Saturday, January 26, 2008


Here at Chez Galaxy, Friday nights could not be more exciting. On the way home from work, I decided to forgo the still novel pleasure of taking the Great Circle Line bus home--have I told you about the incredible view as you go along Stuartholme Road?--and head for my old Friday night pit stop, the Queen Street Mall.

All day, it had been just me and the microfilm machine for company in the Fryer Library, so I think I was craving a bit of human interaction, the bustle of Friday night shoppers, the conversation of retail workers.

I found myself, as I often do, salivating over various gadgets and appliances in a kitchen ware shop. They're all so pretty and shiny. This time I actually decided to purchase something, a 20cm skillet pan that I've been contemplating for at least a year. I'm not much of an impulse buyer. Now I won't have to lug the big frying pan out for small jobs. I'm especially looking forward to those moments when making Indian and Chinese food where they call for toasting various seeds or creating a flavoured oil to pour over the final dish.

Speaking of cooking, here's a blurry photo of an okra and potato dish I made last week:

After leaving the kitchen shop, I used the magics of a phone with an internet connection to look up the location of the new city branch of my favourite eco shop. They'd sent me a catalogue by email and I quite liked the look of a few things, plus since I lost my Sigg water bottle at a gelati counter on Lygon Street in Melbourne, I've been buying and refilling various plastic water bottles, which I really prefer not to do.

I looked at the water bottles, but my aesthetic snobbery got in the way of me buying a replacement. That, and I really want it to fit in the side pocket of my backpack, so I can try to minimise the chances of losing it. Well, I can live in hope. I've always been a bit prone to losing things. I remember when I heard that song that went 'Dancing in the disco, bumper to bumper. Wait a minute, where's me jumper? Where's me jumper? ... And my mother will be so, so angry...' I decided that it was my personal theme song.

Having put off the water bottle until another time, I looked at the magnet picture hangers that seemed to promise hope for renters who like pictures on their walls but aren't allowed to put up hooks or use blu-tack. Unfortunately they still involved double sided tape, but gee, what strong magnets, they could definitely keep the Andy Warhol pictures I drooled over at the GoMA shop in place, without damaging them.

I ended up buying some dish washing liquid, and then, as if to completely mock my earlier proclamation that I'm not an impulse buyer, I decide to get a Bokashi All-Food Compost Kit.

I'd never heard of them before, but just talking to my sister now, she says she's seen them on television.

Anyway, it's this bin you put your food scraps in, between layers of a Bokashi mixture, that's some kind of bacteria. Effectively what happens is that the food scraps get pickled, and after a few weeks of tamping down the bin, getting rid of air pockets, and making sure you put the right ratio Bokashi to food scraps, you can dig a hole in your garden and leave it for about three weeks, upon which time it will have turned into humus, full of nutrients for your garden.

I was a bit excited when I saw it at the eco store because straight away I could see that it was something that a renter could do, and now that I have a small patch of dirt, I also saw that it could help along my fledgling herb garden, which, by the way, was one of my new year's resolutions to establish. Even if I end up with too much pickled garbage, the pamphlet suggests I can give it to my local community garden, and since moving to this new place, I have one that I walk past most days.

I almost made it home for an exciting evening of setting up the Bokashi Kit, but I got waylaid by the bottle shop across from the bus stop and gave in to more traditional Friday night pleasures, treating myself to a Wine Adventure Pack consisting of six small bottles of Margaret River Reds.

See? The adventure never stops here at Chez Galaxy, even the wine attests to the excitementt.


Ariel said...

Ooh, I like the sound of the Bokashi compost kit, actually!

Payton L. Inkletter said...

Ah, good choice of wines! Margaret River has a deserved fine reputation for the elixir of the grape.

Kirsty, your Bokashi All-Food Compost Kit is a new one on me. I use bought and home made worm farms in the back garden here in Perth’s northern suburbs to take care of everything putrescible from our kitchen, and my wife Janny is a rare lass who prepares the greater proportion of everything from basics (having now identified myself as a male chauvinistic piglet), meaning we generate a lot of compostibles, from peelings to leftovers and everything in between.

We are lucky to be on a block that’s 800 sq. metres, so there’s room for smells to dissipate rather than be under neighbours’ noses. On the subject of things olfactory, that okra and spud dish you made smells delicious.

Mark Lawrence said...

Hey Kirsty, tried to comment on this post over the weekend but kept hitting a wall.

I was amazed to read that you know how to use a microfilm machine! I haven't used one, or heard of anyone else using one, since 1990!

The Bokashi compost things are great. I saw them demonstrated at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne a couple of years back. I hear they are 'odourless' but I'd like to get your opinion on that. Great for units and apartments, and great for vegie-herb patches too!

I'd like to know the progress of you vegie patch. Good luck with it.

Kirsty said...

Hmmm, not sure about the commenting problems, Mark--an occasion to curse Blogger, I guess.

Payton, in my first year at uni I had an assignment for a subject called Human Identity and Change where we had the choice to write a standard essay or do something creative. Since I was going through my youth theatre/playwright stage, I wrote a short play where the setting was a dinner party. I'd never consciously heard of Plato's Symposium, but clearly I'd absorbed something about it from the culture at large. Anyway the point is that a philosophical discussion ensued, the upshot of which was that making pumpkin soup was a feminist statement rather than submissive drudgery, so, Go Janny!

The Bokashi Compost can take meat and onion scraps too, which I hear traditional composts can't. How do the worms fare with those things?

So far, there are no smells. Fingers crossed. Another excellent thing about the Bokashi is that you drain off the liquid that forms and either mix it 100:1 with water to make fertiliser or tip it down your drain or toilet to make them work more efficiently.

There is no end to the miracle of Bokashi : P

Payton L. Inkletter said...

Mark now has the chance to curse Blogger due the problems posting a comment here? I’ll join you Mark, for cursing Blogger has become one of my frequent past times; I have a love-hate relationship with it. It does some things very well, others badly, and is capricious, and lets me down constantly – hell, maybe it’s human!

Speaking of pumpkin soup Kirsty, Janny just so happens to make the best in the southern hemisphere, and arguably the northern also, thus there may well be something in the ‘feminist statement’ theory.

Good question regarding onions and meat scraps for the worm farms: since altering the way they are setup, I succeed now with these two nasties, as well as with acidic scraps such as citrus peelings, and alcohol producing scraps such as other fruit peelings. By removing the legs of the towers, and placing several in a row with space between into a long and narrow slab-walled above ground compost heap (thus ‘burying’ them effectively leaving access only to their lids and keeping them cooler in summer), and dispensing in fact with their official lids and using their own trays as lids, full of large holes, the greatly improved aeration, and the worms’ access to the surrounding compost through the narrow but worm width gaps between each stacked tray, all this now means they cope with the more tricky scraps. That was a long sentence.

Kirsty, I have just read your few postings for January, and I enjoy your humour, your rare discernment, and your excellent word craft. You would easily make a good novelist. You wrote back in Happy (Sniffle) New Year: ‘It's the writing. It takes very little for me to be insecure about my writing, even in the face of praise about it.’ All I can say is that having just read a small sample of your writing in these few posts, where likely you are not even trying to write the best words you’ve ever written, you express yourself in an exemplary way, and you have a fine sense of contrast at a meta level. For example, I think your post under Cheese on Toast is superb: ‘The teenage girl who lives next door cried so hard just before. She wailed from a place inside her that had no voice.

Now everything is silent and I've made myself cheese on toast and a cup of tea for dinner.’

My advice: believe powerfully in yourself and your writing, all the while with humility ever striving to improve and learn from others (doubtless you already follow this path). Hear detractors, but don’t let them nest in your hair.

Kirsty said...

Thanks, Payton for such lovely compliments. I'll make sure I comb my hair regularly then : )

genevieve said...

Aah, the humanity bath, so essential after a quiet day with resources.
I want an Adventure Pack, must be looking for them in the future.
Kirsty I have some of those magnetic boys, bought them in hopes my daughter could use them too - but it is a renting problem.
Your okra and spuds look yummy.