Tag Archive | conservation

Budget, bunny bottoms and an occasional shop

I’ve just been on a trip. It wasn’t planned. My foot got caught in a bramble and catapulted me down a bank side. Not enjoyable, although I did have a nice view of a bunny’s bottom as it bundled for cover in terror.

It’s my own fault. I go about gawping at all the natural delights without watching where I’m putting my feet. Rabbit holes have caught me out before now, and trails of ivy across the wooded path where I sometimes walk.

But I still love being out there. Now the weather’s improving it’s all the nicer and I get out often, looking for both inspiration and soul refreshment. Over winter there’s been times I’ve often resorted to coffee shops and city centres for this purpose. But the snag with that is the expenditure and the hoards of people all shopping. cafe books 002

When did shopping become a pastime, rather than a necessity? Probably when corporate politics saw the potential to fleece people without them even needing anything!

We used to shop out of need. Now we shop out of greed. For, let’s be honest, much of what we shop for is non-essential. We could do without much of it.

I’m not against shopping as a pastime if it’s what you like. I like charity treasure seeking with the girls! But as long as it is what you like and not something you’re doing as a slave to commercial trends and con merchants.

We can be so conned and from so many sources. Conned into believing we need much more than we do, or we’re not as good as others if we don’t have stuff, or if we haven’t got that kind of ‘disposable income’ we’re somehow inferior.

I’ve decided to resist this. I’ve decided to look seriously at anything I’m tempted to buy and ask; do I really want this or am I conned into believing I do with clever marketing? (Supermarkets are masters at this). What can I use/do/create as a solution rather than buy as a solution?

The beauty of this approach is that it lessens my dependency on the expensive antidote to doldrums that shopping can become making me a slave to big income when moderate income will do, it makes me far more resourceful and stretches my mental skills, it’s a good example to my young people and shows them how to be thrifty and I also find I’m not as poor as I thought because not only am I keeping money in my purse, I’ve changed my attitude as well.

For once basic needs are met; food, shelter, warmth, etc, feeling poor can be as much a state of attitude as a state of finance. We can be rich in love even without money, for example. Rich in what we already have, without needing anything else. And if life feels flat and we’re thinking about buying a solution, creating a solution or seeking an experience instead of shopping can change that feeling by giving a sense of achievement far more fulfilling that a quick shopping fix. I think so many young people are dissatisfied because of slavery to shopping fixes that soon wear off.

And of course, the less we buy, the less we pollute the earth. So not only does it make us more resourceful, it pays greater respect to the resources the earth already has given, and lessens the impact on what’s left of it.

So, I’m on a drive to minimise spending and maximise resourcefulness.

Although I’m not sure how many brambles and bunny bottoms will be involved! I’ll keep you posted.

Easter – wake up with the earth!

pussy willow 007

Pussy willow coming into flower

Easter time; the season of rebirth. And if we get some warmth and sunshine so I can be outside it’ll make me feel reborn too! That’s the effect being outdoors has. It wakes me up and energises!

The Easter break surely is the best time to get re-connected with earthy things.

If you live in cities it’s all to easy to forget about the earth under all that concrete – I know – I grew up in central London. It never enters your head neatly tucked out of sight beneath those hard pavements; you never think that it sustains all life. It provides all food, all the materials we need to create our homes, machines, gadgets and clothes; everything we own originates from the earth. That thought is truly amazing.

It’s also worth considering how much we’re going to pollute that life-giving earth with yet another mound of packaging over Easter.

How about doing Easter differently? How about an experience instead of packaging! One that will reconnect you and your children with the wonders of the earth at this time of year as it emerges from its winter shackles? Visit a farm and see what food is being planted, seek out some lambs, look for sticky buds and pussy willow and go somewhere you and the children can bury your nose in spring flowers. Start growing some cress (you can do this in eggshells!) or sow some sunflowers.

This doesn’t have to cost the earth, either literally or budget wise. Especially if you don’t buy into that commercial con that Easter has become. Enjoy a chocolate egg by all means but you can get ten chocolate egg-sized eggs with minimum waste, for the same price as a massive box with hardly any chocolate in it if you compare the weights. I’ve got wise to it now and won’t let companies fool me. And like to consider the needs of the earth as well as my need for chocolate! Share that with the children, help them understand the earth, its needs and and how delightful it is.

A prettily packaged egg encased in a mass of plastic lasts a few moments on the eye and in the mouth, but will pollute the planet for years.

Memories of good times spent outdoors under the sky, watching hatchlings or touching sticky buds, lasts forever and through our connection reminds us to act in ways that will preserve them!

Mad hares and swallow moments

Bluebells to look forward to

Bluebells to look forward to

I’m excited now the equinox has passed! Now that from this time on, for six months, there will be more light than dark. Despite irritating disruptions like clock changes I shall be waking in the light and there’ll still be enough light after supper to meander outside.

Outside things are changing. Mad hares have been leaping. Birds are home making. Shoots are surging and bursting open and when the extra light shines on me I feel like doing the same. There will be bluebells to look forward to and one of these coming days I might even toss my thermals off!

Thermals are required both inside and outside this house. Apart from the fact it’s old and draughty and I get damn cold sitting writing, I also try to ration the heating for both budget and planetary reasons. I want to go on enjoying this light and atmosphere and it needs preserving for those coming along behind me so they can do the same.

Winters can be challenging and I know I’m taking conscience a bit too far when it’s so cold in the house the dinner won’t defrost. But when it’s bad I light the log fire. Or hoovering is good for a warm up – the house is much cleaner in the winter! And I have jumpers that reach my knees and plenty of woolly rugs.

Now though, with longer hours of sunshine, I can utilise natural radiation and sit by a sunny window. Sun warmth penetrates deeper and faster than any heating and although I may have grown soft with modern comforts I appreciate the sun’s heat and the turning of the season more than any fire. So I do what I can to preserve it, however little a drop in the ecological ocean that may be.

It all helps.

And whatever little action you take will help too. Never think it’s not worth it.

Because all these little actions we take, added together, not only make a difference in lessening the impact you make upon the earth and its atmosphere and sunlight, are also a message in example to others. It may influence others’ actions.

Just like everyone follows a trend, like saying ‘hey’ in greeting instead of ‘hello’ for example which changes societal behaviour, we can change people’s behaviour towards the earth by our example and create new trends and habits. A good one to start with would be not to buy wet-wipes – have you seen the damage they do?

So, yea, I’m getting more than a little excited to see that added sunshine. And if any words I write here in my appreciation of it educates others enough to change one small thing they do to help preserve it, then I’ll be well chuffed.

Just as I am chuffed to see the sun rise each day, to witness the first feathered arrow dart across the sky as the summer swallows come, or see the mad hares leap about the fields in mating games.

And after writing this I will get up and leap about just as madly in order to warm up and resist putting the heating on so that the order of the natural world is disrupted a little less by pollutive habits.

May I plead with you to do the same and make one small change in your actions today, thus setting an example to your children and future generations and showing them how important is this earth?

Old swimming costumes and education!

001 I’ve just been cutting up a swimming costume. I’m reusing.

Materials like the one it’s made from make great garden ties for the roses and other climbing plants. It also means I don’t have to fork out for expensive garden string Garden Centres would have me believe I can’t do without!

Tights are another favourite for this job but since I don’t wear them I watch the girls like a predator and as soon as there’s a hole coming; ‘can I have your tights?’ Unfortunately they like holes and wear all their stuff to death anyway so then I move onto my husband’s socks.

Socks are good, in fact, any stretchy fabric’s good for string replacement; strappy tops, T-shirts, stockings. Whenever things get past their original use they get another one. Vests and T-shirts make good cleaning cloths. From the legs of jeans you can make those tubular storage bags for carriers. From the top part my daughter used to make hand bags.

You can grow plants in old boots and shoes and a whole variety of containers. I remember the children made jewellery from old tools and the bits from a dismantled video player. We made bird-scarers from old CDs. And we always kept a multitude of boxes and tubs in all sizes and shapes for model making or covering and making our own storage or shelving.

Once you get your mind working that way the list goes on.

The first advantage of all this is it costs you nothing so you can work less hours and spend more time with your children.

The second advantage is that it stimulates the brain which develops intellect and thinking skills and makes kids resourceful.

The third advantage is that it helps you buy less, so there’s less to tidy away (big advantage!) but more importantly it’s essential for the planet; less industry and less waste and therefore pollution.

And finally it is fundamental to respect. Respect is paramount to living. And education.

We live on this planet, greedily use its resources, yet completely take them for granted. When do we ever consider as we tap away on our laptops and tablets, which we probably discard and replace every few years, that they have cost the earth? And I don’t mean that purse wise, I mean planet wise – in their making, through the materials needed, by their eventual waste.

Every resource we use needs to be respected because basically every time we buy something we pollute something.

And our kids are going to be left with the legacy of that. That’s why respect for every resource needs to be embedded in our children’s education.

Now, how many more uses are there for an old swimming costume!