Thursday, February 2, 2012

Earth Hour 2012

I was so excited to find the new video for Earth Hour 2012.

It is one of my favourite times of year and I love the connection with the rest of world.
Earth Hour asks one small thing, turn off your lights from 8.30 to 9.30pm on Saturday March 31st 2012. We usually go further and turn all our power off but that is our personal choice.

Last year I spent an afternoon in Mikayla's class the week of Earth Hour,we looked at the history of Earth Hour, did activities on food miles and planted up heritage seeds in handmade tubes.
This year we will be throwing a huge Earth Hour party with activities for kids and adults.We might even try to build a new wicking bed or a pond that I would love to incorporate into the garden.

Last year Earth Hour incorporated Beyond the Hour. What could you do beyond Earth Hour to continue your commitment to helping the planet? Our commitment this year has been the No Supermarkets Challenge. By avoiding shopping centres and supermarkets we have reduced our packaging waste, created more business for local suppliers and taken another step close to the connection with our food/products.

So spread the word, we have time to let everyone know.This is one small thing that we all can do to show the world our support for a better planet.

Earth Hour 2011

Lighting the tealight 60!

Games of UNO by candlelight

What will you be up to on March 31st 2012?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Summer 2012 plus some before and afters

A little update on the garden this summer. I hate that I am forced to not plant during this season but it would be a ridiculous exercise in this heat.

Sharing some of our fruit with a "local"

Pomegranate fence

"The Orchard" Oct 2008

The Orchard January 2012 (3 years 3 months old)

Apple trees under nets so we actually get some fruit

The Seven year bean has gone crazy

Carrots that actually survived repeated attacks from the chooks

Nursery area cause I just can't stop myself from sowing seeds!

The long view March 2009

The long view January 2012

On the no supermarket front we are 19 days in and still going strong (LOL huge achievement I know). Even managed to shop for a weeks camping without succumbing.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Years Revolutions

So here we are in 2012!!
Wow where did the last year go?
We have had a great year and achieved some of our eco challenges.
  • The solar panels have been installed for nearly a whole year and I am happy to say that 2011 was a no electricity bill year...woohoo!!
  • We put in a few rainwater tanks but much more are needed.
  • The garden grew taller and the soil seems just a little more water retentive.
  • We achieved nearly 9 months of buying nothing new

So onto 2012!! What are the challenges for this year.

  • To coincide with the nothing new challenge that we started last year we will continue to buy nothing new unless it is replacing something large that is broken/worn out. Even then we will look at second hand options first.
  • We are joining the Little Eco family in not buying food/supplies from supermarkets, shopping malls and super chains.
  • We are uping our green lunches with new Kids Konserve lunch packs to create waste free lunches now that all 4 children will be attending school ( scary I know) We have been fairly good in the last few years but this will eliminate the plastic element.

  • We are majorly cutting back the kids extra activities to just piano ( walking distance) and one sport. This will give our family more time together and cut our travelling miles down immensely.
  • We will start looking seriously at a new house with larger space for our children to enjoy the outdoors more often and take a step closer to a more sustainable lifestyle.
  • Increase the use of our solar oven. We just received an upgrade from the builder of our solar oven ( posting soon on that development) that will increase our oven temperature by another 15 degrees. Will be using that to it's full advantage.

We will do a fair amount of air travel this year so I am very keen to offset that impact with our daily living choices. So here's to a fabulous and greener 2012!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

It's the simple things

At the moment I have a cold. Might be the explanation behind this post. Anyway I was at my mum's when I realised I had left my hanky at home. I had just bought a set of hankies the week earlier and although they are very old man and tough on the nose they will do.
So I was telling my mum I left my hanky behind and that I needed to find some girlie ones. Well up she jumps in a flash and brings me back a bundle of hankies.
As I went through the little pile she told me the stories of who they belonged to and how she came to have them. I have never been so happy over such small pieces of cloth. These are more then hankies they are practical memories. I went home with a little bundle of hankies and a heart full of family history. You would never get such joy out of a tissue.

Two of my childhood hankies.

My mother's childhood hanky given to her at Christmas time by a friend.It's monogrammed.

My mother's "something blue" hanky that she wore at her wedding.

My grandmother's hankies, one machine laced the other hand laced.

Friday, September 23, 2011

On my mind...

Another inspiration from Rhonda Jean at down to earth.
My garden is on my mind today.It will be open tonight as part of a Sustainability Expo. Will others love it as much as I do?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eco guilt

Have you ever heard the saying that too much information is dangerous? Maybe it's a real saying or maybe it's something I heard from my family. Some days I wish I didn't know so much.I wish I didnt look at a packet of biscuits and think about how much sugar is in it, how many preservatives, how unrecyclable the packaging is? I wish I could mindlessly drive my car without thinking about the fossil fuels, the ever impending oil crisis and time I spend behind the wheel. I could wear my rose coloured glasses as I shopped at the local mega mart and not see the waste, the very bad produce or the products flown in from the other side of the globe.
But I do! I have eco guilt!! I am still so far from my place of self reliance, my world were i have said goodbye to packaging, the one where I can say I don't eat that junk food crap.But I'm not. Days like today feel too hard and just for a moment I want to hide in the Reject Shop and buy trolley loads of cheap, nasty crap while I eat fast food and not recycle any of it. But then I sit at my computer with my not so much a baby sleeping on my shoulder reading blogs and articles from people around the world who are moving forward and maybe not living the dream but doing a damn good job pretending to be, and I am thankful for my knowledge as annoying as it can be. Cause like you know, knowledge is power and power means you have a choice, and as apathetic as i am this night I know that this knowledge will be better for the planet and better for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Great Strawberry Battle

My children are addicted to strawberries. Pace our youngest can eat an entire punnet without a blink of an eye. I had heard that strawberries were high on the pesticide list and I could understand why.Growing strawberries at our place has always meant one for us and three for the slaters. However when The Environmental Working Group released their 2011 Dirty Dozen list Strawberries were up there at number 3!!! Scary stuff considering how easy they are to eat. Further research and I found that is not even as easy as washing them before I feed them to the kids. Most of the pesticides and herbicides are absorbed into the fruit as it grows. This was not good news!
I have had an old pot belly stove planted with strawberries since we moved in but this was really just for a treat as I walked around the garden.

So last year the decision was made to try and plant as many strawberry plants as possible to see if we could even make a dent in the strawberry consumption with home grown produce. I drooled over photos of others (usually in the USA or UK) with huge hedges of strawberries and tried to replicate with 24 strawberry plants in the orchard.I had dreams of our own cardboard punnets of strawberries and jars of strawberry jam in my head. Well I think we ate about 10 strawberries last summer.With the combination of slater attack and scorching sun they did not survive. Strawberry season ended and I forgot about our strawberry attempt until last month when there they were again in the markets and shopping centres, plastic boxes (yuck) of bright red sweet strawberries. But this time all I could see was a box of poison so back to the strawberry harvest idea. This year they will all be above ground to keep the slaters away (hopefully).

Lovely one was set the task of creating a strawberry box and I replanted the pot belly with new stock and a large pot by the front door.

So now there are about 30 plants above the ground that will hopefully keep my strawberry fiends happy. Wish them luck!!