Slow Living – February


This is my second month of joining in the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials and already I seem to be struggling with what to write.  A couple of things seems to have conspired against me – it is a short month – is it really the end of the month already? and the weather!  Since the dry spell broke on the Australia Day weekend (26th January) it has rained almost constantly which limits our activities somewhat

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  With the onset of some cooler weather with the rain it was an ideal time to pull out the slow cooker.

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I made a batch of pumpkin soup and and beef casserole.


{Prepare}  We had an excellent crop of figs.

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As well as eating lots of them fresh from the tree, I was able to dry some.  This was very successful so I am hoping to have enough to do again next year.


{Reduce}  This is always a hard one as we do this each and every day.  I turned a singlet of mine that was too short into one for Miss O.

2013-03-03 05{Green}  The weather has brought out the mould but I am keeping things clean and smelling fresh with the use of clove oil.  You can read a previous post here.

Clove oil

{Grow}  The warm, dry beginning to the summer meant that we had about 8 mangoes on our small tree.  We planted it about 4 years ago and this is the first time it has fruited.  I suspect that it is generally too cool for them here but this year’s crop has made it worthwhile.  They are some of the best mangoes I have tasted and the flesh is as smooth as anything with no sign of stringiness.

Last weekend we had a rare fine day so we bought and planted some vegetable seedlings.  They have more than doubled in size in a week.

2013-03-03 07{Create}  Since my sewing machine has returned from being serviced I have got quite a bit of sewing done.  I am working through my stash of fabric as well as some pieces I have been given.  Here are some of the results.

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Winter and summer pyjama bottoms.

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A new lining in my skirt.

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{Discover}  I don’t think I have read anything this month but in a different vein I did discover some fabric to be used when I was sorting out my stash.

{Enhance}  We gave away the used fencing wire via Freecycle.  I also shared some of the many self-sown cucumber seedlings with neighbours, work colleagues, blogging friends and also on Freecycle.

It is a shame that I did not take some photos of them.  Not so much for the seedlings but the innovative packaging.  I used some excess egg cartons that I had been given and each seedling and its soil was packed in a space in the carton.

2013-03-03 11An internet friend sent me some fabric and I used some of it to make a dress suitable for an 18 month old.  I will send it to her for her granddaughter who was born last week.

{Enjoy}  We travelled to Melbourne and spent a weekend with our daughter who moved there recently.  We saw her new home, sampled food at some local establishments and shopped.

2013-03-03 12I bought this dress to wear to a wedding in a few weeks.  I just need to finalise accessories.

The slow living this month has been heavily weighted towards sewing and I guess that is not entirely unexpected with being stuck indoors due to the weather.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..

47 & Falling


After weeks of very humid weather we finally have some respite.  We have a hygrometer which sits on the bench between the kitchen and dining room and when I got up this morning it was 47% relative humidity – that is about half what it has been recently.  During the course of the day it fell even more to 33% at one stage.

This may not seem particularly exciting to those of you you are not living in humid, high rainfall areas but believe me, it is exciting when your lounge chairs look like this.

2012-10-03 01The back looked worse – if that is possible.

2012-10-03 02They have been getting worse over about a week or two but it was no point in cleaning them while the weather was so wet.  In fact The Duke could not work out how it go so wet the other night – the rain does not blow in – until I pointed out that both of the chairs were completely wet simply due to the humid conditions.

Today I cleaned both recliner chairs and the 2 seater sofa.  I have a small jar with about 100ml of olive oil and some lemon essential oil.  The lemon oil is because I like the aroma and also it is supposed to be a spider deterrent.  I am not sure how effective that is.  I added 5ml of clove oil to the mix and then with an old t-shirt wiped, rubbed and polished for a couple of hours until I had all of the leather cleaned, free of mould and gleaming.

Here are the ‘after’ photos.

2012-10-03 03And the back.

2012-10-03 04I also keep a spray bottle with 5ml of clove oil diluted in 500ml of water.  Using this and a clean cloth I also cleaned all of the kitchen cupboards and kickboards as well as quite a few of the door frames and skirting boards.  Keeping the mould at bay is a never-ending battle in this climate so I make the clove oil a regular part of my cleaning routine.

If you are interested in more information about reducing the humidity in your home as well as the use of clove oil you can type ‘mould’ into the search button on the right-hand side of the blog and you will find all of my other posts that deal with this issue.

Finally, if you are concerned about humidity in your home I would strongly recommend purchasing a hygrometer.  It is a real eye-opener to actually know what the humidity reading is.

Clove Oil


I have mentioned clove oil a couple of times in posts, particularly in regard to eliminating mould from your home.

In response to a question from African Aussie after my post about the disinfectant disaster and cleaning I have decided to put all of the information together in one post.

As people who have been following my blog posts will know, we live in an area which has high humidity and rainfall for at least 6 months of the year.  Last summer was particularly bad with our hygrometer consistently measuring the humidity in our living area at above 85% for about 5 months.  The only time I could reduce it was by running the portable dehumidifier.  It was so bad that I slipped and fell because our vinyl flooring was so wet, the sheets felt damp when we got into bed and mould grew on everything that was not constantly moving – ceiling, walls,furniture, clothes, shoes, belts and bags.

I do not generally use toxic cleaners and I had tried vinegar and even bleach and although the appearance improved the mould would be back again in next to no time.

I had heard of clove oil but was unsure of how effective it would be.  A work colleague who had similar problems had researched where to buy clove oil and found that the best option was Oil of Cloves.  Check the site for all of the information on clove oil and its mould inhibiting properties.  We bought it in 1 litre quantities and split the cost between several people.  This is a good option if you are interested because if you are having problems with mould, it is almost inevitable that your neighbours are as well.

I bought 200ml which I think will be plenty for a considerable length of time for me.  I decided that $70 was a small price to pay to see if I could get rid of the mould.  I am pleased to say it has been very effective.  I cleaned all of my shoes using the recommended dilution and the other day I took a pair of shoes from my cupboard that had not been worn for 6 months, yet there was no sign of any mould on them.  Previously any shoes that were left in the cupboard for more than a fortnight would start to be affected.

2011-08-04 03If you are serious about getting rid of the mould I would also recommend a dehumidifier and also these eggs which are excellent for small, enclosed spaces such as wardrobes and linen cupboards.  They are readily available.  Mould cannot grow in a humidity of less than 60%.

2011-08-04 04I hope this information is beneficial to you as the health risks of mould in your home make it definitely worth doing everything you can to eliminate it.

I am interested to hear other people’s experiences with clove oil, dehumidifiers and battling mould.

Disinfectant Disaster & Other Cleaning Tales


On the weekend I was picking up a couple of things at the local supermarket and I noticed that they had small bottles of disinfectant concentrate.  My current bottle (that I have had for a few years) is nearly finished so I decided to buy some more.  I do not routinely use disinfectant but I usually use a couple of drops when I am cleaning the compost bucket and the kitchen bin.

I was putting the new bottle away in the laundry cupboard and managed to drop it with catastrophic consequences.  The hard plastic bottle cracked when it hit the tiled floor and quickly began to leak.  I grabbed the bottle and put it in the bowl I use for handwashing, which happened to be on the laundry bench.  Nevertheless, there was an amount of disinfectant concentrate on the laundry floor.

Rather than waste it, I got a bucket of very hot water and decided to mop the floor of the laundry and toilet .  The fumes were dreadful, the floor ended up spotless and I had a debilitating headache for 48 hours.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

I decanted the remaining disinfectant from the bowl into the almost empty bottle so I have enough for another few years but I know I will be VERY careful when I am handling it.

I was reading this post on Frugal Downunder yesterday and noticed that the first comment mentioned using tea tree oil.  Why didn’t I think of that?  In the future that is what I will be using instead of disinfectant.

Most of my cleaning consists of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.  I buy the cleaning vinegar from the supermarket and put 1 litre in in a 2 litre bottle then top-up with water and allow to stand for a couple of weeks.  This way you get twice as much for the price.  I found this savings tip on Simple Savings.  The bicarb is bought in bulk from Simply Good so no packaging is generated.

I have a selection of re-usable cloths, some are microfibre and some are cotton.

I use beeswax furniture polish which I buy locally at a market.

The main problem we have is mould as we live in a high rainfall area with very high humidity during the summer months.  Clove oil kills the mould spores and I was able to buy some this year in bulk.  It is expensive but you need very little (5mls in 500ml of water) in a spray bottle.  I am gradually treating all of the walls, ceilings, furniture and even shoes and it certainly has made a huge difference.  The syringe is so that I can accurately measure out 5ml.

I do not have a lot of chemicals and the disinfectant disaster reminded me of the reasons why we are better off without these chemicals in our homes.  In almost all cases there is a less toxic option.