Green and Thrifty

Exploiting passive solar heating on a sunny winter afternoon. Posy is eating fried rice for afternoon tea, and for some reason has filled up an old water bottle with milk.. The dog is just blissfully happy.

Mostly, the green and thrifty things I do day by day are small and boring. But the accumulated effect is that in a thousand tiny ways I manage to live cheaper, slower and more sustainably. So here are some of this week's boring green and thrifty moments.

My winter boots are getting scuffed and unhappy because I wear them every single day at work. I have two pairs that take turns. I hate cold feet, so I wear them with thick black tights and skirts, but no-one can see that inside the boots I am also wearing thick hiking socks, which keep my toes toasty and happy. So the hard-wearing boots deserved some love, and I gave them the full shoe polish treatment. I have discovered that with long boots it is so much easier to polish them while wearing them, brushing and polishing the boot with foot propped up on the bath. My boots are now looking shiny and respectable again, and I am sure they will last longer and keep the rain out more effectively.

I sewed up a tiny hole in my newest op-shop cardigan. To be honest, 'a stitch in time' is one of my least favourite domestic proverbs, but really, I should get more friendly with the mending basket, because if I stitch in time, I save a piece of clothing. If I don't, I lose it, and then, horror! - I have to go and buy more clothes. Aargh! Really, I should just get on and do the rest of the mending..

As per usual I ate left-overs from dinner every day for lunch. Did you know that there are people who refuse to eat left-overs? I cannot understand this. Almost every dinner is even yummier the next day..

Thrifty entertainment: Grandma and Rosy have been busy with their giant 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle this week. After completing two 500 piece puzzles in three days last week they needed more of a challenge. Autumn leaves reflected in a lake. Ha. That slowed them down.

I have been crocheting around squares for my afghan rug again, after staring at it morosely for a month and not doing any. Mum always inspires me to start it again, because she has a special talent for being able to sit and knit quietly in a corner through any family upheaval. So now crocheting has become my new substitute for flapping about pointlessly. Can't decide what to have for dinner? Crochet around a granny square. Arguing with the youngest child again? May as well crochet around a granny square; it may give me Zen-like patience, who knows? The advantage is, if I really can't be bothered doing anything else, and all I want to do is curl up in a corner and wait for the world to go away, at least if I have crocheted around some granny squares I can have had a little crisis AND have been productive, so it's win-win really. And now we know why our grannies resorted to knitting every afternoon at about half past four...

This week I chose a library book at random, because I liked the cover and the title. I rarely do this, but this week I was rewarded with Elegance of the Hedgehog. It is a novel about literature and ideas, with a concierge who is carefully hiding her passion for literature and art, a school girl who has decided there is no point in living and who is planning to stage a dramatic suicide on her thirteenth birthday, and an enigmatic Japanese businessman who moves in on the fourth floor. Translated from the French, and immensely popular in France, I enjoyed it as a week end treat. Must say though, that even though the ending worked beautifully from a literary point of view, from a purely sociological passion to see what happens when world views collide, I would have liked to have seen an alternate ending.. which would of course, have required a sequel or a very long novel, but still..

It is Sunday night, and with a full day at work tomorrow (The Girl and I) or at school (Posy and Rosy), we have left-overs stashed in wee glass bowls for our lunch (The Girl, and I) or ready to pop in the thermos (Rosy), or sushi prepped and rolled (Posy). Grandma and Grandpa will be foraging in the fridge for their lunch, and the dog will look soulful, hoping for tidbits, even though he doesn't eat lunch (so why he resembles a barrel is a complete mystery).

Wishing you a joyful week of thrifty delicious left-overs and satisfying library books. Tell me what you have been up to..


narf7 said…
I once trawled the library shelves for a cover that took my fancy and ended up reading "Magician" by Raymond E Feist. I read the whole series and was profoundly grateful for my decision. The next attempt was not so rewarding. I decided to stop while I was ahead ;). Crochet is brilliant isn't it? I have been thinking about veering off into making socks. Can't be too hard can it?! Leftovers are excellent things. I am glad that Stevie-boy loves them as I cook recipes, rather than portions and he is the only one that eats part of said recipe on the day it is cooked. Imagine how much waste there would be on Serendipity Farm if I just discarded the rest?! (Or how fat Bezial and Earl would be by now ;) ). Hasn't the sunny weather been gorgeous lately? I keep thinking about the sodden mass of damp and weed infested soil previously known as "Sanctuary" and thinking that it must be time for me to start thinking about doing something in there again. Loving being a fly on your wall :).
Jo said…
Fran, I'll put 'Magician' on my list, thank you! Sunny, yes, I'll grant you, but also freezing. Not safe to venture out into the garden yet!Oh, and socks, was going to do socks this winter, but that is now next winter's project..

Lynda, :)
I love that photos - the sun is so rare at this time of the year, it's great to snatch it while we can!
I think I need to take up crocheting afghan squares. it sounds like the answer to everyone! crocheting for world peace, I say :-)
I enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog very much, though it's been long enough since I read it that I can't offer alternative endings or even remember what the real ending was.

I have been thinking about getting a new winter coat, and your post reminds me that I might find the very thing I'm looking for secondhand. I so rarely find what I like firsthand ... I'm not very good about keeping up with fashion.

We're headed into fall here, and very enthusiastic about it. I like thinking about boots and coats more than summer clothes ...

Jo said…
e, I do believe Crochet Is the Answer.

Frances, I always think that when I can't remember the ending of a novel, that it must be time to read it again:) And secondhand coats are the best - so much choice, because people don't seem to hang on to their coats - they are bulky, so end up at the thrift shops in droves..

Anonymous said…
I loved The Elegence of the Hedgehog. But the ending was very French. Seen French movies that end in a similar way. And read another novel in translation which also ended in a similar vein.

As to leftovers, who are these idiots? What is wrong with eating food that was good enough a few hours ago? Don't they know that some foods are better for the reheating? Curries, for one. We often cook extra, not just for lunch. But snacks. Double cooking for another night. This saves thought, energy (in terms of personal and electrical or gas) and time. And even for breakfast. One son won't eat normal breakfast fare. Curries, pasta, sausages. Yes. Toast or cereal. Not on your life.

We went on a cruise once (never again but that is another story). The coal miner's wife (not Sissey Spacek) on our dining table was loud and proud that she never kept food and never had leftovers (the topics of conversation as well as the ethics point towards why we will never cruise again). I think for her saving left overs was a sign of poverty and mess and laziness and lack of freshness. Mwah. Sign to me she was stupid and ignorant. Not just a different perspective, even though I can suppose where her position came from.
Jo said…
Lucinda, I truly believe that people like us who actually look quite normal (even though both of us know better) need to be loud and proud about our passion for left-overs, thrift, and second-hand shopping. It opens a little space in the minds of others who happen to care what the neighbours think. When they discover the neighbours are us, they might relax a bit:)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Grandma is clearly a wise lady having learned a: "special talent for being able to sit and knit quietly in a corner through any family upheaval". I approve.

Cheers. Chris
Meredith said…
How about a book entitled, "For the love of Grannies", or something similar? I really like the way you honour grannies on your blog. Their old ways did have such wisdom about them, yet more and more they are ignored these days, but you have a lovely gentle way of referencing them here with great respect and appreciation, I have not found it elsewhere!

Meredith (again)

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