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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A New Project

Monday mornings are to be celebrated by those who have jumped off the mainstream workforce in my opinion. So happy to have my man along on those good times now.




This is Frogtown beach, a short drive and a 2km walk from home. We had it all to ourselves and enjoyed a glorious late Autumn morning there. We picked up a shopping bag of plastic and such, which makes it a walk with result.

I'm excited to say we have a new project on the boil for Plastic Bag Free Northland. We've had approval from the Countdown Regent supermarket manager to have a stall at the supermarket entrance to promote reusable bags and to promote their soft plastic recycling bin that is in-store.

My newly painted signs. The background mountains are the view from Whangarei Harbour

We have a month's trial starting June, and it will be very interesting to see what kind of response we get. At present there are very few reusable bag users at that supermarket - we want to change the trend.
We are not using nice handmade bags, as we just can't supply enough, but have sourced a supply of the ones made from recycled plastic, that should save at least 100 plastic bags each in their life, if used consistently. We do have calico ones too, but they are $2.50 each. 
I'll let you know how it goes.


Feijoas


Ah well, it's feijoa season again and I'm off to do something with all these...I have recipes for low sugar feijoa loaf, no churn feijoa icecream, and some will go into the freezer for later in the year. 
I'm delighted that my guava moth traps seem to have worked, we've had no bugs in any of our fruit this year.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Refreshed post Travel

After 3 weeks in Tasmania and Melbourne, home's still a great place. I'm so grateful to have a home, having seen how many homeless people are out there. It's not really something we see in my local city.

My first discovery was on the plane. I wasn't fully prepared to deal with the disposables on the plane, but had taken my own water bottle, which can be filled pre flight once checked through security, and my reusable cup. Both of these were useful on the flight, with the flight attendants cheerfully filling my own cup for a hot drink. Next time I will be taking the plastic cutlery we were given as I would have been able to refuse these on the Qantas Flight, they didn't come automatically with the meal.


Tasmania has banned single use lightweight plastic bags since Nov 2013 and it was such a delight to see so little plastic in use. Why can't every country do this? I traveled with home made carrier bags, and used them every day.

Op-shops in Australia are fabulous! It is hard to tell them from an actual retail shop - beautiful, colour coordinated window displays and no op-shop odour. Lots of designer clothes. Good prices too.

My $5 leather bag


I learned to use the macro setting on my camera while I was away. This shot is from Nelson Falls in Tasmania, also the video..

Moss, macro shot

video


We visited the Van Gogh exhibition in Melbourne. We were able to get up so close to the masterpieces. I found it thrilling to be able to stand in front of each piece, not only admiring the work, but knowing that van Gogh himself had stood in front of each of those works all those years ago. He would never have imagined their impact on the world. 

Derek has the best shots ever


I loved this quote of his...






Thursday, 20 April 2017

Musings on Travel and Blogging

Driftwood screen
The above pic is one of two screens I whipped up to cover the utilities in our carport when we were expecting lots of visitors, and it is an area they need to walk past. 
I thought it was good use of a couple of free pallets and some of the many fine pieces of driftwood we have accumulated. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but I think better than looking at the rubbish bin and worm farm etc.

This post is going to be a bit of a mix, as my head is in preparation mode for our imminent trip to Tasmania and Melbourne, where we will be holidaying with my siblings and their spouses.


Travel is not environmentally friendly, and it makes the little things we do to help the environment seem like a drop in the ocean. Never the less, we will continue to do them, and use the travel as an opportunity to learn more. 
I'm looking forward to visiting Tasmania, where I understand they have quit plastic bags in many parts. 
I have my reusable bags packed. I also managed to stop the travel agent giving me a plastic folder and more plastic luggage tags.

Why Blog?

With some of the bloggers that I follow deciding to stop blogging (and then starting again when they missed the outlet and their online friends), I thought about why I love my blog - here are a few reasons...(none of which are for money)

1. Just for myself - so I can find my own recipes and references - I've used this heaps. I can log my own progress too.
2. So that one day, should my daughter or step kids ever want to find a recipe or heaven forbid - even find some of it interesting - it will be there. I would have liked to have something like this from my mum.
3. A surprise aspect has been getting to chat with other lovely bloggers.
4. Maybe I'll inspire someone.

OK, the next blog will be when I get back - so until then - so long.

 






Thursday, 6 April 2017

The World's Best Cracker Recipe

Pretty intriguing title huh. My friend Di sold me on this recipe with some she had made - better than anything you can buy.
The recipe comes from The Australian Womans Weekly, a recipe from Wendyl Nissen. It is so simple to make, makes about 3 packets worth of crackers, and they keep, perfectly crisp in an airtight jar for weeks (If you don't eat them all first).

Knackebrot  -  Swedish Crackers

220g wholemeal flour
220g rolled oats -wholegrain if you can
2 tsp salt
150g sunflower seeds
75g sesame seeds
75g linseed/ flaxseed
40g pumpkin seeds
700mls water
1 Tbsp olive oil

1. Heat the oven to 130 degrees F

2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and add the oil and water.

3. Oil a large oven tray (I actually use 3 trays, to get it thin enough), and pour the mixture onto the trays.

4. Spread as thinly as possible. I put a piece of wax paper over it and use my hands to spread the mixture out evenly. Don't leave the paper on there though.

5. Fan bake for 15 mins, then remove from the oven and cut it into pieces. (A pizza wheel works well here)

6. Bake again at 130 degrees until golden and crisp - around 1 -2 hours, depending on the thickness of your crackers. 

Oh bliss with blue cheese! Tell me if you make and love them!


How is it that a person can get to their fifties and discover simple things they should have been doing for years?

Please tell me if you have a bunch of things like these, that you think everyone else must surely already know. Maybe one person will not already know these - I'm writing this for you.

1. Lettuces keep way better in the fridge if you wrap them in a clean, damp teatowel.

2. Cucumbers keep crisp if you put them stalk end down in a jar of water.

3. You can wash and reuse silicone baking paper.

#3 is going to raise some comments from my daughter and the step kids about my frugality. I deserve this after making similar comments about my mother washing and reusing clingwrap. At least I don't do that (because I don't use it). I try not to use silicone baking paper much because it's not biodegradable, although I hear there is now a biodegradable one available. Now at least it doesn't have to be single use.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

More on Books

You'll find plenty of mentions of old books in my blog posts. Books are a passion of mine, and collecting old books, a passion of my Derek.
I  was excited when I recently found this book in the library - Shakespeare and Company, Paris. Have any of you been to this iconic bookshop with such an interesting story to it?



It is an English language bookshop founded on Socialist ideals by eccentric American George Whitman, where poets, writers and drifters were able to find a free bed in exchange for working in the shop.
We are off to Paris later this year - and this shop is on my list of places to go.


There are a lot of books here for me to dip into - most of them very droll, but they harbor some interesting insights into the past, such as from The Saturday Magazine for 1839, a book made of the collection of magazine articles. There are diagrams of early electricity, tales of travel to exotic lands, examples of fashion and carriages.



I read an article about a young English woman servant, who after sailing for months to Australia, quickly married a man who turned out to be an ex convict, who hadn't changed his ways. Ah Australia - we Kiwis always tease the Aussies about their convict past.

An article on dental care gave a recipe for toothpowder  - 
2 parts chalk and 1 part well burned charcoal, or another using just ground cuttlefish. 
But I wasn't so keen on their ideas for filling teeth using creosote, metal and cement - hmm. 

Derek should have plenty of time to enjoy his books now - today is his last day of work. Early retirement starts at 4pm. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

I'm Working on Straws

It's not easy to go zero waste and to be quite honest, we'll probably never achieve it. To offset the bit of rubbish that we do make, we make an effort to work some environmental improvement of our own, such as picking up beach and roadside litter, trapping pests, removing noxious weeds, giving out reusable bags at the Grower's Market....and my latest one....

Targeting Plastic Straws 

When I started to search for solid paper straws, available in New Zealand, that wouldn't collapse on use, could be bought in bulk and weren't too expensive - I came up with nothing...until I found out about The Rubbish Whisperer.
I figured that if it was difficult for me, then bar and cafe owners would probably be pleased if someone found that for them.

The Rubbish Whisperer has since sent me samples and price brochures which I have made into a little pack with cellophane. I  have been dropping these into our local bars and cafes with it - three or four every time I go into town.
In the pack I have included a little information from The Last Plastic Straw which is an organization dedicated to ridding the world of plastic straws. The line that I use is that even if they don't buy into using paper straws, would they please consider adding a sign that says straws available on request, instead of putting them into every drink automatically. 



I point out that I'm not affiliated to the company - just concerned about single use plastic.
I've generally had a good response so far from the places that I have visited.
It's just a little step, but if some take it up, then my time spent will have been worthwhile. At the very least - it makes them think. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Something to Wake You Up and to Put You To Sleep

We don't drink a lot of plunger coffee here - but our visitors do, so we are often left with opened packets of ground coffee. They don't keep forever, so we have sometimes used them to make a body scrub, which is divine, but a bit wasteful too.

Lately I have started drinking Iced Coffees and find this a great way to finish off packets of coffee. I make a full plunger of strong coffee and let it go cold, then put it in the fridge - where it is good for several days. My iced coffee recipe is a large glass of ice cubes, topped with a scoop of homemade icecream, a little extra sweetener if necessary - pour the coffee over, top with low fat milk, stir and enjoy.
Small quantities of leftover plunger coffee get made into coffee ice cubes to go in the iced coffee too.


I reckon it's better than most ice coffees that I have tried from cafes.
I have some metal straws that I usually use, but this straw is special - more about it in my next blog post.

If I accidentally overdose on the iced coffee then sleep can be elusive.
Derek and I have just had our shared birthday, and as part of his gift, I found this cool little antique pot, then just had to make something to put in it.


Hence...
Sleep Salve

2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
2 Tablespoons of olive (or grapeseed oil)
2 Tablespoons of beeswax
15 drops of lavender essential oil
15 drops of cedarwood essential oil

In the microwave or a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and beeswax then add the olive oil and mix. Remove from the heat and add the essential oils and stir.
Pour into a suitable container and leave to set.
Apply a little to skin somewhere, such as hands or feet, to aid sleep.