bagged

Day 5 of 365 less things may be a bit of cheat really, as I have more than I discarded or re-purposed.

I won a door prize at the local sustainability fair, which enabled me to spend up to $75 at the EcoShop at Environment House. I spent a little over, by exchanging my voucher for a small bar of handmade soap, environmental toothbrushes, Mokosh Face Cleansing Powder, and a six-pack of ecosilk bags.

decluttered_recycling_bagsThe ecosilk bags were to replace the store bought bags which I binned or re–purposed. The store bought bags are made of some sort of synthetic material which either becomes soft or brittle when washed a few times. Because of this, the stitching tears around the bottom of the bag, handles, and the little loop that goes over the peg at the store to retain the bag.

I kept two old recycled bags to use in the garden, although one may have to be binned as the holes in the bottom have torn even further with just a few rose prunings.

The ecosilk bags are heaps better than the shop bought recycled bags. Apart from being bright and attractive, they appear to hook over the stand for the shop assistants more easily.

containers and lids

On day 4 of 365 less things I was determined to clear out the empty food storage container cupboard of any broken and or unpaired lids and containers.decluttered_containers

There was not as much plastic container clutter to discard as I thought. A few take-away containers without lids or containers, some lids that I thought to keep in case any of the others broke, and some ‘saved’ empty water bottle containers. However, these have now been put in the rubbish bin or recycling bin. It is still a mystery to me why lids which are obviously the same plastic material as the container do not have the recycling symbol on them, so I cannot put them in the recycling bin.

I still haven’t found the lid to the burger press and freezer keeper set. But this is still useful by using one of the burger containers as a lid. It may still turn up, as I haven’t turned out all the cupboards, to match up the containers and lids.

Having emptied the cupboard, I sorted containers that have a specific purpose and the pyrex containers into the original cupboard, and put the plastic containers onto a shelf in another cupboard. This shelf had been bare for a while, I think because I collected up all the attachments to the food processor we were no longer using and put them in a less accessible cupboard. Although I don’t use all the attachments for kitchen gadgets, I tend to keep them with the appliance. But I’m always questioning whether to discard the ones I don’t use, or simply store them elsewhere like I have done.

How I have arranged the two empty food storage container cupboards may not work, as I have some containers  in-use in the fridge, freezer, and pantry. But will adapt as we go, knowing that the containers are complete with lids.

going for five

Today was the fourth day in a row that I have rode my bike to and from work. Eight kilometres there and eight kilometres back.

Tomorrow, I’ll be riding to work, then to a film, and then home.

Admittedly, the Somerville is only ten minutes ride from my current Friday job. But if I ride home from the film, then I will have rode my bike for a whole week. Go me!

virtual decluttering

This week I decluttered my desk of the computer that was running Windows. It had had a good innings, as it has been useful for over ten years. I had started to use it less and less as we now run the couple applications that need the Windows operating system in VirtualBox on H’s Linux computer. Also, the battery was a little tired so it took a few presses of the on switch to get it up and running.

There was no sadness moving on this beige box, unlike decommissioning my SPARCstation 2. I shed tears over that. So much so, that I have not been able to finish this blog post until now.

H went to a lot of trouble to choose a new box  that had a super quiet power supply and fan. And I must admit, there was no comparison between my new Linux computer and the SPARCstation. The SPARCstation sounded like a plane taking off in comparison. But I do miss my WYSIWYG FrameMaker application. So far, the combination of the SPARCstation, SPARCprinter and FrameMaker is the only setup that has been truly WYSIWYG.

The SPARCstation and peripherals joined the other stuff in the bin on Resource Recovery Day April 2008.

Ending on a positive note, decommissioning the Windows computer means that I have successfully decluttered another item for the The De-clutter ’52 Things in 52 weeks’ Challenge organised by The Organised Housewife.

in the ground

The mango pip that I sprouted almost three years ago to the day, is now planted in the ground. It is under an established pomegranate tree, which I hope will protect the tree until it is more established. I will then cut back the pomegranate tree.

Just prior to the tree going in the ground, it did flower but it was not followed up by fruit as we had about three very hot days and the flowers were scorched. Also, many of the bottom leaves have dropped off either due to the stress of planting or the hot summer weather.

I’m happy that it has found its feet (or roots), as there is new growth from the top and it is groiwng upright. Also, it is happily sharing the irrigation with some catmint and a feral pumpkin, zucchini, or cucumber. Not sure how to tell these apart until you see the fruit.

back in the saddle

I haven’t rode my bike for a couple of weeks for various reasons; holidays and hot days being the main ones.

H has adjusted my saddle tonight and I have had a test ride. Hopefully, we have got it right now. I have been experiencing a sore neck and shoulders after riding my bike, enough to worry about it and nearly get to a physiotherapist. Except, that if I don’t ride my bike and do a few stretching exercises it comes right after about a week.

Tomorrow I will be riding to work, then meeting up with H and a friend at the Somerville for this week’s Festival FilmIn a Better World, then riding home.

It is going to be cooler tomorrow, only 25 deg C, so the ride in the morning and evening will be pleasant temperature wise. We should zoom home as the winds are forcast to be a moderate South/South West.

decluttering and letting go

The De-clutter 52 Things in 52 weeks Challenge

I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder, but I definitely have ‘stuff’ that is not loved or used – too much in fact! Well, not according to some people I know, but it is a personal decision and I consider what I have is far more than I want.

I have been flying on and off since April 2008. Looking at all my stuff, you would probably say ‘off’. But while I know I may not have ‘put away’, ‘give away’, or ‘throw away’ as much as I would have liked, I know that I have not recently brought into my home anything, and resisted most strongly when other people want to give me their stuff.

This Christmas New Year period I had two weeks holiday and decided the main task that I wanted to do was to begin to declutter. Note, the word ‘begin’, because even I know that realistically I could not declutter over two weeks.

I started by gathering together the pile of diaries and calendars (1999, 2005-2010) and spent a week going through them all and noting in a personal journal and 2011 desk diary any achievements and experiences where I could improve. This not only decluttered the physical diaries, but decluttered my mind.

I plan to follow FlyLady’s How to Declutter, i.e. set a timer for 15 minutes and ‘put away’, ‘throw away’, or ‘give away’ during that time. Also, I picked up a copy of Corinne Grant’s Lessons in Letting Go before the holidays which gave me some perspective to the task that I was about to begin.

During decluttering I came across The Organised Housewife with a number of posts related to organising and decluttering. The “The De-clutter ’52 Things in 52 weeks’ Challenge” is appealing because the number 52 makes decluttering my home sound so easy. Fifty two weeks in a year, one declutter a week, I can do that!

NIMBY

Yes, I have a supply of clean fresh water. However, water is becoming more scarce and is limited so I don’t feel I can wholly claim “Not In My Back Yard”.

Currently, I rely on a state government authority to deliver clean fresh water. Water is plentiful for drinking, bathing, flushing toilets, washing clothes, etc. However, I can only water my garden once per week with automatic sprinklers and supplement this with hand-watering using a hose pipe.

It is only the middle of October, but already the garden is suffering from subsequent dry warm days. I’m not sure whether watering with a hose pipe is going to be enough for the garden during the hot summer days. It is going to be difficult to prioritise my time to spend an hour every day to water different parts of the garden.

What I feel is really crazy, to me anyway, is that people can top up their swimming pools, but I can’t leave the hose pipe running on a fruit tree or turn on the automatic sprinklers. I guess if my lime tree dies, I can always go to the shop and buy a lime. But I would prefer not to buy the wax coated limes that have travelled thousands of kilometres.

If I could hear lots of splashing from people enjoying their swimming pools, then I may feel differently about it. Sadly, I think most of them are simply contemplation pools that require lots of top ups with water, chemicals, and power for the pumps.

I recognise that I have choices, some of them lifestyle choices. Unlike some parts of the world where the walk to a supply of clean fresh water is a long one. I don’t have to grow my own food, as there are many fresh food choices in shops very close to my home. And it is sheer joy to be able to pluck the ingredients from my own garden to create our meals.

A greywater reuse system seems the way to go. However, most systems are not suited to a small metropolitan block or the guidelines preclude any real advantage such that I feel that I am paying for an expensive hobby rather than working toward an environmental sustainable living. But I guess everyone has to have a hobby.

dolphin encounter

Although we had watched the dolphins from our balcony at the resort, and at other times in the water when they were fishing amongst the sea grass, we went to see them one morning on cue.

The dolphins at Monkey Mia swim up and down the beach, but some come in to the shore at a regular time to be fed by DEC staff.

The recent close encounter with the Monkey Mia dolphins heightened my sensitivity to reading about the wildlife in the area of the West Atlas oil rig spill.

“There were times when we were literally in a sea of oil from left to right and as far as we could see ahead of us – it was heavily oiled water and it was sickening because in this we were seeing dolphins surfacing,” — Dr Gilly Llewellyn, Conservation Manager, WWF-Australia on ABC Online.

The oil spill is 200 kilometres off the Kimberley coast. Would more people stand up and take notice if the oil slick came into the shore?

Lining up to view the dolphins.

Lining up to view the dolphins.

from the air

A real treat was to take a 30 minute air charter with Margaret of Shark Bay Air over Denham and Francois Peron National Park.

Denham has a wind farm, so I had to have a picture of that. Interestingly, the resort at Monkey Mia does not get power from this, but from a huge noisy generator that also runs the desalination plant.

Denham townsite and wind farm.

The contrast of the red dirt and cliffs with the blue of the sea and lagoons is breathtaking.

The gypsum claypans or birridas were once land-locked saline lakes. There are a lot of them and quite intriguing. Some look like scars on the landscape, and others look very regularly shaped as if they were carefully planned and built.

Birrida, Francois Peron National Park, Western Australia.

Little Lagoon and Big Lagoon are two flooded birridas. Again, the contrast of the colours was amazing, white, aqua, and red.

Big Lagoon, Francois Peron National Park, Western Australia.

We didn’t spot any wildlife, but they would have to be pretty big to be able to spot from the plane anyway.

Thirty minutes is not a long time in the air, and we were soon on the way back to the airport over the historic Peron Homestead.