Independence Days: Valentine’s Day and Winter Olympics

Photo by: Darko TT

It’s Valentine’s Day today. We don’t do gifts, or cards, or flowers or restaurants. We simply spend some quality time together and eat yummy, homemade food. We like it that way.

The Winter Olympics have begun. On Friday we spent the afternoon at the beach with some friends and we had our very own Olympic events. Frisbee throwing, gum-boot tossing and cross-country skiing with four people strapped to planks of wood and attempting to get up the beach without falling in a pile (unsuccessfully). Fun times.

Our local crows have a discovered a source of Macadamia Nuts. Every day they fly up to the telephone poles and drop the nuts from a great height in order to weaken the shells. Sometimes they give up and we now have quite the collection of discarded Macadamia Nuts. Yesterday we decided to crack one open and found it to be delicious. Now I’m trying to work out how we can steal the nuts from our crows or even better, find out where they are getting them from.


  • I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I want to learn new skills this year. I’m using the Boy Scouts of America as inspiration, so I’ll post more about that next week.

Getting off the Economic Grid

  • We almost ran out of money this week. Oops. I get paid in Australian Dollars and have a certain portion of my pay sent to the USA every two weeks for living expenses. I need to keep good track of our expenses here so I get just the right amount of money sent over. I don’t want too much sent over when the exchange rate is rotten, but if we send too little we are living on beans and rice for a while. We are almost at that point. Brendan’s been ‘investing’ in new tools for his bike repair business so we have less on hand that I am comfortable with. Our credit card also seems to have a large erroneous charge on it which I’ll need to call up about next week. I don’t know how people live hand to mouth every week. It’s stressful!

Stockpiling Food

  • Brendan did our bulk shopping this week. Hooray! I didn’t have to go. We now have about 6 months worth of staples. We focus on rice, beans, pasta, oats, honey, sultanas (raisins), tinned tuna, stock powder (bouillon) and tomato paste. They are all foods we eat regularly, but which store really well. We simply eat our way through our stored food and restock when we get a bit low so we will always have food on hand if we can’t get to the store for a while. We simply supplement our stored food with fresh dairy, fruit and vegetables (and occasionally meat) on a weekly basis.

Grow some food

  • Yesterday I sowed some more seeds: Spinach, Snow Peas and Lettuce. Today I’ll probably put in some more onions, leek and beets. Most of the onions failed to germinate after the torrential rains we had a few weeks back, so it’s time to cut our losses and sow some more.
  • Our oranges are now ripe and ready for eating. Brendan made crepes for us this Valentine’s Day morning and we ate them with orange juice and sugar. Delish! Later this morning I plan on making a batch of Ginger Ale using some of our own orange juice.
  • Our collards are growing like mad. They seem to like being chopped back every day so we are eating them in every meal. They are quite versatile vegetables.
  • I harvested a big batch of snow peas yesterday also. They are so nice plucked straight from the plant, but a couple of cups worth made it into the house.
  • Our first spinach are also ready for harvest, so we’ll have to come up with some spinach-centric recipes to use them all up.

Plan to own some productive land

  • I’ve been thinking a lot lately about WWOOFing. That’s World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF). This seems like a fantastic way to help like-minded people who are trying to live more sustainable lifestyles while learning some valuable skills and having some fun along the way. What a great way to see different parts of your country or even the world? It seems like the deal is accommodation and food in exchange for five half-days of work each week. To me, this sounds like a fabulous idea. As usual Brendan has just rolled his eyes at me. (I tend to get a new idea every week). Has anyone been involved in WWOOFing? If so, what was your experience like?


  1. Hi MIa,

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    I have no experience WWOOFing but is a blog about a couple (Ally & Rich) who turned a normal suburban block in Wollongong into an edible Food Forest.
    I am sure I remember reading an early post where they mention spending a year WWOOFing, how it really gave them an insight into the benefits and challenges of running a small farm, and helped them decide to go down the path of urban sustainability.


  2. Thanks BJ. I have actually been following the Happy Earth blog. Maybe that’s where I originally got the idea for WWOOFing!

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