Tagged home making

Postie has keys to our mailbox

Sometimes we open our mailbox and there is a parcel in there. There is no way the postie could have shoved the parcel through the slot, which is about the size of the one in the photo below.

A wall of mailboxes in an apartment building.

Our mailbox is similar to these.

One day, Damjan asked a postman how they managed to get large items into our mailbox. He said:

‘Twenty years ago, when this area was being developed, a building manager gave Australia Post a master key to the mailboxes in his apartment building. We noticed that a lot of the new buildings had similar-looking mailboxes, so one day, a postie tried the master key in another building. And it worked.’

So it looks like Australia Post has a key to our mailbox. And our neighbour’s mailbox.

I thought about whether or not this is a privacy or security risk. Posties already have access to our mail. As long as no one loses or copies the key, which I guess is a big risk…

Oh well. It’s convenient that I don’t need to trek to the post office whenever I miss a small parcel delivery.

Biennial spring clean

We do our ‘spring’ clean each summer. Last year I was very pregnant so didn’t get to do my usual task of cleaning the windows.

Today, I got out the newspaper and water bowl to wipe away two years of dust.

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Dirty window

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Clean window

It took an hour and a half for six windows and a set of glass French doors.

We’re fortunate that we can clean the windows ourselves. When we moved into the apartment, we replaced the original impractical sash windows with wonderful tilt-and-turn windows. This means they can swing (turn) right open as well as tilt from the base for a small gap.

Piano parking

We have a parking space in our apartment building, which we don’t use. So we put up an ad online for someone to rent it.

Peter emailed us. ‘Hello, I live in Adelaide. I’m coming to Melbourne to busk with a piano. Can I keep the piano in the carpark? The piano is an Kawai upright piano on a small trolley and I push it into the CBD/Southbank each day. Would having a piano on a small trolley instead of a car in the carpark be okay?”

So here it is — the piano parked in our car spot.

Piano parked at our home

Piano parked, safe and sound

Okara: waste into food

We bought a soy milk machine some months ago.

Joyoung soy milk maker

Joyoung soy milk maker

In 22 minutes, it pulverises and heats a small cup of soy beans into a litre of soy milk.

Fresh soy milk from the soy milk machine

Fresh soy milk from the soy milk machine

I then add 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup to sweeten it. It doesn’t taste like the soy milk you buy from supermarkets, as it doesn’t have malt. It’s more like Asian soy milk but I don’t make it as sweet as that.

Add honey to soy milk

Add honey to soy milk

For a long time, Damjan and I wondered what to do with the leftover soy bean solids. It felt like we were throwing out a lot of it. After some focused Googling, we discovered that soy pulp is called okara. It is in fact highly nutritious with protein and fibre.

The first time we reused it, we made an lemon cake of almond meal and okara.

Lemon, almond and okara cake

Lemon, almond and okara cake

We’ve now added to our okara repertoire vegetarian burger patties, knedle soup (vegetable soup with dumplings made of flour and okara) and bread with okara filling.

Sometimes, though, we can’t keep up with all the okara that I generate with the soy milk machine. So a few weeks ago, we bought a bokashi bin, which is a little composting bin that we can keep in our apartment.

Home composting using the Bokashi system

Home composting using the Bokashi system

We started it off on banana peels, but now it takes three quarters of our waste — egg shells, tissues, fruit and vegetable peels, corn cobs and okara.

The start of our Bokashi bin

The start of our Bokashi bin

We’re halfway through our first binful and, as promised, there are no smells from the bin. We’ve barely had to empty our normal kitchen bin in the past two weeks.

Bokashi bin, halfway full

Bokashi bin, halfway full

If you have a garden and would like some nourishing compost, drop me a line.

Balcony herb garden

We have a lovely green communal space in the middle of our apartment complex. We’ve used it for BBQs, tennis and swimming. However, we can’t plant vegies in it the way our friends with backyards can.

We do have a little balcony. It’s a bit bigger than three square metres. A few weeks ago, Damjan and I went to Bunnings and bought two planters, planter hangers, herbs and potting mix.

I’m very happy with our balcony herb garden. It makes our balcony look home-like and alive. We’ve used the chives and thyme for omelettes, and oregano for sauces. The basil is doing really well so maybe we can turn that into pesto.

Thyme, oregano and basil

Thyme, oregano and basil

Coriander, chilli and chives

Coriander, chilli and chives