Week Ten – Wisdom from the elders

Long before we were ever considering doing a rubbish free year, I was discussing with my grandmother her experiences of raising five children whilst living on a large farm on which my grandfather was a worker. I was reminded of this conversation recently when we received an email from a 70 year old woman, Anna, who wished to pass on some tips ‘from life 50 years ago’. Both woman gave golden advice. My grandmother explained that the grocer used to come via the farm once a month and she would generally only need to purchase about 12 items – things like floor polish, baking soda, flour and sugar. Of course being on a farm is slightly easier than living an urban lifestyle where butchering a sheep in the garage probably wouldn’t go down too well with the council, however, Anna and my grandmother both had advice that might be applicable to our lifestyle. For example, we are keen to try adding a small amount of sand to a mixture of baking soda and vinegar which apparently makes a heavy cleaning product similar to Jiff. Slightly less appealing is saving all the fat from lamb, pork and beef and using it to make soap! According to Anna this soap also works well as shampoo, followed by rinsing the hair with a teaspoon of vinegar, (or lemon juice if blond), dissolved in a cup of water resulting in lovely shiny hair. I also noticed that both women have more specific knowledge about where compost is best directed than we do, ie. what should go to the chooks, what gets added to a pile, what is buried directly into trenches in the vege garden and what gets placed around the foot of plants. As I said before I believe this sort of knowledge to be golden and well worthy of passing down the generations.