The good enough greenie

I've encountered the phrase 'good enough parent' a few times. I find it useful, conjuring for me that fine line between working hard to be an effective and positive parent and beating oneself up in a way which is harmful to the parent and pretty unhelpful for the child(ren).

Today I've been thinking about being a 'good enough greenie'. When I first started blogging, I was expanding my greenie-ness and Sandra's Garden might even have been categorised as a greenie blog by some readers. Since then, I've returned to paid work on a part time basis and as I've made decisions about what I will fit into each day, not all of them have focused on the most ecologically sustainable option. Far more pressing on many occasions has been the most time sustainable option and I'm not ashamed of that.

It's not that I no longer care about a sustainable world, it's just that I care about other things too. While I can make the mental space to care about a lot of things, the time space to do about a lot of things is somewhat but not entirely elastic. I was reflecting on the specific repercussions of these choices today on my way to buy meat. Friends of mine here in Wetville are working hard to improve recycling facilities in our district (in terms of public provision, create some would be more accurate), and the subject of unrecyclable meat trays came up in a recent conversation.

'Oh', I said, rather grateful that I was doing something moderately good beyond recycling food scraps via the bokashi bin and the chooks. 'I get my meat at the butcher's in Runanga. No meat trays there'. Out at the Runanga butchery, I order meat by weight and they bag it into thin plastic for me. I usually buy a kilo of mince at a time and split it into three for the freezer. I put it into those glad freezer bags and despite my good intentions, I never wash and reuse them. They go in the bin. So today I made a radical new change in my kitchen practise and put the mince into plastic pottles. Three containers of mince are now reusing old receptacles for raspberry jam and marinated mussels. Those containers go in the dishwasher and so I know from experience that I will reuse them many times. I did the same thing for the end of bacon I bought as a hunk at the butchery and which is now chopped into small lumps and in mussel pottles in the freezer.

All this is a very long winded way of saying that I put some meat in different containers in the freezer. How to get rid of all my readers in one especially boring post. My point, if there is one, is that little things count and by not getting bogged down in the guilt of my multi-trip petrol guzzling plastic binning days, environmentally good things do happen in small ways.

A while ago, we bought a black plastic compost bin. Into it I put grass clippings, wood shavings, seaweed and donkey poo. It started off very well and then got too dry. While that was full, I made a compost heap in one half of a garden bed. First I buried bokashi in the garden. Then I dumped grass clippings, pea straw and donkey poo on it, with more grass clippings added later on. It got slimey in our extensive rain. Today, when the sun shone for a little while, I forked up some of the slime to add to the dry heap in the plastic bin. The worm activity in the slimey heap is much better than the dry heap. Interesting. Although it was quite slimey on top, the pea straw seems to have given some structure and aeration underneath.

While I was paying some attention to my compost, I decided to follow the advice in the May/June 2011 issue of Organic NZ and add herbs to my compost. I added some comfrey (which I have done in the past; that's why I grow it) , borage, lemon balm and tansy. I've never thought to put the last three in the compost but they are apparently good compost activators.

Mostly what I've been doing recently instead of home jobs is sewing. Here is my latest creation:

I bought the red corduroy from the Sallies for $2 recently and everything else was already in my stash of sewing things apart from the bias binding for the armholes (which was relatively very expensive and maybe I will learn to make my own someday but for the moment I'll be the good enough sewist like the good enough greenie). I have yet to hem it and the green decoration is merely pinned to indicate what I plan to decorate it with. I might even make a 'B' with it as Brighid is rather enamoured of 'B's.

Kale. This afternoon I roasted a half leg of lamb according (roughly) to the directions of Monty Don in my new recipe book. It turned out the best roast I've made in a very long time. I sat it on a bed of rosemary (ridiculously, stupidly expensive if you have to buy the stuff, but I do not), sprinkled salt and pepper on it, drizzled olive oil over that and cooked it at 230 degrees celsius for 20 minutes. I then turned the oven down to 170 but I didn't time how long I cooked it from then on. About an hour I suspect. Much less than Monty wanted me to but the result was excellent. With it: raw carrots and hummus, boiled spuds and kale. Of course there was kale.

Tonight I tried the version from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions, a recipe book which has simultaneously inspired me and driven me to drink. I washed it and tore it up and boiled it in water (kale in with the water from cold which I'm not so convinced about) for about 8 minutes. Then I took it out, drained it, chopped it up and added butter. It came out fine. It would have been better if my timing was right and it was served piping hot. My timing is rarely right for dishes cooked in several containers which is why I favour one pot meals so much. There were leftovers for the first time that I can recall, including of the spuds, so tomorrow I plan on making spud/kale/feta cakes by making patties and frying them.

Tomorrow I am a stay at home mum for the entire day as the doctor has quarantined Brighid, who is covered in spots for reasons no one can explain, least of all the doctor, who has at least ruled out chickenpox, measles and scabies. None of those quite fitted her symptoms but all of them are around town so I've heard. She's not ill with it (though she is coming out in more spots all the time), so if the sun comes out then we can convalesce outside by gardening. Vitamin D, y'know.

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