Green and Thrifty
I was watching a video the other day about building a passivhaus - where the house is built so tight and with so much insulation that it hardly needs any heating or cooling, and the owner builder said that the secret is in the thousand tiny things you do to reduce heat loss, not in any one, big thing. This is exactly what I find when reducing household expenditure, and journeying towards less waste and using less energy. There is no one big, magic cure-all, but every little daily action adds up to making a large impact.
This week's small actions:
I made fruit and nut bread. I am pretty good at baking bread, if I say so myself. It would cost a good $8/loaf to buy the bread I make. In fact, I can't think of anywhere in town I can buy an organic loaf, so my bread is practically priceless!
I used the last of last year's foraged walnuts for the nut part of the bread.
This week I looked at an expensive seed mix for bread at the wholefood shop, then realised I have all of those seeds at home. I mixed all the seeds in a jar, then tipped the required half a cup into the blender and whizzed it up. Voila! Expensive seed mix for less.
I dried plums from my neighbour's tree for chewy snacking goodness.
I planted out broccoli, cabbage, silverbeet, spring onions and kale. I potted up some flower seedlings that have popped up in the vegie patch to replant elsewhere. I discovered that French tarragon is very easy to divide, so I dug up a chunk for Paul's garden. It is very important to always have French tarragon available for my salads wherever I go.. I finally packaged up the beetroot seeds I saved and had hanging on the plant in the shed. I planted beetroot seeds in the vegie garden, and sprinkled them around the flower garden. This year I have had self-sown beetroot popping up in the flower gardens, so I am helping that process along a little..
My mum brought me rhubarb and blackberries. I gave her tomatoes.
We all ate 'car crash' vegies and drank 'car crash' wine from Paul's unfortunate escapade of last week. The 'car crash' peaches weren't in mint condition, so I stewed them with the last of summer's blueberries from the freezer.
I made all our meals, and the girls had a packed lunch every day. I love it when we get through a week without resorting to the school canteen!
I made passata from my tomatoes. I keep giving them away, but more keep coming..
When Paul's sling from the emergency department at the hospital gave up, I made him one out of a jaunty pink plaid Madras cotton from my fabric stash. It was left over from making a maternity dress when I was pregnant with The Girl twenty one years ago. Paul wore the sling with great panache until he could get a proper one from the physio on Monday.
In the spirit of using what I have I am working through the enormous collection of herbal teas in my kitchen. I do not buy these, they turn up as gifts, or as unwanted refugees from other kitchens. I must drink them up before they take over my house. One cup a day. I will be super healthy, relaxed, detoxed and rejuvenated, according to various labels.
I made a new batch of Bathroom Paste and Salad Dressing.
Paul and I found a plum tree in the street on the way home from the shops and foraged a bunch of plums from it. Paul is very tall which confers a distinct foraging advantage.
From the garden this week we ate potatoes, tomatoes, Cape gooseberries, pineapple ground cherries, lemons, rosemary, sage, beetroot, parsley, thyme, basil, capsicums. But mostly tomatoes.. To my great shame we are buying lettuce. Must plant more lettuce..
And one big thing - I did not buy a single thing other than food this week. Which is lucky, because the roofing man finally turned up to fix the leaking roof. A roof that doesn't leak? Priceless. Well, actually, it wasn't. It was quite expensive. But, roof not leaking. That is Good.
You know, I was feeling like I hadn't accomplished much this week, but writing it all down, I feel like I have made more progress than I thought. Tell me your green and thrifty triumphs. I promise you will feel better for it!