I set my new Bokashi bin up after Christmas. I use my small compost bin to collect the food scraps over a week and then it goes into the Bokashi bin with the Bokashi bran. Could not be easier. I am getting the tea or juice now which is very exciting! The main use for it will be my front garden which has sandy, dry soil even though I have put so much organic matter into it. It just sucks it all up. I am hoping the Bokashi juice will take the strain off my front garden and help keep it well fed and more able to sustain itself through our hots summers in South Australia. The Bokashi bin contents will go into the the compost bin out the front adn maybe once in a while I’ll put a binful into the compost bin out he back. Today I have also tried what was suggested in this video . I have put Bokashi juice into my sink drains and the toilet just to see what happens. I am now getting plenty of juice but was pleased to hear in the clip that I need not worry if I don’t because it will depend on what I feed the bin. I have also used the juice today on my pot plants to see if it improves them. They are pretty healthy but it would be nice to see them even lusher. In about a month’s time I should be seeing a difference in all these things and I shall report back. By then I should have my worm farm going and they love Bokashi tea!
I have wanted to try making home made shampoo but had a lot of thinking to do. I grew up when dry shampoo was a thing. I hated it. It made my hair dull and clogged and it never ever felt clean. I am sure all those powders go into your pores and then they can’t breathe. I haven’t enjoyed putting chemicals in my hair either because your pores would absorb those so I was an early adopter of organic shampoos. I don’t like the notion of putting bicarbonate into my hair. Futurederm explains my point of view reasonably well. Bicarb is a household cleaner, it’s very alkaline. I don’t want it in my hair. So I have been thinking. Castile soap is used to wash and condition wool and fibre and is also quite strong. I wasn’t wholly keen on the idea of a shampoo made from Castile soap because I thought it would be too harsh on my hair. So I have been researching and looking things up. The video shows the basic approach I have taken and thenerdyfarmwife has some good ideas which helped me get an action plan together.
So what have I done? I looked at the ingredients for the melt and pour soap. I thought they were better than using Castile soap. When I was making my soap the other day I saved a third of a cup and poured it into a bottle. I added a third of a cup of coconut cream. I then added some vitamin E drops , some fresh rosemary and some lemon zest. I topped the bottle up with orange flower water (distilled water would be fine) and left room for it to expand. I shook it up well on a regular basis during the day. Next morning I used it. It’s quite thick and like a hair mask . It conditioned my hair as well. There was some lather and then it vanished. It cleaned my hair well and it made it feel stronger. For me this is a once a week treatment.
I made a spray to put on my wet air with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to about a cup of orange flower water. It fits nicely in a little spray bottle and by the time I had put that on my hair felt renewed.
Today I used Castile soap and coconut cream. About a third of a cup of each. I added a few drops of Argan oil, a teaspoon of honey , a few drops of vitamin E and topped it up with orange flower water. It’s quite thin and didn’t lather so I have just added some more Castile soap for the next try. It cleaned my hair all right but I don’t find this shampoo to be as good as the other one. Not for my hair. I think it will help , though, and I might have to fiddle around with the quantities until I get it right for my hair. Everyone’s hair is different and so you do have to be prepared to try adjusting the mixture.
I am just wondering what will happen if I mix the two shampoos together! Best of both worlds and it might be right for me. In any case, I am happy with the way this has gone. I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect but it has turned out far better than I anticipated and so I shall persist until I get it right. Experience is a great teacher.
With the Castile soap I used the one recommended for babies and generally it seems to be recommended to add Castile soap and other liquid in the ratio of one to one. Oil will cut back lather. I have used plastic containers because glass and I in the bathroom never go well.
I am not going to use a bokashi bin because I am short of composting space. I want to make my composting more effective. I have decided to remodel what I do with kitchen scraps. I now have a small compost bucket with a lid to use for peelings etc as I go. That will be emptied into the bokashi bin.When necessary the bokashi bin will be emptied into my big compost bin out the back or be dug directly into my veggie patch. I am still investigating it all so this is by way of the first post .
My bokashi bin arrived yesterday and so I am set to go. Unfortunately, we have storms forecast for tomorrow so I guess that will be research day and I should be able to get my system in place over the weekend. The old indoor compost bin will be repurposed into an inground worm farm.Bit by bit I have got my garden to be better . I do it gradually and plan the things I want to do and as I talk about them I get other ideas so by the time I am doing something I feel ready and confident. I am excited to see how the bokashi bin works.
Today was the day. I had my material, beeswax and pinking shears. One of the co-presenters at our Living Smart SA course at McLaren Vale had suggested using an iron to infuse the wax into the cloth as it spread it very evenly and it permeated the cloth more effectively. This is why I had chosen to use the video from the Half Acre homestead. That lady had made me feel very confident about making these beeswax wraps. If you want to use the oven baking method then MoralFibres UK explains it very well. She also shows you how to make a beeswax snack pouch and explains how to care for the beeswax wraps.
I used my wooded chopping board trolley in the kitchen because it’s mobile. I heated about a cup of beeswax which I had in an old cake tin on top of my stove. At no stage did I let it boil. I kept it melted and warm. You can get beeswax locally in the southern suburbs of Adelaide from the beekeepers at Aldinga Beach(DoBee is on Facebook) or at Lonsdale. The Honey Shoppe in the Adelaide markets will also organise beeswax for you. For the wraps you don’t need a lot. My cup of wax was too much but I have saved it because I’ll be making more of these. I made 4x38cm ones, 2x28cm ones and 2×18 cm ones. It doesn’t take too long.
Make sure you ventilate the area you are working in. I was in the kitchen and had the back door and windows opened. Melted wax is melted wax. You might not need the fumes even from beeswax.
I cut the lightweight cotton material to size with the pinking shears.
I melted the wax on a very low heat and put the iron on
I put old towels and then a sheet of foil on my chopping board trolley.
I used a 6 cm paint brush to brush the melted wax quickly over both sides of the cloth
I put a layer of foil on top and ironed quickly
As I was doing the first one I realised the beeswax was a bit too thick in some places on the cloth. My decision was to use the next cloth to iron over that first one to absorb some of the excess beeswax. Worked like a charm. No streaking.
I then painted the second cloth and so on. I was putting the finished ones on a wooden board . They dry quickly but now, a few hours later, they are even better. I love the look and feel of them and can’t wait to make more! I have Christmas 2017 nailed.
I am very appreciative of all the people who use their webcams and go on the internet to teach others how to do something. We learned about these beeswax wraps at the Living Smart SA course at McLaren Vale. They are a good alternative to cling wrap and will help save the planet from all that plastic. They are not a a complete alternative but they are an option. I was lucky enough to get one as a present for Christmas and so it has made me even more enthusiastic about making some myself. This lady from the Half Acre homestead explains and shows very clearly how to competently make a beeswax wrap. I have everything because I have some beeswax from my candle making days. I have the material, the old padding and the foil wrap. I just need to get the pinking shears.Fortunately they are not too expensive. I really am going to make these because they are easy to do and they are really useful.
I was reading an article about a woman living in a Berlin apartment who is keeping bees. We do have a bee crisis and I know that Europe has different programmes to encourage back yard people to become beekeepers. Keeping them in an apartment block sounds very daring to me. I love bees and am concerned their numbers are dwindling but I understand it better now. Farms have basically become uni crop – just corn or just wheat or just lentils. Then farmers tend to use sprays which do not help the bees and are killing them. The farmers are dealing with difficult weather conditions and are doing what they can to stop their crops from being destroyed by pests or fungal diseases. If Europe can do it, we can do it. I loved watching that video. It is clever and inspiring and you can see that a back yard bee keeping exercise has turned into a business. It is well thought out and the level of care is obvious. There is also someone locally who provides honey from a back yard bee keeping establishment. I don’t know whether it’s good to keep back yard bees or not. I am going to find out. I wouldn’t want it to be a danger to myself, pets, children, people. Maybe I won’t be keeping bees. Maybe I can help someone? My plan for the new year to to find out what is offered locally by way of bee keeping courses. I then plan to find out where we have our local bee keeping people. It’s the sort of thing which could become a community project so that no one has the weight of carrying all those bees. I don’t know. I am creating a plan and then I am going to follow it through because it is not about me. It is all about the bees.
I want one. I want to be able to print green. I want to be able to print pots and green decorations. Pretty sure these eco-friendly printers will take the world by storm once they get going and will transform landscaping and gardening. Designing green spaces with this eco printer or similar means there will be even more personal and creative input into landscaping. It will be a really great way to get children into gardening and will be very helpful for those who have mobility problems but still want to create green spaces. PrintGREEN was created by students Maja Petek, Tina Zidanšek, Urška Skaza, Danica Rženičnik and Simon Tržan, with help from their mentor Dušan Zidar, at the University of Maribor in Slovenia. The PrintGREEN website gives you more information about the projects of this team. They are involved with other eco-friendly projects besides this printer. The thinkingkinghumanity site gives more information and pictures to show how you can use this printer to create living prints. It’s ingenious. I hope they are available and affordable soon. The best thing is it is all organic and can all be composted. That is sustainable living.
I decided to try this recipe for eco deodorant because I had all the ingredients and containers. I also tried the idea from yesterday’s video to put the solid deodorant into a twist stick. As you can see from my picture it’s not as neat as the one in yesterday’s video. That will come with practice. The only thing I changed in the recipe was to swap the quantities of baking soda and corn starch. I also used bicarbonate instead of baking soda. It does come out a lovely lemony colour and it smells really nice. I put it in the fridge to harden. I mixed it for a few minutes to make sure the solution wouldn’t separate and that seems to have done the trick. Next time I think I’ll use my stab blender to mix it up. Today was a good day to try it in Adelaide because it is 36 degrees Celsius and a bit humid. So far all is going well. I also had some left over I couldn’t get out of the bowl. I used that on my hands and it has really softened and hydrated them. Bit of a bonus really! Why am I bothering? Because deodorants go onto the skin in your armpits and that is where significant lymph glands are located. I take the point from the eco deodorant fans that it’s probably a good idea to really check what is in your deodorant and antiperspirant. It wasn’t much bother to try this out , though. It took me 5 minutes to make it and about 3 minutes of constant stirring and then 2 minutes to put it into containers. It seems to be working. I have a longish car drive to make in the heat later on and that really will be a test.
My eco deodorant not only survived a long, hot drive, it has worked on days over 40 degrees Celsius as well. I was wondering if it would melt in the heat but it doesn’t. My friends and family are assuring me this recipe is working and I feel a lot happier now because it is totally natural and so easy to make.
Germany has things called Schuttberge. They are made of all the rubble from World War II. The bombing was so severe and the subsequent rubble was so profuse, the Germans had to think their way out of it. There was nowhere to put it. Much of the rubble has been turned into Schuttberge. There is one called the Birkenkopf in Stuttgart. It is a place for people to get outside in the fresh air, to walk and ride trails and then to reflect on the meaning of war. It’s both a place to relax and operate as a memorial. You can read about the Schuttberge at Spiegel online. Why am I telling you this? Because I have been thinking about all the plastic, much of which will not break down. I blogged about how Adidas is recycling ocean plastic into sneakers – will they break down when their life is finished? Then there is much on the internet about the plastic bricks which may or may not be a fire hazard. People are thinking and we need to keep thinking. Plastic would be an insulator. Can plastic rubble not be turned into landscaping or safe building material somehow? Bike trails, parks, mazes, hills, waterproofing ? Could we not use all this plastic and turn it into something good like they have in Germany? Would it be suitable to stop degradation around beach and river areas? Could it be used to fill areas which actually need filling? Would it be safe? We need the scientists and environmentalists in on this. They would know what is feasible and what isn’t. Could it be used to build coral reefs? I feel sure now we need to get rid of plastic unless we can invent one that is safe for the environment. With war we do destroy the environment but we are doing that knowingly now just by daily living. We need to change our ways but we also need to work out a safe way to upcycle the things we cannot recycle. For the next while, at least, until we get smarter, we need to focus as much on upcycling as recycling.
I completed the 7 week Living Smart SA Course run by the Onkaparinga Council. There are also Living Smart SA courses in Glenelg and Unley. It’s a successful idea which has come from Western Australia and I can see why. I was lucky enough to be at the McLaren Vale and Fleurieu Information centre as the venue and our field trip was to the Aldinga Arts Eco Village which was really inspiring. I especially valued the discussions. The group was made up of people of different ages but the life experience in the room was such that it created a very dynamic atmosphere for discussion and growth. The course offers a lot of freebies so you know your local area better, can engage better with key providers and have little things like a shower timer and thermometer to help you on your way. Apart from all the thinking I have done around the course I have now:
1. Improved my veggie patch a lot
2. Have two things to work on with regard to energy use and one thing to investigate
3. Am recycling much better and have included red cycling and battery recycling properly
4. Have far less throw away waste
5. Am now very clear in the decisions about my home and my life with regard to sustainability
It was a course which was enjoyable to participate in and has had a positive impact on me and my life. Sometimes you just need to take up the opportunities. The energy audit of my home took me 15 minutes and has had a good outcome. These sorts of practical ideas have helped me to be more positive when it comes to sustainability.