My most frugal father helped lessen pollution.  Riding a boneshaker bicycle meant less petrol emissions and more personal health. Employing hand tools equalled no petrol fumes. 

A “Son of the Soil”.  Vegetable peels, old paper, tea leaves and fruit cores were all dug into a compost to become Black Gold; a natural food for produce. Had Starbucks existed, Dad would have been the first in line to collect used coffee grounds. Fondly, he would have fed nitrogen loving plants. His hand never poured foul cancer causing, water polluting or ozone destroying chemicals.   

Loathing anything chemical, he gardened organically long before it became the designer habit. Used washing up water, often along with a few pieces of cutlery were thrown over plants as natural insect repellents. An inexpensive, readily available, effective and natural repellent! 

Instead of ingesting pesticides, we ate “organic” – everything from homegrown nuts to gooseberries to Jerusalem artichokes. A natural diet did not stop with feeding his family. Dad traipsed an icy path to feed foxes. The dears cut through farmers’ fields to eat Mum’s leftovers. 

Hedgehogs, nature’s pest-gobblers, were encouraged by cutting a natural urchin path through hedges. The angels dined like gourmets on succulent slugs and tasty snails.  Even rabbits nibbling tender lettuce were welcome; their droppings fed the soil.  Dad abhorred myxoma virus use in Australia to eradicate exploding rabbit numbers. He hated the cruelty and the sheer waste of rabbit meat. 

Having fought in WWII as a 16 year old Royal Marine, his mandate was “Waste not, Want not.” Growing up as a child of a penny pinching Brit and a Portuguese Mum who once held poverty’s hand, I was drummed in a worthy form of Reuse, Recycle and Reduce.  

We all have choices. My choice is to try to leave the world a better place than I found it for my children and grandchildren. Thus I do not smoke, drive a car or use a petrol driven lawn mower, carefully choosing not to add to the sad polluted air. Dad’s legacy lives on because I and a grand daughter are compost loving non-chemical gardeners. 

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
1 year ago

What a different world this would be if everyone cared as much as your dad, Margarida. I don’t have a garden so I’m not able to grow my own food but I’ve never smoked and gave up driving almost 20 years ago so like to think I do something for… Read more »

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
Reply to  Margarida Brei
1 year ago

I can understand how very emotional tomorrow will be for you. The house must hold so many special memories but they will always be kept in your heart. 

1 year ago

Margarida, your dad was a very special person. No wonder you are so environmentally aware. He would be proud of you and all your writings and the way you clean up the beach and care about all living things. This is another great story.

1 year ago

Marianna Pieterse
Marianna Pieterse(@marianna-pieterse)
1 year ago

Margarida, this is a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Like Fuji said, your Dad was a very special person. I often think how ‘lazy’ we have become to mend and re-use things. It is just so much more convenient to throw away and get new things. The strange thing is,… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Wow. Your father is great for doing all he can do for the good of the environment, Margarida. A snappy salute to him. And I know he is also proud of you for continuing his legacy and for sharing your stories for awareness or educating people about taking care of… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Margarida Brei
1 year ago

I can’t wait to read your new story, Margarida.

Yes, I agree.

Julie Harris
Julie Harris(@julie-harris)
1 year ago

Margarida, your Dad sounds just like mine! Dad didn’t fight in the war, since he was in Divinity School for the duration of the years the United States was in the war. But he lived through the Depression, the War and all those truly frugal years. He raised all our… Read more »

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart(@melissa-taggart)
1 year ago

A beautiful tribute to your dad, Margarida. Be proud of this story, I’m sure he would be as well.

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