Hist! . . . . . . Hark! The night is very dark, And we’ve to go a mile or so Across the Possum Park.
Step . . . . . . light, Keeping to the right; If we delay, and lose our way, We’ll be out half the night. The clouds are low and gloomy. Oh! It’s just begun to mist! We haven’t any overcoats And – Hist! . . . . . . Hist!
(Mo . . . . . . poke!) Who was that that spoke? This is not a fitting spot To make a silly joke.
Dear . . . . . . me! A mopoke in a tree! It jarred me so, I didn’t know Whatever it could be. But come along; creep along; Soon we shall be missed. They’ll get a scare and wonder where We – Hush! . . . . . . Hist!
Ssh! . . . . . . Soft! I’ve told you oft and oft We should not stray so far away Without a moon aloft.
Oo! . . . . . . Scat! Goodness! What was that? Upon my word, it’s quite absurd, It’s only just a cat. But come along; haste along; Soon we’ll have to rush, Or we’ll be late and find the gate Is – Hist! . . . . . . Hush!
(Kok!. . . . . . Korrock!) Oh! I’ve had a shock! I hope and trust it’s only just A frog behind a rock.
Shoo! . . . . . . Shoo! We’ve had enough of you; Scaring folk just for a joke Is not the thing to do. But come along, slip along – Isn’t it a lark Just to roam so far from home On – Hist! . . . . . . Hark!
Look! . . . . . . See! Shining through the tree, The window-light is glowing bright To welcome you and me.
Shout! . . . . . . Shout! There’s someone round about, And through the door I see some more And supper all laid out. Now, Run! Run! Run! Oh, we’ve had such splendid fun – Through the park in the dark, As brave as anyone.
Laughed, we did, and chaffed, we did, And whistled all the way, And we’re home again! Home again! Hip . . . . . . Hooray!
Falling in love with words for how beautifully and powerfully they can be constructed came a little later. And story telling, the greatest of tools used in teaching and learning, is common across all peoples, regardless of the language used. Parables are simply a story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson. We know them from the Bible, but the concept of a parable is still applicable for modern times to a story which carries a deeper message.
In this series of blogs I will share some of my own writings, discuss the power of words and share some poems, stories and parables which speak to me. We are all both teachers and students. I hope you will join me in this series; Poetry, Prose and Parable and trust we will find some art, heart, beauty, power, passion and wisdom.
Then said a rich man, Speak to us of Giving. And he answered:
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.
(Gibran.K., The Prophet, p.26)
Life is a progression of milestones and celebrations which are often marked by the giving and receiving of gifts. If, like me, you have a large family and dear friends you probably need to find a way to give that will not send you broke. We have all heard the sayings it’s the thought that counts and it is more blessed to give than receive, well, these sayings are actually true. The secret to thrifty gift giving is to give of yourself, in your own very unique style, gifts which are given with love will truly bless the recipient.
There are many occasions for gift giving opportunities: births, birthdays, engagements, weddings, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, Easter, thank-you gifts, farewell gifts, graduation gifts, gifts for other significant life events and gifts for the joy of giving. Fortunately, we usually have a good idea when opportunities for giving are coming up and so can budget and be prepared.
Divide gift recipients broadly into three groups. Firstly, really important people in your life, the people closest to you; you get to decide who they are. Secondly, the next group of people who make your life richer. For example family, siblings, in laws, out laws, and close friends. Thirdly, work colleagues, acquaintances from various groups to which you belong and neighbours. Set a budget for gift giving and decide how that budget is divided.
Try to streamline gift giving. The world is already overthinged and people often give themselves what they really want, so give the gift of experiences. Avoid store gift vouchers unless you are confident they will be used. Research shows many gift vouchers are never redeemed and if this is the case it is a waste of money. Often the best gift is simply being together and sharing each other’s company.
Incidental giving is a wonderful thing, giving just for the heck of it. Homemade baking is a suggested gift; biscuits, slices, scones; whatever you like.
Buy a slice baking tray and a lovely tea towel and bake a slice, leave it uncut on the tray, wrap in the tea towel and give to a busy mum who gets to keep the baking tray and the tea towel.
Homemade jams, marmalades, pickles or relishes are always a welcome gift.
Fresh cut flowers, a selection of fresh herbs bundled together or fresh produce from the garden.
Potted herbs, fruit trees, passion fruit vines, fruiting strawberry plants or potted plants.
The secret to all this home made, home grown gift giving is in the presentation. When giving home made or home baked, include a list of ingredients and the recipe. This is authentic giving.
Oh, the games people play now, every night and every day now,
never meaning what they say now , never saying what they mean,
while they wile away the hours in their ivory towers,
till they’re cover up with flowers in the back of a black limousine.
Lyrics from The Games People Play by Joe South.
I have been to many funerals and am always impacted by the fact that regardless of age, gender, wealth or any other variable, we end up in a nice box with a bunch of flowers on the top. My litmus test for living is that if I were told I had two months to live, what would be important? And I know the answer to this. What will be important is that the people I love know they are loved and that I am ready for eternity. Give to the living and show love and appreciation while they are here to receive it. The biggest bunch of flowers sent to a funeral service is poor compensation for years of opportunity to show love and appreciation to those who have been placed in our lives as close fellow travellers.
Life itself is a gift to be celebrated. “All you have shall some day be given;Therefore give nowthat the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors“. (The Prophet. p.30)
This will be the last post in The Shift to Thrift series. I hope you have enjoyed some of the writings and thank you to everyone who has engaged in the posts and made comments when the writings have hit a chord with your own way of viewing the world.
If I were to sum up this series it would go something like this; In implementing the shift to thrift, an individual will take and use less of all of nature’s finite resources; they will give and share more of themselves and their blessings and paradoxically, they will be blessed even more bountifully.
My daughter, who had always had a beautiful skin and not a spot through her entire teenage years, arrived at her late twenties and developed acne along her jaw line. Over the years she’d spent many hours and dollars at the beautician and used expensive skin products. Months of visits to the beauty salon and the use of advised expensive potions could not fix the problem. Finally a visit to the dermatologist diagnosed the problem, told her to ditch all the expensive products she’d been using and advised her to use simple products purchased for approximately ten dollars.
Potions and perfumes will empty the purse and clutter the bathroom of many women. Of course we all want to be beautiful, but here’s the thing, Life is not a fashion parade or a beauty pageant and beauty does not come in a bottle or a Botox injection. Beauty, like style, is a matter of how the inner person is reflected and is expressed to the world through outward appearance. Authentic beauty is real and shines through a life filled with real experiences both tragic and magic.
I often think of the beauty expressed in the lines in Desiderata; Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Youth must fade but when the vigour of youth is replaced with grace and wisdom, which only years of real living can deliver, the pay off does not seem so bad. Wrinkles and grey hairs will come and we should realise they are not the enemy, they have been earned and are actually the trophy for survival through the ravages of life, and that is something in which to take quiet pride.
The best place to start a beauty make over is to become your own personal cardiologist and get to work on that heart and make it beautiful! The heart which bears no malice, forgives self and others, seeks peace and looks for the best in every situation will not let the face down.
Much of beauty is a result of good grooming. Good grooming means shiny hair, clean teeth, fresh breath, zero unpleasant body odour and cared for hands and feet with no dirty broken nails or cracked heels.
A good haircut is essential, so find a hairdresser who understands how to make the most of your hair. For over 30 years, I had my hair, streaked, foiled or dyed blonder. This was often an expensive process by the time I had the treatment and purchased the products to care for the treatment. When I was considering retirement, I decided that my hair would be well cared for but natural. After three quite short haircuts, all of the “processed” hair had been cut off. Now when I go to the hairdresser, they tell me that my hair is in good condition and healthy. Maintaining hair in tip top condition with regular trims and a flattering style is essential; spending hundreds of dollars at the salon is not!
Your smile is your best feature so take good care of teeth and practice dental hygiene. Dental treatment can be expensive, says she who last week needed to have her $3000 crown extracted. Long story! There was no other option and we need to see what options are available after healing is complete – But remember, the whole point of everyday thrift is that there is money available for the important and bigger expenses. And your smile is important!
Find a simple and natural skin care regime which works for you. Remember there is no need to purchase the most expensive products. Keep skin cleansed, moisturised and sun protected. Be consistent about skin care, cleansing off make up and grime from the day and applying moisturiser before going to bed, no matter how tired you feel. Minimise and reduce your beauty regime to a few products and a few steps which become second nature and be consistent in caring for your precious body. Wear a brimmed hat when outside to protect face from the harsh sunlight.
Be like a cat and stretch each morning to keep the body supple. Touch your toes in the shower. Practice good posture. Work with what nature has gifted and make the best of your natural beauty. Keep life and beauty products simple, natural and ethical.
NO ONE else has your brand of beauty. Believe in yourself! Bloom in your space!
The following quote has also been credited to Audrey Hepburn, but whoever penned it has just about summed up beauty.
Time Tested Beauty Tips by Sam Levenson For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody. Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!”
Yves Saint Laurent (French fashion designer, b.1940)
There is not much that will deplete the bank balance faster than being a slave to fashion. Fashions come and fashions go but Style is something else; it is individual and unique and says much more about the wonderful person you are than fashion ever could. Style is eternal because long after you have left this temporal world, your style will be remembered. In considering thrifty fashion the foundational building block is to develop your own unique style. This is achieved through understanding your personality type, your lifestyle choices and your natural colouring and body shape. No one is perfect, however style works to downplay the less than perfect attributes and enhance the good points. Everyone, simply everyone, has good points. Style is not so much about what is worn but rather how it is worn. Style is about confidence, good posture and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
If at all possible visit a style consultant and learn which clothes suit different body shapes and colourings best. Although this is an initial outlay, it will save lots of money, time and unflattering purchases over a lifetime. If a consultation is out of the question, using a critical eye, do some experimentation with styles and colours to determine those which suit you best. Clothes which compliment body shape will keep everything in proportion, while colours which compliment natural colouring will lift the wearer and bring a glow to the complexion. Test colours by holding bolts of fabric across the bodice and notice how some colours drain the complexion, make the eyes dull and generally pull colour out of the face while others make the eyes sparkle and lift the complexion. Some colours will wear you, be overpowering and onlookers will notice the garment but not the person while other colours you will wear well and they will enhance and uplift your natural features and allow your personality to shine through. At the least it is worth some experimentation! It is surprising how few garments are needed to make a wardrobe workable and when that wardrobe is filled with garments that are loved, fit well and enhance the wearer, you are onto a winner!
Armed with the knowledge of which colours and shapes will compliment, it is time to purchase. As always when shopping for clothes, be very selective. It is not a bargain if it doesn’t fit, look good or you don’t feel confident in the garment. I am a bargain/ thrift shopper when it comes to clothes and never pay full price. Again I share some ideas which have worked for me.
Decide what garments are needed to form the foundation of your wardrobe. Take a good look at what is in the wardrobe and if some garments are yuk -are never worn and you know you are never going to wear them and feel beautiful in doing so – get rid of them. It is better to have six garments in which you feel fantastic than a wardrobe full of clothes that you never wear. As a critical purchaser, you will purchase fewer dud garments and will find new purchases add to your wardrobe and can usually be worn in different ways and mixed with existing garments to create new looks. Analyse what is needed in your wardrobe to make it work and keep one step ahead. Keep your eyes open for that next purchase and when style and price come together, make the transaction. I usually have some new shoes and garments, purchased at very thrifty prices, in the wardrobe and get a great buzz out of wearing them for the first time when a suitable occasion is presented. I refuse to rush around and buy something new for an occasion as I have found that shopping under pressure does not produce good results. Rather I make my purchases going along through life when I see something I like. If I know it is needed and will be worn, if it fits, looks good on and when trying on the garment, I feel confident – then it is in the bag.
Avoid sales where people are just everywhere and knocking the doors down to get a bargain. Feeling rushed and fighting over garments is no atmosphere in which to shop and make good choices.
Shop at the end of the season sales. Usually stock for the next season comes in so early that there is still plenty of the season left before the weather changes and it is possible to get some wear from the new purchase but if not, pop it in the wardrobe and be at the head of the game when the season rolls around next year.
Hunt for good quality garments at reduced prices. Buy the best you can afford. One lovely garment is worth six ordinary ones.Don’t overlook the thrift shop when searching for clothing, shoes or accessories. Some of my favourite pieces have come from thrift shops. Look for quality brands, lovely fabrics and interesting accessories. Be fussy, be very fussy and realise that many a trip to the thrift shop will not result in a purchase, however, quite different and unique garments can be picked up at thrift shops.
Choose block colours for skirts, slacks and jackets. No -one knows whether your navy skirt cost two dollars at the thrift shop, was on sale at Target for twenty dollars or cost two- hundred dollars in an exclusive boutique. Likewise avoid purchasing from the rows and rows of identically patterned garments in chain stores as these garments label themselves, and you the wearer, not to mention the fact that your garment will be popping up all over the place on many other wearers.
Take good care of your wardrobe and follow instructions for the laundering of garments. Be sure garments are clean, no spots, smell fresh, are pressed or dry cleaned if the fabric requires this and are in good repair. A stitch in time saves nine and many more dollars. There is no need to be a seamstress but having the basic skills to sew on buttons, alter hem lengths, repair split seams and replace broken zips will save money and mean what is in the wardrobe is wearable.
An important factor in style is proportion, so having a hemline at the correct length and in proportion to your body shape and build can make a huge difference to the overall effect of an outfit.
At least twice a year – in spring and autumn – take an inventory of the wardrobe, discarding garments no longer suitable and making sure all others are ready and able to be worn.
If a particularly loved garment has been worn to death, unpick the garment and use the unpicked pieces as a pattern to make a new garment or make two, using different fabrics.
Divide the wardrobe into sections and keep some clothes exclusively for good wear. If you don’t have a uniform for work, create your own work wear wardrobe, have a section of casual wear and finally clothes which were worn at home. This idea is worth consideration even though many clothes are multi purpose and can be dressed up or down through the use of accessories, wearing clothes for when and where they were purchased will extend their life.
Choose accessories which compliment, lift the garment and reinforce your unique style. Changing accessories can give different looks to the same garment and extend the workability of the wardrobe.
Keep shoes polished and keep heels and toes in good repair.
Practise good posture. When I was a girl we learnt good posture by balancing a book on the top of the head while walking. Another idea is to walk imagining there is a string being pulled upward from the top of the head. This means the back is keep straight, the head held high and the walk tall.
Fashion has its place as there is nothing stylish about being totally out of date. By all means, take an interest in fashion, regularly read fashion articles, browse magazines and fashion stores but don’t be a slave to fashion, thinking every season dictates a huge outlay on the latest fashions. Consider your wardrobe as an investment portfolio and invest in pieces which will build and expand your portfolio and allow more options.
Fashion is followed and in a sense is a putting on what others have deemed the cool thing to wear, however, style lives inside the individual and is expressed confidently through what is worn. Style makes the best of who you are. It is the manifestation of being at home in your own skin, believing in your intrinsic worth and knowing your unique beauty.
Believe in yourself, be confident and wear it well!
Thrifty Shopping and Living by the motto Never pay full price for anything!
One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure.
There is no doubt that for most people, in western society at least, our lives are over thinged. It is said over and over that things don’t make a person happy yet still we strive for bigger and better things. It is true, to negotiate life we do need some things but they do not need to be the biggest or the best. The sweetest pleasures are those simple things which speak our life story; the story of the places we have been, the people we have met and loved, of our heartaches, tragedies and triumphs.
Garage sales and thrift shops have some wonderful finds; I have been an op shop / thrift shopper / garage sale purchaser for over 40 years but about 18 months ago I made the decision that I was not going to buy any new clothes. I could create, up cycle, recycle or buy good quality garments at thrift shops. This has been so successful and easy to do that I have extended this strategy to include almost everything. So before I make a new purchase, I will scout around to see if I can pick one up at a thrift shop. This has many advantages; supporting needy people in the community, not contributing to the pollution, the resource drain or the exploitation of workers in the manufacturing industry and saving some stuff from going to ever increasing, land fill rubbish sites.
It is not only clothing that can be purchased at a fraction of the cost of new clothing, household items, linen, soft furnishings, new fabrics, accessories, jewellery, books, DVDs, records, garden equipment, furniture, and the list goes on, are also available.
There are some rules for successful thrift shopping.
#1) Be price savvy. Some thrift shops are almost boutique style and ask substantial prices for their goods. Don’t be tricked. I have seen goods in thrift stores priced more than those same items would be if purchased new in stores.
#2) Shop at thrift stores when they have sales.
#3) Don’t feel you have to buy something just because you are out browsing. Have an idea of what you are looking for, be very selective and have a use for your purchase.
It is not thrifty if:
#1) It doesn’t fit; it’s broken; it is poor quality.
#2) You have no use for the item; the item serves no purpose; you don’t need it or you don’t love it.
3#) Don’t buy junk or items that are broken unless you know you will restore them. There is no point in taking someone else’s junk home to become junk at your home.
Still, real gems are to be found tucked away in thrift stores. Armed with knowledge about the true value of items, go thrift shopping and nab a true treasure. I promise – it’s a great buzz!
I hope I have encouraged you to take a look at thrift shopping. The benefits can be amazing. There are only two rules; be price savvy and love what you buy.
Well, it’s been quite a week. I have news from several people, all loved dearly, who are staring down the barrel of complicated health issues. They are moving into chemotherapy treatments, facing silent and complicated diseases, living with auto immune disorders which compromise their health on every level, recovering from open heart surgery, strokes and serious illness. There are many who are in need of prayer for improved health, courage and peace in the situations they are facing.
So it would be foolish for me to suggest that we have control over all of our health issues, as clearly we don’t. Good health is indeed a wealth as surely as poor health and illness can be an expensive business, so as far as it lies within us it is sensible to do what we can to protect ourselves.
When it comes to health, prevention is better than cure and quite a lot of prevention can come down to simple habits. It seems that pre covid people had forgotten just how important personal hygiene and hand washing was. When my children were small they were taught the habit of washing their hands and face before eating and also after eating. When they were too small to do this themselves, I did so for them with a warm washer. This habit meant they did not eat with dirty hands or face and it also prevented food being spread around the home and onto furnishings, leaving hard to remove grease marks.
Teaching little ones to clean their teeth correctly is another important habit for thrift. We also had the scratch and smell teeth cleaning test. When they were old enough to clean their own teeth, before bed, I would ask have you cleaned your teeth? If the answer was yes, I would then ask if they would pass my scratch and smell test. Which meant did the teeth smell clean and had all the plaque been removed in their teeth cleaning. Sometimes there needed to be a rerun of the brush. But between all my four adult children, their fillings could be counted on one hand. This has been a great saving for me in their growing years and also for themselves now.
Other simple habits such as wearing warm clothes, warm socks and shoes and something warm close to the chest when it is cold will keep many a winter illness away. In my teaching days, I would be as warm as toast in the classroom because I had warm feet and a warm chest, students however would often be literally shivering and freezing because they refused to wear clothing which kept the warmth in close to their bodies. We would turn the heating on and they would still be cold.
Another important factor in health is balance and moderation. Moderation in food and beverage intake, a diet which is balanced in nutrition, moderate and regular exercise, sufficient sleep and relaxation balanced with regular opportunity to be social and mix with others with similar interests or to learn something new. Of course we are multi dimensional beings and our physical, emotional, spiritual and creative selves must all be nurtured and kept in balance for good health.
Doctors, medicine, science, diet and nature all play their part in good health. It was Hippocrates, who lived over 400 years before the birth of Christ, who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
For the thrift of good health turn to Nature for its gentle healing qualities. Sunshine, fresh air, clean water, vegetables and gentle exercise combined with people to love and something to look forward to, are healthy lifestyle choices with healing properties.
Whatever your measure of health, I hope there is a way for you to find a balance between science, medicine and nature and to seek the simple solutions of good health as well as the advantages and wonders of modern medicine.
In this blog I am going to include some hints for thrifty cleaning and some recipes for thrifty, environmentally friendly cleaning potions.
An important room in the home to keep clean is the bathroom. I keep a cloth at the bathroom hand basin and wipe around taps and basin each day. This keeps any build up of grime or mould at bay. Glass shower doors and tiles should be wiped down regularly for the same reason. Keep a small scourer on the floor in the shower recess and regularly rub it under foot over the shower floor. The following all purpose cleaner can be used on kitchen counter surfaces, toilets, sinks, tubs, floors and walls.
All Purpose Cleaner:
Ingredients: 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1&1/2 cups water, 1 teaspoon Borax, 10 drops lemon essential oil, 5 drops each of tea-tree, lime, lemongrass and white fir essential oils.
Method: Use a metal funnel to combine all ingredients into a dark glass bottle. Screw on a spray nozzle top. Shake thoroughly, spray directly onto surface. Use a cloth to scrub area and wipe clean.
Ingredients: Essential oil drops: lemongrass X30, peppermint X 25, geranium X10, basil X 5.
Method: Combine in a dark glass 5 ml vial and pop an orifice reducer in the mouth of the bottle. Pop 3 drops into the toilet bowl before using and 3 drops after flushing.
Recipes from Essential Oils for Beauty, Wellness and the Home by Alicia Atkinson, 2015.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of cloudy ammonia, 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide, 2 litres of water.
Method: Pour slowly in and around the bowl, leave for 30 minutes, then scrub and flush.
And if you want to go really basic in the bathroom, bicarbonate of soda will clean tiles, bath, shower recess and toilet. While a solution of vinegar and water will clean mirrors, glass and disinfect the toilet.
Recipes from 1001 Greener Household Hints by John Schluter, 2002. ISBN 1865154563
Bicarbonate of soda has a myriad of uses in the home from sprinkling it over the carpet before vacuuming, to de-odourising matresses, shoes and pet beds, to cleaning microwaves, dishwashers and refrigerators. It can be used in the laundry to remove stains and odours and in the bath to soothe and relax tired bodies. It can be used as an exfoliator and as an ingredient in homemade deodorants and toothpastes. 500grams of McKenzie’s Bi Carb will cost $2.40 and Homebrand Bi Carb even less. It is worth keeping in the cupboard!
A little dish of bicarbonate of soda in the fridge will absorb odours, a container of charcoal popped in the back of the fridge will achieve the same result and so will a cut onion. Cut onion will absorb bacteria and odours regardless of where it is placed so if you can stand the smell it is a very cheap way to cleanse a room. Also cut onion placed under the soles of feet at night and a pair of old socks pulled over the top to hold the onion in place will draw out fever and toxins from the body.
Apart from keeping our living spaces clean and smelling sweet, basic, environmentally friendly cleaning practices are good for our health and well being. Next post we will look at the thrift of good health.
Supermarket shelves groan under the weight of many and varied cleaning potions. Television advertisements highlight the superior results, all achieved with minimum of fuss and effort, of these cleaning products. We’re led to believe that a whole range of cleaning products are necessary to keep the home clean and therefore we have cupboards which bulge with a variety of cleaning products which all come at a cost, both financially and environmentally. It is important to run a clean and fresh home. The good news is that keeping a home clean does not have to cost a fortune, nor does it have to negatively impact our health or the environment and there is no need to use a different product for everything.
Contrary to what advertisements would have us believe, cleaning does demand a bit of elbow grease at times and the trick is to keep on top of cleaning so that it is a regular chore but not a really difficult chore. It is amazing what can be achieved with a bucket of hot water, some rags, a few bubbles and some elbow grease. Staples for cleaning include white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, essential oils and disinfectants. I love to use my essential oils in the home as they leave a fresh, invigorating fragrance as well as being anti bacterial, anti fungal and basically anti everything plus they leave no residue of nasty chemical toxins. Some old time cleaning hints are worth trying; oil of cloves will kill mould, use linseed oil, olive oil or coconut oil to polish timber furniture, ammonia or cloudy ammonia, eucalyptus oil and Borax have many household uses. I recommend John Schluter’s 1001 Greener Household Hints, Hinkler Books ISBN 186515456-3 for useful, economical and environmentally kind cleaning ideas.
As a general rule we use too many cleaning products and we use too much of the product. The amount used in most cases can be reduced and I will use washing detergent as an example. Provided you do not have exceptionally dirty, greasy clothes to launder, washing detergent can be reduced as most of the dirt is removed through the agitation of the clothes in the wash and through good rinsing, so experiment to see how much (little) detergent is really needed to produce a clean wash. Sunlight and fresh air are nature’s cleaners and de-odourisers so allow as much fresh air and sunlight into the home as possible. Peg the washing on the line and save that electricity by not using the dryer plus the sunlight and breeze will give the wash a lovely fresh smell.
There are many books available on simple, thrifty and green household cleaning products as well as lots of information on the net. A bit of trail and error and adjustments may need to be made and not every idea you read will be a good one but the same as with my cooking, I like to read a lot of information to understand principles and basics and then play.
Next blog, I will include some recipes and some hints. But remember, if it is is good for you, generally it will be good for the environment, for your health and your bank balance.
Time is precious. In business it is said that “time is money” and sometimes there is so much to do that there never seems to be enough time. Often periods of being time poor coincide with sufficient or even an abundance of money, however, in my experience, life is fickle, fragile and beautiful and one never knows what is around the corner. Time and money are at opposite ends of the balancing see-saw as either we are very busy, earning good money or there is plenty of time on our hands but there is very little money. On those occasions when time, not money, is in abundance and especially if this time comes through an unexpected misfortune or sudden change of circumstances, it may be accompanied by the black dog of depression. It is of paramount importance to realise the value of time and invest it wisely for the health of our bank balance, mind, body and soul. It is in times such as these that a wonderful new door of opportunity may open, a new skill is developed or new knowledge attained. Of utmost importance is not to allow the resource of time to slip through one’s fingers and be wasted.
Everyone is given the same twenty-four hour period each day and it is a constant source of interest that some peoples’ achievements are amazing, whilst others simply squander time and have little to show for its passing. Time is a resource as valuable, or even more so, than money and the idea of thrifty time is that this resource is realised and is not wasted. Time is a gift and we are to redeem it, buy in back, in productive and purposeful endeavours. I am suggesting a balanced approach to the way time is spent. There is a time to work and a time to rest, a time to recreate and a time to nurture self and others, however there are many people, habits and mindless activities which will steal our time away and time, once lost, can never be regained.
I am aware there are times when physical and /or emotional health simply demand rest and plenty of it but as health returns it is very important to get going and engage in the day. Some days it seems that nothing is achieved and they are the days when just surviving is an achievement. However, achieving something in the day, even if it is a small something to begin with, will boost the spirit, build self confidence and contribute towards a healthier, happier and fuller future.
Set some goals for the day. When my children were little and time just seemed to get swallowed up, each day I set out to achieve something – get the folding up to date; do some baking – you know – mind blowing stuff – and on going to bed, I would think about what was achieved that day and set a goal for the next day. And funnily enough over 4 decades later and now ‘retired’ I am still doing the same thing.
Wasting Time is truly one of the most wasteful things we can do; following are some strategies for spending time wisely.
#1) Get out of bed and get the day started. Very little is gained through making “lying in” a lifestyle habit.
#2) Streamline and simplify life through having a routine and work the routine.
#3) Cleaning is one of those tasks which can take up as much time as you let it. Streamline cleaning procedures through tidying and cleaning as you go; declutter; have a place for everything and return items to their place after use; enlist the help of others in the household.
#4) Learn to say “NO”. The world is full of people who waste their own time and are more than happy to waste yours as well. This does not mean there is never time for a cup of coffee with a friend or to do good for others but do not let other people tie you up just because it suits them. Be the master of your time and invest it wisely.
#5) Have a time budget and use it to avoid excessive periods of chatting on the phone; being caught up on Facebook, internet surfing or television watching.
#6) Find a wholesome hobby, an interest, that makes you a more interesting and interested person. If necessary, a hobby can often be turned into a source of extra income.
#7) Before sleep take a mental inventory of your day and thank God that, for today, your needs were provided. Plan something you would like to achieve on the morrow.
We have been entrusted with the precious gift of time, so as good stewards let us make our time count for something positive. One day we will be called to give an account for what we have done with our time and the old adage, “the Devil finds work for idle hands” is as true today as ever.
I am in the process of starting a new garden patch. There is a section on one side of the front garden, where it is difficult to get the mower around so I have begun one of my no dig gardens. I favour the no dig method initially because it is an energy and cost efficient method. Remember, I offer cost effective suggestions and the no dig garden can take some time to build up but if you never start …
I use old sleepers to define the edges but don’t let the lack of a defined space deter you and do not think you can’t start gardening until you can afford sleepers or whatever. Along a fence line can be a good spot as there are only three sides to define. Cover this area with newspaper or old cardboard boxes opened out. Cover the grass and weeds with enough thickness to allow no light to them and they will die and decompose into the soil. Next hose the newspaper until it is wet enough to stay in place and layer that with sugar cane mulch and build up the garden with compost and some organic manures and leave it to settle for a while. When you want to plant, make a space in the mulch, put in some quality potting mix to give the seedling a good start and plant into that. After a season or two the newspaper, compost, organic manures, potting mix and sugar cane mulch have broken down together to a sweet, friable soil.
Put as much organic matter back into the soil as possible, this must be an ongoing process. I compost but there are other ways to put organic matter back into the soil. Some people “plant” their kitchen scraps, a friend of mine who lived alone kept his kitchen scraps in a big glass jar under the sink and every couple of days would whizz them up with water and make liquid fertilizer. I have also used a bokashi bucket; my daughter has a worm farm and chickens. It’s a similar principle to my kitchen mantra which says do not pourflavour down the sink, my mantra for organic matter is do not put organic matter in the rubbish bin, find a way to get it back into the soil.
We have talked about seedling propagation and how to strike plants from cuttings but there is more. Garlic, ginger and turmeric will all grow from popping the bulb or rhizome in the soil. Sweet potato runners will propagate through planting a sweet potato which has started to shoot whilst in the pantry and healthy potatoes which start to eye in the cupboard can be popped into the soil and will produce more potatoes. Cut the root end off purchased shallots and pop into the soil to grow new shallot plants. Strawberry plants send out runners after each fruiting season which can be propagated and raspberry canes, which need to be cut out after fruiting, will strike in a new position. Pineapples are a member of the Bromide, family and will grow from a planted pineapple top. They take some time to mature bit it is easy to pop a pineapple top in the soil and just leave it alone. My point is that vegetable gardening does not have to mean the constant purchase of seedlings. There is a great buzz in watching Mother Nature at work.
The most wonderful thing about life is that it tells a story and your life tells your story. There is no better place to read that story than in the garden. When others know about your interest in gardening, often they will give plants as a gift. Lots of plants in my garden tell a story of love while other plants tell the story of my travels, some tell the story of past locations of living and working, some have come from the gardens of friends and all of these plants bring to mind special people and special times and add much joy to life.
This is the last post on shift to thrift in the garden. In the next post we will move onto Time and Thrift. But I will close with one final comment;