Tag Archives: natural

Kid’s Stuff–Something To Do When There’s No School

When I put together my Kid’s Stuff book someday, this will be one of the activities. It’s the directions for making a homemade ginger ale, called ginger bug, the all natural way. Tell your kids this is how the early settlers would do it. It makes it more interesting to them.

The recipe comes from http://www.foodunderfoot.com, a web site about edible plants that grow wild in your neighborhood. (And it is a great source of activity ideas to teach your kids cool stuff about the world around them. Boy and Girl Scout kinds of things.)

School will be out for the holidays. Maybe you can make this fizzy beverage together to keep the kids out of mischief, for a few minutes each day anyway. Be sure to serve it icy cold.

To make the ginger bug:
■3 cups water
■2 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger (unpeeled, washed)
■2 Tbsp sugar (organic is best)

To a glass jar add the above ingredients and stir well. Cover with a cloth and leave on the counter for 2 days.

After two days, add 2 tsp chopped unpeeled ginger and 2 tsp sugar each day for a week. Stir a couple times a day. Keep covered with a cloth on the counter (not refrigerated.) It should get fizzy and taste like ginger ale. It is now ready to use.

Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy

Before Hurricane Sandy hit U. S. shores, I heard a few emergency preparedness public service announcements that urged people to collect food, water, and other supplies needed for three days in the event Sandy cut off access to services.

What Sandy–and Katrina for that matter–taught me is this:

  1. The loss of electricity means more than the absence of lights. Use of gasoline pumps, ATM machines, heaters, cold food storage and other necessities can be lost. Pharmacies close so that those who are ill can’t get prescription medications. Refrigerated or frozen food at home or in grocery stores and restaurants spoil. Banks close so no one has access to their money.
  2. The loss of access to necessities can last much longer than anyone anticipates. Older or disabled persons living on top stories of buildings without electrical power to run elevators or health-related equipment may be cut off from things they need to stay alive. In the aftermath of Sandy, some communities were told the citizens would have to make do without power for six weeks or more. At the onset of winter, life can get brutal quickly if one has no way to keep warm.
  3. The destruction of infrastructure impedes the flow of commerce. In the aftermath of Sandy, it was difficult to get food and water to stores or distribution centers because debris clogged roads. Further, disruptions in energy distribution meant folks had a hard time buying gasoline to fill tanks so they could drive outside the destruction zone for supplies. Or vehicles were destroyed by flood waters, leaving owners stranded. One cruise ship that departed before Sandy hit, and was scheduled to sail for seven days, returned to New York to find the port closed and access denied. On the 15th day, the ship was still at sea, uncertain when it could return to its home port. Those on board didn’t know if their cars were still where they left them or washed away.
  4. To complicate matters more, society breaks down. Tempers flare and fights start over situations where one person attempts to take advantage of another. People cut into line instead of waiting their turn. Vandals use the cover of chaos to steal or damage property. Price gouging is rampant. The vulnerable are fearful. Children are sent to the safety of homes of distant relatives, while parents stay behind to clean and defend the homestead, which may have become a hazardous dump site.
  5. Few individuals had a plan for how to survive a disaster of Sandy’s magnitude.

When writing about a disaster setting, be accurate about the depth of the devastation. In the days following Sandy, several persons who were directly impacted by the storm said to us, “It’s nothing like you see on TV. It’s much worse.”

Earth Hour

Earth Hour.

My new friend is introvertedblogger.wordpress.com. She’s a mum of three, living in Canberra, Australia. She blogs about living introverted in an extroverted world. As an introvert, I identify.

Anyway, she made me aware of a concept called Earth Hour. My personal twist on the subject is to do something more natural, more earth-friendly as part of my daily living.

For example,  I have become fanatical about turning off lights, television sets and the like when no one is in the room. My husband is hating me as he leaves a wake of electrical consumption ablaze wherever he goes. He may leave the TV on in the bedroom and wander, via the kitchen, to his office. His bedside lamp and the TV will remain on. The kitchen central switch light, as well as the zonal spotlights over both sections of counter space, are blazing. Nine times out of ten, he’ll have turned on the small kitchen TV set while fixing his coffee. The coffee pot is on, in case he decides to swill the dregs — an atypical choice. He likes to return to the bedroom 45 minutes later and find things as he left them.

He is adjusting, unhappily, to the change.

Also, I grow many of my own vegetables using sustainable gardening methods. I pick weeds and pests by hand and use a hoe. I enlist the help of our small flock of hens to rid the raised beds of slugs, beetles and stinkbugs. I use cheesecloth to deflect cabbage moths instead of using toxic sprays. I use raised beds, augmented with our own plant waste garbage, egg shells and the manure from our horses, so there’s no need for a rototiller. The earth has great tilth.

So, I am simpatico to Earth Hour.

I prefer heat from a wood stove to the heat pump. I cut the wood from my own wood lot, culling dead or diseased wood to make the wood lot healthier. I prefer my notebook computer, which can run on batteries for hours, to my laptop, which needs recharging after 60 minutes.

Each act is minute. Cumulatively, each act matters. I halved our electric bill through my new obsession. My husband liked that.

Tactic: A Photograph Says What Words Can’t

This is the second photography tactics post. The subject was once groundbreaking. It’s hard to imagine today that a time existed when no one had  photographed an ice crystal. Read more on the subject by clicking on the link. The photography is scientific in nature. It isn’t artistry, but the subject matter is.