Green and Thrifty

This week I have saved electricity by not doing the vacuuming:)

The children came home after their week away and made me buy enormous amounts of food to feed them, but while they were away I only bought a litre of milk. Oh, and a block of chilli chocolate.

Yesterday, a friend who is going away for a few days brought over a bag full of kale and zucchinis from his garden. I was quite relieved, because I was about to go out and BUY zucchinis, which feels so wrong. Zucchini is not a vegetable that one buys, it is a vegetable which desperate gardeners press on you, and are who are terribly grateful when you say, why yes, you would be delighted to take half a dozen giant marrows off their hands. "Really?" they ask incredulously, "Are you quite sure?"

Usually I have my own giant zucchini problems, but this year my (quite old) zucchini seeds failed to germinate, and I have been meaning to replant for about three months now, and finally got to it this morning. It may be too late, and I may have missed the 2016 zucchini boat, but garden experiments are always entertaining, and if it fails, I am happy to accept each and every zucchini that got away..

Last year I planted cucumber seeds, one of which came up and produced all of two cucumbers. This year, one of those rogue 2015 cucumbers came up in the pot in which they failed to germinate last year. It sat and sulked all year and came up in late spring! I now have the first ripe cucumber from that vine. I know it is from that batch, because I accidentally bought seeds for round stripey cucumbers. Which look like tiny watermelons, but taste like cucumbers. Odd but good.

Every day I eat my boiled egg for breakfast then wander around the garden to find 'breakfast dessert'. Peaches, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, cherry plums. All the early morning goodness (getting up early means I beat the children to the best fruit. I am not really a model mother).

After procrastinating for a couple of months I asked The Girl to not allow me to eat dinner until I had potted up a collection of cuttings that have been busy growing roots in glasses of water on the kitchen bench. She diligently refused me dinner until I complied - took all of five minutes. Procrastination - why is it such a thing??

The girls and I want to learn to sew from a pattern, so we ordered a dress pattern from our local fabric shop recently, and I found a 100% cotton doona cover at the op-shop for us to practice on. This is the week's project. I have a sewing friend who lives a block away. If we get into trouble she will come and rescue us while I hold her adorable newborn baby. I guarantee we will get into trouble! This is our latest effort to learn how to make something that we usually buy.

Here is a photo I took earlier in the year:

The Boy has a very dear friend who he met many years ago when both their mad mothers were homeschooling them. Our values continue to be in alignment - when he came over to see The Boy he left his hat on the table, and I was delighted to see that he had patched it. He is a no-waste eco-warrior! I see a lot of angst about how so much is wrong with young people these days, but the young people I know are quietly getting on with grace and determination to make the world a better place.

Tell me about your green and thrifty projects, and your young eco-warriors.


Mimi said…
A post worthy of a thousand smiles Jo. Yes, the young whippersnappers I know are all darlings. They love coming to us because I teach them to embroider and stitch sequins and lace to denim shorts, and make relish. I'm told I should be taking the to the 'Mall' (when did the local shop-a-thon become a 'mall', I ask you), and letting them drink latte's and try on clothing from tacky shops. I won't do it I tell you. Bravo to learning to sew from a pattern and patching ones' cap. Love, Mimi
Anonymous said…
Sorry. But travelling is not very green. However I am happy to say when we stayed in Port Arthur we walked every time from our accommodation to the site, even when we went for dinner then walked back to our unit for a bit and walked back for the ghost tour. Others drove, which really took them as long as it did us to walk. And now at buffet breakfast I am only putting as much as I can eat on my plate, so no waste. (It is embarrassingly a lot how much I am eating for breakfast but ...)
Unknown said…
Lovely rose photo. No zukes at my place this year either. (Huh?) Lots and lots of cucumbers though of all varieties. I especially love the apple cucumbers - memories of childhood after school snacks.

No eco-warriors at my house either. Tom just got a another car (bigger), post to come.
It's the middle of winter here so no zucchinis growing but STILL I couldn't bring myself to buy some when I shopped today. Just wrong. With you on the procrastination - I'm trying to beat it today, so of course I'm on the internet reading blogs. Sadly there's noone at home to save me from myself. Love the patched hat.
Unknown said…
I had a abundance of zucchini's early on in the season and then they got sooty mould so I cut them right back, thought they were going to die. So I planted some new yellow zucchini seeds and just put the seedlings out the other day - but the older ones have also come good so I am definitely going to be that crazy zucchini lady handing them out to anyone who will take some! I have many good intentions of learning to sew too, think I will wait till my little girl is older and we can learn together! Love reading your posts x
Tanya Murray said…
Ha! I'm going to take a leaf out of your book and save power too! LOL
Anonymous said…
Agree it feels completely wrong to buy either zucchini or cucumbers! My kid is the eco-warrior sort. Can sew circles around me. One of my proudest feats as a parent is that Link would take snacks to school in reusable containers and actually bring them home again and not "accidentally" lose them!
Jo said…
Mimi, all young eco-warriors need to know how to sew their own lace panties:) I love all the projects you do with your daughter. Fingers crossed for our sewing adventure..

Lucinda, good for you for all those no-waste breakfasts:) And yet again you are seeing part of Tas that I have never visited. 3 out of my 4 kids have been to Port Arthur, but not me. I have turned into a true Tasmanian, never travel further than 10km from home:)

Lynda, I am pretty sure mine are the apple cucumbers, but I have only ever seen pale ones in the shops. These are dark green and striped just like a watermelon!

Sara, what is it going to be like when they all leave home? Am I going to turn into a scary hermit cat-lady hoarder? Probably.

Clarissa, you must try our favourite zucchini recipe, Zucchini Risotto - do a search, I know the recipe is in there somewhere! It uses up SO MUCH zucchini at once. Sounds awful, tastes divine:)

Tanya, yes, we SHALL save the world!

Dar, 'lost' reusable snack containers are the bugbear of my life! You have a hero child!

Two things: 1) I'm embarrassed to buy zucchini in the summer, too, but we've had rotten luck with our plants several years running. I feel like such a failure!

2) I love the idea breakfast dessert so much! It's going to become my favorite thing.

Jo said…
Frances, my rule is that breakfast dessert must be fruit, otherwise things could get out of hand quickly:)
Bek said…
Haha, I must save a lot of electricity (and water, now I come to think of it) when I don't do the cleaning for a week or two (oh the horror!). I like your thinking!
I figure it is only fair for the first person to the fruit to get first dibs. If they don't like it they can get up early too. Likely they don't know what they're missing though.
Hmmm, my green and thrifty? I don't know any young eco-warriors. I think I'm too old to count myself now. Wait, surely eco-warrior-ness should not be defined by age, but be a skill for young and old. Now, what did I do? I fixed (kind of) the window windy think that wasn't working properly. Now it still doesn't work quite properly, but if I help it along it opens and closes, which it wasn't doing before. Thus it does not need to be replaced, using up precious planet resources. I rode my bike instead of driving. I didn't use the air conditioner. That's about it from me. Except growing fruit and veg, but I do that anyway.
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Enjoying your blog as usual. Lovely stuff!

Oh yeah, I hear you as I do the vacuuming here and around the winter solstice I get to pull the excuse: Sorry, it's just not sunny enough to run the vacuum. One cannot argue with the realities of the sun can they? ;-)!

Zucchini are great as they keep for months - almost half the year if the skin is not damaged. Buying zucchini's is just wrong. One year a local farm had too many zucchini and imagine this: they left them on the road free to a good home. Wow, did I help myself or what? The chickens love zucchini too.

Yes, the editor and I have discussing sewing as the editor spotted an article - and this is not to lay a guilt trip, but just because it is interesting - which pointed out that about two to three generations have now been raised who cannot generally master the art of sewing. This has led many people to accept very poor fit in their manufactured clothes and they don't know any better.

Dunno about young eco warriors. I do know that a mum kangaroo has a baby joey in her pouch and she has been visiting the orchard most nights recently. Joey's are all lanky legs and tail and I reckon they grow into them.


Jo said…
Bek, I love dodgy DIY repairs that prevent the need for buying new, and I hereby bestow super eco-warrior status on anyone hard enough to bike and manage without air conditioning in Melbourne in summer:)

Chris, I know, sewing, my grannies sewed most of their children's and their own clothes, my mum sewed a couple of dresses for herself and for me, and I sewed two wonky pairs of pants for my kids when they were young - I find the sewing machine and patterns quite terrifying, but my girls are brave, and I am going to ride on the back of their young confidence and enthusiasm:)
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Be brave and ride on! We can only do what we do. :-)!


Pam in Virginia said…
Hi, Jo!

I just laughed and laughed at this post. Thanks! I am glad to see, also, that I am not the only member of the "Save energy, don't waste it on vacuuming" club. My grandmothers didn't sew, though one knitted, nor did my mother. I had to learn on my own and such a joy it has been. I made sure that my two sons learned some rudimentary sewing, and cooking. I wish that I had focused a bit more on their housekeeping skills . . .

Jo said…
Pam, housekeeping 'skills' as such are mostly a willingness to clean the same thing over and over again.. it's really only when the reward of a clean and tidy house overcomes the natural inertia of not wanting to clean the same thing over and over again that housekeeping is successful. It may take some time.. certainly did for me:).. still an effort!!
Meg said…
Hi, Jo! Those roses look so beautiful. I giggled when I read your no vacuuming strategy for saving electricity. Going to have to adopt that here Think I might also extend it to No Ironing too!

Jo said…
Meg, I am liking your thinking:) I have had a No Ironing policy all summer. I think I can extend it into the school term, as long as I take the school uniforms straight from the line and hang them in the girls' wardrobes. I carefully choose non-iron work clothes as well:)

Popular Posts