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Scraps.

One of my goals this year is to be more sustainable and create less waste.

For me this means using more from our garden, creating less rubbish, and recycling more.

It also means creating less food waste. We already compost with our Bokashi buckets, and our meal scraps go to our dog Toby. But I wanted to minimise this even further, especially after reading about how much money we wasted by throwing out, and even composting, the vege bits we don’t use for eating:

“Even the humble vege could be costing you money. If you pay $2.29 for a head of broccoli but only cook the florets, and throw away the stalk, that’s up to $60 a year.”

(https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/reduce-your-waste/)

Over the past few weeks I have been collecting food scraps in a zip lock bag in the freezer – bits that we don’t use in cooking but that are still edible: carrot ends, broccoli stalks, capsicum cores, outer leaves of cabbage, onion ends…You get the picture. I wanted to try to make vege stock from them.

I make my own chicken stock when I can, adding onions, carrots, bay leaves, dried chilli and pepper corns to the chicken carcass and water to cover, but I’ve never tried vege stock before.


Today was the day! I cleaned all the scraps in diluted Apple Cider Vinegar (simply amazing for everything!!), rinsed them off, and chucked them in the slow cooker with my stock standards: peppercorns, bay leaves, dried chillies and a bunch of rosemary. (The chillies and rosemary are homegrown.) I also found a few snapped off carrots from the garden so popped them in too, added water to fill the bowl, and left it overnight to cook.

There were heaps of veges left in the bowl, and I got 2 1/2 Litres of stock out of it: three 500ml containers and one 1L container.

I feel better about putting the scraps in the bokashi now that I’ve had some use out of them.

I had to try it and see the results of my experiment. There was a bit of a tang from the chilli and a slight bitterness – from cabbage maybe? But it’s gooooood. And cheap. And easy.

Yum! Can’t wait to use it in cooking! But for now, straight in the freezer.

Freedom

“THERE’S A GIRL INSIDE THE WOMAN
WHO’S WAITING TO GET FREE
SHE’S WASHED A MILLION DISHES
SHE’S ALWAYS MAKING TEA

THEY THINK SHE’S JUST A MOTHER
WITH NOTHING LEFT INSIDE
WHO SWAPPED HER DREAMS FOR DRUDGERY
THE DAY SHE WAS A BRIDE
BUT THE DREAMS WERE NOT FORGOTTEN
JUST WRAPPED, AND PACKED AWAY
IN THE HOPE THAT SHE COULD TAKE THEM OUT
AND DUST THEM OFF ONE DAY”
(Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, Act II – Narrator)

I saw Blood Brothers over the weekend put on by Abbey Musical Theatre in Palmerston North. It was gripping and tragic and wonderfully staged and performed. But this quote was what stuck out to me the most. It struck a nerve that just quietly sits in the back of my mind, ever since I became a mother. And I sobbed.

Because the thing that I miss most of all since having my children is my Freedom:

Freedom to go out, anywhere, at any time of day. Even just for a drive on a wet night (such as this). Or just to get milk from the dairy.

Freedom to stay in bed for as long as I want.

Freedom to eat whatever I feel like, without having to keep in mind what the tastes of the moment are, or without having to share, or feeling guilty for not sharing.

Freedom to play piano without little fingers prying mine away.

Freedom to have uninterrupted time to create, by myself, whether it be draw or dance or paint or sew or knit or crochet.

And ultimately,
Freedom to be something other than just a Stay At Home Mother. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. My children are amazing. I love them so much and I’m so glad they are in my life. I would do anything to protect them, and to make sure that they thrive.

But, my identity is not fundamentally based in my ability to produce life and ‘keep house’. My identity is based in me – my interests and desires, my dreams and aspirations, my likes and dislikes. And to be quite honest, if I was just parenting, or just cooking, or just cleaning, or just resolving conflict, it would be ok. But it’s when they all compound and take over everything else that I lose myself.

And it’s tiring – relentlessly tiring. No wonder many Mums I know stay up late every night just to get some time to themselves or to do work for their business that can’t get done at any other time.

I’ve had a song in my head recently. Just a few words going around in circles:

“I’m tired (tired)
So tired (so tired)
Of chasing the dreams (of chasing the dreams)
With tears in my eyes
I realize
That it’s running away”
(‘Please’ – Cee Lo Green and Selah Sue)

And sometimes I feel like I am still that girl I was when I had dreams about saving the world, before I was depended on by anyone else, and my heart aches for those wild, big-hearted, fanciful dreams.

For now, I just dream for a free moment to be able to go for a run, or to have an uninterrupted yoga session or to read with a cup of coffee.

Anything for a moment for me:
to recharge,
to be alone,
and to feel Free.

Rain.

I only wash my hair with the finest Antipodean rainwater…

My 5 year old says that the rain is her favourite. She gets her gumboots and umbrella and splashes about in the puddles and gets saturated, all with the hugest grin on her face.

I love the rain too. It means I can get a new supply of rainwater to wash my hair with.

Yes, I know that totally sounds really hippie. If you’re imagining the swishing hair of the Herbal Essences ads, or the woman sudsing up her hair under the waterfall, it’s not quite like that. Not actually anywhere near that.

Ever since I have stopped using commercial shampoo, or gone “no-poo”, I have been using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair. This works so well! Unless you have hard water, where it leaves your hair feeling waxy which is no good.  And surprise surprise! we have hard water. So whenever it rains I’ve taken to collecting rain water in a big bowl.

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I left this bowl out overnight and it was full of beautiful rain water this morning.

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I then sieve out the dirt and pollen using a funnel and muslin cloth, and pour it into water bottles which stay in the fridge until I need it. Tada! Instant nature-filtered water!

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This time I got a 400ml bottle and a 750ml bottle full, which should be enough for 4-5 washes. Woohoo! That’s the next month sorted. Now I’m all ready for next hair wash day.

The Hair Experiment??

What if I told you that you never have to buy shampoo again…

When I was 14 I stopped washing my hair. I figured that if guys could not wash their hair for weeks, then why couldn’t I? Surely it gets to a stage where it self-cleans? My friends talked me out of that, after my hair became a greasy mess, not without a fight though. And they still refer to it as ‘the time when Sarah stopped washing her hair’.

Now, older and wiser, I decided to give it another shot: I now haven’t used shampoo in 6 months. I know. Gross huh 😉

I used to be a regimental every-second-day washer, and if I missed a day my hair was oily and lank. So what happened?

I blame Facebook. If it weren’t for Mum groups I’m in, then I’d never have found out that some Mums wash their hair once a week. At the same time in another group, people were taking about ways to give up on mainstream cosmetic and beauty products, and the subject of no-poo came up.

Nope, it’s not about actual poo. ‘Poo: short for shampoo. No-poo: no shampoo.

I started by reading Lucy’s blog about alternatives to shampoo. I delved into how shampoo works, how your scalp and hair works and what it needs, and thought why not? What’s the worst that can happen?

So I did it.

I threw away and gave away all of my shampoo and conditioner (though kept the ones without silicones or sulphates) and dove in head first, or hair first.

I started with the no-poo basics: baking soda and Apple cider vinegar (BS & ACV). And it was yuck at first. I wore lots of braid and plaits and twists to hide the grease, but as I stetched out the washes, my hair produced less oil. Now I wash once a week, and rinse halfway through the week, but only if my hair needs it.

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I’ve experimented with all kinds of things so far. Tea rinses: peppermint, chamomile; coffee rinses; aloe vera juice; egg; tap water; rain water; oils…

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I wondered how long I could do it for. I mean if it all turned nasty I could always go back to regular ol’ shampoo and conditioner. And 6 months in it is still an experiment as I learn about what my hair likes (Aloe – YES!! Coffee – not so much). With my trusty boar bristle brush, detangling comb and 10 min of brushing every night, I’m embracing the sebum and my hair is so much healthier and lighter and has more volume. And, I’m not buying a new bottle of shampoo/conditioner every few months. Yay for money saving and less waste!!

So turns out 14-year old me was on to something. I just needed to reach my 30s and not give a damn anymore to give it a proper shot 🙂