Saturday, April 25, 2015

Green and Thrifty




Green and thrifty food: So I worked ALL WEEK this week. What is that about, the working full time? Can't be good for you. This week's green and thrifties are mostly things I haven't done. I didn't buy anything except food, because I didn't have time! The children haven't bought lunch at school, because on Sunday I baked a huge batch of vegemite and cheese scrolls. I haven't bought dinner this week, although I must say it was tempting, but instead I put the child labour force to work. Each night at least one of the girls has contributed something to making dinner. Also, The Girl baked cookies, I popped lots of popcorn, and one night I even organised the girls to make their snacks for the next day (that was peak organisation, after which we have degenerated back to our usual morning chaos).

I picked figs from a friend's fig tree last week and made masses of fig jam.

When visiting another friend for dinner last weekend I noticed her kitchen bench was covered with basil and bowls of green tomatoes. "Frost?" I wailed. And yes, frost was forecast, so I scurried home after dinner and picked the last of the basil and tomatoes by torch light. I have dried the basil and have plans to make green tomato relish this weekend.

This week we have eaten broccoli, apples, tomatoes, lemons, Chilean guavas, parsley, basil and lettuce from the garden.

Someone brought a heap of home-grown chillies into work to give away, so I brought some home. This weekend I am going to make Sweet Chilli Sauce.

Green and thrifty entertainment: walking the dog through drifts of autumn leaves. Benson-the-wonder-puppy loves acorns. Why? I do not know. He is very choosy though. Of the hundred thousand acorns in the park, he only wants one. The best one. It takes quite some time to choose the best acorn. It is reminiscent of taking toddlers to the park. Just as well really, as it gives me a chance to catch my breath in the middle of a Very Brisk Walk. Benson keeps the pace up. Especially if there is a Cat.

Last night we were going to have a movie night, but we couldn't agree on which movie to watch, so we played a board game instead. We are so hilarious. We crack ourselves up. Hanging out and being silly together is so much fun. We should do this more often.

Green and thrifty craft: I have crocheted several more squares for our winter warmer afghan rug. My mum sent some more in the post. Thanks Mum! Only thirty one squares to go!

Green and thrifty decorating: Today's photo - the area outside the back door gets messy very regularly, so I have to keep finding new ways to make it look nice. One of the most effective ways I have found to prevent mess is to put a piece of furniture in the space where people (me) dump stuff. This time I hauled a wooden wood box out from under the house. My neighbour gave it to me when she moved, but it recently occurred to me that a wood box at the back door would be more useful than one under the house next to the wood pile. Now IF we keep the wood box full we will be able to light the fire without going out in the rain. The little cane chair was a hand-me-down when the children were young, and the geraniums are the cuttings I picked from over the fences of people's front gardens on my walks in November. I am very pleased with how they are coming along. Free plants are the best. The white pot which is housing the white geranium is from my friend Cindy's op-shop pile when she was moving house. I rescued it as a potential Useful Pot to keep chicken feed in, but until I have chickens, I will use it to keep geraniums in.

The red geranium is in a pot sitting in an old iron frying pan which I found inside the old wood box.. I am quite liking it as a garden accessory.

Tell me about your green and thrifty week.


23 comments:

Lynda D said...

Love Love Love everything. You are doing life so very well. Can you imagine what its like when you work full time every week!! Its hard to keep the motivation up to do it right when you are exhausted from work. (Oh, stop whining, you are not Robinson Crusoe) I really should rest on weekends but its too much fun to play outside and create in the kitchen.

Jo said...

Lynda, I am feeling your pain. Anyone who works full time and does anything other than nana-nap all weekend is a hero in my book!

CJ said...

What a lovely happy homely post. I'm laughing about the search for the perfect acorn. The white geranium is gorgeous. Very envious of your home-grown lemons and chilean guava, such exoticness. We had some delicious greens from the garden this week, spinach and sorrel, and the first of the asparagus from the allotment, as well as a handful of the first rhubarb. CJ xx

anexactinglife.com said...

Love your photo; that is one fine-looking wood box! Congrats on your full work week. I do find the endurance builds!

Jo said...

CJ, the first greens of spring. SUCH a thrill!

Dar, thankfully I now have enough permanent part-time hours that I won't have to do any more full-time relief weeks for a while. Phew!

Treaders said...

Ha, I loved the search for the "perfect acorn" too. Oh how sweet. I guess I am getting all broody because I am actually giving thought to getting a dog. Not now of course (because some of us work full-time full time!!!) but when I retire. It wouldn't be fair to have a dog with me being gone all the time. I have a 90 minute journey to work each way each day and it is tiring of course so you have to be organized. I have gotten my reading down to a TTTTT on the bus though. Drive to the border, park and hop on the bus and lose myself in my reading and since I would read for an hour every day anyway, I have to make the most of it.

I am playing around with figures and possible retirement dates right now and I have to say the one thing about being older (I will be 57 in September) is that if I were prepared to live in an igloo and eat only the perfect acorn every day I could leave this year! That being said, I have to be realistic about my new mortgage from buying the ex out (those were the best $$$$$$$ I ever spent) and I am not unhappy so retirement (and the puppy) isn't for right now. Still it's nice to dream. And well done you on making the most of your girls and your time with them making memories! Lovely. Anna

Jo said...

Anna, mmm, an hour for reading twice a day. That is a definite sweetener for working full time!

I am immensely lucky to be able to work part time - an amicable divorce, a paid off house, and a lovely ex-hub who is willing to continue to fully support the children, so the only person I have to support is me - and I am very cheap!

Good luck with the retirement planning - it is a very tricky path to navigate.

PS Acorns are apparently very nutritious!!

Bek said...

What a green and thrifty week! Please post your sweet chilli sauce recipe if it is a good 'un, as I have tried to make it before and only achieved sweet chilli water.
Hmm, what have I done that is green and thrifty?... ummm, I ate lots of dried pears and apples. I love dried pears. Some even came from my own tree. Oh, and I made pea and ham soup. So cheap and filling. I am volunteering to taste test my mum's sourdough experiments, so there is free bread to go with soup also.
My partner and I play a lot of games, so much better than tv. Card games and dominoes are favourites. The only downside is a slight competitiveness, which is a non issue if you are a tv watcher. But still I like the games better, even if I occasionally become a whiney loser.

Jo said...

Bek, how thoughtful of you to volunteer to try your mum's sourdough:)

To be honest, I am not a board game person, but the payback is huge compared to an evening of watching telly.. conversation, laughter, conflict resolution, education..

Hmm, now you've got me worried about the sweet chilli sauce! I'll let you know how I go!

Linda said...

Great post. I love your porch with the potted plants, a nice cheerful welcome. Thought about you yesterday when I prepared some feijoas we had been given. I added them to some gifted apples and made a lovely crumble for pudding today. We had invited two sets of neighbours for Sunday lunch. It went so well, food was gobbled up and the crumble was a hit! I add broken pecans, slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds to the crumble mix for an extra nutty taste.

Linda said...

I forgot to add that the pumpkin I served roasted with the chicken casserole was for free too. A couple of weeks ago I was weeding the garden and found a creeper -type weend growing through the trees. Kept pulling it out, unravelling it like a ball of wool until I found a large pumpkin on the ground. Quite a way away is the boundary of our garden and the other side is our neighbour's veggie patch. One of his pumpkins had migrated! It was quite a joke between us neighbours and even better when I served it to them at lunchtime!

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jo said...

Linda, feijoa and apple crumble!! I have never thought of that, thankyou:) Do you stew the feijoas with the apple, or just add them as you put the crumble together?

I LOVE your pumpkin treasure hunt. What wonderful neighbours you have:)

Linda said...

Never used feijoas before, other than spooning them straight into my mouth to eat. My neighbour suggested putting sliced raw feijoas onto a sliced apple base. But as I wanted to get the fruit base ready the night before I gently stewed a mixture of sliced apples with sliced feijoas. Worked fine.

Annabel Smith said...

Lovely. I love your posts Jo. I list my savings every Friday on my blog, you probably know that.
I enjoy this because we need to celebrate what we did and be a bit proud of ourselves! As you should be especially when also working outside the home.
It feels good to resize what we have saved and what a big difference it made to our family. Well done! Xxx

missmaudy said...

Not having a fridge is a very expensive proposition. Shopping every 2-3 days is not only damn time consuming, but there's the constant allure of Things On Special. For eg. Sir Reg went to the supermarket on Saturday night to buy hamburgers, rolls, a tomato and a potato. He spent $52 on stuff. Multiply that by 2-3 times a week, plus doing an actual non-perishable shop each week...

I got my new fridge on Friday night, and shopped yesterday. I have choices. I have meals for the week. I can have vegetables EVERY DAY if I want. (Plus a life time supply of interesting biscuits and snacks from the "ooh lookit this" from during the last three weeks.) I'm looking forward to a spot of baking and catching up this week.

Jo said...

Linda, thank you for that, I will experiment for sure. For some reason I never thought of cooking feijoas.

Annabel, yes, I am often a perfectionist and concentrate on what I haven't done - it is good to look at what is going right:)

Miss Maudy, happy days! Yes, the fridge would be my appliance of choice if I only got to choose one.

Surely you don't need to bake - you have a lifetime's supply of interesting biscuits!! I am so glad you get to play with your food now though. Cold vegetables is a wonderful luxury:)

lucindasans said...

Gorgeous white geraniums. Amazing how the common geranium is so giving - hardy, beautiful and easy to propagate.

My thrifty and green week? I rescued a oversized chopping board with in built colander that was still in its wrapper. Someone put it out for council cleanup!!! Trying to minimise use of the heating. And I am not buying any cosmetics until I use up what I have. Even though I have jars of creams to spare, I'm still turning jars upside down and cutting them open to get the last drop.

Linda said...

My neighbour also stews feijoas which she bags up in the freezer in quantities sufficient to use on top of muesli during the winter. She pops a frozen bag of feijoas (enough for 3/4 days) into the fridge and uses each morning. I like the stewed feijoas/apple mixture and if I was in NZ all year round I would freeze bags of these to use as a topping for muesli. This will definitely be my last comment about feijoas! Thank heavens, I hear you say!

Jo said...

Lucinda, I have wanted white geraniums for ages, but couldn't justify the $10-$12 price tag because I know how easy they are to propagate. Then I saw some nodding over a fence one day..

I continue to be jealous of your council cleanup day. What a fab find!

And you are a thrifty star - I have been known to do the same thing with the toothpaste. And you have motivated me to go and collect all those sample packets which I knew I threw into the back of a cupboard somewhere and tip them into all the moisturiser, shampoo, soap and detergent bottles. Ta, hon:)

Good lord Linda, don't apologise, this information is GOLDEN. Sometimes it just takes a simple comment to send us in a whole new direction. Stewing feijoas will now be my new thing..

Anonymous said...

I love geraniums.
I grew them from seed once but now I take cuttings at the end of summer and they grow roots in the basement under lights. The ones I have now are about 20 years old...well from the original plants.
I love your white ones by the door...if I lived anywhere near you I'd come and ask for a cutting.
marieann

Jo said...

And Marieann, I would absolutely share my geraniums with you. I did search long and hard before I found that white geranium hanging over a front fence! Also, I had to wait for the perfect shade of scarlet for the red geranium. Nothing but the best in free plants for me!

I love that you have recycled your geraniums for 20 years. That is amazing!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

No frost here yet and sorry to tell you that the tomatoes are still happily outside in the sun today. I may not see a frost until perhaps August and maybe not even then - it falls into the valley below. I think you are in a valley there?

Yes, working full time doesn't excite me either and it is certainly not as much fun as getting produce from massive garden here.

Top work and your blog is delightful.

Children love to cook. My mum taught me to cook from as early as the age of 12 and I had to clean up too. My sisters and I were on a strict rotation of cooking duties.

Oh yeah, my green and thrifty week involves building a new wood shed out of downgrade and second hand steel. It is a pretty big project, but the roof steel was put on today.

Cheers

Chris

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