Green and Thrifty

Daffodils and forget-me-nots. Does spring get any better than this?

For my green and thrifty project this week I used up all my remaining lettuce seeds, planting them in a thick band along the edge of my pea patch. My plan is to be able to cut several weeks of baby lettuce from this projected prolific lettuce mixture.. will keep you updated. After that I can buy new lettuce seed, which is exciting, because although I hate shopping, I love buying seeds. So much promise from such a tiny packet! And one packet of lettuce seed costs the same as a bag of gourmet baby lettuce..

My girls have filled the bathroom drawers to overflowing with all the creams, cleansers and make-up they have been buying over the last few months. I declared a moratorium on buying anything new until everything is used down to the last product (they buy all of this out of their allowance/earnings, although they are very welcome to use whatever plain and boring product I provide for family use..). I offered to use up anything they didn't want anymore, so am now working my way through tubs of 'blueberry' flavoured body lotion and several tubes of sample moisturizers. Posy is very keen on making her own personal care products, which I am very excited about, but it seems wicked to throw out what we already have. So we are aiming for a clean slate after which we will be doing some bathroom product DIY.

I am also using up various other things that people have kindly given us. A bottle of dog shampoo came with a bag of dog treats and dog food sadly left after a friend's dog died. My dog is a delicate snowflake and requires medicated dog shampoo, so I am using the donated shampoo as a floor cleaner. I figure it is all soap, right? So I squirt some in the mop bucket with some eucalyptus oil, and off we go.

When we moved into this house the owners had left various things behind, including a bottle of disinfectant, which is a product I don't normally use, being green and hippy and all that. It has sat in my cupboard for a year, and finally I have broken down and am using it to clean the bathroom just to get rid of it.. maybe this is not so green and I am poisoning the waterways with it? It is thrifty though, and soon it will be all gone and that pesky bottle will be out from under the laundry sink, where it is taking up valuable laundry real estate.

In my yard there is a large, but not yet full-grown horse chestnut tree. I was disappointed to discover it was not edible, and its medicinal value appears to be both arcane and complicated to use as a home remedy.. however yesterday I was excited to find that apparently the horse chestnut can be used as a, wait for it... laundry detergent! It comes from the same family as the tree that produces soapnuts. Soapnuts are an apparently effective laundry detergent (I don't actually know this from personal experience, as I have never used them, but I hear this is the case..). However soapnuts need to be imported from the tropics, and there is a horse chestnut right outside my door. My only problem is that right now in early spring there is not a horse chestnut to be seen here in Tasmania. But for those of you who live in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the perfect time to pop out and collect those conkers before all the pesky children do, and whip up a batch of laundry detergent. If you do, PLEASE let me know how you get on with it. I am dying to know! Recipe here and FAQ here.

Not thrifty - I neglected to take the library books back this week, and I can feel overdue fines accruing.

Also not thrifty - The dog ate the shea butter that Posy and I bought to make lip balm and moisturiser. Sigh. That was a very expensive beauty treatment for the dog. On the bright side, it won't kill him, and will probably make his coat shinier.

Tell me about your green and thrifty projects this week. Or your frugal fails, if they are funnier.. :)


Hazel said…
Eating Shea butter is exactly what one of my dogs would do. She'll eat ANYTHING that may possibly pass as slightly edible.

I had your disinfectant dilemma over a bottle of wooden floor cleaner left in our house. I couldn't even give it away. I figured pouring it away plus whatever I (ahem, infrequently) wash the floors with was worse than using it up and pouring it away a bit at a time. Or at least no better...
Hazel said…
Forgot conkers! Horse chestnuts.
We have a large avenue of trees near us and consequently oodles of conkers every Autumn. Enough that I take carrier bags-full into the pre-school where I work for the children to play with. I also take my Rainbow Guide unit conker collecting every October and I always suggest to the parents they could make Viking soap with them and a couple have! It's laborious though, grating the conkers and forming them into a cake.

Having a quick google though, it seems crushing and soaking for laundry soap is easier and though I seem to recall that it was supposed to stain light fabrics none of the sites reported that, though at least one peeled them before using on a white wash just in case. I will be mostly collecting conkers this weekend!

I used to have soapwort in my old garden, another plant full of saponins. It's very pretty but rampant so I'm going to find a place where it can go mad before I put any in this garden.

And if you google James Wong Horse Chestnut it tells you how to make a tincture to make into a gel (not as complicated or long winded as it sounds) for varicose veins, piles, swollen or heavy legs, chilblains, leg ulcers and night cramps, should you suffer from any of those :-)
Linda said…
Did you know that conkers are a spider deterrent? My best friend's daughter is terrified of spiders so each year my friend collects conkers for Sally to put around her home to keep the pesky spiders away. Haven't tried it myself but Sally thinks it works!
Jo said…
Hazel, I definitely suffer from heavy legs. In fact, I am suffering from them now, as in, "Oh, no, my legs are so heavy that I couldn't possibly stand up to do the dishes!" Do let me know if you make the laundry detergent.

Linda, I read that on Wikipedia, but also that the claims were 'insubstantiated'. If it works, Posy will be fighting me for the conkers this coming autumn! Do they have to be fresh conkers then, if you are collecting them yearly?
Jo said…
Hazel, btw, I meant to say re disinfectant - I figure this way some stays on surfaces and some evaporates in the air, so in the end less goes into the waterways than if I poured it down the drain, so I'm with you there.
Treaders said…
I read that they were a spider deterrent too - you just plonk a couple on your windowsill and voilĂ ! Problem is, while I've got plenty of spiders I don't have any window sills. Windows in France open inwards because they are easier to clean (smart eh) but hence no windowsills. I do envy my sister her basil plant sitting on the kitchen windowsill (but not enough to move back to the UK!). Anna
Jo said…
Anna, what does that say about the relative importance of housekeeping in France and the UK! Right, conkers in our spider infested porch come autumn!

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