There was a beautiful little Plastic Free July workshop that I sort of planned on attending today about getting rid of single use plastics in your home (think cling wrap) but didn’t in favour of spending some one on one time with my littlest at the markets this morning and then, going to vote with the family at lunch time and having a little play after 🙂
After a challenging evening with this same little girl teething and not being able to sleep until 9pm (eek!) I found my mind returning to this and really wondering if I could do a bit better than I have been. Well, it couldn’t be easier really… start with a really low benchmark and the improvement can be really impressive!
I totally put bread ingredients into the bread machine tonight, plus a snack … then my mind wandered back to Plastic Free July. Persistent thoughts. I credit my mate Michele (the one with the pet homing pigeon Wally) for two years of updates on her progress going totally plastic free… I recall that she was really disappointed that postage stamps come with a freaking plastic backing!Some things do require structural change.
I’ve decided I’m going to have a bash at making these.
I already have bees wax and lovely little pieces of fabric for jam covers. I’ll bum some resin off a local with access to acacias and conifers… or even marri would be great. Perhaps marri would be the best because it is antibacterial and anti viral! Probably it might rival manuka honey from New Zealand.
We can avoid buying plastic to make these 😉 Sweet! I might even sew a button and barter one or two away. Can’t wait to rock up to playgroup with the kids snacks wrapped in these lol… awesome!
If you’d like to make a public commitment… The website is http://www.plasticfreejuly.org and happily they have options for either all plastic (eek!) or only the top 4. You could possibly do all plastic but we typically buy meat wrapped in cling film, so I decided it would be a bit hard to really try to avoid that.
The top four are straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags & coffee cup lids. This is an easy one 🙂
We just recently spent a delightful rainy Sunday afternoon in the garden, drinking wine and roasting potatoes in ‘Ned Kelly’… the old school fire pit at Barb’s. There may also have been chocolate <ahem…>
In the video below Barb takes us through the old way of making your own twine or cordage. This technique can be applied to almost any fiber that you have available…. and it really is very easy.
You could totally make one of these
Or even, for the hardcore babywearer…
(As a side note, there are heaps of babywearing groups in your local area, check on Facebook and attend a meeting to get trained in safety and borrow wraps and buckles to see which style you prefer)
In the case of agave, it is an excellent choice for finger rolling cordage because it grows well in this climate with zero inputs and can be easily harvested by slicing off a rather tall leaf and boiling for an hour or more.
After this, it just needs pounding to remove the juices and leave the fiber… then finger rolling.
This is using two sets of fibers, twisting both independently, then twisting the two together. The knack would seem to be in remembering to twist the sets of fibers one way but then the two together must be in the opposite direction. …good thing that there is a video lol…
I made some whipped moisturiser to help my little girl with some troubled skin… she loves learning how to wash the dishes but the detergent is not great for her skin. Of course, it’s great for mine as I’m not the one washing the dishes! (just kidding, I totally try to help her)
1/2 cup shea butter
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1/2 Cup apricot oil
30 drops of your choice of essential oil
Measure (glass or metal instruments help as you can melt the oils off later), melt in a double burner (as you do for chocolate), chill briefly, whip with hand held or electric beaters.
To easily dispense, put in sandwich bag, seal, push down to one corner and cut that corner off… pipe in.
I had some nice small glass containers to hand and knew that I was making more than I needed… so the desire to barter was born.
Of course, I’d been lurking around the wonderful world of Facebook to see how bartering worked for a while. I took as nice a photo as I could manage, saving myself the trouble of writing the essential oils down so I wouldn’t forget their names… by including them in the photo below.
The fancy black background is our stove 😉
To date, just for two of my spares, I’ve received a nice pink frangipani cutting, a lot of citrus fruit and a killer sense of getting a bargain. Like that special sense that superheroes use when they are needed… like that… except for a bargain!
I’m still waiting on my homemade slice and the pasta sauce… for another two jars… one lady had a sick little baby so delayed somewhat and another lady wanted to catch up soon. So I’m assuming that will go ahead.
In terms of cost, it wasn’t that cheap an exercise… the little containers were $1.10 each, with perhaps 12 drops of essential oils in each. (see this table for costs if you’re setting yourself up to do the same)
However 2/3rds of the oils were a result of a barter which I consider a total bargain (my usual sweet potatoes with a half dozen eggs). And I’ve got heaps left… plus wax as well.
So I think I’ll do this one again… when the creative urge rises 🙂
By the way, for those that are interested in those blasted sweet potatoes (just kidding, I love them a little too much), I managed to sell a few. It’s late in the season as I’ve given away a number of full bags of them, plus armfuls to any local neighbourhood kid who is interested enough to have a dig when I’m doing the same. In time, some of these kids might do all the work for me… wouldn’t that be awesome? I tell them we’re hunting for treasure. What’s your retirement plan? 😉
We’ve been lucky enough to get gifted some Who Gives a Crap toilet paper.
I’m happy to report that it seems very lovely to me… although I have to admit to being something of a hard arse. So to speak…
Give it a go!
They do bamboo as well as chemical free conventional stuff… a significant proportion goes towards helping build toilets in the developing world and they even do gift vouchers, for the people who hate giving useless crap. Sorry about the language 😉
A lovely shout out to Kath and Barb (and Barb’s mate who helped her obtain some)… leaders in our community.
I’m doing something different. This is a whole new category to my normal kinds of weird behaviour (like chatting to strangers about the merits of humanure composting as though it was necessary for the survival of our society) and I begin to feel that it is the solution to the consumer madness that eats everything and steals our joy. It’s pretty funny that I’ve finally figured it out, and it might not be obvious to you that you are over-stimulated either. A deep breath is needed and a pause. A long pause. Being patient with yourself and not launching into the ‘next thing’. Taking the time to not even smell the roses… simply to ‘be’.
It builds the capacity for joy. This kind of joy, where you can be present and chock-a-block full of happiness for the cuddle you’re both giving and receiving.
Each morning, instead of doing something like looking at a screen or loading up on caffeine… or even doing something exciting like going outside and gardening vigorously and getting some long awaited job done 🙂 … I just sit down in the front lounge and chill with a cup of tea.
The wonderful thing is that the rest of the family come to find me and I am available to make eye contact (after a few minutes lol).
Usually the half Burmese cat Sir Patch Paddington is sleeping on the same long couch and is able to sleepily smile at the children too. He smiles and lets our little girl stroke him gently. He runs away very fast when she approaches with anything in her little chubby hands.
These things can be understood from a spiritual perspective but we are spirtual beings living in biological bodies… both true and valid … your biochemistry can change your spirit and vice-versa.
I’ve been reading social media and blogging articles and the one thing that I find I observe in the authors… almost without fail… are the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. In a world of technological slave equivalents like washing machines… we are harried and frantic because we spend our time doing what? Work, childcare, exercise, and screens. Books by contrast are soothing 🙂 Different kettle of fish.
So stop reading this blog, now and maybe forever. I have a few other things I could say but I can say them another day. If you don’t read them I won’t know. Go out on this windy and blustery day and start some seeds. Or not. Just sit there. Don’t feel compelled to do a single thing. Motivation grows and it doesn’t need industrial agriculture neither 😉
Barbara is one of the lucky ones, those who can get lost in the moment as they produce something amazing. We see each other all the time, but it was a special pleasure to be able to play with dangerous adult toys… breaking glass and melting metal 😉 No kids today! woot!
She has been working with glass and mixed media for several years now and has more recently turned it into her livelihood. Since glass is infinitely recyclable and a home studio allows her to keep fairly close to her family and garden… in my book this is a ‘right livelihood’ 🙂
We often find that our lives move in strange parallels with our growing boys (who love playing together most of all). And of course, we both have an interest in the environmental and permaculture… one of us has a smaller footprint than the other <cough!>. I console myself that only a very few manage to tread as lightly as Barb.
On a whim, we got stuck into filming an introduction to stained glass, which I’ll post up on my Youtube Channel soon. We started with coffee and chocolate with almonds… then migrated out to the well lit and very pleasant shed… filled with the scent of salvaged marri and other natives, caving ropes, a globe of planet Earth and small pieces of art.
She begins with finding the best section of glass, drawing an outline, tracing then cutting the glass…
…grinding to make a nicely matching shape to the other pieces of glass.
Copper adhesive is applied, beginning on the inner edges and joined with dabs of molten solder (tucked).
To finish, the edges are all given a silver finish.
I come away with the impression that anyone could do this work. This is her quiet encouragement working away to bolster my confidence to try it next time. Of course, it might help to beg a one on one course off Barb 😉
There is something to be said for plants that are easy to grow, easy to propagate and tasty. Pumpkins check all the boxes! They are often the accidental seedling out of the worm farm. They don’t mind fairly ‘raw’ manure in a big circle around them and will grow prolifically if you give them half a chance. I like my odds… and my deliberate focus as a mum is tasty produce!
Milkwood is one of my favourite blogs to read, here is a link to their pumpkin blog post for your enjoyment….
In our back yard at the moment, pumpkins are one of the few veggies left actively growing in the raised beds… because the chooks have been ‘playing’ … if you know what I mean 😉 (This is while we’re doing some reorganising and will to an end soon with prime vegetable growing time now in Western Australia.) I’m so happy to have pumpkins there and rocketing along… I’m a fan… preferably my husband’s pumpkin flan… but even just steamed and with a bit of white sauce… can’t go wrong 🙂
Nutritionally, the seeds are real powerhouses, high in zinc and magnesium they are a panacea for ‘western’ diseases. More on that another day… meanwhile… nom nom nom!
The joy of giving away some produce fresh from the garden last night was just awesome. Cate came around for a quick visit and left with sweet potato (who doesn’t?!), about eight lemonade lemons and one of the few Buddha’s Hand citrons. These are like most citrus fruits but don’t have any flesh, instead, they are all pith and zest.
Buddha’s Hands are native to both China (called Fo Shou) and parts of India, both styles of traditional medicine highly regard it for its medicinal properties.
They are amazing, seriously amazing, candied with sugar syrup… giving a freshly fragant sweet high in pectin and with some residual Vitamin C. Or perhaps stewed with sugar into marmalade or a sweet syrup. You can have them raw, finely sliced into a salad or with a smoothie for a hit of good quality Vitamin C with cofactors. You can even knock up a non-alcoholic cocktail (to treat your persistent cough! lol… if you need that excuse…)
As an anti-inflammatory, decongestant it helps relieve pain and reduce cholesterol… and the perfume is just perfect 😉
It is very tolerant of hot and dry conditions, although yields will decrease with the harsher conditions. Some seasons have given some scale, easily controlled organically. Kept pruned, it will happily stay under two metres and produce several fruit in the first season. Get one!