We’re on our way to a more simple life, growing our own food and reducing our consumption. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, these are the basic ingredients to help reduce your ecological footprint and becoming more self-reliant which not only saves money but saves precious resources too.
Take a look at what can be done in a few months if you put your mind to it. Keep in mind that we started making changes to our house and lives here and there some time ago so we already had a bit of momentum even if it was in fits and starts.
There are no hard and fast rules to making changes to your lives. Do what you can because even the smallest change will make a difference in some way. You’ll feel good about yourself and it will be good for the planet. Starting with one small change might kick off your interest for even bigger changes. Use your space to your advantage, even if you live in a small apartment. You don’t need a large area to grow herbs, have a worm farm or make bread. Many of the participants in courses I’ve attended live in tiny places in the city but are still making do with what space they have and are achieving remarkable things.
For an urban space, our Permaculture garden is really quite small but we’ve managed to obtain some decent yields with 14 kilos of tomatoes being the biggest so far this year. In Summer we grew lots of other plants, some went well and others not so well but we managed to harvest a good supply of beans, zucchinis, shallots, spinach, carrots, beetroot, potatoes, lettuce, chilli, eggplant and herbs.
We’re baking our own bread in a hand-me-down machine saving over $3 a loaf.
We’ve made batches of fig jam and blackberry jam for free, we’ve used excess tomatoes from the garden to make our own tomato sauce and passata and dried fruit and made our own herb teas using our dehydrator. We’ve also brewed six dozen bottles of delicious ginger beer for less than 10 cents a bottle.
We’re also sharing our experience with our kids who are learning to care for the earth and set themselves up for the future. They’re cooking each week and learning to make soaps, bread, cleaning products and the skills of simple animal husbandry.
We’ve had fun at a few courses this year learning how to preserve food and keep bees naturally and we’ve ordered a Warré beehive for Spring.
We’ve also added two new chooks to our Permaculture system (yeah, I was going to tell you about them).
We started recording our electricity usage last year thanks to the Greening of Gavin’s Great Kilowatt Challenge, made a few simple adjustments and reduced our last bill by 20%.
We’ve added a second-hand seed tray to our reusable items collection and have four composting bins in full production. We’ve also made loads of eucalyptus mulch for our native garden and swales.
We’re recycling all our green waste and food scraps on site and still haven’t put out a green bin since May ’11 and are trialling a friends Bokashi bin in the kitchen.
We’ve made 30 more cakes of soap, rosemary hair rinse, knitted face washers and dishcloths and invested in an old fashioned soap saver.
Looking back it’s been an amazing start to the year but we have lots of plans for the coming months.
Stay tuned for my next update….the plant nursery unfolds.