Gavin’s Most Excellent Weekend

Did you miss me?  I missed all of you!

Now that I have had my second visit to the  Endodontist, and that the tooth has settled down a lot, I can tell you about my most excellent weekend.

I had the privilege to be selected to attend the Australian Conservation Foundation – GreenHome Community Leaders facilitation training, where I learnt the following;

  • Facilitating group and individual discussion.
  • Guiding a conversation around sustainable solutions.
  • Dealing with challenging people and differing views.
  • Kicking off a sustainability-related project.
  • How humans process change.

I had a blast, met 20 other enlightened people plus the ACF team, and am now an official volunteer GreenHome Community Leader!  I have an obligation to use my training at no cost to my audience, and to lead two conversations about sustainable solutions, and assist the group in formulating an action plan.

We got to practice a session over the two days of training which really helped out.  I am fairly confident that I will be able to finish my two or three sessions in the three months allocated.  If anyone in the Melton Shire area would like me to facilitate a session for their group about sustainable solutions, please contact me via the email address at the top left sidebar.

On Saturday night, we had a family viewing of Avatar, which blew us away!  What a great movie with a powerful eco message.  I must be the only person who didn’t go to the cinema to watch it.  A great way to cap off a rewarding two days.

Sunday was a busy day.  Up early to get some chicken feed, and I managed to score 3 x 20kg bags for $50.  I was impress with that bargain.  Sis and I did some shopping for the evening meal, and then back home again as I still had lots more to do before the monthly meeting of the Sustainable Living Group.

I weeded the vegetable garden, while Sis harvested the tomatoes (about 5kg), and Kim helped set up the area we were going to use for the meeting.  When I finished, I harvested about 15 eggplants (looks like lots of brinjal pickles will need to be made), and I then went to count how many pumpkins I had growing on the east side of the urban farm.  I counted 1 Qld Blue, 6 Australian Butter, and 2 Golden Nugget.  The Golden nugget will get used this week in a pumpkin soup and once the vines die back, I will harvest the remainder and put into storage for use over the winter months. 

I then began to prepare for the meeting.  I was going to provide a demonstration on how to make cold pressed soap.  So, I copied a recent blog post that contained the tutorial and printed off the recipe that I was going to use from SoapCalc.  It was a mixture of the following oils; Olive, Sunflower, Rice Bran, and Coconut.  The recipe said it had good cleaning and lather properties with a moisturising effect.

I then scurried around, collecting all the bits I needed to do an outdoor demonstration.  Kim helped lay everything out before the meeting.  With everything set and 15 minutes to spare!

The meeting was great.  We had 8 attendees and after 20 minutes of updates it was time for the demo.  It was good fun showing everyone how to make the soap, and even more fun with Kim as the assistant.  Half way through the weighing of the oil, she let the dog into the demo area, and then chased him out again.  It was good to have some comic relief. 

Then came the serious part.  I looked like a mad professor when I put on my apron, gloves and protective eye wear before I started handling the Caustic Soda, to emphasise the need to treat this compound with respect.  They were seated about 2 metres away, so safely out of harms way.  Once I began to mix the oil and lye, I got them to stand so that they could see the trace effect, and the pour.  All went well, except that once the soap was in the mould it began to rise like a loaf of bread.  Very strange, and in the four batches we have made, we had never seen this before.  The soap settled down again and didn’t overflow, but it was touch and go for a minute or two.  After the demo, we gave everyone some samples that we made from our first two batches that were ready to use.  They all thanked us, and departed.  What great members we have in our group.

I then popped down the bottle shop and picked up two bottles of local wine, and Kim, Sis and I drank, laughed and talked whilst Sis prepared Corned Beef silverside for us with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, carrots and beans.  With the cheesy white sauce on top, it was a delicious meal, and we were all very impressed with Sis’s cooking skills and it was a first time for Kim.  It will be on our menu again, that is for sure, as we all loved it.  After dinner, I watch Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and continued with the laughter.  It too is a good movie with a message.  Be Excellent to each other, and party on dudes!

So that was our most excellent weekend.  Full to the brim and action packed.  Rock on next weekend. I might get a rest!


  1. michelle says

    Glad your facilitation session went well….and a question slightly off topic :) which cheese making book would you recommend for a complete beginner?? i’ve had a quick scroll through some of your ‘cheese’ posts but thought it might be quicker to ask!
    Oh and I missed avatar at the cinema too….s’posed to have been fantastic.

  2. says

    What a “totally awesome” weekend you had! Glad the tooth is feeling better. Your demo sounded wonderful (as did your evening meal!) I am reading this very early in the morning, and I am worn out already with all you got done. Most excellent!

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