Green and Thrifty: Early Spring Edition
It may still officially be winter, but the cherry plum trees and the bees think otherwise. They know it is spring and the trees are busy flinging flurries of petals down from their laden branches, and the bees are busy humming and gathering that sweet, sweet nectar. There is snow on the mountains but the sky is blue and the sun is shining. I have even let the fire go out for a few hours in the middle of the day! There, my first thrifty saving for the week.
Back in the first days of winter my friend Tanya pruned back her lemon verbena bush. She was going to put the branches in the compost but I snaffled them and brought them home to dry them and make tea out of the leaves. For nearly three months now they have been sitting on a cupboard in the study, making a terrible nuisance of themselves as they shed leaves everywhere and poke me in the eye when I go in or out. Still, I did nothing until the day before The Boy came to stay with us - that would be the day before yesterday. He needed that room to sleep in, and adventurous as he is I knew he would appreciate sleeping in a room where leaves didn't fall on his head. So there we were, Posy and I, with several large branches of lemon verbena, some empty jars and Posy's favourite music.
After all that time it only took half an hour or so and the lemon verbena was packed into jars and we have a LOT of one of my favourite herbal teas. I'll take a jar to Tanya, and if you come by, I'll offer you a cup as well.. Posy is a recent convert to tea, and now she wants to grow a tea garden. I let her into a secret. We already have a tea garden. We have lemon verbena, mint, thyme, sage, lavender, rosemary, roses, violets, calendula. Birch leaves can go into the tea pot, as can the leaves of many other trees. You may find that you accidentally have a tea garden at your place as well. Do a quick internet search of your garden plants and trees and find out which ones can be popped into a teapot. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding though, don't ingest any herbs without a thorough investigation into their safety for mamas and babies.
My thrifty excitement for the week is reserved for this tea kettle. I have been looking for months for a second-hand kettle which won't leak (kettle no.1) or shed bits of rust internally that ends up in the tea cups (kettle no.2). I wanted the kind which could heat up on the gas stove or the wood fire. I had not found one anywhere and was beginning to despair, when I had to drop off some recycling at the
Always on the lookout when walking the dog, I rescued three lemons from the gutter this week, which had rolled there from a nearby lemon tree.
I have been treating the nicely healing scar on my hand with rosehip oil massages, and daily applications of aloe vera from my plants, which again are spawning baby plants. Nature is extraordinarily liberal.
My mum brings me the empties from her bathroom handwash. I use them to dispense dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent that I buy from the fill-your-own-container section at the whole food shop.
I have borrowed dozens of books from the library to read over the last few weeks while I have been recovering from surgery. I love the library. A friend of mine brought around an armload of magazines for me to read, and I gave her some of mine. I lent my mum one of my books and my neighbour lent me one of her gardening books. Books like to visit other houses. They get a bit bored sitting in the same bookshelves all the time. This is a little known fact about books which deserves wider recognition.
From the garden: silverbeet, lemons
Stored food: garlic
Preserved food: lemon verbena tea, dried oregano and basil, fig jam, pear butter, chutney
Found food: lemons
Gifted food: neighbour brought me eggs and venison, I gave him fig jam.
Tell me about your thrifty adventures..