Saturday, 8 October 2011

The Greenest thing to do...

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what is the single best thing pretty much anyone can do in order to green up their lives... Switching to 100% renewable power through your electricity provider, or investing in solar panels on the roof are great options, but they’re not the sort of things just anyone can do as they can be costly and, in the case of people who rent, simply not an option.  

The other day, I came across this article, which is all about the call for imported veggies as the general public, channeling various popular cooking shows (the obvious one being one which I do not wish to plug here) and wanting out of season ingredients.  This is where growing your own veggies teaches you more than just growing your own - it also teaches you when certain things are in season, what's difficult to grow in your region.  For example, I know that tomatoes are easy to grow in my climate zone (subtropical) in winter.  Sure, they're a little slower than in summer, but they don't succumb to wilt and they don't fall prey to fruit flies, which I happen to find most disgusting.  So, either they travel a long way to get here in summer or, if grown locally, they are grown using loads of systemic pesticides to keep fruit flies away.  Or both.  But they grow easily during late autumn, all winter and spring... 

I'm not saying I'm perfect - I'm far from it - but substituting fresh produce is something I've started doing a lot of and I'm keen to get better at.  Obviously, as a family, we are adjusting our diet seasonally, so that we only eat in season produce, especially the home grown stuff...

Anyway, plenty of food for thought.  And now, for some photos for your viewing pleasure :-)

It's Sunday tomorrow.  I love Sundays.  I took this photo the other week and I'm actually rather proud of it.  It turned out to be an advertisement for Brisbane's most popular newspaper (which is more of a tabloid, really, and mostly full of rubbish), but thankfully, I was occupied with other things before 'mail' was added to the end of this.  Blissfully unaware, I was.

This is what our lime tree was like when we first moved in.  It took two years of bucket watering (due to severe severe water restrictions at the time), manure, mulching etc. before I got any fruit from this tree.  It was hard work, I'm telling you.

Look at her now!  All my hard work was well worth it as we now harvest dozens of kilos of limes annually.  In fact, probably well over a hundred kilos.  I'm not complaining, though - as if!

This is Harry.  Her name was, once upon a time, Carrie, but Miss A calls her Harry.  So Harry it is.  Harry lays big, beautiful eggs for us :-)

Here's Boots.  She's a bit special, and lays groovy, little, dark brown eggs for us.  She is loved up hard core around here.

Apparently this will become a fairy garden in the near future.  I'll keep you updated on this one.  I hope fairies like herbs.

This guy is supposed to keep the local fauna away from the chicken enclosure.  He does a shitty job of it.  

Coriander, basil, silverbeet and rainbow chard (the latter two are virtually the same thing).

Bronze orange bugs.  I detest these little buggers and regularly take to them with an old vacuum cleaner, then tape the pipe shut.  It's excellent anger management.

We're having asparagus with almost every meal at the moment.  Fortunately, it hasn't gotten old yet.  I'm not a fan of asparagus nappies, though - trust me.

We're starting to run a little low on limes, but there's still plenty enough for a couple of stubbies of Corona here and there :-)

I'm hopeless at growing leek.  They need to be blanched and I've been completely negligent in that department.  Whoops!

These have been on the line for three frigging days!  They were almost dry yesterday afternoon, so I left them out, thinking they'd be dry by mid morning today.  Sure enough, we were woken by a thunderstorm this morning.  Ah well...

I hope these delicious fingers ripen before bananas get cheap again.  I'm not holding my breath - they're predicted to be back to $2/kg by Christmas and these will probably be ready around the same time.  We only finished eating the last bunch a couple of weeks back and I made sure every last one was used.  Lots of banana smoothies, banana bread, banana cupcakes and, well.. bananas... were consumed!  We were very fortunate to have them during a time where bananas were ridiculously expensive.

I'm letting my dwarf mango tree fruit this year.  Let's see if it's skinny little branches are up to the task.

I'm not holding my breath with these low chill peaches.  They were dead set full of fruit fly larvae last year and it was most revolting.  Last year was a terrible year for fruit flies (lots of rain), but I'm going to net them this year.  Have ordered some on Ebay as our local Bunnings didn't have any.  They had frost blanket, though.  That's right, frost blanket.  In the subtropics.  But no fruit fly netting.

This olive tree is a local variety and is supposed to fruit in the next couple of years.  It's approximately 3 - 5 metres tall.  I love it.

Blueberries.  Mmm.

 The anti-gardeners.

The Chilton.

The composting area.  The pile of rubbish in the foreground, is spent pea plants which I'm leaving for a week or two, to dry so as to add more carbon (read: brown matter) to the compost.  It also gives the lady bugs, in which they are covered, a chance to go elsewhere.

Look at this hard working little guy.  I'd love a hive, but I think I'll be pushing it a bit far in suburbia, perhaps?

It's late.  G'night.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Let's see if I can do this...

Alright, so I've never really done this blogging thing, apart from a momentary online diary when I was about 17.  Oh it was lame, I'm telling you.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this blog will end up with its only follower being my mum, but in the event that I do end up with others having the occasional glance, here's a bit about me....

So I'm 30 and I live in sunny Brisbane in Australia, have a 3.5 year old daughter and an 8 month old son.  I'm not a believer in marriage but I'm married to a really nice dude who happens to be my best friend (most of the time, that is!).  I live on a small suburban block (609m² or 664 yards) with the family, not far from the city and we're greenies.  Modern greenies.  We respect the earth and we try to do our bit for the planet.  We like a nice, modern house with some mod cons (I wouldn't be blogging without one of those, would I?) but we try to tread lightly...

In terms of frugality (this blog is after all, also about being frugal), I stopped working at the end of June 2010. As this means that we now live on one income, there have been some major adjustments to the way we live and how we spend money over the past year and a bit.  A lot of it has been trial and error, and some things have required an initial investment for a longer term saving... but I'm hoping it's all worth it in the end.  The great thing about being frugal, is that it usually serves two purposes - being nice to your hip pocket as well as being nice to mother earth at the same time.

Alright, so let's see how this bloggy business goes for me, shall we?