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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Going Plastic Bag Free - Not So Easy

'Growing your own food is like printing your own money'
                                                                              Ron Finley

Welcome! If you have been following my blog recently you will know that one of my little projects is to have our local Growers Market go plastic bag free. 
This is not as easy as you might think, and our little group is still fronting up every Saturday morning and giving out reusable bags (for a donation). We haven't been able to sew enough (we have been giving out up to seventy each week), so have resorted to buying the reusable ones from various businesses and supermarkets.
We are making progress, but it is slow. The reaction from the public is greatly supportive.
For plastic free July we gave it an extra push - giving away some of the product bags that I have been making, along with a sheet of recipes for making your own personal care items and some food items to reduce packaging waste. We gave them to people as they left the market as a reward if they had no carry bags, after advertising this as they walked in. Some people declined the reward - which I totally understand.

The produce bag. I had to add an avocado to give perspective on that giant broccoli

 As well, we have been giving out soap kindly donated by Ecostore. 
Next month we will have vouchers from Palmers Garden Centre Whangarei for free coffees.

I am delighted with the support that we've had from the local community and businesses. Several curtain shops have given us fabulous off cuts to make our bags. Countdown Regent Supermarket have donated 70 bags, plus they and The Warehouse have been giving us bags at cost price.

Does anyone have a local market that is plastic bag free? If so what do the plant growers use to put their plants in if it's not a plastic bag? How do the fruit and veg sellers operate - do they weigh your produce as you choose it, or do they have containers already weighed out ready to put into your own bags?

Monday, 11 July 2016


Derek has taken some photos for me of Pahi, a little settlement on a peninsula in the Kaipara Harbour. It is about  1 1/2 - 2 hours north of Auckland.
In mid-winter it's fairly quiet there, but in season you can buy oysters and flounder, stay in the camping ground on the water's edge, maybe run your motorized bath tub in the Pahi Regatta (clip here) or of course, go fishing.

Looking over to Whakapirau from Pahi
Pahi On the Kaipara Harbour New Zealand

Pahi Community Hall

Pahi sports a magnificent Moreton Bay Fig tree - approximately 150 years old, listed on the NZ Tree Register.

150 year old Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Pahi

And this photo - with washing blowing dry on the clothesline - mid winter....

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Oh Darn, Seaweed in the Kitchen

I've posted before about darning socks here and mending things, but I haven't mentioned that it is actually therapeutic (for me anyway). There is something positive about making something broken whole and usable again. 
Sitting by the fire this week, I wanted to mend socks, but my darning egg, which was my great grandmother's, was over in the studio - a short walk in the rain. 

Pokerworked by my mother on the inside it reads "Belonged to Sarah Bell 1848 - 1942 

Instead I reached for this emu egg which did the job perfectly. Some people use a lightbulb, but even a bottle will work, as a darning egg.

This week in the post I received a parcel, which had newspaper packing. In it was an article about foraging for, and using seaweed for cooking.
It so happened that our beach was awash with seaweed this weekend so I chose a piece that had no dog footprints around it and gave it a good wash in the tide. Apparently all seaweed in New Zealand is edible and can be used fresh or dried. It is packed with vitamins and minerals, specifically sodium balanced with magnesium.
The seaweed can be used fresh thinly sliced or ground to a powder after drying in soups, stews or stirfry. Or dried pieces can be soaked and added to meals.
I ate a piece raw, and it was ok, but a little tough. Derek wasn't impressed with his piece, so I'm thinking it might need to be powdered here.

I've hung my bunch in the covered outdoor area, which gets breeze and sunshine. An interesting experiment. 
Another two huge bags full have gone around our fruit trees.