Thursday, September 24, 2009

Yummy Zero Waste Food!! :)

Slightly exhausted, in the past few days I've had a crash course in:

- pumpkinseed preservation (yummy!)
- mushroom preservation (drying, freezing, in vinegar)
- peach juice production :)

Of course I'm a total newbie in all of the above. lol!

feeling: very accomplished, he he! :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Eco Refill-able Printer Cartridges?

After an excellent post on Myzerowaste on how to extend the life of printer cartridges, I went to investigate the options for our trusty old inkjet printer!

The original cartridges Mum has been buying are quite costly, and a neighbour has suggested refills!
We were of course very sceptical at first, but he told us of a trusted website he uses to get the refill kits from (inks+syringe+gloves), and how the quality is just as good and there were no problems with his printer! (We were scared any refills would damage our printer or produce lower quality, as the manufacturers or shops like to scare us with!) - Surely they can't be 'eco' if they can kill your printer? But do they?

Unfortunatelly the Slovenian site only offered new cartridges for our HP Deskjet, so I googled 'the type of the printer + refill' and voila! Apparently refill kits are available from international websites!

Source: (Yes, that does look a bit strange? I wonder what you get exactly!:)
The idea is exciting and I'd love to order! Or possibly find a more local source?

But are those websites (and inks) reliable? has a good review on inkjet refilled cartridges with great pointers and ideas to contemplate.

Manufactured/refilled cartridges can be either good or possibly too worn out from being refilled too many times, which can cause different problems according to type of printer and the heads used on the cartridge(?)
So a decision whether to use or not use manufactured non-originals might have to do with the type of printer too!

There were some small problems with some cartridges (one produced high quality prints afterwards though!) Then they had them evaluated by people who didn't know what was printed with which.

Now get this: "There are several conclusions that can be drawn from these figures, but the key one is: Our panel preferred prints produced with ink from a third-party provider over those produced with manufacturer’s own products." LOL!!

Some useful comments too: Why aren't cartridges more standard? Why isn't there a law to make them more standard?
The question for the average consumer is also how long the refilled cartridges last, to pinpoint the price.
Also, apparently damages are possible and depend on quality of products (meaning depends on manufacturer and their internal conrols!) - "the "cleanliness" of the ink, the filtration, and dye or pigment consistency and ink purity are all imperative, as well as other cartridge related factors, a longevity test showing the overall costs would" be important and helpful to decide.

So it seems like a complex issue, and most definitely a project!
It's not 'either' 'or', one needs to take into account own printer and suppliers..

And we're not even near the question of why our parrot coughed whenever there was printing being done? (Even with the original cartridges!)
Honestly, I smell it too, and might have gotten a sort of 'allergy' to ink from printers when working in an office with a laser printer, of all things! (Or maybe I was just allergic to the job?;)

What do you use? Original or refilled cartridges, or do you do your own refills? (I'm leaning toward the last option!)

Also, how do you dispose of the used cartridges? Do you give them back to the store/recycling programme immediately once they are used up, or do they gather dust in the drawer? (I know, I know.. guilty!! As we often didn't quite know what to do with them!)
Would it be best to give/send them back as soon as possible, so the ink is not too dried, and so they can be cleaned and refilled more easily? It would be good to know!

So, stay tuned! There will be more research into inks and refill kits and such! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green Templates for Eco Time Management?! :)

In my previous post, I didn't mention David Seah - mostly, cause he deserves a post on his own! He makes fabulous forms that help you keep track of time, or start projects! (And keep track of them!)

And what's more, he loves the idea of going green in his next print runs! :)

I REALLY love his forms and design ideas.

I didn't want to start a project the other day, and just the thought of being able to tick a box on one of his forms sent me running to start it – and then it was pure flow for the rest of the evening!

I was really inspired by his weekly template too, so I made this form:
(I hope it's okay to post) It’s very makeshift and scanned badly, but it sort of works, lol!

I don’t have the tools to design well, so I just used scissors (and bits of David’s form – though his stuff is muuch more beautiful!) - and Microsoft Word!
(Hope he forgives me!:)

Ideally, it would be printed on chlorine-free or fully recycled paper, still haven't managed to source TOTALLY chlorine-free paper locally yet, though. I've got recycled paper but it smells funny and am not sure how exactly it was made either (no info on the pack). I suppose I'll have to ring them up.
There's non-eco paper in the house so I suppose the eco thing is to use it up, and then buy more eco options? (Ideally before we run out!)

I put ‘necessary’ stuff assigned to dates or hours into the first row of boxes, weekly stuff not assigned to dates on the far right or so, tick daily walks or such in the second row, and keep track of details/hours spent on a project below. (It could get a bit messy if I put too much there, so I think I’ll start tracking lunch etc. separately again)

Ideally, I’d assign ‘points’ to projects and stuff done according to the CEO idea, not quite there yet though (except for the first few days) – admittedly, I haven’t done much but read GTD and tried to get organized these past few days and it doesn’t count as ‘points’, does it? :)

I had quite great success with it for a while and tracked my daily progress (or lack of it) for two weeks or so, now I use it more loosely and don’t keep track of everything, mostly the upper rows above.

I had kept a similar form years ago and actually managed to practise the guitar and write the 2nd half of the first draft of my novel with it!:)
It was inspired by a 'schedule' I kept when studying and later on teaching..
(I then stopped using the original form cause it had too many categories, and it made me feel slightly frazzled and like I wasn't doing enough.. So I now chose only a few categories. Also, some of my priorities changed.. It's a good thing to have them editable.)

Why is it eco? Well, previously I was keeping track in an old planner that had daily forms to keep track of things, and it took a page a day! (With lots of free space remaining.) It’s now one page instead of seven!

This seemed an ideal solution... Until something was causing me a bit of anxiety/annoyance/avoidance (the research etc) and I didn't want to even look at it on the same page as my other weekly stuff! Hm!
I am now wondering how to go around that.. he he.. :)
I still like the idea of a weekly (and yearly) overview!

Not sure if I need a monthly overview too, like what Antony Johnston has, or..?

Am still finishing GTD (and feel a bit confused with all the options, lol!) My health is still not quite allright either.
Not sure if it was the old walnuts or a bit of a flu – or the thought of actually having to do all those projects that are in my head (or my cupboard!) that's made me and my stomach queasy!

The pig flu is in Slovenia already, and not so far away from us either, but who cares? It's mostly a scare to get people to buy meds, most seem to make it just fine without. I'm pretty sure it's not it anyway. Dad's recovered in 2 days, so I hope I shall soon too.

The comforting thing is that I'm actually feeling quite happy to have the flu or whatever it is to take off the pressure a bit, to give me time to reconsider, and get a grip on things (again).

David Allen of GTD says it’s okay to keep a list (or box, or shelf – maybe even a cupboard?) of maybe/someday-projects and re-negotiate stuff as other things happen inbetween! Which is very reassuring!

This form or my other ways of time management may evolve in time... Do post any thoughts, ideas or suggestions! :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Effective Eco Time Management?

If you have A LOT of projects, ideas and wishes and things to do... How to track it all and know what to do when? (And not just resort to reading the latest thrilling romance? hm!)

People at writing forums say, 'Just write', but what if you are haunted of things not done yet and vague visions of ideas to be done even before you start?

Enter GTD. Getting Things Done is a famous book on organizing and time management, and there are A LOT of spin-offs online, some for writers or designers or other freelancers specifically. (I've even DONE some of this stuff before, and it was effective, and then just stopped and wondered where my inspiration/motivation has gone!)

GTD is or can be paper-intensive. It is also very vague and unstructured, so how to do it in a more Nature-friendly way?

I am still wrestling with some of the GTD concepts and ideas, and will probably come up with a system of my own.. (I've set up the 'inbox' already and it seems strangely inspiring!) It can be mind-boggling indeed (Read this article! It's hilarious!!:).

A 'tickler' file (no idea if I need one but some people have found it helpful) can be big or small. Tracking or planning your day can be done on a daily or weekly basis (more or less paper intensive).

Judy of the Woods has more fab ideas on flickr and her website!
She makes her own project booklets/binders (out of plastic milk containers and other scrap materials!)

I've done some tweaking of my binders and such (who needs 4 holes if 2 is more handy? And am running out of envelopes used as project folders) but she takes it to the next level!
I'm wondering how doable some of that stuff is, and what I could do too... :)

What DIY projects have you done to keep ORGANIZED and have effective time management?
How do you keep organized and how do you plan and keep track of things?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Been Farm

Geesh, I'm simply exhausted.

We've been picking the beans at Uncle's farm. Threatened by bad weather, we wanted to pick as much as possible. Some rain appeared inbetween, but we were fearless. Then it got sunny again, and we bravely did all we planned. Including making the beets less crowded. (Pretty sure this is not the right expression but can't find a dictionary:)

My nails and fingers hurt. Not sure if I'll be able to play any guitar today! (& I soo promised myself to start practising with JustinGuitar again! (If Katie Melua and Armenians can play fab in 6 months, maybe so can I?;)

Uncle helped us a bit, then he went to milk the cows...

It's such a different life...
I wanted to write articles today, but beans don't wait!

If 10 years ago someone would be telling me I would willingly pick beans, I would smack 'em!

But with Argentinian beans and Chinese garlic in our supermarkets, with GMO (genetically modified) food threatening on every corner, I am damn proud to be growing some authentic Slovenian food! (Or at least helping out, I'm still such a newbie!)

You know what, picking beans is boring. Especially when Mom and Dad quarrel, and Dad intentionally misunderstands us and mopes, or when the neighbours start loud equipment (I sighed and inserted earplugs).
If we calculated the hours (and fuel and food needed:) it would probably not cost as much as cheap food in supermarkets.

But it's FREE food!! Zero waste food! (If we manage to get it into freezer zero waste style!) From our seeds, completely self-sustainable.
Even if Peak Oil happens, or 2012 or whatever (not that I have my hopes up), we still have the beans and will be able to eat and survive. :)

And one can practise old silly songs in one's head, or listen to Uncle and find out things about planes and technology I had no idea about. (My Uncle ROCKS!)
I was even told about the old ways of handling the beans - zero freezer (and zero bugs!) ways. I hope to remember them and maybe some time put them to practice.

"9 bean rows?" I want to ask Yeats. We did 3 rows of Uncle's and 4 of ours and were quite exhausted! (Some was left to ripen.) Surely, he didn't pick it all in a day?

Maybe next year I'll update myself to an ipod or such, and have music in my ears instead of random noise.
Feels like a short while since we were planting the beans with Aunt. And chatted, talked about many things... Old ways were tiresome, but more sociable in many ways..
The cats are all grown up now, and still very hungry indeed lol.. But farm cats must be hungry to catch mice, no?

I'm still trying to figure out how to do effective time management with farm life included:) And Dad asked me if I lost the buzz for bees yet?!
I'm happier at the farm than in many many other places...