And now I’m working really hard…

… to get my shop stocked up & the shopping cart “live” though I’m still awaiting one vital piece of info from my bank. So far I’ve photographed, weighed (for postage) priced & uploaded 30+ items; just another 170 or so to go! So I haven’t had a lot of time to spare for recreational recycling in the last week or two. Though I have picked up some classic books at the Minster Fair and at the charity market during the Folk Festival, most of which will be offered in the shop, but some are just too interesting to part with! I look forward to the opportunity to investigate further…

I’ve also picked up several pairs of jeans to make some more “Jeans Pockets” aprons. Every time I go out Morsbagging or car booting in the one I made for myself, I’m asked, “Where can I get one of those? I need one…!” so I shall make a few up to test-market. There’s a craft fair coming up in the middle of August that’s very generously offering FREE stalls to local crafters, so I’m putting my name down for that, and I’ll see how they go there. It will be a fine line whether I can charge enough to make the time spent on them worthwhile, but how will I know unless I try?

I’ve been enjoying my Spinolution Bee hugely, when I’m just too exhausted to do anything else. I know it’s cheating to buy a new wheel, but I’m still enjoying my secondhand Louet S20 too, especially when Jo steals the Bee to learn on! I’ve found some nice bright cotton items – jumpers, a bag – to unravel so that I can re-spin or weave the yarn into something else, which is rather fun.

And we’ve had guests, so the little pot-bellied BBQ stove has been working overtime on fine evenings. That thing is worth its weight in gold as far as I’m concerned; it goes all evening on a few lumps of dry palletwood, and quite apart from its role as a social focal point, you can actually cook on & in it, not just barbecue. Are they still being made, I wonder? Is it possible to buy one new? Or has it been superseded by the ultra-wasteful patio heater… 😦

There seems to be some movement towards getting a “Transition Town Wimborne” group off the ground – I will post more on this as soon as I know what’s happening & where. Watch this space!

I haven’t been struck dumb…

… but my computer was. My “C” drive imploded last week and had to be replaced; we’d had a little warning but I hadn’t quite got round to archiving and preparing for the inevitable. So I was caught on the hop and had to get it professionally replaced & cloned. More expensive than the DIY option, but far cheaper than a new computer & well worthwhile, although I am now left with the job of sorting out all the rubbish that’s accumulated in my Inbox & Documents folder over the last 4-5 years, not to mention all the half-deleted games.

So my online shop still isn’t fully open, which is probably just as well as my bank have yet to divulge my business account number, which is fairly vital. But we have been recycling away in the background, as usual; I’ve just finished planting up my containers & hanging baskets, every one of which is reclaimed from the Tip. Even some of the plants have come from the same source, particularly the fuchsias; last spring I rescued 3 willow baskets full of fuchsias “past their best” which wasn’t surprising as there were up to 8 in each basket! Those that had survived were thinned out, given new soil and replanted in the baskets and elsewhere in the garden, and gave a fine show at the end of summer & up until the first frosts.  Some are showing tiny leaves again already, though others seem to have given up the ghost. As they didn’t cost me a penny, it’s easy to see losing a few as part of life’s great cycle.

This year my baskets have been lined with “dag ends” from the Freecycled fleeces I’ve picked up. I haven’t felted them first, & probably should have, but they  look amazing, especially the white ones. I gather that the fleece and its contents will nourish the plants, as well as holding moisture, rather than just holding the soil in place like traditional liners. Many of the plants are cuttings from last year’s rescued geraniums, though I have bought some new to give variety, and given some of the cuttings away, as well as growing some from seed.

Hanging baskets are wearing natural wool this year...
Hanging baskets are wearing natural wool this year...

And our container kitchen garden is flourishing; some of the potatoes are flowering and will be on our plates before long. They haven’t been earthed-up but have been provided with woolly jumpers from yet more dag ends. There are lots of herbs, and a reclaimed water tank full of beans, which I hope will be well-fed by a whole fleece that was very badly matted; basically it had felted itself on the sheep’s back & wasn’t any use for spinning.  I’ve planted out some of LIDL’s “living salads” in lovely wide terracotta pots, which the slugs don’t seem to have discovered yet, unlike my own lettuce seedlings.  All is watered by rainwater captured from the kitchen roof in butts rescued from the Tip; we’d like a big rectangular storage tank there, but haven’t found one yet, and I refuse to pay £150-odd for a new one. You can see one last bag of well-rotted horse manure, waiting to feed the autumn crops as the summer ones get harvested & their containers are freed up.

Our container kitchen garden, on the driveway...
Our container kitchen garden, on the driveway...

We’ve had guests this week and the weather was good, so evenings have been spent in the garden, toastimg marchmallows around the pot-bellied BBQ stove, fed by snippets of pallet and small offcuts gleaned from the Tip. This week I’m sure I’ve taken more down there than I’ve rescued, thanks to two of the boys swapping bedrooms and taking the opportunity to purge years of accumulated schoolwork, guitar strings (you can only re-use so many) deodorant bottles, odd shoes and outgrown holey jeans on the way. The jeans are in the pile for my next denim apron, but I parted with the rest without a backwards glance.

On the Freegan front, I’ve just polished off a plateful of Aubergine bake. Two lovely aubergines with minor dings were nestling in the bag of “unfit for humans” goodies I picked up at the market so they’ve gone into the oven peeled, sliced & layered with sliced onion, covered with a tin of chopped tomatos and a sprinkle of home-grown rosemary & topped with grated cheese and crumbs off the bread board. Scrumptious! There were also three bruised bananas which have made a banana custard for pudding (made with some of our own home-laid eggs) some watercress with little roots on which got popped into the pond and the chickens got the rest. And DH, now recovered from his bout of pneumonia,  is happily constructing fences with palletwood, to keep the chickens off his new “Nispero” (loquat) and olive trees, bought with the money we haven’t spent on everyday things, so for the moment our recycling efforts are mostly outdoor – long may it last!

Bagged!

Bagging at the Priests House...
Blissful – bagging in the sunshine…

Well, that was good fun! Jo & I set up our stall in the glorious garden of the Priest’s House Museum, on our one & only sunny summer’s day, and bagged to our hearts’ content. We gave away 30+ bags and made another 14, with assistance from various members of the public, as you can see. In fact, pleased as people were to be given a free, sturdy re-usable shopping bag made from reclaimed fabric, the machines themselves attracted a lot of interest and several people couldn’t resist having a go themselves. Which was exactly what I’d hoped for… I’ve offered to do another upcoming event down in Bournemouth, and been accepted with alacrity. So I’m cautiously hoping that this will prove to be a good way of catching people’s interest and getting the message across that something that has no value to you as it is shouldn’t just be thrown into landfill… Maybe you yourself can re-use it, with a bit of imagination, but if you can’t, someone else somewhere almost certainly can!

"Who, me?" Butter wouldn't melt in Tinkerbelle's mouth... but a sausage might!
Butter wouldn't melt in Tinkerbelle's mouth - but a sausage might...

Half the family are away in Wales at the moment so last night’s supper was cooked on the potbellied BBQ. Apart from realising that we need some kind of a guard around it to keep the assorted livestock from immolating themselves trying to get at our food, this was a great success; sausages and burgers cooked to perfection, followed by windfall apples baked under the tree they’d been growing on a few hours earlier. Sadly, though, finding an unopened packet of fondue forks at the Tip yesterday meant that toasted marshmallows were inevitable, and my skirt seems alarmingly tight this morning…

And Freecycle triumphs over Ebay, yet again. I missed out on an industrial sewing machine on Ebay at the weekend; I need one for the tough bits of my quilted bags as my dear old Jones zigzag is in serious danger of shaking itself to pieces every time I make one. I just forgot about bidding and it sold well within my upper limit. Kickself-worthy… but DH took the boys to the Bournemouth Air Show, and picked up two Freecycled machines en route. Blow me down, one turned out to be an early Singer 15, which is undoubtedly some kind of light industrial sub-model, built for strength rather than speed like the other two that have passed through my hands. Sometimes I marvel at how these things work out; I didn’t have to spend any money at all, the item I needed has found its way into my hands for free instead of being dumped! Many thanks to Tara, the donor, who nearly threw it out thinking no-one would want it as it isn’t exactly pretty, and DH for fetching it.

Just goes to show; one person’s “clutter” is another person’s opportunity…