Friday, August 14, 2015

Green and Thrifty

This week I became a dumpster diver! On Tuesday Posy was in a foul mood, so I made her come out to walk the dog with me, because I am mean like that. We stopped at the corner and picked up her buddy to make fresh air and exercise more bearable. At the halfway mark there was a skip full of fascinating building detritus, including a window, which I have been looking out for because I want to make a cold frame, or possibly a tiny green house. Anyway, because this is Launceston, of course the house with the skip turned out to belong to Posy's buddy's cousins, so we went and asked and were given permission to take away anything from the skip, PLEASE, so that is how I ended up walking home with two girls, a dog, and a rather large window, which was quite excellent exercise, actually.

I spent an hour in my gumboots in the rain climbing around the pile of 'may come in handy one day' building-left-overs behind the shed to find Useful Things to build a chicken palace. I found old fence palings and a door, and random bits of wood, plus hinges and door handles and latches in the shed, so when the nice man came to start building we worked out I only needed to buy posts, wire and concrete, so that is an excellent outcome. Thought. Do the chickens need a window?? I have a window..

On the food front Posy made flapjacks for school snacks. Half of the recipe just fell apart when she cut it, as flapjacks often do, so she crumbled it up for granola instead. Yum!

I have been soaking and cooking masses of dried beans which I store in the freezer in recipe-size portions until we want to use them.

A colleague at work is selling eggs from her chickens each Monday, so I have been buying my weekly two dozen from her. At $4 they are $2 cheaper per dozen than the farmers' market eggs, so that is a very green and local saving of $4 a week.

I was given a dill seedling which I stuck in a teacup on the side of the sink, oh, about three weeks ago now. Yesterday I finally took two minutes out of my day to plant it in the front garden. I hope it survives:)

It is a very quiet time in the food garden, because I didn't do a lot of autumn planting. The great thing about gardening is that there is always the complete conviction that next year's garden will be brilliant. This week we have eaten lemons, warrigul greens, parsley and rosemary from the garden.

Tell me what thrifty things you have been up to.


lucindasans said...

Thriftily, I haven't bought any clothes, makeup or cosmetics this week. And I took some books to the book exchange and got 4 more without spending a sent.

Anonymous said...

I love your dumpster diving Jo....always exciting to find "good deals"
I haven't been doing much thrifty stuff, my cat was sick, my teeth need fixing and my hair needed cutting so all that costs money.
I did cut my husband's hair and made him an apple shortcake.
Today a friend came over and I helped her to hem some curtains and she brought me a jar of pickled garlic, so a good trade.


Jo said...

Lucinda, I have had a pile of books sitting on my bedroom chair for months, waiting to go to the book exchange! MUST MOVE BOOKS..

Marieann, some weeks are just like that, aren't they? But then it is all those other weeks of thrifty hair cutting, baking and sewing that allow us to weather the expensive ones. Good on you, love your great trade:) AND, as a matter of interest, how does your friend make pickled garlic? I get really annoyed when my home grown garlic starts sprouting and becomes unusable, and I need to find a good way to preserve it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo...this is the link to the pickled garlic, I tasted it and it is delicious.
I also find my garlic does not keep over the winter so I plan on pickling some myself

gretchenjoanna said...

I will tell you a thing I have failed to do that would be thrifty: eat the plentiful warrigal crop that is growing of its own accord and more enthusiastically than it ever did when I watered it. I would go take a picture right now if it weren't dark, and if the leaves weren't all dusty with soil and concrete grit from the various demolition machines that all stopped just short of running over it. Truly it is a valiant plant in the drought, and I fully expect it to sprout up everywhere in my new garden next spring. How do you like best to prepare the greens? I should be ready.

Jo said...

Marieann, thank you so much for that!

Gretchen Joanna, I remember seeing warrigal greens growing in past garden photos on your blog. It is not supposed to enjoy the cold conditions of Tasmania, but has just romped through our record cold spell this year in a sheltered part of the garden. Honestly, it is a super plant!

I cook it quite thoroughly in plenty of water, ten minutes or so of a gentle boil as it has a quite high oxalic acid content. Then I roughly chop it and freeze it, and throw it in all my stews and curries and lasagne.

missmaudy said...

This week was ridiculously un-thrifty. New sneakers for me (although I did back away from the super fancy $189 ones and settled for the $100 ones), I also new glasses *and* got my old ones fixed. I dropped the old ones ON THE ROAD! No scratch proofing can beat bitumen, therefore new glasses for me. So, the old old ones with my old old prescription will go to the charity box at the optometrist, the old with my old prescription ones that I dropped will be my "at home" glasses and the new ones are my everywhere else ones.

Jo said...

You are such a star, backing away from the $189 sneakers:)

Oh, and glasses, my goodness, I drop mine and lose them all over the place, it is like a disease. I am threatening to get one of those granny chains. My problem is short sightedness - I have to take them off to read, so put them down about fifty times a day. Luckily my health insurance gives me a new pair each year, so I have about five pairs stashed all over the house and in the car for emergencies, otherwise I would be completely lost, and unable to drive..

Bek said...

Well done you. I hope you find a good home for the window frame.
I didn't have such a thrifty week myself, having gone out to buy myself a (needed, as my old one's were beyond repair my cobbler told me) pair of boots, but I ended up buying myself TWO pairs, both of them new from a store. I am hanging my head in shame. But they are both very nice pairs of boots.
On the green sideI didn't need to buy a single vegetable from the store (did buy some oranges though) when doing my shopping this weekend, as all my veg was homegrown. The broccoli crop has been considerable. I think I will be eating broccoli all week!

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

Dill is an excellent summer survivor and they taste great - the seeds are particularly yummy and can be used to pickle cucumbers.

Well done on the hard rubbish find. I salute your efforts.

Yes, chickens require windows to know when it is morning and night. If the chookingham palace could face the morning sun, that would be awesome for the chooks.



Jo said...

Bek, boots are important, and if you buy excellent ones they last for years and years. And oh my goodness, all your veg for the week at the end of winter? That is champion!!

Chris, hmm, the light will come in in a gap under the eaves.. will that be enough? I'm figuring a six inch gap for a bit of light and some ventilation. Also, if they have no window, will they sleep in?? Or do chickens need to be up at dawn for egg laying reasons? Anyway, they will have an open trapdoor they can let themselves in and out of because they will be well fenced in otherwise. Chicken wrangling is truly fascinating! I will post photos soon, and you can all critique my chicken palace design..

Cherokee Organics said...

Hi Jo,

The gap under the eaves will be good as it will let the hot air out over summer (hot air rises).

That is a good question! I don't know and you may find out the answer. Being originally jungle birds, they may enjoy the filtered light, so it probably isn't a drama.

The chooks here lay eggs, usually in the morning, but at other times right throughout the day. For example, there were no eggs this morning, but eight this evening. It is a mystery, but I have quite a few breeds here and if you have only the one, they may be more consistent.

Did you get the goto standard Isa Browns? They have such lovely inquisitive natures and their long legs help keep them free of leg mites.

Good luck with the chicken wrangling... They're fast and alert. A good job for your kids! A lady I know that produces free range eggs has a pole with a net (like a pool cleaner thingee) and she is very adept at grabbing them. I'm a bit soft with the chickens as I accidentally dropped one once and have never repeated that mistake...

No stress about the critique - any observations shall be delivered gently. You have a lovely blog and delightful comments, so I'll not buck that trend!



e / dig in hobart said...

oh, I love your dumpster finds! they are very exciting!
I've done a green and thrifty in reverse - cleaned out my cupboard and donated stuff to the local op shop.

Jo said...

Chris, I think I vaguely recall reading somewhere about egg laying and day length. And also they keep the lights on 24/7 in battery farms, so there must be something in it. I don't have any chickens yet. Any recommendations? Do Isa Browns lay for a few years, or do they quit after 18 months?

e, decluttering is super thrifty, because then you know what you have. And it is a really cheap thrill:)

gretchenjoanna said...

We kept chickens for fifteen years. The time that they get their light is not important for their consistency of laying, but when the hours of daylight begin to decrease, it triggers their molting process and slows down their laying. We always kept a light bulb with a timer on in our chicken house and tried to remember to change the settings so that their artificial dawn would come earlier and earlier as winter came on and the days grew shorter. We didn't try to extend their light at both ends of the day - it is only necessary for the total hours of light to stay constant. I don't know why 24/7 would be necessary...maybe it's just more convenient not to have to keep adjusting.

My grandfather raised chickens in New York State a hundred years ago and even then he rigged a timer in his chicken house so that he'd have eggs to sell in NY City all year. I don't see any harm in it; it seems like a very harmless and non-invasive technological fiddling with the hormones of the chickens, less drastic than what many humans do with their bodies' endocrine systems these days. I know you didn't start out talking about this issue but I guess I got carried away!

By the way, my grandfather also was ahead of his time, I think, in having "pastured poultry." He had pens on wheels so that he could move his pullets around over the grass - not completely free-range but certainly a wide range. The interesting thing is, when the hens started laying he had to put them in pens without grass because he sold eggs to Jews who preferred pale yolks.

Jo said...

Gretchen Joanna, coincidentally I have been reading 'The Egg and I' this week - it is the 1920s and they run out to their chicken house each evening in winter to light the lamps.. chicken lore is completely fascinating!

I love the details of your grandad's chicken farm too. We think we are inventing something new only to discover we are merely reinventing the wheel..

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