Friday, June 8, 2012

chai with leo

I lugged a couple of litres of soya milk from Bali and rationed them for chai.  Soya beans aren't available on the island, and must be shipped from the mainland to make tempeh and tofu. There is a very similar bean grown locally over the wet season that I mistook for soy and tried in vain to make milk with disastrous curdled results.  I tried three different methods, even sprouting the beans first to make a raw soya milk. Let me tell you, do not try this at home.  It was so wrong, and turned into a weird lumpy custard when heated. 

For a couple of sweet mornings we sat down mid-morning for a spicy brew and a slab of sesame power bar from the market. To accompany our cuppa I read the latest inspiring blog post from Leo Babauta, the writer of Zen Habits.

His post "How to Live Well" parallels our tenets, and the truth that you can live well with little. 

Little things include these mugs from Bill Meiklejohn at Willyabrup Dreaming Pottery, one of the artists I interviewed over summer for my upcoming book... A handmade connection to our Australian home and designed to keep your chai hot for longer. 

"He who is contacted is rich" Lao Tzu


Certain things appear at the markets one week and the next they are gone, so we don't get too attached to a new fruit or vegetable, thinking that it will be a staple every week. One such arrival was this giant pomelo. They are big fellas with thick skin and hard seeds. It's grapefruit like flavour provided an extra zing and colour to our salad. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

becca & axel's garden

Becca and Axel are a young couple that have grown up in Bali to European parents, and embraced voluntary simplicity even younger than myself and Aquaman. They live ten kilometres south of us over a very rough road that doubles as a ditch in the wet season and a rocky dust bowl in the dry. Their small house is tucked into a hillside with sweeping ocean views and fertile red soil. They are fortunate to have none of the hermit crab and gutless sand challenges of us down here at sea level, and have established an eclectic garden of herbs, flowers and veggies.  It is a favourite morning outing to borrow a motorbike and bounce down the road for a fresh plunger of coffee and a poke around the pots. Last week I took a few cuttings and have been gifted some seeds, so let's see if I can get some floral action at our place.  I'm not one for laying about in hammocks - they are an overrated icon of the tropical island dream that make me sea sick - but I I have been known to make a short exception on Axel's verandah as the morning rays tickle my cheeks. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

tankstand preview

The day we got running water was momentous. Suddenly there were extra hours available in the day, as we no longer had to haul water from the well for our every need. It could now be pumped into the tank at night (when we have power), then gravity fed on demand. I rang my mum to share the sweet sound of water hitting the bottom of a bucket.  I could wash my hair with ease, rinse rice under the tap and use a hose. With a single pipe we moved forward a hundred years. 

However, despite being atop an eight foot masonry wall, the timber tank stand was discovered by white ants in its first wet season. We could watch the progress of their rapidly ascending tunnels, faster than a building team on a contract deadline. When left alone they moved in and fattened up.  We now risk our lives every time we go to the toilet; the white ant eaten posts are held up with struts and threaten to collapse at any moment.

With a new tank stand imminent, Aquaman has been back playing with sticks and glue to create a model.  The new structure will have steel uprights and cross beams, and a timber platform for our dear little tank. Hopefully there will be little disruption to the water supply. There is a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. 

first morning of winter

While I agree there is beauty in a crisp winter's day, the morning dew heavy on the grass, a roaring fire, hot milo, footy season and the sound of rain on a tin roof; I relish the incredibly pleasant dry season in the tropics. Minimum 23 degrees, maximum 30, offshore breeze, and nothing but blue skies. Sorry to do this to the southerners moving toward the shorter, cooler days of the year, but I welcome your reverie to gaze into the lagoon, imagine your feet in the shallows and the sun warm on your shoulders. Green tea anyone?   

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