Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happiness is a Back Yard Full of Chooks -The Full Story

So you know how we made Page 4 of the newspaper last Saturday. (what a hoot!). Well I wrote to Lisa Power, the journalist to thank her for her time and congratulate her on the placement of the piece. She said she was a little disappointed that the story had been truncated and gave me permission to print the full story.

an oasis of green in the inner city suburb of Lilyfield
I have also included some of the other photos that the photographer Adam Ward sent me.  I love the ones of me and the kids (fake) painting the furniture. Sure it's posed but I don't often get photos of myself doing the things I love -I'm normally on the other side of the camera, so they're a nice memento.

Thanks Lisa and Adam. Here's to the little things we can do to help the planet and minimise our ecological footprint!

Happiness is a Back Yard full of Chooks
by Lisa Power - Family Reporter

MOTHERS yearn for the old-fashioned simple life but find the effort hard in the modern world.  Romantic visions of chook-keeping, veggie patches and running a green household appeal to most mums but over half have no idea how to start.

In fact, nearly two-thirds of households blame the pressures of modern life and the sheer volume of technology, gadgets and appliances for keeping them from living sustainable lifestyles. The new study of Australian mothers, carried out by Kleenex Cottonelle, found 78% believe it was easier to live a sustainable life in their parent’s generation. Electricity guzzling appliances and time pressures were also blamed for preventing them from living greener lives.

Mums believe they need to do more to be sustainable to set a good example for their children (20%) while more than 30% hope to save money at home. Most hope to be able to start taking simple steps to live greener, the study found. The findings reflect Australian Bureau of Statistics research that found a majority of Australians are concerned about the environment but still prefer to live in larger homes with fewer people and use a private car to get to work.

Fiona Gaven, who shares her tips on living sustainably at lilyfieldlife.blogspot, has learnt how to keep chickens, build coops, compost and restore vintage furniture by googling advice. 

“I think we live in an impatient society and people don’t realize the joy that comes from doing things yourself,’’ she said.  “The furniture I do up, you put in time and effort. Just spending money doesn't bring a lot of joy as you move on very quickly and don’t put any love into it."

yes i do really paint most of my furniture in our lounge room...

“Sometimes you have to put in a big of effort and not sit on the couch but it actually makes your life a whole lot richer.’’

Ms Gaven said her children Jonty, 6, and Sasha, 8, enjoy keeping chickens, exploring farmer’s markets and love the surprise of the weekly box from the local veggie co-op.  She throws all organic scraps to the chickens, shares excess veggies with a neighbour and gifts eggs to her children’s teachers.
“I have heaps of herbs and fruit trees espaliered along our fence which is a pretty easy thing to do.  My whole block is a little slice of country life in a city suburb.’’

The study found 80% of mums dream they could live sustainably like Ms Gaven, with 67% wishing they had time to grow their own vegetables, 55% wanting to make food from scratch and 36% keen to buy locally sourced produce.

Deborah Bauer from Kimberly-Clark said an “overwhelming majority of mums’’ also believe businesses have a key role to play in helping them be greener. She said accreditation by groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council were important signs of a product’s “green origins’’.

Planet Ark, who focus on simple steps to help the environment, said recycling and controlling food waste were important aims for households. Each NSW household throws away $1,000 of food – or a collective 800,000 tonnes per year. “Food waste is a big issue so planning the shopping and working out what you are going to use ahead of time is helpful,’’ said Sara McGregor, from Planet Ark.

“Since mums and women generally do the shopping and or cooking, how they plan meals can have a big impact on how much food gets wasted.’’ Ms McGregor said Planet Ark-endorsed products - which include tyres, cleaning products, skin care, light globes and washing powders – had been tested for their environmental impacts.

Another standard for shoppers to check for was the ecolabel certification from Good Environmental Choice Australia, she said.

What 80% of mums already do
• Recycling at home
• Air drying clothes
• Use energy saving bulbs
• Turn off taps
• Take green bags to shops

What they plan to do in the future
• Shop at farmers markets (61%)
• Use smart appliances (53%)
• Visit community garage sales (39%)
• Order veggie boxes (33%)
• Begin a worm farm (29%)
- Source: Make A Difference study by Kleenex Cottonelle

Sharing at
Nifty Tuesdays @ Coastal Charm


  1. I love the photo of Jonty holding your chin, so cute!

    1. thanks Karen - he's a cute thing isn't he. Loves his Mumma, that's for sure.

  2. Same Karen, gorgeous photos and such an inspiration for all.

  3. What beautiful photos. A wonderful article, lots of food for thought. xT

    1. thanks so much! Lisa's a great writer and interviewer isn't she.

  4. this is so great! i loved the article and the photos!

    1. hi Anna - I just realised it you (i don't think i knew your last name ever). thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I hope you are going ok. I think of you so often and send lots of good thoughts (not that it probably helps...)
      much love to you
      cheers Fiona

  5. Loved the photos! Great article too! Congratulations!! Mx

    1. Thanks Marita, I love these photos also. Much appreciate you commenting. Cheers Fiona

  6. Great article and beautiful photos Fiona! Hi from Finland! You do what other people only talk and dream about doing one day. It is a pleasure to read and follow your blog - at least someone is doing what she really loves! Big hug, Mirkka

    1. Thanks Mirkka, so lovely of you to say that. Much appreciated! Have a lovely weekend
      Cheers Fiona


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