Friday, December 17, 2010

Eco Club is on its way!! :)

Just a quickie note to say YAY I'm still alive & we've started the local ECO CLUB, YAY!! :)

I've got some tips from experienced non-profit people too, not too sure about things yet, we'll see how it goes!!

Yes, it was stressful and miserable at times, and we're still only at the start basically, but it's all very exciting too!!

Still need to educate many people here first, even the ones excited about the eco club... :)

We still don't have a name and officially don't exist yet :) and we have random places to meet.. It seems like a lotta work sometimes, it's very cool when you see glimpses of inspiration in what other people or non profits did though!! :)

And there's some SNOW again today too!! YAY!! :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Soy Beans!

Well, this year we experimented with some new crops (at Layla's suggestion): very exotic in Slovenia!!

Soy beans came out well!!


Source: Wikipedia
(I have my own pics too, but can't seem to find the gizmo to connect camera to the net:)
And you can see how fuzzy and funny the soy beans shells really are!!
Some people recommend rolling them into an old sheet and rolling them over with dough roller for de-shelling - we just used fingers, sis complained about it!! So next year, probably gonna go 'high-tech'.

There are some tips for growing them online, but we just did what cousin said, very simple, growing them like beans.
They are yummy too!! Just cooked, like beans!! (Another family we know recommended that recipe - never ate them like that before, lol!)

Reasons for growing soy: to avoid that iffy plastic or cellophane or plastic-lined packaging!! (And maybe even make own plastic-less tofu?? Do we dare?? Well, maybe we don't have THAT much soy?? Maybe next year..?)
And because one gets tired of beans, a bit.. And if Peak Oil or trouble with transport ever hits, wouldn't it be great to be able to grow exotic things too? ;)

Lentils and mungo beans - not so successful! (Not sure if even as much as planted came out)

Chickpeas - no luck this year!! Apparently we didn't have the best method of planting them (mom sprouted them and didn't pour water on them after planting) and what few plants came out - the deer ate that!! (Apparently they love chickpeas too? :(( grr!!)

Well, better luck next year, I hope!
Cousin has planted soy beans and chickpeas for a few years and has had great success with them both!

(He has a neighbour who burns plastics too though, but that is another story!!)

And European Waste Reduction Week is starting!! :) Are we getting excited?? :) What are you going to do this year?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TYPOS & lack of co-operation?? grr!!

First of all, I'm very happy that this year Slovenia will participate officially in the European Waste Reduction Week!

But, and I mean but I was really furious that the invitation to that week was full of TYPOS! Grr!!
And next week was 'strike weeek' for all 'official government employees' - are the TYPOS sign of PR people's being on strike?? Yikes!

(I'd be embarassed to send such an invitation on, and in fact am.)
I'm not sure whether to call them or are they on strike??

We had some land catastrophes such as big floods, biggest in history, luckily not in our region. So I understand the Ministry for Environment was busy... However, they could have the decency and effort to read a simple short memo 2x and correct things??

That aside, I'm hoping they would still coordinate things well..

Meanwhile, I tried to get some info and 'lists' of what is really recycled from people in charge of that, and apparently that may be guarded more than the state secrets!
I was told to turn to local waste management companies (who themselves told me they don't know much, only what the others are required to take).

So at the time I'm really effing furioous!! Okay, I could probably be more diplomatic... And maybe I didn't call at the right time (the person was busy with meetings) but still.. You'd think they'd be happy if people want to help them do their jobs proper?? Grr!!

I'm not sure what to say, what to do, I guess I'll just try to get info elsewhere or just tell people to be very cautious and assume the worst and just go for as little recycling waste too.. (Maybe that's closest to the truth too??) ugh!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Explanation for Not Posting

I've read a post in a blog that says never to apologize for not posting (hm?) I still think I need to explain though.

The need to stay away.

Because I was deeply, terribly, horribly embarassed.

I only figured it out recently. I just couldn't get myself to post before.

My Dad. He was like the ultimate polluter, always coming up with schemes how to employ iffy practices at the renovation works - and I was just soo deeply embarassed.
Cause I wasn't able to convince him of more eco ways.

Or didn't know what were more eco ways. (I'm not an eco building expert or engineer, am I? Frenzied googling was sometimes just not timely enough, or I didn't get good enough answers.. I think my Dad has some ADD/ADHD, and sometimes things just needed to be done 'now'!)
As the renovated part will not be my chambers, I also didn't feel entitled to push my opinions too much..

It still made me miserable.

So now you know. The doors and windows will mostly be conventionally bought. Insulation and such probably too.. At a point, I just gave up. And let'em do what they want - cause I really didn't want to be the 'eco monster' anymore (Dad was really cross at me sometimes, for 'complicating things' sigh..)

Sometimes he did appreciate my ideas & cooperation later on though!!
(Like the secret doors on the balcony etc!:)

I wanted this blog to be cheerful and upbeat, so I just stopped posting! :)
Luckily an Eco Building Institute has been established recently in Slovenia, and hopefully they will provide useful independent info for all interested. (Otherwise, info can be obtained for $$$$ or it's very scattered or possibly biased.)

The summer charity workshops for kiddies went well and were MUCH more eco than the previous years! And I met some cool eco people... It's still too-easy to just focus on the negative, lol. Then I realized my Dad and I are two different people and I can't let myself be made miserable over who he is and what he does. He's 'old school' and builds in a way that was 'modern' 25+ years ago!

I did learn a lot about what (not) to do later on if I ever build or renovate anything again!
So overall, it was a good learning experience (although sometimes horribly stressful lol).

I am not perfect and neither is my Dad. But I still love him. (And try to take a walk when 'loud' works are scheduled!)

Bees LOVE Oregano!

You wouldn't think it, would you?



Some other plants and herbs too. Pretty much anything with a bloom.


I haven't paid much attention to it before, but from mid-July on, the bees get pretty DESPERATE!

My sis ran in from the garden one lovely summer day, saying: 'I won't de-weed the garden right now.' - 'Why?' - 'The weeds are full of bees.'

I thought she was a sissy, but went and checked: indeed, the piece of land covered with weeds was also covered with BEES! A few bumble-bees and such too.
The bees were even on the balcony, including on the tiny-blooming flowers...

The photos are from a while back, July/August. Thought they might liven up this grey rainy day.
Next year, we'll try to plant some flowers xtra for the bees... (Or at least avoid de-weeding, he he..)

So if you are in any doubt, whether to cut off all oregano or other herbs or weeds, even if it's not really necessary - just let'em BEE!

The bees will be thankful for it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Lead On the Roof??!

Yuck!!

The balcony is mostly finished with only a few things to do.. I left Dad and the roof drainage master alone, thinking Oh they'll just add a bit of metal on the ends (most has been done last week) - and Whoa! Now I've got lead on the roof-??!

(Must I remind you lead is TOXIC??)
It's a neurotoxin and causes brain disorders?? And our neighbours have a kid with Asperger's already?
And the water from the roof will go down the roofpipes into barrels to water our garden and veggies??

No wonder I'm single, are all men this stupid??

'Oh it's nicely soft and malleable,' Dad said. 'Finally the neighbour remembered he can use this.' (Dad was happy with the solution!!) Apparently the metal used elsewhere was too stiff - it's mostly aluminum, which is not ideal either, but I think still less problematic then lead??)

'Don't think you don't have any on the roof,' Dad said. Apparently there's some by the roof window too?? Yuck!!

What to do??

Friday, June 25, 2010

YAY Got Stung By A Bee!!

Today, Sis tells me, "I heard the bees are gathering over at neighbour's place, they will swarm, you might wanna go take a look." (I thought another neighbour told her that, turned out Dad did.)

And they did!

It was soo much FUN watching them (better than TV!), watching what the neighbour will do, getting bits of his wisdom and experience...
(His son and the family were just planning a barbecue, both son and grandson are allergic to bees and can't come near.. so they weren't too thrilled you can imagine.)

I just went there in short sleeves and wooden clogs lol - no headcovering or gloves - wasn't sure what was happening or if the neighbour would let me watch or help.. Mostly I kept safe distance anyway..

Neighbour let me watch and it was highly fascinating! They gathered on the vine and for a while we just watched if they would settle and where the queen bee could be. (They only settle if the queen bee is there.) He used some smoke to get them in a wooden small hive or back to their original hive and to 'calm' them, and then took the rest like a 'grape' over a plastic bucket - and that's when I got stung by a bee who probably thought she's had enough of it all! (probably didn't keep enough safety distance either!:)

I think I probably need to write it down or record it, for future references! :)
Even Dad was fascinated with it all, over lunch - it's good to have some fascinating topics to discuss at lunch lol!

I did get stung by a bee, but this is actually a GOOD thing (not for the poor bee). At least now I know I'm truly not allergic (was a bit scared after all the scary tales of people being allergic.. I only got stung 2x before, and was always more sorry for the poor bee than for myself.) Also, bee venom is supposed to be healthy, so YAY!

Neighbour suggested rubbing it with onion. He doesn't get any reaction, after so many years with the bees - they mostly don't sting him either! (His family members are not so safe though!)

It almost didn't hurt, and after Mum's instructions I put it under VERY hot water (such that you almost can't stand it and put the arm in and out from the tap intermittently - Dad did this with his finger and had no effects at all!)
My arm was a bit red, this almost went away after the wonderful walk I took!
(I hadn't been on a walk for 2+ weeks, being ill and in the house= one cranky Layla! No wonder my blog post yesterday was soo miserable! Must go for a walk EVERY day now!! Even if it rains cats or dogs or caterpillars!!)
I had much worse reactions the previous times when I didn't use hot water and only put vinegar on the stings.. I may experiment with onion next time too.. (I'd LOVE to learn beekeeping without bee stings but I'm being realistic here!)

I googled and found bee sting cures include heat (water or heat from cigarette butt) OR cold (?), OR onion, or some other vegetables - I think tomato was mentioned? (probably would need to check still..)
Grandma says their Mum just told them to put cold knife blade over it, or just dig up some cold earth, if they were outside.. I think some plant leaves were mentioned too.. Hm, this could be a whole separate blog post (or article?) lol!

Apparently, some people are still allergic, it's good to know many can minimize effects with natural means!
I only have the area slightly red - So YAY!! :)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Relaxation, Mosquito Nets and Re-evaluation of It All..

It's been a while since I last posted, again. /sigh/ What can I say, it's the summer? :)
Meanwhile, Slovenia beat Algeria, almost beat the USA and well - the UK won the other day! (It was too depressing to watch the bad game so I talked to the beekeeper neighbour instead! He told me some cool things!:)
Mind you, I am NOT a football fan, but if Sis and Granny both watched-?? It was a great game, 1st half od SLO:USA game, then I just lost interest lol!
Lots of bees came to drink from a barrel at our house, it was quite interesting.. The neighbour said he thinks bees know if something is toxic and avoid it, I'm not so sure myself..?

We didn't have the eco stand then after all - the event was 'double booked', some kids that would like to partake had a concert on the same day and couldn't, some were not so very much into eco things (or would need to be inspired more!) It was the end of the year...?

Apparently the shop took off the posters we had on the 1st eco stand when cleaning and they disappeared :( we also didn't have any good promo materials anymore (hopefully we'd manage to get or make more during the autumn/winter!) - and I got ill..

No surprise, since everything was quite hectic!
The potatoes needed de-weeding, and as I'm not such a fast expert (yet?) it took a while, basically the whole week, just at the time when we could practise with the kids! - It's not easy to be a wanna-be farmer and eco activist at the same time, sometimes!! I was hugely disappointed with myself! (for not setting it all up better, or earlier on, or getting other people on board to help before!) All the teachers and kindergarten teachers I know were busy with things this time of year too!!(I had no idea I wouldn't have time either!!)

It's all volunteering and goodwill at this time, so basically, who cares?
I do not wonder anymore why the government hasn't done something like that yet - grassroots campaigns etc, raising awareness at local levels - it seems to take talking to a lot of people and well, it's much easier to just build something than do these things!

Still, partly it was a success - creating together with two not-so-eco moms opened up opportunity for discussing eco things (without preaching!) and we had fun too! (One has written an eco song, she sings beautifully! I hope I'll get her to finish it and record it!) And some kids WERE interested! (I just didn't have enough reliable ones to carry the show!) It rained on the day, anyway! (The event still went ahead, but I hear there were not many people/visitors...) So, hopefully we'll create something later on! It would be GREAT to have a team of people who could jump in instead of me if I'm too busy or ill or something...

Partly, I feel burnt out... Part of me just wanted to jump on a plane and go to a totally different part of the world, maybe that is just escapism?
It's very annoying that some people I talked to (and a book by an eco biz expert!) all said that it's better to do things for free/without outside money at first, and later on (maybe next year) apply for EU funding or such.

It's annoying to know a lot of people (and non-profits) do get huge amounts of money for way worse projects than these!! And since I was warned project theft occurs, it's difficult to know who to trust... and to what degree.. (And since we renovated, where are some e-mail addresses I apparently misplaced??)
I think I lost some of the drive and motivation, or maybe it's just the summer? I do hope to get them back!!

My family want me to start earning money with the eco things asap!! Or at least to not lose money with these things! Dad is quite against the eco projects as he sees it as 'nagging' and 'obstruction' and 'slowing things down' - probably does not fancy women butting into men's domains like building and renovation??

I see it as perfect opportunity to educate, inform and inspire suppliers, merchants and manufacturers too.. I have shocked a few sales people when I asked what the window shutters and anti-mosquito nets are made of and if they can be fully recycled lol!!

Dad and Sis just want it done 'as soon as possible'! And I admit for a week it was too hot to research and then I got ill, oh dear.. Better already, hope it all clears soon.. Was wondering whether to try to get a (home) office away from home though, to minimize distraction... I'm officially ill so this minimizes distraction, still the renovations or farm/garden work are somewhat unpredictable.. And I still hate housekeeping, both cooking and dishwashing.. I tried my best last year, but then Dad just asked 'Why are you trying to be a good housekeeper?' (when I was trying to go zero waste) and he didn't appreciate it at all!! (He wants me to get a hotshot job/career and get married and give him grandkids!)
Granny thinks Dad may have onset of Alzheimers too (?) I thought maybe ADD/ADHD.. He didn't know the other day what a gardening concept meant that he taught us!! It hasn't been easy... :( He's behaving now that I was ill but I don't want to have peace only when I'm ill-??

So, I'm still figuring out my options, and hopefully I'll hear about some short-term funding opportunities soon too?
I wrote up some good eco programs/plans, and they could probably get funding too.. And now people just want me to do it all for free? hmm?
It seems I got pulled up too much into the pro bono/volunteer stuff and forgot to work on the profit centers/moneymaking.. I understand my parents too, it seems difficult to clone myself and do two or three different things at a time..

While resting, I read some good books ordered from Bookdepository, on time management and organizing etc.. Some things were quite helpful. I may do some reviews later on.

I did take some pics of the balcony, not sure how wise it is to put it online, color is very specific and I'd prefer to stay a bit incognito? We'll see.. :) Still have 2 balcony windows to paint, it was raining meanwhile and the wood needs to be dry for painting with tung oil too..

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tung Oil, Milkpaint and Farm Work Pending

Sorry I've neglected this blog a bit. Again, lol.

Meanwhile, I've painted the newly glazed balcony with tung oil, after previously painting it with milkpaint (that the neighbour mixed from wallpaint pigment and - you guessed it, milk!) Apparently the Chinese used tung oil to protect their boats 2000 years ago (?) so I hope it would protect the balcony well too - and that it's the 'good' kind! (slightly nutty smell... brings out the beauty of the wood indeed, ideally we'd take this into account when making the balcony, some wood does not have so much beauty, lol! It's mixed with linseed oil, so not sure how 'waterproof' it is, we'll see.. Probably more eco than some other variants though..)

I've also been on a trip with beekeepers and talked to people about starting an eco non-profit locally.. We'll see how it goes..
The balcony and the terrace now have roofs, there's still lots of stuff to do though..
Dad wanted windows and stuff ordered 'now now now' it annoyed me to no end though - when else is there a better opportunity to ask businesses how green their products are than when well, shopping??
Still to call for some window protection - PVC or aluminum? Aluminum is costlier (so Dad says noo!) I really dislike PVC though, so still to find if it's PVC or some less toxic plastics? And apparently aluminom comes with foam added inbetween?? Can this still be recycled then?
I was too cross at Dad to call the company today and find out, sigh.
Dad hates my eco projects and thinks they're a 'hassle' (slowing things down and bloody interfering, sigh). What else can you expect from someone who worked in chemical industry almost all his life??

The 2nd eco stand was planned to be in 2 weeks, we don't have local talent or content available yet, and not sure if we'll get it ready by then??
Why was it planned on the same day the kiddies have a concert already?? Bloody lack of coordination and stuff!!

I've been distracted with this balcony work and now with farm work (ugh! I wish Dad informed us sooner than the night before!) It's very difficult to plan any meetings or phone calls or anything this way!!
Off to de-weed some potatoes, sigh!!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Of Power Tools, Balcony, Milk Paint And Amanda Quick :)

Sorry for neglecting this journal for so long!

I've been ranting off-the record elsewhere, so if you absolutely must know what I rant about, drop me a line and maybe I'll send you the link (depending on whether I know you or not!:)

Mostly my days have been quite uneventful, minus the power tools and my family's lack of time management or any sort of organization. And it's not just my family, it's also the neighbours and the weather! Sooo...?
It's not easy to get organized or get things done (or make hay) if you depend on these 'outside' factors. I did read some Amanda Quick books, out of desperation. (Sis's fault for bringing them home!)

Oddly enough, they inspired me for eco things again! The heroines there are so brave and courageous and always getting into the oddest of messes, and out of them unscathed (mostly), and usually happily married!:)
They also have to deal with odd dilemmas and things like...
- who to trust? ('Those fossil diggers can be an untrustworthy lot!' lol! So it's not just the eco world that is full of iffy types and odd sorts?!:)
- how to date? (if you are really interested in other things - those heroines happily go about doing other things, until those brooding handsome-or-oddly-attractive heroes snatch them!:)
- how to be happy with own imperfections (all the heroines -and heroes - definitely have 'em, and are still happily in love anyway!!:)

So.. did I intrigue you yet? They are not for kids, so 18+ only. (My Grandma snickers over some scenes and only brushes past them.) They may return your faith in love (or life) or make you laugh, they are all invariably silly (and mostly look alike!) but that is kinda the point!:)

I did call some people inbetween re: eco things (and have some meetings next week!:), didn't manage to go to eco fair but did make some sort-of-hay (what is the non-hay for silos called?) helped create 1/2 of balcony (it'll be mostly glass and just polycarbonate roof. Plus, after my ranting about which color/polish would be less toxic - the neighbour painted the frames with - milk & wallpaint pigment-??!! ('You'll never guess, he said. We didn't. It looks pretty and yellow. Never thought I'd actually like yellow windows, and not sure if the black knobs really go with them??) He said wax paint (with turpentine - is turpentine toxic??) could be used on top of that for water-proofing/protection against water. (The milk paint is just pretty, offers no protection against water. And this is where the rain can be quite heavy.) I recently stumbled across the awesome milkpaint.com never thought you can just create your own lol!! :)
Not sure what to waterproof the windows with (can I get enough eco wax? How much would be needed? What about any oils or such?)

Some planks have been painted dark brown already, I called the company hotline and a friendly woman said the paint for wood outside contains an iffy preservative, so it's best to be not touched, and recommended painting over with a paint for indoors?
I asked Dad how much he thinks would be needed and he said, 'Oh don't bug me with that' or something like this, so Mum and I calculated a bit, still to do more Math..
Aunt A. suggested Dad's rash might be stress-related so we don't want to bug him with too much stuff anyway-??

Sorry if this is a bit scatter-brained, am awfully sleepy and going to bed at first possible opportunity! :) Been to a concert, a practical beekeeping class (unfortunately rainy so we didn't get to do a lot), to a funeral and a few other things... Wrote programs and ideas for a charity... Researched EU funding and project management... De-weeded some onions.. Got a pretty new pre-loved sweater (of cheerful colors!:) and tutored on global warming?? And what have you been doing? :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Can Polycarbonate Be Recycled?

As you may know, our house (and my ears!) have been subject to some renovation. It's not finished yet!

The balcony still needs to be 'closed up' with either glass or polycarbonate, or both.

This renovation has not been very eco, as I am NOT an expert on eco building materials (yet?) and mostly my Dad was in charge! Also, there have been some considerations: not-so-very-strong walls and balcony mean that light (not heavy) materials need to be used. So polycarbonate was recommended to us.

Can polycarbonate be recycled?

I almost fainted when I saw who produces polycarbonate! No other than the infamous Bayer! (producers of aspirins, toxic chemicals cotton is sprayed with in India, and the infamous Gaucho, alleged beekiller, that corn is treated with!)

Bayer says their polycarbonate product Makrolon can be recycled OR incinerated. Depending if there are any facilities for recycling!
(In Slovenia, I'm guessing NOT! As CDs that are also polycarbonate can't be recycled either.) Bayer actually recommend incineration. (hm!)
Apparently it's recycled within the factory, which is a good thing! I just wish something would be done with postconsumer waste too!

Is the other polycarbonate on the market Lexan really eco? (It is claimed that is, due to energy efficiency-?)

It seems lexan may not be very toxic (tests not for the faint-hearted!) though probably not completely harmless either, especially at high temperatures used for manufacturing or such. (Data from 1992, I wonder if there is any new info?)

Then again, I'm guessing straight window glass can't really be recycled here either - 'eco islands' (local recycling containers) only accept glass bottles, and rumors have it some of those may have not been recycled either, at least some years ago. And last year may have been so-so too, as the building industry was in crisis and didn't need glass wool (which is made from recycled bottles) for insulation.

So, what would be a better choice?

No idea. I told Dad to check leftover glass he has, if anything could be made from that? I was told glass would be hotter in summer (it's a South-West window, and it really gets hot here) and polycarbonate might give better insulation with less weight.
The roof would probably be polycarbonate, we are still discussing the vertical 'windows' or non-windows.

Any ideas or suggestions?
The cheaper polycarbonate is non-see-through (one might hide from neighbours more easily! Though a curtain could be used in that effect too, says Mom! And in case you need to talk to a neighbour, it's better if you can see her on the balcony). The more expensive polycarbonate looks like glass, scratches easily though. (That prompted me back to glass.)
Slightly scared the polycarbonate balcony roof would block my view of mountains! (Don't wish the balcony to start falling apart due to too much weight though either!)

Any experience with closing down of balconies?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Let's Clean Up Slovenia - Huge Success!!

Biggest cleanup action worldwide so far - about 250.000 people attended Let's Clean Slovenia in One Day! (Only 2 million people in Slovenia, so this was huge!) See more on Yahoo News!

According to the Slovenian website (with Hi! from Estonian team!), the movement is becoming global fast, cleanup actions were already successful in:
• Estonia (3. 5. 2008, 50.000 participants)
• Latvia (24. 4. 2009, 60.000 participants)
• Lithuania (24. 4. 2009, 110.000 participants)
• India - Bengaluru (16. 8. 2009, 15.000 participants)
• Portugal (20. 3. 2010, 50-100.000 participants, analyses still ongoing)
Preparations currently in:
• India - New Delhi (pilot cleanup on 23. 1. and 20. 3: 1000 participants; cleanup: 26. 9. 2010 Organizers expect half a million people to take part!)
• Romania (25. 9. 2010)
• Italy (currently registering places with trash in nature)
• Latvia (also 17. 4. 2010 - about 100.000 people!)

Brief description of the project in English on Facebook.

There's also an idea for Let's Clean Europe and Let's Clean World!!

What I really like about this action is that LOTS of people who care about Nature connected, I met many cool people (I had NO idea some were eco! :)

Now let's hope the team will successfully lobby for Zero Waste Slovenia too!! :)
Discussions and ideas have started, so... wish us luck!!! :))))

Really tired and needing some rest, brimming with more ideas too, lol!
I really wanted to go to one of the FAB parties with excellent musicians (all volunteering on stage!) in three Slovenian cities - but I just fell into the bed and slept! lol!

Learn more on Let'sDoItWorld.org !

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

To Bee or Not to Bee?


Looks quite horrible, no? Keep or toss and get new hives? Still have bees at all? I love tradition and it's a loving memory of Grandpa but...? Yes, I was shocked to see them in broad daylight! - Well, the nets could be cleaned surprisingly easily! (I'm not sure whether to clean the 'invisible' propolized edges of the 'net' more too?)


I was advised to let go of these as new ones are cheap. (?)


Yes, it looks pretty scary!

The beehive could be cleaned quite okay, there are almost invisible cracks on the sides and in edges, bees put propolis there to fix this, I mostly scraped it off! (I was advised to do that, dunno? Though it seems counterproductive? New bees will have to propolize it all again?)
I was told old stuff must be scraped off and then to use fire to sterilize the wood.


This is the scariest part: the door is VERY bad! So, not sure what to do!

Will the neighbour have time to maybe make a new door or two? (Would it be better to just get new hives as some have advised? We're a bit late to ask the neighbour to make new ones, Dad said he might during the winter! I'd love to learn to make and renovate furniture and stuff myself, it'll be a long process I guess though.)

Partly, cleaning an old beehive is pleasant - the smell of propolis is soo yummy!!
Partly, I was fretting if there was anything iffy in the dirt (Grandpa's old neighbour said the bees just vanished from neglect and there weren't any diseases, so I hope all would be right with this!)

Dad said the beehives are probably as old as he is, or more! (60+ years!) He doesn't remember any new ones being made, these were quite new when he was little!

In any case, I've learnt a bit how to approach such a project, and saw it doesn't take so long to clean. You only see the real state of wood after you've cleaned it, and doors seem to be the part to watch out for!
Hopefully next year (winter?) I'll be able to clean and possibly renovate the old spindle too (I'd done it before if I knew what to use, so that it would be as eco as possible and still protect the wood?)

So, will I still have bees or will I give up on the project for the time being? (Or, until next year?) Stay tuned!
(Suggestions and ideas welcome!) What do you think?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eco Stand - DONE!!

So, not sure what to write here? The eco stand was DONE!! The 1st day we were sort of lost a bit, the 2nd day was much better!
It was 2 different locations at the same time, and a bit of rain inbetween, so the logistics of that were a bit tricky - I feel quite confident we could do it again, and might do it again in June or so, with one stand only (we've already been sort-of invited). Not sure what to offer instead of cloth bags though? (We gave away all of them!:) At least leaflets I guess...
I was frazzled for 2 weeks, yet I want to do it again LOL!!

There were things we could do better next time, and we'll have a debriefing after Easter. I've learnt A LOT from both the eco teacher and the scouts... At first I was afraid no one would want to take part, then there was suddenly too many people! lol! (And then some didn't show up, so it was just right!:)
Ideally we'd have experts to help with the expertise part of the info offered there etc.

Luckily, the renovations are mostly over! Much relief here. There's work in the garden both here and at Uncle's farm, though. And some loud neighbours (chainsaws etc). And still not sure about the bees - will I have 'em or not? (And how to have 'em in the most eco way?)

And with all I do, it seems all Dad wants is for me to do the dishes, or sweep the stairs...? (Which I don't mind doing if I'm not dead tired.. I had insomnia half of last week lol!) He just doesn't seem to understand the need for loftier purposes? Or to relax? To help inspire others to be more eco? He just seems to see the current practical things-to-do, and well, wants me to do them. (Or get married and give him grandkids! /sigh/) It seems like he's even jealous of my eco projects?? Or just guilty cause he's stuffed the bin full of something again??

Like Sooz, part of me wants to move away and have peace. Grandma's at our house again, she's had eye surgery, getting well.. Been attacked by giant spider in middle of the night so Sis and I are roommates now. Holidays are stressful at our house too.

For a few days, I was exhilerated and really happy. Now have started to worry over things again - eg how will the priest react? (Will he give us good photos for the article? He was pretending to be disinterested, and then went & took photos! hmm?) Do I ask the girl/boy-scouts for other eco projects, or are they too busy with other stuff? They said they could do something like the eco stand maybe 1x a year.
Mom said she and maybe another woman from the charity could help at the eco party, to point people to recycle right and maybe even wash/rinse the plastic plates so they can be recycled. Would compostable plates be better? (Have people to call on that one too!) How many (recycling) bins and volunteers does one need at an open-air party with 250-500 people?

So, a lot of questions...
Working on some other eco projects too.. Involving beekeepers and bees... Ideally, we'd start a successful 'Save the bees' campaign here in Slovenia too! :)

Update April 7th, 2010: The priest was real busy with Easter etc, so I and the eco teacher sent off the photos we had, we'll see what gets published! :) No idea why I was fretting so much over this, possibly cause it was pre-Easter time and I knew the priest would be busy and didn't want to bother him! :)
The eco party will be a 'mini party' and only one set of bins will be utilized, said the organizers - so it could be simple and doable!
The catering said styrofoam plates would be used - ack!! (Since there would be no tables, they said plastic plates would be too hot! Gotta check if there's a way to have any tables? Mom said there must at least be benches to sit down - still gotta check this, lol!!:)
I learnt it's useless to fret over things that one telephone call may easily clear! Lol!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lessons Learnt

Today I was thinking: I must be crazy to be doing this. lol
A simple event – just telling people to stop and say hi to some eco people, to meet some new ideas and concepts, in short, to have an eco stand by our local supermarkets – has been a project of great endeavor and undertaking.

It's still not finished.
I was fretting today over some silly details.

Then, I was talking to the two other coordinators involved, and learnt some really important lessons.

A minor change of a very simple thing (that I don't basically care about - either way, I see good things!) pulls together with it a bunch of other stuff that can make other people's lives miserable!

Just like changing materials in plastic disposable cups!
Did you know that the small cups (eg used in coffee machines or for beverages at outdoor events) are almost impossible to recycle (in Slovenia) because the manufacturers change the materials according to the price. And there is no IR technology to decipher the materials with infrared technology! In whole of Slovenia! The cups look the same - but are impossible to recycle when there's a bunch of different materials that all look the same! And bear the same company name!

Beer cups are supposed to be pretty safe.

Also, there was a bottled water company abroad (France or Germany, methinks) that changed its bottle caps to aluminum. Pretty stylish and nifty and eco, eh?
Damn right. Not.
All the recyclers had machines and technology adapted to plastic bottle caps.

One tiny detail - and it can ruin the whole process for A LOT of people!!

Luckily, I'm blessed with two awesome girl scouts leaders and an awesome eco teacher that are doing this too. The eco stand in near future.
I used to fret about it (big time!) now I feel happy we started doing this.
Cause if we learn how to coordinate each other and how to express our priorities in a clear manner, establish 'most important' things and ways of communication, I have great hope that the rest of Slovenia and the rest of people everywhere can do this too.

Love,
Layla

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cocoa Day!! :)

Who says community organizing doesn't pay? ;)

Got 5kg of cocoa today!!!:) And 3 pretty (ex-capuccino) boxes to store it in!
All I did was ask some neighbours if they have the phone number of another neighbour (who might also make some cloth bags - keep your fingers crossed!!)

The funny thing is I was eyeing the eco cocoa in the shop today, planning to buy it, and forgot the wallet so I couldn't. LOL!

Universe works in mysterious ways!

I think one box will be gift to a friend who also likes cocoa (in her coffee, yup, people are odd!:)

This (probably) isn't eco cocoa, but who can say No to the Universe? LOL!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recent Local Developments

Sorry for not writing more earlier.

I'm still not quite sure what to write 'in public' and what not - I've been talking to a bunch of local people recently, and some of it is probably better kept off-record.

Some people were enthusiastic about the eco ideas (including the MP's wife!:)
Some had more ideas to discuss later. (I told them to write them up!)
The priest seems sceptical of some of the ideas, and we'll see what would be doable within the church/charity, and what outside of it.
Freecycle groups generally seem to work outside of church. I may need to talk to any successful Freecycle groups or charity organisations that have 2nd hand shops, later on.

Some people within the charity and church seem 'let's go' oriented, we just need the go-ahead too! (I do understand the official need to be careful too!)
The scouts seem to do the planning for next year in July/August, so at least we'll know for next year! (I wish I was told this in advance, instead of sort-of counting on them! Individual scouts are interested and may still help, they're busy with other stuff too soo..? We'll see!) Some scouts and the priest seem a bit jaded 'We've been doing this for years' - and felt like 'the voice of the screaming man in the desert' - hmm?!
Apparently they've given away leaflets, self-made soaps and even eco bags before, so some of them are not that interested in such things...

It's true, many people here have eco bags, many still don't use them... So ideally we'd have a short quiz, info and pictures on the stall, maybe even a song or a few or a mini funny presentation/mini-play.
And repetition is 'mother of study'. Those ads on TV are repeated for a reason!!

Two teachers are interested in possibly showing Story of Stuff to kiddies in classroom, we've been semi-invited to have a stall at a future mini-festival (which may or may not take place, but it's still exciting to think about it!:) A shop has already agreed we can have a stall there.. Two lovely ladies are already sewing cloth bags...

Small steps.

Hopefully the lots of small steps will become a big step or two too. :)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Quick Update

Not sure what to say. So much has happened, and yet it didn't.

I went to a beekeeping class that was quite exhaustive (especially for a complete newbie!! I felt like I was in 1st grade and was made to listen to University grade stuff!!)
At first I thought it was FUN! Some very charming beekeepers, old guys know A LOT!!
Hearing some stuff, how bees are conventionally treated, I don't wonder why bees are ill!! I didn't like some of the things there, especially instructions for best beehives to be out of styrofoam (??) and polyurethane (?!) and such - what happenes if they are burnt? (In some cases, this is the solution for stronger diseases.) Burning styrofoam >> very TOXIC!
Luckily I also met some eco beekeepers, so hopefully I'll learn more from them.
Not sure if I even want to have bees anymore?
(But Dad keeps pressing me to fix the old beehives & the old neighbour even said he won't have a successor and seemingly he'd be happy to share his wisdom or maybe even some bees with me - but they are conventionally treated, and with some bad stuff!! hmm!!) Not sure what to do?

I finally talked to some eco people locally, some were really enthusiastic about some of the ideas and projects, so we'll see how it goes from there.
They keep telling me to go to the Mayor, so far I was really shy/embarassed to do so.
Apparently we may be too late to prepare some things for Earth Day, who knew you need to start such things so far ahead in advance? (Two or four months seemed plenty of time for me, eg scouts or school are also preparing other things - so maybe we can talk about an eco fair etc. for next year.)
At least we started talking and connecting more on a local level!
So I have a bunch of people to talk to and things to do, feeling slightly overwhelmed (and caught a bad cold). Hope it'll get better soon!

I'm also not sure how to write e-mails as not to overwhelm people (or myself)? So much stuff builds up, I wish I could discuss things with you all, not sure if it's okay to just write it here. So if you want to hear from me and I know you, maybe I can write you an e-mail, tell in comments if you're interested! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Flax As Strong as Kevlar? Wow!

American scientists found a secret recipe (or at least similar to that) of Alexander the Great and other ancient minds!

Mediterannean soldiers didn't wear metal armour - linen is half lighter and better in the heat! And works well too!! (see the Spiegel movie, it's in German but pictures say it all! And you can Google Translate the article - recipe included!:)

Fascinating!!

I am pondering what this could mean for any other uses - in technology, zero waste lifestyle, etc etc?
(Is Kevlar recyclable or compostable?)

More about this in English here, with links to videos too!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Start of a Local Freecycle?

Today a neighbour dropped by and said another neighbour has some tiny cabinets and such to give away (within a week) or chop up and burn!

Of course I had to check it all out first!





Pretty!! :)

Apparently he dismantled the big things like big wardrobe (the particle board panels can be re-used for other stuff) and bed (some elements got reused or taken away before, he didn't know it could be Freecycled or given away & come handy to others!)
He said he 'had no use' for the pretty bedside 3-drawer cabinets and such!

(I'm not sure if I have any use for them either, prefer shelves, but they're too pretty - and probably too toxic - to burn!)

So I may take them for now & perhaps freecycle later.
Not sure if we can use up the bed boards? (I have two beds & none of them is 'right'! :) So too bad it got dismantled!)
Might use some shelves for the ex-fridge-cabinet (that now has no shelves), and he said he might use up some himself.

Not sure what to do re: remaining bed boards, I'm sad that he would just burn them, don't really know what to use them for? Any ideas?

I took digital pictures & wrote down measures. Ideally, we'd have several volunteers that could do that and put stuff in a local database and/or on internet etc - any other ways how to establish a good local Freecycle?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Right to Be Miserable

So, this is supposed to be an INSPIRING blog!
Cheerful & upbeat, like myzerowaste.com or The Rubbish Diet or Jen and Grant's Clean Bin! Those were my initial inspirations!

But, why am I writing about being miserable?

Cause I was. A lot of times. And thought, 'How can other people be so cheerful and upbeat all the time?"

Christmas and New Year can be a time of trash and it broke my heart each time I passed near the full overflowing bins (so at times I didn't want to go for a walk - which really made me miserable, lol!)

Of course nutrition plays its role too! (And cookies, sigh!)

Talking to some of my heroes and reading what Barbara Sher wrote made me realize: you don't have to be happy about it, or even 'believe' you can do it, you just have to do it! lol!
And it's true, one minute you can be happy, the next miserable - for every test or exam I passed with flying colors or anything worthwhile I ever did, I was usually pretty damn miserable at first, lol!

Can you imagine, I was scared to use PayPal or shop at Amazon once? (I'm still scared of eBay, lol!)

I was miserable & terrified before actually speaking to any of the important people re:waste here RL, and I'm still miserable at the thought of other things to do - but guess what, I bet I'll feel pretty AWESOME afterwards!! :)

Sure I can get overexcited or overinspired (possibly in the middle of the night, & have trouble writing down ideas!) but when day comes and things need to be done - yikes!

I admit it, I'm shy. And don't want to 'nag' people. Or cause anyone discomfort. (Except my Sister, but that is another question.)
And perfectionism can get the better of me. Or just plain 'It's impossible' thinking!

But you know what? I bet a lot of people think this too!
(Especially about trash!:)

The awesome Mrs Green of Myzerowaste never thought they could actually make just one bin in a year, or even one bag a week?!! And look how far they've come!!

A Minister of Environment just got kicked over a trash can here in Slovenia (symbolically=he had to resign, among other things 'not sorting out recycling and waste management' was given as a reason!), so the situation seems hopeless! (Or does it?)

An MP's wife is interested in an eco fair & eco bags & such, so got invited to visit. Am totally frightened, of course!! :)
A bunch of people still need to be networked with, articles need to be written..
What if I make a bloody mess of it all?

Well, unless I actually give it all my best (or at least a fair try!) I'll never know!!
Remember, this is still an Experiment, no? Eco Experiment!

Honestly, sometimes I feel like a character in a book myself!

What about you? How have you managed to actually accomplish things? Do you always feel happy & inspired, or do you sometimes need to get extra inspiration (nagging/threats from best friend or Mum or such!) when you actually WANT to do something?!

PS Check out Karen's fabulous FREE e-course for trash reduction in 8 weeks over at The Rubbish Diet, new assignment every Monday! - Even if you're an Eco Hero and your bin is slim, you may get an extra few tips! Even if you think you can't do it! lol! :)
It actually got us talking & we're tweaking the system!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Eco New Year 2010!



Okay, Sooz of the awesome Last Biscuit blog (together with Danda of Dandaworld!) is directly responsible for this! And this:



Air purifier #1! And pretty purple air purifier #2 of unindentified name!



(Air in the atticks can get mighty bad! I think these two are helping! Plus they are pretty!)

The orange cupboard is a retro vintage authentic piece my Mum's had since the 70's (I think) and it makes me happy too! The small wicker basket above is a cute random tiny basket that I repurposed as GTD inbox to keep stuff organized!

I've had the blackboard for years (Dad made Sis and me each one when we were kids, later I used it for teaching kiddies, and then it lay in the atticks forgotten - until recently!) Dad's made the art painting gizmo years ago too, and then I mostly didn't use it! (air system in the atticks not enough for a studio! - I still have a board that could be used for art too, the one bought for painting was too heavy & I mostly never used it!)

I repurposed this for jotting down things to do on computer, because it is too big to ignore! (Hopefully - my new goal is to change or tweak time management systems weekly to keep up inspiration & novelty factor!)

The home office (and the rest of the atticks) is still in the process of organizing!

They are all things that make me happy, and they are making my home office more beautiful! :) So that's 5, right?

Sooz nominated me for a Happy 101 award!



The rules: List 10 things that make you happy.
Try to do at least one of them today, and tag 10 bloggers that brighten your day.
For those 10 bloggers who get the award, link back to my blog..... of course if you want to!

So, what's the rest?

6) ORGANIZING - call me crazy, but I adore it! I LOVE bringing order into chaos: be it in closets, or elsewhere! :)

7) books - adore them too!!
I recently read a lot of cool books and hope to report more about them later on!
One of them is Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher - a book for scanners, people with too many interests! :) (That's me!)

8) my friends - online & offline!!*

9) #ideaparty every Thursday over at Twitter - bring a wish and an obstacle!
Barbara Sher herself and many other AWESOME peope with COOL ideas make it super exciting!!

10) Japanese Drama - laugh all you wish, it's tremendously inspiring - crazy plots, strong women & cute boys! What else do you need? :D
Plus, in Hana Yori Dango (or Boys Over Flowers, crazy Japanese word game noone fully understands!) a whole episode or more are devoted to a reusable bento box and a cloth handkerchief!! (PS Am in love with one of the co-stars there, sigh!!)

*And that includes all of you awesome bloggers out there!! :)

Actually Sooz has listed many of you already!!
Dandaworld
My Zero Waste *and* The LittleGreen Blog (Did you know The Little Green Blog was first?:)
The Rubbish Diet
Blah to Tada
Easy Eco to Go
All of you inspire me to be more eco! :)

So I'll add new awesome people - check 'em out!

Rachel at ProNagger.com - The idea of nagging people for money kinda appeals to me immensely, he he!!
Oh, and she's legally blind! She says, "first blind chic to get an MFA from UofM in "visual" arts...I have a LOT to say about creativity, it's power and pull" WOW!
Check out her blog, it's full of COOL ideas and inspiration!! She helps artists finish things etc!

ScannerTribe blog led by the awesome Skannie! If you want to know more about scanners (or suspect you are one, lots of info and links there!)

Nukapai.typepad.com - Don't you just LOVE a blog with the title Tomorrow Could Be Boring? lol! (Of course, she's a scanner too!) I bet it's not boring where she lives! Wants to learn pottery & jewelry making, & she lives next to London, WOW!!
Love some of her thoughts on time management too!

Breanne of Sententia.net: another scanner with thoughts & ideas for time management & personal productivity!

The Lonely Craftivist that became Craftivist Collective (Craft + Activism = Craftivism!:) Also check out their fabulous website & youtube account (with a video on how to make a mini protest banner!

kAy of Gurly Things who's totally gorgeous & loves to go more eco too!! (Yes, I know I'm still due to post about the orange eco things, haven't forgotten! Actually one of them is posted here already!:)

Sassy Scribbles because she has been to Japan, lives in the exotic Phillipines (where incinerators are banned!) and hangs out with politicians' wives! :) and seems like an overall inspiring person! Love her motto: "I'm in love with life... there's just so much to see, feel, listen to...with so many books waiting to be read, places to be traveled... I hardly scratched a surface!!!"
And check out these awesome cloth bags!! :)

The KissJournals a simple living blog (that needs more readers! :) and equally awesome HotBellyMama now Mimi's Mom! The blog of city slickers who moved to the country! Very inspiring!

Accidental Environmentalist 'Home of the Need-a-Bag? Project!'(They collect reusable bags and make sure they come into new loving hands!) because of her motto: "Do you ride a bicycle to work because your car's in the shop? Do you bathe only every other day because you're just too dang lazy? Welcome to Accidental Environmentalism!" LOL She makes it okay to be eco just because you're lazy, he he!! Needs & deserves more readers!! :)
(And here's to all who say living eco is 'more' difficult - duh!)
It's easy! (often easier than not being green!)

That's not 10 yet, but I'm way too sleepy! :) Oops, or is it 10 already? LOL!

And Sooz, your blog makes me happy too!! :)