Friday, January 3, 2014

Green and Thrifty

A Christmas bouquet from a friend's garden. includes lovely chive and oregano flowers

Hello my lovelies, and welcome to another green and thrifty year. I'm hoping to be greener and thriftier here at Chez Blueday, but also wiser, kinder, more generous, less wasteful. Always aim high!

The main trouble with green-ness and thriftiness that I can see is that every so often I have the horrifying realisation that I am turning into my mother. The third drawer down, you know, the one with all the plastic wrap and baking paper and foil, has also become a depository for piles of saved brown paper bags, aluminium foil and a box of washed and reused ziploc bags. Under the sink is my growing collection of odd rubber gloves. Usually, the one that gets the hole in is the right one, so I have a number of surplus-to-requirements left gloves under the sink. Finally, this week the right one gave up the ghost, so I was able to triumphantly produce a perfectly good, slightly used left glove and save that new packet of gloves for another day. Yes, not only turning into my mother, but both my grannies as well.

I have tried SO HARD to use up leftovers during the Christmas season, and have succeeded pretty well. It is, of course, perhaps not so very difficult to use up leftover smoked salmon and double brie, but we have done our best. We have also used up boring veg in fried rice and soups, and made lots of creative salads. Tomorrow my job will be to make soup using up a number of saved broccoli stalks from the vegie crisper, all the remaining celery and a few carrots in a lovely minestrone. Into that will also be going the last left-over parmesan rind that I found in the fridge door the other day. I save them in a paper bag inside a ziploc bag, to stop them sweating and smelling respectively. A parmesan rind just makes a minestrone, gives it such a depth of flavour. Like the bay leaf, you take it out at the end of cooking and pop it in the compost. The last of the cavalo nero kale in the front jungle garden will make the minestrone even more authentic, healthy, and delightful for the children. After all, what child can resist kale?

One of the plans I have for the summer holidays is lots of cheap and free entertainment for the children. It started yesterday with a trip to the beach, and a walk to a completely darling lighthouse, white and dumpy with a red door, a red railing, and a sweet weathercock. I have always wanted to live in a lighthouse. Although it would be tricky to acquire enough round furniture.

I finally got around to planting my spring veg this week, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, lettuce. Better late than never. My 'bouquet buddy' also sent round a homegrown zucchini, which shamed me into planting some, and I sent her some lemons. My other thought is just to keep planting more citrus trees, and swapping citrus for veg instead..

From the garden this week we ate lemons, kale, warrigul greens, rocket, parsley, the last broad beans, and I harvested a splendid load of garlic, which perfumed The Man's shed for a couple of days until he objected. It sat in the laundry for a couple of days, making the whole house smell very Mediterranean, but is now back in the shed as The Man went away, and what he doesn't know won't bother him at all. 

Do tell me about your green and thrifty projects for January, or for all of 2014. Any green and thrifty New Year's resolutions?


20 comments:

lucindasans said...

Yes, I know how you feel. I open my mouth and my mother comes out.

I wanted to live in a light house too. I was trying to find this blog I read of a couple who did the care taking of a lighthouse down your way. No luck so can't share it. I'd love it except we have no building or mechanical skills. Just want the peace and quiet! There's a tiny island in the middle of Sydney Harbour (Fort Denison) and the family who lived there when it was a lighthouse looked like they had a wonderful time.cthey grew their own food and the fig tree still fruits.

Now frugal and green? Well, instead of going out for lunch or high tea, a friend and I made fancy sandwiches and cut then into fingers. We both made two different types and shared. With fancy pants crockery, it was like going out for high tea. Oh! Yes! We use up all our leftovers too. Very little food waste here.

Very jealous of your garlic. So much of bought garlic is from China, and not very flavoursome.

Tanya Murray said...

I don't think the late planting will matter a bit with the weather the way it has been! Looking forward to seeing you soon and catching up.
@lucindasans I like your style doing a stay at home "coffee date"

anexactinglife.com said...

Oh, the mom-ness and granny-ness; that is me, too! My greener/healthier goals for this year are to walk to work (15 minutes each way; have completed one month so far) and to make muffins and other baked goods at home, in the hopes of replacing some even-worse store-bought candy and ice cream.

Left-Handed Housewife said...

I, too, am turning into your mother! Lots of baggie saving around here, lots of aluminum foil shoved into drawers.

More green/less wasteful goals: Make more of my own cleaning and beauty products. Grow more of our own food. The winter garden is looking a bit sad, due to an evil bunny getting into the brassicas, but the kale perseveres.

Am enjoying reading about your summer now that our temps have dropped to below freezing and the winter wind blows. The bitter cold won't last long, but it makes me long for spring.

xofrances

theroadtoserendipity said...

When my mother was pregnant with me, my dad applied for a job as a lighthouse keeper. They apparently got quite high up in the selection process before being knocked out by someone with more experience. I wonder how different my life would have been had I have been a "lighthouse kid"? I very nearly didn't have a veggie garden at all this year. A wonderful, kind, crazy friend decided to bring around lots of volunteers from her own veggie garden to "get you started" and my garden is now a mass tangle of pumpkins, and more zucchini than a person has a right to desire. Even a vegan like me is starting to quake at the amount of squash and the variety that are threatening to take over Serendipity Farm. The fully enclosed veggie garden is working! The son-and-heir and Kelsey, his Texan sweetie glamped next to the garden and heard possums and wallabies trying to breach the compound to no avail. It was most satisfying to imagine them spreadeagled on the netting cover looking wistfully down at my fully protected veg...I don't even mind if there was a bit of vengeful possum urine involved, it all adds up to nitrogen for the soil!

I am learning/making/doing one new thing every day this year. A lot easier than it sounds because life lessons are also featured in this parade and life lessons seem to follow me in great measure wherever I go. I discovered that there is a fantastic little nursery in the south of the state called Frog Hollow. My wonderful daughters want to take a day trip down to Hobart to buy up big on Korean ingredients that they can't get here and are willing to spring for the petrol to head down and back and we just so happen to be going down on the day that Frog Hollow has a stall at the Bream Creek Markets so we will be heading out 40km from Hobart to pick up some amazing new finds. They sell potato onions and real French Tarragon (that you have to grow from plant division, not seed) and a most interesting perennial tuber called Chinese artichokes that are grown for their flowers as well as their edible roots that apparently resemble and taste like water chestnuts. I will be raiding the moth eaten sock under the bed for that outing! ;)

We are working on finding a waterwise way to water the veggie garden and I stumbled on a really interesting system on Pinterest. Using large 20 litre food buckets (the kind that David gives away on a regular basis) mounted to poles at the end of each garden bed, you connect a series of dripper hoses (in our case, regular hose that you poke full of holes ;) ) to the end of the buckets and run it down the middle of your veggie gardens. When you want to water, you fill the buckets with water and gravity feeds the water down to the veggie garden below. Saves time, water and sanity! SCORE! And who said that Pinterest was a waste of time? ;)

Not much time to think about thrifty things at the moment as we are painting our deck in a vain attempt to stop nature from eating it. Love your gorgeous flowers and your citrus idea is a good one. I have yet to grow successful citrus here as the possums eat all of the leaves :(

Jo said...

I just knew there would be lighthouse appreciators here! All the unmanned lighthouses around the coastline make me so sad. Think how divine it would be to stay in one. When I make my millions I will buy all the lighthouses and make them into B&Bs.
Lucinda, your high tea sounds divine and fun. My last two birthday parties have been high-morning-tea with friends.
Tanya, this weather! It's insane. I don't think the plants quite know what to do..
An exacting life, I'm impressed with the walking, and home baking, so much yummier, as well as healthier:)
Frances, I would like to join you in making more cleaning products, and I would love to make my own moisturiser. I am picturing that evil bunny.. have you seen the movie Hoodwinked? 'Never trust a bunny..'
Fran, I am loving the posts with photos of your vegie garden, it is just amazing. And trust you to fill it full of arcane vegetables that nobody has ever heard of. Love that you push the envelope and go where no gardener has ever gone before.. feel free to pop over and take cuttings/seeds of any of my fairly boring food plants any time..

Tammy said...

I realized that by taking part in a reading challenge last year, I read an impressive number of books (for me at least) and didn't go the movies once. Since most of my books came from the library or as gifts, it was quite the frugal change of entertainment.

We didn't have many holiday leftovers to take care of, but we will be gone for a whole week later this month, so we are trying to eat down our perishables to nothing before we go. It is going to make for some interesting meal planning right before our departure.

Heather said...

Don't our mothers' actions make a little more sense now that we are mothers too?

My son loves kale, while my daughter won't touch it with a 10 foot pole. My son is unnaturally obsessed with a simple soup that I make with garlic, carrot, celery, rice, chicken broth, and kale. Obsessed. You would think it was chocolate the way he craves it.

Right now, I'm utilizing the lemons from my tree and lettuce from the garden. This year I'm going to try to make sure that I use every single bit of fruit and vegetable that I buy or harvest before it goes to rot. That might be hard with my 10,000 lemons, but my son used about 20 making lemonade yesterday. It's a start.

Jo said...

Tammy, I love the library, it is such a community benefactor, and after the hospital and the schools, my very favourite place for our taxes to go to!
Wishing you many happy pre-holiday picnic meals.
Heather, I would be pretty excited about that soup too. And I hear you on the lemons. I love each and every one, and of course, use them for currency, but also have an entire section in my recipe folder purely devoted to The Lemon.

Katie said...

The minestrone sounds good! I never thiought of using a parmesan rind. The beach and lighthouse sound fun, there are a lot of neat lighthouses here in the US in New England, but it is winter here and last I checked 9 degrees farenheit out. And yes, i have become my mother!

Jo said...

Katie, here's hoping you and all my other American and Canadian friends in the cold this week can manage to stay warm and cosy and cook lots of soup!

rabidlittlehippy said...

Lots of greenness and thriftiness here too. I've around 100 pumpkins in although the weather needs to warm the hell up and stay a bit warmer in order for them to fruit. Still, i had the seeds and the space...

I too wash the ziplocks when they haven't held meat and I also save and reuse paper bags and more. :)

Bring on a thrifty 2014.

Lynda D said...

I made my first citrus cleaner this weekend using mandarines, salt and vinegar. Left over Chivas Regal bottle from office was begging for something to be put in it. Also made my own lemon butter (posts to follow) and planning big preserving days in the coming month with Jessie (She knows what she is doing). I also love using my "nice/good" things when friends visit. What good are they hiding in a cupboard. Check out my lettuce bouquet on next post. I dont have flowers so i make do with bunches of lettuce. So pretty and green.

Jo said...

Jessie, I can't wait for the 'Help, I have 100 pumpkins, what am I going to do with them?' post!
Lynda, looking forward to the lettuce bouquet. I have a friend staying at the moment, and I put an entirely edible posy on her bedside table (in case she needs a snack in the middle of the night) - calendula, lavender, violas and oregano flowers.
I'd love to know how your cleaner goes. I want to make a general cleaner next, and I certainly have enough lemons to give a citrus version a go.

missmaudy said...

After more than ten years of "doing" Christmas lunch at ours, I've *finally* convinced MiL that what we're doing is making lunch (ie one meal) for SIX people, two of whom are children who still don't eat a lot!

The benefit of this is that 75% of leftovers are consumed by the end of Boxing Day, and all that's left by New Year's Day is biscuits and slices and that sort of thing. Win!

Anyway, the only green and thrifty shenanigans I got up to was a) making sure the wrapping paper made it into the recycling and b) converting 500g of pre chopped and slightly squishy strawberries into three jars of strawberry jam!

Jo said...

Miss Maudy, well done on the leftovers front. Strawberry jam! One of my favourites. The other is fig, lemon and ginger. I am keeping a close eye on my friend's fig tree..

Judy said...

I am not only turning into my mother, but whenever I visit I bring home some of her 'junk'. Old flowerpots, cookbooks, slow cookers and old curtains were the latest! It is inevitable that we would pick up some of their traits!

I was thinking of you today because I have finally cut back to just one caffeine laced drink a day. (I'm not brave enough to just quit all at once!) How are you getting on without caffeine and gluten? I hope your health has improved and you are feeling great for it :-)

e / dig in said...

a belated happy new year jo. i look forward to more of your green and thrifty and gardening and home tales in 2014.
and i'm glad i'm not the only one who keeps odd washing up gloves :-)

Jo said...

Judy, so great that you are coming into your inheritance early!
Not entirely gluten free, but reasonably so, and still caffeine free, but iron levels still going down:( still a mystery as to why..
e, fianlly back on the blogging train, looking forward to more of your yummy baking experiments and garden photos as well!

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

Just popping in with a tip for you on the glove department:
turn a left glove inside out and it wil magically become a right hand glove!
Good luck and thank you for your nice blog.

Rina

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