Lental disaster

All this wasteful packaging has really got my goat. Geddit - goat? Sigh, you're right, it wasn't at all funny.

Well, it's now official: My Lent-of-No-Waste has been a colassal waste of time. Try as I might, I cannot escape packaging. It's everywhere! Even the organic wholefoods shop, to which I merrily tripped on the weekend with my hundreds of reused paper bags, has moved most of it's dry grains/pulses etc out of bins and into plastic packaging. Grrr. I was all paper-bagged up with nothing to bag.

Still, I did get some rice, oats and polenta from the bins, plus reused a jar for honey. So if you pop around for dinner for the rest of Lent, expect a meal of porridge with honey followed by boiled rice on polenta. Yum, huh? Whaddya mean, you've got other plans for the next 27 days?

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Two Fruits and new bikes

Is excess consumption of Two Fruits reason for divorce? Because, I swear to the heavens above, the Galumph is killing me, and my Lent of No Waste pledge, with it. Saturday morning found me happily sipping a coffee in front of the computer, humming mindlessly away and thinking that all was good with the world when I hear the ominous 'crink-crink-crink' of a tin being opened.

That's right. He'd opened another tin of Two Bloody Fruits. And then had the gall to slosh some on to my Weetbix. The nerve! I don't even like Two Fruits! Maybe I should just give up my husband for Lent, and be done with it (joking, sweetie pie snookums darling whatever hey you yeah you).

So that's another tin to add to the recycle pile, alongside the sardines tin, which the Galumph flung mercilessly into the bin, not the recycle bin, declaring it to be "too stinky to recycle". A-huh. Never fear, dear readers, I fished it out, gave it a wash (he was right, it was frightfully smelly) and put it into the recycle pile.

While we're at it, I suppose I should confess to the rotten nectarine and two tomatoes that also were turfed due to excess mouldiness. And the packaging waste of the two minute noodles I devoured on Sunday afternoon after we did the Merri Creek Circuit. Talk about a dull ride. I needed to those noodles to compensate for the mind- (and knee!) numbing drudgery of it.

Speaking of bikes, check out my new wheels! Sweeeeeeet. It's an Electra Townie 7 gear, and I lovelovelove this bike. It's a strange machine to initially ride - I felt for a bit like I was in Easy Rider, what with my straight back and arms sticking out in front on the handle bars - but after a while it all felt so intuititive that soon the machine and I were one. And best bit is the lady-friendly seat ;-P





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2 of 40

Yesterday went quite well. I didn't buy anything, so no new packaging waste was generated, and for lunch we had leftovers.

For dinner we had chilli tomato risotto. Normally I use an 800 g tin of crushed tomatoes in this recipe, but since I didn't want to create any waste, I skinned and deseeded 4 tomatoes, then cooked them down into a pulpy mess, and added that to the risotto. The result: much less tomato flavour (I think I'll double the amount of tomatoes next time, and let it cook down for longer), but pretty darn good nonetheless.


I also started a scarf for my Russian step-mother-in-law. Because it's cool and grey and rainy here, which means that a girl has to knit!

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1 of 40

Well, the beginning of our Lent of No Waste didn't exactly start auspiciously. I stumbled into the kitchen this morning to find the Galumph cracking open a can of two fruits.

"What the hey-diddly-hey are you doing?" I yelped. (Actually, I husked. You should hear that morning voice o' mine. Sexy doesn't even begin to describe. Phlegmboyant, however, does come close)
"I'm getting some fruit for our Weetbix", he replied.
"Galumph!", I chatised. "It's supposed to be all about making no waste, and here you are wasting, you... you... waster!"
"Well, I'm sorry, but I did look in the fruit bowl and I must say, I didn't really fancy this" - dangling a sad dried up chilli that had been sitting all by it's lonesome in the vast expanse that is currently our fruit bowl - "on my Weetbix."

Ahem. So it's point, set and match to the Galumph.

However, the rest of the day went splendidly. A friend came over for lunch, so I served up some soup made from vegetables that were hanging around, and red lentils from the bins at the organic wholefoods place (no, not those sorts of bins!), accompanied by cheese toasties. Both bread and cheese only came wrapped in recyclable paper. I could have skipped the paper for the bread, but I was so busy yakking on about nothing in particular that I didn't realise it was wrapped until I got home.

Grumbles had grapes for afternoon tea, then for dinner tonight we had caramelised onion and feta pizza, with a green salad. The only packaging there was the flour bag, which is still currently in use.

Waste Summary:

Non-recyclable: None

Recyclable: Paper from cheese, paper from bread, two fruits tin

Compostable: Vegetable peelings and scraps

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Waste free for Lent

Tomorrow marks the begining of Lent, which is the forty day period before Easter where many Christians fast, or at the very least give up something they enjoy, like scoffing down a block of Cadbury Fruit n Nut when nobody is looking.

Now, I could do something like that, but I don't usually eat chocolate of any description, so that would be a bit of a cop out. Plus, well, I like a challenge. I thought about going Plastic Free for a month, again, but I feel that Lent deserves something a little more hard core. So, I'm going to give up creating waste.

That's right, waste! For the next forty days, I'm going to try to only bring into my house things that can be composted or recycled, and to cut down on the recyclable packaging to boot.

I came up with the idea on Sunday, when I was lounging around with the Galumph. Excitedly I sat up, and said "Hey! Let's do a waste fast for Lent! We won't buy anything new, except for food, and even then all the packaging must be minimal or recycable. Won't that be GREAT?"

I heard a desolate little sigh from beside me. Turning, I looked over to see the Galumph looking at me with deploring eyes. "Can't we just have a fast where we eat chocolate three times a day?", he begged. "These things you do are always so hard!"

"Oh, pah!", I said, smothering his face with a cushion. "Hard, schmard. I've got it all planned out. We'll ride on our bikes to CERES or the organic grocery, and get all our pulses and grains and things in reusable paper bags. We'll eat heaps of fresh fruits and vegies, and compost the scraps, and everything else has to come in glass jars or bottles that we then reuse for jam. Or cardboard. Too easy!"

"But what about all the things already in our cupboard, like pasta and tins. Can we still use them?"

Listen up, buddy, I told him. Here's the rules:

- Waste creation must be kept to a minimum. If it can't be recycled or composted, it shouldn't be purchased.

- Exceptions are allowed for essential items i.e. medicines. (Galumph: Is chocolate essential?) Plus one or two other items that might be too expensive/hard to buy otherwise. In our case this will be milk, which we'll buy in cardboard, rather than glass. (Galumph: What about cordial? Please, let me keep my cordial!)

- You can eat what is already in your cupboard, but when replacing it, try to find a more sustainable way. For example, buy bread from your local baker in a reusable paper bag you bought from home, rather than in plastic from the supermarket. You'll be supporting the local economy AND helping the environment.

After nutting all this out, I turned to the Galumph and said "So, whaddya say? Are you in? Huh, huh?"

Galumph: "Do I have a choice?"

Me (with perhaps a little too much glee): "Nope!"

That's that what I'll be doing for Lent. And here's the bit where I invite you all to join me. I know 40 days is a pretty long time, so I'm going to relax the rules and let you decide how long you'd like to do it for, be it a week, a fortnight, or the whole hog! And you can be as strict or as relaxed about it as suits your life style/situation. I know not everybody has access to small local shops where these things are possible, but it would be amazing to reduce waste if we could. And don't worry about falling off the wagon, as I'm sure I will at some stage in proceedings.

So c'mon - hope on board the Lent waste-free train! Send me an email if you'd like to join in.

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Moan, moan, grumble, grumble

I am having a craptacular week.

Firstly my brother was in a car accident, then my great aunty died, then Grumbles had her first day of kindergarten (a good thing, but still a trifle emotional for moi), then a pimple the size of Mount Vesuvius erupted on my face.

And now, to top it all off, today I came an absolute cropper on my bike, skinning two knees, one elbow and a large section of my leg. Thankfully I stayed within the bike lane. I mean, it's bad enough to fall off one's bike, but then to be run over as you sprawl on the road - geez, now that would be embarassing. Not to mention life threatening.

If anybody wants me I'll be in the bath (leg lifted gingerly out, other knee raised) with a glass of champagne, toasting my bad fortune/drowning my sorrows. Waaaah!

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