Credit: Stephen Barnett
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Frogs are not commonplace where we live but one has decided to move into our kitchen.
He alternates between living in a bromeliad by the window, nestling inside an orchid pot and wedging himself in a hole in the bricks.
Frogs are considered to be the â€˜canariesâ€™ of the environment; they're creatures that disappear when their habitat becomes polluted. So having such a sensitive creature sharing the home with us made us re-evaluate the way ran our lives, starting with the kitchen.
We allowed the disposable dishcloths to wear out and replaced them with an old beach towel ripped into face-washer-sized squares. Every few days these cloths get a good wash in boiling water and are allowed to dry in the sun.
On the agenda was cutting back chemical usage.
I was happy to get rid of the trigger-pack sprays as one of them had always given me a headache.
I felt as though I needed to find another cleaning product and I found it sitting on the stovetop, cooking dinner: hot water!
I love to boil â€“ I still channel my grandparents when I cook. But a small tweak in the cooking process changed boiling to steaming and now I have litres of clean boiling water to sterilise dishcloths, dissolve difficult stains and - wait for thisâ€¦ kill weeds.
I have had trouble both with the weeds that infest my garden and the multinational companies that make the chemicals that kill them.
Then I discovered that when I pour the boiling water from steaming my sweet potatoes over the weeds in the pavement, it bursts open their leaf cells. So even if the root survives, it canâ€™t photosynthesise. Guilt-free weed death. All that energy that once went down the drain is now given other uses.
As a result of these changes an array of chemicals have disappeared from our shopping list. Our grocery bill is less and trips to the fluorescent hell of the supermarket have become less frequent.
Froggy has become quite a vocal member of our family. His nightly croaks generally start up as we are sitting down to dinner. He also interjects when our two daughters play too loudly. When it rains, however, he takes centre stage as we listen to it drumming on the galvanised iron roof and he croaks along.