Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spring is coming!

Surely. We have had two gorgeous days in a row, which has prompted me to do something that is probably going to end in tears. I planted capsicum, chilli and tomato seeds. I have them in a plastic greenhouse during the day and am moving them indoors at night. How hot is too hot in a greenhouse? I am not sure, anyone know? I only planted a few, just to see - but I am hoping really hard. I also went and got some shallots and lettuce. At coffee this morning we discussed seeds with the Eden seed catalogue between us, we are running out of space. We are now going to plant cucumbers in the front yard to climb the side fence and Mum suggested we plant the lettuce between the roses and that will work well as the front yard near the roses is substantially cooler than everywhere else in summer and may stop them running to seed.

Then I found this. Isn't is gorgeous? This is the flower of my Helleborus, which was the first plant I planted in the fairy garden. It is certainly worth the wait.

Save Power Kit Results

The results were actually pretty good overall. The fridge/freezer was more energy efficient then the specs said, though this is winter so it would be interesting to see the results when its working a lot harder through summer. Both the fridge and freezer temperatures were set at the optimum for efficiency.

The biggest user was the tv system in the lounge. We have a tv, dvd and austar hooked up. We think it was the Austar box that was the big sucker, we had been turning the whole unit off every night and then only putting it on the next evening but then the Austar people told us they update at night so its best to leave it on. Well not anymore, over a quarter the cost to run it on standby and to actually use it came to more than $60. Thats more than 10% of our last bill. Wow! So we are now turning the whole thing off every night.

Surprisingly Wesley's tv/Xbox system didnt use much at all, the microwave is now being turned off when not in use after we read that over a year the digital clock can use more energy than the actual microwaving.

Draft wise it wasn't too bad but we definately need heavier curtains in our bedroom as the infared thermometre dropped quite a lot when it hit our curtains, which isn't good when your having -7 nights!

We will get the kit out again in summer and check everything again. With the recent 17% increase in electricity rates we are hoping that the combination of being more pedantic with turning everything off and our solar hot water, we will see a decrease in our power bill. Hopefully.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Holiday NSW

This may seem like a big travel ad but what the hey! The first day we had a short hop to Gunnedah where we stayed with my sister. She had made cheesecake slice - there was none left after we had gone!

We headed off to Coonabarabran. Went to Siding Springs observatory which has a exhibit and a view platform of the telescope, its massive. That night we went to Tenby Observatory which was excellent, we got to see Saturn, rings and four of its moons. We also got to see a heap of other starry things and while freezing I would recommed anyone to go.

We went to Forbes next, it is a real country town. I think its how they have retained the old stile buildings that really gives it a great feel. We stayed at a great cabin which was overlooking a weir on the Lachlan river. On the way there we stopped at the Parkes radiotelescope, which is where the movie The Dish was set and was about. It was really good and totally free!


Lachlan River

The Dish at Parkes

The Fam at The Dish

The next night we stopped at Yass and there was lovely scenery on the way. It was a pretty cold and windy day so we didnt end up visiting the Cowra Japanese Gardens as we had hoped.

On the way to Yass

Then it was onto the snow! One word - AWESOME!

On the Tubes

Sledding slopes

Snow angel

Wes and Ewan making a snowman


The Chairlift we rode up on

We stayed for three nights and then headed to Bowral and the International Cricket Hall of Fame which, for Dave and I, was really good. For the kids, even if they are into cricket, they have heaps of interactive touch screens, games and things to try.

We did stop at Cooma on the way to Bowral at the SnowyHydro discovery centre. This is also free and we spent about 2 hours there, it is informative and tells the story of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme which was a huge engineering success.

Then is was two stops til home. One at Newcastle to visit a friend and the other at Macksville to visit Dave's parents.

It was so hard to come home, though my dodgy mattress feels gorgeous after a heap of strange ones. Sadly back to work on Monday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

2834 Kilometres

Hi, We are back after a really fabulous holiday. I have some great photos and a whole spiel on some great places to go in New South Wales. Will post tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

State of Origin

Ahhhhh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be. There's always next year.

State of Origin

Tonight is the third game of the State of Origin, it's the decider! I have to say that in recent times I haven't been that fussed about State of Origin, but this year it's very exciting! I hope the Blues win.

Go the Blues!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


You know when you find something out that you know you should of known but it just never had hit home? Umm did that make any sense at all? probably not!

Anyway, Dave and I went browsing on Saturday and we had a look at a toy sale one of the big chain stores are having, heaps of toys everywhere not even just in the toy department. I must have picked up 20 - 30 different toys and everyone was made in China. Every single one...all different brands and types. How does one country have such a monopoly? We are trying to buy more locally and even though I knew lots of toys are made in china I did think I would be able to find ONE that wasn't. But alas no, Dave was surprised that I was surprised, there were a lot of "designed in ....." on the packs followed by "made in China".

That's a bit depressing, that unless you search and search you can't buy a locally made (and I'm talking anywhere in the country) toy for your child.

Amelia was getting in the swing of things saying on top of her voice "is this one china?" while holding a toy in the air. Ha! Kids are sponges!

BTW this post is about how the option to buy locally has been taken away from us through companies choosing to manufacture overseas for economic reasons, not a stab at China for being the place where they are manufactured. It's kind of like how more and more food is produced overseas and options for local buying are growing smaller. Somethings just can't be bought locally anymore.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Green Stuff

Firstly for the garden green stuff ~ I found these bulbs near the fence, I have no idea what they are, I don't remember them from last year and I didn't plant them. So I have shifted them to a bit further up the back. I hope they continue to grow.

The garlic has sprung up and the four boxes all look like this. Like happy soldiers all straight and tall.

I just felt like planting something, so I filled this planter with some soil, a line of lime and planted some more dwarf peas. I just put the planter against the wire fence so the peas have somewhere to climb. Here is our cherry tree before pruning. I don't think it's every been pruned as the shape is a bit weird with the centre not very open. This is after we pruned it, we had to get it low enough to net and to pick the cherries. We tried our best.
Now on to other green stuff. We got our save power kit and it's a little bit exciting.
There is a power thingy that tells you how much power each appliance uses in kilowatts and $$$, it also tells you how much greenhouse gases your looking at too. There is a thermal thermometre, stopwatch, a compass and another thermometre to test that your fridge, freezer etc are at the correct tempretures. You get a worksheet too. Not too shabby. The "audit" will take a few days as things like the fridge need to be tested for 24hrs as they run in cycles, so you get a better idea over a full day.

I will report our findings here. I found out how much a kilowatt we actually get charged, 22.1c, I had no idea which is not particularly smart of me!