Green and Thrifty
Sometimes my commitment to Not Buying Anything and Using What I Have has consequences that make me laugh. During the week I was cleaning out cupboards and found these mini craft pegs that on some occasion in the past I had spray painted gold. I think that maybe I used to use them to peg up Christmas cards, you know, back in the day when people still sent Christmas cards. Anyway, I found them and tipped them into my clothes peg bucket and madly enjoyed the effect of gold-painted mini clothes pegs on washing day as I hung up the socks..
I organised all the sheets and pulled out the ones that were worn. I cut up two worn single fitted sheets and two pillowcases. First I mined the sheets for elastic. I shall want some elastic soon as I plan to make a pair of flannelette pyjama pants out of another sheet. I cut out the middle of the sheets for rags where they were very worn, and cut off the side panels where the flannelette was still good. I popped those bits in the fabric stash. I don't sew a lot, but when I do I use what I have, and who knows what interesting things those bits of sheet might turn into one day?
In spare moments between sitting gazing into the fire and sitting on the back verandah staring at my vegies and willing them to grow, I have been cleaning out cupboards, not lots but some. I have been trying not to assemble large loads of clutter to take to the op-shops (which are still closed anyway) but to find ways to use what I find, or think about specific people who may be able to use what I have. This is why I re-used the pegs and cut up the sheets. I am still convinced that it should be possible to use just about everything we have over and over again and avoid both waste and creating a market for new consumer products. This is a mission I am determined to continue. Another excellent outcome of going through the cupboards is finding things you forgot you had. Posy has been making some fabulous herb scrapbooks, herbals, really, describing the uses of herbs and flowers from our own garden. They are very beautiful works of art, but then she ran out of glue sticks. She 'needed' more immediately, and was not impressed with my suggestion that she make glue out of flour and water.. anyway, I knew that it was impossible for there not to be more glue sticks in the house, and sure enough, ten minutes of searching turned up three glue sticks and also two pairs of scissors I have been missing. Tidying. Not that much fun, but so profitable.
The faithful old apricot tree blankets the garden with her yellow leaves.
During this season's jam making I cut my remaining sticky labels into smaller and smaller slivers to note jam flavour and date. I was determined not to buy more stickers. This week Posy's pocket money-funded order of jewellery-making supplies arrived with an invoice printed on a whole-page sticky label, for some unknown reason. I snaffled that into my stationery drawer and next summer's jam labels are assured.
Baby beets, parsnips, broadbeans.
I have stretched my grocery shop to two and half weeks. I went today because Paul needed some things to take when he works away next week, otherwise I could have lasted longer. I am thinking we can last for three weeks until the next shop, then maybe we can stretch it out to a month after that. I'll wait and do a vegie shop on Monday which will make it three weeks for vegies. We are down to some beetroots, a quarter of a cabbage, a sweet potato, some carrots and a butternut pumpkin. Plus frozen peas and corn. So I think we are fine to avoid scurvy, and apart from that we still have a lot of dry goods on hand. Yesterday I eyed the last three wrinkly capsicums and popped them whole on a tray to roast while the oven was on. I stored them all sad and wrinkled and roasted in the fridge overnight, and this morning their skins peeled off beautifully and I chopped them up and popped them into the chili which is currently making the kitchen smell very.. well, very much like there is a giant pot of chili cooking in it. Which is a very good smell indeed.
Silverbeet is flourishing in the frost.
For fruit we are down to the last two oranges, but this afternoon Posy and I visited Rosy and we picked another load of apples from her tree. Note to the wise: when your children move out of home into a share house, make sure it has apple trees. Consequently I will have no oranges but many apples. Yesterday I went for a walk with Posy into town. Posy has not set foot in a shop for nearly three months now, but some shops are opening up now and yesterday we popped into her favourite little shop that sells crystals and flower essences and hippy jewellery and other things that Posy has need of. Yesterday she wanted sealing wax because she has taken up writing good old-fashioned letters on actual paper with envelopes, and of course you can see how necessary it was that she spend her pocket money on sealing wax. The nice man in the shop hunted all over for some and finally found the last packet under the counter and gave her a discount because it was so old (note, sealing wax does not expire. But we didn't argue). It was fun to go out together again and walk into a shop that doesn't only sell groceries, and nice to support a little local business. Neither green nor thrifty really, but lovely:)
Earlier this year my friend Tanya gave me some borage seedlings from her garden and now they are flowering. Borage flowers taste like cucumbers!
Posy picked violas from the garden, pressed them between baking paper sheets under a heavy book for half an hour then pressed them into hot shortbread. So beautiful, and the colours stay fresh. Well, until the shortbread gets eaten..
My winter garden is valiantly doing its best in the not optimum conditions of my backyard. The poor little plants do all they can considering the lack of sun they get in my southwest facing garden with both a house and a tree blocking the sunshine in the northeast. Still, I have tiny baby broccoli heads which will embiggen over the next month or so. There is lots of silverbeet, lots of parsley, and many baby beets, kale, spinach and peas. Also garlic and warrigal greens and little lettuces. Gazing at the vegie garden in the autumn sunshine under a gentle blanket of yellow leaves is pretty much all the entertainment I need right now. Which is pretty lucky, really. Paul is on the last leg of his great big enormous work project. He spent a week out of town last week and will spend next week on site as well. I see him almost never which is not at all fun. I really would like the chance to get tired of him like all those other people who have been trapped at home with their partners over the last two months. Still, maybe I will get tired of him over the next six months when he is not going to take on any more work except for big enormous building projects on his own patch of bush. I can live in hope:)
Eating this week:
From the garden: Lemons, silverbeet, parsley, sage, spinach.
Stored food: garlic
Preserved food: lemon verbena tea, dried oregano, apricot jam, cherry jam, tomato passata, dried apples, stewed plums out of the freezer.
Gifted food: Cake! It was my birthday and I was cake-bombed! Genuine pecan pie from my lovely American buddy, feijoa cake from the Kiwis, danishes from Rosy. So much cake. Happy me. My pecan pie-bearing friend Karlin also brought some limes from her tree, slices of which I popped into my birthday gin. And two big bags of golden delicious apples today from Rosy's tree. I will be drying most of them and stewing some for winter porridge topping. And maybe an apple crumble, because you can never have too much cake, right?
As per my usual habit I took food to Paul when I went to visit. This week it was frozen something which I thought maybe was vegetable soup, as indeed it turned out to be. There was a jar of last year's quince jam which is his favourite and a big bunch of silverbeet and parsley. Tonight Posy will be making fruit loaf, some for us and some for Paul, and peanut butter cookies, some to give away as well. What wonderful blessings of food abound in our lives:)
Tell me about how your week is going with green and thrifty adventures..