Product Review: VOSS still water

VOSS still water (watercolour pencil) by Emma Crameri

In an effort drink something a little more healthy than soft drinks and juices, I wanted to try VOSS water. It comes in a heavy glass bottle in two different sizes. I found it originally at the health food shop and then saw it stocked in Woolworth’s. As we had the car and could carry it home we decided to give it a try.

The still water is made up of Sodium 6, Calcium  5, Magnesium 1, Chloride 12, Fluoride 0.1 and Sulfate 5. The sparkling water is made up of Sodium 90, Calcium 5, Magnesium 1, Chloride 12, Fluoride 0.1 and Sulfate  5.

I love the taste of VOSS water. It is even better infused with slices of fruit. Why not give this artisan water from Norway a try.


Paleo orange ice blocks


Citrus and coconut water are a refreshing combination on a hot day. You could add a pinch of sea salt and have these as a replacement for those hydrating ice blocks you get at the chemist, as coconut water replaces electrolytes in the body.

Ice block moulds can be found in $2 shops or kitchen shops, otherwise use plastic cups and paddle pop sticks. You may need to double the recipe if your moulds are bigger.

1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

  1. Combine coconut water and freshly squeezed orange juice in a jug. Pour mixture into ice block moulds.
  2. Place lid on moulds and place them in the freezer for a minimum of six hours.

Makes 4 ice blocks.

Lemon barley water

lemon barley water

My parents have a glut of lemons at the moment and they gave us ‘as many as we wanted’ when we saw them last. I’m a big fan of lemon barley water as an ideal way to use up lemons. This recipe is an adaptation of the one off the back of the McKenzie’s Pearl Barley packet.

Three or four lemons make half a cup of lemon juice. I like to use brown sugar but it gives the drink a warm orange colour, so if you want a more traditional yellow use white sugar. It’s a refreshing drink either way. We feed the remaining pearl barley to our dog. Although McKenzie’s recommends:

Serve in a jug with lots of ice and fresh mint leaves. Could also be mixed with dry ginger ale for a refreshing alternative. Don’t throw away the cooked barley. Store in the fridge and for a nutritious and filling breakfast, warm through and top with yoghurt and fresh fruit pieces.

Lemon barley water

1/4 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups water

  1. Rinse the pearl barley well, cover with cold water and bring to the boil in a saucepan. Drain and then remove any discoloured grain.
  2. Place pearl barley back into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Cook on a simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the pearl barley. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. 
  4. Chill in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 litre.

Waiting for rain


We have unfortunately not had any decent rain for two and half months. Last week it was overcast with big gray clouds and we were hoping that it would fall in our backyard, but the most we got was 3mm on Saturday. Recently we have had beautiful Spring days with the hot sun beaming down.

I’ve been wanting to plant some more seedlings into the garden beds but I’m postponing that until we do have a decent soaking. Mainly because our water tank is now dry. Matt decided to empty it, as he thought that might help clean it out. Also the garage roof has collected lots of dirt from the nearby vacant block of land.

Fortunately most of the plantings in our garden are based around tropical or native plants, which survive through periods of hot and dry weather. Even the native grasses are starting to look a bit weary, and the grass is starting to brown in parts.

Only a handful of the bulbs that I planted have come up.

Review: Zazen water filter

Update June 2016: Zazen filters release a high amount of silver into the water, which is not good for your long-term health. I no longer recommend this product.

I strongly recommend you do lots of research and get your water tested before and after any type of filter.

I only recommend reverse osmosis filters from a reputable company.



Reserve water


Our grass is turning yellow from the lack of rain. Any one know what type of bird this is?

If you remember our last lot of beans had rust on them. Low and be hold our current beans also have rust on them, so they will need to be removed and thrown in the wheelie bin so they don’t reinfect any other crops.

I’m going to instigate a no-spaces rule in the vegetable beds. I’d like to make use of all of our available pots and containers for growing fruit and vegetables to meet our goal.

We have two hoses – an old green short one and a new silver kink-free long one. We tried to use up the last of the water in our tank to flush out any dirt or debris. Not all is lost as we still have mains water. Since the long hose doesn’t reach far enough from the house tap to the beds I have had to heave a plastic 9 litre watering can over.

I went back to trying to fill up a bucket using the short hose attached to the tank, but I couldn’t get a drop out. So Matt attached the long silver hose and trailed it down the slope. He cleverly used gravity to trickle fill up a few buckets. Alternating between two buckets and the watering can and using team work we managed to water everything edible. The soil in all the beds has cooled down, but now the tank is empty.

Zen watering

Watering the vegetable beds had become a daily meditation. That was until, I discovered the joys of listening to music on my ipod while hosing.

Occasionally when I am finished I like to sit at the base of the tank and have some time out. Sometimes I think about my future plans for the garden. Sometimes I mentally list the tasks we need to do on the weekend. Maybe I’ll watch the birds or the clouds.

And sometimes I’m just avoiding doing the washing up.

Watering edible plants

“Every dollar’s worth of fruit and vegetables has needed at least 103 litres of water to mature. Every equivalent dollar’s worth of home grown food uses only 20 litres”.
David Holgrem

We purchased a three thousand litre plastic tank with the assistance of a government grant. It collects rainwater that runs off of our one car colourbond garage.

Fortunately we are allowed to use the rainwater as we choose, and it’s the main source of water for the vegetables and fruit trees. Our tank is situated close to the beds and trees, so we have managed to do without a water pump. Gravity works well until the tank is below a third full, then the pressure seems to drop off and watering takes twice as long. So far the tank has been big enough.

Natural rainfall always gives our plants a big boost in growth.

The Diggers Club has an informative article on “how much water do I need to grow fruit and vegetables? [PDF]”

Grey water

Grey water is typically waste water from the bathroom, kitchen and laundry.

We looked into using grey water to supplement watering the garden. However, grey water is not suitable for use on vegetable beds, fruit trees or herbs. Grevillas and a large majority of other Australian natives are not tolerant of the levels of phosphorous in grey water.

At the moment, we currently have a grey water hose that attaches the end of the washing machine, and we direct this waste water on to our grassy areas. It’s been effective at keeping our lawn alive in between rainy days, and our grass seems to stay greener longer then our neighbours’.