Friday, November 15, 2013

Green and Thrifty


Happy spring roses. The price of one rose bush equals many years of spring happiness. Now that is a good investment.

I have been racking my brain for evidence of greenish thriftiness here at Chez Blueday. It has been quite a week, with The Boy leaving home, and me renouncing cups of tea for greater health. So mostly I have been sad, eating comfort food, and keep having accidental naps due to lack of caffeine.

Here is this week's short list:

Saving electricity. Turns out that none of the tea substitutes I have tried so far are inducing me to jump up and put the kettle on every hour, on the hour as has been my wont. So, savings there, on electricity, and wear and tear on the kettle.

Drinking water. We always drink water, when not drinking tea, so this is not new, but this week as the dental hygienist was examining Rosy's teeth she complimented Rosy's strong white teeth, and hazarded a guess that she did not drink soft drinks, sports drinks or lots of fruit juice. The hygienist said she is seeing more and more children with damage to their teeth from acid, sugary drinks. So savings all round here. Savings from not buying bottled drinks, savings lots of plastic from landfill, and savings on dental bills. Unfortunately, water doesn't magically straighten teeth, and we still spend rather too much time at the orthodontist..

This week I made up a bottle of Kevin's home made window washer, and discovered that it works brilliantly, without that nasty Windex smell. I substituted methylated spirits for the rubbing alcohol, because it is much cheaper, and I had some in the cupboard. The recipe is a solution of 45% water, 45% methylated spirits and 10% ammonia. I found that Kevin's mirror/window washing method works brilliantly too, although I had to spray-rub with a wet-cloth-spray-squeedgee, instead of his spray-squeedgee, mostly because I imagine Kevin's bedroom mirror doesn't have any small children licking it, or wiping their hands on it after dinner, or seeing if they can write their names on it in spit..

As I consigned last week's roses to the compost this morning, I saved the petals for pot pourri. They are drying on the kitchen bench, delightful to stir around with the fingers to make the kitchen smell rosy.



The Girl has been home studying for exams this week, and she and I have been determinedly eating all the leftovers that are in little pots in the fridge for lunch. I also cooked up some manky pears and wrinkly apples to make stewed fruit for my gluten-free breakfasts. Tonight I will be making potato cakes from equally wrinkly and sprouty potatoes.

A very dear friend came to visit and commiserate about children who unkindly leave home. She brought a beautiful little spring bouquet from her garden. It made me so happy, and reminded me that my granny always took a tiny, perfect little nosegay whenever she visited a friend, and how it only takes a few flowers, and is something I should remember to do.. especially in spring!



Posy brought some lovely, lovely pets home today. There were mealworms left over from a science project at school, so now all of Grade 3 have little tubs of bran containing several mealworms. They will apparently take a whole month to eat this bran (the meal worms, that is, not Grade 3), and they also perform entertaining acrobatics when you pick them up, and sometimes amusingly shed their skin. So, looking for a very cheap and alternative pet for the children? Try mealworms..

Eating and sharing from the garden this week: lemons, lettuce, parsley, artichokes, rocket.

What green and thrifty projects have you been up to at your place this week?

11 comments:

theroadtoserendipity said...

It is with bittersweet joy that I (envy) look at your lovely white picket fence covered in Pierre de Ronsard "rose" and red valarian. I have red, white and pink valarian here but no Pierre de Ronsard roses. I had 3 when I moved here. A gorgeous specimen grown from one of the original "Eden" roses back from the 80's, a recent arrival on the scene (Blushing Pierre) and a gorgeous red variety and I was going to transform the landscape out here...I was going to have a GORGOUES garden dahling...I was going to plant roses and have arches and arbours and was going to be in the next Better Homes and Gardens for my incredible garden design...but I didn't know how much possums adore roses back then. Not so much the flowers, but the leaves. They strip the stems bare and roses won't bloom if they have no leaves :(. I gave my precious Pierre de Ronsards away...I howled as I waved them goodbye...life is a harsh task-master.

My gran used to give little posies as well and you are right, they are gorgeous little bouquets of love :). Don't you just LOVE teachers who send home pets with kids? We had the school budgie over the Christmas holidays and it was a placid little thing when it arrived and by the time it went back to school it was an angry and most agressive little beast. Still to sort those artichokes but their little green hearts are MINE this weekend :).

I have been collecting beer bottle caps from the side of the road as I walk Earl each day to make this...

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/499829258615467483/

I figure I may as well make things for my garden that help our local environment at the same time. Now I just have to find a way to make Tasmania pay people for empty bottles and cans (like they do in S.A.) and the rest of the road will be clean as a whistle ;). I have been using the pulp from my sesame milk to make fermented hummus which is delicious (using my non-dairy kefir) and have decided to not buy soybeans for making soy milk any more and will use sesame milk to make my kefir. Just got into the veggie garden yesterday and dug up 4 beds and dug in horse poo and will be planting out all of the little seedlings waiting for their forever homes. LOTS of veggies on the horizon and lots of free exercise for narf7.

Thanks for the window cleaning recipe. Lots of windows here and lots of dogs noses pressed eagerly to them at any time of the day so this will be very helpful :)

Wendy W said...

You have had a very productive week - well done! Thank you for the link to Kevin. What a wonderful blog. This is exactly what I need at the moment, a bit of a push in that direction. Housework bootcamp.
Lovely posy, it doesn't take much does it, but a lovely thought from a friend. cheers Wendy

duchess_declutter said...

oops that was me. I don't really get this g+ stuff.
BTW, congrats on being strong in your tea withdrawal. Can you have a glass of wine at night to compensate? cheers Wendy

Jo said...

I absolutely am grieving for you re the roses, and I understand, I have lived in the Tasmanian bush as well. I had a field day with the roses when I moved to the suburbs. However, I have always had an idea in the back of my mind of the magnificent bush garden I could grow one day. I am thinking of beautiful clipped native hedges, with topiary balls of prostanthera, with wonderfully wild bush plants in between the clipped hedges... and daffodils, which possums don't like.. I freely gift you my bush garden plans :)

Jo said...

Wendy, housework bootcamp, I could certainly do with a bit of that. I just love Kevin's website. I'm hoping my house and garden will look just like his one day... which would be a miracle, but hey, I can dream!
Oh, don't talk to me about tea. It's all I can do to keep awake..

GretchenJoanna said...

I love seeing all your gorgeous spring flowers!

And I'm very curious about the window-washing solution. I read about methylated spirits (a.k.a. denatured alcohol) on Wikipedia, and discussed alcohol chemistry with my husband. On Wikipedia it's said that rubbing alcohol can be made according to various formulas. Do you think the cleaner can be made with any of them? Because at least here, it seems to me that the rubbing alcohol might be a cheaper ingredient than the denatured alcohol.

One thing that Windex really cleans like nothing else I've found does, is stainless steel appliances. Perhaps the alcohol in your formula would do the trick as well.

Jo said...

Gretchen Joanna, rubbing alcohol is quite expensive here, you have to buy it at a chemist, whereas methylated spirits is cheap at the supermarket. I think the alcohol is the key ingredient because it dries instantly and prevents streaks. Vodka probably works just as well! I will try this cleaner on my stainless steel and let you know how it goes..

Left-Handed Housewife said...

All of your flowers are gorgeous. I'm going to have to try some of your window cleaner--I'm never satisfied with the job Windex does, and vinegar, while more effective, smells like vinegar.

frances

e / dig in said...

my pierre de ronsard is now one year old, so is still only a little wee thing - but is covered in big fat blossoms. i bought it to train up the front of my house and cover ugly suburban brick walls. so its great to see yours, what mine will become.
i love duchess's suggestion to have a glass of wine to compensate for the tea... i shall have to read back and find out why you are giving up the stuff of life!
ps, what becomes of mealworms??

thegreenbackyard said...

Oh how sad about your son leaving home :( My 15 year old son just got his first part time job at a café, and I'm seeing a change in him already, more confidence. The fact that your boy felt confident enough to leave home is a testament to you, so many boys/men are just not leaving their mummys anymore.

Jo said...

Frances, I hear you on the vinegar. Have never been a real fan of the smell. I don't want my bathroom to smell like a fish and chip shop..
people tell me the smell goes away, but i have friends who use it, and it really doesn't..
e, love that pierre de ronsard. Have one growing slowly up the side of my house too. Very slowly..
Re mealworms, Posy said this morning, 'They are sleeping very deeply aren't they?' Mmmhm, VERY deeply.
Jo, I'm kind of thinking wistfully about how nice it would be to have a mummy's boy right now... but then I guess he wouldn't be his gorgeous, independent-minded self, and I can't have it both ways..

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