Green and Thrifty: Virus Edition

My collection of cuttings growing roots in jars of water on the windowsill. Nature makes plants for free!

Ok, I have some good ones:

If you only do the dishes every other day it saves on hot water, plus less wear and tear on dishcloths. Also, it doesn't matter because no-one is coming over to judge your slatternly kitchen.

Not Going Anywhere saves so much on fuel.

Grocery shopping once a fortnight means you have to eat up absolutely everything in the fridge before you shop again. Thus you discover you have capers. Then you spend some time thinking about what to put capers in. Then you just put them on and in everything. Capers are good. Then you run out of capers. Then you discover a jar of home-cured olives...

Also, substitutes. I discovered that you can make icing without icing sugar. Mr Google will show you substitutes for just about anything. Try the general search term Making X Without Y. You may find useful surprises such that icing (frosting) made without icing sugar (powdered sugar) makes a yummy whipped frosting that is not cloyingly sweet. Sweet!

When procrastinating about things you ought to be doing you clean out under the kitchen sink and discover you have extra bottles of dish washing liquid that have probably been there since 2017.

Posy and I are knitting patchwork curtains for her bedroom window out of scrap wool. Yes, you read that right. Knitted patchwork curtains. Luckily it is quite a small window. We are about a third of the way along.

I discovered while buying stamps on the Australia Post website that if you hold a government concession card (pension, seniors, healthcare, veteran) that you can apply for a discount on stamps, with your first five stamps for free. I sent the link to my mum, who writes a lot of letters. I haven't used a stamp for years but since these iso days Posy has taken to sending hand-written letters and care packages to her friends, which is adorable.

I mended a pair of pyjama pants that were hand-me-ups from Rosy a couple of years ago. I patched them with an old singlet top of Rosy's and a pyjama top belonging to Posy when she was ten. I want to make it clear that I do not save every single piece of clothing that my children outgrow, only those that are too stained or worn to pass along. Truly. Really.

I made another batch of dog food with the remains of a lamb bone the neighbour brought over, brown rice and silverbeet from the garden. This all goes in the crockpot for a lot of hours on the back verandah until I suddenly remember it is there..

I cut beautiful white chrysanthemums from my garden for my mum for Mothers' Day. These chrysanthemums were given to me last year because they were dying in a plant pot at a friend's place. I pruned the 'mums' and planted them in the garden and they are flowering prolifically and beautifully. All the prunings I also planted in pots so I have now planted out four more 'mums' in the garden and given several away. Every time you prune a chrysanthemum bush, either poke the cuttings into potting mix or put them in a jar of water until they grow roots (a couple of weeks) then plant them in the garden. Now I know that they are so easy to propagate I am on the lookout for chrysanthemums in different colours that I can tweak cuttings from to add to the garden.

Posy made pancakes for Mothers' Day dinner with cream cheese,  smoked salmon, capers and sprinkles of parsley. So yum. She also whipped up another batch of rooibos chai for me. I buy all the spices separately and Posy knows which ones to add to make perfect chai. It is much cheaper than buying it already mixed and you can make it just how you like it. Today Posy added cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg, fennel seeds, cardamon pods, black peppercorns, star anise, cloves and ground ginger. Just delicious. Rosy made me an apple cake out of apples from her tree:) Also delicious.

Eating this week:
From the garden: Lemons, silverbeet, parsley, sage, spinach, lettuce, the last of the green beans
Weeds: chickweed
Stored food: garlic
Preserved food: lemon verbena tea, dried oregano, apricot jam, cherry jam, tomato passata, dried apples, stewed pears and blackberries out of the freezer.
Gifted food: unwanted herbal tea (unwanted by the giver, very much wanted by me!), homemade chocolate chip cookies in a care package from one of Posy's friends (today Posy made a loaf of Rosemary Bread to send back), lamb bone for the dog, apple muffins that were left-overs from the cafe Rosy works at, rhubarb from my mum, and a date scone and two fruit buns from Mum and Dad (they have discovered that their local bakery is doing home deliveries!). An apple cake for Mother's Day from Rosy (I gave her a jar of dried apple rings from the apples from her tree).


Treaders said…
I never have much luck with getting roots on cuttings. Don't know what I'm doing wrong but those mums are beautiful. And oh how I wish I had a windowsill Seriously. We don't have them here as all our windows open inwards (for easier cleaning). Still, if that's all that's wrong with my life it's not bad is it!
Anonymous said…
A few years ago I planted cuttings from a deep red, potted chrysanthemum, and they grew and flowered quite well, but they have become very tall and droopy, rather than being good, bushy plants. They are sort of underneath a big camellia, so I think I might move them away from there to a better spot with more sun. I've picked lots of flowers this year, and I love them, as they last so well.

I like windowsills too, and have a good deep one in the kitchen, which is useful. What I really miss, though, is a mantlepiece. I fancy making vignettes(!!), although I fear the mantlepiece would become just another useful flat surface for homeless objects....

Your Mothers' Day sounds lovely!

Linda in NZ
GretchenJoanna said…
I didn't know that about mums - I should try it with the beautiful deep orangey one I have right now, which is just about to start on its second bloom.
Anonymous said…
The virus has provided for added frugality and creativity. I get a deep sense of satisfaction when I create something new from something old. Visibly mending pajama pants, table runners, etc. Also propagating plants from cuttings with view as future gifts.
Enjoying gifted mangoes, and more vegetarian meals.
Although, I love to read, I am kind of stalled. Can't seem to get interested in any of the books I have. MISS my library! I am enjoying reading new blogs, that provide food for thought and growth.
Be well, my friend
Jo said…
Anna, seriously, put some chrysanthemum stems in a jar of water and leave for a month. Not full sun. Not every stem will root. I had half a dozen in that jar and only three grew roots. So put a heap in. Strip the lower leaves off so they don't rot under the water. Nothing to lose! Don't need a windowsill, kitchen bench will be fine or any other horizontal surface! But I do love my windowsill. It's the only one in the house and I treasure it:)

Linda, yes, mums do get leggy. Mine are in partial shade as well. The trick is to prune them a few times during the season, then they will pop out extra branches and become bushier. Don't worry, they will still form extra buds after you prune them, and you will end up with even more flowers in the autumn.

Gretchen Joanna, do it! You can even cut the blooms, pop them in a vase, then when the flower is spent, deadhead it, change the water and wait for the stem to grow roots.

Patricia, it looks like you are keeping busy and out of trouble! I have read all the easy books, now have several classics to get through which is harder work but my brain is working a bit better now.. I am hearing you on the library withdrawl though.
Jo said…
Patricia, btw, feel free to share any good blogs you come across:)
Anonymous said…
I have several that I recommend: The yarn harlot, Mary Bet Williamson writes, and just discovered; Our finite world. I have been reading past post of this last one, a lot of it is like reading Japanese( my brain doesn't think like this) but interesting/frightening nonetheless. BTW, I enjoy your blog list tremendously.
Mary said…
I like capers, but my partner doesn't so I get a whole jar to myself! Your cake looks so delicious - that fluffy icing, yum. I also fine it adorable that your daughter is sending hand-written letters. I like traditional mail (antici-postal-pation) but have a hard time sending it. And I admire anyone who makes their dog's food - something I aspire to. We have just turned the corner from spring to summer. The earliest wild blackberries are ripe, our cultivated ones need 2-3 more weeks; blueberries are almost ready. I get giddy this time of year with all the berries. The tomato and pepper (capsicum?) plants already have small fruits. And you certainly have a bountiful household!

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