Gifts From the Garden

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When you have a productive garden, there is frequently more available than you can reasonably use.  So, we are often giving away produce to family and friends.

It is not all a one-way street and we are grateful for goodies which are gifted to us in return.

My sister and brother-in-law recently gave us a large pumpkin and some chillies.  The pumpkin was put to good use and you can read about it in this earlier post.  I used the chillies to make a bottle of sweet chilli sauce.

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A few days ago we visited my brother at his newly-purchased inner suburban unit.  I hardly expected that we would come away with fresh produce when he had been there for barely 3 weeks.  However, I was surprised to find myself returning home with a container of macadamia nuts which we had collected from the back lawn of the unit block.  This bounty is falling from a tree overhanging from a neighbouring garden.

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Also, some friends gave us a quantity of rosemary.  We have planted some cuttings so that we can add this to our own garden and I stripped the leaves off the remainder and dried it in the dehydrator.  Once it was dried, I ground it and then mixed the ground rosemary with Himalayan salt and I now have a jar of rosemary salt which will be be perfect for seasoning.  I am looking forward to trying it on some oven-baked potato chips.

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I was watching Gardening Australia last night and saw a segment about making your own Lemon and Rosemary Hand Scrub.  I am going to get some more rosemary from my friend and try that one out.  The recipe and details will be a future blog post.

 

 

Share the Joy

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On two occasions recently, I have been able to pass along items that are not of use to me.

This is slightly different to decluttering because I never intended using either of the items concerned.

The first was when we were in Melbourne and I was having a good look around a large suburban op shop.  I found a Veronika Maine dress.

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While I have never owned any Veronika Maine clothing, I do know that they are good quality and it was made in Australia.  I knew that a size 10 would not fit me nor did I need a dress which would be totally at home in a corporate work environment.  So, I left it there even though it looked perfect and was priced at a relatively tiny $9.  After several hours of thinking about this dress, I decided to write a post for a Facebook group.  This group is simply a gathering of like-minded female friends, some of whom I know in real life.  I offered to buy the dress and post it (if required) if anyone was interested.  Sure enough, someone was keen and the dress is now in regional NSW with a new owner.

I am part of a small group in my local town who make Boomerang bags.  We regularly receive bags and boxes of donated fabric from a variety of sources.  Sometimes these include fabric which is not suitable for making the bags and we generally try to repurpose it in some way.  However, I was sorting through some fabric yesterday when I came across several pieces which defeated me when it came to thinking about how it could be used.

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It is a silky type of material with a floral pattern on it.  Most intriguing was the fact that is had been cut into long strip about 20cm wide and up to 6 metres in length.  This rendered it unusable for making any type of garment.  Once again, I offered it to my online group of friends for the cost of the postage.  Lo and behold, someone was very keen and the parcel is currently en route.  I will look forward to discovering what crafty project this will be used for.

The alternative was to send it to an op shop but I fear that it would have landed in the ‘too hard’ basket and subsequently in landfill.

I have found that it is worth spending a little extra time and effort to find someone to pass things on to directly.

 

Sharing, Giving, Lending, Living

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The term ‘sharing economy’ is one with which many of us have become familiar over the past few years.  Probably the 2 most well-known are Air BnB (accommodation) and Uber (transport).  Both have been the subject of some negative media exposure due to their disruptive impact on well established and regulated industries – hotels and taxis.

There are many other far less formalised arrangements including community toy libraries, crop swaps, Boomerang bags, Christmas street parties and so on.

On a personal level, it can be as simple as giving some excess produce to a neighbour or borrowing a piece of equipment to complete some home maintenance.

In the spirit of sharing I want to tell you about what this mindset can look like.

Early in the year we decided to spend Christmas at the beach and found a beach house on Air BnB.  It has enough space for 6 of us – GMan and I, our 2 daughters and 2 granddaughters.  The house is a couple of blocks from the beach and while not super cheap, it is much more affordable than similar apartment accommodation.

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We have an elderly cat and dog who both need twice daily medication so we organised housesitters for a week.  This is a win-win as our home is occupied, the animals cared for and the housesitters have a week of free accommodation in a different setting – a holiday by any other name.  Unlike, Air BnB no money changes hands.

Harvey is pictured with my sister’s dog is is not much more than a pup.  It is a gorgeous photo of them both but certainly accentuates his advanced age.

2 days before we were due to leave for our beach holiday, our television chose to cease working – just stopped.  No warning, no nothing.  We only have one television so it meant that there would be no television viewing for the housesitters and we were not inclined to rush out to buy a new television a couple of days before Christmas.  Our daughter from Brisbane kindly brought her television and we set it up for the housesitters before all going to the beach.  Since our daughter was coming to the beach it was not going to be being used at her place this week.  Once we are home and have done some research on our options, we will buy a replacement.

Still on the Christmas theme, we try to keep our Christmas gifts either practical, consumable or experiences.  A few months ago, one of our daughters commented that she would like some more drinking glasses as they had recently had a few breakages.  I was happy to oblige but in the end I packaged up 6 matching glasses that I had owned for many years that were simply sitting in the sideboard and not being used.  There did not seem to be a lot of sense in going out and buying more for a gift when there were perfectly good ones at home.  Whilst not exactly an heirloom, she is happy to have these familiar glasses and I am pleased that are being used.

It is now 12 months since I first became involved in making Boomerang bags and you can read all about it here.  I have made well over 100 bags with fabric that I had in my stash, have been gifted and some bought from the local Salvos op shop.  A large quantity was given to me by my neighbour who is involved with the local Neighbourhood Centre. While some of the fabric is suitable for making a basic bag, I don’t think it is necessarily quite up to the standard required for the bags we are making for sale.  So, I have prepared enough fabric and straps to make 50 bags without the additional pocket.  These will be given back to Neighbourhood Centre for use when distributing food relief parcels to those in need.  I intend to add a note to each bag to encourage the recipient to reuse it for collecting food or another purpose.  They could also pass it on to someone else if they choose.

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I have several other plans for 2019.  These include being more efficient with our vegetable gardening so that I can share the produce with my neighbours.  Then there is our room which we offer through Air BnB.  We do not have a lot of guests as it has limited appeal, particularly as it is in a semi-rural area with no access to public transport.  On the up side – it is a quiet, get-away from it all spot located located close to some great scenery, walks and other relaxing activities.

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You could say I have left the best until last – the blog.  This has been my platform for sharing snippets of my life, including organising hints, recipes, thoughts and a thousand other things with you, my readers, over almost 8 years.

I would love to hear some examples of how you have or plan to participate in the sharing economy.  By sharing our experiences with each other we can build and enhance our networks and knowledge for the benefit of all.

Thank you for sticking with me during the leaner times on the blog and I look forward to moving onward and upward in 2019.

 

A Bulk Buy

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As you know, I am not a great fan of shopping.  However, there are still things that need to be purchased.

I needed more eucalyptus oil which is an ingredient of the homemade cleaner and wool wash that I make.  It is also a useful disinfectant and aid for removing labels from jars and the resultant glue residue.  Needless to say, I use a bit of it and was keen to buy a larger quantity than the 200ml bottle that I had recently emptied.

After some online searching we managed to source a 4 litre bottle in Australia.  It is the same brand as the previous bottle and was significantly cheaper.  In fact, I calculated that it cost about 60% of the cost of buying an equivalent volume in 200ml bottles from one of the major supermarkets.

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Although it is in a plastic container, this quantity will last me a lifetime and I will not be buying any more 200ml plastic bottles of eucalyptus oil.

I understand that many people would not be interested in buying this sort of quantity as there is a significant financial investment as well as storage issues.  Neither of these are a particular problem for me so I am happy to have been able to buy a large quantity of eucalyptus oil.

If you live in my vicinity and would like a smaller portion of this eucalyptus oil, please let me know and I will let you know all of the details including pricing which will be the same as I paid.  I am not doing this to make a profit but simply to give others the opportunity to access eucalyptus oil with minimal packaging in quantities that are appropriate to your needs.

**Please note that this is labelled ‘Commercial Grade’ and the directions are for use in cleaning applications.

There are a couple of hyperlinks in the second paragraph to the ‘recipes’ for cleaning products that I make using eucalyptus oil.

The Sharing Economy

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Sharing is one of the things that I believe is central to living a simpler life.  Sharing can take many forms from inviting someone for a meal, giving away excess produce or sharing a burden by simply being there to listen.  In many ways, our society has moved away from a collaborative approach to many things and I think we have multiple opportunities to encourage more co-operation within our communities.

There are aspects of social media that are less than desirable and the way some people choose to use it is downright awful.  But all is not lost.  Today I have been able to make contact with an online acquaintance who is looking for items that a member of my family has to give away.  This will be a win all round – items will be decluttered from one home and become materials for someone else involved in a community project.

A neighbour also recently asked online for assistance in how to pick mangoes.  We were able to offer the use of our fruit picker with a telescopic handle.

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So today we worked together to harvest a huge number of mangoes.

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Rather than one person trying to pick, process and store a couple of hundred mangoes we have shared the work and the harvest.  Additionally, the fruit picker is available for others to use.  There is no point in everyone having one sitting in the shed when it is only going to be used occasionally.

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Thank you, Patty and Chris.  We were delighted to be able to help and are especially grateful for your generosity.  Looking forward to mango chutney, sorbet and smoothies as well as yummy fresh mangoes!!

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What have you got that could be shared with a neighbour or friend?  What do you need that someone else may have?  Don’t be shy.  It never hurts to ask and you don’t know what the outcome will be.

Swap and Share

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One of the things that I constantly feel is lacking in our society today is the willingness and ability to share and co-operate with people in our wider community.

Today I headed into Maleny as I had a few things to do.  Since it is a 16km round trip I try to make sure that I make the travel worthwhile.

Before I left home I gathered up what I needed.

Some eggs to swap.

003Clothes to take to the recycle boutique where thy are sold on consignment.

001Some pieces of fabric for my sister.  She is making a costume for a school event.

002First I met up with some other keen gardeners and swapped the eggs for some worm juice.

004This can be diluted 1 :10 in water and used as fertiliser on fruit and vegetables.  My seedlings will get a boost.

Next, I headed to the recycle boutique but sadly it is closed on Thursdays.  I have left the bag of clothes in the car and will take them on Saturday.  I have also made a note to remember the opening hours in future.

Finally, I met my sister and we had a leisurely lunch at the Upfront Club.

When I came home I replaced the buttons on the sleeves of the coat that my sister gave me last week.  You can see that the buttons are not identical to the ones on the front opening, however, they tone in nicely.

005Also in the spirit of sharing, we have Air BnB guests arriving on Saturday for 3 nights so I have made up the bed in the guest room and made it ready for their arrival.

Teamwork

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What is teamwork?  Is it working together on the same project?  Doing different parts of the same task?  Performing separate but complimentary jobs?

Or is it all of the above?

Is there a clear division of labour  in your home?

I often hear people despairing because one or other partner does or does not do a particular chore to the ‘required’ standard.  Sometimes it is that they simply do not do a particular activity at all.

Although The Duke and I are both capable of doing pretty well any jobs, there are a couple of exceptions.  I have never mowed the lawn and am not about to start.  The Duke can iron but he does not offer to do the ironing.  I dislike loading the dishwasher and don’t usually make bread in the breadmaker.

Washing and drying dishes, preparing meals, shopping and gardening are probably the best examples of when we actually work side by side to achieve an outcome.

What about making plans, setting goals and handling finances?  Are these joint decisions or does one partner tend to take responsibility?

I have posed numerous questions here and would love to hear your thoughts.