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Posted in conservation, gardening, sustainability

Compost apps

compost binIt was only idly wondering which made me go to the Apple store on my iPad to see if there were any compost apps. They have apps for everything. Why not compost? A couple came up but I have done an online search and appcrawler has come up with a lot of paid and free compost apps. The benefit of having hem on a device is the device can go in a plastic bag if necessary and you can still use it. They are more portable than a book outside and lighter. I’ll try a couple of the free apps first but I was looking at Home Composting, which is paid because it looked like the sort of app I’d find useful. I want to see how they work first, though, so the free apps are the way to go.

I am sticking to my promise of getting my composting really well organised this year. I was given the little bin on the left for Christmas. That gets all my kitchen scraps. There is a plastic black pail with a handle inside. I just put my first pail into my bokashi bin today with the  bokashi bran. My big compost bin in the garden is getting plenty of brown matter at the moment and I put soil in there as well as the canister of  bits from my vacuum cleaner. The bokashi bin will empty into it and I shall have plenty for my worm farm too when I get that going in the cooler weather. At any stage I can break my compost chain and just dig a trench in the veggie patch and bury the organic scraps directly into the soil. Plan B for if I need to bypass the steps for any reason. As it stands my composting process just got a whole lot easier this year because I have thought about it. I am hoping the apps will give me some even better approaches.

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In ground worm farm

Morag Gamble shares her knowledge and experience in a really good way. She knows what she is talking about because she lives it. She has a really good Facebook page if you look her up. As part of revamping my compost system this year I wanted to make a worm farm and have decided to create an in ground one. I have my little compost bin with a lid which I was given for Christmas where my peelings and kitchen scraps go. When that is full it will go into my bokashi bin. I then have a big compost bin outside which I have always had in my garden. I decided my old indoor compost bin would easily convert to a worm tower. I cut a hole in the bottom with my jig saw, drilled holes in the sides and then set it upside down in the garden. I put the swing top lid on it which is now on the bottom of the bin with the hole cut in it so it does not clip on. I can feed scraps in and it will protect the bin from heavy rain which we seem to have at the moment. I am getting the worm farm ready now but I won’t put worms in it until after the summer heat passes. I have set it in a shady, protected spot but 45 degree heat can be very harsh and damaging. By April my bin will be ready and the weather will be kinder. I can get worms for the bin then. I feel now like I have a more complete composting system which will serve me and my garden better. I had to think it out  what would suit me and the little compost bin at Christmas was what put it all in place for me.

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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.

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Posted in ageing positively, exercise, Food, gardening, happiness, healthy habits, herbs, nature, positive attitude, wellbeing

Grow your own veggies

The Little Veggie Patch Co are good at getting people growing! Their approach is based on doable ideas , a straight forward approach and then upcycling where they can. They have approached gardening in a very visual way. Their book, the 1-Minute Gardening is a photo book with text which gives you tips and ideas. I was lucky enough to get a copy of it as a present for the Christmas before last. The main point to this video is you can grow vegetables anywhere. You do not need a huge amount of space. In one of my  homes  I was growing veggies in the wall box on the front patio while I was setting up a big veggie patch in the back garden. In my current home I am rejuvenating my veggie patch and growing some veggies and herbs in pots . Parsley grows around my back garden. It’s green, attractive and can make a nice pot plant! I like to have fresh herbs and I like to have fresh vegetables. I have mixed success with the vegetables but I never give up. I grow silverbeet and potatoes because they always work and fresh potatoes are lovely. Grow what you can because even if you don’t immediately become successful it is a very relaxing activity and gets you outside. There is a lot of evidence now that gardening has a good impact on your health and wellbeing.

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Posted in positive attitude, positive mindset, positive psychology, positive self talk, positive thinking

Journaling

On a whijournalingm I bought the four pack of journals put out by Flow magazine at the beginning of last year. I had never heard of Flow . I just thought the journals would suit me. I’ve since read Flow magazines and been to their website and follow them on Instagram. It’s a very positive, helpful way of looking at life. The journals were guided and gave you things to do and each one had a theme. From the lists one I actually learned I only need to make lists when I am under pressure and can do them really well. I also learned how I trick myself by writing lists and then doing a lot of things which are not on the list and then not having time to do the list things. I can use lists to make myself feel inadequate. That was a real eyeopener.  The slow living one was good because it was what I was trying to achieve. It gave me a way of looking at it and then a way of developing my life in my own way. Through this year of journaling I have used the journals to plan and achieve ideas. I have evidence of how I do things from conception to completion and the journaling about it meant I could back track and look over what I had been doing both for information and to self correct or review. The journals helped me to plan and achieve so many things last year. I finished the last one the other day. My daughter knew how much I liked journaling so she had bought me the next version of a journal for Christmas. It has some guided spots but I am left a lot to my own devices. I have levelled up in journaling. themuses has some good ways to get you motivated into journaling. I find the paper versions work for me because I am not being tracked, quantified, saved or interfered with in any way. It is just me and my journal. It’s not private but I am developing ideas and concepts. It is 100% my time and my space. I have found that journaling is that Mahatma Gandhi  saying you hear – Be the change you want to see in the world. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Posted in age, ageing, ageing positively, anxiety, creating success, mental health, positive attitude, positive mindset, wellbeing

Carrie Fisher

For me, Carrie Fisher will always be the one who would front up with the tough stuff in life and normalise it. She always had the knack of being able to talk about difficult things but just say them so everyone would realise they are a part of life and living and need to be dealt with. She was a princess but not of the sugar plum, prissy sort. This interview covers a lot of ground in a short time and reveals how adept Carrie Fisher is in dealing with body image issues, female actor issues, growing up , being a working woman and …just talking about it. Just patting her dog and talking about it. She has had an impact on how women see themselves and she has enabled those conversations which have helped modern women redefine who they are and what they can do. She will be remembered for her social justice gems because she was so direct and straight forward in her approach.