Wow! There are a lot of great cloth napkins out there.
I go a different direction, I guess. I like to knit waaaaay more than I like to see, so I get cotton yarn and knit larger versions of washcloths/dish rags. I like the larger size. They absorb like crazy. And they go in the washer, no problem.
I use them in lunch boxes to reduce waste. They are large enough to be a place at if need be, and they are large enough to wrap around the glass canning jars I use instead of plastic containers.
It's just that my marketing strategy for yarn and fibre is low impact. Electronics aren't all that low impact in the long term.
Also, some dyestuff we have to heat for 12 or more hours a day over several days. Can a solar system do that?
I get that.
I think the solar set up could last 12 hours. While the sun is out and the panel is collecting, the energy would go to the cooktop with the excess going to the battery. Once the sun set, the excess that has been stored in the battery will take over. I'm not sure, though, how much would get stored if you were using it while charging. That would take some experimentation.
Now you've got me curious. What needs to heat for 12 hours? I've only made a few natural dyes, and none of them took that long. I'm thinking you're working with something pretty cool!
Interesting question. I'm brainstorming, but have come up with this: Get a solar generator (the kind with a solar panel and a deep charge battery). Charge that, then plug an induction cooktop into that outside. No flame needed! You would need a dye pot that attracts magnets, though, so the induction cooktop would work.
We built them at school with foil instead of aluminum tape, and we used duct tape to hold things in place. I'm not sure how much less toxic it was, but no one tasted aluminum in their food.
The boxes were not well-insulated but did get warm enough to melt cheese. One family told me they put their box in the car on the front dash the next time they tried it. That definitely got the temp up and they had good luck cooking
I tried one from a styro box. I cut an opening in the top and covered it with glass. I also taped a piece of glass to the inside so the opening was double-paned. I don't remember what I used on the inside - it may have been lined with foil on the sides and a piece of black construction paper on the bottom. Or I may just have used the paper on the bottom and left the sides as they were.
I think a brick floor would look great in addition to holding the temps you want it to have in the different seasons.
One think I want to mention, after years of working on very hard floors, is that it can be really hard on your feet after a while, expecially if you like to go barefoot. If you wear shoes or supportive sandals, you probably won't have any problem. Just something to think about.
I just wanted to publicly declare an intent to use a hugel-like structure made of downed trees, trimmed branches from bushes and trees, and assorted yard waste, layered with dirt, to try to direct water so we get fewer standing puddles in the middle of the yard. I picture this structure planted with elderberry and maybe some vegetables in the spring. I figure the mound will act as a dike, and the absorbent nature of the hugelkultur would help manage the water. It is likely to be less wood than other types of material, but even so it should be a really big compost pile, right? Any advice or words of wisdom are welcome. It seems like a fun experiment either way.
Sounds like you are set on hubbard squash. I get that. It's awesome, and if you can't buy it you have no choice but to grow it. My inclination would be to plant it on the shady side and guide it as it naturally grows toward the sun. But the only way to really know which is "best" for your particular case would be to plant some on each side and see how it works out. Why not?
What if you plant a squash like zucchini or crooked-neck that doesn't really vine? I think the original three sisters used pumpkins and more "winter squash" kinds of plants, but we have choices. Zucchini tends to stay where you put it - and that can be helpful. Good luck with your garden! We just planted one with the students at school (which is a little sad since we're just getting ready to break for the summer).
Welcome to the forum! Glad you could visit. I'm just starting to read through your books, but I love the way you share a TON of information with a great sense of humor. It's fun to giggle through gardening books.
This is a very helpful podcast and I think it has helped me refine a few things. But I have to say I giggled through the part about watching videos. I never watch them, either! So glad to heal it's not just me. Thanks, everybody!
I decide to back kickstarters generally based on the project. I like to support projects that are either really cool or moving toward a world I'd like to live in. (Kinda judge-y, but that's how I pick). It's never about the video.
Thanks, Joshua. I have listened to one of the podcasts. That doesn't make me knowledgeable, though, so I should probably watch some others. I feel like I should add a video, but I'm not sure what it would say different than what's already been said. Definitely thinking about it. I guess I was naive enough to think it would be easy and straightforward, but I'm finding you need some pretty special skills to make this work.
I've been around the forums for a while now, but I'm a complete Kickstarter newbie, at least in the sense of running the campaigns. It's quite a learning curve, but I'm happy to say I'm in the middle of my first Kickstarter, and I can't wait to share it with you.
The Short Story
All 370+ students at the school where I work pitched in to do some research about the importance of the pollinator garden we built on campus last spring. To make the research fun, we decided to use the interesting facts we were discovering on playing cards - and that meant we had to create our own deck. We created new suits and found facts to go along with each one. If the project is successfully funded, each student will receive their own deck of cards, and we'll use them for many math games in addition to reviewing the information about our pollinator garden.
Here's a sample card. It still needs some tweaking to adjust the size of the number and the suit picture, but it gives a very good idea of what the finished cards will look like. (The design for the back of the cards is still under construction.)
The Longer Story
Last spring our school partnered with several agencies including our town, Cooperative Extension, the USDA, and a local group called River Friends to build a pollinator garden on our campus. Our goal with the garden was to be part of a larger initiative to expand a "green corridor" by providing resources for the local pollinators. We planted several native perennials along with some annual flowering plants. It was great because it was new.
But you know how things go. This year it wasn't new, and the kids didn't really seem to appreciate the importance of the garden or the interactions of the plants and animals out there. Lots of research says that kids, like all people, care about what they know about, so helping them learn more about the importance of the garden made a lot of sense. As the school librarian, I was in a unique position to work with every single student (grades K-4) to do research (a skill we teach in the library) about the plants and animals in our garden.
No matter what age you are, research for the sake of research is not inherently fun. Research to find the answer to a question you have is, but just reading articles and writing things down is not. So, to make it more fun we decided to create a deck of cards. Each card would include one of the most interesting facts we found right in the middle. We also decided to create new suits, since the traditional suits of cards don't relate much to pollination. Creating a project to go along with our research made it insanely cool! The kids have worked very hard, gained a new appreciation for the work that pollinators do, and have a better understanding of the ways humans figure into the process for good and for bad.
You know every kid wants a deck of cards. You just know it! And we all know from Paul's past card project that printing is expensive! Schools don't have that kind of money for crazy projects the librarians think up, so I turned to Kickstarter hoping there were enough people in the world who would deem this project worthy enough to contribute. It's truly a project we'd like to share with the world so we can teach others all the interesting facts we've learned. That way more people - including more children - will understand more about the natural world and eventually work to support it. And isn't that one of the founding philosophies of the site - do good things that other people want to copy? Based on the amount of food pollinators help produce, we think helping pollinators is a great thing we want to encourage other people to do!
I don't want to overstate the progress we've made. We are still teaching the kids not to touch butterfly wings and not to automatically squish bees, but the kids are becoming more mindful of those things.
Why playing cards?
There are two main reasons we decided to produce playing cards.
First, as a classroom teacher for many years, I used decks of cards with my students to practice math facts. There are several games that kids can play either on their own or with a friend/partner to learn their addition or multiplication facts, and even a few games to practice concepts like place value and fractions. That's way more fun than doing a worksheet - for all of us! I'm going to write those games up into a booklet for supporters at the Green Thumb level and above. This booklet is perfect for teachers and parents (because parents are teachers).
Second, cards are a great canvas for messages. A few years ago a deck of cards with "52 reasons I love you" or a similar list was a popular gift. That suggests cards are perfect for short messages - or important facts. We chose to write important facts.
Third, because we had the freedom to create our own suits, we could organize the facts we found into logical groups and look at many sides of the pollination process. That gave the students much more to research and process, and that has been great. We went with the following suits:
Pollinators - The facts in this suit will focus on many different pollinators including bees, butterflies, bats, moths, and other insects. There is likely to be an emphasis on bees and butterflies, but the others will be included.
Pollination - The facts in this suit will explain what pollination is, how it happens, and why that's important. Since the cards are geared toward children, the terms will be simplified rather than scientific, but the facts will still explain the importance of the entire process.
Pollen - The facts in this suit will focus on pollen itself. In talking with my students, they were not very clear about what pollen is, where it comes from, what it looks like, or why it's important. The facts on these cards should address that.
People - The facts in this suit will focus on the connection between people and every other suit in the deck in order to make the entire process more personal and relevant to the children. There are many ways people can help and hinder the process of pollination through their actions toward the pollinators and/or the plants those critters pollinate. Learning ways to help the process and learning more about the benefits to themselves is an important lesson itself!
The Pollinator Garden Playing Cards will be a fun tool for learning more about the natural world - and about math. We are excited to share what we've learned and hope you will consider supporting us by spreading the word or backing the project. Here's a link. Thank you so much!
* I drape towels across drying racks to dry herbs (specifically dandelions in the picture) before making an infused oil
* Old towel strips weave together into great, absorbent rugs to put by the door or beside the bathtub/shower. That's a great project for a peg loom.
* Yesterday I wadded up a beach towel in the bottom of a grocery bag to prevent a bag full of fresh asparagus with water from tipping over and spilling on the way to work where I was going to deliver it to a friend.
Thank you so much! I like to garden with the moon) (and zodiac signs. The years I've been the most faithful to that calendar are the years I've had the absolute best gardens. The calendar I used to use has been discontinued which left me guessing about a lot of the timing. I love the wealth of information on your calendar! I'm sooo happy I don't think I can completely express it! I've never thought about incorporating the elements (fire, air, etc), but since it's on your chart, I'll work that in, too. You're my new superhero, Petr!
Thank you, everybody! I thought I was the only one capable of so many of these fails, but it turns out I was wrong. Some things must be universal. You have all made me feel much better.
One particularly embarrassing fail in my front yard is my sunchoke bed. Since they grow to look like sunflowers, I decided they would be "pretty" in a bed out front, near the end of the driveway. I built a nice stone wall around them which really seemed to dress up the beds. The plants grew and blossomed. They were beautiful -- for about a day. Once the deer figured out what they were, they kindly took the flower heads off every. single. plant. in the bed.
Figuring the new tubers would send up even more flowers the following year, I left the bed as it was. A few weeds crept in (because it is a garden and that just seems to be the way of things). I left them, being too busy to fuss. The flowers came up again - and were quickly decapitated as before. The weeds were untouched. I lovingly refer to that bed as my "Morticia Addams" bed (Addams Family reference). I have a strategy for this spring that I hope will keep the deer far enough away to NOT eat the flowers. Time will tell.
I know willow bark has the same chemicals as aspirin, so it should substitute nicely. I recommend copious research on prep methods, though. There's been good advice above.
My thing is headaches! I get them when I have a pinch in my neck. I get pinches in my neck when I'm under stress because I tend to carry tension in my neck and shoulders. Fairly typical from what I can tell. What I have found that really helps me is a combination of essential oils - specifically birch, wintergreen, and peppermint - well-diluted and applied to.any tense part - neck, shoulder, base of the skull. I like that combo for achy muscles, too. I'm not a doctor or anything, just sharing my experience. Good luck to you!
Also, green tea doesn't have all that much caffeine, does it? Pretty low compared to coffee, anyway. I'm not sure if it would help or not. BUT, the placebo effect is real. If you believe it will be fine.
" Unfortunately I can not grow my own coffee otherwise I would be set." Quote from Shane
Two thoughts about that. First, I've seen some mini coffee plants that are supposed to produce well. They may fit in a greenhouse or something like that.
My other thought was that you can probably grow chicory and dandelions. Their roots can be dried, roasted, and used as a coffee substitute. I've heard different things from people about whether or not they are GOOD substitutes. But you can still fix the brew with butter like people are doing with real coffee. I tried it today with burdock root and, for the first time ever, enjoyed the burdock root tea!
I hadn't made the connection between this kind of diet making it possible to pretty much provide everything you need, but you're right. That's really cool!
Coffee is one thing I could never really enjoy. But you are all making this sound so wonderful! I decided to try it with chai tea instead, and it was delicious. I used a spoonful of coconut oil and some stevia in a mug of strongly-steeped chai tea. I mixed them in a blender and had a nice, creamy treat. It was almost like a chai latte, but without the milk. Thanks for the inspiration, everybody!
Thanks for your thoughtful and honest answers, Neil. I appreciate your insights. It sounds like there's still a lot of work to do.
My goal always is to respect the individual. I do it for all my students as much as possible. If you need to stand up to learn, fine. Just stay by your desk. No problem. If you need to walk around and say your test answers aloud, also fine but you'll need to go to another room so the others won't hear your answers. There are ways to compromise without needing to homogenize. We just need more people thinking that way. And the work continues!
My nephew is on the spectrum and a year away from graduating high school. You're absolutely right about this not going away.
I had no idea you could buy it. Why would you? Bulletproof coffee is soooo easy to make, and fresh is almost always best. Plus, if it's homemade you can use the exact kind of coffee you want and the exact kind of fat you want, etc. To each his own, of course.
There is soooo much going on in this thread, it's hard to know where to jump in. I do have a question that some of you who have been dealing with the spectrum longer may be able to answer.
I'm a teacher. There were not ANY [officially diagnosed] ASD/Aspie kids in the schools when I started teaching. They have only really been recognized the last 15 years or so (maybe more). So, in the "old days," those who were more adapted to social conventions were never taught about the different needs of that population and grew up believing whatever it was they figured out about people on the spectrum. Surely there were people on the spectrum, even if they were not officially diagnosed, right?
Well, now there is a generation of students coming of age who have been learning about the needs of people on the spectrum since they were little. Teachers have had more training as has society in general. Schools are definitely making the effort to accommodate for needs, teach social skills, and educate other kids and their parents about the needs of ASD children. Here's my question: Is that making any difference? Is society in general becoming more accepting of the unique needs of aspies now that they know more about what is going on? I know it's not "perfect" yet, but is it at least moving in the right direction?
The experiences I've had with many different students is that they have unique needs, interests, etc. Some will love any nature experiences that they can get, but others seem much more attached to electronic devices and more remote interactions with people. I'm not willing to weigh in with any judgements about that, but going back to the original post, it makes sense that some kids will love premaculture experiences. Designing areas with their needs in mind will be appreciated by them and by others. But, it's definitely not a "one size fits all" kind of thing, so it would be unrealistic to think that all kids would like it.