Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Week 9 - The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge

Can you feel the change of season in the air? After record breaking heatwaves followed by extreme wind and flooding rains the weather has cooled and here in Adelaide we are currently enjoying perfect weather with daytime temperatures in the mid to high 20's Celsius.

With perfect warm days and cooler nights it seems a perfect time to begin planning to grow some seasonal foods. Home grown produce picked fresh from your garden - nothing purchased from the supermarket compares!

With increasingly larger homes on increasingly smaller blocks of land home veggie gardens seem few and far between. Yet, sustainability is a popular push at the moment - and many schools are teaching children how to grow, harvest, cook and enjoy fresh produce picked from school gardens.

So - in your retirement - what are the benefits of a home or edible garden?  The short answer is that by growing your own food it is possible to improve your health, reduce your food bill and add to life's pleasures!

I have found that you do not need a quarter acre block in order to establish an edible garden! Using recycled materials John made a raised garden bed  that measures 1.2m x 2.0m - on top of a concrete slab. The bed
started out like this (scroll down to 'Something New in My Garden'), and even in the heatwaves looked like this (scroll down to 'The Raised Garden Bed'!).  This bed produces most of our daily bounty and has been so successful that I want another one! I haven't broken that news to John just yet!!!

To add to our bounty I have grown tomatoes (not very successfully - I need tips!), basil, thyme, rosemary and eggplant in pots and other veggies in other parts of the garden.

Living in a small unit need not preclude you from growing your own. My mother-in-law who lives in a ground floor unit has made very clever use of every inch of land in her little garden! She has fruit trees and a vegetable garden that provide her with fresh produce all year round. She too, grows a range of fruit, vegetables and herbs in pots to extend her garden.

No space at all - no problem! You could join a community garden near you! These are amazing places - I love peeking through the fence of the Norwood Community Garden near us to see what and how things are being grown by the gardeners there!

You might wish to try an alternative way of gardening - no dig gardening, square foot gardening, strawbale gardening to name just three. Check my Pinterest board 'The Garden' for ideas, information and inspiration!

Your challenge for this week is to get your hands dirty, get planting and join me in watching your garden grow - and produce! Plant three different edible crops that you will be able to harvest in 10 - 12 weeks time. Do a Google search for what to plant at this time of year for where you live. If you live here in Australia you will find the Gardenate website useful. I'm going to be planting beetroot, turnips and flat parsley for starters!

Two tips

  • invest in the very best soil and compost you can buy - this is NOT the place to skimp on quality! Local gardening identity Sophie Thomson, Gardening Australia's presenter for South Australia, recently wrote that she would invest in $10 soil for a $1 plant rather than $1 soil for a $10 plant. Be warned!
  • remember you are looking to produce only enough food to have fresh veggies every day at your place - you are not looking to feed the nation!

What will you be growing in your patch? Let me know - leave a comment below! If you visit my blog 'Watching My Garden Grow' I'd be chuffed if you also left a comment there!

Happy gardening!



Thursday, 20 February 2014

Week 8 - The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge

Welcome to the Week 8 Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge!

I had a most wonderful experience on Saturday! I stepped out of my comfort zone, placed myself in the midst of strangers, listened attentively to a passionate person speak another language - one I will call 'photography speak' and fiddled with an instrument - read 'digital camera' - that holds many mysteries for me!

I attended a Canon Academy Beginners photography course. This was learning - real learning - and I loved it! I had forgotten what hard work, and what a mind stretching struggle learning is.

As a beginner photographer I am still developing my understandings of key concepts - light and shadow, ISO, f. stops, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, noise, composition etc etc and what they all mean and contribute to taking great photographs.

I arrived home suffering from a good dose of information overload, my brain spinning with questions, possibilities and opportunities. I remembered how much I have always loved the challenge of learning!

My challenge for you this week - is to learn something new! Shake those neurons up a bit! I think you'll like it!



Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Week 7 - The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge

Valentines Day is not far away.

Here in Australia celebrating this day is a recent phenomenon, driven by businesses and market forces once the day was identified as an opportunity to increase business!

Indeed it is difficult to ignore the plethora of cards everywhere - many decorated with lovebirds, hearts or cupids  - while  inside words spell out silent declarations of love! We are urged to shower our loved one with flowers, chocolates, champagne, dinner ... The list goes on!

I'm not really into the commercialism of the day - but I do like the idea of taking the opportunity to tell and show someone you love how much for you care for them.

So, your challenge  - in your retirement - is to surprise someone you love on Valentines Day, even if you haven't done it before!

You don't need to spend much - you can easily leave commercialism behind. For example it could be as simple as making your partner breakfast in bed. Hint to John -  remember how I absolutely love breakfast in bed!

Cook perfect poached eggs. Make a fabulous cup of their favourite tea or coffee. Present them with a handwritten note, accompanied by a flower picked from the garden. And, of course, a warm, gentle, lingering kiss is always wonderful!

You might choose to show your love for, and appreciation of family, friends or workmates. At school we celebrated Valentines Day with a themed Special Morning Tea.

The challenge was that food had to be red, pink or hearted shaped - or be decorated with red, pink or hearts! People were so creative - think beetroot chips, beetroot dips, skewers threaded with salami/cherry tomatoes/baby mozzarella balls/basil leaves, chocolate ganache pie topped with raspberries, raspberry lamingtons, red velvet cupcakes, hearted shaped brownies, meringue topped with red fruit salad and platters of seasonal red fruit - strawberries, red grapes and watermelon with a scattering of pomegranate seeds to name a few.

Show that you care, be creative - and enjoy your Valentine's Day!



Thursday, 6 February 2014

Week 6 - The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge

The Week 6 Challenge

A life well lived is full of magical moments long remembered!

Those magical moments are most usually not planned and are difficult, in my experience, to contrive. Instead spontaneity and openness seem to play important roles - as do being in different company, a different place, or doing something outside life's usual routines and rhythms.

These moments are also most often the result of saying 'yes' to something that one would usually say 'no' to - and involve being playful, a little adventurous and welcoming of new or novel experiences!

Your challenge this week is to drop everything and be spontaneous! It doesn't need to cost a lot - in fact it may cost you nothing but your time - and in your retirement that's one thing you have in abundance. And, as they say in the classics - you only live once!

Jump in the car, catch a bus, train or plane, ride a bike or walk to someplace you've never been! It may be nearby or far away. Enjoy the journey and experiences along the way. Drink in the views, the music, the food and wine, the air, the water .....

You never know what you may discover - but you will return home refreshed, renewed and revitalised!

Enjoy your challenge! Have a great week!



NB: I look forward to hearing about the spontaneous thing that you do!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

In My Retirement ... in February

A River Cruise

In my retirement ... in February on a glorious summer day we cruised the mighty Murray River on the riverboat Proud Mary. Looked after by the friendliest crew you could imagine, the two hour cruise out of the historic river town of Mannum included a buffet lunch and was, we thought, great value at $60.00 per person. I recommend it!

Cycle Fever

In my retirement ... in February we have farewelled from our city the cyclists and visitors who participated in the Santos Tour Down Under. Every second Adelaidian, it seems, owns a cycle and lycra!

Just for Fun

In my retirement ... in February I've painted my toenails a bright summery colour - just for fun!

What I'm Drinking!

In my retirement ... in February I'm beating the heat with chilled lemon and thyme flavoured water, and the odd Watermelon and Vodka Crush with Pomegranate cocktail courtesy of my good friend Liz over at Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things! Sorry - no photo of these! I drank them all!

Bargain Buys

In my retirement ... in February I bought shoes - Country Road summer sandals to be exact! Four pairs! They were on sale - and had an extra 25% off the sale price - so they were a real bargain! Girls, I know you will understand!

Our Heat Retreat!

In my retirement ... in February we've retreated to the beach most hot days!

Healthy Living

In my retirement ... in February after the indulgences of the Christmas, New Year, and the summer holiday season we are losing the extra kilos by eating healthy salads out of the garden!

Another Milestone!

In my retirement ... in February I can't believe that I am really doing this - but having turned 60 I'm applying for a Seniors Card! I am assured that this will allow me to access a wide range of discounted goods and services - including travel and leisure, accomodation and hospitality as well as entertainment. Can't wait!!! Application forms are waiting for you at your local Post Office!

What are you up to? Do let me know!

Thanks for visiting!