Skip to main content

Sustainable habits that our visitors find weird

Its not until we have visitors, or we stay away from home, that we realise how weird some of our habits might seem to other people.  If you are trying to live a simple, frugal, self-reliant or sustainable life, you probably have some weird habits too.  I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours....

1. We eat what we grow
Sometimes people bring us food.  Honestly we don't need any food, if anything we have too much food.  We have all the meat, vegetables, eggs and milk we can eat at the moment.  I actually got a little stressed out recently by exactly how much food we HAVE at the moment.  Please don't buy food for us, but we would love to share what you grow yourself.  When I want to take something to share with someone else, I usually want to grab something out of the garden, is it weird to turn up with a kg of tomatoes, or a carton of eggs?  We occasionally stop at the bakery and pick up a sugary bun just in case our home produce is not welcome, and then I don't want to eat the bun because of the sugar....

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
veges from our garden

2. We don't make much "rubbish"
Firstly, we line our rubbish bin with newspaper, rather than using a bin bag.  Second all our vege scraps go into the worm farm(s) - we have two worm farms!  We try not to buy things with packaging and always take green bags, so we probably only need to put out the wheelie bin once a month if it didn't get too stinky.  I also hoard things that might be useful, like envelopes, scraps of plain paper, rubber bands, paper bags, glass jars and bottles, and buttons.... we don't have recycling here in the South Burnett anymore, so reusing is our only option.

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
my button collection

3. We conserve water
We collect rainwater in three tanks, and that's all we have for drinking, cooking, washing up, showering, laundry and for the chickens.  We don't waste water.  And I mean we really don't, not like when you have town water and you kind of try not to use it much.  This is our only water supply.  If we run out of water, we have to buy town water, and the town water around here is pretty awful, we really don't want to have to buy it, so we don't have to wait to be put on water restrictions!  We take a bath (one between two) or a very quick shower.  I only wash clothes when they are dirty (sometimes I wear them again several times).  For the toilet we follow the mantra "if its yellow, let it mellow", if we have visitors I have to remember to flush.  We put all the grey water (shower and laundry) on the vege garden.  

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
a large green frog (and our toilet)

4.  Our bathroom shelves are empty
We don't have any hair products (not even shampoo), make up or other clutter in our bathroom.  I only realise how weird this looks when I seem other people's bathrooms full of products!  We only have soap, a few jars of salve and some essential oils.  One visitor asked if I had any cream for toe fungus.  No, I just use neem oil for that.  If you forget to bring your cosmetics, good luck, because I probably won't have what you want, but I can offer a crunchy alternative!

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
homemade herbal skin salve

5. We don't give presents
We do give gifts sometimes, if we see something that someone might like, but we don't do Christmas or Birthday presents at all.  Our family and friends know this and know not to expect anything.  It really does reduce the stress of buying STUFF at Christmas.  If anything, I prefer to give homemade or homegrown gifts when they are available, but not to a schedule.

6. We buy local even if it costs a little more
We make a big effort to support the shops in our local town, and our monthly farmers market.  We always use the local supermarket and hardware store, even though there are larger options in the next town over.  I don't mind paying a little more for the convenience of having a shop closer to us, and supporting our community.  We recently changed our bank to a local building society branch too.

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
shopping at our local farmers market

7. We don't have a dishwasher or a clothes drier
But we do have a mincer and dehydrator.... I am not sure about a dishwasher, we haven't had one for such a long time, we don't really miss it.  And the clothes drier has sat in the back of the shed for 5 years now, never used.  We seem to manage without them.

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
we use a solar clothes drier (and there's our rainwater tanks too)

8. We use our electric oven to store oven trays (not for cooking)
In winter we cook everything on our woodstove, and in summer, its so hot, we prefer to use the gas BBQ or the slow cooker, so our electric oven has not been turned on for several years now.

eight acres: weird sustainable habits for a self-sufficient life
our woodstove

I'm sure there are more, but that's all I can think of right now!  So its your turn now, what weird habits do you have that you only notice when other people are around?


  1. they are great habits!
    my one weird habit now would have to be a small bottle of olive oil where the toothpaste should be, i oil swish, every night, i still brush as i tried to go without but couldn't handle the fur growth (yuk) but don't use toothpaste. mouth tastes so much better.
    i don't do xmas, easter, or any other, too expensive & it's lost it's it's meaning but family have holidays at xmas so we still get together then.
    it's so much simpler when you're frugal :))
    thanx for sharing

    1. Oh interesting, I have read about oil pulling.... its nice to get the family together without the present stress! Yes frugal is simple (sometimes!).

  2. "Our bathroom shelves are empty" - and when visitors come and bring their 'stuff' I get all anxious about the health of my septic tank!
    I do have a dryer - I bought it in 1983 when I was pregnant with my second son. It still goes but it's for emergency only use now, which generally means it's used by people with children who visit ill-prepared to play in our bush / stream and need dry clothes to wear home.

    1. Yep, the septic tank is a worry! and a good excuse for not using bleach and harsh chemicals too. They don't make appliances like they used to!

  3. The compost scrap bowl on the bench is the one that gets weird looks. It has to be out of the toddler's reach but still obvious, so that the older kids and my husband can drop their apple/pear cores, strawberry tops, carrot peelings, etc when they're done instead of forlornly asking me where its hiding this time.

    1. I was given a compost bin when I left my last workplace, best gift EVER. Its a large red metal tin with a lid, you can't miss it, and it doesn't look untidy pride of place on the bench top :) I find myself looking for the compost bin at work... it feels weird to put an apple core in the rubbish now!

  4. I can't remember who it was now, but some visiting relatives thought it was weird we ate the eggs of our chickens, thinking it dirty because I happened to have collected a warm one I wanted to show them. They couldn't get the image out of their head, that it came fresh from a chickens bum, lol. I remember telling them, the ones from the shops exit in the same way, but their reply was, at least they were cold and they didn't have to think about it.

    It's not something that ever occurred to me as being gross, until it was pointed out. I still think its just a natural process.

  5. We turn all our appliances off at the wall, kettle, toaster, microwave, tv everything and people find this a bit weird but we are always surprised about how many lights and appliances we see on in other homes even when no one is there. We try not to waste food for example the other day I asked someone to get the me the broccoli stalks out of the fridge. I had used the head already but saved the stalks to add to another meal. Trust me they thought it was very strange. Hubby often jokes with me say "oh you better just throw that out" when he sees me using something he knows most people would not.
    We have 2 bins on the bench one for the worms and one for the compost and then there is often a bowl for the chickens which we give them every day.

  6. Good Post! I'm with you on a few of them. One of my more common ones would be saving eggs shells. I feed them back to my hens and after cracking an egg I rinse it and throw it in a little bucket I keep near the sink. If someone pops by after I've been baking there can be quite the pile there waiting to go out to the chickens. I get funny looks for that one.


Post a Comment

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at

Popular posts from this blog

Getting started with chickens - Tanya from Lovely Greens

Sign up for my weekly email updates here, you will find out more about soap and our farmlife, straight to your inbox, never miss a post!  New soap website and shop opening soon....

Farmer Liz: You will remember Tanya from Lovely Greens from the first series, she lives on the Isle of Mann and added chickens to her garden about a year ago.  You can leave comments for this post on Tanya's blog.

How many chickens (and other fowl) do you keep, what breed and what do you use them for (meat, eggs, slug control etc)?
Tanya: Around the same time that we were initially thinking about having hens another friend beat us to the punch. She went to the local pet store and bought a flat-pack hen house and chicken run combo and found a local farmer who had dozens of semi-feral chickens running around his property. One night he pulled three down from the trees and my friend took them home in a pet carrier. She named them Miracel, Carmen, and Geraldine and though they’re probably related they were all…

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Growing mushrooms in my kitchen!

I’ve been wanting to try growing mushrooms for some time. I LOVE mushrooms and we buy them from the supermarket every week, so I was keen to find a way to produce them at home to reduce waste and potentially cost as well.

A few years ago I found out that you could grow mushrooms from the spent mushroom compost from mushroom farms. So we dropped in to a farm on the Sunshine Coast and picked up a couple of boxes for $2 each. I diligently kept them dark and sprayed them with water, but in our climate, I just couldn’t keep them damp enough (and I had to keep them outside because our shed was too hot). I never managed to produce any mushrooms from those boxes, but when I gave up and tipped the compost out onto the garden, mushrooms sprang up everywhere. I wasn’t confident that they were the right mushrooms though, so I didn’t harvest any of those. As the proverb says, All mushrooms are edible, but some only once! I am generally a bit nervous about unidentified fungi.

Since then, I had…