|More Home Ecology|
|Home Page | About Page | What's New Page | Environmental Titbits of Information | Water and Waste water | More Home Ecology | Project Proposals | Favorite Links | Guest Book Page | Contact Page | Favorite Links|
Some Ideas and Tricks to Help Running an Eco-Friendly Household
THOSE DAMMED FLIES!!!
Flies, blowflies, spiders, bugs of any kind that you find in your house..... do they annoy you? What's your reaction to them? Do you reach for the can of insecticide spray, or the rolled-up newspaper, or the fly-swat? I bet it sometimes takes you several minutes of frantic, frustrated racing around, jumping on a chair missing so many aims, hunting for it again, trying to chase the fly out of the door, generally getting very angry and tired!
I have taken a leaf out of the Buddhists' book. I get a glass jar, or a clear plastic cup in one hand, a sheet of paper in the other. Quietly place the glass over the insect. Slide the paper carefully under the glass, thus trapping the insect inside. Release it outside the house.
I think you will be surprised how this little alternative way of doing things can change your life! It can be done carmly quietly, easily. You haven't got angry. None of that accidental swatting a flower pot off the windowsill as you miss the little bugger for the 5th time. You have not polluted the place with lots of nasty poisonous spray that will kill all the harmless insects in the process. And the blowfly has been given a chance to live out it's life as it was meant to, and providing a nice, tasty feed for the next lucky Huntsman spider that comes along.
BLOWFLIES HAVE THEIR PLACE
One immediate practical benefit from using less fat, is that it's easier to clean up after cooking. You have no splatters around the stove and on the walls. The plates and pans need less detergent to get them clean. There are less saucepans to wash.
It is likely you have used fresh vegetables. And you have less plastic wrapping to dispose of. And if you bought pre-washed potatoes, there are no peelings to dispose of - you can eat the lot. Any other peelings or vegetable waste can be put in your compost bin, or buried in the garden.
Your garbage bin is going to be much less full by the time the collectors come around. The flow-on effect of a simple cooking/eating regime change can be a great help to the environment.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE LEFT-OVERS?
COMPOSTING IN YOUR BACK YARD
Composting is partly a technology; partly an art. If you have a fascination for nature, and get intrigued how complex biology can make your "waste" into good healthy soil, the keep reading....
I have 3 compost bins in my back yard. My garden is now, in the autumn, benefitting from the humus I have built up over the summer; because the spring and summer are the time of year when a huge amount of biomass is created in the garden. Plant matter of all kinds, plus bugs, creepy-crawlies, and their excreta, packed full of bacteria, have grown, died and decayed. It has all been broken down into a form that can provide a slow-release fertiliser and sustained water availability ready for the next generation of growth.
My bins also have a colony of compost worms aiding this breakdown and decay. Worms are really tiny factories breeding bacteria by the trillion. It is the bacteria that in fact break down the organic matter and produce the "humus" that we want.
My compost bins have been lined with corrugated roofing material. I prefer to use scrap corrugated poly sheeting, with the ridges placed vertically. Itis pop-rivetted to the sides of the bin and extends about 2/3rds the way down into the bin. This allows air to pass down between the sheeting and the bin-walls. Also, warmth created within the compost by bacteria working on the waste, causes air to gently rise through the heap, thus creating a chimney effect. Less of the warmth escapes through the bin walls. The result is a heap getting nice and hot (hopefully up to about 60 degrees C in the centre) and oxygen circulating slowly through the heap. Ideal for an "Aerobic" system. Don't worry about the worms and the warmth. They will happily move up and down within the compost to where it is the right temperature for them In fact, in the winter, they love the warmth!
THE CONVENIENCE OF A COMPOST BIN -
So much of my waste is compostible, and is saved from going in the garbage to the tip. Eg:
Kitchen waste, Garden waste, all chopped up into bits no bigger than 4cm. Paper labels off bottles, tin cans, plus cardboard cereal packets, torn up. Shredded office paper, and crumbled up newspaper. Paper towels. Spent cut flowers, plus the stale water they have been standing in. Sour milk and cream. Stale bread. The remains of the soup/stew etc. that I left in the fridge too long and it went mouldy!! And the specially treated doggy pooh that my friends let me have. Great stuff! Let me explain.
DOGGY POOH! If you add raw, fresh dog droppings to your usual worm farm, the ammonia which can be produced from the nitrogen rich urine and faeces can be toxic to the worms. It's better to pre-compost first.
Choose a size of dustbin (garbage bin) which you will easily be able to lift when it's full.
You will need 3 dustbins: A dustbin of sawdust from the saw mill.. Second dustbin beside it to receive the doggy pooh. Cover bottom of receiver with 5cm of sawdust. Add doggy pooh. Cover it thoroughly with sawdust. Put lid on bin until next time. Fill bin in this way. DO NOT add anything else, such as lime - it is not necessary. A light spray of water if it gets very dry, but not normally necessary. When first receiver bin is full, replace it with the another, empty, bin. When the second bin is full, I add the contents of the first bin to my compost, gradually over about 2 weeks. There is no offensive smell from the sawdust/doggy pooh by this timeand it's not a nasty job. The carbon/nitrogen ratio of the mixture is just right for bacteria and fungi to start breaking down the doggy pooh. The worms love this, and break it down quite quickly into an excellent fertiliser. The nitrogen content is saved from being a "waste" and eventually helps to grow wonderful vegetables, flowers, etc. When you think of the money you have spent on the dog food in the first place, this all makes a lot of sense.