It’s been a while since I wrote something on this blog and it is taking some time to get used to the changes with WordPress and Divi, so it will take me longer than I thought.
Something happened today that inspired me to write a new post. Well, it was a number of things. I forgot to turn the watering off last night, so 6 hours later when I remembered, the backyard was pretty wet. Yeah, yeah, I know, I was supposed to set the alarm on the phone to remind me, but I didn’t have the phone with me. By the time I got inside, I had forgotten about setting the alarm.
That was yesterday. Today, my lady had a form to fill in and asked me to print it out. The printer threw in the towel a year ago and I promised myself I wasn’t going to buy another one. I reasoned that I couldn’t save the world personally, but I could help a little bit by not printing to paper and being an office paper-less person.
The reply to printer not working was “Buy a new one”. Now I had a dilemma, look after my lady with as much effort as she does for me or do it another way. So I accessed her email, looked at the form (a pdf with no ability to edit), and then searched for a PDF to word app. There were many to chose from. In fact, thinking now, I believe I could have uploaded to google docs and they can convert.
I converted the form and then added the info and a little message at the bottom.
Save the planet – become a paperless workplace
So, I am not going to save the planet, but someone might read this and think of a way to help or actually nut out a solution.
Talking about saving the planet. here’s a guy that is doing his best to make us more aware of what is happening in Australia to harm the planet.
Well, I did it now. I got the form filled in for the course my lady(an RN) wanted to do, titled Acute Rhythms, Respiratory & Renal. Probably a good course to take with Covid about. I also sent it to the course provider. Plus I wrote this blog post. And it is only midday. I am going to do this more often. Do it Now.
PS. You know, I didn’t want to go through finding an app and converting the pdf, but I had to think of how I would feel when I actually had finished. Now that I have finished, I feel like James Brown.
Is it better to use seeds or seedlings? If you haven’t planned in advance the decision is easy to make, get some seedlings. But if you have planned your calendar for raising seedlings and planting out, there are still times when it is better and more cost effective to purchase a punnet of seedlings than a packet of seeds.
Onion Seeds or Seedlings?
When it comes to finicky seeds like onions it is worth considering buying a punnet for about three dollars. In the punnet I just purchased there were about twenty five seedlings in each of the six compartments. So approximately one hundred and fifty seedlings.
Compare that with buying a packet of seeds, which will cost you about the same and you will probably get about five hundred to a thousand seeds. No comparison at first glance.
But you are not going to plant a thousand seeds and you will need to keep the seeds until next season and if you can find them you will have seeds that will have a lower germination rate than last year.
Not to mention how awkward it is to plant small seeds at the right depth. And if you mix them with sand so they spread better you will still have to thin them out and in places plant some more seeds or transplant the thinnings.
A much easier way to plant these type of seeds is to buy a punnet and separate them for transplanting.
Separate The Seedlings
It is quite easy to separate the seedlings. Just squeeze the base of a section of the punnet and then pull out all of the seedlings together.
Soak the mass of seedlings in some water and then tease them apart gently.
Some parts of the roots may come off, but this won’t hurt them as long as they still have some roots. They will recover when replanted.
Planting the Seedlings
Planting out is simple. Just push a stick into the soil and make a fairly big opening. If the soil falls in on itself, wet it down thoroughly before starting. Make about a dozen holes at a time and drop your seedlings in.
When you are trying to guide the roots into the hole widening the top of the hole will help. If you have to, just guide the roots down with your finger.
Use the hose to water in each seedling. The sides of the hole will collapse in securing your seedling and making sure that soil is in contact with the roots and there are no air pockets. It will also help push the roots down the hole.
So that didn’t take long. About two hours from go to whoa and that included bed preparation and watering it thoroughly before making the holes.
I guess another alternative is seed tape. Which is probably a discussion for another time after I have had a go at making my own seed tape for carrots. I have never had real succes with carrots. I have got some in at the moment that were planted from seed but they are a bit patchy.
Indoor farming gives former New Jersey arena new lease on life
I prefer to grow food in the dirt without using pesticides, chemicals fungicides and tricks to make a vegetable grow bigger or faster. I still remember what a chicken used to taste like when it took thirteen to sixteen weeks to grow them for consumption, not the six to eight weeks it takes now.
Although the dirt is my preference I am still interested in all ways of producing a harvest. I have learnt quite a bit about aquaponics, hydroponics, aeroponics, bio-dynamics, permaculture, hugulculture and many other systems including vertical farming.
All of them look at different ways to improve the production of food. I must admit that I get a little envious when I see hydroponic vegetables in the supermarket and know that growing hydroponically in a controlled environment makes it much easier to look after your plants and also keep the produce clean. Now days, presentation of your produce as perfect and blemish free is a big drawcard for consumers.
I getThe Hustle, a curated daily news email that concentrates on snippets of information for all things business and techy. It’s short, in a quirky style and always has something worth reading. Indoor vertical farming caught my eye and once I read it and watched the video, I thought it may be of interest to readers.
It is a summary of an article from Reuters about Aero Farms and how they are growing food in warehouses. It is hydroponic style with artificial light tuned to the best wavelength for optimum plant growth. The improvement in LED lighting and low operating costs has made it viable economically. Plus they can halve the growing time.
Here’s the catch with indoor farming.
As stated, I prefer growing in the dirt. Although more difficult, I believe that the biological processes involved with growing plants in the dirt and exposed to the rhythms and cycles of sun up, sun down, seasons, daylight and rain imparts a quality and vitality to plants that so far hasn’t been equaled. The plant consumer benefits from the vitality they receive as a gift from the plant.
But there are also benefits from all the research on different methods of cultivation. Primarily it is entrepreneurs trying to gain an edge that will set them apart from the competition giving them a selling advantage. Ultimately though, it will allow us to travel beyond the boundaries of earth.
I have just finished reading Inferno by Dan Brown. For those who don’t know, the author uses Dante’s Divine Comedy as a backdrop for a really good read. It took me a while to pick this one up (it was released in 2013) as I wasn’t too fussed about reading another of Dan Brown’s after reading his others and thought it would be similar. I was engrossed.
Perhaps you are thinking, WTH! has Dante and gardening got to do with it? I changed the F to H for Hell. Appropriate, don’t you think?
In my experience gardening is a great pastime for thinking. Things swirl around in your brain and connections are made that wouldn’t have been made if you didn’t do something that was totally unrelated to what you are thinking about. When I am reading a good book, I am totally there. I am in the book and watching what is going on. My mind conjures up images and scenes and also makes some pretty wild connections.
In one scene, the lead character, Robert Langdon is describing Dante Alighieri and into my mind pops an image of Griffin from MIBII (Men In Black 2) I hate it when people use acronyms and don’t give you the meaning the first time they use it, apologies for WTF above; thought you’d know that one.
Now I’ve had to search the book to find the description so you could make a judgement. It’s on page 82 of the book. I opened the book at P85 and for some reason worked backwards. (a story for another day)
“Dante Alighieri,” Langdon began. “This Florentine writer and philosopher lived from 1265 to 1321. In this portrait, as in nearly all depictions, he wears on his head a red cappuccio – a tight fitting, plaited hood with earflaps – which, along with his crimson Lucca robe, has become the most widely reproduced image of Dante.”
The above is a depiction of the painting of Dante by Botticelli. What sprang into my mind was a picture of Griffin and this was before I had seen a picture of Dante.
Dante and gardening
So what has Dante got to do with gardening? I was weeding. Contrary to most people I enjoy weeding and was musing away merrily weeding and thinking about Inferno when it struck me that I should look up Dante on the net and get some images and see if there was any resemblance to Griffin. Other thoughts had also been running through my head about doomsday scenarios in MIB2, Divine Comedy and Inferno. Did the writers intentionally dress Griffin in this way? Is there more to MIB2 than what is on the surface? All good fun to think about.
And to top it all off, my knowledge of Dante was/is abysmal. Until I read Inferno, I thought Dante was his surname and he lived in the sixteen hundreds. So looking it up a bit on the net would be a bit of fun and enlightening. And lets face it, we all need a bit of enlightenment.
While I’ve been writing this, I have also been doing a bit of digging on the net and came up with this site http://www.insideinferno.com/en/ that offers a tour of Florence based on the book Inferno.
If you loved, as we did, Langdon’s adventures through the tiny streets of Florence, you can’t miss our tour of the city.
The tour starts at 9.15 from Boboli then, after crossing Ponte Vecchio, offers an accurate visit of Palazzo Vecchio. It continues to the Badia Fiorentina, where the book starts and then stops at the Church of Dante where you can learn more about the Divine Comedy.
Immerse yourself in this unusal tour on the trail of Bob Langdon and pick the chance to view Florence from a different perspective, all you have to do is book the tour.
I have never read James Joyce’s Ulysses, but I figured if I ever get to Dublin, I would do a tour of the places he described in the book. So often you go overseas and forget the places you visited. To do it based on a book would keep it in the memory forever and in a place that you would easily remember where your memories were filed.
Inferno is not just an old masters mystery. It is also a science fiction adventure thriller with post humanists, challenges to religions and the best part is all the story is based on fact. There is also a dilemma that the human race hasn’t faced yet. It’s got it all.
It won’t be long and we won’t have to look up things on the internet, we will be connected and able to reference them by a nod or a wink or a bight of the teeth.
I have been thinking about how to build a trellis for the climbing plants I want to grow. Plants like cucumber, climbing beans, some Asian climbing plants and maybe some gourds.
I needed a fairly strong trellis and was thinking that a sheet of concrete reinforcing wire might just do the trick. They are about 6 x 3 metres with 20 x 20 cm squares.
Well, low and behold the concretors doing the driveway on the new house two doors up left some reo and steel in the block next door that is for sale. They didn’t return to get it and the owner had to organise its removal. So I grabbed a sheet before the steel merchant took it.
All the original blocks around me are the quintessential Australian quarter acre blocks or just over 1000 sqm. As they get subdivided and new houses built, the new owners usually put in a new fence. The old fences
have water pipe as their top rail and I have managed to collect a few lengths.The next task was to use the water pipe as uprights. I purchased a star picket driver from The Shade Centre for around $40 and using a step ladder was able to get high enough to drive the three lengths of water pipe around 1.5 mtrs into the ground.
Using gal tie wire I wired the reo to the water pipe uprights and voila, instant trellis. I know the reo will get quite rusty over time, but it will last a few years, and in that time I will figure out the best location for the future trellis.
I have been collecting cardboard for quite a while and used it to cover all the grass below the trellis and covered the cardboard with about 30cm of compost.
The final touch was installing the dripper line. Now all I need to do is plant.
Does the price of clothes washing detergent give you the “tom tits”? Do you get annoyed when it is time to buy more laundry detergent and you don’t get any change from $20 for a 4 litre liquid detergent? I do and I get sick of the bs advertising where they give the detergent an earth friendly name to fool the consumer that the manufacturer is environmentally sensitive.
I’m going to make my own home made laundry detergent.
Receipt for 3 of the 4 items
Find a recipe for laundry detergent
Buy the ingredients
Make the detergent
Write a blog post about it
The fourth item is Borax which costs about $4 from Coles. My total expenditure is $12.29
Recipe for home made laundry detergent
Ingredients: 1 bar of soap, grated; 1 cup Lectric washing soda; 1/2 cup borax; some Bi-carb soda
Grate the soap. I used the fine tooth on the grater and the soap ended up looking like Parmesan cheese. It surprised me as it had quite a pleasant fragrance.
Add the cup of washing soda and 1/2 cup of borax
If you want to make the mix stronger, add a small box of bicarb-soda to the mix. I wasn’t sure what a small box measured so added about 1/2 a cup.
Mix together and store in a sealed container. I used the trusty old 2 litre ice cream container. I’m running out of them so will have to hook in to some more ice cream.
The finished product
There is about a kilo of finished product in the container.
Amount to use
3 small teaspoons per wash
The recipe for this home made laundry detergent came from Warm Earth magazine. The writer said it was a tried and tested recipe from their place.
We used the recipe as soon as it was made. I thought it was great in the washing. Now ladies, just don’t think this is some dopey old bloke’s opinion. My lady friend was kind enough to do the washing and her opinion was she couldn’t tell the difference from the previous load using a commercial washing liquid. Rest my case.
I hope you have a go at making this laundry detergent. I have enough ingredients left over to make another 3 batches.
If enough people start looking for alternatives to commercial products, then maybe manufacturer’s will wake up and realize that they have to provide value for money and stop looking for ways to provide the cheapest cost item for the greatest price backed by marketing and advertising to brainwash the consumer.