Saturday, 18 February 2017

My New Blog

Hi folks

I have had a big wave of interest in the last post - you dear folk and many others from elsewhere asking for updates on the reed organ restoration.

As this topic does not neatly fit into the purpose of this blog, I have decided to start another blog just on my work, restoration, interest and recording of reed organs.  I have called it Harp Aeolienne - click HERE to visit if it interests you.

I started the blog by re-posting the previous post here and have now posted another post today which shows the process of dismantling the organ bit by bit.  I have also popped a link in my blogroll on the left hand side and also on the page bar if you ever want to visit it randomly.

I love how these old instruments require no electricity, are all hand made, made of real wood, steel, cast iron, cellulite, Bakelite and brass - zero plastic.  I love how restoring them is a true and glorious act of recycling.  A proper and full restoration should last nearly a century if done correctly and the instrument cared for in the interim. Hopefully one of my great grandchildren will be up for restoring it again in their lifetime (wait!  I'm really getting ahead of myself there!)

They are pretty much carbon neutral (as far as I can figure it) and can play any type of keyboard music both ancient and modern. There is a real increase world wide in the restoration of these instruments, so I have good company it seems.

Anyway - we had better get back to topic here at Mr Home Maker and we will leave all thing 'reed organ-ish' to happen over at Harp Aeolienne.

Take care folks and stay nice!


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

It's Come Home!

My 'girl' got delivered home late Tuesday
night.....can't sleep now.

This following story, whilst true, is not really about simple living or frugality per se ..... however I think you will see many dotted lines to both these concepts as the story unfolds.

For many years I was a busy church organist. I started playing for Sunday school at the age of eight. Over the years I played for countless weddings (always gratis), usually always played for at least one service a week and helped out other congregations when their organist was away or sick. I also had a deep love of old reed organs (pump organs). I loved that no electricity was needed and that the sound was produced purely by wind being pumped over cleverly voiced brass reeds. I loved the intricate craftsmanship of these old reed organs too.  With technique practice, these old organs can sound amazing.

The Harp Aeoline is a beautiful ethereal stop which melts
the hearts of every listener.

Back in the late 1990's I was on the search for a big reed organ to buy - not the small specification parlour reed organs that are a dime-a-dozen, but the ones with many ranks that were designed to be played in churches and for an audience. These rare large reed organs had a wonderful variety of tonal voicing and in the hands of a passionate organist could muster up any emotion required in a congregation.  So, it ended up that a lovely South African couple that I knew had a small collection of reed organs and offered me a rare 1910 Artist's model Estey reed organ for a very generous price of $1000.00.  I took out a bank loan and bought the thing (!).  It was simply tonally stunning. Friends often used to joke that it was me versus the preacher.....did the congregation come to hear the sermon or the organ?!

For a few years I used this beautiful organ for weddings, lent it to churches who needed a replacement organ whilst theirs was being repaired or replaced....and of course it spent plenty of time being played for countless hours in our home too. I loved it - truly.  At the same time I bought other old reed organs, stripped them down, learned all about them, repaired them, on-sold them and without knowing it developed a deeply satisfying and creative hobby that went hand-in-hand with my love of music.

Cobwebs trailing thickly out of the swell shutters

At a very low point in our life I decided that I should sell the beautiful Estey Artist's model reed organ to pay for bills that were piling up.  I rashly sold it on eBay for $800.00.  I remember having a rather wobbly bottom lip as it got hauled onto the freight truck and taken away to its new owner up in tropical QLD (Queensland). I remember looking at the back of the freight truck as it disappeared down the road and feeling my heart quietly breaking - I knew I had sold an irretrievably unique instrument all because I had not managed my money situation well. I was angry with myself and sorrowful too.

Time passed, in fact years passed...many, many years.  In the ensuing years, musical tastes inevitably changed within churches and my passion for beautiful classical organ music and hymnody quickly had no useful or meaningful purpose or outlet and thus I became redundant. I eventually just stopped playing at all, even at home. My world quietly shrunk and became a greyer place somehow.  Also, over the course of years my faith changed (as it does) and eventually slowly rolled to a quiet, passionless, purposeless, outdated and lifeless. Never mind - there was a fabulous career to feed, a houseful of teenage daughters to continue 'dadding', goals to be achieved, purchases to be made...blah, blah, blah, busy, busy, busy.

Yet another decade passed by.

Then about a month ago, I was idly scrolling through eBay nostalgically looking at all the old antique reed organs for sale (all in various states of decay!) and there it was......was it truly it?  I enlarged the image holding my breath looking for the unique markings I knew and remembered.....yes, it really was my old Estey Artist's reed organ for sale on eBay again after so many years. It had clearly been treated poorly - broken pieces, splits in the wood, ruined polish, cobwebs, dings and scrapes - in truly parlous condition.  I bid and won the Ebay auction for $100.

She got delivered by freightliner this Tuesday evening at 11:11pm. The tears flowed a little...just sayin'.  My once beautiful organ is in a terrible state from years of neglect and abuse. She reluctantly managed to whisper a few tired, excruciatingly sad breathy notes for me before the mouse-chewed bellows collapsed completely and she fell silent......but she is home now, never, never to be sold again.

One of many repairs to do.

She will be lovingly dismantled, every piece carefully labeled and catalogued as I go, bellows will be recovered, every brass screw polished, every crack glued, every lever repaired, every reed tuned, each felt renewed, every ivory buffed, the case work will be repaired and re French-polished .... she will live again. It will take a couple of years of diligent repetitive restorative work on my behalf....and then she will again sing out clear her songs of love and faith again.

Who knows, I might even find a better and more meaningful version of my lost faith again in the process of resurrecting this beautiful instrument back to life again.

Take care folks...and stay nice.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Core Values - Kindness

The simple delight of freshly laid eggs.

It has been a while since I wrote about some of my core values - I think we were up to kindness next.

In my daytime world of boardrooms, cut and thrust, policies and regulations, one-upmanship, goals, KPI's, results focus, audits, bottom line analysis, the almighty dollar and bureaucratic political correctness....kindness seems an odd fit.  The core value of kindness is an odd fit, in fact it does not fit much at all (to be brutally honest) - such is the growing disconnect between my career and my relatively newly uncovered core values.

The satisfaction of an orderly pantry

Kindness should never be understood as weakness or the easy way out. Kindness takes much more courage and commitment than any tough business decision that I have ever had to achieve. Kindness can sometimes mean a lifetime commitment. Kindness covers a multi-faceted array of scenarios from planet care, community care, self care (I'm not real good at this yet), purpose over profit, people over politics, patience with people, patience with community, encouraging others to be their best, setting boundaries (yep, this is a type of kindness) and generally moving away from measuring others by their weaknesses.

Using the syrup from canned fruit
as a cordial base. Frugal and

I find kindness takes a great deal of courage, time, patience and cognitive calm. The benefits of being kind also seem to fly in the face of being seen to be influential, cutting edge, efficient and up to date.....not so.  I have found kindness (thus far) to pay profound dividends, engender loyalty, develop unusual friendships, calm internal frustration and exponentially grow a sense of inclusiveness and trust.  I never knew this could be the case until I started honouring this core value of kindness - how much I have missed over the years.

Sough dough bread from scratch.

Kindness helps simplify our lives, eases the need to have trendy friends, engenders gratefulness, eases non-specific anxiety, adds a dimension of purpose to life and allows others to grow and blossom around us in the most surprising ways.

Our daily bread.
It is a fight to stop it getting
eaten when still hot

Kindness has helped me move away from regret too. Kindness has also helped me lean into new habits without feeling silly AND kindness has made me a kinder person simply in the practice thereof.

Eggs and bacon for breakfast - yes?

Take care folks and stay nice


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Old Money

A delicious Laksa cooked up by
our family friend Gail

Hi Folks

The phrase "old money" generally conjures up thoughts and images of generationally wealthy folk eschewing people with new money as 'naff' and undesirable. Sometimes it talks of money that is inherited rather than earned coupled with powerfully, formidable, hyphenated surnames....the vieux riche.

However, that is NOT what I want to chat about with you today.  The old money  I am referring to is OUR old money.  How old is our money?  How long has it been untouched for?  I referred to this concept here and labeled it as self-insurance savings.

I spy pie in the fridge!

The older our money is, the more self reliant we can feel. Let's be realistic however, not touching our money and letting it age can be a daunting task - it can feel nearly impossible sometimes.  The end result is to have at least six months worth of expenses socked away so that in effect we are spending money that is already six months old (or more).

Our lovely oil lamps out on the deck lounge room.

Be Patient.
It can take significant amounts of time to build up some old money - five years is reasonable. Put a little away without fail every time we get paid...even if it is a tiny bit. It will add up over time.

Lock It
The greatest nemesis for the accumulation of old money is its ease of accessibility. Have an account that requires a double sign or a notice-of-withdrawal policy.  Either or both of these things will robustly keep our old money from the sweaty grasping fingers of convenience.

Automate It
If we have to manually allocate money to our old money account then that habit will probably dwindle or, automate it. Talking to our pay office to get a small amount sent directly from our pay packet into the old money account before it hits our normal bank account will ensure old money continues to grow and age. The less attention we give it, the more likelihood there is of our old money not to be touched and to quietly grow.

Give Ourselves A Pay Cut
I had to create a faux demotion to trick myself into putting away money to create my old money account. I pretended that I got a small pay cut, reorganised my budget accordingly (much pencil chewing occurred!) and then automated that amount to flow into a separate interest bearing account. It can be very surprising how small amounts can grow.

Tithe Other Windfalls
Take 10% of an unexpected or non-standard windfall of money. Take 10% of that profit we made selling that car, take 10% of that birthday money, take 10% of that tax return, take 10% of any unexpected cash and pop it straight into the old money account - that still leaves us 90% do with as we see fit.

The banoffee pie has been well and truly  tucked into

Old money can be a great blessing, a measure of personal integrity, a self-created insurance policy, a tangible indicator of self discipline, a calm generator and an insomnia blaster.

Take care folks and stay nice.


Defrosting the $50 freezer.
It is still cheaper to do this every
three months than fork out for
a new one.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Why Isn't Frugality Normal?

Hi again folks

I wonder why frugality hasn't gone viral?

I mean, it's got all the right triggers to go viral right?  It really is the ultimate get-rich scheme, the perfect meaning-to-life revelation, the most profound life-changer.....and yet it has not gone viral, in fact (when the chips are down) it is openly scorned and privately mocked.

Soaking in plain ol' water loosens most stains

Again I wonder why?  Wait, I know's why:

Frugality requires effort, patience, integrity, discipline and realism - all character-building virtues. Oh yeah, that's right - depth of character never goes viral. Conversely, depth of character (or the willingness to give it a shot) remains fairly elusive it seems.

Cooking in bulk and freezing into separate meals ahead
of time.

Humans seem to historically have a proclivity for ignoring the powerful basic truths about wealth, influence, emotional intelligence, love, work, creativity, faith and  relationships. Instead humans as far back as history records seem to be overwhelmingly influenced by the way they happen to feel, by those who can manipulate those feelings and by the feelings attached to physical objects and socially manipulated belief structures......meanwhile, the powerful basic truths about wealth, influence, emotional intelligence, love, work, creativity, faith and  relationships remain quietly held by a very small number of disparate folk through the ages.

Go back a generation in men's shaving
ans save a motza.

Admittedly, now in the age where knowledge runs to and fro throughout the earth with great ease and speed, more folk have access to these truths. Nevertheless, those who truly embrace these truths (meaning, more seriously than posting Facebook memes about them) invariably reap the benefits in part or full and yet are still viewed as a curios amongst the standard cultural norms in society. These folk are deemed an enigmatic subculture....different somehow.

The fry pan is our best kitchen friend at our place

Are you different somehow?  I'm leaning into being different.

A huge slow cooker also puts in a sterling effort too....

Take care folks and stay nice.


Sunrise with poached eggs on toast with fruit and homemade yoghurt.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Frugality By Stealth

Hey folks

In the same spirit of anonymous charitable giving and being the anonymous benefactor, we too can gain deep satisfaction from being a stealth frugalista. Frugality by stealth may well be the most mature form of frugality.

In the same way that cashed-up-bogans can be utterly obnoxious when they squawk on ad nauseum about all their expensive purchases and possessions, so can the lean-mean-and-terrific tightwad when they ceaselessly preach about their free or super-cheap bargains.....ever admonishing all and sundry on others' errant spending habits like a pious pompous ass. Even worse is when said tightwad lives in a unkempt, dreary state of 'secondhandness' complete with a Scroogian scowl.

Fine dining for pennies.

The trick to living frugally is to do it by stealth - it is the most satisfying that way. Other people will wonder how we can afford this-that-and-the-other when we earn the same wage as them. We'll be smiling and it'll keep everyone so:

  •   How can THEY afford that new car? (...we saved up for five years for it and bought the current model at a repossession auction - that's how)
  •   Did you hear that THEY paid off their mortgage - how can that be? THEY are only on the same wage as us?! (....we lived well on 50% of our income and shovelled the rest into the mortgage and paid it off in 9 years - that's how)
  •   How come SHE has such nice stuff and we can only afford this stuff (...she buys quality secondhand furniture cheaply off gumtree and restores it herself and her house looks amazing - that's how)
  •   You should see HIS shed mate! He has every tool known to man - his folks must be loaded. (...nope, he saves up, buys the best quality he can afford, looks after things, repairs them when they break down. All those tools also save him sacks of money because he DIY's everything he can)
  •   They have one of the nicest houses on the street.  ( use not to be. We bought it as a fixer-upper and transformed it over a period of 10 years as we had saved the funds.  That's how)
  •   They always dress so smartly!  (....yep, we shop at secondhand shops and specifically look for good quality brands with little or no wear. Effective secondhand shopping takes patience, purpose and persistence)

Buying bulk and then diluting

Enjoy being an enigma....

  •   SHE doesn't have a credit card! (, "she" just has six months worth of expenses put away instead)
  •   HE pays cash for everything, have you noticed that?  (...yeah, funny that. This approach is also what has made him 10 x as monetarily wealthy as his friends)
  •   Have you noticed THEY get a new car every five years? (....yep and it is debt free every time as they have a share portfolio that they draw the dividends from only once every five years instead of  reinvesting the dividends like they normally do)
  •   I never realised before but apparently THEY have a small farm out west too - that's where they go to every second weekend and they also share it out to friends too. (....yes, those handful of acres where bought very cheaply and have been a source of extreme enjoyment for family and friends ever since by providing young families and teens with a cheap and fascinating holiday alternative to the debt-inducing coastal rentals)
  •   Someone just donated 100's of cans of food to our Christmas appeal - I'd love to know who it was! (...ha, you'll never find out that it was us. We donated generously from our stockpile all bought on special, which means we were able to give twice as much)

Buying on special and stockpiling

Wealth via frugality is best served incognito.

So, being frugal; if other people find out -  then it does not count. 

Think about it.

Having beautiful and memorable holidays on a budget.

Take care folks and stay enigmatically nice.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Little Picture Post

I saw these 3 litre jugs on sale at HM
reduced from $50 to $15.  I should have got
two me thinks.....

Hi dear folk

I'm in a bit of a quiet, reflective mood at the a little post with just a handful of pictures is what today's post will be.....enjoy.

Dinner is on. Spicy chippolata
and vegetable hot pot in the
slow cooker.

Dear daughter number 4 cooked banana bread this morning.
I'm amazed it is still untouched.  It toasts up wonderfully
with melted butter on top and a cuppa.

Lemon meringue pie made with condensed milk (I am not a fan
of the geletin version) 

...there was a mouse....a big mouse
that took a nibble. No, no - it
weren't me! Promise! (wipes
traces of meringue off laptop)
Hee hee.

A book scored by a friend new for $1.
Jammed pack full of beautiful recipes
from pre-WW2.

OK, so I'm off to keep counsel with myself - I'll emerge like Mr Badger eventually.

In the meantime, stay nice and take care.


Saturday, 28 January 2017

How We Budget

Our blackboard freezer door - ever changing messages.

As you all know there are a zillion different ways to budget, however I thought I would share how we budget and perhaps in so doing there might be something in our method that you can introduce as your own - all in the spirit of sharing so we all can improve.

Our way of budgeting works for us at the moment. It will most certainly change as our life circumstances change. It certainly is not the paragon of budgeting, but still worth sharing I feel.

Short cold wash cycles are perfect for
day to day clothes washing.

Some Initial Thoughts On Budgeting

TALK - this is the most important part of budgeting if you are part of a couple. It takes courage, honesty and trust to talk about money to each other, but if we do not talk about money honestly then we may as well not even budget. For instance, it takes courage and honesty to talk about that credit card balance that only we privately knew about......

WOMEN BEWARE - women, please be fully involved in your finances.  I see so many women still living in the past when it comes to finances and often (knowingly or unknowingly) getting the raw end of the deal.  I could devote a whole post to women and money but I will restrain myself from doing so in this post....maybe another time.

MEN - men often are able to earn more and keep more of their earnings than women (for many and varied archaic societal reasons which I will not elaborate on in this post). Whilst this inequity is changing for the better, we are still light years away from both sexes enjoying earning parity and life-balance parity. In short...listen up need to take responsibility for their contribution to their family and society and ensure their families and communities are provided for FIRST.  I am truly gobsmacked at so many men whinging about how many shoes and dresses their ladies have and yet do not see the utter hypocrisy of HIS very expensive fishing boat (on hire purchase) sitting in the garage, HIS zuped-up sports truck (also on hire purchase) sitting in the carport, HIS rifle collection, HIS racing dirt bike in the shed (on a personal loan), HIS shed, HIS....oh, you get the drift. meh.  Yes, I know this comment may not be popular but I am just sayin' what I see too much of.....and I am a man.

BE REAL - budget 10% more for bills and 10% less for savings. Life will happen (strange that!) and if our budget is leaning towards idealistic, then it will topple at the first little shake that life gives it. Lean into change, plan and budget to have the proverbial pizza (or its budgeting equivalent) every so often because you know what?....we are NOT going to cook from scratch every single day of the year - especially if living frugally is relatively new to us.

Home made meals from scratch.

How We Budget

Our budget is now divided into the following eight categories.

  1. Basic weekly living expenses
  2. Regular predictable bills
  3. Irregular bills
  4. Set-aside savings for specific future events
  5. Debt payment
  6. Self-Insurance Saving
  7. Investments
  8. Giving

Each fortnight when our pay packets drop into our accounts, EVERY LAST DOLLAR is automatically ALLOCATED to each of these categories via internal bank transfers the same day. We bank with ING and can have up to nine interest-bearing saving accounts linked to our two main keycard accounts for free. I am sure many banks offer a similar set up.

If you do not allocate every last dollar, then those unallocated dollars will just disappear.

Vinegar 'mother'

More Detail On The Eight Categories

  1. Basic weekly living expenses 
This is things like food, petrol, train tickets, any allowance for yourself - this must be withdrawn from the bank each payday as CASH.

  2. Regular predictable bills
Things like electricity, gas, car insurance, mortgage payments, car payments, personal loan payments, medical insurance, rent, phone bill - these need their own account from which obligatory direct debits will come out of and auto Bpays will get paid from...the more automated the better.  You will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account.

  3. Irregular bills
Things that get paid less frequently (i.e. yearly or quarterly) water, car registration, car maintenance, land rates, yearly subscriptions and fees etc. Again, you will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account.

  4. Set-aside savings for specific future events 
This is an important category that is often overlooked and ends up getting plonked on credit cards or personal loans due to lack of forecasting and planning. Things like Christmas expenses, education fees, car replacement cost (this one is UTTERLY important), wedding/s, birthdays, holidays and the like. Yet again, you will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account.

  5. Debt payment
This category is NOT about paying your minimum payments on debt, loans, mortgages etc - those basic minimum payments are all done under category 2.  This category is exclusively about EXTRA payments of debt. It is imperative to agree and budget on a set amount each payday to dedicate to extra payment off our debts. Do not rely on the we'll-see-what's-left-over approach as this invariably is short-lived. It matters not what debt reduction method you use be it the snowball method, the avalanche method, the spread method or some other method....whatever method THIS is the account that you use to allocate that extra payment against debt. Automate it to pay out of this account to whatever debt is being tackled the day after every pay day. And yes, again, you will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account.

  6. Self-Insurance Saving
Some call this a mojo account or an emergency fund - but really it is a self-funded insurance policy. The aim is to have six months worth of all expenses set aside in this account. This may seem an impossible undertaking to some, but plenty of people have achieved this on very normal incomes or less. It is fully achievable by budgeting a set amount every single payday into this account - the tortoise wins this race absolutely. Patience is a non-negotiable 'must' here. The deep  freedom and quietude this account will give us is immeasurable. Break this down into steps....first aim to have a weeks expenses set aside. When that is achieved then increase it to a fortnight, then a month, then two months etc. It may take five years to accumulate this six month figure - so what. It is worth it. Surprise, surprise....guess what? will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account.

  7. Investments
This is specifically to fund us when we can no longer earn an income from the work we choose to do. For some it will be as simple as investing into superannuation or retirement schemes relevant to whichever country we live in. For more financially savvy folk, it will also diversify into dividend paying shares and/or positively geared property. For others, it will be the purchase of a profitable business or the building of a profitable business. Whatever method we use to invest BE INFORMED. Steer away from stoke brokers and investment advisers and their astounding fees - invest in what you truly understand and can confidently measure. Of will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account, and from thence, into your investment portfolio depending on its particular requirements.

  8. Giving
This one is tricky and I need to be somewhat sensitive in what I write here. Giving is not only a morally deep action it is also a driver of true community and deepens gratitude amongst humans in general. It also feels great and gives a real sense of purpose to the giver. BUT BEWARE.....there is a whole consumerist industry built around donations and giving expertly run and marketed by charities, individuals and religions alike. KNOW where your money is going - do your research and you may be truly astounded (that's a promise). Even the squeaky-cleanest of organisations have to pay for advertising, CEO's, staff and likewise churches also have significant payrolls and costs too. If the charity that you give to does not have a breakdown of its finances that you can easily understand then don't give.  If your church does not have a financial statement that you can understand then ask to join the finance committee....that could be 'interesting' too.

Here's what I think - set aside an amount that you are going to give, then go and give it directly. Our immediate community certainly can benefit from our giving. Also remember that giving does not have to be raw can be giving our time, our expertise, our skills, our encouragement, our vote, our deciding to (for example only) shop at the local butcher run by a real person instead of a multi national.  Think outside the square and closer to home when it comes to giving. Oh, and if we can swing it to be anonymous giving, then it is all the more enjoyable and meaningful. Gosh, I'm not sure if I have mentioned this before but ...... you will have calculated the exact amount that needs to go into this account each payday and this transfer must be automated to occur each payday into this account. :-)

OK, so there is so, so, so much more that I could say about budgeting, but I think this is enough for now hey?

Take care dear folk and stay nice.


Frugal Window Cleaning Method

All you need is an inch of water, a squeeze
of washing up liquid and a squeegee
with a mop cloth. You can do your whole
house with this set up.

I was discussing window cleaning with friends the other morning and as I finished typing it up, I thought to myself  " should share this on Mr Home Maker".  So here it is.

You can clean all your windows with just one big squirt of dish washing liquid and a little water. It will only cost you cents in disposables and save you 80% physical effort compared to all the mad polishing, buffing, drying, spritzing nonsense that you see most folk doing when they try and clean windows - here is how.


When I used to work 3 jobs, one of them was cleaning a bowling alley and it had 90 feet of wall to ceiling glass windows in the cafe. They used to get covered in grubby finger marks on the inside and grime from passing car park traffic on the outside - I had to clean them every single morning, seven days a week(!). I quickly learned window cleaner's technique.

Tools:  1 x wide window squeegee with material cleaning pad on the back edge.   1 x square bucket to fit the squeegee.   1 x bottle of dish washing detergent (make sure it has thick consistency, not watery)   A little water (about an inch maximum in the bottom of the bucket)   1 x cotton rag

Method:   1. Squeeze a generous line of neat (yes neat) dish washing liquid directly onto the cleaning pad of the squeegee and work it into the material, thus charging the squeegee pad with detergent. You should only need to do this once for a normal sized house of windows is my best guess.   2. Place squeegee pad down into the inch of water in your bucket and press the pad down into the water to infuse with water. No swishing.   3. Lift up squeegee out of water and run the pad along the inside edge of the bucket to release excess water. (you do not want too much wetness)   4. No need to wet windows first - starting at the very top of your dry dirty window and apply the cleaning pad side of your squeegee to the window and working in vertical saw-tooth pattern strokes across the window top to bottom until window is totally soapy   5. Flip squeegee over to blade side   6. Start at the top of the window and without lifting your squeegee at all (this is critical) work from left to right and top to bottom in arch style overlapping sweeps. The aim is to always have the soapy excess running off the bottom of the blade through the whole process - never lift the blade off the window.   7. Wipe the accumulated moisture of the bottom window sill with your rag    8. Progress to next window and start from point 2 - repeat.

One line of dish washing liquid neat on the pad.

One inch of water in the 'bucket'. Dip and press, don't swish.

This method will mean no polishing, no spraying, no rubbing, no drying, no window cleaning products, no buffing..... just a single smooth arched action from top to bottom of your windows and a simple wipe with a rag at the bottom. The arch-movement squeegee method takes a little practice but once you have it mastered it will take 80% less physical energy than all the spritzing and rubbing that I see most folk doing.

Produces nice fine bubbles that are
easy squeegeed off in one pass
taking all the dirt with it.

I hope this revolutionises you window cleaning.

Take care folks and stay nice.


P.S. Do spend the money on a squeegee that is rubber or soft plastic based not hard plastic otherwise your squeegeeing will take 4 x the effort.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

....What Were We Saying? - Oh Yes

Birthday cake made from scratch and
decorated with Reese confectionery.

Welp, that's January all but gone folks.   Uh huh.

So many folks just waste January fluffing around and being disorganised.  Sure, it is still holiday mode for some and Australian summer holidays for the children, but January can be a great time to get budgets pumping, holiday jobs cranking and plans well on the way to being started and bedded down.

Porridge with chopped apple, cinnamon, a little cream and honey.
The perfect breakfast. (Well, one of them anyway)

How's our Christmas accounts coming along?  Ours automatically has installment  number two dropping into it tonight (pay day). Have we set up our new budgets for the year yet? What about our summer gardens - are they producing well?

Toshi the cat - she who must be obeyed.

At ours, the five girls are gearing up for another year at Uni (college) and school.  Both daughters studying Nursing at Uni hope to graduate this year with Bachelor of Nursing degrees and launch out into  their first postings - both want to go out to country hospitals in their new grad' years. We'll see what happens. The other daughter is finishing her History and English degree this year and has sensibly also done an education component so she can teach in secondary schools. She has her big 10 week teaching placement this year, so that will be interesting. Another daughter starts her double degree in Communications and International Studies this year and the youngest is beginning her final two years of High School doing her HSC via pathways method.  So it is timetables, books, study notes, part-time jobs and juggling tutes, prac's and placements this is making me dizzy just thinking about it.  Within five years all our children will be finished their University degrees and making lives for themselves elsewhere - it only seemed like yesterday I was reading A.A.Milne to them sitting at the end of their beds with them all rugged up in their 'dressy-gowns', chins on knees and listening enthralled. (there's that stupid lump in my throat again).

Romertopf roast lamb shoulder

....carved up and succulent.
Pass the mint jelly will you?

Sweet potato being fried up.

Help yourself folks!
Table set in the background with
lamps on and waiting.

Broccoli and cauliflower cheese. 

Mint jelly and butter awaiting

Lamb, honey carrots, sweet potato,
baked potato, broccoli and cauliflower
cheese, hot bread roll and iced tea.

Just a few of us tonight eating

...on the deck at twilight with fairy
lights on and oil lamps glowing.

In the last couple of weeks we have celebrated birthdays, cured June from her cluckiness, done a full spring clean of the hen house, installed a small pool, entertained tribes of folks, flown to Adelaide SA and back, survived Christmas and New Year at work (I run a large payroll) and zillion other things. We also had some mishaps with a water leak and had to empty out the side garage and storage rooms....a blessing in disguise as it triggered the culling and sorting part of our brain. We have enough sorted to order a skip bin I think!

You can't have too much cake.

I saw a little quote the other day that I just loved - I'll leave it with you now:

“Today, there are three kinds of people: the have’s, the have-not’s, 
and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have’s.”

-Earl Wilson

Take care folks and stay nice.


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