Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Wishing you and your family
a safe and happy holiday seasonImage used with permission
Santa's Cookies by Alf Caruana

The presents have been opened
The phone calls to those far away have been made
The in-laws have been visited
And too much food has been eaten
Christmas Day is over for another year :-)

Hubby and I chose our own presents this year.

An Easy Cook Health Oven for me....

and a Bone "Rough Rider" mechanics creeper for him....

I won't be blogging for a couple of weeks
so I'll take this opportunity to wish you all

New Years Eve is our 20th Wedding Anniversary
Here's a much younger "us" being confetti-ed :-)


Friday, December 12, 2008

Growing Challenge #5

The Growing Challenge -
Grow one additional type of fruit or vegetable than you did last year, and grow it from seed.

I have been busy with other things this past week so there hasn't been much activity in my garden.

Progress report....
The corn is now taller than me and is forming some good looking cobs

I caught this predator in the act on a corn plant

I am picking Purple King beans daily

The carrot tops finally seem to be growing. I can only hope the actual carrots are growing as well!
Reminder to self - do not take photos into the sun!

Moon planting....
The pak choy and silverbeet I planted during the New moon have come up.
The carrot and beetroot seeds I planted in November came up, but something demolished them.
Due to being busy I missed the best moon phase this month for planting my next lot of fruit crop.
I guess I will have some bare patches in the garden for awhile :-(

One Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has been visiting daily


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Morning visitors....

This morning I was drawn outside by the noisy screeching of a large flock of Sulphur-crested Cookatoos.

What a racket they were making as they flew from tree to tree calling out to each other, then as quick as they came, they were gone.

Later, about 10 came back.... some were sitting in the old gum tree....

.... some were on the fence posts.... and some were grabbing the wholemeal bread I had thrown out onto the lawn.

As each one got a piece of bread it would land on top of a fence post to devour it's treat.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Greening My Insides #5

The Green Your Insides Challenge is about greening your home, and paying attention to what you put on your body, in your body, and around your body.

What caused my dermatitis?
For nearly 20 years I have believed chemicals were the cause. The dermatitis began under my wedding ring while I was working in a take away food shop, and then crept over my fingers, across my hands and up my arms. My duties at work included preparing foods for the day (slicing lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cold meats, etc. for sandwiches & hamburgers), serving customers during the lunch rush, then cleaning the shop and kitchen. Saturday was the day I cleaned our house from top to toe.... and Sundays was family day.
I did all the cleaning at the shop and at home without gloves, so it's easy to assume the chemicals in the various cleansers were the initial cause…. and other things irritate it.

What irritates my dermatitis?
Friction - doing housework, driving the car, gardening, etc.
Heat - hot weather, driving into the sun, exercise.
Various things I come in contact with, often unknown.
The juice from vegetables makes my hands itchy if I don't wear gloves while slicing, dicing, etc.

What triggers a major breakout?
Most the time I can’t pinpoint the cause of a breakout, but on a couple of occasions the offender has been obvious.
A certain brand of shampoo/conditioner caused the worst reaction I’ve had (see Greening My Insides #1). Their advert says “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”…. believe me, it happened overnight! Within 30 minutes my face was itching and by the next morning a stranger was looking back at me from the mirror!
Touching lettuce triggers a breakout that lasts around two weeks. I discovered this a few years back when I was preparing a salad and forgot to put gloves on while I shredded the lettuce. Usually eating lettuce doesn’t cause a problem, but recently I prepared what I thought was a healthy lunch... shredded lettuce, grated carrot & beetroot fresh from my veggie patch, grated cheese, sliced boiled egg and ham. Within 30 minutes I felt a burning sensation in my top lip, which was followed by peeling for the next two weeks.

Last week I was thinking about my reaction to lettuce so I went to Google and typed - lettuce dermatitis – into the search box. I found an interesting article at which said - Lettuce is an occasional cause of allergic contact dermatitis particularly in food handlers, chefs and market gardeners. It tends to cause hand dermatitis, which spreads up the forearms.

My mind went racing back to the first chore of the day at work.... slicing a full box of lettuce.
Is the humble lettuce the cause of my dermatitis?
I will never be certain what the initial cause was, but it was food for thought, so I printed the page and put it in my handbag.

During my visit to the naturopath last week I read out what I had learned about lettuce while he was giving me the low level laser therapy. I asked his opinion on RAST blood tests and prick tests for allergies. He informed me he could test me with Kinesiology Allergy Tests. He felt he could eliminate many things to reduce the amount of testing via conventional methods if I wanted to follow up further. He tested me for lettuce, carrot & beetroot that day to show me how it worked. I reacted to the lettuce, but not to the other two.

During my visit yesterday we did more testing, and will continue to work our way through a few more during each of my future appointments. I am only going once a week now so this could be a slow process.

So far I have the following lists....

Food: beetroot, carrots, cashews, rice, rye, seafood, soya
Environment: flower pollen, grass, mould

Avoiding for now because I am on a cleansing diet, or the food is acidy.
chocolate, strawberries

Food: lettuce, sweet potato, wheat
Environment: parasites

Lettuce was obvious, and I suspected wheat, so no surprises there.
Sweet potato was a shock, and to think I was about to start eating more of it!
"Parasites! Do you mean fleas and things like that?" I asked.
"No" says the naturopath "The ones in your body"

Ok, they're curable so I can deal with that.... but now I keep imagining big fat juicy worms and other nasty parasites crawling around inside me!
There's no point worming one person in the family so look out hubby, teen son, dog and cat, you're all about to get a dose of worm medication :-)

I researched the symptoms of parasite infestation and was suprised to see Skin Conditions listed when I read Classic Symptoms of Parasitic Infections . According to this site intestinal worms can cause hives, rashes, weeping eczema, and other allergic-type skin reactions. Cutaneous ulcers, swellings and sores, popular lesions, and itchy dermatitis can all result from protozoan invasion.
Further reading informed me that parasites can infect virtually every part of the human body including the abdomen, blood, buttocks, chest, diaphragm, digestive tract, respiratory tract, feet, hands, genitals, liver, muscles, skin and upper arms..... and humans can play host to over 100 kinds of parasites.... oh my goodness, big fat juicy ones, long skinny slimy ones, itsy bitsy fuzzy wuzzy worms.

Do You KNOW WHAT'S INSIDE You? is also an interesting read.

Ok, I have learned more about parasites than I have ever wanted to know!
Be diligent people.... worm your family and animals regularly.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Growing Challenge #4

The Growing Challenge -
Grow one additional type of fruit or vegetable than you did last year, and grow it from seed.

During the past week I have been clearing the veggie patch of plants that have finished producing or gone to seed. The wet weather ruined the squash, zucchini & pumpkin so I will have to start fresh in that area.

Progress report....
The Sebago Potatoes are flowering....

and I am picking 28 spotted ladybirds off them daily!

The corn will soon be taller than me!

Moon planting....
New Moon: a good phase to plant leafy vegetables.
Seeds sown: wombok, pak choy, silverbeet & spinach.

I probably should have waited for the next moon phase, but I also planted out this choko my father-in-law gave me.....

Speaking of the moon.... did you look up last night and see the alignment of Jupiter, Venus and the moon?
It looked like a giant smiley face in the sky!

Have a great day


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Last Day of Spring

3mm in the rain gauge Friday morning
and another
3mm in the rain gauge this morning
Total November rainfall in our backyard - 446mm

The two compost bins I bought earlier in the week have been assembled and set in place with the original one.

Australian Wood Ducks....
I spotted mother duck and the three ducklings out and about again yesterday. As soon as mother duck realised I was there, they were off!

Down the hill....

across the track....

towards the dam

Have a great day.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Australian Wood Ducks.... and more rain!

There was another 50mm in the rain gauge this morning.

Australian Wood Ducks....
We often see ducks in the paddocks or on the dam, but there is one pair of wood ducks that seem to be here all year round. I commented to hubby the other day that we haven't seen any ducklings this year. He reckoned they probably had them hidden after what happened last year!

You see, last spring we saw the wood ducks with a heap of tiny ducklings following them around, but unfortunately each time we saw them over the next week there were less and less ducklings, until one day there were none. We were left wondering which predator had snacked on the poor babies.... snake.... goanna.... or perhaps something else. Nature really makes me sad at times.

When I drove in the driveway this morning I spotted the wood ducks in the paddock and there were some medium size ducklings with them. As soon as they heard me mother duck was off down the hill with her babies following. I raced inside to grab the camera hoping to be able to get a couple of pics of the ducklings before she hid them.

It was my lucky day as mother duck must have stopped in her tracks when she thought I had gone. Here she is with three ducklings....

Father duck is further up the hill keeping a look out!

He makes a sound.... oops... mother duck knows I'm back and she's heading further down the hill....

behind some scrub....

across the track....

then the ducklings disappear over the bank of the dam as mother stands guard....
(can you spot the ducklings backside disappearing)

then mother duck follows her ducklings....

So it seems the wood ducks are being more protective of their ducklings this year. I hope I get to see them again before they are grown up :-)

Have a great day.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Morning Stroll..... and more rain!

After a few dry days we've had more rain overnight.
32mm in the rain gauge this morning, and it's raining again now.

Our dam is full....

.... and the wood ducks are loving it :-)

The agapanthus bud I photographed last Friday has opened
These are in flower now (not sure what they are)
.... and here's another shot of a gorgeous gardenia.
There are stink bugs in the mandarin tree
and this fellow was climbing the mango tree

Two bed frames are now trellises
We spotted them across the road from a friends house. They'd been put out for a council road side collection, so hubby grabbed them. The blue frame has Purple King Beans climbing up it, and the red one is waiting for the next bean planting day.

My 240lt compost bin
I have been waiting for hubby to make me a couple of compost bays from some mesh we are recycling, but he now has other plans for it! So I called in at Bunnings while I was in town yesterday and bought two more compost bins the same as the one above.

While I was at Bunnings I picked up this punnet of heirloom tomatoes
There's one plant each of Black Russian, Mortgage Lifter, Tigerella & Green Zebra. This will give us a chance to try these. I can then buy seeds of the ones we like.

Have a great day.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Greening My Insides #4

The Green Your Insides Challenge is about greening your home, and paying attention to what you put on your body, in your body, and around your body.

It is now six weeks since I started seeing the naturopath again about my dermatitis (see Greening my Insides #1). There has been a big improvement but I've had a setback the last few days. I'm not sure what has aggravated it. One thing may be the trigger or there may be a few contributing factors.... doing more housework than usual & preparing food last Saturday for a hoard of visitors.... eating some of the yummy food I'd prepared instead of sticking to my diet.... something I've touched.... or it could just be the heat and humidity we've had lately.

The naturopath had planned to start reducing the laser therapy and homeopathic treatment but after seeing me yesterday he changed his mind. He mentioned Hair Analysis so he will be looking into cost and the best place to get this done if we decide to follow this route. It is interesting to note that my Zinc levels were down again.

Wheat grass juice
A couple of weeks ago the naturopath told me if I was going past a juice bar that sold shots of wheat grass juice, I should stop and have one to increase the amount of chlorophyll in my diet. He recommended doing this twice a week.

Me, consume wheat grass..... I never thought I'd see the day!

Problem - The local shopping centres I frequent don't have juice bars and I didn't want to start going to major shopping centres as I'd be inclined to visit the other shops and spend money on things I don't need.

Solution - I went to a health food shop and bought some Organic Wheat Grass Powder
I told the naturopath what I had done. He said this is the second best option, then told me I can build up to taking it every day seems I now have it on hand.

So I put 1 teaspoon of wheatgrass powder into some juice....

Gave it a stir....
.... and down the hatch it went!

Well, it tasted like they had squashed a whole bale of hay into that teaspoon of powder!

This sent me searching Google for other ways to get more chlorophyll into my diet.

I found that -
  • Algae is the highest known source of chlorophyll (... yuck!)
  • Dark green veggies like spinach, Spirulina, wheat grass, broccoli and alfa alfa are also very rich in chlorophyll content.
  • Eat greens! This is the easiest way to make sure that you are getting plenty of chlorophyll in your diet. Dark greens like spinach, chard, collard, broccoli, green beans, peas, celery & parsley
I eat my greens so I figured there must be a reason the naturopath wants me to get extra chlorophylll, so I have perservered.

I have altered the preparation a little, I now stir the wheat grass powder into a little water then add some juice.

This makes for a smoother mixture and seems to have improved the taste.... either that or I am getting used to it ;-)

Wheat grass.... now if that doesn't make me green inside, nothing will!