Our Garden – August

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Another month has gone by in our garden, a month of winter rain, wind and occasional frosts. We had crocuses, for a day, until they were battered by the weather. Daffs continue to flower.
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We’ve harvested rocket and spinach, enjoying the “oh so fresh” taste with savoury pastries, sandwiches and brunch.

Carrots are shooting and I’ve planted beetroot, rainbow chard, spring onions, garlic and snow pea seedlings.
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I cut the rhubarb right back at the end of June. Look at it now. The relish I made was delicious with cheese and biscuits, I’m looking forward to making more.

There are new shoots on two hydrangea bushes. (I admit, I thought they had died!)
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Our citrus tree has had lots of flowers and tiny fruit are now appearing.
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Does anyone know what this tree is? A few metres tall with sticky seed pods. Two free plant id apps haven’t been useful.
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And I’m not sure what these will be. The joy of a new garden 🙂
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Changing Seasons – August

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My initial thought was that August was a totally wet, cold and windy month here in Tasmania. However, the photos I’ve taken in the past thirty one days give a different impression.

Between showers, we did get out for walks at Pipeclay Lagoon Conservation Area. I’m not sure what the wood spikes were for, perhaps remains of an old fence line or jetty.
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Also a walk on nearby Clifton Beach. Although we had to rush back to the car as the rain fell again.IMG_4264

The mail boxes at this beach always make me smile.
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All the rain created spectacular waterfalls where I experimented with long exposure photos.
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Despite the weather, August is a colourful month here. The bright yellow wattle is a winter highlight.

There has been snow on Mount Wellington all month but the days are getting longer so it is now still light when I get home. I don’t need a torch to get the post from our street side mail box. Oh the memories of having post pushed through a letter box in the front door. They don’t do that here!
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My crochet project at the moment is this spiral square blanket.
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I’m linking this post to Su’s Changing Seasons series. Have a look at how other bloggers have spent their month.

My daily commute

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On this day 5 years ago, I said goodbye to my London Banking career.

My daily commute then was a packed train through city suburbs into London Bridge Station and London Cannon Street Station.
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Today my commute starts at a bus stop overlooking the river and mountain, with a journey on an uncrowded bus passing the beach.

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There are several stops and depending on the weather, I try to walk a while rather than waiting at the nearest stop. I enjoy watching the seabirds, whilst walking and waiting – cormorants, oyster catchers, plovers, herons, dab chicks as well as gulls.

There is a bus stop with a shelter, up the hill which is convenient on cold or rainy days.
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Buses before 8.30am are an express route, picking up passengers this end but then non-stop into the city. I have to remember to get off at the local shopping centre and change to another slow bus to work. I’m sure one day I will be so engrossed in a book that I‘ll miss the interchange and end up across the bridge in the city centre.

Waterfalls after the rain

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We’ve been out and about this weekend, visiting waterfalls.

Silver Falls are close to Hobart, a short walk from Fern Tree, on the slopes of Mount Wellington.
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Russell Falls are in the Mount Field National Park, just over a hours drive away. As there has been snow on the mountains for most of the month, and heavy rain in the past week, the falls were spectacular.
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I had fun with long exposure photos of the falls, as well as photos of the tree ferns and alpine moss.
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#plasticfreejuly Wrap Up

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As I review the Challenge Checklist I am pleasantly surprised by what we were already doing and what we’ve achieved in just one month. It has been easy to create new habits with our shopping, with storing food in the fridge.

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I’ve bought this book by a local Hobart family who have been living a specific lifestyle for a few years. I’ve only read the early chapters but it is inspiring and practical. It focuses on the key R’s of waste free living:
Refuse
Reduce
Reuse
Recycle
Rot
Reframe

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The book talks about our consumer society, food miles and the benefit of buying local, eating seasonal produce, connecting again with where our food comes from, the effort and energy needed to grow it.

It talks about composting, growing your own, getting to know your local farm shops and markets, being part of a local community, buying in bulk, preserving food that is in season to last through winter, foraging, natural remedies, repurposing, upcycling. It talks about thinking how our parents and grandparents lived before plastic. Is there anything we can learn from them?

It has recipes, suggestions, solutions. I don’t know that I’ll be making my own mascara or toothpaste but never say never.

So I’ll wrap up Plastic Free July in beeswax. Thanks for all the support, comments, inspiration and for joining the discussion. Let’s all try to make a difference, no matter how small. Our changes have a ripple effect. Let’s create a new normal. Hopefully our politicians and multi-national companies will soon get on board.

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Changing Seasons – July

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It’s mid-winter here in Hobart. We’ve had more rain than usual and more snow on our mountain. However, we have been able to get out most weekends, a bush walk, a beach walk, to “Festival of Voices” events and a visit to the picturesque town of Richmond where I played with black and white photos of the historic bridge.

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A partial lunar eclipse coincided with the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11. I was fascinated by the various documentaries on the moon landing and the role that Australian telescopes at Honeysuckle Creek and at Parkes, played in relaying the tv pictures from the first moon walk.

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I have finally completed a long overdue crochet project. Three and a half years ago I was given a kit with 75 different yarns, 3 patterns to follow plus a colour chart. I have worked it on and off but was determined to complete the scarf and wear it this winter. I added my own variation, stripes to compliment the squares, easier and quicker to crochet. I’m happy with the result and it’s been warm and cosy on these cold days.

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As part of my Plastic free July Challenge, I attended a workshop to learn how to make my own beeswax wraps. It was much easier than I anticipated and we learnt two techniques. We used a recipe of Tasmanian beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil. With our fabric on a sheet of baking paper we painted the hot mixture onto our fabric squares, then with a second sheet of baking paper on top, we ironed the fabric to spread the wax evenly. Peeled apart, the fabric soon set when held up in the air. The other method required a heated tray, or baking tray in the oven. The workshop was friendly, informative and relaxed and we each came away with four new wraps.


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The days are drawing out and rather than getting home from work in the dark, I’m now capturing sunsets on my walk from the bus stop.

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I’m linking this post to Su’s Changing Seasons Challenge.

#PlasticFreeJuly – Dilemmas

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I’m looking at the plastic that is still ending up in our recycling bin and I have a dilemma.

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We purposefully buy locally produced milk and orange juice and both come in plastic bottles. We could buy them in tetra pak cartons, but then the food miles is a huge compromise and we are not supporting our local Tasmanian economy. I was surprised to see one carton of juice on the shelf with this labelling.
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We need to find a butcher in our new suburb. We have taken the convenient option and been buying prepacked meat from the supermarket. That needs to change.

Another dilemma is soft fruit and cherry tomatoes, that are packed in plastic boxes. Raspberries and blueberries are a favourite with my breakfast cereal or porridge. Small tomatoes are sweet and an easy option with my packed lunch. So far I haven’t given up these favoured healthy foods. I have frozen blueberries in the freezer but they are a “Product of Chile”. So more food miles and still in plastic packaging. I plan to grow tomatoes so that will be a seasonal solution. Perhaps I could plant some raspberry canes too.

This month I have only really tackled our food shopping. Cleaning products and toiletries are a whole different quandary.

#plasticfreejuly is just the beginning ……

Although our council collects recycling rubbish each fortnight, there are concerns where our plastics go when they are out of our vicinity, out of sight. Australia has a big problem. Two years ago, China stopped taking our recycled products. Now, Indonesia is returning several shipping containers of “contaminated waste”.

There are companies here making products from recycled plastic. The reusable produce bags I purchased, street furniture, public benches, bollards. Some councils are resurfacing roads with a plastic by-product. I have pencils and a rain jacket made from recycled plastics. But so much more needs to be done on a national level as well as local and individual scale.

Tasmanian beaches are generally rubbish free, but I have picked up some bottles and the plastic rings from bottle tops. I now purposely cut the plastic rings before I put any in our recycling bin, so they can’t strangle a bird or animal if they end up somewhere unexpected.
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Our Garden – July

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It’s been a quiet month in the garden. I’m trusting that seeds we’ve planted are germinating and growing underground, waiting to shoot when warmer weather arrives.

A highlight has been these deep pink camellia blooms. The buds were covered in aphids and ants so I was delighted that one spray treatment resulted in such beautiful flowers.
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We’ve trimmed our variegated hedge.
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We used sprigs pruned from the rosemary bush to make lamb kebabs. They cooked nicely on the barbeque. Yes we are the crazy neighbours who barbeque in the dark on cold winter evenings.

I’ve been buying a gardening magazine and watching back shows of Gardening Australia on tv. I have a lot to learn about gardening in this vast southern land.
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As we come to the end of the month there are signs that spring is around the corner with dwarf narcissus appearing. And today, another camellia has bloomed. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the colour in our winter garden.
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#PlasticFreeJuly – Positive Changes

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Three weeks into this challenge and I’ve made some positive changes

I’ve stopped using plastic produce bags that are provided in our supermarkets. I’ve bought reusable produce bags, some cotton ones, others that are made from recycled plastic bottles. They work well for shopping and keeping cauliflower, lettuce, etc in the fridge.

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Where possible I’ve bought produce from farmers markets or at local shops.

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Some items on the checklist have been easy to tick. For over a year, I’ve been using a keep cup for any take away coffee. We have metal drink bottles that we take out instead of buying water. At home we have a Soda Stream for sparling water or flavoured drinks. I don’t use straws and haven’t bought balloons for many years, although balloons were always a part of birthdays when our daughters were young.

I guess I’ve been making conscious decisions for a while. When we moved and had an outdoor washing line again, I bought metal pegs, not plastic ones.

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We have also changed to a sustainable, ethical, plastic free toilet paper, made from bamboo.

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We are far from being “plastic free” but we are making changes and reducing the amount of plastic that we buy and place in our recycle bin.