Spring has truly arrived where I live in SE Australia, and I’ve been too busy trying to get some order into my garden (in between end-of-winter winter bouts of flu), to spend much time online.
But I have a few mid-year posts to link to before we move on completely.
Firstly, I’ve been focusing on making my own natural (and frugal) cleaning products over the past few months, with many thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who have posted their recipes.
For laundry powder I use Melissa from Frugal & Thriving’s recipe. I mostly use her updated recipe at the top, which is just two parts grated laundry soap to one part washing soda. She also has a great post on the different ingredients used in homemade laundry detergents.
I’ve just made myself a couple of jars of this citrus cleaner, which just involves steeping lemon peel (or other citrus peel) in white vinegar for three weeks. Often I just put a little vinegar in a spray bottle with a lot of water and let my kids have at it.
I know they will use far more of whatever spray I give them than necessary (especially my six year old!), so a little goes a long way. But I am looking forward to everything having a lovely lemony smell instead of vinegar!
(Edited to add: I’ve made some adjustments to how I make the citrus vinegar spray n wipe.)
Please note: you should not use vinegar – or other acidic cleaners – on natural stone tiles, such as slate.
I have gazillions of lemons on the tree right now, which I should really do more with (the kids squeezed lots yesterday for making lemonade though), but at least they give me something to bring along to the swap table for our local urban homesteader’s group each month. Aside from the lemons we haven’t had much growing this winter, though we are still harvesting silver beet, and we (the kids and I) picked our first few honey-snap peas and ate them last weekend. None of my kids is really big on cooked vegetables, but they will all eat them fresh from the garden!
Rhonda from Down to Earth has a great post with a bunch of cleaning recipes, from laundry to kitchen and even toothpaste and shampoo! Rhonda also has a great post on cleaning mould from walls and fabrics.
I’ve tried making some dish washing liquid, but without much satisfaction (too much soap residue), so if you have a good recipe, will you please leave a link (or just the recipe) in the comments?
A few other fabulous posts I’ve read in the past few months:
Dig for Victory – at The Greening of Gavin:
So dear reader, if you haven’t already done so, I would urge you to begin to learn the basic skill of growing your own food. It doesn’t have to be in your backyard, it can be in a community garden, or with a local gardening group that focuses on backyard food production. You will only learn if you get involved now. Learning this skill takes time, and it no good trying to learn it on the fly as you will be well short of time by then.
This post reminded me of Paul Gilding’s comments on ‘war time rhetoric’ in his book The Great Disruption (which long-time readers know I recommend regularly).
This is not a new post, but mentioning Gilding’s book just made me think of it – Bec over at Eat at Dixiebelle’s wrote the post that led to me reading the book in the first place. And while I’m linking to Eat at Dixiebelle’s, She recently wrote a great post about how to start an urban homesteader’s group in your area. I have a post coming up about building local community, which I think is such an important – but often missing – step, in the journey towards sustainability, and her post is a great place to start.
I haven’t started making kefir yet, but this post has totally sold me: Why You Shouldn’t Bother Making Yogurt and Make Kefir Instead. I quite like making yoghurt, and my kids love it (now it’s warming up again we are going through a litre every couple of days!), so I doubt I’ll make the switch completely, but I am hoping to get some grains this weekend and see how I go – I love the idea of the water kefir with ginger and lemon (one more use for my lemons).
A blog I only discovered recently is Fixie’s Shelf, which is written by Asphyxia, creator of The Grimstones (Gothic fairy tales, originally a puppet show and now also books). Her blog is full of fabulous information, but this post on Enoughness, really stands out.
Speaking of enoughness, that is probably enough links to be going on with! The blogosphere is filled with fantastic information on all sorts of topics, which makes it a great resource but also a potentially enormous time-suck. It’s wonderful to be able to google “homemade citrus cleaner recipe” and know you will find something, and it’s also awesome to come across posts that inspire you in ways you hadn’t thought of.
But balancing that out with actually getting out and doing – be it writing or reading (actual books, not just reviews), or digging in the garden or squeezing lemons, can be a harder task than you’d expect. Still, I hope there’s some inspiration for you here and some practical skill building information too. If you find them useful, please come back and leave a comment. Or just go ahead and “like” this page right now!
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