how to make a wormery

Em Português um pouco mais abaixo, depois das fotografias.

We moved into this flat two years ago, in attempt to reduce the waste that we send to landfill we made a little wormery.

Ours is a small two bedroom, and we are a family of six, with no exterior space; I think it is safe to say: If we can do it, so can you! I will be honest, it does not take all our food scraps, but it helps! We also save some in the freezer, in paper bags and take them to the educational project where I volunteer once a week, as a permaculture facilitator. This size it would probably be perfect for a couple, I wish I could also have a bokashi but I literally have no space!

Here’s what we did, in case you want to make one or two:

-2 stack-able bins

(We bought two Ikea black bins. It is important that the bins are dark because worms like the darkness, however you could wrap paper around a transparent bin etc, first use what you have. It is also important that one bin fits inside the other; you will need to make holes in one bin so that the excess liquid can get out, and the “outside” bin will collect that extra liquid.)

– cardboard, waste paper or newspaper

– worms (we bought ours on the internet, but if you know someone with a compost bin ask for some)

– because our inside bin nearly touches the bottom of the outside one, I use a scrap of wood at the bottom to lift the bin a bit more, so that the liquid can really drop off the first one.

As I said above, you will have to make holes in one bin, we used a screw and heated it on stove to make the holes on the bottom, lid and some on the side as well. Then we added a bit of soil, some paper strips, and with a spray bottle got the whole thing moist, and in with the worms. We keep adding paper and food waste to the bin, when it gets full we give it a couple of days, and see how it goes.

I have emptied the bins twice and I gave this black gold to a friend with a garden; I won’t lie, it is a messy job to sort it out, but I feel a bit better in our contribution a tiny it to reduce our waste.

 

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Nós mudamo-nos para este apartamento há dois anos, na tentativa de reduzir os resíduos que enviamos para o aterro fizemos um pequeno vermicompostor.

Vivemos num pequeno T2, e somos uma família de seis pessoas, sem espaço exterior; Penso que  é seguro dizer: Se nós podemos fazer isso, você também pode! Eu vou ser honesta, não consigo compostar nestes baldes todos os nossos restos de comida, mas já é uma grande ajuda! O resto guardamos no congelador, em sacos de papel e levamos para o projeto educacional onde eu trabalho como voluntário uma vez por semana, como facilitador de permacultura. Esse tamanho provavelmente seria perfeito para um casal. Eu também gostaria de ter um bokashi, mas não temos mesmo espaço!
Aqui está o que fizemos, caso você queira fazer um ou dois:

-2 caixas que caibam uma dentro da outra empilhadas

(Compramos duas caixas pretas da Ikea. É importante que as caixas sejam escuras, porque as minhocas gostam do escuro, no entanto pode colocar papel à volta de uma caixa transparente, se é isso que tem à mão. Também é importante que uma caixa encaixe dentro da outra, pois uma caixa vai ser onde a compostagem é feita, e a outra para onde vai cair o excesso de liquido que é feito da compostagem.

– cartão, papel usado ou folhas de jornal

– minhocas (compramos na internet, mas se conhece alguém com um compostor, peça um pouco)

– Como a nossa caixa de cima quase que  toca no fundo da cixa de fora, eu uso um pedaço de madeira dentro da caixa de fora para levantar um pouco mais a caixa de dentro, para que o líquido possa realmente cair da primeira.

Como eu disse acima, terá que fazer furos só numa caixa. Nós usamos um parafuso e aquecemos-o no fogão para fazer os furos na parte de baixo, na tampa e alguns na lateral também. Em seguida, adicionamos um pouco de terra, algumas tiras de papel e, com um borrifador, deixamos a coisa toda humida e por fim adicionamos as minhoca. No dia a dia adicionamos papel e restos de comida ao compostor, quando fica cheio, deixamos passar uns dias e vamos vendo como está, e assim adicionar mais consoante o trabalho das minhocas.

Eu já esvaziei as caixas duas vezes e dei este ouro preto a uma amiga com uma horta; Eu não vou mentir, dá um pouco de trabalho estar a separar o composto das minhocas, mas eu me sinto um pouco melhor em contribuir para a redução do nosso lixo.

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inspiration and resources

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This post is long overdue!

On a post on facebook, about this interview with Yvonne Laborda, Paul’s gran said she would like to know more about home-education, so I said I would share some things that have inspired me. And then it occurred to me that it might be helpful to have those links written on a post where its easier to search for later on, in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

I also thought that if I was to write something about home education on resources for inspiration,it might be helpful to share some of the resources I have been using, and or intend to use in the future, because I know I find the most value in things that friends share with me!

Videos

I absolutely love this TED talk by Sugata Mitra; the way he explains how school came to be and why it doesn’t serve us anymore. And of course I had to mention Sir Ken Robison’s TED talks, the first one and the second.

Books

One of my all time favorites is “Free to Learn”, by Peter Gray  He also has very interesting articles on Psychology today. I also found a lot of value on the book “In their own way” by Thomas Armstrong, which talks about the different ways that children (and adults) learn.

In the earlier years, when my eldest son was only two, I started reading Jonh Holt’s books, I cannot pick just one, I think I read “How children Learn” and “Teach your own”. Then of course, I looked for books in the local library, started looking online, found different approaches, blogs, etc.

 

Now, onto the resources:

Build your library curriculum – secular literature based curriculum

Torch light curriculum – another secular literature based curriculum that I only just found out about

Wildwood CurriculumCharlotte Mason secular free curriculum based on the teaching of Miss Charlotte Mason

 

Life of Fred – non-secular (but not overly religious) math curriculum

Beast Academy – A math curriculum, we haven’t tried it, but it looks interesting

Right Start – Math curriculum, it’s pricey, but very hands on and I think it would be especially useful for one of my children.

 

R.E.A.L. – secular science curriculum

Be naturally curious – secular science curriculum

 

Art: Paula Briggs’s book “Drawing Projects for children”, “Art Lab for kids”

 

Squilt – I think it’s a music appreciating curriculum, not sure, but it looks interesting so I thought it might be in helpful to include. On the same note, years ago I listened to a BBC audiobook on the history of music, I think it might be these. And Piano lesson online by the Hoffman Academy.

Somebody on a facebook group mentioned Ellen J Mchenry’s site, and it looks really good! I cannot wait to look around more and possibly use some of the resources.

 

I have a feeling this list of resources might grow in the future, but for now, what are the resources you found most helpful and or inspiring?

 

From Scotland

Voltámos da Escócia há uns dias atrás, onde fomos visitar familia, amigos e alguns dos nossos locais favoritos. Divertimo-nos muito, mas também é muito bom estar de volta a Portugal.

Por lá, ficamos na casa de amigos e familia, e agora que estamso de volta à nossa casa, vim inspirada para pendurar mais fotografias nossas e para torná nossa casa um pouco mais “nossa” e confortável. Como sabiamos que não íamos ficar neste apartamento por muito tempo, nunca investi muita energia e tempo na casa, mas ficamos por mais tempo do que inicialmente anticipamos, e agoar estou determinada a aproveitar o maximo, durante o tempo que estaremos aqui. Por isso tenho feito mudanças na casa, mas antes disso, aqui fica uns momentos do nosso tempo na Escócia.

 

We came back from Scotland a few days ago, where we visited family, friends and some of our favorite places. We had a lot of fun, but it also feels good to be back to Portugal. 

Over there, we stayed in friends and family homes, and I came back to our own house inspired to hang more pictures of us and make it more into a home. As we knew that we wouldn’t stay in this flat for too long, I never put much energy and time into making it very homely, but we stayed here for longer than anticipated, and now I’m determined to enjoy for as long as we are here! So we that in mind I have made a few changes, but before that, here’s a few snippets of our time in Scotland.

 

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Salads that keep well

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Em português, um pouco mais abaixo.

 

Salads are one thing that I would often omit from our meals. I mean, sometimes is a struggle just to cook a meal let alone a salad that will mostly be me eating it… Especially the green leaves variety…

Is not just that though, it’s very hard to find green leaf salad package free, additionally, once they have the dressing you need to eat them straight way and the leaves don’t keep very well in the fridge. I have had good results by wrapping them in a damp cloth, so if you’re better than me at remembering to make a salad, I would advice that.

Earlier in the year I found a solution much more to my liking! The kind of salad that one can make a big bowl of, drizzle the dressing over and it’ll keep in the fridge for the next few days, if it lasts that long… Because once your salad is done, dressing and all, its very easy to add it to any meal; the salad itself could and sometimes is a meal in itself, add some brown rice or roasted sweet potatoes and we’re done.

This red cabbage salad is the one I have been making more often, with some variations, but today it had:

Red cabbage, beetroot, carrot, coriander, raisins, mint, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Sometimes I add apple or white cabbage and I don’t always make it with all the ingredients. The dressing was olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger and soy sauce, again, sometimes I don’t use all the above.

I’m not one to make separate food for my children, but I know they’ll eat some of these if it’s not all tossed together, so usually I grate carrot and beetroot with just olive oil and vinegar, and another bowl with the toasted seeds. It also keeps well, covered, in the fridge.

Other salads that I have made, and follow the same idea:

Yesterday I came across this cauliflower salad that looks delicious, and this one I haven’t tried yet, but it too looks like it might keep well.

 

Saladas é uma das comidas que muitas vezes faltava à minha mesa. Ás vezes já é dificil de cozinhar uma refeição, quanto mais arranjar uma salada que quase só eu é que como… Especialmente se fôr de alface ou outras folhas verdes.

Mas não é só isso, é muito dificil encontrar folhas verdes que não venham num saco de plástico, e depois da salada feita, tem que se comer toda numa refeição porque com o tempero a salada não dura nenhum tempo no frigorifico, para além de tudo isto, as folhas, mesmo sem serem temperadas, não duram muito tempo no frigorifico. Eu tenho tido bons resultados em enrola-las num pano humido, por isso se você se lembrar mais vezes do que eu a fazer uma salada, é essa a maneira que eu aconcelho a guardá-las no frigorifico.

Desde o inicio do ano que encontrei uma soluçaõ mais ao meu gosto! O tipo de salada que se faz em grande quantidade, tempera-se e aguenta-se bem no frigorifico uns quantos dias, isto é se durar assim tanto… pois uma vez que temos salada feita, temperada e tudo, é muito facil de adiciona-la a qualquer refeição, a própria salada é por vezes uma refeição, adicionando arroz integral ou batata doce assada e está feito.

Esta de couve roxa é que tenho feito mais vezes, com algumas variações, mas a de hoje tinha:

Couve roxa, beterraba, cenoura, coentros, hortelã, sultanas, sementes de girassol e abóbora. Ás vezes também adiciono maçã ou couve branca e quando não tenho um ingrediente ou outro falo à mesma. O tempero foi com azeite, vinagre de cidra, mel, alho, gengibre e molho de soja.

Eu até nem sou pessoa de fazer comida separada para as minhas crianças, mas como sei que alguns deles come um ingrediente ou outro desde que não esteja tudo misturado, normalmente junto a beterraba e cenoura ralada só com azeite e vinagre, e numa outra tigela as sementes tostadas, e se não se comer tudo, também dura uns dias no frigorifico.

Outras saladas que gosto de fazer, dentro da mesma ideia:

Ontem, encontrei esta salada de couve-flôr que me parece deliciosa, e esta ainda não experimentei ainda mas parece-me que também se mantenha fresquinha durante uns dias.

 

 

 

One year of “zero waste”

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Em Português mais abaixo.

It’s been more than a year that I read that book, made myself a few muslin cotton bags and made a  commitment to reduce our waste and as back then I still struggle to use the term Zero Waste for many, many reasons, but for lack of a better shorter term, and because nowadays is so easily recognizable, I still use it, especially in tags on instagram and will keep using it to categorize this kind of posts, however, there are a few things I wanted to address here first.

Even most of the more devotees to this lifestyle recognizes that is very difficult for an individual in our modern society not to create waste, but on a more personal level, in reality I cannot, at this stage of my/our life aim for a total zero waste lifestyle. Each person/couple/family have personal circumstances that must be respected, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change our habits, we must! However small steps and a more positive way of looking at what we can achieve is a better attitude and helps us to make long lasting changes that we can stick with more easily.

There was a time, earlier on, where I did try to shop zero waste and after awhile I came to the conclusion that I simply couldn’t keep up! I was stressing over it too much and more importantly,  the simple truth is I just can’t afford it. That doesn’t mean its business as usual; what I’m trying to say is: in a more honest way, my aim is to reduce our waste, which we’ve actually managed to do! Instead of fretting about the amount of recycling and rubbish we were creating I decided to look at the amount we’ve reduced, which has been significant, and as I said above, this shift of perspective has been better for my mental health, therefore, I believe, easier to keep those changes and keep working to reduce it even further. Now that I have gotten that out of the way, I’m ready to share in following posts, some of the steps we’ve taken to reduce waste for our family of five with a limited budget.

 

Já lá vai um ano desde que eu li aquele livro, fiz uns saquinhos de pano e decidi reduzir o nosso lixo, e tal como antes, continuo a não me sentir confortavel com o termo “zero waste” ou desperdicio zero, por várias razões. Mas por falta de um termo melhor e de fácil identificação continuo a usá-lo, principalmente no instagram e continuarei a usar para categorizar este tipo de postes, no entanto há umas quantas coisas que eu gostava de falar primeiro.

Até mesmo as pessoas mais devotadas a este estilo de vida reconhecem que é muito dificil para um individuo na nossa sociedade moderna não criar nenhum desperdicio, mas num sentido mais pessoal, nesta altura da minha/nossa vida, simplesmente não me é possivel tentar atingir um estilo de vida totalmente de desperdicio zero. Cada pessoa/casal/familia tem circunstâncias pessoais que têm de ser respeitadas, mas isso não quer dizer que não podemos mudar os nossos habitos, nós temos mesmo que mudar! No entanto passos pequenos e uma atitude mais positiva em relação ao que nós podemos conseguir ajuda-nos a fazer mudanças que poderemos manter mais facimente a longo prazo.

No inicio eu ainda tentei fazer compras sem desperdicio, mas passado pouco tempo cheguei à conclusão que simplesmente eu não conseguiria manter esse estilo de vida! Eu stressava muito e o mais importante, e a simples verdade é que simplesmente eu o dinheiro não chegava. Mas isso não quer dizer que voltou tudo como era antes; o que eu quero dizer, numa maneira mais honesta, o que eu estou a tentar fazer é reduzir o nosso desperdicio, o que nós já conseguimos fazer! Em vez de me preocupar com a quantidade de reciclagem e lixo que nós produzimos em casa eu decidi observar é o que nós já conseguimos reduzir, o que é significante, e ta como disse acima, esta mudança de perspectiva tem sido muito melhor para a minha saúde mental e por isso mesmo eu acredito que manteremos mais facilmente essas mudanças e nos permitirá continuar a trabalhar para reduzir ainda mais. Agora que já falei sobre estas questões, estou pronto par apartilhar em futuros postes, os passos que temos dádo para reduzir o desperdicio de uma familia de cinco pessoas com um orçamento limitado.

 

 

trees and stones

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What a breath of fresh air, literally, it is to get out of the city and head to the mountain! We left, with a bag packed with snacks and not much of a plan, only to head to the woods. We all miss it, not just me.

Ever since we moved to Lisbon, I want to move out, and I think, we all do. In fact the only reason we decided to rent this flat is my lack of driving license, which is frustrating me a lot! I did try, but failed my test and with a few unfortunate events, couldn’t set the exam again, and now I must start all over again in Portugal…

I have been wanting to write about Lisbon, but it’s hard to talk about it “publicly”, mainly because it hasn’t been a very positive experience. It’s not been really that bad, but  when your heart is not in it and what you want is a another kind of life, it just gets a bit difficult, especially as our days would look a bit different if only I had passed that bloody driving test!

The first month was very good, we had friends and family visiting and we had just moved; then Paul started work, and things went bad and some days I feel quite sad for being “stuck” in the city, with not even a garden to get my hands dirty… other days we really enjoy! Making new friends, finding the wilder spaces in a not so wild city, making use of the culture available and getting out as much as possible. There has been plenty of hot beach days too, which is very good indeed!

Back to today, we picked wild carrot (I hope Cat was with us so that she could tell us for sure), as it’s for dyeing I’m not terribly bothered about it’s identification, but it would be nice to know! I’ve been seeing this plant a lot when we go out of the city and was glad to gather some today. Also spotted the first Saint Jonh’s wort since leaving Lousã. The picture is not properly focused, but the battery of my camera died after this one taking this photo, but I wanted to document it anyway. Unfortunately we didn’t gather any, not even for my daughter’s “bouquet”  as there was only one plant, I will keep my eyes peeled for more.

 

Orange trees

spring (3)Before I took this picture, I was made to stop by the smell of springtime of my childhood! I grew up in the Algarve, in a house surrounded by orange trees. As you probably can imagine the smell of a flowering orange tree is quite intense, even if it’s only a few trees in the center of a big city! I could smelled them before I realized what kind of tree I was passing by.

How does one explains the smell of a flowering orange tree, or the feeling of a warm summer night looking at the stars? On these moments I feel the wonder, that after so many years of planning, we’re really living here! Sometimes, well, maybe most of the time, the daily routine takes over and I just go along with it… cooking, doing the laundry, bed times, etc, in many ways these are the same as they were: we still need nourishing food, sleep and washed clothes to wear. But then on these apparently, small moments, it downs on me that we made a dream come true, well, at least part of it, the other part will soon come!