Houseplant Musings – Mums

I have had an aversion to fake plants and flowers in my own home for years. In others homes and public areas they are fine and acceptable and sometimes even very well suited. They are just not for me. Why because I have to dust them.

They are outlawed form my house because someone I knew used them as an excuse not to have to buy flowers on special occasions. Although that person is long gone the ban on them still stands. Only bouquets, live or potted flowers in the house.

_20171117_110609.JPGMums, Chrysanthemums or Pot Mums are lovely guests in my house and they used to be put out to waste when their best was done but what a waste. I realized that I was putting a good plant to death by putting them outside to die off and then into the composter so I read up on them. My first few attempt felt dismal but I stuck by them. It has taken months but my first second generation flowers have now appeared and I am so chuffed.

The nurseries seem to have secrets to force them into flower at their most awkward times so they are available year round for a splash of color. From what I have read Mums like short days and longer nights. They are autumn flowering plants. This is the time of year that they flower naturally.

I love yellow mums – yellow is a color flower I gravitate towards but these are white. I have bought yellow and white mums but have forgotten which is which. I know the purple ones are fed a dye but I am not sure if the yellow ones are. It is really not important if the yellow ones are dyed because they are lovely too.

Whichever pot has decided to flower I am just happy I have achieved this little moment. I guess this means I will have to reconsider each time I see a lovely pot of mums available to bring home any season of the year otherwise I will have a house full of blooms each autumn and my other half may have to relocate to his beloved shed to make room.

Perhaps one day I will have to time to find a corner in the house to set up a space with a small controlled environment and see if I can trick them into blooming off season like the nurseries do.

The Jar Project

I do a lot of little things to save money. Growing veg and making my own wine is just a couple of them but where does the money I save go? Who crapping knows! But I want to start seeing the money I am saving so we are going to start the jar banks (baby food jars to start).

This is the plan – every time I use something fresh from the garden like rhubarb, tomatoes etc … even parsley for a meal £1 will be put in the jar for each course ( main meal, dessert etc). If I make soup and it goes for two meals then each meal will earn its pound in the jar. This money will go toward the garden next year. I made cakes with Pumpkin from the garden so owe the jar a pound for that already.

Every time my other half starts a bottle of wine he will put £2 into ‘Wine’ Jar. It costs me at the most … the very most a pound per bottle to make (most of the time it is like 30p). What is the cheapest bottle you can buy these days? Four or Five pounds.

There will be four jars –

Meals – Already explained how this one works

Waste – this one will be fed a £1 coin every time something goes off and must be thrown away. An orange goes moldy before it can be eaten – £1 into the jar, so forth and so on. Left overs end up in the composter £1 goes in the jar.

Wine – £2 per bottle opened.

Recycling – This one is a little more general. It is when I can take something and turn it around and use it for something else IOWs recycle it. Another way to feed this jar is if we are given something for free and save money by not having to buy it. (ie recently asked if I could have a set of the outdoor table and chairs (chrome and wood) a pub was getting rid of when they had bought new ones. Never hurts to ask and this set although it needs a cover over the table (until it can be painted) saved us in the region of £100 but I only put £5 in the recycling jar. Another fiver went in for the collecting, cleaning and reusing of screw-cap wine bottles to bottle my homemade wines (60 some odd bottles collected from pubs). I can’t imagine what it might have cost to buy them new from a wine making supplier.

We will do a check in at the end of November (six months on) to see how we are doing.

Wish me luck.


Started this three weeks ago on the 15th of May and the total in all jars combined is £51.

More Recycling – Reclamation Business

I love recycling. My earliest memories are from 4th and 5th grade when our school was raising money by collecting aluminum cans to sell for cash. Forgotten what we were raising money for but I would spend hours walking along roads picking up cans to put into a huge gunny sack. When it came time to bring them in I had a gunny sack and a half. Didn’t amount to but a few dollars but I liked it. It was the beginnings of a fleshless love of recycling, reusing, remaking and remixing.

Somewhere back in my storage shed there is an old scrap book that I started when I was 11 years old. It only has a few filled pages. One page has a coffee table made of soft drinks cans, stacked two or three high and two deep square. On top is perched a beveled glass top so you can see the cans beneath. Another has a see through shower curtain with pieces of scrap vinyl made into a scene of a tree and hills along the bottom.

I liked them because they were creative ideas for the time on recycling trash. Seem a bit simpleton these days but for an 11yo in the early seventies, they were awesome. Trash turned to useful treasures. I didn’t conceptualize the idea of saving the earth etc at the time, they were just things I wanted to think of and create.

We were gut poor at the time and having things meant that we had to be creative. I can honestly say that if there was a time in my life where my love of recycling sprouted, that was the time. It didn’t dissipate either. Instead it grew and my imagination grew with it.

This morning we were talking and throwing around ideas, as we normally do on our days off. I have often thought of what a waste it is when they tear down a house or old barn and just haul it all to the dump or burn it in a large bonfire. Beams and boards that could be used to build sheds or create tables or boxes, weathered, worn and with history.

We discussed to ins and outs of starting a reclamation business. The husband is the better of us at organizing and I have the imagination to see the possibilities of what something can morph into. I told him I would find the inventory and he could organize it.

He could use the wood if he liked to build things and sell on what he wanted. Going into places like Wickes(in the UK) where it can be a real chore to find a straight 2×4 or just about any piece of straight length of wood. Unless it is rotted from worm or wet why can’t wood be reused.

It is not just the wood that can be reused but the toilets, sinks, old cast iron baths. I saw a lovely idea yesterday as we were whizzing to market of three urinals on the outside wall of a garage, planted like hanging baskets. Excellent!!!

Recycling doesn’t mean using something again as it was originally designed. Recycling is making use of something in anyway you want to keep it from being thrown into a landfill. I would plan to make this a reclamation business and not a junk shop but I am not adverse to a junk yard so to speak. Lovely old floor boards stacked and ready to provide another 80 years of support to a family home has that feel-good aura about it.

Nothing scream creativity to me like recycling. Recycling can be applied to so many areas of our lives. How many of us have in an effort to save money learned to take our left overs from last nights dinner and recycle them into a creative new dish.

Using old CDs to scare the birds from your vegetable garden is recycling. Taking water you used to wash dishes and watering the garden is recycling. Making bread that has gone dry and stale (not molding) and making bread pudding is recycling. You didn’t throw it away. You used it as far as you could.

The majority of the human population did not learn to be so wasteful until the industrial revolution and the machine gave us, time, jobs and extra money in various degrees to afford to be wasteful. But just because I have been given the money and time to be wasteful does not in my eyes give me the right.

I do not have to be wholly self-sufficient to feel I am doing a little something to save my world from being buried in landfill after landfill but it makes me feel good when I can do what I can and guilty when I don’t do what I know I am able to.

So perhaps it is time to do a bit of investigating. I have to admit the idea would be to make a little money or I would have to maintain a paycheck job but there is room to consider how to avoid being greedy. Being rich is alluring but I doubt I would ever be anything but rich in the pleasure of doing what I love and sharing it with the world. Not a bad way to be rich, if you ask me.