Monday, 20 February 2017

Making a Start on Subtraction

Like many people, I've accumulated a lot of material "stuff" over the course of my forty-something years.  In that way, I don't think I'm much different to a lot of other people my age who live in relative wealth in a prosperous, first-world country. I don't think I'm alone either in feeling the burdens of some of this superfluous stuff. 

The oppostite process to the accumulation of stuff is the subtraction of it. I'm not sure where I first read about the idea of subtraction. Not the mathematical operation that leads to a lesser total, but the minimalist concept that leads you to more. To me, the mindset of "less is more" could lead to some very worthwhile equations like these: 

* less to clean/less shopping for even more stuff  =  more time
*less stuff taking up room in your house/life  = more space
*less money spent buying 'unnecessary' stuff  =  more money
*less stuff to keep clean and to worry about = more energy (physical and mental)
*less confusion about what is really important = more clarity
*less need to accumulate/consume even more = more contentment with what one has


So, like fellow bloggers before me (Cheryl over at A Simply Good Life, Chris at Gully Grove and Fiona at Stay Home Instead), I have begun that process of subtracting unnecessary stuff from our home and my life. Rather than beginning with whole rooms , I began with a single drawer in my kitchen:

(What a mess!)

(The things I decided to keep.)

(Much better!)

I thought carefully about every item in that drawer. Was it broken? When was the last time I used it? Did I use it often/at all?  Did I have another one lurking somewhere? Could I re-purpose it somehow so that it would become useful? Anything that didn't "pass muster" (extra cookie cutters, melon baller, coasters and the like) went into a box for the op-shop  destined, hopefully, to become useful to somebody else. 

The challenge now is to continue this subtraction and not to accumulate any more. There are many more drawers, cupboards, bookshelves and closets to do. Given that I can be prone to procrastination with most bigger projects, I find the most important thing is to make a start ... and then just keep going!

Are you undertaking some subtraction yourself?


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Little Apricot and Coconut Balls

There are just three ingredients in these sweet, simple and delicious apricot and coconut balls. 

Simple, homemade and delicious!

All you need is some soft and juicy dried apricots, coconut and honey. This is the recipe that I used. It appealed to me because honey was the additional sweetener and not icing sugar which featured in a lot of other recipes I found for apricot logs or apricot balls. I also used dessicated coconut instead of shredded coconut because that is what I had on hand. They are so easy to make:

Put 1 1/2 cups dried apricots, 1/2 cup dessicated coconut & 1 Tablespoon honey in food processor.

Blitz until apricots & coconut are blended together thoroughly.

Shape teaspoonfuls of apricot & coconut mixture into little balls with wet hands.  
Roll in the extra coconut. Chill & store in fridge.

These little balls of apricot-y goodness are so simple, so easy and so delicious. It is so hard to stop at just one you might want to double the recipe!


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Scenes from a Scorcher

Today, an overcast sky and a gentle breeze offer a welcome contrast to the sweltering temperatures from the latest heatwave of our Summer. Days on end of high temperatures seems to be the way of things this season, so when a cooler day comes along, it dawns with something akin to blessed relief.

The extremely hot conditions over the weekend just past kept us inside most of the time. It reached 43C in the shade of our covered deck, shadecloth blinds down, on Sunday. It was 40C at 10:30 in the morning! Had we put the thermometer out in the sun, that needle would've nudged way higher. 

Our heatwave days looked like this:

The hot Summer sun rises out beyond our back deck. 

The temperature reached 40C on our shaded deck at 10:30a.m. Sunday morning.

Early morning sprinkler watering the avocado tree.

Keeping the water up to salad greens like lettuce. 

Skinks, like this one, were active in the garden.

 An old bedsheet to shade our native bee hives.
(Before we secured it.)

Simple foods/meals were prepared without adding extra heat. 
(Homemade peanut butter.)

Reading books and watching a movie were our afternoon activities.
(All borrowed from our local!)

Refreshing, homemade treats like these were essential!

Heatwaves do thankfully come to an end though the temperature is set climb again throughout the week here. Think I'll need to make more of those icepops for next weekend!

Have you been experiencing weather extremes where you live? How do you prepare for them?