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.


letting go

Shelby cat on the doona having stripped the bedToday is day 3 of 365 less things. But it is not so much about decluttering as letting go.

On Monday 24 June 2013 we euthanased Shelby, our tabby cat of nearly 19 years.

We took Shelby cat to the vet on the previous Saturday, who said we would need a miracle. I don’t believe in miracles, but the fact was we were not ready to say goodbye. The vet had a very busy surgery, and I wasn’t prepared to let him give Shelby the green dream and for us to say goodbye within several minutes. So we took her home, and nursed her over the weekend. I have had her ‘ashes’ on my desk since then, albeit packaged in a nice velvet bag, together with a certificate authenticating they were her ashes only, nice poem or reflection, candle, all enclosed in a brown paper bag covered in black paw prints – until today.

Today we scattered Shelby’s ashes under the Olive McKenzie rose. I watered them in because there was a bit of a breeze blowing.

So it’s done. And the candle has gone with the other candles because you can never have too many candles, paperwork where I put paper until it is ‘sorted’, and the rest to recycling.

Now we are cat less. But it is agreed that this is the status quo – the first time in my life so far.

Although we haven’t had a walking meowing cat since June 2013, I recognise that I had modified my behaviour to accommodate our feline pets. For example, we use one room in the house as a store room and when I go in there I close the door behind me in case ‘one of the cat gets in’. I no longer need to do this, as there are no cats to get in, but it does feel very strange leaving doors open. But I remember when we had any one of our three cats, that because they weren’t allowed in the green room (because the walls are painted green), the cats used to shoot in the room and go under furniture or at the back of book shelves. They would not come out when we called them, and had to literally pull them out from behind the books in the book shelves, or from under furniture.

Anyway, Shelby is no longer on my desk, but scattered under the Olive McKenzie as the roses remind me of her tabby fur.

Daily Prompt: Call Me Ishmael

“In the early and uncommitted hours of a bright summer’s morning, shaded by a prim row of poplars.”

This is the beginning of Fast Ed Halmagyi’s The Food Clock. Today’s Daily Prompt says: “Take the first sentence from your favorite book and make it the first sentence of your post.”

You might think this is a strange sentence to begin a cook book, and you’re probably right. But it is a wonderful start to the accompanying novella that is interspersed throughout the book.

I read a lot, and my tastes are somewhat eclectic, so I am not able to pick a favourite book. However, my favourite at the moment is ‘The Food Clock’. My good friend DB gave it to me, he said, to thank me for dinner the previous weekend as he cannot return the favour.

The recipes are organised into 16 chapters following seasons of food availability from “hot o’clock” (summer) through to “warm o’clock” (spring), including ‘quarter past’, ‘half past’, and ‘quarter to’ o’clocks. The photographs are definitely food pornography and these are tempered with graphics and illustrations to give the book a worn albeit glossy feel – complete with red wine glass stains.

So far I have made:

  • Rhubarb Pudding
  • Chocolate Almond Pinwheels
  • Chicken with Black Olives and Oregano

And, I am making the Red Onion & Lentil Soup tonight.

All dishes that I have made have been superb, so much so they have been repeated over and over. Which is funny because the inside fly-leaf reads “Most of us cook the same few dishes over and over again because we′re busy and have lost our connection to the changes of the seasons”. I think it is going to be difficult to try all the recipes, without getting stuck on some of them 🙂

I took the rather heavy book on holiday with me, planning to read the novella from beginning to end. But we ended up having a rather active and full-on time away, that I only read the prologue and first chapter. It is the story of Henri Petit-Pois who is somewhat reflective while working in his garden, shopping for ingredients, and preparing food for himself and guests. Perfect for a holiday read, but it is definitely the wrong format to read in bed, on a plane, or on the beach!

What is great about the book, is that it is about eating seasonally which is what I try to do to keep my food miles down.

lots of little boxes

Today I gained about six square metres of floor space by removing boxes.

The boxes were from previously acquired electrical goods and tools. Most of the boxes had been there for at least two years!


I kept the boxes as the warranty or guarantee was for two, five, or ten years – depending on the ‘stuff’.

The instructions and warranty were filed, non-recycleable packaging put in the bin, and the cardboard flattened to go in the garden ready to put under the mulch (hay).

flattened boxes

Yay, week three of The De-clutter ’52 Things in 52 weeks’ Challenge accomplished.

pickled cabbage

H gave me Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Companion for Christmas. It is similar to the Cook’s Companion (which I already own), except that it has a section at the beginning of each chapter how to plant, grow, and cultivate each of the plant ingredients.

I wanted the book because I saw it as a way of knowing what what was in season, and considering what to grow in the garden, and how many plants.

When Red Cabbage is in season and plentiful, I usually make a couple of batches of pickled red cabbage. In the ‘Kitchen Garden Companion’, it says that you can grow cabbage all year round in hot and temperate climates. But it looks like I will have to sort out the water issue first, as I have read that they need a lot of water.

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.