Category Archives: Lifestyle & yarns

JB, Whangarei.

Living on a lifestyle block means we are too small for the machinery a ‘real’ farmer has, but we do need it from time to time. So we have friends who will mulch our gorse with their tractor, and let us use their workshop for carpentry. Whenever we get a favour, we make sure we […]

JB, Whangarei.

Living cheaply has been a 20 year preoccupation which we call self-sufficiency and it all began with planning. We moved to a piece of land where we can grow all our food – veges, fruit, meat, eggs – as well as make hay for the animals and have firewood trees for the woodstove. We thought […]

JWC, Auckland.

I’m 74 now but I well remember being a poor university student and begging bacon ends from the butcher and ends of the cheese rounds from the grocer. We ate Pavlova most nights – sugar was cheap and we got egg whites free from the laboratories because they only used the egg yolks for their […]


I am 76 years of age so was brought up in the days of “waste not want not”. It amazes me sometimes when I see waste especially electricity e.g. lights being left on, food being thrown out when it could be used the next day, vegetable scraps going down the thing in the waste disposal […]

Mean Girl, Hastings.

I was given a catering size can of pulped tomatoes, so decided to make ketchup, using a tried and tested recipe. All went well and I found plenty of containers to store it in. The problem came a couple of months later when I opened one of the large bottles to fill up the table […]

KEW, Auckland.

This is an incident I remember from my childhood. My Mother, always good at living on the smell of an oily rag in the post war years, had ‘prepared’ the egg shampoo for the family bath night by pouring some into a glass and adding water to make it go further. Father goes up to […]


My Mum used to whiten her unbleached sheets by hanging them out at full moon, when there was a frost. Don’t ask me how, but the combination of frost and lunar beam made them snow white. Old time flour bags were good calico, but all had Champion Roller Flour Mills stamped firmly on them, not […]


Having grown up on a back country farm from birth, then later, on a very remote (no road access) high country station I come from a background of “self sufficiency with tenacity”. Owe a lot to my parents, and grandparents for their example, teaching us skills that are sadly being lost by many kiwis. Literally […]


I have introduced an oily rag mentality throughout my business. Everyone in the business has benefited. I have shared the rewards with staff so they are now being paid more and the business is more profitable so their jobs are more secure, and I am doing better too. It’s a win-win.