When I moved into my fiancé’s house almost a year ago I knew I wasn’t marrying a gardener. While he doesn’t haven’t a green thumb he certainly makes up for it in the kitchen. So it was a simple plan when I moved in… I would garden and he would cook. However we do cross over a little as I do like to cook and I think I have given him a little confidence in the gardening realm (well at least with the mowing).
Today I was on my way home and I saw a sign for free pavers. I stopped and got out of the car and to my surprise it was just what I was after for placing a rock border around the garden (well it has got me off to a good start) and some pavers for stepping stones to the letter box.
After I looked at my no-cost handy work I started to think the front garden transformation has become a real tribute to sustainability in the sense of materials costing me nothing, lawn cost nothing (the real bonus with that was I didn’t even have to lay it) and apart from a few plants they to have cost me nothing.
The main outcome for the front garden is for it to be a butterfly garden and the rocks were a perfect addition as they need somewhere to rest and warm up. Along with some nectar plants all I need now is a nice birdbath or something to ensure butterflies and birds have what they need to drink and eat.
So I guess there you have it. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to landscape your garden. Generally what is required is a little patience because sometimes you may just have to wait for materials to be available. All I can say is be on the look out and don’t be afraid to ask people if they require something or what they are doing with the left overs. Bartering is another good practice. That’s how I manage to get a lot of my plants (my son has a little nursery set up for native Australian plants and teenagers are always up for a good deal).
Next I might have to sneak in a few vegetables throughout the garden beds out the front. My fiancé seems to think you can only grow those types of things in a backyard. Well I think he may be in for a lesson on permaculture.
One of the biggest issues I deal with on a daily basis in my day job is domestic waste management. I’ll admit sometimes it can be incredibly frustrating that people are just not getting the message about the 5 Rs… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, Redistribute.
I will be quick to mention that waste management in my household is not perfect. However I think we do a pretty good job with a household of six. The little ones are still getting use to separating the waste but it is a work in progress.
For those that don’t know about our kerbside waste service we have a 120Lt general waste bin, a 240Lt recycling bin and a 240Lt organics bin through NAWMA (Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority). I am amazed by the amount of people who tell me this is not enough. Personally I would be lucky to fill up my general waste bin on a weekly basis. Whereas my other two fortnightly bins (recycling and organics) are usually bursting at the brim to be emptied every fortnight. However before I look to purchase another recycling or organics bin (an option that is available to us) I really need to look at ways I can reduce or find alternative ways to recycle.
Cans and bottles, clothes and food scraps are most probably the easiest things I can dispose of without having to place in the kerbside waste. Cans and bottles we collect and cash in, clothes we donate and foodscraps quite often get placed in our worm farm.
At the moment we have a couple of tables and a matress to get rid of but I have taken advantage of a “free” (it is paid for within rates) hard waste service that our local council offer. This offer allows us to until the end of the year to get rid of one 6×4 trailer at the local transfer station.
I guess some of the things that I or we could improve upon in the household is recycling soft plastics. I guess I’ve been a little slack in implementing that “rule” into the house and making it happen. I do hope the other supermarket chains pick it up as I tend not to shop at the big multi-nationals (for ethical reasons).
Domestic waste management does require discipline. Even for the people who live, work and breathe sustainability. However if a household of six can manage with the bins that the local council give us and the programs that are available for recycling on top of that I’m sure that most can. Do a little research on your local council’s website, “google” recycling for your area, you will be surprised with what’s out there.
Had a big clean up this weekend. The weather was just perfect for getting out in the garden and getting a few household chores done.
With the lawns mowed I decided to sort the cans and bottles and take them down to the recycling centre. Made myself $47 to go spend down at the hardware/garden centre. Needed some supplies to pot some plants up (including the lemon tree which Diesel liked).
While I was down at the hardware/garden centre I took advantage of the light globe recycling. ZeroWaste SA state that this program “…ensures that globes will be recycled instead of going to landfill and prevents mercury contained in some globes from harming the environment”.
So while I was in the recycling mood I dropped off a few bags of clothing to the Lifeline bin. Of course I put aside a couple of t-shirts to make myself a few more t-shirt bags.
Recycling and reusing was really the theme for the weekend. I had realised how much I do recycle and reuse. My yellow recycling bin is almost full for the fortnight (lucky it gets collected on Wednesday). The green organic bin is also just about full. Unfortunately for that bin I’ll have to wait another week. Oh well perhaps I can take it easy on the weeding for the next week. However I’m sure I will find plenty to do.
Books that may be of interest to keen recyclers and reusers…
My fiancé and I had to find a birthday present for his Mum. I’m one for finding presents that are a little on the different side and err on the side of sustainability.
My fiancé’s Mum loves her op shopping. She can hunt down a bargain like you wouldn’t believe, especially in relation to clothing. Let’s face it, op shopping, saves a lot of money, helps with many worthwhile charities along the way and it is great from a sustainability perspective. However looking through op shops on your own can be boring and you tend to stick to your own territory. So I found the answer…
An op shop bus tour! I remember seeing one being run out of Melbourne on a TV program one evening and I wondered if they run something like that here in Adelaide. My search led me to find this little business called You…Us and a Bus.
I organised the May tour for my fiancé’s mum, his sister and myself ($35 per head) and it was so much fun. We met in Adelaide at the Goodwill shop (this is where I scored myself a near brand new pair of jeans for $1) and looked around until the bus arrived. Once we were badge up and on the bus we headed to Blackwood. Along the way we stopped at another shop, where I indulged $7.50 and bought 5 books (some yummy times ahead).
Along the way was fun with our two lovely hosts for the tour, Shelly and Rowena, with prizes, a bit of extra shopping and plenty of laughs and that was just on the bus. Once in Blackwood we had a couple of hours to look through another few shops with morning tea thrown in as well (which was lovely).
It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning. Guilt free retail therapy! With the bargains I found and good times had, the money spent paying for the tour was certainly worthwhile. Another thing it was great to go and explore somewhere that you wouldn’t usually go.
I swear t-shirts have been breeding in a dark corner of the girls bedroom. Well the time has come to sort out their clothes and take them down to the op shop. However I have come across this website with some creative ways to reuse old t-shirts.
Given winter is just about to well and truly set in this could be the answer to a few weekends where it seems like cabin fever has set in (there are six in our household). I’m thinking I might try the shopping bags or a latch hook rug. I think the rug would look great in the girls’ room (we have a lot of pink).
Please feel free to share your projects or any great ideas for old t-shirts.
Went to the most gorgeous little pub in Adelaide today. The Benjamin on Franklin’s decor is just beautiful (lunch was fantastic as well). Located above our heads, hanging from the ceiling, was a sculpture made from reused glassware. I took some photos but they really do it no justice. If you get the chance to check it out, do it.