Friday, January 31, 2014

Green and Thrifty


I have several questions for you this morning. Where did January go? Why is my house so filthy? (Clue: answers may have something to do with children) Why are children so loud? Why is there sand in every single corner of the house, being that we live an hour from the closest beach, and although we did spend some days there, I swear we shook and rinsed everything before we left? So many of life's mysteries converging on Chez Blueday this morning.

So as it has been nearly a month since the last green and thrifty report, you'd think I'd have an enormous list of environmentally conscious thriftiness to to share, but no. I have spent the summer holidays lolling about at the pool reading my way through my enormous library list while lifeguarding the children and all their friends as they perfect their underwater backflips, and conscientiously timing how long they can do a hand stand under water.

But here is the short list:

Eating home grown peaches for breakfast. This is a heavenly treat, but possibly should not have combined it with typing a blog post. They are divinely drippy.

We have had an actual heat wave here in Tasmania, which means any temperature over 30C (that's 85F, yes I know, hardly likely to raise a sweat for anyone anywhere north of here, or south of Scotland), and so we have been barbequeing  a lot, and it occurred to me that we had never actually used the gas ring on the side of our BBQ, so I have been using it to stew fruit and make jam and keep the house cool.

Here are apricots from our tree stewing away at about 8pm one night while the children bopped around in the pool, and I watered the blueberries (of which we have harvested about fifteen blueberries from twelve plants so far. I'm wondering whether it might be better to plant something slightly more prolific?)


I have also dried lots of our apricot harvest, just cutting them in half and popping them in the dryer for about two days (I turn it off at night in case I burn the shed down). There are not many left because they are SO delicious.

While hunting in the classifieds in the local paper for textbooks I found someone selling an entire school uniform in Rosy's size, so snapped it up. The children's school uniforms are unbelievably expensive, so this is brilliant. When the girls started primary school we bought size 6 and 10, so were missing size 8, which Posy has just grown into. We have some dear friends whose daughter is just between Rosy and Posy in size, so last year we lent her Rosy's old school uniform, and this year they have kindly donated her old size 8 uniform to Posy, so that's two girls sorted for school uniform this year. The Girl needs one more dress, as one of her old ones is wearing out, so we are heading to the second hand clothing pool today. It is her last year, so no new dresses for her!

School starts for the girls on three different consecutive days next week (of course!) so today is hemming, ironing, shoe polishing and book covering day. And please don't let me forget to pick up the blazers from the dry cleaners..Oh the joy... Posy has chosen plain brown paper for covering her books, which is brilliant, as I'll be able to recycle the book covers at the end of the year. And it is very cheap! She will be decorating with her enormous stash of stickers. I didn't think the brown paper would protect the book covers, but apparently her best buddy had plain brown paper last year, and her books were fine. Blessings on peer pressure, for once!

From the garden this week we are eating peaches, apricots, rocket, lemons and about three blueberries. I have gratefully received zucchini and cucumbers from other, more productive gardens:) I have planted some green beans.

Lastly, a BIG THANKYOU to Jessie who sent me a dozen up-cycled produce bags (and thanks to Fran for delivering them), so that I can have a plastic free shopping experience at the green grocer's... what an amazingly kind and generous thing to do, especially when you take a peek at her blog and see the enormous amount of work she gets through in her productive garden, whilst surrounded by three tiny... helpers. So cheers Jessie, you are a sweetheart :)



..although now I'm really going to need to experiment with the plastic free rubbish bin, because I've been using produce bags in the bin..

..watch this space..

I do hope that someone is still reading, after I have rudely been gone all this time. So do please tell me, what have you been doing that is green and thrifty this week?








14 comments:

GretchenJoanna said...

Peaches are one of the things that make you know This is Summer, and Life is Good. Eating ripe sweet California peaches has kept me going through several less-than-summery summers, the kind we usually have. I like looking at your picture of them and imagining the summer that will come in just a few months...

e / dig in said...

so no blueberry jam just yet, jo :-) but stewed apricots - i made my own batch last night and froze immediately - ready to brighten a cold winter breakfast. a wonderful reminder of summer.

it registered 40 degrees in my suburb down here this week... too hot, too hot.
enjoying as always your thrifty posts!

Heather said...

Your peaches look absolutely perfect! I am so jealous. I cannot wait until I can have a nice ripe peach -in about 5-6 months :(

Lynda D said...

Still here waiting patiently for post. I think many of us have taken a hiatus over the summer. Either too busy or just plain zonked out by heat. Im the same with my blueberry. Ive only had a couple and the birds have had the rest. My dog ate my only two pears by jumping up and nabbing them off. First time no school for me this year but i would rather he be there and finish but thats not going to happen.

It would be divine to have my own peach tree.

rabidlittlehippy said...

So glad you like the bags. And Fran is a doll for delivering them. Saved me postage. ;) By the way, they're a mere second or 2 to whip up. Cut a very long rectangle, fold up and overlock the edges, overlock around the neck/opening. Voila. Or if you don't have an overlocker, straight stitch and zig-zag to prevent fraying along the sides and a double roll hem at the top. :)
As for your rubbish bin, line it with newspaper perhaps? On the other hand, what is the law regarding rubbish in the wheelie bin. Does it HAVE to be in a bag? Most of what should go in a rubbish bin is things like cheese wrappers or other non-recyclable packaging and it doesn't leave your bin very messy. Mind you, we use bin liners and have a bin of smelly messy liner-requiring rubbish so who am I to talk. ;)
I lost all 5 of my new blueberry bushes in November/December. The topsy turvy weather convinced them it was Autumn and they actually had their leaves turn red. Then when summer actualy arrived, followed by arctic ice then more heat, well they upped clogs and died. :(
Green and frugal here has been planting mango seeds, making plum roll ups from gifted organic plums (on the stove now), making cheese (first taste today :D) and I cleaned out the chook/goat shed and used the mucky straw to start off a new winter crop garden bed. Nothing much harvested from the garden but we have our first pumpkin growing (you'd like it as it's a compact pumpkin), harvested our first zucchini and I'm growing citrus and apples from pips for grafting too. I hope it works. :)

lucindasans said...

Yay! You're back! Hoped you were just busy with kids, worried you had abandoned on-line/not-RL friends, anxious lest you were ill (and didn't want to be invasive, as not a "real" friend but was about to email and see if you were awake). Missed you. You keep me real & challenge my plasticky, consumerist, frivolous, non-gardening life. And I miss your commenters, like rabid (what a great name) and e-dig.

BBQ time here too. First week of work we have been swimming, BBQing and trying to emotionally extend our holidays. Sob! No babies here anymore. My boys are all finished with school. And I am timing this milestone with the need to get glasses. Yikes!

You sound like you have had wonderful summer. But maybe all the water for 15 blueberries is not green and frugal (do they actually charge you for water in Tassie?) And do tell, what have you been reading?

Siwzy Wysome said...

Hi Jo, Good to see you back, I am also back after a long laptop hiccup! Lovely to hear about the lovely weather and summer you are having, cheers up our gloomy UK days. I have a couple of blueberry trees, both excellent fruiter's, always bundles of fruit on them, but they always disappear from being almost ripe to eating them, A cheeky blackbird seems to think his summer home is the blueberry pot, did think of netting them last year, but couldn't be that cruel to the blackbird. This year it will be a game of wits, maybe I can pick them just before they are ready and finish ripening them indoors, we'll see. Anyway good to see you are back. Siwzy

Jen's Busy Days said...

My two different breeds of strawberry patches are much like your blueberries. Not an abundant crop but a very lovely reward for weeding in the cool of the morning and late evening. I figure they are my payment. It is great to have 2 different breeds that fruit in different parts of summer. A nice long season of sweetness!

I can't grow stone fruit here but I am hoping the half dozen mangos that are hanging right next to the fence, so out of reach of bats, will be another reward from my backyard soon.

Missed you, busy myself with kids and heat but glad to see you back. I am thinking about not lining my kitchen bin at all. I really need a larger recycling one and a small rubbish one as well as the chook/compost bin. Only one of the three is usually lined and I feel like rebelling. Why not just a few squares of newspaper in the bottom and then tip the whole lot in the bin? Is there a rule somewhere that we must use plastic liners?

Anyway, nice to see you back,
Jen in NSW

Katie said...

I ask myself the same questions everyday! We live and hour from the nearest beach too. And, your summer days sound just like mine, except here in Pennsylvania, USA it is freezing cold and we have snow on the ground ( I am jealous!)
Peaches sound heavenly right now, alas our peach season is in July.
Katie

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Hi, Jo, so good to hear from you! I see snow when I look out my window, so it's a treat to read about summer and peaches dripping juice on the keyboard. We have about ten blueberry bushes that we hope will be mature enough this summer to produce. I'll let you know. Enjoy the rest of your holiday. Happy back to school!

xofrances

Judy said...

I just read your post with my youngest daughter, who was amazed that it is summer for you and have a pool! She loves that your daughters are Rosy and Posy and wants to know what the Girl is called too? Is she Cosy or Dosy? Also glad that she is not the only younger sister who gets hand-me-down school uniform ;)

We have 2 blueberrry plants, which are about knee high, one is in a pot and one in the front garden, and we get 2 or 3 handfuls of blueberries from each every year. They do like acidic soil apparently? I have planted a dwarf apricot tree and I do hope it survives and fruits. It is a bit ambitious for our climate, as would be peaches and lemons - I'm so jealous!

Does staying at home and looking at the rain count as thrifty? I did buy a microfibre mop for my floor, so no more chemical cleaners will be required for mopping in future. It is great for wet doggy footprints!

Jo said...

Hello lovelies, it is so good to hear from you all again:)
Gretchen Joanna, yes, summer luxury is peaches from the front yard!
e, you having even stranger weather down south, hope your garden survives.
Heather, I feel the same in our winter reading about your summer. Your time will come!
Lynda, I admit to having a very lazy summer! My peach tree is a dwarf variety, only two feet high. It gives us about two dozen peaches, just enough for a summer treat.
Jessie, I will be experimenting with the garbage soon (such fun we have here..). So sorry about your blueberries. They need MASSES of water, and are a forest verge plant, so always have a bit of shade in the wild. I give mine extra drinks if the day will be hot. And THANKYOU for the bags, will be decreasing that plastic load even more now..
Lucinda, it's nice to have been missed, and you are all real friends:) I promise to post you chicken soup if you are ever ill.
Siwzy, good luck with those blueberries next year. Wretched black birds love to trash my garden..
Jen, let me know how your rubbish experiment goes. Rosy the Mango Fan officially jealous!
Katie, enjoy looking forward to those peaches.. meanwhile, I hope you have fun playing in the snow. If only we could have peaches AND snow. It is very hot today, and we would all appreciate a little patch of snow to play in.
Frances, our blueberries have taken forever to bear, and don't seem real enthusiastic now either.. hope yours do better..
Judy, isn't the internet educational! I had lots of fun choosing my girls' noms de plume.. I used to call The Girl The Domestic Goddess, but she objected. I don't like to publish their real names, because I am a teeny bit paranoid about the internet. But here is a guessing game. The girls' names start with M,E and I..

Bek said...

Great to see you back. I too have no idea where January went!
I totally agree, a breakfast peach is a wonderful thing - especially with some raspberries and yoghurt!
Loving the use of the bbq for stewing! I think its madness that the preserving always needs to be done in summer, when it is hot enough inside and no-one in their right mind wants to cook anything, thus adding to the heat. You have circumvented this nicely.
My green and thrifty has been making jam from foraged blackberries.

Jo said...

Mmm, blackberries. I really want to scope out some blackberries for foraging. They are nearly ripe here in Tas. And yes, I eat my peach with yoghurt on the side, but have no raspberries, sadly :(

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