Friday, March 26, 2010

I Am Totally Impressed by Utas

There is something at the University of Tasmania that is new, green and tasty. It is not hidden away behind the horticulture building and it does not involve a concrete slab building. 

What is it?

Why, it is the new organic food co-operative and community garden! 

Source is on university property, right near the hub of uni life (that is, the uni bookshop, bar, newagency and the ref - a cafeteria of sorts). It is a straw bale and timber building (love), has a pizza oven and a rather large community garden. So many pumpkins, tomatos and beans! The cauliflowers are growing well too. 

 A pretty vegetable picture! 
These are actually from Woolworths (a huge supermarket chain).... though the zucchini is from someone's veggie garden, so it might be organic!

Inside the store you can buy organic veggies and fruit (some from that very garden) as well as organic honey and other things you would find in a health food store (agave nectar! I really want to get some). 

This centre also has a green recycling system, meaning that the wastes from the ref can are now getting turned into compost. (Though if they used all the waste food that would be a MASSIVE amount of compost... I wonder how much they are actually using?)

If you become a member you get a discount of 20% on everything there, but I'm not sure abouut joining as it seems to have more responsibility associated with it than most other memberships do (such as doing volunteer work sometimes). It is a co-op, after all. Also, the prices are very competitive. I did not see any that made me think, "they're crazy, asking that much!"

It is going to be so much easier for me now if I want to buy something organic, seeing as I am already at the uni a couple days a week. I leave you with the objective of Source:

The provision of low cost, local, organic and minimally packaged food to members in a manner which provides them with a hands-on education in how to live more sustainable in an urban environment.

Sounds good to me!

Kathy xx

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Letter About Marriage

This morning, while reading the blogs I subscribe to, I came across a gem. Those who know me will know that I do not have any children yet (just a husband and a cat) but I think this post is relevant for everyone, whether married, engaged, dating or single.

Here is a excerpt:

If your wife or husband does something really stupid, forgive.  If they do it again, forgive again.  Forgiveness must be the propelling force in your lives each day. Dwell on the strengths, push out thoughts of their weaknesses.  Take every thought captive–choose to love.

Go on, read the rest. It is good food!

Kathy xx

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How Did St. Patrick's Day Come About?

Today is GREEN day! I am wearing black and purple (no, I'm not emo, even though I also have a blog) and no green at all but that is beside the point. I'm not one to celebrate random holidays but I am a Curious Kathy and I like to know the why and how of things. So... 

Saint Patricks Day!

17 March, unless the 17th happens to fall within Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter). This happened in 1940, when it was celebrated instead on April 3, in 2008, when it was observed on 15 March. The next time this happens will not be until 2160!

Well, a guy called Patrick, obviously. It is generally accepted that Pat was born in 387 and died in 493. He is now the patron saint of Ireland, which is amusing as he only went there in the first place because he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland to be a slave. After escaping, he trained to be a priest, before going back to Ireland as a bishop to convert the Irish to Christianity.

Why the Green?
You might be surprised (like I was) to know that BLUE was the original colour associated with St. Pat. However, now green is the colour associated with him, due to the shamrock.

What is the Deal with the Shamrock?
Ah yes, the shamrock. I always thought it was to do with good fortune or something like that (I should have known better, it is afterall a SAINT day). It turns out that St. Pat used the shamrock, or clover, to explain the Trinity of God (that is, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: three but also one, just like the three leaves make one shamrock) to the pre-Christian Irish. Now, the shamrock is the registered trademark of the Government of Ireland. The phrase "the wearing of the green" means to wear a shamrock.

When did it Become a Public Holiday?
St. Pat's day was officially made a public holiday in 1903. However, it is generally believed that the day has been celebrated since the 1600s. Although in much of the world St. Pat's day is celebrated in a secular fashion, in Ireland it is still a religious day for both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland.

So there we are, a blog post written entirely in green, with the exception of other colour words!

All my information was shamelessly taken from Wikipedia... you would be surprised at how stringent the guidelines are for contributing!

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm a Pattern Person

A couple of posts ago (here to be precise) I went on and on about how I was starting a new freeform crochet project. Since then, things have happened... here is a summary (cos I love summaries!):
  • I do not like freeform crochet. 
  • I do not like wasting yarn (even the tiny scraps I'll probably never use) on freeform crochet
  • What is the use of freeform crochet. A mural???? What is the point of making a MURAL?
  • If I make it what will I do with it? My husband will not want a crochet mural in the house. So storage... but,
  • My house is tiny. I don't want to have to keep and store a weird freeform thing where I could keep other things. Like yarn.
  • I don't like making something when I can't visulise the end result. 
  • I am a pattern person.
  • I do not like freeform crochet.
In freeform crochet's defense, I did learn some new stitches: crochet moss stitch and a great way of making a ruffle. I suppose it has its benefit. Yes... BENEFIT. Only one...

Okay people who love freeform crochet... tell me I'm wrong and why...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have been making my own Laundry Detergent for some time now, over a year in fact. If you haven't done this, I really encourage you to give it a go! It is easy and cheap, and works really well. In addition, it only takes about 20 minutes to whiz up.
I am very happy with the results. When I first tried it, my reaction on pulling the clothes out of the machine was "whoa - soft!" My machine is a front-loader, but this powder mix dissolves without any problems. I use white vinegar mixed with a few drops of tree tree oil as a softener - about a tablespoon. The results are heavenly!

I found the recipe on
Rhonda's blog, here is a direct link to the post - well worth a visit if you are interested in making your own cleaning products.

I was able to find all of the ingredients at Woolworths. I bought a container to store it in too.
Laundry Detergent (powder)

4 cups grated laundry or homemade soap or soap flakes (Lux)*
2 cups borax
2 cups washing soda

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store in a plastic container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons per wash. This powder will not make suds and this is perfectly okay.

This batch lasted me 7 months, at about 1-3 loads a week.

*I used Homebrand laundry soap, which I grated and the whizzed with my stick blender to make it tiny so it would dissolve really easily.
Also, I wrote the ingredients on a label and stuck it to the container - just incase the cat decides to eat it and we have to rush him to the vet... you know... the usual.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Freeform Crochet (Or, New Horizons)

I have a LONG list of things I need to do today because I am going to go away tomorrow. So it makes sense that I would start a new crochet project... 

Want to join the fun? Here it is: freeform CAL. (CAL means: crochet along.) You do need to be a member of Ravelry to join in (you might be able to see it if you're not a member though, not sure). BUT, if you crochet, knit or weave, and if you have designs to share or sell, you should be on there! It is a fantastic resource and a fantastic online community.

I'm away for five days, but once I'll get back I'll be sharing some pictures!


Monday, March 1, 2010

Blackberry Jam: A Story of Being Cooked.

The Day We were Put in a Jam (as opposed to a pickle)
Once upon a time, on an island known as Tasmania (famed the world over for apples, cheese and beer) we were growing happily on a thorny bush. One day, when we were big and black and round, a person - you know her as Kathy - came along with an old icecream container and started to pick us, one by one. Plop! Into the container we would go. Some of us were spared the container only to suffer the horror of being put into Kathys mouth and eaten. The indignity of it was almost unbearable. We are only grateful that her niece was absent, otherwise it is doubtful that any of us would have made it into the bucket at all.
Crammed together in the container, we were carried back to Kathys lair. We were tipped into a strange container with holes in it and water was poured all over us. Those of us who had been in the sun only moments earlier were shocked by the coldness that was now bringing our core temperature down to dangerous levels. This was nothing to the torture that was about to be thrust upon us.
We were scooped out of the strange, holey container and thrown into a solid metal one. A white, sand-like substance was tipped on top of us. Then it started to get hot. At first it was pleasant, but as the temperature rose, our comfort level dropped, and we started to sweat. The sand-like substance started to turn into a clear liquid, stained red with our juices. The temperature continued to rise. Some of us were beginning to loose our grasp on reality. A few of us broke down. Literally. 
The temperature was so hot now that we were bouncing and bubbling without control - a foaming, purple mass. Just when we thought we could stand it no longer, the heat subsided. Then, we were falling. We found ourselves in clear containers. We quickly realised that we were trapped, for discs of metal were used to cover over our only possible exit. What is our fate going to be? Is there any hope of rescue?
(A story of jam making, as told by a talkative and rather dramatic blackberry.) 

Three Minute Berry Jam
This recipe is suitable for all sorts of berries, including raspberries and boysenberries.

2 and a 1/2 cups of berries
2 and a 1/4 cups of sugar

Put the berries and the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Boil briskly three minutes. Pack and seal.
If the fruit is very ripe, a further minute of boiling is desirable.
The jam will appear lightly set at first, but it thickens after a few days of storage.
Due to the quick cooking time, the fruit does not breakdown a great deal. If you want less lumps, use a potato masher to squish and squash the fruit. Do this before bringing it to the boil.
Makes about 2 x 350 millilitre jars (that is, two medium sized jars).

For sterilizing jam jars, go here.
By the way, the blackberries are still imprisoned in the jars... I will rescue them one day. Too bad their visit to toast/scone/waffle heaven won't last long!