Posted in action, Environment, sustainability

Bokashi Tea

I can update this post now since I have been using my Bokashi bin since after Christmas. I am about to have it completely filled so will be putting that into the compost bin at the front of my house. The Bokashi tea mixed in a bucket of water has indeed kept my front garden in good condition. I have also used it in a very diluted form to water pot plants and then to water some of my plants out the back. It does make a difference. The plants like it! I used the tea in on of my shower drains too. It was always getting a bit blocked and since I have used the Bokashi tea in the shower drain and the bathroom sink I have had no blockages at all. For good measure I have put one lot of Bokashi tea into all my sinks. It’s magical how it easily clears drains. I am thinking I might give it a try on the black mould which grows on my concrete in winter. I have tried everything else. The Bokashi bran keeps the bin  smelling okay but the tea itself is somewhat pungent! I use orange oil to clean around the nozzle and area after I have extracted the juice. I found a little container which sits neatly into the recess of the bin under the tap so it’s just perfect for collecting the tea. I spray that with orange oil spray after I have rinsed it after use. It does keep that smell under control. My next step is to see how it affects my composting and I should know that in the next quarter. The Bokashi bin has certainly been beneficial to my whole composting system.

 

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 and maybe once in a while I’ll put a binful into the compost bin out the 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!

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Posted in Environment, sustainability

Typology of Green Consumers

typology of green consumersTypology of Green Consumers – No Such Thing as a Green Consumer?: “The typology that we have developed from our research represents a breakthrough in understanding greener consumers.”

I didn’t even know there were such things as translators, exceptors and selectors. What type of green consumer are you because we have been analysed!! I think I am an exceptor…but irrespective of the label…we can all be greener!

Posted in Environment, good habits, growth mindset, happiness, positive attitude, positive mindset, sustainability

Stuffocation

I first heard the word “stuffocation” at the Living Smart course I attended last year. It’s a brilliant word and says so much. We are forced too much into consumerism. There is a frenzy about it and we are stuffocating in it because we now have rubbish disposal problems which have become nightmares. Our stuffocation has affected oceans , in particular, we have created great piles of e-waste which are hideous, our plastics are blocking waterways and decorating our landscape inappropriately and much of this plastic cannot be broken down easily or at all. There is no easy fix for this. Stuffocation is then a good word to remind ourselves what we are doing to ourselves. It is also a reminder we need to keep thinking and address the issue in a logical fashion so we can change our lives and world around and get the balance back. James Wallman has done much to get us thinking about the implications of all this stuff and then what we can do about it. For some reason I am not allowed to find the interview via WordPress on YouTube which features James Wallman and Lily Coleman. Treehugger explains the stance and rationale of James Wallman well and you can see that he advocates swapping things for experiences in order to create a better life with less waste.  My own personal preference is for upcycling and repairing. Europe has gone big on repair cafes and I am hoping the trend will take off here. I love repairing things or repurposing them so they function in a different way and upcycling for many has become a very creative outlet for their skills and knowledge.

Posted in Environment, projects, sustainability

It’s all about the bees

I was lucky to be able to attend the beekeeping workshop organised by the Willunga Environment Centre and it didn’t disappoint. Apart from all the useful information I was given I also received this lovely Caryopteris plant which is bee and butterfly friendly. Adelaide is supposed to be a bee sanctuary and we are making some good inroads into that but not enough information is getting out. There are things we can easily do to help support bee populations. We need bees. They pollinate what we eat. Europe lost around 38 million bees to insecticides and GMO crops. They have learned and got some good urban bee keeping programmes going. America has had bee colony collapses from diseases, insecticides and pesticides. All this is widely publicised but then there are organisations like the beekeepers of New York who are working hard to counter the the loss of bees. Urban and suburban areas are well suited to helping sustain bee populations because we can limit our use of insecticides and pesticides (do we want those on our food anyway??) . We can help the bees and the video shows us 4 easy ways of doing that. Urban bee keepers Australia wide are doing their bit and have been creating some good connections for bee keeper training, bee awareness and increasing the number of hives. The  Adelaide bee sanctuary is part of that bee sustainability network and it’s an opportunity to increase the number of hives through sponsorship. Bee keeping in South Australia can be hard, especially when we have bush fires. We all need to think and work together. The beekeeping workshop was one way of doing that. It helped new keepers become encouraged and find contact with support. It helped people like me develop a plan of how I could help support bee populations and health. We have stingless bees in Australia , too, and not enough is broadcast about those. They produce honey in small quantities and might be more suitable for some people , some areas and some venues. The momentum is building and we are now aware a lot more education around bees needs to be done so we can join together and get healthy bee populations again. We have expert beekeepers in South Australia.We also have numerous people well trained and well versed in biodiversity . We need to work together to strengthen the bee sanctuary project so it is a reality for all of us. It’s not like bees don’t contribute to our economy and wellbeing.

Posted in Environment, health tips, healthy habits, healthy options, sustainability

Home made shampoo

 

 

 

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 cloggemeltandpour shampood 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.

Castile soap shampooToday 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.

 

Posted in Environment, food preparation, gardening, good habits, green cities, positive attitude, positive thinking, sustainability

Set up a bokashi bin

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 .

 

bokashi binMy 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.

Posted in Environment, Food, sustainability

Making beeswax wraps

beeswax wrapsToday 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.

Posted in Environment, sustainability

Beeswax wraps

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.

Posted in action, Australia, community, conservation, Environment, green cities, home and garden, managing change, nature, pesticides, sustainability

It’s all about the bees

 

 

Bees Image: Freepik

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.