyone – how time has flown since my last post;  sorry about the time lapse but I can’t always get to it as I should.

Christmas is coming

Christmas is on my mind and the question of what to give is uppermost in my thoughts. This year I’ve decided to make small gifts for each member of the family, well with the exception of one which is a large blanket for number two grandson, who made a special request.  Making gifts when I was a young woman was the norm and planning usually started in July.  This  activity was necessitated by lack of surplus income but generated great satisfaction in the making and the giving.  

There’s fun also to be had in making your own tree and house decorations.  I have just resurrected a pattern for a snowman that holds small gifts (his head is separate from his body and lifts off).   I made two of them many years ago when the grandchildren were small and glad to say they still come out each year as part of the Christmas scene.  If anyone is interested I can pass on the instructions.  Here he is:

If you are looking for ideas Pinterest is an excellent medium for inspiration and patterns.  I’m sure most of you are familiar with the site, if not here’s a link:   http://www.pinterest.com

 

RECIPES FOR RADIANT SKIN

Rhonda Armstrong, who I originally met at water aerobics and is a contributor and reader of the blog, passed on the following skin recipes.  Rhonda has a beautiful radiant skin and I believe has used the first two recipes herself there being a little tick against them on the paper she gave me.

Papaya enzyme scrub (for all skin types)

Finely ground adzuki beans have the aroma of freshly cut grass.  The Japanese use them to clarify the skin.  They grind down to a beautiful and delicate consistency perfect for exfoliation:

2 tsp mashed papaya, 1 tsp ground adzuki beans

Make sure you combine ingredients thoroughly

 

 Lavender buttermilk cleanser (for all skin types)

This delightful cleanser will give your complexion a lovely glow.  Buttermilk is an effective astringent and has a notably toning effect  It brightens the skin and helps even out tone and reduce por size.

1 to 2 drops lavender essential oil, ¼ cup buttermilk

Drop the lavender oil into the buttermilk, mix well and bottle.

 

Olive and lime shine mask (for all skin types)

This simple mask is full of antioxidants and AHAs that will soften and revive most complexions.  If you wipe this mask off gently with a dry cloth, you’ll be amazed at how much dirt it lifts.  It works well as a 30 minute mask or can be left on overnight and rinsed off in the morning

2 tsp olive oil,  ½ tsp lime juice

Whisk ingredients to combine until the mixture turns cloudy.

 

I haven’t personally tried any of these recipes but intend to have a go at the Olive and Lime Shine Mask – will let you know how I go.  

 

Crystallised Lemon in Microwave

My lemon tree is still burgeoned with fruit so looked up my recipe for crystallised orange rind and did some with lemons.  Turned out really well so you may like to have a go.  It’s much much quicker using the microwave than the stove.  I’ve stored it in a glass jar;  it’s yum just pinching a couple of sticks when you go to the cupboard.  

Ingredients

8 large lemons
, 9 cups hot water, 
3½ cups sugar (or make ½ quantity)

Remove peel with white pulp from lemons. Cut into 1/8 inch strip. Place peel and 5 cups water in 2 1/2 litre dish, cover with plastic wrap and microwave 100 percent for 14 minutes. Drain and return to dish, add 4 cups water, recover and microwave for 14 minutes. Drain, rinse in cold water. Stir in 1 1/2 cups sugar. Cover loosely.

Microwave 10 minutes, stir, recover and microwave 10 minutes. Lightly oil wax paper. Separate peel on paper so not touching. Let dry 2 hours or more. Put 2 cups sugar in bowl and toss small batches of peel in sugar. Air dry 2 hours and store in airtight container.

I used 1½ cups sugar which was plenty for me.

 

Ageless Soul: An Uplifting Meditation On The Art Of Growing Older by Thomas Moore, published by Simon & Schuster,UK

I have just been reading a review of this book which seems very interesting.  I checked to see if my Library has a copy but so far no luck.   Probably only just been published.  However, in the review it gave five pointers on the art of growing older which I thought I would share with you.  Let me know what you think of them.

1. Don’t surrender yourself to an ageist culture that can’t appreciate the value of experience and knowledge. Make a point not to fit in, and stand up for your age, whatever it is.

2. Don’t live up to your culture’s expectations. Don’t retire if you aren’t ready. Pick up a new profession or skill in your older years. Don’t hold yourself back just to fit in with your culture’s limited ideas about ageing.

3. Cultivate activities appropriate to your age. Slow down when necessary, but speed up the artistic and contemplative side of life. Teach, write, paint and be in nature.

4. Stay close to the youth that is always in you. Because you never fully lose your younger self.

5. Use your learning and experience. You have a job to do, and that’s showing the younger generation how to get along and live happily. They would be lost without your point of view

 

SHOWCASING SKILLS

I know many of you will have already seen a short film made for the Coal Creek Spinners & Fibre Arts Group showcasing the various skills of members of the group.  However, many will not so I am embedding the latest one here which shows the art of weaving demonstrated by Glenda Beresford.  Be inspired by Glenda who has only been weaving for a year,

 

 

 

I’m going to finish off with a quote from the book I mentioned above:

AGE IS ABOUT EMBRACING THE RICHNESS OF EXPERIENCE 

 

I would really love readers to share their ideas and comments on any topic, use Leave a Reply at top of page.   Please write.  In the meantime be inspired.

Janice

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Healing with art and craft: Turning a cooking failure into a treat: Sewing with certified organic materials: Nature at its finest; Colombia

Hello everyone, here I am with a few snippets of interest to share with you once again.  Before I start a post I always ponder over different articles I have read, ideas that inspire me, projects I have undertaken and all matter of other things, hoping you will be able to pass some pleasant time reading those things that interest you.  
First I‘m going to start off describing an article I read in a recent copy of Spin Off, the art & craft of spinning yarn (an American magazine).  Lynne Rule became a paraplegic some 8 years ago and with the help of her husband has founded the Healing Fibers Foundation.  She says there was little she could do to fill the gruelling days and endless nights.  It was then that her concerned husband remembered that she used to knit.  He purchased every needle size he could find along with bundles of yarn and gave them to her for Christmas.  From that gift the beginning of Healing Fibers emerged.  The mission of the organisation is to encourage those who are ability-challenged, those struggling with illness, whether physical, emotional, mental or stress-related, and caregivers to use traditional fibre arts as a means of non medical therapy, focus and relaxation and to aid in the ability to be productive.  She says so may times these people are overlooked or minimalized when they have so very much to offer the world.
I was really quite overwhelmed by this article, the whole details of which are too long to précis here, but what a wonderful concept and one which I think we could employ if we see the need.  
For more information you can go to their website which is truly amazing:  http://www.healingfibres.org
Turning a cooking failure into a treat for Ken
I bake bread each week but l decided I would make a sourdough starter for a change in addition to the usual mixture.  The starter fermented well over 4 days so I thought a fruit loaf would be nice for a change.  The loaf looked magnificent
but o’h dear it was so gluggy and didn’t improve much with toasting.  I couldn’t bear to waste it so ‘ding’ I came up with the idea to give Ken a real treat.  Back in the dark ages, mmmm 1953, Ken was in training for his National Service in the Army and when he came home on leave his Mum always sent him back to camp with a bread pudding in a tiny suitcase.  He tells me he kept that suitcase for years as it still had the aroma of the pudding and brought back so many memories.
OK, back to the treat.  Of course over the years I’ve made bread puddings but certainly not recently.  If you’ve made one yourself you’ll know you don’t need to use a precise recipe and you can use any type of bread you have to hand.  In case you want to have a go here’s a rough guide:
1 large loaf, preferably fruit, but you can add more fruit
as required. The bread can be white or wholemeal or a combination.  
Soak the bread in sufficient water to cover.  Leave for about half an hour then drain off the water and squeeze to mash.  It will be quite wet.  Add additional dried fruit at this stage.  If you use plain bread then probably about 200g will do though more or less doesn’t matter.
Add 140g light brown or raw sugar, zest of a lemon, good pinch of mixed spiced and cinnamon, 100g melted butter and 2 beaten eggs and stir to combine.  Line a large oblong tin with baking paper and pour in mixture.  Bake at 180C for around about an hour but check after 40 minutes to make sure pudding isn’t browning too much.  It should be firm to the touch.  Leave to cool, sprinkle with some white sugar and cut into squares.  Best eaten warm (not hot) or very yummy cold.  
As you can imagine Ken was very happy even more so when he tasted the pudding:
The pudding keeps well in the fridge.  There’s no way it can be eaten all at once !!
Sewing with certified organic materials
I love sewing with certified organic materials and I’m prepared to pay that little bit more knowing that the grower of the fibre has been certified by an independent authority.  Some time ago I purchased some Australian made certified organic jersey knit from Bloom Fabrics in Melbourne http://www.bloomfabrics.com.au
It’s been sitting in a drawer for some time but when I was given a beautiful skein of wool as barter for a felt hat I made for a colleague in my spinning group, I knew it would compliment the dress I was intending to make by way of a belt and cuffs for the sleeves.  This weekend I got started on the project and true to form I experienced the presence of my dear Aunt Helen who taught me to sew and always insisted that preparation was the key to success.  Hence the material being jersey it was necessary to stay-stick all the edges.  I was a very good girl and reluctantly followed Aunty’s instructions after which I lay out the prepared work with the crochet of the belt to see the effect.  I think it’s going to work well.
Way back  in November 2012 I included in my post a little about my Aunt Helen and the big part she played in my life during my youth so thought today I would include a link to one of my short stories THE INTERVIEW telling how she helped me make an outfit for a very special interview. Of course some of you may have read this story before.
Nature at its finest: Colombia, biodiversity and the power of nature

This is a story that you don’t expect to read when someone mentions Colombia.  It’s usually about drugs isn’t it, so when I came across this article while participating in a Spanish language course, I was truly amazed.  When I mentioned its contents to Ken he gave me a funny look because he sometimes has the opinion that I’m ignorant of the wonders of the world.  Well, he has a vast knowledge of the south americas, being very interested in fauna and flora especially bird species, so I’ll leave him to his scepticism about me !!  

 

Encompassing 314 different coastal and continental ecosystems, Colombia holds within its borders the richest complexity of ecological, climatic, biological and ecosystem components imaginable.

Colombia is a country favoured by its natural resources, the variety of its geography and diversity of its ecosystems. It has a great variety of mountains, glaciers, volcanoes, plateaus, valleys and savannas. There is also a considerable number of streams, creeks, rivers and lakes in the country, which contributes to its thriving biodiversity. Ecosystems, species and genetic diversity together form the complex concept of biodiversity that is vital to the survival on this planet. Behind Brazil, Colombia is the second-highest country in terms of biodiversity, home to more than 56,000 different species, 16% of which are only found within the country’s borders.

Covering only 0.8% of the earth’s surface, Colombia hosts 18% of the 10,507 known bird species and around 60% of the bird species found in South America. With nearly 2,000 different bird species, the nation is the first in the world when it comes to the number of bird species. It is also home to 479 mammal species, 534 different kinds of reptiles, 763 amphibians and 3,435 different types of fish. There is an estimate of 300,000 species of invertebrates in the country of which only 10 to 20% have been studied. Among them, we can refer to more than 3,273 kinds of butterflies, 900 types of ants and more than 7,000 different classes of beetles. Among those species exclusive to Colombia we can name the American flamingo, the Andean condor, the Andean poison frog, the harlequin poison frog, the indigo capped hummingbird and a number of colourful monkey species and some incredibly beautiful butterflies.

Within Colombian borders, there are more than 40,000 different plant species. Again, it is the number one country in the world, considering the astonishing number of different species of orchid flowers: 4,010 different species to be precise. There are also more than 230 different species of palm trees and even some species of colour-changing flowers.

Colombian biodiversity is at risk, with around 1,500 species reported to be on different levels of extinction risk. This is caused mainly by urbanization and overexploitation of natural resources. These blooming ecosystems may seem permanent, but they are actually susceptible to collapse.

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I’ve come to the end of my post for this time.  I hope you are all enjoying pursuing your various projects and activities and because it’s Spring here in Australia, I’ll leave you with this quote:
A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it, it just blooms
 

Janice

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Volunteering – why do we do it? Anniversaries make us look back, Lemon juice ice blocks, Showcasing skills – spinning with a difference

 

Hello everyone – O’h dear where did August go?  Unfortunately I had a few health problems, not serious, but enough to put a spanner in my works so to speak.  Glad to say I am back on top of everything and ready to write again.    How easy it is to take good health for granted and going through a bad patch really does bring this home to us all.

Volunteering – why do we do it?

My first topic is volunteering.  Why do we do it?  I recently read that the best definition of volunteering is time willingly given for the common good and without financial gain.  That’s true but there’s more to it than that.   I believe there’s a need within us to share our skills and knowledge, to be involved and to communicate with the wider community in whatever way we can.  The spectrum of volunteering is very wide, there are opportunities for all abilities and ages at every level, but however we volunteer and for however much time we are able to give, the rewards personally are immense.  

Volunteering Australia has compiled the following facts about volunteering and happiness:

  •  Volunteers are happier, healthier and sleep better than those who don’t volunteer 
  •   96% of volunteers say that it “makes people happier.
  •   95% of volunteers say that volunteering is related to feelings of wellbeing.
  •   Just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in happiness and mood.
  •   Sustained volunteering is associated with better mental health.
  •   A strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of      people who are emotionally kind and compassionate in their charitable helping activities.
  •   The experience of helping others provides meaning, a sense of self-worth, a social role and health enhancement.

Last weekend I visited the National Wool Museum in Geelong so decided it was a good opportunity to ask the volunteers on duty their reasons for volunteering.  Firstly I spoke to the lady who directed us to all the exhibits.  She responded that she lived alone and it was wonderful to be able to get up in the morning and have a purpose.  Next I chatted to the demonstrator of a huge Axminster Carpet Loom.  He said he wanted his skills to be preserved as there were few people left who could operate the machine.  Lastly I spoke to one of the guides.  His reasons were a little vague though I suspect he enjoyed the interaction with overseas visitors.  

Later I visited the Port Lonsdale Lighthouse and posed my question to the volunteer on duty.  She said she was passionate about her area and its conservation and wanted to make the public aware.  

There are obviously a myriad of reasons why we volunteer but it’s not just about the giving of our time, it is also the personal rewards we receive.

I would really love to hear what you think.   Do you volunteer or are you considering volunteering, perhaps you were a volunteer in the past.  You can leave your comments by clicking Leave a Reply at the top of the page.

 

Anniversaries make us look back

Anniversaries can be happy or sad times but they give us an opportunity to look back over the years.  Ken and I did just that last weekend when it was the 50th birthday of our son Gareth and our 57th Wedding Anniversary.  Let me share with you the story of our romance.  I hope you enjoy.

Mine is not a fairy tale romance, no knight on a flying charger came into my life but the man who did snuck in quietly with no fanfare …….

follow the link to read in full    THE ROMACE

 

Making lemon juice ice blocks

My lemon tree is bulging with fruit so I set about making up juice ice block trays.  If you also have heaps of lemons or are donated with some it’s well worth the effort to have a long term supply on hand.  All you need to do is juice the lemons and freeze the pure juice in trays then store in bags in the freezer.  It’s so easy just to take out a block when needed.

By the way I recently read some quite alarming facts.  The label on Woolworths lemon juice, 500ml $1.65, states that it contains:  Reconstituted Lemon Juice (99.9%), Food Acid (Ascorbic Acid), Natural Flavour, Preservative (223).  Preservative 223 is in the sulphite group, it’s Sodium metabisulphite, which can cause allergic reactions.

Showcasing skills – spinning with a difference

Members of the Coal Creek & Fibre Arts Group, based at the Coal Creek Community Park & Museum in Korumburra, Gippsland, Victoria, decided to showcase their various skills by video. The first of these videos in a series, is now available and features Ingrid Riddell on the Great Wheel and the Chakra.  

 

I must thank my husband, Ken, for the time and effort he put into making this video possible and to Ingrid for demonstrating so professionally.

 

I’m going to sign off now with this little quote:

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled

 

Until next time

Janice 

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