See that picture of the little boy feeding that storybook looking hen? That is our first son Samson (I won’t tell you the hens name, it is a little too offensive for this forum, but feel free to ask privately and I’ll tell you). Names aside, can’t you just see the glee on Samson’s face?! This was a typical morning for us. Get up at 7am. Eat. Go outside. Feed the chooks, of which there were only two – a sufficient brood of egg layers for a then, family of three. Pure and simple enjoyment. Idealic isn’t it?
Like I mentioned in my first post, under those dinosaur pajama’s was a modern cloth nappy. We had a stash of 25 or so to support a three-day cycle – half being worn, half being washed. In the background you can see our beautiful nectarine tree blossoming – this was its first established season, I believe. Off to the side of this picture is our compost bin. It would be decomposing away all of our organic kitchen waste, ready for Shane to turn it into the ground, which in turn made beautiful rich soil, ready to grow our delicious produce. We grew corn, potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, brussel sprouts, lettuce, spinach, an assortment of herbs, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, apples, pears and lemons. All on a 600 sq metre suburban block! Looking back, I’m impressed with how much we could actually cultivate on our own little parcel of land.
We (and by ‘we’ I mean mostly Shane, and the odd extended family member – thanks Jane!) would collect, cut and stack our own firewood. Hey! I was busy breastfeeding, entertaining young Samson and probably making dinner (give a girl a break, okay)! We (insert ‘they’) used to get that warm fuzzy feeling after a hard day at it. My favourite part about this would be celebrating my (their) hard work by enjoying a nice glass of red wine by the roaring fire when the sun had set over the snowy Mount Wellington/kununyi. I think you get the picture don’t you? For some this might seem like a lot of hard work, and it kind of is, but it is also incredibly satisfying being part of your own food chain, not just passively buying everything or just flicking a switch on.
Fast forward eighteen months or so to today and we now find ourselves living in beautiful Sydney, New South Wales, with the addition of our second son, Reuben. We are the lucky ones, there is no doubt about it. I have a whole lot of gratitude for the life our family enjoys. We have had so many family adventures since living in Sydney. We go to the eastern beaches most weekends, when the weather is nice…Balmoral, eat your heart out, so nice!!! We’ve been bush walking, abseiling and canyoning in the Blue Mountains, had weekends away in Port Stephen’s and Jervis Bay, enjoyed the stunning Sydney harbour by ferry and ventured out in winter to marvel at the incredibly creative and captivating Vivid Lights exhibition. Yup…we live the good life.
The way we live here in Sydney however, is vastly different. As you know (if you read my earlier post), we live in a two bedder in the Inner West. Apartment living has its merits. You don’t have to mow the lawns and general building maintenance is done by your landlord or body corporate. There might even be super cool amenities like a pool or gym, or both that you can use. You could even say that apartments are more affordable to buy (yeah right SYDNEY!!). Buuuuuuuutt. We have no space (or it’s not possible) to do the things we enjoyed in Hobart.
Not long after we set up camp in our first Sydney apartment we realised using cloth nappies was pretty hard. Don’t forget we’d already been doing it for two years, so the general untidiness of it wasn’t the issue. They were hard to get dry (no roaring fire, you see?! And they can’t go in the dryer), there was not enough room inside our apartment to have them hanging on the airer for days on end (don’t get me started on the clothes), and there was nowhere to store the bucket for the soiled nappies out of the way of my two-year old. INCONVENIENT. Sorry environment: cloth nappies – out the door you go!!
In winter, we found that we had to use the dryer to get all of our clothes dry. We didn’t even have a dryer in Hobart. I shrunk so many clothes it’s not funny. My mantra that winter was “why on earth are these favourite pair of skinny jeans not fitting?”. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it – it was definitely nothing to do with my three weeks postpartum body! Bloody dryer. Sorry planet: you’ll have to cough up a bit more coal so I don’t have to inflict this naked body on my new friends.
Now, Sydney. This one is directed at you. You are very beautiful……but…..you can also be very dirty in all your underbelly places. You have an undesirable love affair with plastic. Do you know, I have a friend who avoids driving international visitors along Parramatta Road, not only because it is ugly, but it is covered with rubbish too. How embarrassing. This is one of Sydney’s main arteries and it’s not great. When we first moved here we were still in the ‘no bag/reusable’ mindframe and we were taken aback when we went to the supermarket and they tried to thrust all of our groceries into those awful grey plastic bags. But with a busy life, for the now mother of two, I got used to not taking my reusables and started using ‘those’ other ones – it never sat well with me. But not only that, they don’t even fill them up. I know why they do this – the bags break and nobody wants that. But seriously, I received a bag with only three small items in it once (and there were many item yet to be packed!! Sorry marine animals: the service is so great, you get to have a la plastique for dinner every night.
There is probably so much more I could mention but in the interests of keeping my relationship alive and well, I’m going to get going. The gist of it is this: for someone like me who has lived a ‘greener’ life, I have found it relatively easy to slip into some bad habits. Some of them I can change easily, some of them I cannot. I am writing this all because I have felt somewhat powerless to change. I know this is not the case. If you fancy following my journey, I will show you how I intend on changing for the betterment of my family and importantly the environment. I hope it will ignite a little fire in your belly to change some of your bad habits as well…we all know you’ve got some ; )
So there you have it…my evolution: from greeny to city slopper. Now it’s time for my beginning.