Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sustainable Living in August: Hand-dipped Beeswax Candles

 A short introduction to making candles with beeswax a few years back was an inspiration enough to dabble with my own candle dipping project on a hot August day. Honey harvest of the season is in progress, with some coming in July, and the final collection in mid August after which point bees will be left to rest and get ready for winter. Mid August in cold climate is the time when most blossoms will be finished and despite balmy weather, with few feeding options left for the bees to explore. With each honey harvest there will be beeswax (that is if using topbar hives - more on them later), a substance important to the bees but often discarded by the busy beekeepers.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Washing Clothing by Hand

Inspired by recent permaculture design course and stay at Sustainable Settings Ranch in Colorado (a ranch, farm and educational center all folded into one vibrant and inspirational setting) I am returning home to begin doing what was on my mind for a while now - getting engaged with my life hands-on!

So many ways to do it. It is summer, it is hot, and lots of my toddler's clothes get too dusty from the water/mud play to take indoors to the washing machine. So here is the perfect opportunity to put my determination into action.

I begin with washing some of child's muddy clothes by hand, in my outdoor kitchen that is equipped with a large sink for washing veggies. There is even an easy hook up to house's hot water! And it is shady and lovely under a large tree, so the whole thing quickly transforms into a version of water play - though with tangible and useful side effects!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Early Fruit Compote - Green Apples, Tart Plums and Unripe Peaches Medley!

This compote is very timely for in late July when gardens are overflowing with fruit, some it still unripe. Birds are beginning to peck at peaches before they are ready and tasty; racoons are raiding trees for the ripest fruit; plums are showering on the ground - some fleshy and sweet, others still tart and hard. Apples are nowhere near being palatable, yet trees are so heavy with fruit that fruit thinning is needed badly to avoid overproduction. All that fruit and not much to do with it! In permaculture this is called "The Problem is The Solution" - so here is one way to use all the unripe bounty - Fruit Compote for a tasty summer  drink.