Bananas and broccoli

Posted July 13th, 2006 by Penny Wise

Here in NZ we’re gearing up for another rough spell of weather. Apparently we’re having the coldest winter in 34 years and it certainly feels like it! It’s been a bit of a challenge to try and keep the power bill down, especially as we have to keep Ali warm all the time. The Vault has some brilliant ‘power free’ hints for keeping warm in winter and I bear a lot of those in mind as we all pull on an extra layer of clothes or drag the kids’ sleeping bags into the lounge for them to huddle under. The problem is that with Ali the way he is at the moment, we really need to ensure the atmosphere around him is kept at a constant temperature, which means using some kind of heating. However, we have still managed to find some unexpected ways to save! The boys decided a few days ago that they want to share a room for a while (Ali is always worse at night, so I think he doesn’t like being alone right now, bless him). At first Noel and I said no – all the hassle of moving furniture and so on, but then we realised it would give us one less room to have to heat! So we agreed – I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon enough and they will be fighting for their own space again but at least for now it’s actually quite helpful!

We’ve also been chewing through the firewood like it’s going out of fashion too – it’s the first year we’ve been in danger of running out. We have never had to buy firewood; over the years we have always had enough sources of our own around the place, but stocks were running low and no other sources are available in our area because all the suppliers have run out too! Luckily we discovered a helpful source of firewood at the weekend when Noel decided to demolish the donkey shelter and re-build it. The resulting wood has given us plenty to see out the winter and the new shed has only cost $80 to re-build as we already had iron and timber on hand (left by the previous owners) and all we had to buy was some new posts. With firewood selling for at least $45 - $50 a metre in our area, we figured we got a pretty good deal for our $80 expenditure!

Have been reading the ‘banana threads’ in the Discussion Forum and have been aghast to read that some poor people are being expected to fork out as much as $17 a kilo for the yellow treasures. It makes me feel very guilty because I can’t stand bananas, so not having them wouldn’t affect me at all. If only us Kiwis could buy them in bulk and send them over! Mind you, I don’t know about Australia but over here the price of vegetables is a real bugbear of mine right now. All the frosts and bitterly cold temperatures have affected many crops and pushed the prices through the roof – during my supermarket visit the other day I ended up buying only fruit from the produce area as all the veges were too darned expensive, with miniscule broccoli heads at $3.00 each. It might not sound much but they were so tiny that the average family would have to spend between $9.00 - $12.00 to have enough broccoli to make a meal! It makes me very glad that I have been freezing fresh vegetables all these months so I don’t have to succumb to paying $4.25 for a cauliflower. Many people have been buying bags of frozen vegetables from the supermarket as they are cheaper than buying the fresh version. I’d rather do it the Simple Savings way for even less!

The Alphabet Holiday programme has kind of lapsed a bit over the last couple of days. ‘I’ Day became more focused on an ‘I’ of a different kind – Dudley’s eye. The deed was done and his right eye was removed. I don’t know what I expected when I went to pick him up from the vet, I had this vision of him looking exactly the same, with his long hair cleverly hiding the place where his eye had been. Consequently I was mortified to see him totter out looking like an extra from a horror movie. He whined pitifully and I was sure he looked at me as if to say ‘Grr, you did this to me, you cow!’ However, we were all amazed the next day when he was bouncing around like a mad thing for the first time in months and gruesome or not, he actually seemed happy, so I guess we made the right decision. ‘J’ Day kind of slipped by without doing anything much except eating Jelly Tip ice cream and Jelly Snakes and who knows what ‘K’ Day will bring? I had better wake the boys up and find out!

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