Green and Thrifty

It has been some time since I've written about my green and thrifty hacks and projects, honestly, it's been some time since I've had room in my head to pay attention to small, homely things. But now I am feeling my way back to doing the things that make me happy and taking up the threads of keeping house again. The photo above is from a walk I took with Rosy last week in the nature reserve in our town. Rosy and I have been getting together to visit art galleries and go walking. Free get togethers with my lovely daughter who has moved to the other side of town. It's so nice to catch up and walk, or talk about art:) 

I have been cooking all the things - a big pot of soup, some rice and beans, pancakes, dinner. I have discovered a good hack for green beans - they go bad so quickly that the best thing to do is to cook them all at once when you get them home from the shops. I saute a pan of beans and broccoli, and maybe some garden greens with lots of cumin, smoked paprika, pepper and salt. Once it's partly cooked I add a little water and put a lid on the pan until they are perfectly cooked. The cooked greens keep all week in the fridge. I throw them in salads and add them to stir fries.

My mum brought me rhubarb from her garden and I cooked it up with pears and cinnamon to eat on my breakfast porridge, along with foraged walnuts.

Millet porridge with stewed rhubarb and walnuts.

I have been using up ingredients in the kitchen - a spice mix that was best before 2017, buckwheat flour from last year (buckwheat pancakes, yum), cornflake biscuits and weetbix slice from old packets that needed eating up. I have been using the walnuts I foraged in autumn from the tree at the end of the street on my porridge in the morning. Fresh walnuts, so flavoursome. And tea. All the tea. Last year during lockdown Red decided we needed to try all the tea. However Red then decided that they really only like about three varieties of tea. That left the other thirty nine or so, and now I am drinking them up, day by day. I was almost certain I remembered that I didn't like the turmeric tea, but I tried it again, and it turns out it is actually quite nice. So this week I am working my way through a packet of turmeric tea.

A mixture of vinegar and water removes mildew from leather. Half has been cleaned, half is still covered with white powdery mildew.

A friend gave me a very nice leather bag that was covered with mildew. She thought I might be able to find a way to clean and use it. Well, it sat on my bedroom floor for months, then I spent two minutes on the internet discovering that a half and half mixture of plain vinegar and water will do the trick. I wiped it with a cotton rag with the vinegar solution, and dried it in a warm room, then rubbed it with the leather restoring stuff I have for the old leather couch. It is like a beautiful new bag, and took twenty minutes of work on a rainy afternoon:)

Another kind friend randomly gave me a pair of gumboots her daughter grew out of. My gumboots had cracks in them and I had been vaguely thinking of going op-shopping for some more, but now I have free flowery gumboots.

I have been planting seeds for the spring garden, using up all last year's seeds before buying more. Seed magic is so exciting, every time.

That is the green and thrifty news from my house this week. Tell me the news from where you are.


Anonymous said…
Several years ago, I took up knitting again. And while not cheap, when you add the hours of therapy and creativity it provides, it is a thrifty activity for me. I made a cardigan in 2017, that was too big, and barely used. I spend 2 days unraveling it ( are we having fun yet?) so I could reuse the cotton yarn. I'm half way through a new, garment, hoping for a better fit.
I basically stay home, doing hours of yard work. Started tomato and pepper seeds for fall planting. My papaya tree is producing fruit, which I share with my mom.
Using, reusing and repurposing is my motto. It keeps me on my toes.
Be well, my friend. My love to you and Paul.
Deborah said…

Foraged walnuts sounds very desirable and delicious.I'm still benefiting from the neighbour's lemon tree hanging over our fence. Her lime tree, also hanging over the fence, has fruit at quite a different time from mine, so we share those and enjoy limes for about nine months of the year. Another neighbour doesn't do anything with her kumquats and loves me picking them. Luckily, my husband really likes citrus marmalades!

So pleased you sound quite upbeat now and hoping Paul is making good progress.

Treaders said…
It's good to hear from you again. Firstly I do hope Paul is continuing to make good progress back to health! Just a question (or a couple of questions I guess). Over here we see the horrific lockdown/protest scenes going on in parts of Australia (Melbourne mainly) - are you not subject to the same restrictions (your mention of going to an art gallery made me think if that)? And just out of curiosity, are you vegetarian? Just being nosy! Don't mind me if you don't feel like answering!
Kathy said…
Thanks for the leather cleaning tip...I have my boots which I aired this week but they have mildew on them and I was wondering what to do with them. Perfect timing. Have a good week.
Jo said…
Patricia, my mum has used knitting as therapy for years also - that is such a win, unravelling and reknitting. It seems extraordinary that you can be planting tomatoes and peppers for winter, but of course, that's what happens up north here in Oz as well. Enjoy those papayas, I remember picking them out of the backyard when I was a child in New Guinea.

Deborah, citrus marmalade is the best! Lime is my favourite. I love all slightly sour flavours. It's wonderful when you can get neighbours who love to share, and you can swap fruit over the fence:) And yes, Paul is doing ok, some days are really good, others he could do without..

Treaders, no, you are not nosy, please keep asking questions! The only two states in Australia in lockdown are Victoria (Melbourne is the capital there) and New South Wales (Sydney the capital). They are the only two states with any covid cases, but that does mean that half the population of Australia is locked down due to them being the most populous states. The rest of Australia, Tasmania included, where I am, have no covid, and no restrictions at all. My two lovely oldest kids are in Melbourne. They can go to the supermarket, get takeaway from restaurants, exercise with a friend while social distancing (as long as both friends live within 10kms of each other), and as of last week, can have picnics with vaccinated friends while social distancing (still the 10k limit). My son is actually still working. He is in hospitality, and the restaurant he manages is open for takeaways, people can buy meals and hampers, and that is how many hospitality venues are managing to stay solvent.
The covid protests are all happening in the centre of the city, which is pretty much empty at the moment as no-one is working there, so they are not directly affecting the population, except for spreading covid further, of course..
And no, I'm not a vegetarian, although I eat meat-free a few times a week. I remember you were eating vegan last year - are you still doing that? I do eat quite a few vegan dishes, especially since I don't eat much dairy as it seems to affect my sinuses..

Kathy, so glad to be of service, I hope the boots turn out well. I was really surprised how quickly the bag cleaned up. I imagine you get quite a bit of mildew in the wet in Brisbane..
Treaders said…
Thanks for the update. Australia's lockdowns sound pretty similar to what we had here not so long ago then. Miserable but .... you get through it (hopefully). As for vegan - ha, that lasted about a week but I keep trying!
Linda In UK said…
So lovely to read this post, Jo. My best wishes to you and Paul, I love reading your blog and have followed for several years. Glad you feel upbeat enough to write a thrifty post. We have friends in Australia and have visited many times ( once to Tasmania and we had hoped to return but not sure that will now happen) so we follow Oz news. Vaccination is the answer to opening the borders, have you been vaccinated?
Jo said…
Anna, yes, I feel very fortunate that we haven't had a lockdown here since last July. The isolation of living on an island has its good points. I think it's great to have a few vegan standbys on the menu. It reduces fat in your diet, adds vegies and wholegrains, and if everyone ate vegan a couple of times a week, it would reduce pressure on the world's ecosystems as well.

Linda, yes, our whole family is vaccinated now, with Red returning for their second dose in a couple of weeks. I'm glad that we all now do have the protections that the vaccine affords, although I do support the right of everyone to make their own health choices.
Anonymous said…
Plenty of green and thrifty action going on here. I love how you resuscitated the bag. Well done. I’ve sent you an email. Hope all is OK. Jennifer AKA Lucinda
Jo said…
Lucinda, it's so great to see you blogging again. What a year we all have had. All the best for this new school term which will no doubt be as crazy as the one you have had working at home. Bonne chance!
Mary said…
That's so nice that you and Rosy are doing outings together! About the vinegar water for mildew - yes. I use it a lot on our wood furniture and floors because we live in a very humid area in an old house, and mildew is a constant battle. Do you have English walnuts or black walnuts? We have a very old black walnut tree, but I've never tried gathering them because the hulls are so messy and the shells are so hard. I have made dye and ink out of the hulls, also very messy, but fun. It sounds like you are taking full advantage of your spring opportunities. I'm trying to do the same with our lovely, long-awaited milder fall weather.
Jo said…
Mary, we have English walnuts here, I have never experienced a black walnut, but a friend has planted one, so i guess in several years I'll get to try them out! There is a passage in Barbara Kingsolver's The Bean Tree about the poor kids in town cracking black walnuts and selling them to get money for school clothes - everyone could tell who the poor kids were because their hands were stained black..
The ink and dye sound like interesting projects.
Enjoy your cooler autumn weather - I think that is my favurite time of year, putting on a cardigan and enjoying deep breaths of cold air in the mornings:)

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