Friday, August 21, 2009

My Eco Friends & Renovation!

My friend Z. has recently moved into a flat with her man, they renovated it together in her Grandpa's attic! And her man is even more ECO than she is!

It's a beautiful location in the hills, everything is green all around.. (No pics, alas!)

They have a few neighbours, so they get fresh milk and eggs & chicken etc directly from the neighbour farmers!

A family of city dwellers (their relatives) was there before and partly renovated the attic already, but they didn't last for long! (They bought apples in store instead of picking them up from under the apple trees!!)
My friend and her man completely changed the layout (it was just 2 rooms before, now they have a complete flat with bathroom, kitchen etc!)

Her man did most of the work himself (sounds like a keeper!!:)
From measuring & drawing the options on computer, to working long hours (after work mostly)... The laminate flooring & even the gypsum boards on the ceiling that the city dwellers left were carefully removed and put back after the new floor layout was made, and new walls built.

They got the shower off the Slovenian equivalent to eBay for 10 euro! Even the roof windows and the kitchen were 2nd hand and VERY cheap too!! Basically the whole flat cost around 5.000 euro, and if they didn't tell me stuff was bought 2nd hand, I would never know!!
It's young, stylish and beatiful - and VERY ECO!

Of course, there have been some compromises, & some stuff was bought new (they still don't buy cheese in a reusable plastic container either) - Still, I'm VERY impressed they even sorted the construction waste by hand into 'can be composted', 'can be used for roads' and 'to be disposed off properly via garbage center' (many people here still just shove stuff into a ditch!)

Even insulation was bought off the eBay-equivalent, leftovers from other people's projects - so it's not uniform, but warm in winter & cool in the summer nevertheless!

Overall, they are a GREAT inspiration! :)
I started eying OUR attic in a new way! LOTS could be done here too!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fixin' the old beehive! :)

Dad & I FINALLY managed to coordinate our schedules & get round to fixin' the old beehive!

So this is how it looked in May:


It may look romantic, but the shingles are bad in places:

This part got fixed today!
I was suspicious about Dad's methods at first ('just find a few planks without measuring first' - I had to measure!) Ultimately, his eye was successful!
/no new pics yet though!/
It's not 'pretty' pretty yet, it's just fixed so the rain doesn't destroy it further!


The nettles got annihilated & new planks replaced the convenient gap! (That could be used as door and looked great on pictures!)

If I really get into keeping bees and such, then Dad said he'd fix it more proper! (Or maybe make a new one - but I'd prefer to keep old Grandpa's beehive!)

There is one BIG danger though! lol - Dad is afraid!

A whole hive full of wasps!

/source: the lovely Wikipedia, all other photos by me!/

Will we manage to fix the beehive? (& survive?) What to do with the wasps?
I don't want to toxify them!

It's almost like having bees, they hum in and out so nicely.. Just minus the lovely smell of honey!

In fact, if I don't get the bees this year, I don't see any harm in letting them be in the 2nd hive from the right all summer.. How would we fix the roof in the front then tough? Dad is scared!


The smart thing would be to annihilate them (& their home) in May, but I was so fascinated with it!

(Click on the photo to see the fabulous texture better! It's like a work of art! Can you blame me for not wanting to destroy it? - The top shelf is their home of many years! The bottom shelf has drinking dishes for bees.)

/I found myself humming to them a song that goes, 'Bees are our friends!' & they stayed good all the while we were repairing the roof in the back!
It took a bit to convince Dad it was safe to fix the roof in the back, lol! :)/

Now you must know my Dad is a BIG hunk of a man over 6ft (185cm) tall!
It is soo funny to see him scared of such tiny animals!
(He's scared of the bees too & thinks I'm terribly brave for wanting to have 'em!)

I wish I had a better camera - it seems my cousin's phone takes better pictures - especially macros of flowers and such - than this! /sigh/
He said he'd replace it in 2 years & I asked him to take great care of it & give it to me when he replaces it! lol! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

To the Recycling Bin On Rollerblades!

.. & it's great exercise too!! :)

I took the tins to the recycling bins (on rollerblades, lol!) & had a nice chat with one of the Mums from our street. She says her hubby likes to drink beer in cans, & then she fishes them out of the trash! The Grandma of the family LOVES to recycle the cans too, as she's heard or read somewhere AIRPLANES get made of them! :)

Not sure if it's true, but it's a lovely inspiration!

They don't wash & recycle the yogurt pots & such, I said we do wash them.. Maybe they'll get inspired too? hm, we'll see..
I did tell her that waste companies say yogurt pots & tetrapaks are recyclable & the other company says they don't take 'em.. not sure if this would inspire her, though.. Still not sure about all this & what would be best (except avoid all yogurt pots & tetrapaks too, as much as possible! I told her we get milk from a farmer & make our own sour milk/yogurt..)

There was too much plastic bottles to carry by rollerblades, we'll probably need the car (the bags are too big & too full!!) We almost don't buy new plastic bottles anymore, these are old ones or our relatives'!

Also carried two (quite heavy) boxes of paper to the neighbours! Who needs weight-lifting? ;)
They have a kid in primary school & next year the kids would collect paper at school, so they agreed to store the paper in their barn attic. (The paper recycling bin was quite full so this was an overall better solution!)
We were decluttering this week, & it was handy to get rid of the paper!

Dad & I had a huge row re: recyclables earlier this week - I demanded a CLEAN bag & CLEAN hands when sorting them, can you imagine?
I told him Mom & I would take over all dealing with recyclables (to prevent further misunderstandings or bad solutions) & now they need to be sorted more frequently, to avoid Dad's on-the-spot decisions of dubious nature & impatience, or misunderstandings.
If you take them to the bins more frequently, it's easier to carry them without a car!
I also put the 'questionable' recyclables in separate bags, so we can at least recycle more often what we know gets recycled for sure.

PS Still experimenting with blog layout, if I messed some things up I deeply apologize! (Had no idea changing the layout might cause some changes & stuff to disappear!) I may experiment with the layout some more, so that it's easy to comment even for friends with older computers! (Apparently some blogs are easier to read & comment on! If you know which, do tell!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cocoa & Cookies for the Compost! :)

If I were a compost, I'd be chuckling happy today!! :)

Mum brought some 'uneatables' from a lady who apparently has a habit of misplacing her bought items - & then little wigglies get 'em!
(Dad & she were painting the walls of her flat, & are now searching for a non-loud fridge for the lady!)

Soo.. our compost got the yummies!!

I was still unhappy about all the food packaging, but at least the food will not be making methane in landfill or contribute to toxic gases in an incinerator!!
/No idea why the ladies of the Charity packed some herbal tea (non-infested) too, maybe because it was dated 'July 2009'? we drink old tea all the time, so..hm? - but as there was cocoa all over the packaging, it did end up in Compost too!/

My Uncle's hens will get the rest of the yummies! (like popcorn, spaghetti, maize, flour, etc!)

Moral of the story: eat your food at the right time & don't put it in drawers & forget about it!
(Or our compost will get it!!)

Yum! Yum! Yum!

PS I found some tiny Easter eggs that were perfectly edible - you have to look if they are 'attacked' by worms or not! mostly ok! lol The Compost *didn't* get these! Yet!)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is London Tap Water Safe?

Remember my friend Lenny from the post below? The horrible consumer of 5 plastic bottles in a day? (Okay, maybe I exaggerate, but I've seen her grab 3 at least!)
She text-messaged me from London she's been now re-using her plastic water bottle with tap water for 10 days & I'd be Ah, so proud! :)

I am not so sure how safe tap water in London is (apparently there may be swine flu abounding too?) or how safe the plastic bottles in London are?
It truly is an eco moment, don't want it to be at the cost of her health though! So hm, what to say? ;) /in a short text-message?;)/

SOME RESEARCH if you want to READ MORE (still no idea how to put stuff behind a 'cut!'):
Well, About.com & the Mayor of London say it's safe! Londontap.org says it's even better than bottled water!
They do say "80% of our drinking water comes from storage reservoirs connected to the River Thames and the River Lee. The remaining 20% comes from boreholes connected to groundwater stores" but the river water is pre-treated & there's natural purification etc & tests show high quality. They also give some really good facts about bottled water use! (some quite shocking!)
People interviewed by BBC seem mostly a bit sceptical still.. & so do people here (in comments - or could it be people financed by bottled water companies?), mainly with regard to taste. Due to years of marketing or..? (Or does BBC have bottled water sponsors too? hm!)

Here in Slovenia, in our region the water seems quite good! Not sure how it is in elsewhere though! - So, hmm?

Must admit I drank tap water in London on my visit there a few years ago - & am still alive! :) I did mix it with a cheap vitamin-rich powder (admittedly not really 'healthy' but it was yummy!)

Similar tips given in a comment by Golodh, London, UK here:
"- store it in the fridge. The deposit (if any) will sink to the bottom, and you taste less when the water is cold (compare e.g. with beer)." - might be doable in a hostel with a kitchen & fridges
"- drink lemonade. Find a brand of cheap squash you like and top it off with chilled bottled water. It will increase your sugar intake, but at least you'll be able to drink it." - doable, real organic lemon would probably be better though - how does lemon juice affect plastic or metal bottles though? I'm still partial to glass myself!
"- filter with active carbon" to remove the taste (?) - hostels could have these available (hopefully with recyclable/refillable filters!)
Good stuff like magnesium can be filtered out too, so only filter when really necessary!

(Well, if you're Coca Cola you can also spend 7 million pounds on marketing it then! Apparently it was even on CNN a few years ago, not sure if Dasani 'purified tap' water is still sold in UK?)

As for the plastic bottle - glass or maybe metal might be better, 10 days is probably okay but she better stay out of direct sunlight & such?!