Archive | July, 2013

Doing the Sustainability in the Chaos

26 Jul

With a large contract to work on, blogging has taken a back seat over the past few weeks. It’s also been school holidays, and the entire family came down with the cold and spew bugs in the same week. Messy.

What is interesting is how all the little sustainability projects I’ve been experimenting with have helped me get through the busy times.

The apple cider vinegar drinks helped clear our noses.

The seeds on the mantelpiece and in the cold frame have been germinating well, left to their own devices and squirts of water – giving me a little thrill to look at every time I walked past them on the porch.

Aloe vera masks with a drop of lavender oil helped my stressed skin.

My hand scrub (plus I used it on my feet) was a lovely pamper treat tonight at the end of a very crazy (but successful) work week.

It took no time at all the clean the bath and microwave, and do a quick dusting session with my sustainable solutions. These were chores I had very little time to do.

Homemade greek yoghurt with a teaspoon of homemade lemon curd stirred through has become my fast, easy and deliciously tangy breakfast.

These busy times are when I thought I’d drop the ball on being a Sustainable Wench, but I’m happy to realise that I’ve set some positive habits for myself.  Didn’t stop me from spending the money and treating ourselves to fish and chips tonight however.

Seeds go Postal

9 Jul

A bit of a thrill today when seeds arrived via courier. The reasons I ordered them online were:

  • I was getting cross at the lack of herbs my local garden shop supplied (they’re great with veges and flowers though). Three times I went there looking for German Chamomile, with no luck for seeds or seedlings.
  • Getting things in the mail that aren’t bills is exciting.
  • It’s inexpensive.

It’s good to know there is no excuse for not planting your favourite herbs. It’s also a lovely winter thing to do so you can get some of the spring planting planned.

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The Green Grocer

8 Jul

Shopping Day. Not the supermarket chore it used to be. Now it involves buying up bulk at the peaceful bulk food shop, then popping next door to the family-owned green grocer. The great thing about the green grocer, is that I know their eggs come from happy chickens near Mt Somers in Canterbury. They also give away big bags of fruit and vege scraps – ideal for chickens or to boost your compost. You get to chat about the state of the nation and the weather for free too.

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Winter Cuttings

7 Jul

I took some cuttings tonight from Teucrium which I snaffled from a friends garden. This is such an easy way to get free plants. It’s the kind of thing I do without planning – you don’t need to know where you’ll put the plants when they’re big, otherwise you’ll never get round to doing it. The more you try, the more likely you are to have success. Plus it only takes 10 minutes. Teucrium is a really easy one to practise on in your kitchen. I also use this technique with great success on hydrangeas, lavenders, rosemary and lonicera.

  • Put some propagation mix in a container (I use seed-raising mix because I am lazy), and dampen.
  • Cut just below a nodule. This is the bit that goes into the soil. Depending on how long your original stem is, you may be able to get more than one cutting from each stem. My cuttings vary from 5-10cm in length.
  • Cut the soft wobbly top of the stem, and gently pull off the lower leaves.
  • With the secateurs, make a little wound at the base of the cutting. Dip this bit in rooting hormone or manuka honey and stick into the soil.
  • Put in a spot where the temperature is constant and mild. Keep the soil moist, or they die, which happens to me quite a bit.
  • Check out Yates for more cuttings info.

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Reducing the Cleaning Bottles – Carpet Splotches

4 Jul

I spot cleaned my lounge carpet this morning. Squished raisins and bits of jam had taken their toll. For my own peace and sanity, we are not a family where the children eat at the dining table for every meal. Occasionally* they are not perfect, and spillage occurs.

To clean the mucky bits, I used:

  • A little water poured onto the spot.
  • A lemon duster to gently rub the spot.
  • Extra white vinegar from the spray bottle for the tricky spots.
  • A towel to soak up any excess moisture after cleaning.
  • Coffee to (carefully) drink afterwards while nodding appreciatively at the clear carpet.

It worked extremely well – although the proof will be in a couple of weeks, whether the mucky patches come back (this happens if you don’t clean the carpet right through the fibres to the base). There will be future stains like red wine and chicken poo that may not come out so easily. Always interesting to have new challenges.

‘Carpet Spot Cleaner’ is now another cleaner I don’t have to fork out for. Gradually I’m reducing my cleaning cupboard supplies. I hope to just end up with lemon dusters, baking soda, vinegar and bleach. It’s remarkable how much money we spend on cleaning products which are unnecessary.

*quite often

Seedy

2 Jul

More seed planting tonight while the oven heated up for lazy bread. The reasons for this were:

  • So I don’t have to splash out a small fortune on seedlings in the spring
  • To supplement my (so far very lazy) chickens’ feed
  • To provide me with something to trade with over the coming months (esp. for lemons)

I chucked seed raising mix into 3 punnets and planted more basil, silverbeet, and bok choy. These three punnets get the sunny spot on the lounge windowsill. The seedlings that were there go in the cold frame outside, and one of the punnets from the cold frame is now hardening up under the eaves. Bit like musical chairs. One is always left out in the cold.

It helps that all this is done within an eight metre radius. Not too much walking required. Then the bread went into the oven. Whammo. Sustainability Wench-ness achieved, thus cancelling out the takeaways we had for dinner (no actual scientific evidence in this theory).

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