Monday, 14 July 2014

In with the new

I've been conflicted over what to write this morning.  I had a happy little post in my head because I'm feeling very contented at the moment.  But then I read an interesting blog post about the carbon tax!  Sadly, the article was predicting the demise of the carbon tax this week which will make Australia the only country in the world to back track on climate action.

I am ashamed of the Australian attitude in so many ways right now.  It's not just the carbon tax either but our attitude to asylum seekers and numerous other issues.  We've always had a reputation for being casual and laid back.  Was this image only a result of an 'I'm all right Jack, bugger you' attitude?!  The average Aussie doesn't want the carbon tax but the average Aussie is living very comfortably.  That makes them very selfish in my eyes.  They have an amazing knack for wearing blinkers and ignoring the plight of so many other humans in the world that are already suffering as a result of climate change.

Anyway, I can feel myself winding up.  I've decided not to discuss my feelings on the matter in depth because I simply don't have the energy.  It's the start of the new term today so I'll focus on my children, our home and our personal efforts to address climate change.
We address our own carbon emissions by keeping our minds on the big picture.  We constantly reassess the details of our lives and try to make changes where we can.  Sometimes we do it better than others, depending on our focus with our children and other things happening in our lives.
We try to keep things in perspective.  I have become a 'scruff' in recent years because I couldn't give a damn if my socks match or if I have a 'gardeners hole' in the knee of my jeans!  I wear my holes and mismatched socks with pride.  The true perspective is that my feet are warm and I am not unnecessarily wasting resources on an inconsequential detail like whether or not my socks make me look tidy.  There are, of course, times that it matters and I need to dress conservatively.  If I'm going to a restaurant, a meeting at our local shire, etc.  These are the times that I bother to make sure I dress in a manner that is acceptable to the general public.  I pretty much have one or two outfits that are like my 'going out' uniforms.  Some of the items were bought new, some from the op-shop.

By constantly assessing our personal impact we are often trying new things.  We've changed the way that we cook so that we have dramatically reduced our packaging and our food miles.  Sometimes that sees us eating some pretty weird meals.  For example, yesterday saw us eating a pizza with oranges and rhubarb.  The oranges are local (grown by a friend), in season and the rhubarb was in our garden.  I spread the pizza with the fruit butter that I bottled in Autumn.
I thought the kids might love the sweet pizza but the experiment was a bit of a flop.  The oranges didn't have the sweet, citrusy flavour that I was imagining.  They made the pizza quite bitter.  But again, perspective... our tummies were filled with food that was wholesome and local, if somewhat bizarre.  So it wasn't the yummiest meal we'd ever eaten.  So what!  Will I try it again?  You bet!  But I'll replace the orange with some bottled fruit.  Maybe pears.  We also had a pizza topped with silver beet and rocket.  It was yummy.

I'm also learning new skills.  Having brushed up on my knitting in the last couple of years, I keep attempting to take my knitting forward.  I'm making Buddy Boy a jumper at the moment and it's the first time I've attempted a V neck.  It was doing my head in yesterday!  Decreasing at one side every six rows while simultaneously decreasing every alternate row on the other side.  Argggh!  And getting to the bit where I should have three stitches remaining but finding five.  *Sob*  Now I have to work out how to even up the other side of the V neck when I don't even know what I did wrong.
I have assured him that the needle will be gone when the jumper is complete!  He was feeling a bit nervous.  Ha ha!
Belle wearing the knitted dress I finished two years ago.
But persist I will, because I want to learn new, low energy skills that benefit my family.  I know persistence pays off because I taught myself to knit socks on four needles and they are the nicest socks I've ever owned!  So warm in winter (and match ;-)) but they weren't easy.  It took me several frustrating tries before I achieved the first sock.  These days I really enjoy knitting socks because they seem easy now that I know what I'm doing.
I've learnt to milk goats, make cheese and I stubbornly continue to bang my head against the garden.   Nothing much grows but I keep at it!  I think healthy veggies require more time than I have in between lessons, milking, cooking etc. 
New ways of doing things just require thought.  Our fire is keeping us warm at this time of year so I pop the porridge on top of the fire instead of the gas stove.  It make sense to use resources in more that one way.  I do, however, heat the kettle on the stove for that very first cup of coffee.  Once warm it goes on the stove too.  Patience is not a virtue I possess when it comes to my morning caffeine hit.

There are heaps of things we've changed over the last few years.  I don't know what my next new skill or practice will be, but I do know there will be plenty of new things that we will try as a family.  It doesn't always work out perfectly but we are happy, comfortable beyond the imagination of many in the world, and pleased that we are reducing our family's level of pollution and will continue to do so.

To use a well worn analogy - the path we have chosen is not the easiest; in fact, it's pretty bumpy sometimes.  However I think it's much more beautiful than the main road and I happen to know that the main road is leading to nowhere and very, very fast!  We are not lonely.  Many of our friends are walking down our path as well and we have lots of fun and laughs along the way.


Caro said...

Wonderful post Linda! We too are happy to be travelling that sometimes bumpy and often challenging path with you :)

rabidlittlehippy said...

We certainly have a climate policy of which to be proud. NOT! Australia's place on the environmental concerns list is embarassing. I can't even mention a certain political leaders name without steaming at the ears, almost inventing profanities on the spot and getting even more rabid than I am. :(

I too have joined the struff brigade. I buy undies and socks new but aside from that I have only purchased 1 new item of clothing for myself in the last few years. A pair of Australian made boots. My socks match but I'm a bit OCD like that. My kids however rarely wear matching socks and always wear hand me downs or op shop clothes.

Love the idea of your sweet pizza. I've toyed with the idea of a gingerbread base but now we are mostly gluten free... We too have had some local meals, a lamb roast was our best (all home grown aside from the spuds :D)'

Maybe I'm a cynic but I don't think the rest of the world will wake up to the plight they are in until it is a long way past too late. Living a carbon low/neutral/negative life is what I can best do for the environment and I intend to keep doing it. It's also a lot of fun! :)

Lynda D said...

Goodluck with your knitting, you have more patience than me though we are fairly evenly matched when it comes to that first cup of coffee. Its been interesting, though sad, watching political goings on in the last week. Im wondering about that meeting that Clive Palmer had with Al Gore and what they discussed in terms of strategy re carbon tax bill. Sorry, im not sure i can go at orange and rube pizza though i do like a spinach one. Im trying to imagine Jess having a "normal" lifestyle and i just cant. Her choice matches her personality exactly.

Farmer Liz said...

I'm on the bumpy road with you linda! Including wonky knitting!

Farmer Liz said...

I'm on the bumpy road with you linda! Including wonky knitting!

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

I'm on the other side of the world thinking parallel thoughts! I'm pushing 70 now and I still love to learn new skills or resurrect old ones. The climate-change denyers are gaining ground it seems, but we must be true to what we believe benefits us all. In our own little micro-world we will most certainly benefit those dear to us.
Wearing my Charity Shops boots I'm on that road with you

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

I don't even knit well enough to make anything but a scarf. Time is one of my big concerns too but at the same time I think I could use the time I have better. It makes me so angry when i think about how our government and a lot of Australians treat our environment. If i get on that train of thought it leaves me feeling all sad, angry and panicky that so little is being done. But we keep living the life we know is right.

Cheryl said...

I agree, we need to do so much more as a government and a people to address climate and environmental issues, but as for the carbon tax, I don't support it, I think if more was done to address the "waste" in the budget and bureaucracy, then there would be plenty of money to sink into the environment, and other important issues.

Pat Chester said...

When doing the shaping my knitting I find it helps to write it out on a piece of paper. For instance I am currently doing a small bolero for my grand-daughter which needs shaping for the neck and sleeve for a certain amount of rows. So I write it out something like this:


Hope this idea might be of some use to you.

Pat in the UK

Pat Chester said...

sorry, the formatting destroyed my knitting pattern. I put the I at the beginning of the row at the top, if at the end of the row underneath. I'm sure you can see what I mean.

Pat in the UK

Linda said...

Caro, :-)

Rabidlittlehippy, He has that effect on me too. Yes, the Aussie boots we always buy new and they last for years!

Lynda, Our politicians seem crazy sometimes, don't they. Yes, I love Jess's enthusiasm!

Haha Liz, I still feel shamefaced about that long ago giveaway! I might as well have sent you an envelope of frustration!!

Gill, I love that you are on the same road. I'm in awe of the effort you put in and how well you do it!

Fiona, that's about where I was at with knitting too but I'm determined to become good at it. And I know those feelings you speak of....

Cheryl, I understand your view on the wastage but I love the carbon tax. It leads in to an emissions trading scheme which has been successfully implemented elsewhere. With a trading scheme companies need to choose between using less or paying for the right to use it. It makes them accountable. If they're not accountable, they couldn't care less coz it's only money they're after. It was already beginning to have an impact and would become more successful as time went on.

Oh Pat! I so wish I could understand what you are telling me! There must be a good way to record what I do but I didn't really understand what you meant. Shame we can't sit together while you show me!! (I'm not bright when it comes to knitting)