Green and Thrifty, Second Week of August

Here we are again! More green and thrifty! First, a photo of Paul's small but exquisite lettuce garden. He has a beautiful big vegie garden space, but it is still not fenced, so there is no point planting salad for the wallabies and possums, as they are just as happy to eat grass. He has small pots inside cages instead, and it is amazing how much food you can grow in a pot. 

Here is the possum who would love to eat the lettuce. What a sweet pink nose he has.

When the possum is dancing on the solar panels on the roof at night, Paul chases him away with a rake, but during the day when he is snuggly and cute inside a hollow log in the bush Paul goes down to chat with him and takes him an apple core. It is a complex relationship.

Meanwhile, here in the city cottage there are no possums, and I have planted the first seeds of the season. Oh, the joy! This is such an exciting time of the year. I am trialling little plastic greenhouses for the seeds to sprout in. When I say plastic greenhouses, I mean cake, biscuit and avocado containers donated by one of my friends who has teenage boys with prodigious appetites.  I'm wondering whether the seeds will warm up and sprout quicker in these? I have planted lettuces, spinach, cabbages, broccoli, Chinese broccoli, mustard greens, mizuna and kale. Next week I will start the tomatoes, capsicums and chillies. The greens are hardy and will be able to go out in the garden at the start of September, but the tomatoes I'll pot on and keep in the warm porch until October. 

This week I was gifted many eggs from my friend Carla's adorable fat chickens. I have been indulging in egg salad sandwiches for lunch, along with lettuce and rocket from the garden. The eggs are so yellow from very free-range farmyard chickens, who eat a lot of green weeds and bugs. 

I rinse the egg shells and save them up until I have a heap to grind up in the food processor. Usually I tip the ground egg shells into the compost as a general source of calcium, but this year I am saving them and I am going to put a spoonful under each tomato plant. Calcium can help prevent blossom-end rot in tomatoes. Last year most of the tomatoes developed this nasty rot, and this year I will be prepared!

Foraging: this week I foraged a piece of cutlery. I was out with a friend and I found this dinner knife on the road verge. I am perplexed at how someone manages to drop a knife on the road? Anyway, it is a nice Stanley and Rogers knife in the exact pattern of the set I have at home, so thanks to the vague person who takes their cutlery for a walk and fails to bring it home again, I now have an extra knife in my cutlery drawer. I also found another clothes peg on the pavement. I am continually surprised at how that happens as well. There is no moment in my laundry routine at which I take clothes pegs out to the footpath..

Today it is not raining for a change, so I washed sheets, towels and tea towels. The sheets take up the whole of my small clothesline, so the towels and tea towels I hang up on the verandah which gets lovely afternoon sun. It is a little bit tricky getting the sheets dry in the winter. I have no dryer, by choice, because the price of electricity, right? But my clothesline is in the shade and it takes two to three dry days in the winter to dry the sheets. Sometimes I have to bring them inside and finish drying them on chairs in front of the fire. I had an idea, the other day, of hanging up a clothesline in the attic to dry sheets, but I will have to think about how to attach a line to the ceiling that will support the wet sheets..

I do love the smell of laundry dried outside in the weather, and I love that free solar drying power! I can't imagine how many dollars I have saved in the six years I have not used a clothes dryer!

Paul brought me some garlic from our friend Gordon's excellent vegie garden. I have used it in two big pots of soup so far. I have eaten vegetable soup for dinner for fourteen days in a row now, apart from a couple of dinners I had at Paul's place. I think that is a record! Even I am getting a little tired of soup, although it is still delicious every time. My children do not agree, but I think I make excellent soup. Anyway, tonight I am going to soak some chickpeas so I can change up dinner to chana masala instead. Tomatoes! Rice! See, this is a very clever trick for really appreciating the smallest changes in life. Have the same thing for dinner for two weeks, then basmati rice and chickpeas will seem like a very exotic dish:) 

What I have been eating from the garden: Lemons, lettuce, mizuna, spinach, rocket, silverbeet, parsley, and edible weed, chickweed.

I was given: eggs, pumpkin and garlic.

I gave away: flower seeds and bay leaves.

Tell me about you! What thrifty projects have you been working on? What have you foraged off the street? What stage is your garden at? Tell me all!

I am thinking that next week I will do a Green and Thrifty somewhere around Friday and incorporate another Mending Club there. I must have some motivation to mend my pyjama pants! So email photos if you would like to join in, or send me a link your mending blog posts or instagram posts. We would all love to see all the mending:)

Over to you xx


Anonymous said…
Paul's lettuce looks delicious! I continue to enrich the soil in hopes of improving my garden harvest. I did manage to harvest several tomatoes ( a very small variety; not cherry tomatoes, from a plant my daughter gave me last fall!) which I added to a stir fry.
Had a friend over last week, and served Brie cheese with homemade mango preserves (mangoes foraged from neighbors tree).
Continue to dry clothes, sheets and towels outside. Love the smell. The towels provide wonderful exfoliating qualities also. It's a win, win!
I am currently working on a "wild, don't know what I'm doing" quilt for my grandson. I started sewing patches together from different pieces of clothing that belonged to my husband,6 years ago as a way to deal with my grief. I put it a way, and pull it out at different times, but now I am determined to finish it. I have never quilted before, and the quilt is a testament to that. But, I am learning and the project is coming together. It's more "personality" than anything else. It's all hand sewn, and the stitching (very visible mending style) is very zen. Good for the spirit. If I ever learn to post and send pictures I will share the finished product.
Hope you have a wonderful week!
Jo said…
Patricia, dear friend, ah, I really want to see that quilt in the fullness of time. It sounds very special, and very meaningful. A quilt of many stories. I understand that grief extends the amount of time it takes to do things. Memory can be such a tangible thing.
If and when you would like to send a photo, if you have the photo stored on your computer you can send it as an attachment to an email to me and I will post it here. I know we all would love to see it.
I wish there was a way to post photos in the comments, but I am not sure that is possible. Anyone?
Sending much love, Jo xx
Treaders said…
I love the little "free" greenhouses too (I usually like the trays the grapes come in). How exciting to be heading into spring - my favourite season!
sustainablemum said…
Wow, I am impressed that you can grow salad outside in winter, I love the wee pot. I laughed at your clothes peg comment, perhaps it was being used for holding something other than clothes on a line, they are useful for other things too.

I have never owned a tumble dryer, there is not really a culture of owning one here in the UK, folks are much more likely to hang their clothes outside all year round. You are so right that it takes a bit longer for washing to dry in the winter but all that electricity you save. We have a sheila maid in our bathroom, it hangs from the ceiling and has a pulley system for lowering and raising it. It is so useful for those rainy days, we get a lot of them here.
Kathy said…
Paul's bowl of lettuce looks wonderful. I got into my veggie garden yesterday and weeded on of the beds and planted some mini cabbage, tomatoes and capsicum. Have a good week.
Jo said…
Anna, I am just trying these out to see if they work. If they do, it's an excellent free gardening resource:)

sustainablemum, plants don't actually grow in the winter here, but if you get them big enough in the autumn they just sit there all winter and you can harvest them, which is nice. Kale, spinach, silverbeet, brassicas and salads all seem to survive.
I am so surprised to note that dryers aren't such a thing in the UK. Here in sunny Australia almost everyone has one, which seems ridiculous. I know exactly the kind of drying rack you are describing, but the name sheila maid is new. That is so cute:)

Kathy, I think spring is in the air, although currently it is very cold air. The jonquils are out so it must be time to start planting:)
Watching the vegie prices keeping on going up, vegie gardening becomes more economical than ever.. good luck with yours.
Loving your gardening news. I think I am going to try the egg shell thing. I have a funny skin on my tomatoes this year and I usually just hand crush them and use them to keep slugs away from my dahlias.
Jo said…
Three Stories High, excellent! The more the merrier for the egg shell trial of 2022:) Do the egg shells work well as slug barriers?
Fernglade Farm said…
Hi Jo,

Most excellent finds, and hope that Paul is feeling better. Possums here are nervous due to the hard working owls. I see owl nesting boxes in Paul's future.

Three washing horses and one sleepy kelpie have pride of place in front of the wood heater. All is as it should be.

Speaking of finds, we moved seven fruit trees today to a sunnier spot, before getting rained upon. And during the work I discovered five seedling red mustard plants. Relocated them to the greenhouse. Nice work with your seedlings too.

You know, my gut feeling suggests that your cat may be thinking 'Cool. Kitty Litter tray'. Keeping the dogs out of the garden here is a hard road.


Jo said…
Chris, I am wondering here, do owls really eat possums? The big ones? Because this possum would be as big as an owl. I am thinking that would be an epic contest. I mean, possums have claws too...

The cat, for some reason, is enjoying sticking his paw in the potting compost and patting it. No damage so far. I am lucky that Benny the Wonder Puppy doesn't dig in the garden, but he does accidently sit down on newly planted seedlings..

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