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Riot wrap for July

July 31, 2007


Orange cordial on the right (oranges from my mother’s tree) and lime cordial on the left (They were half price at the co-op so I bought a couple of kilos. Grown in Australia but I’m not sure where) Fortunately, the same week I found 45 Vacola preserving jars (stainless steel lids, new rubber rings and all) at the local op shop. Preserve away.

….or how a feminist came to darn her husband’s socks (now called by Charles “wabi sabi socks” – how nice is he!) a couple of her own cardigans, mended her summer gardening garb (old super soft, floppy jeans), made a doona/duvet cover, baked, cooked and made cordial.

She also prepared for weekend school lectures – law, law and more law. How much does she love constitutional law….alot!  And so, thank you to  the pioneering sisters for all the hard work, that has given me – choice!

Keeping track of our energy use has proved to be very useful, especially when dealing with heating service men and plumbers. When they give the tone or the look, that’s supposed to make you deferential to their skills and stop you asking questions……I went for the fact driven approach, “Now you tell me, is it normal for a house of 80sq metres with gas for cooking and heating only, to use 512mjs in one day?” …….No I didn’t think so. The gas problem has been fixed with a couple of outstanding boiler problems still to be resolved….argh!

So how are we progressing:

Water – Success – we have reduced our use by 30% since last month to an average of 100 litres per person per day. That’s about 72% less than average. We did have a couple of days where we used 85 litres in total…..there was no laundry done on those days, so I’m working out ways to cut laundry water use. The washing machine has three rinse cycles even on the shortest setting!!!! I’ve been using the last two rinse cycle to wash the next load in. My mother used to do this but she did at least 3 loads of washing a day when we were growing up.

Petrol- Drove the car for 14 days after filling up the tank. This has never occurred before. Less trips to Sydney by car, means we have cut our petrol use by 45% which now brings us to 77% less than the state average. Strangely, it’s liberating not to drive those distances. I don’t know how we commuted for 8 or 9 years. Actually, I’ve realized how much I loathe driving.

Electricity – When the gas heating boiler was running for long periods of time that churned through electricity – the exhaust fan ran the entire time too! So for the first two weeks of July we saw an increase in power use. Last week, we returned to usage levels that reflect our level of conservation so about 9kWh a day and we even managed a 6kWh day. Woohoo…..we can do it.

Gas – Levels are more acceptable but the month’s use is still higher than average use.

Garbage – We buy very little with packaging but we are doing some under the house/workshop clearing out so are generating some items for landfill. I haven’t put the bin out for collection for all of July and it’s only about a third full. Recycling I haven’t been calculating with any accuracy but has included 6 bottles of wine – not enjoyed but corked.

Consumer – Buying new woolen thermals – put us way over the allocation. In fact, this category is really hard because although we don’t buy much, the few things we have bought have been necessary and expensive. They are durable and will last but still consumption is consumption.

Additionally, we have known for a while that we should insulate our floor and have finally decided to do it. We have a pole house that has a large area underneath it. It’s great for storage but the lower external walls aren’t lined or insulated so we do lose heat through the floor. I’ve found the product that will work (not batts ; they are a haven for rodents) and we will do the work ourselves. However – consumption is consumption.

Food – Trying for more local but it’s hard. When we drove out to Orange, we stocked up on some items like potatoes (ours are sadly finished) and are enjoying those.

And if your still interested in the cordial…….

I did make cordial(syrup) once before but it exploded in my mother’s fridge. It had fermented. So I got some instructions this time from some preserving books – Margaret Fulton, Marguerite Patton and the Time Life series.

KEY STEP (that I missed last time) : Sterilize the bottles and then after you pour the finished liquid in, put them back into the water bath for 20mins at 88C or 30 minutes at 77C – this prevents the ferment.

For the cordial I synthesized a recipe(from the above sources) of 1 part juice to 1 part filtered water to 3/4 of a part of sugar and 1 tsp of citric acid.

For me, that was 2 litres of juice:2 litres of water:1 and a half cups of raw sugar + 2 tsp of the acid.

Combine, dissolve the sugar and bring to the boil. Pour into hot sterilized bottles/jars, put lids on and put into the water bath. Make sure the water covers the bottles. Follow the key step.

I’ll be making more marmalade this week but will make more cordial later. There are still heaps of oranges on the tree and one can’t live on marmalade alone.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. kathy permalink
    July 31, 2007 10:06 pm

    Thank you for the wabi sabi info. I live the concept and am always amazed that so many others are sucked into the glitz that is shoved at them from (almost) every corner of modern life: didn’t know it had a name.

  2. August 1, 2007 11:50 pm

    If you can get your hands on the book, it’s worth reading. It’s concise and elegant….as you’d expect.

  3. kathy permalink
    August 2, 2007 1:14 am

    I have just submitted a request, via the web, for my local library to purchase it.

    They recently bought me in a brilliant book: Why Love Matters: How affection shapes a baby’s brain, by Sue Gerhardt. It has the latest research about how the baby’s brain grows after birth, and how the nurturing (or otherwise) sets the pattern of how the person responds to stress for the rest of its life. It is full of fascinating things (like that nurturing touch strengthens the immune system in babies)and very well-written.

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