This is a blog of the 31 things we will be doing in the month of January 2010 as part of our sustainable communities group. This post explains it all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day/Survival Day - have a nice one and a catchup with us!

The end of the month of January is approaching rapidly! We've scheduled the rest of the 31 Things in our dairies and we probably will finish all of them by the 31st, but we'll have to do some of the posting in February.

Scheduling in the shed.

Meanwhile here's a photo montage/summary of some of the latest and not so latest "Things" we've been doing.

Take it away #3 Make Gift for Anne's Baby!
John's sister Anne is having a baby next month (gender to be a surprise), and my sister Alison is having a girl in early June. So we're both going to have niblings, or nieflings, as we found out the kids of your siblings are also called!

Anne had a baby shower the other week and John and I made baby pants for our gift on my Granny's old Singer. It was the first time I'd used it and I fell in love with the idea of this link to my grandmother, who used to make a lot of our clothes on this same sewing machine when we were kids. John's paternal grandmother was actually a seamstress, and he knew how to work the machine and do the tricky bits. I love this idea of the two grandchildren of these two wonderful women who never met, sewing clothes for their great-grandchildren (our nieflings!). We made a little pair of summer tartan trousers for Anne's baby, and we'll return to the Singer to make something warm for Alison's baby in winter.

We'll also make some other stuff, I hope. I've been dagging around pretty much exclusively in op-shop clothes for the last five or six years because of the sweat shop issue, so the idea of making pretty things that really fit is wonderful. For some reason I really want to do some homemade knickers as well. I figure if you can sew your own underpants you can sew anything.

And so does Lars.

John tracing the pattern with his Nanna's tailor's chalk.

The Singer in action.

Baby pants! (Minus draw-string).

Next up was John's haircut which Maja offered to do back on the walk up Mt Lofty (the first of our 31 Things). On the same day, we also accidentally went to the Wayville Showground farmer's market, because we thought it was on the list, but we'd scrapped it in favour of the Compost Screw.

We thought we might pick one up there, as the guy we know who sells them lives far from town. Instead we came away with a tray of tomatoes, some garlic, the crazy Omega-3, super-weed, purslane (that we had just learned about from Joel on the Little House blog), and some basil from the Food Forest stall. John spoke to Anne-Marie Brookman of the Food Forest and got the ball rolling on the Book Permaculture Course challenge. Unfortunately we've apparently underestimated the cost of the 10 day course by about 50%, but we've started a little savings fund to try to afford it by April.

Here are some pics from the market.

We made some oven-dried "sun dried" tomatoes with this tray of beauties (ironically you need three days of consecutive heatwave to dry them properly outside, and it was cool). The recipe was from Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

Maja and John looking a bit cool at the Farmer's Market.

Food Forest garlic, on top of sundried tomato pesto.

This is purslane! ($2 at the Wayville Farmer's Market)

And this is purslane ($10 from Banner Hardware) - but can you eat this kind?

We think this is also purslane, growing in our street as a weed. We wouldn't want to eat this one as it's growing beside the road and might be polluted, but it's nice to know it's there.

And here is John's haircut. We couldn't get hairdressing scissors anywhere, but finally found some at a $2 Shop when we had given up and set off for home.


We went back. If John was nervous you couldn't really tell.

I'm the god'arn Batman!

The "bobbed" stage where Maja admitted she mostly cut girls' hair.

Very suave, Willanski, very suave.

Somewhere among the Rudd calling and visiting, John made pesto. The garden basil has gone from abundant to scarce after the heatwave, so we substituted it for Food Forest basil from the Farmer's Market. John used yeast instead of cheese in the pesto. It was chunky and delicious!

Calling Rudd.

Break for dinner.

Calling Wong.

As a sort of 31 Things spin-off, we helped John's brother Dave and sister-in-law Candice start a potted garden in their courtyard. Dave wrote about it on his blog too. I think the figure of us growing 70-80% of our own food is too generous, but I wonder how much we do grow?

John brought the permaculture book along.(the earth users guide to permaculture)

Parsely, capsicum, lemon grass, chives and cherry tomato for the food plants, and native grasses, native rosemary and something else native with pink flowers for the rest.

Willanski Bros.

Then Dave dropped us in Medindie where we visited Jules and her kids Raphie and Indigo. Jules gave us some worm poo for the garden (and worm wee). We think our fruiting plants might be a bit undernourished, so some of this worm compost might help them fruit if it's not too late in the season.

Worm wee, mmm!

An appropriate doggy-bag gleaned from the supply at our local park for the worm poo.

Our hosts having a story.

We're on a sort of daily schedule at the moment.
Next day we made bread with Anna.

Adding the oil.

Consulting the bread cook book. (The Peter Berley Modern Vegetarian Cookbook).


Several hours later (note sun has set) - bread! We took some to a house party that night.

On the bread-making day we also found some soap made from glycerine, which we've been looking for because it doesn't contain palm oil. We were really pleased as we've been trying to avoid palm oil, because of the issues with deforestation and orangutan populations. This turkish-delight style number came from a shop off the Parade that Rapsodie from our Sustainable Communities group mentioned. I'll note the name next time I go down the street.

Note the shower timer still in use. Have we been using it? John has more than I have, but I tend to start the shower timer and not get out immediately when it runs out. Still, when my showers go overtime, they feel illicit, rather than standard, and they're shorter than before we got it.

Yesterday we got a photo-electric smoke alarm from the post office. Actually we got four, and rejected two of the conventional sort. In a weird coincidence (Emeera, did you tell him you'd had a premonition?!), Harry, our landlord arrived unexpectedly to install some of the regular kind that he had brought with him (thereby fullfilling the Call Harry about rotten wood challenge, as well). He was very understanding about us not wanting the radioactive kind and even gave us some money to buy the sort we wanted, as well as one for Anna and Lily's place.

I took a bus back to the post office I used to go to when I lived in the city, because our local one had run out of smoke alarms, and returned triumphantly with the last two they had. Then John rang up from his parents' place to say his Dad, George, had picked us up a couple from a different post office. So now each house has two photo-electric smoke alarms. George is going to take our old ones, and some batteries that have been sitting on top of the fridge for about five years, to his work's hazardous waste bin.

The new ones. And they only cost ten bucks each!

That's it for now. We're both getting ready for our Fringe shows, I've given away uni for this and last week, due to Rudd and getting my photos ready, and we have been doing various other of the 31 Things that we don't have photos of.

I've predominantly been reading a book called "Choosing Eden" that Dave told us he'd got free with an issue of Gardening Australia. Basically it's a first-person account of a couple in their fifties who have packed up their comfortable Sydney life to start a permaculture farm in the NSW countryside, because of Peak Oil.

We're gearing up to write a big Peak Oil post, and because there's not enough time left in January to do it and some of the other posts justice we're going to extend the blog out into February and beyond. We're not sure if we'll continue blogging about new projects after we've reported on all the 31 Things - maybe!

We're booked in for our massage on Friday, and will have at least started or tee'd up all of the "Things" by Sunday, the 31st day of January. Except possibly "Go to an escapist movie"! We wanted to see "Where the Wild Things Are", but it looks as if we've missed it. "Avatar" was recommended (thanks Trina!), but Anna said the camera motion made her sick. I have a bizarre urge to see "The Road", which could not be classified escapist by any stretch of anyone's imagination. (Unless in that way where you realise that your fears for the future aren't as horrible as someone else's dystopia. )

Lastly, a friend of John's parents told us today that my polemic letter about Rudd avoiding the climate change question made it into the Advertiser yesterday! "Catastrophe awaits"!

1 comment:

  1. Cute baby pants! Isn't Purslane great! I have it growing in my garden and have been ading it to our salads recently. It seemd to be growing everywhere in or neighburhood at the moment. I'm keeping an eye on some of the 'less polluted' areas and might to some urban foraging soon.

    Love you blog and the idea.