14 November 2009

Generous Journal: Catching up

I've been rubbish at blogging in general, but my Generous Journal has particularly suffered. That's not to say that I haven't been plugging away with my efforts to live more generously and more greenly; here's a few things I've been up to:

Now, I'm really not a 1950's housewife despite what my craft habit would have you believe, but ... I've got into baking recently! It's so satisfying to bake your own cakes and biscuits rather than buying them from the shop, and it means you can ensure the ingredients are ethical. I only use free-range eggs and try to use Fairtrade/organic chocolate and cocoa where possible. I've also found the best way to use up over-ripe bananas - Banana Bread! And not being wasteful with your food is very important, particularly with bananas - if you're going to fly something halfway across the world, it's not very good if half of it ends up in the compost bin. Here's an example of my yummy Banana Bread:

Mmm. Baking is also good for warming up the flat a bit whilst still using the heat for something else. The weather has suddenly become very cold here, so we need as many opportunities to heat up as possible. Now I have to admit we are using our central heating (I know hardened eco-warriors would string us up for that!) but we are trying to find ways to avoid it where possible. When I'm watching TV in the living room, if I get cold I'll cover myself in a throw. I'm layering as much as possible - I've even bought thermal vests!! And we're trying to eat warming meals like soup and casseroles. Our biggest problem is our bedroom though - easily the coldest room in the house, and that's where you really want to feel snug! We might have to rearrange furniture to see if there's any way of maximising the heat, but I don't like change!

Another Generous thing we've done recently is join Freecycle - and I've been waxing lyrical about it since! We've already got rid of a mirror and a cat feeder that were taking up space with minimal effort, and we managed to get a new lid for our compost bin too (the old one blew off in the gales a few weeks back, despite being very difficult to take off - that's how bad the weather is!) It's incredible what people give away on there, I've seen double beds and freezers listed, so check your local one out!

Our veg-growing has now stopped for winter, but hubby has planted cauliflowers for next summer. He's also been reusing stuff creatively in the garden - using our old broken bedframe to create a frame which, with some plastic over it, will keep our caulis warm over winter. He's also been cutting an old pair of fleece pyjamas and stuffing the sleeves with old socks today for use in the garden - don't ask me what they'll be doing, I'll just have to trust him on that!

The next Generous challenge is Christmas - I always try to make it as ethical and eco-friendly as possible, but it can be challenging. I fully intended to make cards but I'm not convinced I'm going to have time. We're cooking our own Christmas dinner this year (eek!) so we can be more conscious of the food we're buying. Other than that, the usual tricks of shopping locally and in charity/ ethical shops for presents, using gift lists so I don't end up buying wasteful, unwanted presents, and making what I can will come into play. Any more ideas for an ethical Christmas?

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