Macsyna King and free speech

30 Jun

Here in New Zealand, there has been a huge public outcry against the publication of a book. Macsyna King had two little twin boys who were murdered at the age of 3 months. Wikipedia has an explanation here. For an account, see: The Kahui Twins: Murder – and the cover-up. Both articles are horrifying reading. There are so many things wrong with this story. Obviously the main tragedy is that the twins were fatally abused in such an awful way. I was also concerned to read that CYF removed the twins’ 12 month old brother and 6 month old cousin, who were treated in hospital for ‘injuries resulting from neglect’ and malnourishment. That’s the good bit. The bad bit is that they were due to be returned to their parents a few months later. Those poor children. Thank goodness no one in the family would step up and be their caregiver.

Although I agree in theory that every effort should be made to support parents and kin so that children can stay with the birth family, I am horrified that these children were due to be returned. Back to a family responsible for injuries, neglect, malnourishment, filth, and two homicides. Sometimes the family they are born to is the worst place for children to be.

I was quick to join the Facebook page Boycott the Macsyna King book. I wasn’t the only one: within one day there were over 30,000 members. There are now over 42,000 and the number jumps if you refresh the page. Child abuse is clearly something the general public have no tolerance for.

It does lead me to wonder about the question of free speech and how that applies in a situation like this. No one has been convicted of the twins’ murder, but someone killed them. So their mother has teamed up with journalist Ian Wishart and written a ‘tell-all’ book.

Of course they’re allowed to write a book. And no one has to read it. Lots of people probably will, because the human race seems to be a sucker for schadenfreude. What else can explain horror movies and crime shows? Anyway, that’s a whole different topic. Free speech is a basic human right and we are all entitled to it. But I agree with the detractors: it just doesn’t feel right that she is trying to sell a book and profit from the death of her baby boys. If she wants ‘the truth to be known then they can make it available as a free e-book. And if she isn’t profiting from it, as Ian Wishart says, who is?

It brings to mind the case of the e-book sold on Amazon about how to be a paedophile. I don’t remember the exact details but the blurb was something about how to not get caught, and how to do it right. It was sickening. No one likes to be confronted with examples of child abuse and paedophilia, but I was disturbed by Amazon’s free speech stance on the book. Unlike the Macsyna King book, it wasn’t a ‘tell-all’, it was a ‘how-to’. Eventually after an intense amount of public protest, they removed the listing.

Here in New Zealand, Paper Plus and The Warehouse have already declared they won’t be stocking the book. I’m glad about that. Free speech means that they are free to write the book. They’re not being arrested or lynch mobbed for it (at least not physically, they’re almost being cyber-mobbed). But that doesn’t mean we have to accept it. It’s not even so much about the book itself. It’s about the public and the retailers making a statement that child abuse is not OK. Stonewalling police investigations into infant homicide is not OK. The lifestyle that these people led is really no way to live. Bring this to the forefront of people’s attention. Make it absolutely clear that the sort of behaviour the Kahui family and associates have displayed is not acceptable.  In the video I linked to above, author Ian Wishart asks ‘what went wrong here, and what can we learn from this?’ which I think are valid questions. Emotionally though, I just can’t deal with the book and the case.

Eventually, people will forget all about it. I wish I dared to hope that this sort of tragedy would never happen again. New Zealand has one of the highest child abuse rates in the developed world. I feel ashamed to say that. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it. When I think of my precious little boy I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly abuse a child. Something has gone seriously wrong in this society and it hurts like heck.

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With My Own Two Hands

27 Jun

Amen, Ben Harper.

Some encouragement to keep doing ‘this’

27 Jun

I wrote the title of this post and then thought “What is ‘this’?”

‘This’ can alternately be described as ‘turning into the kind of hippy my teenage self would be horrified at’, and ‘becoming a responsible citizen’. It seems that nowadays, being a responsible adult means paying your bills and keeping the wheels of the industrial cog turning. That’s not enough. It never was, but particularly not anymore. So for me, ‘this’ is learning how to live a good life. ‘This’ is following the green dream, and turning it into the norm.

Sometimes it’s really hard. I’d like things to be a bit simpler sometimes. But let’s forget all the difficulties for the moment. The important thing, when it comes down to it, is that this is all important stuff. And in many ways, it’s really exciting and challenging too! (Challenging is usually a positive word in my vocabulary.)

Today I started reading this cool little e-book: Ten ways to Chillax and Have Fun as you Live Your Green Dreams. I recommend checking it out. I think the title is pretty self explanatory, so enough from me.

The Story of Ten Ways to Chillax and Have Fun As You Live Your Green Dreams from Happy Writers on Vimeo.

Some relief

25 Jun

Today I was offered (and accepted) a part time nanny job. It’s always exciting and esteem-building to be offered a job, but the strongest feeling I had today was relief. As a single mother, finances are a constant struggle. It is hard to portion the money to pay the bills and to eat healthily, and there is nothing leftover for savings or treats.

The difference this nanny job will make to my life is massive.

I will be able to save (a small amount of) money, as well as have some of the weight off my shoulders. It’s hard, being poor. I’m not poverty stricken, and I know there are many out there worse off than me. At least I have a comfortable (if small) house, can eat reasonably well, I have the internet and a car, and I can raise my son without having to put him in daycare while I work full time. But it is relentless, this not-quite-having-enough. I am a fairly relaxed and unstressed person, but sometimes the weight of the world is upon my shoulders.

So this part time job, to which I can bring my toddler along with me, is a sanity saver. Hallelujah.

When will it sink in?

23 Jun

Yesterday a friend posted a Facebook status about the high price of her grocery shop this week. Someone posted a reply saying ‘It’s gonna get worse apparently’.

I can’t help but wonder exactly what they are thinking; they and all the other people who complain about the cost of food and fuel and go on living their life the same way they’ve always done. Albeit with more grumbling and probably more debt. Do they not wonder why? Why it is that in the 50’s families could live comfortably off one income, and now it’s a struggle on two? Why food prices get higher and higher on a monthly basis, when wages just aren’t creeping up to match? Is it all attributed to normal inflation?

I want to know when people will realise that there is something more going on. That we aren’t just in a ‘little recession’ and things will go back to normal in a couple of years. That the landfills are filling up and now they’re even building toxic houses on them. That our society is unsustainable and therefore will not be sustained.

When will I stop feeling like the slightly mad one who is given to hippy-ish flights of fancy about the end of the world as we know it? When will everyone else stop feeling a bit ‘put upon’ and realise it’s time to take responsibility? I feel sometimes as if I’m walking round in a bubble, where I can see things with clarity from somewhere else, and yet I can’t escape them. I am doing my best, but it’s not enough. Or am I? I reduce, reuse, recycle. I live in an upstairs flat but I am growing brassicas in the middle of winter in pots on my steps. I am learning how to make things from scratch. I am networking. I am raising a beautiful child with all the goodness and consciousness in me. But at the end of the day, I’m still dependent on my car, the supermarket, and the government benefit that gets paid into my account each week.

‘It’ has sunk in, but I haven’t climbed out yet, to be terribly metaphorical about it all.

I finally found something housework is good for

20 Jun

I mean, other than a clean and tidy house.

Procrastination works wonders for creativity. I am always really keen to do crafts when I have housework I ought to be doing! This is what I did tonight when I was procrastinating the dishes.

The photo has crappy shadows, but you get the idea. A cute display in red, cream and navy, using embroidery hoops, fabric, buttons, a flower and an old key.

 

Some colour in my bedroom.

The people who stabbed my baby

20 Jun

I feel awful today. It was my son’s 15 month vaccinations this morning. He had no idea what was coming, but I have been dreading it all week since I forced myself to make the appointment. At his 6 week, 3 month and 5 month shots, I didn’t feel quite so bad, because he didn’t have much understanding of what was going on. It hurt, he screamed, got a cuddle, and he went to sleep. There were two injections at the last three batches, but three this time – one in each leg and one in his arm. This time, I had to hold him down so he didn’t wriggle away. He cried so hard, that awful cry when you can’t quite catch your breath. I had his dummy on hand and gave him a big cuddle and lots of kisses, and yes, I was crying too. I told him that he had a big ouch-y but that he would feel better soon and he was such a brave little boy.

We had to sit in the consult room for 20 minutes in case he had a reaction, and every time he heard footsteps along the hall, he clutched on to me and started crying again. Oh, my heart! I felt mad at his Dad because our son has had four lots of vaccinations now and he hasn’t seen a single one. He was determined to get him vaccinated (I wasn’t sure either way so I went along with his decision) and yet he has never seen him in pain like that.

I still can’t make up my mind about vaccinations, and I hope we’ve done the right thing. I couldn’t find any convincing research against vaccinations. The autism link was shaky, and disproved not long ago. There have been stories of bad reactions to vaccinations, but there are stories about bad reactions to everything. Children die in car crashes but I still take my son in the car. Children have severe reactions to peanuts, dairy, strawberries, fish, etc., but I offer my son all types of food. A little boy choked to death on a piece of apple a few years ago, but that doesn’t mean that no one should ever eat apples again. Children die of all sorts of things, and it’s awful awful awful, but that doesn’t mean we should all live in bubbles. Although I tend to err on the natural side of things, I also didn’t want my son to contract whooping cough, or meningitis. To me that is scarier than a possible and unproven link to a side effect. The rates of the diseases we vaccinate against have plummeted since they developed vaccinations, and there is a sense of community responsibility too.

I have had asthma since I was seven, and diabetes since I was eight, and I wouldn’t have survived my pregnancy if it weren’t for the hospital, so I am more inclined than some to trust medical science. I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for taking pharmaceuticals every day. The list of ingredients in vaccinations is intimidating, but like I said, I didn’t feel strongly enough about not doing it to go against my husbands wishes to do it. But how I hate it. I hate those huge needles that go into my son’s tiny tender thighs, and the way he cries with betrayal.

Chaos

18 Jun

People were created to be loved.
Things were created to be used.
The reason the world is in chaos,
is because things are being loved,
and people are being used.

Good friends and books

18 Jun

Although I yearn for country village life, I do love my city. I especially love the way it glows at night, with all the lights reflected on the harbour. Wellington is a heck of a place.

Now that my son stays with his Dad overnight on Saturdays, I suddenly have time to myself. I had none of this for the first 14 months of his life, so I’ve been rather enjoying it for the last few weeks. The last two weeks I have been hanging out with my best friend all evening, and it’s been great. There’s nothing like spending time with someone whose company you really enjoy, someone who really ‘gets’ you. We don’t get drunk or anything, we just sit around and drink tea and chat, and eat food, and go for walks through the rainy nighttime city. We haven’t always lived in the same place over the last few years so it is really nice to be geographically close again.

The other thing I am feeling really good about today is a book project I am working on. It’s to do with babies and sleep and not letting them cry themselves to sleep, but that’s all I will say for now because I don’t want anyone to steal my idea!

Also; totally unrelated, but here is some frivolous fun: http://lab.andre-michelle.com/tonematrix

My hopes and dreams…

17 Jun

… are currently tied up in this place: Atamai Village, near Motueka, in the South Island of New Zealand.

Doesn’t it look amazing?

Me and my Grandma on the piece of land my Mum is hoping to buy at Atamai. What a view, eh?! (My Mum is behind the lens, which is how she prefers it. The baby is asleep in the carrier.)

My Mum is in negotiations to move there. I hope someday I can too. I think about it every day. I’m working really hard to try and earn money to save, increase my useful skills*, and generally walk the walk. How I long to be part of it.

*I just sent off enrolment forms to study a Certificate in Organic Horticulture, and a Certificate in Landscape Design. Part time distance learning, of course. 

Farmageddon

16 Jun

Blimmin’ heck…

A Sandbucket List

16 Jun

You know how people make ‘Bucket Lists’ of things they want to do before they die? Well I decided to make a ‘Sandbucket List’ of things I want to do with my son by the time he’s five. It’s likely I will add things to it, as this is all off the top of my head right now. And possibly some are a bit ambitious by five, but that’s OK.

  1. Go to the zoo
  2. Take a donation to the SPCA and see the animals
  3. Make fruit ice blocks
  4. Have a water fight
  5. Collect fresh eggs from a farm
  6. Ride a pony
  7. Take the same picture every month
  8. Play in the rain & puddles
  9. Make giant bubble wands and blow giant bubbles
  10. Make a time capsule
  11. Build forts
  12. Make a kite and fly it
  13. Paint pet rocks
  14. Make wind chimes
  15. Make lemonade
  16. Wake him up late at night and pack him the car with sleeping bags, drive to the top of a hill and stargaze snuggled up together
  17. Have themed dinner nights – Italian, Chinese, etc.
  18. Dip candles
  19. Tie dye shirts
  20. Go camping and roast marshmallows
  21. Go ice skating
  22. Pick blackberries
  23. Go to the orchestra
  24. Go to a music festival
  25. Write/draw a book together
  26. Go to an outdoor movie
  27. Bake bread together
  28. Do a road trip to a special place
  29. Go sailing
  30. Check out the inside of a lighthouse
  31. Play croquet
  32. Go to a bowling alley
  33. Have fish and chips on the beach
  34. Go see a children’s play
  35. Play frisbee
  36. Learn to hula hoop and skip rope
  37. Pick wild flowers
  38. Press flowers
  39. Have a pillow fight
  40. ‘Drive’ a go cart
  41. Go on a ferris wheel
  42. Go on a rollercoaster
  43. Boogie board in the ocean
  44. Have a garage sale and let him be in charge of the money
  45. Feed the ducks
  46. Make a car out of a box
  47. Finger paint
  48. Put on a puppet show
  49. Play dress ups
  50. Go on a treasure hunt
Fifty things by five!
(I was going to add ‘Play in the dirt’, but he’s done that many times… sometimes with taste testing…)

Single parenthood is fine and dandy

15 Jun

After my son was born my husband became verbally abusive towards me on an almost-daily basis. After much heartbreak and anguish I called it quits in April, when my son was 13 months old. I was really nervous about being a single mother, as I felt dependent on my husband for the things he did with parenting and around the house.

But I’ve been living by myself (with my son, of course) for almost a month now and I am loving it. I didn’t realise how heavy the burden of my miserable marriage was, and what a strain it was for me to function normally. (I did, but it was a lot of work!) So now that weight is off my shoulders, everything feels easier.

Yes, there are times when I wish there was someone else to take the rubbish out, do the dishes, play with the toddler, get him to sleep, pay the bills, work alongside, give me a cuddle at the end of the day, etc., but I am coping just fine. And I have more emotional and physical energy to put more time and effort into my son and everything else. So I am finding single parenting much more positive than I thought it would be. My son still gets to see his Dad a few times a week and that’s good. I never wanted to deprive him of his father, I just refused to model a dysfunctional relationship for him, and put myself through more misery for the sake of an ideal.*

Even better, I am feeling so empowered. I can do it all by myself.** It’s not that I don’t miss having a loving relationship, I do. But I definitely don’t miss having a crappy relationship. Being a single mum ain’t so bad after all.

*Yes, it is best for children to have both parents in a loving relationship. Oh, how I wanted that! 

*Fundamentally, I disagree with anyone doing anything all by themselves. Except maybe tying your shoelaces. But it feels good to know that I can. Hear me roar, and all that. 

I don’t have a television

14 Jun

It is awesome.

I’ve never been a big television watcher; in fact I don’t think I’ve personally owned a TV. But I can’t think of anywhere I have lived where there hasn’t been one. Oh, there was that hippy flat for 6 months which didn’t have a TV.

Photo from English Photography. I'd much rather stick my child on a couch in a field of sunflowers than in front of a TV. Wouldn't you?

This is the first time in my life I have deliberately had no TV. What’s the point? I am not interested in watching it, it would just take up space. It might possibly tempt me at some point in the future to stick my active, intelligent, creative child in front of it as a babysitter. Letting him grow up with TV as a big influence in his life is something I swore I’d never do. So far I haven’t. But who knows. Sometimes removing the temptation (I just need a few minutes to cook dinner…) is the most effective form of self control.

I must confess here that I do still watch Desperate Housewives online. (Why? I don’t know. I enjoy it. I’m hooked. But I’ve deliberately not got hooked on other programmes!) And I would be a much grumpier story if I had no computer.

That being said, I am definitely in an unusual situation here. I have only one friend I can think of who doesn’t have a television in her house. It was a deliberate choice for them too. In fact, I have been offered no less than 3 TV’s since moving here a few weeks ago. I’m amazed, although not surprised, that it is considered such an essential household item. I’m proud to not own a TV.

The sweetness of motherhood

14 Jun

After all the nappies, the food mess, the endless toys, the demands, the constant attention, the night wakings and all the other challenging aspects of parenthood are put aside, there come moments where nothing was ever sweeter. There are two things I love the most about motherhood. The first is making my son smile and laugh. I swear his giggle is the happiest, most pure sound in the world. The second is the cuddles; especially when he falls asleep in my arms… his nursery is warm and dark and we are snuggled up, just the two of us, and the trust he places in me is such that he falls asleep within minutes, breathing softly against my arm. Oh, my heart! I don’t understand how parents can ever leave their babies to cry themselves to sleep.

I wish I was a clean freak

13 Jun

I like places to be clean and tidy. That’s not the problem. I’m not one of those people who don’t notice or care about the mess. I do. It’s just that I often can’t be bothered dealing to it. Now that my boy is walking and exercising his will, he doesn’t put up with me doing much housework during the day. Or rather, he wants to be too involved, and that just makes it very time consuming and sometimes more messy. And then when he’s finally asleep I’d rather just chill out on the computer for a bit, or do some sewing. There’s a large pile of dishes looming in the kitchen, and I need to vacuum, and I need to put away all the toys, and I need to hang up nappies, and I got a chest of drawers for my bedroom yesterday so I can finally get my clothes off the floor… but I just don’t feel like it.

Sometimes the urge to clean and tidy hits me strong and I whip around and do it all super efficiently and am very satisfied with my domestication. Other times, blah. I wish I was a clean freak and then I’d be really motivated to have a super tidy house, instead of procrastinating while I blog…

(NB: I googled ‘messy house’ to find a picture to use in this post. Oh my goodness. My house seems spick and span compared to the pictures that came up! Wow! – if you are a clean freak, don’t google it.)

The fruit pick-me-up

13 Jun

My fruit wasn't as fancy as this, but I am definitely going to make these rainbow kebabs when strawberries are in season!

For the last couple of days I have been feeling SO tired. There’s no immediately obvious reason, because I have been getting plenty of sleep. Slept in til 10.30 on Sunday morning as my son was at his Dad’s overnight. Bliss! He usually sleeps til 8am or even 8.30am so it’s not like I have to wake up early (he occasionally wakes up in the night but not often). Yesterday I was so tired I almost fell asleep when I was cuddling him to sleep at naptime and bedtime. Today I was feeling bereft of all pizazz.

Then I realised that as I couldn’t afford my vege box last week, I haven’t been eating as much raw food / fruit / vegetables as usual. So today when I went to the post office to post off my foster care application, I also stopped by the supermarket and got some fruit. When we got home I chopped up a plateful of fruit for me and the baby. I feel so much better! 1 apple, 3 mandarins, 2 kiwifruit, 2 bananas… magic.

Must remember to stick to eating more raw food. I am particularly looking forward to my vege box this week.

Rubbish free solutions – supermarket shopping

11 Jun

Food is my biggest source of rubbish. So, aside from overnight disposable nappies, it is my first port of call to reduce my waste.

Dairy

I LOVE cheese. Any and all kinds of cheese. One day I will learn how to make it and then I will be cheese-rubbish-free, but til then, I’m allowing myself a block of cheese. A 1kg block of tasty cheddar lasts me a month, so it’s not too much rubbish. But I also sometimes buy camembert (about the only cheese I can afford outside of cheddar!) so I will cut down on that. If you have a larger budget than mine there are specialty cheese shops and delis where you can buy a chunk of cheese off the round, and wrap it in your own cloth or reused plastic bag.

Milk is fine, because I can recycle the bottles. Thanks, council. But even better would be to get it direct off a farm in a reused glass bottle. I’m not in a situation to source that, but you might be! Same goes for juice here; the bottles are recyclable.

Yoghurt containers can also be recycled where I am, which is handy. But I might try making my own. All you need is milk and some active culture. (And pots and thermometer and spoon.)

Personally I prefer butter to margarine. I don’t use a lot of it, so a block of butter lasts a while, unless I have a baking spree. According to myzerowaste.com, you can compost the butter wrapper, but fatty foods can attract rats so only compost it if you have a well fitting lid.

Fruit

Plant some fruit trees.

Arrange a swap with your neighbours fruit trees.

Order an organic vege box. This is my favoured option.

Go to a farmers market and take your own bags.

If you must buy fruit from the supermarket, reuse plastic bags, or don’t use them at all. If the checkout operator gives you a funny look as your fruit rolls on to the scales, smile and say ‘I’m cutting down on plastic bags’. Or ignore it, smug with the knowledge that you are helping the planet, even if they think you’re annoying.

Veges

Same as for fruit above, except it’s easier, quicker, and takes less space to grow veges.

I love the organic boxes. But farmers markets are also good.

And unlike buying multiple pieces of fruit, you usually don’t need plastic bags for vegies anyway.

Snacks

Cutting down on rubbish around snacks requires more of an attitude shift. These things are all about the packaging. Here are some snacks I like, and how I’m going to reduce my rubbish with them:

Bhuja mix. Crunchy and peanut-y, yum! This stuff comes in the bulk bins at the supermarket, so I’m going to reuse the same bag. It’ll even have the right number on it already! This goes for lots of things in the bulk bins. Nuts, rice crackers, dried fruit. All good snacks that have reusable packaging.

Crackers. I usually buy the organic corn thins because they don’t have lots of extra ingredients; emulsifiers and preservatives and MSG and flavours and all that. So they are a handy snack to give to the toddler. The outside plastic bag can be reused as storage as I won’t be buying clingfilm, but I’m not sure what to do about the foil inner. Maybe this is one of the things, like the cheese wrapper, that I have to accept for the meantime. I’ve tried making crackers a few times before and they were failures. So I don’t really want to try again and waste food.

Biscuits. Yummy but not terribly good for you. Still, it’s nice to have some on hand for when visitors pop round or you want a quick sweet munch. Easy way to cut down on waste – bake them yourself! I have even made raw cookies and they were delicious.

Chips… just don’t bother. I used to love chips, but when I gave in to my weaker self and bought some the other day, I found that I finally didn’t enjoy them. Woohoo!

Muesli bars are fairly easy to make. I don’t buy them usually but I’m quite tempted to make some.

Grains

I will now only buy my grains in the bulk bins and reuse the bags.

Bread

Now that I know I can successfully make wholemeal bread, I plan to make two loaves at a time, and that will mean no plastic waste. My flour comes in paper bags which can be recycled or composted, the oil comes in glass, the honey and yeast in reusable containers. The only thing that comes in a plastic bag is the salt, so I will have to investigate other options for salt.

Meat

I don’t eat a lot of meat, but I might suss out the local butcher for the little that I do.

Frozen goods

I do tend to keep frozen peas, corn, and pastry in the freezer. I guess I’ll have to make pastry from scratch (and if I can’t be bothered, that’s probably better for me!). As far as the veges go, I think I will allow myself that. It’s good to have backup veges and they don’t get used up quickly so it won’t be much waste. Once I have a garden I can obviously freeze my own produce.

Cleaning products

I thought there wasn’t a Bin Inn in Wellington, but apparently there’s a new store in Lower Hutt. Great! Bin Inn have bulk cleaning products on tap, as well as all the ingredients you need to make your own. Their website has recipes and tips if you click on the ‘Cleaning’ tab. I will have to do this bit slowly, as I have cleaning products and it would be silly to waste them.

Cutting down on waste

10 Jun

Remember these guys?

When I first saw this segment on Campbell Live I remember being almost disbelieving. Only one plastic bag of rubbish? How is that possible? Do these people eat? But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that they were really on to something. Rubbish plays a huge part in our modern lifestyles. We are so used to being able to pick up a packet of anything, and then throw it away. You can buy apple slices in the supermarket, wrapped in plastic. You can buy individually wrapped slices of cheese and crackers, which are then packaged in a container. It’s quite absurd. It has got to the point where we don’t think things are safe unless they are triple wrapped. Last night I stopped by the Organic Gypsy wellness blog, written by one of my readers (hi!). Her top post was about how zero waste is hard. It is! But not impossible. I figure it’s like transitioning from a standard to a raw diet. It requires a radical change in thinking and habits, and may involve slipping back before the change is complete. So I’m going to start now.

According to rubbishfree.co.nz, there are now estimated to be 46,000 pieces of plastic in every square kilometre of every ocean in the world, and in the past 25 years in NZ, we’ve increased what we throw away by 73%. If we put our waste onto a rugby field we’d have a pile 30 stories high – every month!

I feel like I want to justify myself to Waveney and Matthew on the rubbishfree website. But you don’t have a baby. It’s harder with a baby. For example, although I have used cloth nappies with my son from birth, I have also put him in a disposable nappy overnight. They hold more moisture and pull the wetness away from him so he doesn’t wake up wet. I really like getting a good nights sleep and it sucks to be woken up and have to change his nappy (and his outfit) and get him back to sleep. But having said that, he occasionally wets through his disposable too, so I may as well at least give it a go with the cloth nappy overnight. I have enough inserts; I just hope it won’t be too uncomfortable for him with that much padding round his bum.

So this is my first thing to address. I am feeling myself really resistant to not putting him in a disposable overnight! It’s also winter, and I am occasionally using disposables during the day as well, as I just can’t seem to get the cloth nappies dry in time. It takes a good few days to dry them in this weather. I have one small rack in the hot water cupboard, and a larger rack in the hallway.

The next big thing to address is food waste. I am not particularly careful about the food packaging I buy. To give myself some credit, I do take my reusable shopping bags, and I buy my organic produce in a box, so there aren’t a zillion little plastic bags for each type of fruit. But I don’t think twice about buying a block of cheese, a packet of crackers, some ham in a bag from the deli, frozen peas and corn, snacks. So much plastic! This is going to be a BIG change to make! I’m rather nervous, if I’m totally honest with you.

Another big issue for me is that I don’t have a compost. I left my worm farm behind when my husband and I separated. I now live in the upstairs flat in a block of two. There is a small grassy section at the front which isn’t fenced and is right on the road. The small back section is almost unusable; it gets no sun and is very steep and borders on to bush. I don’t feel comfortable gardening out there with my son toddling around. So, thinking of solutions… I could ask my nice landlord if I can put a compost on the back section – there is a small area that looks reasonably flat, and it won’t be used for anything else. Although some of these changes are difficult, not having a compost goes against the grain. It’s something I have had everywhere I have lived, except for a few months in an apartment when I didn’t cook much anyway. I feel reluctant to ask anything of my landlord, given that I flooded the place the second night I was here, when the washing machine hose popped out of the sink. The floors are having to be relaid and it is a drama. They are very nice, but still…

This post is getting a bit long, so I’ll do another one on zero waste solutions shortly.

I forgot how good fresh bread tastes

10 Jun

I won’t lie, I’m a bit proud of myself right now…

It’s not like I’ve never made bread before. I have. With my Mum. Using a breadmaker. At school. Etc. But I have never made a loaf of wholemeal bread from scratch, by myself (with a toddler hanging around my ankles). Unfortunately he was in bed by the time I actually put it in the oven, but I’m sure he will enjoy it for breakfast. It’s delicious! Soft and tasty and all things a loaf of bread should be.

Thanks Lester:

(The only thing I changed with this tutorial is that I substituted 1/3 cup of water with 1/3 cup of juice, for the vitamin C. According to my Mum, it helps. I also used honey instead of agave nectar, because it is cheaper.)