Up until three months ago we had two cars, and one of those was a 6 litre V8, so was most definitely not the most economical, or kind to the environment. We had been wanting to get rid of the V8 for quite a while, and eventually finally managed to. Since then we have been making an effort to reduce the amount of km we use the car for, hoping to save ourselves some money as well as increasing our fitness and reducing our carbon footprint.
Unfortunately there are a couple of places that we have to drive that it is just too inconvenient not to; work for me, and TAFE for John. I work 40km from our house, and whilst it is possible to take the train, it just takes too long, and I am just not quite prepared to spend an extra two hours a day commuting.
When John visited the USA late last year he collected our new Surly Long Haul Truckers which are beautiful touring bikes. I would have loved to purchase them in Australia, but unfortunately they are double the price here, and no Australian companies produce anything similar at the moment.
My beautiful long haul trucker parked outside the gym
We have managed to reduce our car use by cycling to the gym, the supermarket when we don’t need to do a full shop, occasionally cycling to or from the city and visiting my parents. We both absolutely love cycling, so this is a change to our lives that we are really enjoying, often going for long rides just for fun, and we are managing to save over $200 a month by no longer having to pay rego or insurance on our second car, plus what we are saving in petrol.
So we have been talking for the past couple of weeks about starting to try and grow some fruit and veggies, but were thinking about waiting until the temperature had cooled down a bit (have been quite a few 35 degrees plus days). On Friday we went to Big W and they were selling strawberry plants for $1! So we bought 3, we then went to the garden section and bought 4 tomato plants, a basil plant and a coriander plant. We had decided that we weren’t going to plant them in the ground, but would get plant pots for them, so if it gets too hot we can move them out of the sun, and when our new house is finally built we will be able to take them with us. So we bought a few pots and a bag of potting compost and set to work planting them.
The day we planted them was about 36 degrees and we are very new to gardening, putting all of the plants directly in the sun may not have been the best idea, as when we went back outside all of the new plants apart from the tomatoes were looking extremely sad, especially the coriander. So we moved the pots a little and put them in the shade, and the strawberries and basil have recovered, but we think the coriander may not recover, although we’re still hoping that it may bounce back!
Over the past few years we have been moving away from travelling the world to creating a life in Australia. The idea of becoming sustainable has started to become more appealing to us, as we have become acutely aware of the environment and our effect on it. We now have the ultimate goal of moving to Tasmania, buying a rural property and becoming fully self sufficient – Although this is still quite a way away this blog will detail our journey to self sufficiency.
Currently we are living in South Australia, about 40km south of Adelaide. Until very recently we were the kind of people who absolutely no thought or care about our impact on the environment, we would use our air conditioning almost all of the time, we made a half hearted attempt at recycling, we would waste a lot of food and we would drive absolutely everywhere.
We have decided to start small and keep making small changes to our lives to decrease our impact on the environment, become more self sufficient and hopefully save some money in the process.
The changes we have made so far are: only using the air conditioner if it over 38 degrees outside and never having it turned up all the way; buying six chooks (Aussie for chicken,they will start laying any day now, riding our push bikes whenever possible, and yesterday we made our first attempt at growing something – we bought 3 strawberry plants, 4 tomato plants, and basil and coriander plants. We also sold our second car and this has increased our use of public transport, our bikes and our own legs to get about!
John with the chicken ringleader!