Sunday, January 25, 2015

Green and Thrifty

This week has been actually HOT. Yes, in Tasmania, I know, who would have thought it?
Edited to add: Hot two days ago when I wrote this. Weather has since had a change of heart, and we are back to wearing jackets to watch the Australia Day fireworks.

So the girls have been in and out of the pool (which isn't green and thrifty in the least, but it is there, so we are using what we have..), and then holing themselves up in my study downstairs where it is cool. They and all their friends went 3D with the loom bands. Did you know you can make stuffed animals with loom bands? You Tube is a wonderful thing. Hoping the pesky loom bands will all be used up soon..




Then there were the days of card making. The girls have years of scrap booking supplies sent for birthdays from Grandma and lovely aunties, just waiting for some summer holiday inspiration. Now we have a couple of years' worth of home made cards all ready to go..



After that, a jewellery craze set in, as the girls, armed with a set of long-nosed pliers from the shed, undid their collection of necklaces and bracelets and remade them into charm bracelets, and went crazy with the their bead collections, also well stocked by Grandma. Then, when they ran out of ready made charms, they started making their own from modelling clay..


For one one whole day Posy whined continuously asked ever so politely for a swing. By the next day she and her friends had made their own:


Then they turned the entire family room downstairs into a blanket fort and had sleep overs in it. I think they have had a fun summer, and it has all been about Using What We Have. The more we do it, the more I realise just how much we do have, and how looking at our life with a view to appreciating the incredible abundance in it makes us happy and content. Whereas concentrating on the few things we don't have, and that other people do have, well, that just makes us miserable. It is the same life both ways, different attitude.

This week will be all about Back to School, sadly. We will need to make some purchases. School shoes. Some exercise books. Thankfully we only needed to buy one textbook/workbook this year, due to the availability of hand-me-downs from older siblings. The two girls still at school have enough uniform to start the year, but I will need to keep looking out for secondhand options during the months to come. The problem with committing to shopping secondhand is that it takes so much more perseverance and effort than buying new. It is so tempting just to pop into the uniform shop and spend all the money.. except that I don't really have that option anymore. The budget that was once fairly loose and flexible with plenty of  wiggle room for lazy shopping at the world's most expensive school uniform shop, is now subject to post-divorce stringency measures. Which is excellent really, because now fate is forcing me into doing what I believe is right, laziness having won out over conscience many times in the past.

We have started to fill future lunch boxes by making batches of fruit leather from the plum tree in the back yard. The girls are an excellent labour force, especially for the fiddly job of picking all the plum stones out of the pulp with tongs. This morning a friend gave me a giant bag of big purple plums, so in a minute they will be in the pot, cooking down to make purple fruit leather. How much more fun can school lunch be?

Eating from the garden this week - rhubarb, nectarines, cherry plums, peaches, rosemary, rocket, lemons, cherry tomatoes - the first of the crop. Our zucchini plants are still babies, but those friends who planted theirs in a timely manner are already getting tired of them, and we are getting quite a few gifted zucchinis as well, so there will be zucchini cake in the freezer for school lunches, as well as minestrone and mini zucchini muffins galore. Good times:)

Tell me about your green and thrifty week..

12 comments:

Tracy said...

My week has been not so much green as thrifty. About one a week I lose the plot and CANNOT COOK ANOTHER MEAL, EVER. I got there last night after hubby and I went to organise movie tickets from Christmas movie vouchers....and he wanted to go shopping while we "waiting for the line to get shorter". I had to come home and sit a while so I could ice my plantar faciitis foot. The kids were concerned that Dad had broken me and he should repent by getting dinner. From up the street.

And then I bravely chose to make a roasted veg salad for dinner instead of buying some guilt-inducing, expensive and unhealthy for dinner. It was worth being brave, and frugal.

anexactinglife.com said...

Sounds like a lovely homespun summer. What is the temperature range for summer in Tasmania? I am drooling over your fresh garden produce. (It's midwinter here and a snow storm is forecast for Tuesday).

Tammy said...

I definitely can relate to your time versus money scenario. Often times frugality involves more time, but for me at least it is so rewarding. Homemade jam, fruit leather, pickled veg, that great deal from thrift shop, it all makes the work worthwhile.

theroadtoserendipity said...

Another lovely brim full of frugality post Jo. If you were to empty that pool think of all the water wastage! If you look at it that way you are doing the environment a service by swimming ;). You are getting heaps more than we are from your garden. My rhubarb, which was admittedly given to me last year as an enormous metre long root as thick as my wrist, sprouted 3 different rhubarb plants and every single one of them went to seed. I have rhubarb seeds but no fruit. Everything is growing like crazy but not quite there yet aside from the zucchini which have been going amazingly well since early December. I have 4 big zukes on the counter that I am going to turn into vegan zucchini brownies and freeze the lot! I have 5 bags of grated frozen zuke for adding to soups and stews in winter when green things are a luxury. I also worked out when to start planting the wintery green things which is pretty much almost upon us so will be attempting a real winter garden this year. We did a HUGE amount in the garden this week and the strawberries are finally in their water wicked bed, I have mint growing in one side of that old fridge and we are contemplating planting out cranberries in another water wicked bed but "first, gather your cranberries!" Loving this growing season and how Sanctuary is evolving. Most school uniform shops have a second hand side to them. Does yours? Well done on your frugal living this week. You just gave me an idea what to do with all of the plums that Stewart and Kelsey just dropped off. I don't think I could stone another cherry after turning 20kg of jam cherries into dehydrated cherries. My fingernails will NEVER be the same! Have a great week Jo. What will you do with yourself when the children all go back to school? (I know, that was a STUPID quesion ;) )

Jo said...

Tracy, well done on saving dinner! Sometimes it feels like doing one more thing will actually kill us, but you soldiered on! In the same situation I tend to inform the children that there are plenty of eggs in the house, and they are welcome to cook them any way they like. But I am a bit mean like that. You are clearly much more gracious:)
Dar, have fun in the snow:) Our summer temperatures range from 18C to 30C (65F to 85F), but last night watching the fireworks was very chilly indeed. We all wore our winter coats, and wished for a blanket.. still, not as chilly as your evenings:)
Tammy, yes, often I have to choose one or the other, but now I will be forced to go with the time option rather than the money one, which I am philosophically good with, but involves a lot of forward planning, which isn't my forte..
Fran, the Tassie garden hasn't quite gotten into its stride yet, has it? Never mind, yours looks lush and amazing, and you have SO MUCH going on in it, soon it will start producing all over the place and you will have a full time job making it all into food! I love frozen zucchini in the winter, disappears a treat into all the winter casseroles, and the children have no idea they are eating it. He he..

lucindasans said...

Your girls are so creative. Love the hamster/ guinea pig (think/hope it is one!) and the little charms!

But yeah! Roobish it is hot in Tassie. It's beautiful. And we may be coming down next January. Yah!! NZ was delightful, including the weather. To be able to walk around in the middle of the day. I forgot about hot weather. Went for a walk when I got hone. Came back so red and sweaty. It was over 30°. At 4pm!

As to pools. Yes, they are environmental vandalism. But hey! You don't fly. And you are doing lots of other good things.

Jo said...

Lucinda, you should absolutely come and visit, and we will sit and drink tea under the pear tree, and have our photo taken, with me holding the teapot, about to pour, and you holding your tea cup with your pinkie at exactly the correct angle, while we pretend to be our Victorian great-great aunts. That will be fun:)

e / dig in hobart said...

glad you mentioned the weather mood-swings. long weekend started out promising - thongs and a t shirt and shorts! - and ended, yes, in trackies and cardigans and scarves and thick socks. crazy Tassie weather.
my green and thrifty was mostly swapping a friend zucchinis (mine) for greengage plums (hers), and foraging in my freezer for home made tomato sauces from last season to jazz up the zucchinis and green beans from my garden. I must make a zucchini cake soon, though they use less of the green stuff than I would really like (or need to get rid of!).

e / dig in hobart said...

PS catching up on some of you recent posts. especially love "this year I will use...". new underwear surely is completely justifiable! :-)

Jo said...

e, my favourite thing to do with excess zucchini is throw it in the food processor to grate it, then pop it in the freezer to use all winter. So little fussing!
And yes, I am sure I will buy new underwear - I am not a complete masochist BUT I figure that anything that makes me stop and contemplate an article for a minute with a view to mending it, has to be a good thing, right?

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Among other things, your post made me long for summer (something I only do in January and February, when the winter keeps my boys trapped inside most of the time (well, Jack never goes out much even when it's nice).

I'm so impressed with your girls ingenuity. And yours, of course ...

xofrances

Jo said...

Frances, we are so ingenious, aren't we:) Because our summers are so nice, I always enjoy them, and if we had six weeks of holidays during winter, I would probably enjoy winter just as much..
Hope the rest of winter treats you well xx

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