Thursday, 25 June 2009

We're Off!

We're all packed up and ready to go. the Nomad Family are housesitting for us and tomorrow morning we are driving north to the Australian Rainbow Gathering :)

We plan to do the drive the 2000km in 2 days, but we'll see. So I wont be around to post for the next three weeks, but I will, of course, have lots of photos and stories when we get back.

Just to tide you over; last night I heard the wind chimes on the porch going crazy, and looked out to see a small marsupial stuck on it! It was so funny so see it swaying around, trying to get off but unable to.


Monday, 22 June 2009

Happy Solstice

It's the shortest day of the year! Littletree has been waiting for the start of winter for ages.

This year we celebrated by having a dinner party. I invited some friends over and made a special feast following the Chinese tradtion of consuming "yang" foods at the winter solstice.

I made ox kidneys in a mushroom sauce, served with Purple's Arabic spiced rice and dahl with a salad.

Preparing the kidneys was an involved process, starting with making organic stock 8 hours earlier. We bought the kidneys from the local organic butcher, and I followed a recipe from the book Nourishing Traditions.

Starting with cutting the kidneys up and soaking them in lemon juice (fresh lemons from my friend's tree) while the stock was simmering in the pressure cooker. Then I browned them in organic butter, set them aside to keep warm in the oven, sauteed mushrooms and then made the sauce - stock and red wine, reduced by half, creme fraiche added and reduced again, finally the browning juices added and simmered some more.

The whole process took most of the day, but the end result was delicious! It was my first time eating kidneys, and I was surprised how good they were. Though possibly that was also due to the preparation process.

We had a great evening, and enjoyed a bottle of "Bulls Blood" wine with it.


The next morning the local market was cancelled due to rain, so we all went down to the cafe to hang out and it turned into a spontaneous jam with a bunch of my friends.



Here's a video I made of the jam:

I had a fantastic Solstice, and ended up feeling empowered and gorgeous :)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Nomad Family

This week a nomadic homeschooling family came to stay with us - Skelewhale, her partner, C, and their daughter T who is 5 and son J, who is 3. They're travelling around Australia, and I thought it would be a good opportunity for them to housesit for us while we go to the Australian Rainbow Gathering in far north Queensland next week.

Littletree and T have been getting on well... or crazily, depending on your perspective

47 tamah sequoia

It's nice to have some kids around :)

48 tamah sequoia

And of course our regular house guests have been making visits as well

68 kookas

At least the kookaburras keep the mouse population down around the house - who needs a cat! If only they wouldn't mess with the laundry.

69 kookas

Thursday, 18 June 2009


This week's home school group was a Pizza workshop. It was great fun, one couple brought the home made dough, and everyone brought toppings.

53 pizza workshop

The kids had a great time rolling out dough and making their pizzas

56 pizza workshop

The home-made pizza sauce was delicious!

58 pizza workshop

Littletree with her pizza; mushrooms, roasted sweet potato, olives, ready to go in the oven

59 pizza workshop

Cooked to perfection!

60 pizza workshop

And the result: can't talk; eating! YUM!

61 pizza workshop

We had a great day :)

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The First Tooth

Littletree lost her first wobbly tooth! It was wobbly for a couple of weeks, and she has two more wobblies to come out.

Of course, she looks cuter than ever with the little gap.

52 lost tooth

I'm not really sure how I feel about the tooth fairy. I'm absolutely not into doing Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, because I'm not going to lie to my child. She has plenty enough magic in her life and a world full of fairies without me faking it to create more. LOL

Besides; we managed to get this far without her really knowing about Santa or the Easter Bunny.

The Tooth Fairy... well, I'm still not wanting to lie to Littletree to create a fairy that doesn't exist (especially when I would find it insulting to the hoards of real faeries inhabiting our garden).

But Littletree heard about the Tooth Fairy on her own. I asked her what she knows about the Tooth Fairy, and she told me that the Tooth Fairy is the first faerie she ever met, and it was she that taught her all about faeries and faerie magic.

When the tooth fell out, Littletree found a little magic box to put her tooth in to await the visit from the Tooth Fairy, along with some crystals that apparently the Tooth Fairy had given her when the tooth first started wobbling.

51 lost tooth

My friend asked Littletree if the Tooth Fairy would give her money for the tooth, and Littletree replied, "well, I've been REALLY good, so there's NO WAY the Tooth Fairy would give me money. She'll give me something MUCH better than that. Like, the BEST thing in the world. Maybe a dress-up, or a Diamond. Yeah, for sure it will be a Diamond"

So I was left thinking, 'how on earth am I going to get a diamond... in our little village... at this hour?'

In the end, I forgot about it :o and only the next day I swapped the tooth for a rose quartz. Littletree didn't seem phased at all.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Littletree and I spent an afternoon playing in a big flower field just at the bottom of the hill we live on. It's all beautiful big yellow flowers, which made for a great scene to try out my new camera - so this is more of a photoblog post :)









Monday, 15 June 2009


The day after I got my new camera, I had a great opportunity to try out the zoom - standing on our balcony we saw a kookaburra swoop down and snatch up a mouse. It flew up to a tree at the bottom of the garden, and sat on a branch with it for a while, posing.


Well, it's hard to see with the wide angle lens, but zooming in 5x:


And then zooming in all the way (with the digital zoom):


It was very cool to watch how it killed the mouse by bashing it on the branch and shaking it around.


Littletree was fascinated. And I'm very impressed with my new zoom :)

Friday, 12 June 2009

New Camera!!!

I bought a new camera! Woohoo!

After days and days of searching online and reading reviews and searching for prices, I finally found one I was happy with.

Originally I'd wanted to get another Exilim, like my old one, which I loved, but it's not a common brand, and I was finding it really hard to get a good one. I did end up buying a model that I was okay with for a really good price, but annoyingly, the company contacted me the next day saying they only had that model in magenta. ugh. At least they contacted me, and gave me an instant refund, so I'm happy with that.

Lots of the cameras I looked at had some problem with them, but finally I found one that was within my price range (sort of - a little more, but okay), and small enough (roughly the same size as my old itty bitty camera), with a 5x optical zoom.

The Panasonic Lumix FS15. All the reviews I found on it were pretty rave for its class and so far I'm happy with it.

The first test shot (poor Littletree got knocked down by another kid on a bicycle and scraped her face on the pavement) :


The quality of photos compared to my old camera is amazing - I can't believe I ever thought my old camera was good. LOL here you can see them side by side - (I found that by jamming a toothpick into the battery slot of the old one it will turn on):

CIMG6703 P1010070

You can see the difference - new camera has way nicer wide angle, and clearer colours, sharper focus. And the best part about the new one is it doesn't require a toothpick and a little luck to turn on, and the zoom doesn't get stuck :)

I've been taking some great pics, but mostly I'm just messing around with the new features. It has some great ones, but also some funny ones I probably wont ever use, like these "cute" frames (that Littletree likes)



It does really nice macro (well nice for an ultra-compact point-and-shoot) here's a close-up of Littletree's running shoe:


And a tiny little cat figurine:


No doubt I'll have lots of silly photo posts in the next while. :)

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Bicycle, Bicycle!

Littletree is teaching Purple to ride a bike.


She's a great teacher, and he's doing really well. should be able to get the training wheels off soon - and he's only 38! They go pretty fast down the steep hill outside our house.


Okay, actually, Littletree is learning to ride - she's still not really confident on the bike yet, but on the flat driveway she does okay (I just don't let her get near the hill or on roads on the bike)


Oh, and speaking of hills, some neighbours have cleared a bit of the hill under their house, and put down thick plastic sheeting... voila! instant water slide! The kids had a great time on it, at least on the dry runs.


Fun times!

We also have another new neighbour in the hood; I've seen her around a few times now


Yep. She's an echidna :) One of those freaky cool Australian egg-laying mammals.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Healing from the Barefoot Doctor

You might remember about a month ago I had a bit of a flu... well, after four weeks, I was still coughing, and nothing I tried offered any relief. Eventually I even broke a rib from coughing so much!

I had been to see a doctor to be tested for whooping cough, that came back negative, as did all the other batch of tests the doctor had done on me just to see if they could find anything wrong with me - even tuberculosis!

It was getting ridiculous; I just couldn't stop coughing and my life was basically on hold - I missed one birth and had barely been out of the house. The broken rib was just adding to my misery, since it made coughing excruciatingly painful.

My new neighbour, being a Chinese herbalist, acupuncturist and homeopath offered me a treatment. How could I refuse? Especially when the treatment room looked like this:


It was a beautiful, warm sunny day, and I got my first ever acupuncture treatment, as well as cupping on my back and some other Chinese herbs while lying in a tropical garden.

The result was that I haven't coughed at all since the treatment and my rib feels much less tender! :)

I even have cool marks from the cupping:


Or maybe that's just where my wings are growing in ;)

Friday, 5 June 2009


For about a year I've been getting into the Weston Price dietary recommendations, in an effort to stop my teeth from decaying. This involves eating raw dairy products, lots of dark leafy greens and things like bone broths and organ meats.

Raw milk is fairly easy to get most places around here - you can even get organic, unhomogenised milk in the supermarket - heck the major supermarkets have their own brands of it! But raw cheeses are a little harder to come by.

Lately I discovered Fromart. It's a small company run by a Swiss guy who makes cheese by hand in the traditional way, and also imports cheeses from Switzerland.

They were having a special deal last week, so I ordered the 1kg deal as well as a 300g sample pack of raw cheeses. It's pretty pricey, especially compared to generic brand cheddar from the supermarket, but I think it may be worth it for the sake of our health. And it's definitely cheaper than a root canal ;)

Anyway, my package arrived, and I opened it up excitedly... inside the post bag, on the bubblewrap, was a hand written note, "you were lucky". I didn't know what that meant, but it was exciting.

When I got through the layers of bubble wrap I found out why - they had run out of the special deal cheese, and in it's stead, sent me a 2kg selection of 9 different kinds of cheeses!!! Woohoo!!

It was like cheese heaven. So we invited a couple who just moved in down the road to come over and enjoy a cheese tasting with us :)



Littletree liked the Mont Soleil best, our new neighbours (whom I will call the Barefoot Doctor - BD and M) liked the Gruyere, Purple's favourite was the D'alpage. I couldn't pick a favourite. The Truffle one was good (it has shavings of truffles in it and truffle oil!) and the Jura Mountain was yummy too.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Hole in the Wall

People often ask how unschooling works, and the main questions are generally centred around two things - how can children socialise if they're not in school, and how can they learn if they're not being taught.

The socialising question is one for another post, but anyone who knows my child, or even reads my blog would see that it's really a non-issue. Humans are social creatures, and children are born socialising. I don't see any reason to stifle that natural impulse by putting them in school ;)

As to learning, it's really about the same answer. Humans are born with a deep thirst for knowledge, and a profound ability for learning. The best thing we can do is to get out of the way. Children learn such a phenomenal amount of stuff - without being taught - before they ever get near a school.

One resource that I always want to point people to is Sugata Mitra's talk about the Hole-In-The-Wall project on the TED site. It's a fascinating video - a little long, and the best bits start maybe 7 minutes in, but the synopsis is that Mitra set up Internet computers in remote villages in India, where the children had virtually no schooling and no instruction in English, and left it alone. In very short time, the children not only taught themselves to use a computer and browse the Internet, they taught themselves English.

When Mitra came back to one village to check on the project, the first thing these children, who had previously had no exposure to English, said to him was, "we need a faster processor and a better mouse".

"We found that six to thirteen year olds can self instruct in a connected environment, irrespective of anything that we could measure."

"It was a demonstration of what a group of children can do without adult intervention."

"Primary education can happen on it's own."

"Learning is a self-organising system."

Essentially I believe that this kind of learning can happen all the time, with all children. My aim is to raise my child with love and respect, supporting her to follow her own learning. But mostly we're just having a lot of fun :)

Monday, 1 June 2009

A Great Day

At the local home school group this week Littletree made a new friend:


All the kids were quite fascinated with him for a while, which led to a long discussion about what kinds of caterpillars are okay to touch and which ones might make you itchy, as well as butterflies, chrysalis, and other assorted insect related stuff that naturally led to fairies. (Doesn't every conversation?)


(There's not really any purpose behind that photo I just wanted to include it because it's so freakin cute! Littletree has been really getting in to wearing pigtails lately - her hair has grown back so fast)

On the way home we were blessed to walk through a flock of lorikeets settling down to roost.


They are such beautiful birds


When we got home there was a surprise package waiting in the mail:


A new penfriend of Littletree's sent her this amazing hand-made skirt.


She's been wearing it pretty much constantly since she got it, always twirling, twirling...