Return to Sender

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I am on a never-ending quest to minimise the waste created by our purchases.  However, I regard the ‘zero-waste’ trumpeted by some as a somewhat false achievement.  Even if your purchase is transported home in your own bag, jar or basket it is almost certain that there was packaging, most likely plastic involved in getting the product to you.

Think about any product and trace it back to the source.  A good example is our free range eggs from our chickens.  At first glance they may seem to be ‘zero waste’ but, no, the grain for the chickens comes in a 20kg plastic bag.

So, one of the best things we can do is to try to buy things where the packaging can be re-used.  Remember, that re-use is far better than recycling.  I was reminded of a couple of examples where I can literally close the loop.

My ideal would be to grow food from seed but I am sufficiently honest with myself to realise that this is not often possible whilst holding down a full-time job.  So, I end up with plastic seedling trays but I was delighted to recently discover that these can be returned to the seller at the market for re-use.

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On another note, I buy my laundry and dishwashing liquid from a local manufacturer at a market stall.  The product is sold through retail outlets in 1 litre bottles, however, if pre-ordered from the market stall it is presented in re-used 2 and 3 litre juice bottles and I am even able to return those bottles when emptied.

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It is worth thinking critically about the source and packaging of your purchases to ensure that you have the opportunity to make informed choices.

Finally Finished

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It is 2 months since I wrote this post about buying the fabric to make a new cover for the day bed.  I had made a small start a few weeks ago but today I started seriously sewing.

I have now finished the cover apart from the fasteners for the straps which will hold it in place.  I will buy some more this week.

Here is the end result.

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As described in my earlier post, the other side is vinyl so that I can leave it reversed when not in use so that if the cat sleeps on it the cat hair will be easy to remove with a damp cloth.

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I am very pleased with the result and the colours match the other furniture and details on the verandah.

After the Storm

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Today was hot and sunny until about 2pm when the cloud rolled in heralding the approaching storm.

We had a couple of hours of rumbling thunder and some rain but no lightning strikes, hail or wind damage which occurred just slightly to the north and west of us.

Most of the activity had gone and the sky had lightened up just before dusk when I looked out of the kitchen window and caught the most amazing view.  I grabbed my camera and captured this shot before the moment was lost.

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Like a Duck

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I have been feeling a bit like a duck lately – all calm on the surface and paddling furiously beneath the surface!

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Work is busy and I have deadlines and targets to meet before Christmas.  I am hopeful of achieving them but I can only do what is humanly possible.

On the home front it is about the mundane things – washing, ironing, preparing meals as well as keeping the house in reasonable order.

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A menu plan written on the weekend is a must to keep me on track during the week.  Tonight was Mexican quinoa and while that was cooking I steamed a chicken breast fillet in preparation for tomorrow night.  In the morning I will take a tub of sweet and sour sauce and some rice from the freezer.  Tomorrow evening will be a simple matter of shredding the chicken, adding to the sauce and heating along with the rice.  Dinner will be ready in no time.

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Last night I did some ironing and tonight the folded clothes were put away.  A little bit each night helps to keep on top of the ordinary tasks and leaves me time for extra jobs on the weekend.

On Sunday we cleaned up the vegetable gardens and planted some new seedlings.  I hope to have some photos of the progress in a couple of days.  We also picked several kilos of cherry tomatoes which are washed, packed and frozen for later use.

 

Beyond Trump

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I stumbled upon this video and want to share it with you.  Thanksgiving is an American tradition but most of us are aware of some of the traditions that go along with it.  There is much more to it than turkey – it is about giving thanks, being grateful for what we have.  Perhaps we could all do with a little more gratitude in our lives and we would be less seduced by the rhetoric being peddled in the examples shown in the video.

 

After watching this several times and many of the associated negative comments, the thing that struck me is that the 3 politicians featured are from first world countries where the population was predominately Caucasian.

People who don’t believe the statistics quoted are only looking at the world from their own perspective and not accepting or embracing the fact that there may actually be a bit more equality in the world in terms of life expectancy, democracies and education.  We have a long way to go but this gives me heart.

What are you grateful for?  Can gratitude engender resilience?

A Family Favourite

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As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for cold curried chicken.

Cold Curried Chicken

3 – 4 chicken breast fillets (around 800g)
1 onion, finely diced3 tablespoons butter
3 – 4 tablespoons flour
900ml chicken stock
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons red currant jelly
150ml cream
Salt and pepper

Cold cooked rice
French dressing

Steam the chicken and shred into bite-sized pieces.  Place in a shallow serving dish.

Melt butter, add onion and cook until soft.  Add curry powder and cook for 5 minutes.  Add flour and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.Gradually add the stock and stir until blended well.  Bring to the boil while stirring then simmer for 30 minutes.  Add lemon juice and red currant jelly.  Mix well and allow to cool.  Stir in cream and season to taste.  Pour over the chicken and chill before serving.  Toss the rice in a little french dressing before serving.

Unfortunately, there are no photographs at present although I may add some in the future when I next make this recipe.

I have successfully made this gluten-free by using gluten free flour to thicken it.  You may need a bit more flour if using gluten free.  I also substituted evaporated skim milk instead of the cream.  You can make your own evaporated milk using equal parts of milk powder and water.  If you want it a bit creamier just add more milk powder.

A Family Picnic

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Today we went to the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens which is about 30 minutes drive from where we live.  We had a family picnic to celebrate my mother’s birthday.  It was a beautiful day and we took the opportunity to say hello to some of the wildlife and take a stroll through the Sculpture Garden after lunch.

This kookaburra kept a look out while we ate lunch.

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A new friend?

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So lifelike……..

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A tranquil spot.

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Magnificent trees

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I made a cold chicken curry for part of our picnic lunch.  This is a family favourite and I will share the recipe with you tomorrow.