Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zero Waste Flower Arrangement! :)

I really hate November 1st!

Not just because an INSANE amount of candles in plastic cases (sometimes - often - it's the toxic PVC plastic!) and also 'plastic' flowers or iffy flower arrangements are bought (but mostly because of that!)

We don't have Haloween as such in Slovenia (well it's been imported!;) but there is the tradition of honoring the dead by visiting graves and bringing candles and flowers, plus you get to meet some of your relatives you haven't met for a year!

My Mum is a DIY gal when it comes to flowers and flower arrangements!

We mostly had homegrown flowers - but her heart was in plastic 'foam' to stick them in! For years and years... /yuck!/
We had arguments over this previous years..

Some relatives made totally DIY arrangements, and they were kinda pretty too! (And *free*!;)

So this year I started some November 1st conversations earlier on in the week, and as a result we're splitting the 4-stop-one-day crazy schedule for easier-going 3 separate days with different cemeteries and relatives.. (We'll see how this goes, I'd prefer 2-days of frenzy only..)

I said the totally DIY arrangements were 'pretty' (and didn't dare to look at Mum's face!) and then, how we saw some awesome moss on our hike the other Sunday, and Dad volunteered info of another place where it grows and suddenly - it was doable!

I like the flowers that continue to grow too (in fact, I think they're more stylish than most flower arrangements I've seen! and more eco) but this year we haven't got any at home, we'd have to buy them (they're affordable though, 5 Euro at a supermarket! But I hate supermarkets, mostly) and well, it's always a BIG question how 'eco' the bought flowers are, what they have been sprayed with and fertilized with, etc!

So Mum and Dad went to gather moss (at first my coming along was a requirement, then they 'forgot' me?! /sigh/ That's how chaotic our family can be, lol! Well, I had other things to do anyway..)
...and Mum made the flower arrangements..


And guess what? The flowers are even prettier than last year!!
Mum said it was easy to make/'stick 'em in' too!! - And it can all be totally compostable, 100%!

I hoped to make an eco zero waste candle too (with natural beeswax) - maybe next year?!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Farm Living - Not for the Faint-Hearted!


I wanted to brag the other day how I efficiently had cows do the right thing and eat grass in peace without having to use weapons (sticks).

I stood in front of a cow when she wanted to move into forbidden areas (across the 'line') and she stared into me a bit. I talked to her calmly and told her how the grass was better in the other direction etc.
Then, I winked at her and motioned with my head 'Let's go back', and WOW! she moved away together with me.

I'm a complete NEWBIE at pasturing and having cows behave, I just remember enjoying their company as a kid on a few holidays at Grandma's!
(And I hate all forms of violence! On kids or cows or any animals..)

The good cows were quite great company.

One was quite 'wild' though, jumped across the wire (that didn't have any electricity in it) and then jumped back when I ran after her.
(And did you know cows could be LESBIAN without the 'boys' around?! And the bulls could go gay, totally! I was quite amazed at Uncle's stories!)

The cows behaved, pretty much... They were MUCH calmer than when I first ran up from the blackberry destruction!

Dad was running after them with a stick, and they were running away from him!

Dad later said he's scared of the cows a bit (?!) and wouldn't dare to step ahead of one, lol!
He used a stick and that only made them more 'crazy', so I tried to use none, and it worked, pretty much...

You know, young cows don't really know how to behave on a pasture in peace. How to walk in the grass, in steep terraine.. They get scared of airplanes or tractors or funny noises..
The trick is to talk to them calmly and stay calm..

So that's why Dad and I were helping Uncle to teach the cows how to be ladylike in a pasture. The first day was a wild success!!

The second day, anything but.

On day One, we laughed a lot!

The really funny thing was, I tried to 'feel' with a grass blade if there was any electricity in the wire yet, and I didn't feel any. I looked around, and all three cows were curiously trying to 'feel' the wire too!

And got 'hit' by electricity!

They jumped and ran away!
I think they held it against me a bit, but stayed away from the wire ever since!

The fourth young Miss only ventured outside later, and the fifth one didn't dare to go outside at all!

So next time Dad tried to 'encourage her' a bit too strongly!

Uncle said he had a cow that only went to the next cow's 'suite' the first day, to the other end of the stable the next day, and only ventured outside on day Three.
I wish we let this cow do the same.

On Day Two, we encouraged her outside, Uncle and I patted her a bit and tried to talk her into moving outside and then over an obstacle.

Dad said, 'I'll scare her' and he did.
She went out to the green, and even ate some grass.

Then she ventured too far. And the electric wire hit her.

She went into a wrong direction.

I thought to encourage her elsewhere, like the other cows, but it didn't work - it misfired. (Maybe slapping my jeans at the same time was a big mistake?!)

She went 'wild' and got scared, managed to get herself into a tiniest of openings, and ran into the woods and broke a leg.
If you know anything about big animals, this is REALLY bad news.

I swore never to try to get young cows who don't know how to graze into rain again!

It was like cowboys, like Animal Rescue - from a canyon! Like in a film, but it was for real! And raining all over. I wondered how she'd get out of that ditch alive?! But she did.

Alive wasn't enough though.

I wanted to heal her and remembered movies where a loving owner could heal the horse's leg, but I was told this only happenes very rarely.

Today we got the meat home, and luckily Uncle could find enough customers so he won't have to suffer too much of a loss - the vet and the service of slaughtering a cow (even when it's slaughtered at home!) are QUITE costly!

We didn't get everything back (like the inner parts of the cow, and the skin, etc) I wonder what is done with those? Are they just thrown away?
At least this is better than throwing the whole cow away - which is exactly what is done with somewhat ill or just older animals that wouldn't get a good enough price to even cover the costs! - I suppose they're all burnt in an incinerator, after the skin is taken away?! It's CHEAPER to burn then make tests and use the meat for food!

This cow was perfectly healthy, and the meat was of excellent quality, but Uncle would only get 10% of the cost of slaughtering officially if he sold it to the usual buyers. Luckily, the rest of the family and some neighbours and acquaintances decided to buy meat. Otherwise, he'd be forced to give the cow a 'lullaby' and have her taken away...

In an economic crisis like this, I wonder how sane it is to just throw food away?

This was a sad occasion for all.. (I couldn't sleep after it happened, neither could Dad or Uncle! We were all sad and sorry for what happened.. And feeling terribly guilty!)
At least it turned into an occasion of family support and celebration.. (Customers need to be celebrated, no? Aunt brought goodies!)
I didn't want to help out today, but someone had too.. Luckily, cousin, Dad and Mum did most of the work.. (I still can't handle meat!) This ex-vegetarian did her part though! Mostly I cooked tea and charmed customers.. ;)

All in all, a real farm girl must learn to handle all situations... /sigh/
Uncle hinted he'd like the young cows to go grazing again, but I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to help out again...? (Or if it's a wise idea??)
Not sure who else would help though?

Or where a school for shepardesses is??!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Been Busy Busy Busy :)

I'm really sleepy, but YESTERDAY I BAKED!! OMG!! :)

Bread and bagels, for the 1st time ever!!! :)

It was FAB!! :)

/Still need to practise on the results a bit, but I think the pics are publishable!:)/

Also, Dad and I re-shoveled our awesome compost ('man's work!';) and today I used eco methods on Uncle's shrubbery (instead of him pouring toxics on it!)
I feel muscles in places I did not know existed!

Oh, and I taught cows how to eat grass. Seriously.
I have three new best friends now!

Hope you had an EXCELLENT day too!! :)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Feeling Dangerous!! :)

Well, today was another AWESOME day!




This bookish girl is feeling quite BADASS!! :)

Dad and I demolished the tomato summerhouse (wood survives winter better when under roof!) I forgot to photograph it 1st though!

We also 'unplugged' the beanpoles, and were left with the above!

We had a fab trip on Saturday (eco-coloured!), a marvelous hike yesterday, and today Dad and I took care of the garden, before the rain starts. (Mum's caught a cold, Sis was wondering if she caught one too, and Dad's hand is still injured a bit and not totally 100%, so I got to do some of the FUN stuff I've ALWAYS wanted to do!

You know, the really COOL stuff that usually Dad's done!)

So, last week I personally grated 35 kg (= about 70 pounds I think!) of fresh cabbage! :)
/Tutorial upcoming! Along with other food preservation tutorials!
I'm a bit WAAY behind with some of them, not sure whether to put them on anyway?)

It's freezing cold here, last garden work is putting away everything, feeding the compost.. (And smaller bits of bean plant are better for the compost, as they make yummy compost more quickly!)

I LOVE chopping stuff!!
(Though Dad kept yelling: 'Away from your fingers!')

You know, it's all pretty ZEN! (I never thought I'd say something like this about gardening or any of the 'home chores'!)
I felt like a kungfu master and if you got it just right: it was EFFORTLESS! :)
And very efficient.

PS All that said, I didn't get it right 3/4 of the time and am still pretty sore, lol!!
Told Dad he must make me practice for strength all winter and all year so I'll be able to chop beanpole vine better next year!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Superior Scribbler Award!! :)

YAY! Mrs Green of the awesome and also awesome Little Green Blog has honoured me with a Superior Scribbler Award! (Check out some of the other winners, they are pretty fab too!)

I totally ADORE MyZerowaste blog's quirky and fun adventures of one family's road to zero waste and The Little Green Blog is full of wonderful surprises too! Check out Change the World Wednesday!
There’s tips on how to go healthier and more eco, and lovely tidbits from daily life!

Superior Scribbler Award Guidelines

1. Each Superior Scribbler, must in turn, pass the Award on to 5 most-deserving bloggy friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and name of the blog from whom he/she has received the Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display the Award on his/her blog and link to this post which explains the Award.
4. Each blogger who wins the Award must visit this post and add his or her name to the Mr. Linky List at the Scholastic-Scribe’s blog. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who wins this prestigious Award!
5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

And who gets the award? Honestly, I had sleepless nights over this!
So many awesome blogs out there!
Well, this time... drumroll... the awards go to:

Blah to TaDa! – Seriously awesome ideas for making boring everyday objects fab! (I find myself wondering, “Now how can I make this Blah to TaDa?”) Creative recycling at its best! - I adore Claire's ice-cream ideas! And the honey bears!

Work With What You've Got - Honestly, this blog keeps inspiring me!* Erin teaches us how to look fabulous on a budget and liberate your Inner Diva with - well, what you got! She also makes awesome jewelry, often with re-used materials!
*And it's not just in regard to clothes! I found myself re-filing all my files according to GTD method, telling myself to, well, 'Work with what you've got!'

Jen@Clean Bin – she and her man Grant and their roommate Rhiannon managed to do no shopping for a year (can you imagine?) except for food and such (and occasional white retro 2nd hand rockstar wedding suit – don’t ask!) and they made sooo little waste - can't wait to see the movie they're making about it! Awesome trailer!
The films and photos on their website made me and Mum realize how this eco thing/zero waste week could be possible!

Danda@Dandaworld blog, Italy – she’s started eco blogging about the time I have, and still has a better recycling station than I do – and a bilingual blog! Full of wonderful surprises – eco and otherwise! (And you can learn Italian at the same time!)

Mrs Almost Average@The Rubbish Diet - I was greatly inspired by both her and Mrs Green of MyZerowaste to start this trash-reduction in the family kitchen too and try to make my family green-er! (and go public with it!;) If you want tips on how to make less waste, and a healthy dose of chuckle, check out her blog and her Archives!

Sooz @The Last Biscuit Fairy-Pirate-Hippy-Dreamer-Eco-Girl... – how can you not LOVE that name? And because she’s planted garlic in a pot! (I wonder what will happen?) Honestly, how can you not love the name of her blog? :)
She's also implementing some awesome eco lifestyle changes - and staying stylish with it! Will probably also win the Most Promising Trash Reductionista award!! :) Watch out ladies!

Oops, that's six! (I hope the award police won't catch me! Couldn't decide!!)

There are so many other awesome blogs out there, so it’s really difficult to name just a few – there will be other awards for you guyz!! :)

Agatha Christie Would Cry! :)

Would you throw this beauty away?

Well, some people wanted to! Luckily, my relatives came to rescue!

It is now one of the awesome decorations of their attick, together with a set of beautful tiny glasses in style of Russian tzars!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yummy Herbs: A Bath Sachet!

I just got sent this 'herb crafts tip' in e-mail by Herbanite Bob, from the book "The Pleasure of Herbs" by Phyllis Shaudys directly: A Bath Sachet

1 oz. Lavender or Rosebuds & Petals (or both)
1 oz. Peppermint or Rosemary leaves
2 cups Grated Castile Soap

Combine and use 2T (tablespoon)per bath. Fill muslin drawstring
bag or cheesecloth, tie and float in water as tub fills.

Hint 1: Add 2 T oatmeal or cornmeal per bag if you have oily skin.

Hint 2: You can also buy the disposable tea bags and put mixture
in teabag, heat seal and float in tub."

Sounds interesting! :) Of course no disposable tea bags in this household!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Mint Tea Anyone? ;)

We have herbs in the garden, but there was very little mint this year, plenty of melissa though.
So I was very happy, when my friend Z. (the one with the gorgeous DIY BF!) offered me her mint. 'Oh, take as much as you need!' she said.

I asked her to show it to me, as I'm rather a newbie to herbs too!
Then I picked a bunch. It looked a little 'suspicious', but I thought, 'Well, there are many sub-sorts!'
Then her brother and her Mum both asked me what I was doing there, and her Mum said, 'But she doesn't have mint in her garden! She has melissa!'
'Well, she said it's mint!'
Her Mum came up to check: 'What have the two of you picked?'
'It's melissa,' she said (and my heart fell. We had lots of melissa in the garden ourselves!)
'But here, have some mint.' (lol, I could kiss her!:)
I love mint tea, and this year we only have a tiny bit - there's some stuff from years before, but it's not so strong or healthy!

mint! Source: the lovely Wikipedia!

melissa! source: Wikipedia

They are both healthy and calming and lovely - in moderation, of course!
A small bag with dry melissa leaves on your pillow is said to make you happy, so I picked some more in our garden today, for those long grey winter days! :)

Been busy re-filing my files (according to the GTD method!), among other things - our house also looks like a walnut production plant! - and found my herb files have been scattered in three places! (So hopefully next year I'll do better!)
We do have books, but I didn't bother to check!

Moral of the story: ALWAYS check the herb pics before picking them - even if you think your good friend is an EXPERT and her mom goes to Herb Club! (I wish the Herb Club weren't for older people who are already retired only!!)

The funny thing is my Mum used to think mint was melissa too, so quite possibly she had taught me wrong when I was a kiddie, so no wonder I was all mixed up, lol!

Oh, and I recycled an Amazon box-y thing into melissa dryer! He he... Our drafty attick seems an appropriate place to dry herbs, so I nickname myself Queen of Herbs even if I don't have much clue about them (yet!)

Do you pick or grow herbs? Which ones? Do you like herbal tea?
(I adore it!)