Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Buy Nothing New for a Year - August update

Image from here
Another month has slipped by. It is hard to believe it is August already huh? Time sure flies when you Buy Nothing New. The little changes, all unplanned, are the things that continue to surprise me.

This month I started to track our food wastage. As part of the no-plastic bag challenge, we stopped using plastic bin liners. Gradually I have realised that I really need to sort out the composting situation if I really want to ditch bin liners. It gets VERY messy with green waste in the bin. So we have been looking into options:
  • Chooks? 
  • Attempt to re-establish the worm farm we managed to kill off a couple of years ago?
  • Create a compost heap? or 
  • Dig another hole in the backyard and bury our waste (we have used this method successfully before).
So my eco-challenge for August is solving this problem because we need a better solution than throwing out our potato peels. Does anyone know where I can buy second hand chooks?

July was a mixed bag for us in terms of the challenge. We had to buy three gifts this month, two I made (The Big Book of Crafty Goodness was jam-packed with crafty ideas and printables that I sourced from all over the 'net) and one second hand (size 2 Summer boys clothes).

I located many more suggestions for making gifts (even if you can't sew) and I think I will tie some of them together in another post later this month because they are awesome! Some people are just so clever. I wasn't able to make some of the things I had planned due to all the sickness in our house, but I reckon I will make some super Christmas gifts this year.

I visited six op-shops searching for a size 6 jumper for Nugget because he only had a couple and lost one of them when we went to Fibrotown to visit the family. It was so frustrating. I didn't WANT to break the challenge, but he really needed a jumper (middle of winter and school holidays) so I went all out and bought him a branded and over-priced hoodie.

The Geege got the shock of his life seeing me hand over the cash. It was a case of over-compensation.

And then the Geege got seconded into an Oxfam Trailwalker team (it is a 100km walk on August 26-28 requiring many hours of training, as you can imagine). You could sponsor them if you like.

I figured he had all the gear he would need (we have a garage FULL of camping, hiking and climbing gear) but no sooner had he committed to a 5am walk last Saturday morning, he got himself some new FiveFingers (his old ones are well worn and unsuitable), some socks (which are technically okay to purchase) and a hydration pack (even though we already have one).

He calls it 'product testing'. I call it 'breaking the rules'.

And then the Daily Telegraph did a Harry Potter giveaway and we are spending $2 per day getting Nugget the set and so I had to even things up a bit and get Doo Dah the Donna Hay children's cooking magazine. See? Getting out of hand...

And so after my big declaration of having more resolve than ever, I bring you a monumental flop of a month. August will be better.

What changes have you made in July?


Tat said...

I think you are doing amazingly well anyway, even with a few rules broken here and there. A year is a long time. I can't to see your gift post. I can kind of saw and knit and crochet... but it all takes me so long that I can never make enough gifts. Especially since my kids are too quick to claim anything I make. Now if I could make everything in threes, I wouldn't have that problem.

Anonymous said...

Aren't all chickens second hand? I mean, assuming you buy chicks as opposed to fertilised eggs?
I say go the chooks! They're the gift that just keeps giving.
We have a worm farm but it just doesn't keep up with our food waste. Chooks would though. We are getting some in spring, and I am super excited. It will readjust the gender balance in this house. ;)

Cate said...

I still think you're doing an amazing job just trying to buy nothing new - but I do understand the if it's worth doing...etc thinking.
Have you thought about some calico bin liners that you could soak and wash and then reuse? Or perhaps plastic lined fabric that you could rinse out?

Bungalowgirl said...

Go the chooks. Ours eat heaps of scraps and alot of our leftovers as well eg fried rice, noodles. We have a small plastic compost bin for the things they won't eat. Up here in Briz you can apparently get preloved chooks from the RSPCA - it is intermittent when they get them in though. Or put an add in your local to see if anyone wants to offload some- ours are second hand from some people who were downsizing- they sold us the coop/grain/watertrays as well. They are so much fun for the kids as well- see my post on chook hypnosis a few weeks back. melx

Alice Becomes said...

Keep at it...

The chooks are a fab idea. No idea where you can pick some up but how lovely would it be to collect a few eggs from the garden??

Gill xo

Mum on the Run said...

Don't be too harsh on yourself - and family. I think what you are doing is so amazing and so inspirational. I hope August is everything you hope.

Kate said...

You're doing a fab job...not a flop at all...your efforts are really inspiring. We are so lucky in this part of the UK as we have brown bins which we put ALL of our food scraps in. It then gets collected once a week...such a fabulous scheme. Lobby your local council I say!! You never know. Tried worm farms in nthe past but we kept killing them. Hens sound like a lot of fun x

A Farmer's Wife said...

If you contact a chicken laying farm they normally either sell or giveaway the chooks that are no longer laying at the required rate. Given more room and fresh scrap type food these chooks will often then lay for lots longer (my last lot are still laying three years later).

Alternatively if you get a copy of the Farm Weekly there is often someone offering a delivery service from these farms for a small fee (even in the city).

Chooks would be heaps better than worm farms. Eggs would mean that your grocery bill would be cheaper. I think of them as the ultimate recyclers.

ANB said...

We both bury and compost scraps. The compost bins are fairly new and I am not loving them so far, mainly because they smell and attract flies/midgies. You are supposed to be able to mitigate this by adding a layer of dirt on top of every layer of scraps (as opposed to leaves/grass clippings etc) but it's a fair bit of effort given I dump a load of scraps out there at least once a day. Prior to the compost bins we just buried scraps, the upside being that it did not smell, the downside being that you either need space between plants to dig, or for something like a vegie patch to be between crops.

Melanie said...

Hi there, I've just stumbled upon your blog which is GREAT because I too have the 4 kids including twins. Looking forward to reading your tips and ideas. Regarding the chooks - we bought our Girls from City Chicks in the Blue Mountains when we arrived in Sydney last year. Got them as day old chicks with the brooder box etc which the kids absolutely loved. If you are willing to hang on a couple more months you can have ours as we are heading to Tassie and don't think they'll cope crossing Bass Strait :-)
Well done on your Blog xx

Tricia said...

Our Guinea pigs are our best scrap consumers. The worm farm comes second, then the compost bin, and our fussy chooks are our least effective scrap consumers. And with the chooks we also have to collect whatever they didn't eat at the end of the day so that we don't encourage rats and mice. I guess it depends on whether you want eggs also.

I'd start with something simple... dig a hole in the ground until you find a second hand (e.g. on freecycle) compost bin. Then move onto other options once you have that under control.

Athough chooks are fun.

Perhaps your worm farm simply got too hot? It's pretty hard to kiil worms, unless they get waterlogged or too hot. Perhaps move the worm farm into the shade?

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

That's not a flop. Look at the positives Nugget's warm, the Geege is doing something awesome (which I would love to do one day), Doo Dah is going to be cooking up a storm one day and you are thinking about chooks. I say that's a good month :-)

River said...

I like the idea of chooks. They'll eat a lot of your scraps and if you let them roam in the garden they'll eat things like aphids and caterpillars as well as other bus off your plants.
A family near where I live has a brood of chooks, I love the glossy brown ones.

DancingInTheRain said...

I have heard that older hens dont lay as often as their younger counterparts so I think it would be ok to break the rules and buy 'new' ones, not that I think it really would be breaking them! Our new chickens are still settling in - JJ seems to love them as much as Goofy! Great entertainment!

Kymmie said...

Oh Coo, don't be so hard on yourself. you can hardley let your children freeze now, can you?

Plus, just think about how well you've done in the last seven months to make up for this month?

Brilliant, I say. You should be proud of yourself!


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