Grandma and her boys

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Recycle or make do and mend

Now I am not a recycle fanatic, but I do my bit and yesterday I loaded my car with the waste paper and plastic and glass.While driving to the recycling centre I began to think about what happened to all this stuff when I was a kid.

Did we recycle or did we just reuse, I believe the latter is the the truth.

Our life was really Make Do and Mend

The more I thought, I found I remembered such a lot and yes we did recycle but in a different way

We knew nothing of greenhouse gases and landfill sites. But our family did it's wee bit, we were 6 people in all I was the eldest child, and everything we had, had at least 2 lives.

I remember our clothes being cut down for the younger ones, collars being turned on shirts and school blouses, sheets were turned sides to middle or ends to middle when they became thin in the centre. Face cloths made from worn out towels, bathmats also made from layers of old towels stitched together. Rugs made from strips of rag and tucked and hooked into hessian sacking.

No clothes were actually thrown away the fabric was gathered, plus all the buttons and buckles for use in the future, this was made into patchwork quilts for our beds or used as lining for clothes and my mother made me petticoats from sheeting and shirt fabric. Hankies were made from this fabric also.

Food was never wasted, we had rationing for the first 8 or 10 yrs of my life so again all was utilised, a joint of meat did 3 days, the same size joint today, we can polish it off in one sitting.

Vegetables were home grown and we only had what was in season, some peelings were boiled for the gravy, then the rest went back into the ground as compost, at one point we had chickens and my mother would collect cabbage stumps from the neighbours gardens to feed them. I don't think the chickens lasted very long I don't have a good memory about them in fact I think they did not lay enough and were put in the pot as needed.

Stale bread was made into bread pudding, Yorkshire pudding was made for the Sunday roast and another dish of it was made with sugar added cooked in muffin tins and you plopped a spoon of jam on top and there was your dessert.

Food was bottled and preserved, onions were the main thing I can recall, we were all dragged screaming to help with the peeling of them. We collected blackberries and apples, plums and any thing that anyone had a glut of in their garden, everyone seemed to share in those days or swapped for something you had no use for.

I don't remember having plastic bags or bottles my mother had 2 or 3 oilskin shopping bags, bottles were only glass, but there was a rag and bone man who came around with a horse drawn cart and collected them he would give Mum money for the glass but he would give the kids a live goldfish for the rags, our pond was stocked from the rag man.

Jam jars were always collected for all the jam was homemade, I remember bought jam was a luxury

News papers were used for all manner of things, they were cut in half and piled very neatly on the work bench about 2 inches thick and Mum would use this as her chopping block and peeling station, then she would roll up the top ones and put this on the fire the fire was our source of hot water. Fire lighters were made from screwed up paper then dampened and then piled and a weight was put on them in the coal shed and left to dry.

Oh my !! I could go on and on may be I will do another post on the same subject later.

There is the equipment and household rubbish to talk about.

What are you memories of recycling ?

1 comment:

Ali Honey said...

I remeber most of thatwhile growing up too, although life on a NZ farm would have been different in that we grew all our own vegetables ( sometimes an extra row along side crops for the sheep or cows as well as in the garden ); we had an orchard of all sorts of fruit trees; we had chooks and killed our own meat. We also milked a small number of cows so had milk cream and butter. All left over food scraps went to the hens.
I do remember preserving eggs ( used in cooking only )in stuff like vaseline. I also remember cleaning windows with newspaper.