Food For The Poor – Wider Sustainable Living – As Individuals

Food For The Poor

Food for the poor! Now there’s an idea. I’m sure other people must have thought of this already, but in terms of wider sustainable living as a concept where individuals can make a difference, I really believe it is possible. The more voices that suggest options like these, the more chance for our voices to actually achieve something towards making this planet sustainable for continued life and actually continue life for people who need food. It’s a no-brainer really.

 

food for the poor

Togetherness, Working as a community with love to introduce sustainability and to provide food for the poor

 

What can we do as an individual to help our communities embrace sustainable ideas, and at the same time show kindness for our fellow man? One thought literally springs to mind. With our attempts at reducing carbon footprints, saving the forests, fighting for animal rights, and focusing on climate change, why aren’t we integrating sustainable lifestyle ideals, with providing things like um, food for those without it? This is the first in a series of articles considering how wider sustainable living may be achieved while providing a food source for those less fortunate than ourselves.

 

Look First At Our Own Land, Let’s Put It To Good Use

 

There are many people that are in a bad situation, weather it be due to poverty or drought, etc that keeps them in a starving, or near starving state. I think we have all become caught up in our property rights and entitlements that no one has considered that there is a way to help these people right from our own yard so to speak, merely by planting a few plants and trees that produce food and making it available for those who could use it. This idea literally oozes of all the sustainable living notions that we are trying to achieve.

 

Healthy Planet, Healthy People

 

Healthier planet means healthier people, happier people equals happier planet, leads to peace on Earth. It sounds simple, but can it truly be done? I’m sure there are a lot of logistics involved in achieving something like this, but what if? Again, it may be that we all just need to start small and at home and hope it spreads to more and more people. I am aware that precautions must be taken to prevent such people from becoming reliant on this and therefore not be able to help themselves break free from their situations.

 

Free Food – How Does That Sound?

 

Food-For-The-Poor

Help Yourself To Free Food

Yes, I really did say free food. I’m sure that many of us would have a small piece of accessible property that we could use to grow a few fruit trees or a vegetable garden for the benefit of our community’s homeless or financially challenged families. What I am suggesting is that we have a lot of unused land in our midst so why not use it for something worthwhile?

 

Can We Go One Step Further?

 

You have probably seen the slogans for growing food not lawns around, well I believe we can go one step further and contribute as an entire community to helping people survive in their darkest hours.

 

I Don’t Mean Put The Farmers Out Of Business

 

I don’t want to take away from the farmers at all, that would put them on the bread line too, but I really feel that planting fruit trees in particular, would be a very helpful way to contribute in some way to these people in need and would most likely not put too much of an extra workload on the people who choose to offer their small piece of land to provide a food source for the needy. It would save on the cost of these foods for them as well, cutting down their own expenditures. Those communities that already have allotments in place have got it so right.

Charity Begins At Home, So Let’s Show Some At Home

 

Food_for_the_poor, fruit and veggie box

Box Of Fruit Veggies That Are Spare And Ready To Give To A Person In Need

Many of us have a garden, some of us even grow our own vegetables and fruits in it. What if you expanded what you already do to provide an area somewhere at the front of the garden, with easy access, to use as a secondary veggie patch and/or fruit tree grove?

 

If You Need Help, You Are Welcome To Help Yourself!

 

You could put a sign up welcoming people to take a small amount while leaving plenty for those others in need. You may find that people will just take the food even if not in need, so you may wish to think of a strategy, some way of making them think twice about it, perhaps find a way to help them feel guilty about taking what they don’t need.

 

Some Will Care, Some Won’t!

 

Unfortunately there are some people out there that really wouldn’t care, but thankfully I believe they are few. Most people would be honorable I feel. And grateful for the opportunity to eat food that they don’t have to pay for.

If they do happen to feel guilty, perhaps have them help you harvest the fruit and vegetables, kind of like a work for your food situation. I know there are many people out there who are too proud to accept handouts, so if you make it something they can earn, that may eliminate their objections to taking it.

 

Maintaining Privacy And Making It Clear What Is Expected

 

If you don’t actually want anyone coming in to your garden, you could create an alcove on the outside of your fence line but still within your property so that the patch or grove is better accessible to a person wishing to take some, yet still deters them from coming onto your property. The other option is to pick the food yourself and leave it out on the ground or on a shelf or cart of some kind like they do in the country when they offer the fruit they’ve grown and picked for sale. You may decide to charge a very small fee for a whole box of something although that does take away from the whole concept of providing a free source of food for the poor idea. You could always plant fruit trees along the outside of the fence line the entire way along, providing a different fruit tree for each section.

 

Mango Tree

Mango Tree

Rewarding Those Who Help, Don’t Be Concerned About Wastage

 

If you struggle to get the fruit out of a fruit tree in your garden, why not put a sign up and ask for someone to come and help you pick your fruit? You could offer an all you can take with you bargain as payment for their efforts, or split the load and allow them to take half away for them to use, give away or even sell as they see fit. I have a mango tree in my back garden that I would love to be able to get more mangoes from. I would so much appreciate someone to come and help me pick them at the right time and I would gladly give them half or even more of what they have helped me pick so that they have been rewarded with food and a source of money if they choose to sell what they don’t need.

 

Wastage Is A Normal Process In Nature But I’d Rather Put The Excess To Good Use

 

So many go to waste, or the bats and other creatures get to them, that I don’t often collect that many from my tree. I don’t mind providing a food source for the animals either, but they certainly don’t leave many for me at this rate. One of my neighbours asked if they could have some and I happily said yes. She wanted it to make a mango curry sauce which sounded yummy.

 

food for poor, helping hands, helping each other

Lend A Helping Hand To Your Fellow Man. Many Hands Make Light Work And May Feed The World.

These are just a few ideas I was thinking about as to how we, as individuals could help provide a source of food for the poor. On a wider scale there would need to be much more planning involved, however this is a small way to contribute to society as one person or one family and hope that others follow suit. If we, as individuals of a wider community, take the initiative and reach out to people, much would be accomplished in improving our sustainability.

 

Don’t Stop There

 

My readers are looking for ways to reach out and help their fellow man and providing food for the poor fits that criteria that’s for sure. Please help out where you can and leave a comment below. What are you thoughts on this idea? Can you see any potential problems that may need to be addressed with this idea? I would welcome your thoughts on how you might do something like this yourself.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

Warm wishes

Ange

Easter Basket Ideas For Kids And Still Maintain Sustainable Living

Easter basket ideas for kids

Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs And Ham

Coming up with Easter basket ideas for kids and still maintaining your sustainable living ideals is not so easy. Easter is often more about the wrappings and the commercial sales of shiny, colourful easter eggs, than about Easter itself. We think more about that yummy chocolate underneath those fancy, delightful patterned papers or foil, and less about where all that waste will go. I began to think how can we keep the impact on our own immediate environment down to a minimum?

 

Did Dr. Seuss Just Invent The Idea Of A Green Easter?

 

Not that it has anything really to do with Easter, but once I started thinking about a green Easter, green eggs sprang to mind and the famous book by Dr Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham. It just reminded me of Easter eggs and served to make me realise that there are other Easter basket ideas for kids, while doing it the sustainable living way.

There’s More Than One Way To Celebrate Easter

 

You can make up different ways to celebrate Easter, it doesn’t all have to be about chocolate eggs and rabbits and fancy trimmings. There are plenty of ideas of how to make this Easter as green as possible by using homemade techniques and a little bit of creative design. After all, Easter can be so much more than the commercial money making event it has become, it can be used to achieve a real family connection if you can make a special event of it. So here is what I came up with.

Homemade Easter Eggs To Put In Your Baskets

 

Here is where you can have some fun with your children if you like, or you can do these ideas on your own and keep them as an Easter surprise so that Easter Bunny has not skipped right over the house. You could create new family traditions where Easter Bunny leaves real eggs, not chocolate eggs that are store bought, why not do an Easter egg hunt with them too?

 

The Easter Bunny Is Real

 

If your children still believe in the Easter Bunny, why not suggest that you have asked Easter Bunny to bring eggs that are completely biodegradable after they have been eaten in line with the family’s efforts to be living a cleaner, greener lifestyle. In other words, we eat the egg and the shell which is effectively the colourful wrapping, can be used in the compost bin. We would would not only reduce the waste coming from our homes, we are promoting healthy eating using whole foods as well.

See? Healthy eating can be fun after all! If the family are not too keen to be rid of the chocolate bunnies, you could suggest doing this alternate years until they warm up to the idea.

Decorating Your Own Eggs.

 

The Natural Look

 

Homemade Easter Eggs, Easter-basket-ideas-for-kids

Homemade Easter Eggs

This homemade basket of eggs reminds me of the eggs we used to make as children, except ours were brightly coloured. I’m not quite sure how these eggs have been coloured, it’s possible they may have been placed in tea, or brown vinegar perhaps.

My mother made use of wax candles, such as birthday candles, although in this case perhaps beeswax may work instead. We would get up on Easter Sunday and after we saw what the Easter Bunny had brought, we would sit down to have our breakfast which usually consisted of boiled eggs. Soft boiled with little ‘soldiers’ to use to dip into the runny egg yolk. Yum!. Soldiers are merely sliced bread that has been buttered and sliced lengthwise into smaller slices. One slice of bread can make 5 or 6 soldiers.

Wax Works!

The fun part was the process before we cooked the eggs. We would use the candles/wax to draw pictures or patterns on the eggs before cooking them, but you had to be really careful otherwise you might break the eggs. You could do any pattern you liked but because you couldn’t actually see where you had drawn because while the wax stuck to the egg shell, it was not necessarily visible, which meant that it was pot luck how your egg turned out.

It was important to make sure you went over the section you were drawing a few times to make sure the wax was well attached. Then she would place them in different pots with red or blue or green food colouring in the water and we would boil them ready for eating. Where the wax had been on the egg, it left a white outline of whatever you had drawn after the wax melted away.

The wax had effectively blocked the food colouring from staining the egg in those places, leaving the image we had drawn intact, simply through it being the part that was not coloured. Naturally our soft boiled eggs were followed by hot cross buns. Yum!

 

Simple Yet Colourful

 

There are other simple ways to produce an effective Easter-look using chicken eggs from your very own property if you have chickens, or store bought eggs if not (might I suggest finding a local supplier with free range eggs for sale). This next method is done using pre-cooked hard boiled eggs. You can see here in this image how well it produces very beautiful bright shades. The recipe and method for colouring these hard boiled eggs is as follows:

 

Coloured Easter Eggs, Easter_basket_ideas_for_kids

Coloured Easter Eggs

You Will Need:

1/2 cup of boiling water

1 teaspoon vinegar

10 – 20 drops of food colouring

 

Method:

Add water, vinegar and food colouring (only one colour per bowl) to a bowl or cup

Do this for each of the colours you are using

Submerge the hard boiled eggs into the dye and leave for 5 minutes before removing them with a slotted spoon or tongs.

Continue until through all the colours to be used and refrigerate.

 

Place them in a lovely basket and use them as a centerpiece, or scatter them around the garden for a fun Easter egg hunt with the children. Then you can eat them (as long as they haven’t been out in the sun too long of course). You might choose to do these as the Easter gift from the Easter Bunny if you have made them yourself and the kids don’t know you have made them.

 

Have Fun Designing Your Own Intricate Patterns.

 

Hand drawn Easter Eggs, Easter basket ideas for children

Hand drawn Easter Eggs

This method is similar to the first idea where you will be cooking the eggs after decorating them, ready to eat as soft boiled. You can also do this and continue to boil them to make them hard boiled. Or you may draw your design after they are hard boiled and cooled.

 

What Do You Need?

 

You don’t need much for this activity either except a good quality food colouring (if you decide to colour them as well, otherwise you can leave them as is), that you should be able to buy from a cake decorating shop, a set of pencils with thick cores, such as Derwents, and some water and saucepans.

If you are planning to decorate the eggs like this after they are cooked, you might try oil pastels or even markers if the eggs are not wet. I find it is handy to use the egg carton to place the finished products in as you are waiting for them to all to be completed before starting to cook them.

 

How Is It Done?

 

Basically you do a similar thing with the eggs as the wax drawing above, but you draw any design that you want, using any colour that is dark enough to stand out underneath whichever food colouring you choose to boil your eggs in. Treat it as your very own masterpiece or canvas. Some people just use markers to draw their outlines and to fill in the patterns. Personally I find that if you are boiling them after you have drawn on them, the pencils stay on the egg shell better than what a marker would.

 

Decorate Using Bits And Bobs Around The House

 

Ribbon Decorated Easter Eggs. Easter-basket-ideas-for-children

Ribbon Decorated Easter Eggs.

 

Sometimes the simplest of decorations can look elegant, such as these lovely eggs decorated purely with ribbons. This may be leftover ribbon from other sewing efforts, or scraps bought from the store over the years, but they look lovely regardless. Thin or thicker ribbon would look just as effective, likewise bows or other decorative additions to the ribbon would be pretty.

If you don’t have ribbons made from material, there is always coloured cardboard, or scrapbooking paper ribbon, probably more ‘green’ than those made from material. These are just examples, I’m sure you can come up with plenty more ideas. Actually, it would be lovely if you have other ideas to pop them into the comments section below for the interest of other readers who may be stuck for ideas.

 

Or Blown?

 

If you prefer, you could use the old blowing method of decorating eggs, but you wouldn’t be eating the insides of the egg. To do this, you prick a small hole in one end with a pin or even a wooden skewer, and then prick another hole at the other end the same. Place inside the hole a thin straw and blow the contents out through the other end of the hole.

This may take a while. Then rinse the inside of the egg out with water. Once dry, use acrylic paint to create your design and leave to dry. Use these as you would Christmas decorations and decorate the house for Easter. They are a still very delicate, even with the paint coating, so be very gentle when handling them. They look lovely in a bowl, or as hanging ornaments if you can be bothered blowing out that many eggs.

 

But Where’s The Chocolate?

 

Prefer Chocolate Eggs? You still can and also keep it green. These are not the only Easter basket ideas for kids, there is also everyone’s favourite Easter treat to consider and that is what to do about chocolate eggs. I have written an article dedicated to chocolate Easter eggs and how to keep a green outlook. I’m sure you will find a lot of ideas there too.

 

 

Happy Easter! Easter_basket_ideas_for_children

Happy Easter!

 

Thank you for reading this article and please if you have any suggestions or ideas to add to this, please feel free to add them in a comment at the bottom of this page. I look forward to reading all of them. Happy Easter from my family to yours.

 

Warm Wishes

 

Ange

 

 

 

 

10 Simple Gardening Tips: Even If You Aren’t Into Self Sufficient Living

I’ve compiled a list of 10 simple gardening tips that I found to be most valuable, and not too difficult to implement. Lately I have been thinking about tips for any garden, not necessarily only a self sufficient one because a greener environment can start right at home. No matter whether you are building a full self sufficient garden, a vegetable garden or even an urban garden for those small little patches of green that some of the more built up areas possess, these tips will be very useful.  There are a few common elements to take into consideration, or to put into place that people are recommending.  I plan on writing more articles on tips as I come across them but for now, let’s start with these.

Ta-Da! Here They Are! My 10 Favorite Tips To Date.

 

The following tips are not placed in any specific order.

Number 1 – Friendly Fertiliser

 

10 simple gardening tips

For a nutrient rich fertiliser, place 10 – 20 crushed eggs shells in 1 gallon or 3.8 liters of water that has been boiled and soak overnight. Strain the following morning. The resulting solution is full of nutrients for your plants that you can pour straight onto the soil of the plants and even put the soaked shells in the compost bin..

 

Look At These Nutrients

 

Egg shells soaked in water release calcium, potassium, and some phosphorus, magnesium and sodium, which will all benefit your plants.

This solution also provides a fertiliser that is completely non-toxic to you or your plants, you can’t overdo it, however please note that plants do not only require these nutrients, they need other substances also.

 

 

Number 2 – Keep A Record

10-simple-gardening-tipsBy keeping a garden diary, you will be able to remember what you planted, when and where, and use it to plan for your future garden needs.

 

Versatility Plus

 

If you noted any particular patterns in terms of growth rate, if something grew well or not, what you used and when, overcrowding situations, etc., you will be able to do it better next time or maintain what you did.

This would also serve to draw out your plans for a plot, or to start looking into planting items in a complementary fashion or seasonal growth. It helps to lay it all out on paper.

Record the costs as you go so you can work it into your budget too.

 

Number 3 – Your Greenhouse Needs To Breathe

 

10_simple_gardening_tipsYour greenhouse needs to breathe as well. Open the vents, door or windows daily for a couple of hours. This helps maintain the temperature a little better by preventing the heat from becoming too hot, and also helps recycle the air for more fresher air. The ideal temperature for a greenhouse is around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit or 27-29.5 degrees Celcius

 

Hot And Cold Weather Needs To Be Monitored

 

You are able to keep it cooler in a very hot environment by placing shade cloth over it and in winter by using layers of horticultural fleece attached to the walls. In very cold climates, a solar powered (or other green energy source) heater can be used if you can find one.

 

Number 4 – Integration Of Compost Into The Soil

 

10 gardening tips10-gardening-tipsIf you are patient and can wait a few weeks, you can leave the planting for a little while until the compost becomes ready to produce maximum benefits.

When you add the compost, allow it time to settle before planting.

Waiting 2-4 weeks before planting anything gives the compost time to integrate into the soil and accomplish this.

 

Number 5 – Be Careful Of Planting Conifers

 

10_gardening_tipsAs beautiful as they may be, there are certain considerations to take into account if you are planning to add Conifers of any kind to your property.

Conifer trees apparently cause the soil around them to become acidic, therefore making it almost impossible to grow anything underneath them and they also have an extensive root system that competes with other plants. Avoid planting your garden underneath conifers if you want anything to survive there.

 

Conifers Are Gorgeous When You Pay Attention To Where You Plant Them

 

If you love conifers and truly feel you want them in your garden, place them well away from the house and other parts of the garden. There are some plants that will thrive underneath conifers and add aesthetic aspects too. Cyclamen and Crocus can work well, and some forms of Ivy as well.

 

Number 6 – Tea Bag Fertiliser

 

Tea, simple gardening tipsYou can recycle used tea bags as another source of nutrients for your garden. The tea bags add nitrogen to the soil allowing it to provide a balancing affect against the carbon-rich matter already in the soil and plant.

 

Choose Biodegradable

 

Tea bags suitable for using are those that are biodegradable such as muslin, paper or silk, otherwise tear the bag open and disregard. You can put the bags into the compost bin or place them directly into the soil around your plant.

This is another non-toxic fertiliser and helps with keeping moisture in the soil. It also helps with oxygenation and encourages earthworm activity.

 

Number 7 – Water Features Need Some Love Too

 

simple-gardening-tipsIf you have any water features, it is necessary to oxygenate the water to keep it fresh. You can do this by using other plants. I have heard water violets can do the trick, but you could look for other styles too. There are nearly always some kind of water lily in ponds that are bound to be serving just that purpose.

 

Beat Those Mosquitoes

 

It is also a good idea to make sure you keep your water clear of mosquito larvae, otherwise you won’t enjoy your water feature as much if you are continually slapping at mosquitoes. There are several non-toxic to humans and to the Earth options out there. One is to use a Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (or Bti), which is a bacteria toxic to the larvae of mosquitoes. Another is to use is a kind of barrier that uses garlic juice as a deterrent. More on these items in another article to come.

 

Number 8 – Give Them Some Elbow Room

 

organised planting, simple_gardening_tipsvegetable-garden, 10 simple tips for gardeningPlants compete for space and nutrients, if they are planted too close together the soil will be stripped of nutrients and the resulting produce will be of poor quality and size. Space them far enough apart to give them room to grow.

When in doubt, many seed packets have the instructions on them as to how deep and how far apart to position the seeds. If not remember Google is your friend. You can simply research the most common recommendations provided and go with that.

 

Number 9 – Aeration Is Required

 

10-simple-tips-for-gardeningOur lawns need care too. We rely heavily on the belief that rainfall and the existing nutrients in the soil for the most part, will keep our lawns lush and green. Making sure our lawns are mowed, fertilised and watered can go a long way to mastering a happy lawn. But there are also other factors in terms maintaining the health of a lawn.

Did you realise air is also a nutrient?

 

Who Would’ve Thought?

 

Soil gets compacted which makes it difficult for air, water and nutrients to get through. Aerating the lawn involves poking little holes in it to allow this movement of water, air and nutrients to get down to the roots of the grass. A pitchfork is probably one of the most versatile and appropriate tools for this purpose, or you can purchase aerating plugs and spikes. Aerating on a regular basis enhances drainage. The process is much simpler if you first ensure the lawn is moistened already.

Aerating also encourages the insects beneath to keep moving around and doing their bit to improve the nutrient quality of the soil.

 

Number 10 – Not Quite Sure Where To Put Everything Yet? Never Fear A Tip Is Here.

 

10_simple_tips_for_gardeningIf you are like me, you may find it difficult to make a final decision on how you would like your garden to be laid out. You can make your decision a bit simpler by creating a movable garden.

What do I mean? If you plant your seeds and seedlings in large pots or tubs, it allows you the luxury of being able to move them around until you find the perfect layout for them. You may like to put the tubs or pots on boards with wheels to help you move them from one place to another more easily.

 

Experiment First And Get It Right First Go

 

This way you can experiment a little and find the right planting system that suits your climate, soil, sunlight, watering needs, style and location. You may find an area that suits one plant better than others, or a spot in your garden that doesn’t get the right amount of sun or shade for a particular plants. If you let them grow a little, you will be able to get a better visual picture of how they will look certain way.

 

 

I hope you have found these 10 simple gardening tips useful. You may even choose to write them down in your gardening diary so that you will remember them. If you have any questions or other ideas that you have found useful yourself, please let me know in the comment section below.

 

Warm Wishes,

Ange