Loving Spring

Loving…

Noticing the tomato plants, poke their head up again, after a brief winters sleep.

Stopping to actually chew food rather than gulp. Who knew that could be so enjoyable.

And adventures.

New adventures. While this space will keep quietly ticking on over, I’ll also be over on insta, hopefully giving a sneaky peak into a few other things that are also happening.

Loving…

The soft scent of spring in the air, the air not as cold. Growing surprise jasmine that along with wild freesias, completely infiltrates the house with its soft fragrance.

New blossoms growing from sleepy branches.

And bees, so many bees. Get the morning light right, stand still and watch the whole garden come alive with tiny buzz of busy insects.

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[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

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Voluntary Simplicity: In the Garden

voluntary-simplicity-cityhippyfarmgirlvoluntary-simplicity-1-cityhippyfarmgirl

Simple living, or voluntary simplicity isn’t a new concept in this household, but it is one that gets constantly edited, it evolves and gets reassessed as needed. It’s also something that while my children have always grown up with it, as this stage of their lives I’m finding I’m explaining more of why we make certain conscious decisions, and the longer term effects of those decisions. The why we do things and not just because.

Sometimes I can feel like I’m all over it and other times it feels like I’m floating in mini version of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The good thing about that though, is despite occasional overwhelming feelings there’s always something that shifts and then counter balanced by a complete sense of fully bodied satisfaction, (and that is always a good thing.)

Just over 12 months ago we swapped small apartment inner city living for a house in a smaller city, and surrounding suburban area. It’s close to shops, schools, transport and health caregivers when needed.

Another important choice for us was to be able to grow things. So now with the multiple neighbours that I know by name, there came a fairly blank canvas space of a backyard.

Making that move meant initially we didn’t have a lot of things that we would need (like) to embark on growing a lot of our own vegetables. Wheelbarrows, spades, pitch forks etc weren’t items that I had needed to access with a previously small shared concrete city courtyard.

voluntary-simplicity-2-cityhippyfarmgirlvoluntary-simplicity-5-cityhippyfarmgirl

To get started with our growing, somethings we bought straight up, (I knew there would be an initial outlay of items as our number one aim was to get things growing. We wanted to eat from our back door step!) Somethings were given to us, somethings passed on to us as were no longer needed by the original owners. Somethings we bought second hand, and some the things we simply borrowed.

Ultimate Goal? To be growing as much as possible utilising the space we have, keeping costs down and equipment to a bare minimum.

How did we set about it and how do we continue to manage it? (As I mentioned it’s a constantly evolving process.)

Gumtree- either bought second hand or freebies, also been great for selling things we no longer needed to keep clutter to a minimum and redirect $ to something else more useful.

Borrow- lawn mowers we borrowed two before buying our own push mower. I still get a smug sense of satisfaction of hearing virtually nothing when mowing the lawn. As more grass gets turned over for edible growing space, I’m hoping the lawn mowers use will gradually decrease.

Trade- Somethings I refused outright to get, and a whipper snipper was one of them. Borrow one sure, but I didn’t want to buy one. (Actually we never did end up borrowing one either.) Living in an area where people pride themselves on their grass care. I asked a neighbour if he would trade the occasional edging out the front for baked goods. He could sleep easier knowing our edges were looking less scruffy and my conscience was clear knowing we didn’t have a garage full of implements that might be used once in a blue moon.

Hire- And if we do change our mind on using that whipper snipper, or anything else for that matter. Well I can hire one from a household a couple of km’s away at an hourly rate from Open Shed. (Another awesome example of the share economy.)

voluntary-simplicity-4-cityhippyfarmgirl

There will always be a juggle between keeping/finding/sourcing things that might be useful in the future, (but have no immediate use) and keeping our gardening gear to a minimum, (that’s our reality and the way we’ve chosen to do things in this period. While tools are a fairly easy decision. I’m finding more and more discarded wood finding its way in as it has the potential to be made into something else entirely. I’m ok with that, as mentioned in the beginning, it’s an evolving process. Choices are made, as opportunities present themselves.

Conscious decisions over unthinkingly just taking… this is our version of voluntary simplicity, in the garden.

Helpful links

Gumtree

Open Shed

 

 

2017…stories yet to be told

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There’s new beginnings in this year

New chapters,

Stories yet to be told

Intentions still not made clear

Sweet adventures to be had

Tears still to tumble onto unsuspecting cheeks

Food to marvel at the simple deliciousness,

(sourdough to bake)

Hugs to hold tight

Thoughts to find pace

and creativity to gain wings.

Hello 2017, I’ve been expecting you.

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What’s in store for you? What new chapters will be written?

Does leading a simple life, really mean less clutter?

cityhippyfarmgirl

Living small in the city with a family of five as I do, often means that our household can look well, ‘fairly lived in’. Cluttered, is another term that comes to mind, and rather consistently so I might add. Julie from Country Living by the Sea recently did a post on clutter and living simply, and just what it all meant to her. This got me thinking…Does leading a simple life really mean less clutter?

I too strive for a simple uncluttered life and yet, I never, ever seem to achieve it.

Despite being careful with what comes through our doors, constant reassessing of what is needed and wanted, ample op-shop giving away, secondhand selling and generally just being mindful of ‘stuff’ levels. It still seems to mount up.

So what makes up the bulk of our household clutter?

My kids play– that’s what they do best. Lego pieces, craft projects, cubbies of various blankets and cushions. It’s a steady stream that really is an indication of them having fun and using their imagination. Fun, it really can be cluttered.

I cook– my bench tops are full of proofing bread, fermenting foods, and seasonal foods ready to be turned into family meals for the day. In a small kitchen, of course this amount of activity is going to make things look cluttered. I don’t have a dishwasher, or cleaner…actually or an internal laundry. I make bread over a washing machine. Yep, things are going to look a little cluttered in the kitchen too.

Things need to be repaired– sometimes things break and need fixing, mending, a good looking over. Sometimes there isn’t enough hours in the day and these things slowly pile up. It doesn’t mean I want to throw it out, it means I will get to it when I can. Fixing piles can look cluttered.

No dryer– we don’t have a clothes dryer, that’s a conscious choice we have made. Our dryer is the clothes line so if it rains for consecutive days, well the clothing comes inside to dry. In a small unit this can get reminiscent of a commercial laundry, (actually no, a commercial laundry I’m sure would be more ordered…and the kids probably wouldn’t have turned the clothes rack into a cubby.)

Books– every book on our shelves holds a reason, a story, a purpose and a right. A right to be there. Books will always happily clutter up our household.

Extra stuff– Then there are the extras, the things that accumulate in order to be ready when they are needed. Things like glass jars and jam. I don’t make jam regularly, I make it in batches when the season tells me too, this means they have to be collected, and stored. Stacks of empty glass jars are incredibly useful but they can make things look cluttered.

cityhippyfarmgirl

Now if I’m painting a blissful existence of excepting my small living clutter and embracing my full corners in our household, fear not. No it drives me crazy regularly, BUT I know that (after having a long hard think- thank you Julie) everything I’m surrounded by is part of living a life that I want to be doing, and I’m simply choosing to do.

I want my kids to have fun and play, sure sitting at a screen would be keep things neater but pffft to that. I want to keep cooking, baking, preserving, and no I don’t want a dishwasher. That all means the kitchen will remain ‘busy’ looking. The clothes rack will continue to be dragged out, the mending pile will surely grow and you might occasionally hear some whispered words coming from my lips.

Words to remind myself… that leading a simple life, really might not mean less clutter.

 

Passata Day 2015

Passata Day || cityhippyfarmgirl

Last years Passata Day with Milkwood was a highlight for me, a big highlight. When the horizon was promising another gorgeous tomato infused day, well I was glad to get a chance to be there again.

Coming together as a community with a group of like minded souls. Wonderful conversations accompanying wonderful food…well this is a highlight of life surely. Simple living at it’s beautiful, delicious best.

  Trolleyd cocktails and mocktails using local, foraged, sustainable and organic goodness.

Passata… the making, the bottling

and importantly, the eating.

Passata Day 2015… you were delicious!

Passata Day || cityhippyfarmgirl

 For more Passata Day goodness check out Rachael’s stunning pictures here.

Organiser- Milkwood

Tomatoes- locally grown and organic

Cocktails- Trolley’d

Pasta- Pasta Emelia

Wine- Rosnay

Bread- Bread and Butter Project

Butter- Pepe Saya

Simple Living, Weekday Markets, Calendars, and Questions!… The Green Noticeboard

permaculture principles || cityhippyfarmgirl Simple Living- a selfish joy. Loved reading this post from Tricia at Little Eco Footprints. It prompted a wonderful dinner time discussion at our place on what was important to us all. Weekday Farmers Markets, with Milkwood- the benefits of running a shorter shopping window during the week and why we should be utilising it. (I’d love to know whether you have a weekday market in your area and whether you use it.) Have you thought about next years calendar? Permaculture Principles has a wonderful one they put out each year. I’ve just bought some, (they have big squares to write in, oh yes they do.) And for something different, I’m over at the delightfully lovely, super duper green-Ecolosophy and answering some very important questions. Questions that involve- community, food, kitchens and what on earth I did to get on Death Row!?

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I quite often come across links that I find interesting, full of things I should know about and sometimes just down right fascinating.

Feel free to link any of your own green links in the comments. Let’s build this community green noticeboard board.

the green noticeboard || cityhippyfarmgirl

Choosing a simple life

thistles and silos || cityhippyfarmgirl

grass at dusk || cityhippyfarmgirl

I’ve never been ‘on trend’ with things. Cutting edge seems more like a paper cut term to me, while most seasonal fashion trends hold my interest like a conference on data entry for a two year old.

One thing that I do seem to be knee deep in however, is the want for a simple life. From a blogging perspective, (and from when I first started) the bloggers searching for a simple life seems to have grown and grown.

There must be something in it if we are all wanting a similar thing? And it’s not just bloggers and social media types throwing themselves into the quest for a simpler lifestyle than our current fast paced one. We’re just the ones with our own tiny pedestals, #hashtagging about it. What about the people who have been quietly plodding on in their own green pedal powered goodness doing their thing for far longer beforehand?

These people are the proverbial roots of the whole picture. The knowledgeable ones who, people like me look up to and learn from.

So is it gaining momentum this lifestyle, this yearn for a simpler way of life?

I hope it’s not like drinking out of glass jars with handles, blending kale and spinach green smoothies or winding yourself up in washi tape. I don’t want it to be a hipster fad, that’s highly talked of, coming and inevitably going. I really hope it’s not. My genuine hope is that this is more than a trend. Something that becomes bigger and bigger, until this quest for simplicity, this need for stepping off the increasingly fast spinning mouse wheel of life gives people a little pause and clarity of ideas. A quest of simple wants, needs and values. All things that so many of us do seem to be seeking.

The difference between my simple life yearning now and family’s simple life journey before me, was that their’s was one out of necessity and mine is by choice. While some people will argue (and I completely agree) that it shouldn’t be a lifestyle of choice, we should be doing more than we are in our current environment. For now though, it still comes down to choice.

I am in the privileged position of being able to choose to recycle. To choose to make bread. To choose to make hand made things. To choose to ride my bike. And, to choose from where most of my purchases come from.

Choices and necessity in creating a simple life for ourselves and loved ones…it’s kind of interesting to think about isn’t it.

What about you? Tell me a little about some of your simple life choices.

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More simple life seekers- blogging style

Simples Lives

Slow Living Essentials

Little Eco Footprints

House of Humble

Think Big Live Simply

loving…the simple in summer

yellow || cityhippyfarmgirl vegan mango icecream || cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirl avocado || cityhippyfarmgirlloving long summer afternoon beach trips that take us far, far away

watching them love easy coconut milk mango ice cream

loving watching him be so mesmerised by the sea

loving the simplicity of tasty food in its own bowl

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I wasn’t sure whether to continue my loving posts this year. However, a chaotic week came and went and all I had wanted to think about was the simple things I had been loving lately. A grounding, a connection and a reminder that not all parts of our life at the moment is a whirl wind of clocks, places to be and at times seeming chaos. There are simple moments entwined within the chaotic ones and they are the ones I want to most remember.

What have you been loving lately?

[“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE]

 Coconut Mango Ice Cream

In a blender, add two big bananas, one can of coconut milk, 1/3 cup of sugar and whizz it up. Pour it out into a dish and blend some fresh mango. Swirl that in too. Freeze it and either run a fork through every half an hour or so until you are ready to eat it or bring it out about 20 minutes before you want to eat it, running a fork through it, (the banana content should stop it freezing completely solid.)

Top 10 eco friendly ways to say I love you

10 eco friendly ways to say I love you || cityhippyfarmgirl

I was sent an email a little while ago, asking whether I would like to spruik some Valentines Day products. Although I generally feel lucky to even be asked, I did feel they hadn’t thoroughly researched their target market particularly well.

Stuffed small toys, toting love hearts, smiling bear faces and large ‘made in China’ tags, has never been my thing. Ever. It seems unlikely that’s going to change any time soon. In my eyes it also seemed unlikely that a space with the name cityhippyfarmgirl would be likely to encourage the purchase of said items, but it’s true, you don’t know unless you ask.

I did however say a polite no, and instead thought about some alternative ways to say I love you, for the most heart filled day of the year.

thinking green on valentines day || cityhippyfarmgirl

Top 10 eco friendly ways to say I love you

1/ A big beautiful bunch of kale, rosemary or any other seasonal greenery you might have in season. A bunch of red roses it isn’t- it’s better, way better!

2/ Rediscover the lost art of whispered sweet nothings.

3/ Bread. If you thought the heady combination of flour, water and salt wasn’t romantic, you haven’t thought about it in the right fashion. Soft and pillowy, rounded shaping and hot, HOT oven. (See, your loved one will be lusting after your rolls in no time.)

4/ Lingerie- If impressive underwear is your thing, take the time to research it and make it ethically made.

5/ Switch that bunch of flowers for a pot plant. Indoor, outdoor it doesn’t matter. Even if your green thumb is frequently the colour of squid ink black, a potted plant will last far longer than a bunch of flowers ever would.

succulent valentines day gift || cityhippyfarmgirl

6/ Poetry. No texting, no spell check, just a pen and some paper.

7/ Heirloom vegetable seeds, now stay with me. This is long time love. The kind where together you get to sprout those little seeds to become seedlings, and then watch them cared for, nurtured and loved as they grow, and grow. Ready to be plucked and eaten, preferably over an intimate candle lit dinner for two.

8/ A lovely bottle of organic or biodynamic local wine.

9/ A picnic. You don’t have to be a young couple to enjoy a late afternoon picnic on a grassy hill top. While couples with young kids, don’t quite get to do the gaze into each others eyes so much, kids do generally run off and leave you alone for 2.5 minutes longer than they would if you were eating dinner at home. That’s two and half minutes you could be gazing lovingly into each others eyes, or perhaps a quick pash before the kids run back and trample sand through the sandwiches again.

10/ And finally. Nothing says I love you quite like butter and sugar does, (well in this household anyway.) I have posted these biscuits before, but here is the slightly tweaked simple recipe again.)

coconut strawberry heart || cityhippyfarmgirl

Coconut Strawberry Hearts

250g softened butter

1 cup (220g) sugar

2 tsp vanilla

1 beaten egg

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

3 1/2 cups (525g) plain flour

strawberry jam

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer until pale. Add vanilla and egg, then mix through rest of ingredients. Lightly knead biscuit dough – if mixture looks slightly too dry, knead with dampened hands. Roll biscuit dough between two sheets of baking paper to about 5mm –  Pop into the fridge for an hour or so until firm, and cut out into shapes. If the dough comes back to room temperature while you are still cutting, being tricky to handle, just pop it back into the fridge for a bit.

Bake at 170C for approximately 15-20 mins, until a very light golden colour. Allow to cool and then add half a teaspoon of strawberry jam in between the two biscuits.

this is the sound of summer

cicada- cityhippyfarmgirl

paddle pop- cityhippyfarmgirl this is the sound of summer

with the shrill drone of cicadas

the slurp of a first chocolate paddle pop

the quiet lap of the sea on bare toes

the soft hum of fingers strumming the ukelele

cricket bats have been whacked

soccer balls have been booted

bare feet have known the prickle of the bindi and small spiky sticks in the park

the same feet that bounce from side to side on the hot tar of the carpark, on the way down to the beach

the sound of a soft ahh, as they hit the sand and excitedly splash through the water

this is the sound of summer

grass- cityhippyfarmgirl