National Day of Unplugging March 4th to 5th

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment, good news, green living

Sabbath Manifesto. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?

Once upon a time people weren’t constantly plugged into electronics. There were no personal home computers, cell phones, ipads, tweeting, email or the thousands of other devices and gadgets that today seem like a necessity. In fact many people practised a day of rest, every week!  Before Sunday shopping became commonplace, back in the olden days known as the 1970′s.

The National Day of Unplugging this year is from sundown Friday March 4th until sundown Saturday March 5th.

A full 24 hours of not using electronics! It has been done! Last year was it’s inaugural year, and 2011 seems to be gaining steam.

The site Sabbath Manifesto gives a top ten list of what to do instead of plugging in. Some simple things like drink wine, eat bread, go outside, light candles, connect with loves ones, give back, and of course avoid technology. Along with some other virtuous things like find silence, nurture your health and avoid commerce.

What does unplugging have to do with the environment? Well everything really. When people are connected to nature, volunteer (give back) or practice better heath routines, de-stress and focus on simpler things the benefits will exponentially increase.

Earth Hour encourages people to unplug for one hour of the day. This challenge asks if you can unplug for a full day.  It  will no doubt have a huge effect, not only on our overall electricity use, but on our collective psyche.

Realise the simple necessities in life don’t require batteries, connect to an electric outlet or cost us money. These are the priceless treasures to be enjoyed and cherished.

10 10 10 global work party

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Environment, good news, green living
Today, 10 10 10  350.org has helped people around the world to organise a Global Work Party.

Today thousands of events, 7347 at last count,  in a total of 188 countries will take place simultaneously on this auspicious date. Millions of people will be taking real action to help stop climate change.

We are lucky to live in times of so many “cool” dates to celebrate.  We all actually got to party like it was 1999 in 1999!  Sometimes twice, if you thought it was when we rung in the year 2000.  We entered a new century, and celebrated the millennium with great fan fair. We saw the great dates of 01 01 01,  02 02 02, and so on, now as we arrive at 10 10 10, besides sounding cool, this date has become something more.

People want to help make change, today you can be a part of that too. Search 350.org for an event near you.

You can host an event or you can ride your bike and not drive today. You can pick up garbage. You can eat a vegetarian meal. You can join a community garden. You can hang your clothes on a line to dry. You can buy local food. You can plant a tree.

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You can do a million things to help the planet. You don’t have to wait for any special day to do it.

Cutting out the noise

Posted by: admin  :  Category: green gardening

This was originally published on May 20 2008,  my family will be on vacation for a few weeks we are re-posing some articles that are still relevant today!

Spring has arrived and with it the return of the growing season. We don’t have to look far for reminders that it’s time to mow the lawn. A week-end view from above reveals  people  emerging from their homes ready to trim down grass and weed. They have many tools at their disposal, but foremost is the lawn mower. The gas mower emits noise and air pollutants and can be expensive to run . Difficult terrain can make a corded electric mower unmanageable. Gardeners need to remember there is another option, the push mower (also known as the reel mower).

Green mowing is an idea that has been around long before the advent of the gas and electric mower, and it  is gaining popularity. The rising gas prices makes the push mower an attractive alternative. While saving money on gas or electricity you can get some exercise, and contribute to a healthier planet.

According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, a gas mower can pump out as much emissions as 40 new cars while in use. With roughly 2.7 million Canadians mowing their lawns each summer weekend, gas powered lawn mowers can release 80 000 tones of pollutants annually, and use more than 151 million litres of gas, according to Statistics Canada. We don’t need all the statistics to highlight was is obvious. What’s old is new again!

Gardeners agree that a push mower may need to be sharpened fairly often for best results. Ultimately a green mower will leave a greener lawn because the blade slices like scissors, not pulling or tearing it as a rotary gas powered machine will do.

A reel mower may take a little longer, but the result will be a healthier lawn that needs less care, an environmentally friendly alternative and a more peaceful one.

Remember what they they say; mow high and let it lie. (leave your grass clipping on the lawn as a natural fertiliser!)

We’re jamming

Posted by: admin  :  Category: B.C., Environment, green gardening, green living, Healthy Eating

Not the Bob Marley kind, the fruit kind!

07-29-09plums

Last week in the blazing sun I decided to harvest our plum tree.

Well it was not my decision exactly. The plums were dropping off the tree at a rate so fast the skunks, squirrels and rats couldn’t keep up!

We gathered about six pounds for our first batch.

Once I had them in the house I needed a recipe. I looked online and was able to find many different ones, some calling for pectin or equal parts sugar to plums. There are various ideas on how to seal the jars once sterilised and how exactly to sterilise the jars in the first place. Luckily I do have some experience in the jamming and canning department as my family made jams and canned tomatoes when I was young. That kind of experience, namely a cold room full of strawberry jam, will have a lasting impression on a kid.

I first decided that I would not add pectin, a gelling agent commonly used in the canning process. Many recipes online said that plums have an enormous amount of pectin naturally and as long as you add some unripe fruit you should have no problem with the jam setting.

I also decided to use the local honey I bought in June from a family near me.

I already had the jars, snap lids, metal canning pot and a strong desire for jam, so I was set!

I washed the fruit, but did not pit it, next time I will, or at least blanch the fruit and pit it first as it is a huge job to remove the pits once the fruit is cooked.

I boiled the fruit in enough water to cover it, on a high temperature.

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Once the fruit was soft I drained and pitted it and returned it to the heat. I  added honey, about one cup to the three cups of fruit pulp. I boiled the mixture again for a while. Many sites recommend using a candy thermometer to check the temperature, but I just went on instinct. The jam thickened.

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While I cooked the jam I  washed the jars  in hot soapy water and boiled them in hot water.  I then put them in the oven on a low temperature to dry for about a half hour. I also boiled the lids and rings to seal the jars.

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I used the standard plate test to check if the jam was set. This simply means you need to put a few plates in the freezer, and once you are ready to test the jam, put a little on a cold plate and return it to the freezer for a few minutes. When you take the jam out run your finger over the jam or slightly push the jam, if it wrinkles it is set, if not, cook a little longer.

07-30-09-plum-jam-003The final step was to pour the jam into the jars,leaving a few fingers width of space on top and  being careful not to touch the inside of the jars with anything as not to contaminate it.  Then add the lids, rings and tighten the jars and put them into the canner and boil for ten minutes.

The end result was two jars of sweet and beautiful plum jam! There is something extra delicious about home made jam on toast, in cookies, or on pancakes.

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a little bit of summer in a jar?

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Now what to do with the rest of them?

Vitamin C About to be Made Illegal in Canada!

Posted by: admin  :  Category: B.C., Environment, general info

What if, just for taking vitamin C, you could be thrown in jail for up to 2 years and fined up to $5,000,000?
That scenario could very well soon become a reality in Canada. The Canadian Government is trying to pass a bill known as Bill C51. According to some interpretations of the bill, it would remove all supplements from over-the-counter availability, by only allowing MD’s to prescribe them as they see fit.

This would mean that if you wanted to take a multivitamin, you would have to book an appointment with your doctor and try to convince your doctor that you are in need of these supplements. If your doctor
decides a certain drug would be better for you, then you won’t have access to your supplements anymore.

Consequences of the bill could include:No more supplement stores Supplements made illegal unless obtained through a prescription;70 percent of all current supplements on the market could be removedFines of up to $5,000,000.00 and/or 2 years in jail per incident of being caught breaking this law.

Find out how your MP votes here!

Learn more here http://www.stopc51.com/
Sources:
EZine Articles

The Other NFL

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Introduction


When I first heard of NFL I automatically thought of football. After all being raised in a semi sports literate household I knew there were two major football leagues, the National Football League and the Canadian version the CFL. Much to my surprise i learned about another NFL that had nothing to do with football! NFL is also the acronym for Natural Family Living.

I learned there was a name for this way of living through a magazine I found at the library shortly after the birth of my first child. I picked up a magazine with a breastfeeding mother and baby pair on the cover. The magazine was called Mothering, and this was my introduction into the extensive world of natural family living.

Like many first time parents, I knew the basics when it came to having a baby, I was blessed with a sister who had already given birth naturally and choose to breastfeed her son, and these were things I also thought I would do. Although my pregnancy was uneventful I did end up with a typical hospital birth when my first child arrived. I tried to manage a natural birth but did end up using an epidural. Breastfeeding came along after a few tough weeks and I continued to nurse my son until he was more than two years old. I knew that it was the best thing for him, as many studies would back up now. I didn’t know at the time that there were communities of people, families, that took breastfeeding to a whole new level. It was not the only “natural” decision when it came to parenting choices, although it is the basis, in my opinion in helping to form a great attachment with a new baby, and to get much needed sleep with the baby in the bed it was easy.

I had not heard anything about “attachment parenting” before I found mothering magazine. I knew I would follow my instincts, and when It came time to vaccinating my son I started to learn what the standard protocol was. After much research and soul searching I choose to selectively vaccinate my son and not to circumcise him, we had already been co-sleeping since his birth as this felt right and was much easier to nurse him during the night. It turns out that all these choices were considered to be Natural Family Living.

When I became pregnant with my second child I decided I did not want to repeat the medically managed birth of my son. I found a midwife and planned a home birth. On a warm day in May my daughter was born into the hands of her daddy with her brother and our two midwives, one doula and my brother-in-law at home.

I continued to find great resources that supported a more natural life at home. Many years previously I had made the choice to become Vegan and followed a very strict diet for five years. I had always felt that animals were more than pets or dinner and decided to not use them for any purpose that I could find an alternative for. My diet has fluctuated over the years, with my subsequent pregnancy I decided to return to a somewhat tradition diet, selectively adding some animal products back into my diet, organic free range eggs, wild salmon and most recently raw honey. Our family still identifies strongly with Vegan morals and we don’t use animal by products, buy things that are tested on animals or are made of animal skins. We do use wool and own some silk play toys, like with many things in life, it is about finding a balance.

Beach days

With my second child I was even more “natural” and choose to use a combination of cloth diapers, elimination communication and recycled paper diapers. I nursed her for three years, co-slept, didn’t vax at all, and carried her as much as possible. I have learned a lot from both my children, I have also learned to rely on my instincts.

There are no rules to living naturally, there is a spectrum. Our family definitely falls on the high end of this, but no one has come along and given me the “mother earth” award yet, and that is okay with me. For our family natural living did not start or stop with the pregnancy and birth of our children. We don’t own a vehicle, we walk, bike and take public transit. I stay at home with the kids and homeschool them. We use only natural cleaning products in our home, we recycle and compost. We believe in gentle discipline and child led learning. We are far from perfect parents or people, but we do believe the choices we are making are helping to sustain a healthy and positive life for all of us.

If there is one piece of advise I would give to anyone transitioning to a more natural way of living it is this; read, listen to and explore all the ideas that interest you, try different things and find what works for you and trust yourself. It has been my experience that many of the more natural choices can save you money, time and help the environment. We are all on our own personal evolution. There is always more than one way to do something, there is no right or wrong, only choices. What works for one family may not work for others, but we can all learn from each other’s experiences. Live your life, play as much as possible and don’t be afraid to make mistakes, what could be more natural?

Where to start…an introduction

Posted by: admin  :  Category: Introduction

The environment is on everyone’s mind these days and it seems everyone is “going green” We have been taking on the challenge of creating a greener life and through trial and error we have found many things that work for us. We want to share our experiences and learn more.

Our site offers information and different perspectives . Our focus is natural family living, finding ways to connect with nature and treading lightly on the earth. We strongly believe in the sacredness of animals and places, and we offer our experiences and insights into the world the way we see it.

We are not a typical family in many ways. We homeschool our children, we strive to eat an organic, plant based diet, We don’t own a car, we live in the densely populated West End of downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. We are two blocks from the beach and steps away from a bustling urban center. It is our experiences living here that inspire us. We know our choices have an impact on the earth.

I will be adding categories to make it easier to find out what we are doing, what other people are doing, and what we dream of doing to create a sustainable lifestyle.