The Great Purge

Well, everyone might be talking about the Greater Depression but all I can think about is the Great Purge – from detoxing to decluttering. And oh how every part of me wants to resist it. To give you some idea …. for months I’ve been collecting toilet rolls to use as planting tubes. This is such a perfect obsessive compulsive thing to do. I’ve collected trays and trays of them, which has made me feel extremely virtuous for reducing so much waste. I finally planted my first seeds in one tray – eggplant seeds.

They came up but have not been progressing brilliantly and finally last night I read on one of my favourite blogs Daughter of the Soil that the chemicals used in “bog roll” manufacture seem to leach into the soil and affect seed germination. On the site some of the people were worried about the glues and the mould that happens with “bog rolls” while others were adamant that they were not a problem. At the end of the day I’m relying on Rebsie at Daughter of the Soil and giving the rolls the flick. Oh the pain of turfing them. Interestingly they may soon be a thing of the past anyway. Georgia-Pacific, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of tissue, pulp, paper and packaging, has just produced a ‘coreless’ toilet roll. When the last sheet is used, literally nothing is left behind.

One of my other inspirational blogs has been the one written by Envirowoman

This is the total of all the plastic she consumed in 2008:

– having tried and tried to reduce plastic in our lives I cannot tell you how awesome that is!

My determination to reduce plastic goes through waves. It’s a bit like everyone’s response to global warming or the financial crisis … you can only stay intensely focused on the issue for a period of time, then everything in you simply wants to normalize again. To do this the intensity of the threats we’re facing has to vanish for a while – much as it has for most people over Christmas. But plastic is an immediate threat damaging my children and I need to stay focussed.

Another of my favourite bloggers, Albert Bates, has summarised the threats of plastic well in The Plastic Monster

I’m nowhere near able to reduce my plastic consumption as much as Envirowoman (yet) but I finally bit the bullet and removed every plastic storage container from the kitchen today … from plastic cups to tupperware to those Asian takeaway containers that are great for freezing food. Even plastic ice cube trays. Mind you, canned food has a plastic lining, we buy yoghurt and icecream in plastic etc etc etc but I’m working up to those. Last year I made our own yoghurt and icecream but then I normalized again and it was easier to keep buying it readymade …. I bought bulk olive oil from a grower friend and I’ve spent part of today (the part between chucking out the plastic and chucking out the toilet rolls) decanting it into screwtop wine bottles – they’re much better anyway simply because of the dark glass which protects the

oil from light.

I’m using more stainless steel to store food in the fridge too … ever since the week before Christmas when the shelf in our fridge broke and the glass pyrex dish fell out and smashed on Oscar’s foot – the cut was so deep he had to have his foot stitched!

I found out yesterday that the stainless steel containers at the front crack if you put them in the freezer. They’re from an Indian spice shop in Dee Why but apparently they’re only very thin steel. The tiffins and the mugs are thicker but I’ll keep using the pyrex in the freezer.

Meanwhile, getting into this chucking out frenzy fired me up to do some work in the garden too. I picked the last of my crimson flowered broadbean pods.

I was so pleasantly surprised. I planted the seeds I got from The Diggers’ Club way way too late – when everyone else was harvesting their beans. I did it just because I wanted some of the beautiful blossoms and I never expected to actually reach bean formation stage. Ha! Look at these. They were absolutely delicious – the most beautiful broadbeans I’ve ever had. Rebsy has done a perfect review of Crimson flowered Broadbeans on her blog:

Nature is so extraordinarily resilient. Even my potatoes have risen to the challenge to grow and in the 6 days since I planted my very leggy potatoes, shoots have already started to come up:

A couple of days before Christmas I also opened and set up a mushroom growing kit. Here it is about a week ago:

and today we harvested half a kilo of mushrooms for dinner:

I’m going to weigh each “crop” I harvest and work out the quantity of mushrooms one of these kits produces. The best thing about the kit was that Oscar was so intrigued he actually ate mushrooms for dinner for the first time tonight. Yeeha – it worked!

I told the boys how mushrooms are like a vitamin tonic and so are especially good for vegetarians. I’m also concentrating on lots of veges as part of my new year detox, and drinking lots of delicious herb teas out of the garden. Planted my favourite lemon grass in a large wine barrel today too so I can have my daily lemongrass/lemon verbena and lemon balm tea … over the next week I’ll start harvesting all the different herbs and drying them so I’ll have enough to take me through winter ….

It’s hard to believe, when it is as warm and abundant as it is at the moment (in between the storms and the sudden temperature drops!) that in a few months it will be winter and most of this abundance will disappear. It’s also hard to believe when our lives are as fortunate as they’ve been that any of this can come to an end … but, winter is around the corner and it’s time to get to work …. enough normalizing for now.

6 thoughts on “The Great Purge

  1. Lonnie

    I am thrilled to find your website. I was on a search for a picture of borage and ended up at your post. Your thoughts about impending climate change are mine exactly, but you have much better quotes on your site than I have on mine! Thanks for all the great photos, too. Here in Syracuse, NY (one hour’s drive from the Canadian border) we have been getting feet of snow – some parts just north of us have snow that has accumulated over two meters. With the Great Lakes being too warm, they don’t freeze early enough so the moisture rising from the lakes combines with Canadian icy air and makes more snow than ever. But your garden pictures are cheering me up and encouraging me to keep planning. I’m slowly replacing my lawn with gardens for vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Borage will be tops on my list!

  2. Frances van Zinnen

    Hi Lis,

    Very inspirational as usual. There is a great spice shop in Newtown that sells stainless cannisters at good prices.



  3. Lis

    Lonnie lovely to hear from you. It’s so hard to believe you can be experiencing such cold when Sydney is experiencing temperatures of around 40 C … we only got to 32 today but even that feels extremely hot in Blackheath. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the electrical storm we’re experiencing at the moment won’t trigger a bushfire.
    Hi Frances … thanks for the tip about Newtown …. hope you’re coping OK with the heat in Sydney.

  4. Lis

    Oh dear, 1 1/2 hours after I made my last comment a lightning strike started a bushfire at Mt Airley, near Lithgow. Because it’s in such rough terrain firefighters are having difficulty containing it.

  5. mountainwildlife

    I was really interested to read about the loo rolls – I too have been a teensy bit obsessive about saving them for planting tree seeds, but was worried about the ‘fragrance’ they seem to give off (although strangely not scented paper ??)
    The last lot I soaked in a big bucket of water and added to the compost bin and worm farm. Worms consumed them and still alive (!) so that may be an option? 🙂

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