The Daily Green and Thrifty
Kit Hiller, Eastern Spinebill
Today we have a green and thrifty post with a difference. I didn't really have much to report but then I thought about the boring green and thrifty stuff I do every single day, as do most of us here. So here is a boring report of the daily green and thrifty. I say boring - it certainly isn't exciting, but I love my daily round of pottering between this and that. Sometimes it gets a bit tedious but when it all adds up it is a good life indeed.
Cooking from scratch - every day. Porridge with stewed fruit, soup and home made bread, dinners featuring beans and rice. Snacks - fruit, dried fruit.. ok and chocolate. This week I went back to work in my one remaining garden. I pruned a lot of roses but also picked apples from the apple orchard. I know - an apple orchard, dreamy. I came home with granny smiths and an unknown crisp apple that looks like a Cox's orange but isn't, because a Cox's orange is a very early apple. I have been snacking on apples and drying them in the dehydrator. And Posy went hunting through the cupboard and found a tin of cherries so she made black forest cake. It has been good. I also made an apple and blackberry cake to take out to lunch. The apples were from Rosy's tree and the blackberries I picked in summer from my friend Tanya's hedgerow and popped into the freezer. Blackberries freeze beautifully - don't do anything to them, just pop them in a container and straight into the freezer, then back out months later and into the cake batter.
Hanging the washing out to dry - I don't have a dryer. It is winter here but I hang the washing on clothes airers on the back verandah. It generally takes a couple of days to dry. Before the verandah was built I dried the washing indoors which was quicker but we did tend to trip over the clothes airers a bit. I hang out sheets and towels on the outdoor line and sometimes they take several days to dry in the winter, but that's ok, I just ignore them and they get on with getting dry, then wet in the rain (I mean rinsed in pure cloud juice) then dry again. I do eventually bring them in between showers.
The winter bed - I don't have heated bedrooms but in winter I make my bed very cosy. I change to the winter wool quilt and put the thinner summer quilt under the mattress cover to provide extra warmth underneath me. Then the flannelette sheets, then a cotton blanket, then the quilt, a thick bedspread and a single bed quilt that I unroll on cold nights. Bedtime is like snuggling down into a cosy nest with just my cold nose poking out while the rest of me warms up under my many layers.
Wood that keeps us warm - I heat the house with wood in our wood stove. You know the saying that wood warms you twice, once when you chop it and once when you burn it? Well, this wood warms me numerous times. Once when Paul and I go out into the forest and chop it, again as we haul it up the hill in wheelbarrows and load it into the car or trailer, then again as we unload it from car or trailer and stack it in the woodshed at home, and then once more as most of the wood is a bit too large for my fire so I split it before I stack it in the log basket in the porch. I love the morning ritual of laying the fire with bark and twigs and kindling, watching the first flames lick up as I brush the stove and fireplace with the hearth brush. Then I make a cup of tea and sit in the armchair which I park in front of the fire in winter, and from its depths I sip my tea and admire the crackling flames. There is a great satisfaction in getting a good fire going with minimum fuss and bother.
Wearing layers - inside and outside lots of layers is the key to always staying comfortable. Winter days see me wearing long johns and jeans, a singlet top, long sleeved top, t-shirt, thin sweater and warm cardigan that is so big and floppy it goes over everything. To go outside I take off the cardigan and add a snug jumper, scarf, coat and gloves. For feet - inside is ugg-style slippers and outside is Blundstone boots. I find that the layers work well as you can strip them off or add them as you enter warmer or cooler environments. I am absolutely not a fan of hot indoor spaces in the winter though. I see no point in heating a house so hot that you can walk around in a t-shirt in winter. Why? It's nice snugging up in long sleeves and woolly socks in winter. Oh, yes, more layers. Thin socks, then thick work socks. Lovely, lovely, snuggly.
Entertainment - I sat in the morning sun at Paul's house yesterday and drank my tea and watched New Holland honey eaters swinging upside down in the grevillea and fairy wrens hopping in and out of the bird feeder and I couldn't imagine a nicer way to spend a morning (right after that I went and cut wood in the bush for an hour. It's the contrast of hard work and sitting in the sun that gives the latter an extra fillip of pleasure). Here at home I look out into the garden from my dining room table. Over the last few weeks a family of eastern spinebill honey eaters has taken up residence in the japonica hanging over the fence from next door. Eastern spinebills are tiny little honey eater birds with a curved beak like an upholstery needle, a creamy chest and little brown bib under the chin. They tweet with enormous fire alarm volume for such a tiny little bird. Entertainment means different things to different people but I am content to have mine bird-flavoured this week.
Now it's your turn - share your daily green and thrifty with us all:)
Oh, and here is a contribution from reader Madeleine - thank you for sending me this lovely story of A Simple Life. Paul and I watched it while we waited for dinner to cook the other night, glass of wine in hand. Then we watched it again:)