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I garden, therefore I am

14 Nov

“If you have a mind at peace, a heart that cannot harden, go find a door that opens wide upon a lovely garden.”

Who would have ever thought that I would have developed green fingers. Certainly not the people who know me best! But I think I knew all along that I would get to this point. Everyone has felt that deep knowing at some point in their lives. Somehow I have always known that I was meant to get my fingers dirty and watch things grow. I think it was something that was always written into my soul and now that I have started, I am fully absorbed.

“The garden is a mirror of the heart.”

Make no mistake, it takes both time and money (both of which I have in short supply), but it takes patience and determination too (and I have that in bucketloads!). My garden will never be perfect, and there will always be more weeds needing to be pulled up. But I love it with a passion that still surprises me. Every now and then I stop and ask myself: seriously, this??

I recently dug up all the grass in my front garden and planted flowers everywhere. Every morning and evening I inspect them and enjoy them. I know it keeps me grounded and present and grateful.

“Gardening is the purest of human pleasures.” — Francis Bacon

My greatest pleasure this month has been my veggie garden. Most of it started off as seeds planted in a tray and they have grown into a substantial veggie garden! In my little veggie patch I have:

… tomatoes, beans, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, gem squash, lettuce, chillies, green peppers, rocket, cucumbers, strawberries, spring onions, chives and herbs (rosemary, origanum, basil, mint, parsley, coriander). And there is more on my “want” list.

Last week I made a vegetarian bolognaise with fresh herbs. Today Adam and I picked lettuce, chives and herbs for a salad (and he even ate the salad!). I can’t believe that I won’t need to buy prepackaged lettuce or tomatoes this summer. I can have a fresh salad whenever I want it.

This evening, just after the sun had set, I stood and watered my garden. Peaceful, quiet and perfect.

 “One who plants a garden, plants happiness.”


Getting Stuff Done

20 Apr

By  now most of you have heard that I have this little annoying list that I have promised to get through by the end of the year. Every now and then I re-read the list and seriously question my sanity. But it’s there and I’ll muddle my way through it.

I have been a little preoccupied lately and haven’t really had a chance to report back on how things are going with The List. I have been just a tiny bit obsessed with a girl who has a dragon tattoo. She also plays with fire and even goes on to kick a hornets nest. Distracted to say the least! But in between my eye-strain, I have managed to squeeze in a few to-do items. I realise that I need to kick into high gear if I am going to come close to finishing “The List” (insert suitable shark music).

#43 of 101 – Create Order in My Closet: I unpacked my entire closet, gave away half the contents and put it all back in neat piles. I discovered that I have 8 handbags that I no longer use. I also have 18 scarves I still use and can’t possibly part with. They take up about half my cupboard space! Who knew I had a thing for scarves…?!

#28 of 101 – Another Picnic: Adam and I took advantage of one of the last days of summer. We packed some sandwiches, some grapes and some chocolate and went off to have lunch outside. Such a simple way to make a little boy happy!

#34 of 101 – Donate Blood: I finally plucked up the courage to go back to donate blood. I went regularly before I fell pregnant, but could never muster the enthusiasm to go back afterwards. Even though I know it is for a good cause, and even though I have done it 15 times before, I still hate the whole process.  I hate the prick into the finger to test your iron, never mind the actual needle going in. I hate the blood going through the tubes, the little bag that fills up with your blood. I hate the feel of the needle pulling out. But I know that someone is going to benefit from my blood, so I look the other way and send lots of loving vibes into the blood and hope that it will help someone, somewhere.

#15 of 101 – Save Electricity – Turn my Geyser Down: Okay, so I fully intended to turn down the geyser myself, but I mentioned it to Dave, and he offered to do it for me. He roped in Adam to second him and they went about sorting out the geyser together. And every day since then, Adam has asked to go back into the roof – I am running out of ways to explain that it is not a good idea (he is not convinced, and thinks I am a serious stick in the mud). The geyser went down 10 degrees, and I can’t tell the difference. I could probably turn it down more – maybe next time I will go up myself!! (note the dirty, dusty face on the apprentice).

Feedback:: Earth Hour 2010

5 Apr

Thank you for switching off!

Dear WWF Supporter
Earth Hour 2010 was a huge success! Thank you so much for your support.
This year a record 126 countries participated, with hundreds of millions of people in over 4 000 cities and towns taking part in delivering a powerful message of hope for a better, healthier planet.
Famous landmarks such as the Eiffel in Paris, the Big Ben in London, the Pyramids in Egypt and the Victoria Falls went dark. On home ground Table Mountain and the Green Point stadium in Cape Town switched off along with the Moses Mahdiba stadium in Durban and the Vodacom Tower in Johannesburg.
Based on the reduced electricity consumption during Earth Hour, ESKOM estimates that the equivalent of 1 million South African households participated. Consequently, we estimate that between 1 and 4 million South Africans participated in the event!
Earth Hour is so much more than just switching off your lights for sixty minutes. It has become the biggest mass movement of our time. This year we have urged people and companies to also pledge to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Watch this space for the best tips on how to change your lifestyle to a planet-friendly one.
TIP: Always shut down your computer overnight. Leaving on a computer monitor overnight wastes enough energy to laser print 800 A4 pages!
Together we can make a real difference.
For a living planet
The WWF team

The future is what we make it

27 Mar

Take a big step and do one thing to reduce your carbon footprint today. Do one thing that helps to save or conserve the earth’s resources. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Just pick one small, simple thing that can make a difference and do it today. Then, next week, or next month, do something else.

Here are a few easy suggestions for becoming more environmentally friendly.

  • Replace one light bulb with an energy efficient one. (Remember don’t thow these bulbs away in the rubbish – most Woolworths stores have a box where you can get rid of them)
  • Plant a tree. The rule of thumb is: “For every 5000 km you travel in a car or for every 5 hours you spend on a plane, you should plant 1 tree. If you never travel in a car or a plane, you should plant 10 trees to neutralize the effects of your household.” In South Africa, consider planting indigenous trees only (these include the Fever Tree, Cape Chestnut, Pompon Tree, Wild Pear and Forest Elder among others).
  • In the shower: install a low flow shower head. Put a bucket in the shower and use it to water household plants. Or simply shower with a friend 🙂 .
  • Don’t leave your appliances on standby. Don’t charge your phone overnight. Switch the light off when you leave a room. Don’t leave your computer on. Be conscious of  when and where you are using electricity when you don’t actually need to.
  • Washing your clothes: Consider hand washing, in cold water, a few items of clothing every day. I wash Adam’s clothes by hand each night while he has a bath. It’s quick, easy and better for the clothes. And it saves a machine wash load at the end of the week. Also, consider using a clothes line rather than a tumble dryer.
  • Buying food: try buying organic food where possible. Use reusable, shopping bags (cloth is the best). Become aware of your food’s packaging. Recycle it if you can and choose the option with the least packaging, or refuse to buy over-packaged goods. Consider what fruits and vegetables are in season and buy those – chances are they are more local and have spent less time in storage or transport. Give canned and frozen foods a skip. Find organic or farmer’s markets and try to support them whenever possible. Choose one or two (or more) days a week when you eat food produced within a local radius of where you live. Buy fresh fish from the harbour. Also, when buying fish, make sure that it is part of the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative – look for the SASSI logo. Eat less meat, or at least be choosier about the meat you eat.
  • Avoid buying bottled water. Rather set up a purification system in your home and carry your own fresh water around with you.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. If you live in my area, you have an easy solution. They will collect it from your front door. Fill those clear plastic bags. My rubbish has reduced from 2 large black bags a week to 1, sometimes 2 small bags. As soon as I start a compost heap/wormery, it will be down to almost nothing. It makes a difference, it really does. If you are not lucky enough to have it collected with your weekly rubbish, consider getting someone to collect it. At work we use a company called Recycle 1st.
  • In your garden: Plant edible plants (start your own “farmer’s market” in you back yard). Plant indigenous, waterwise plants. Respect the water restriction guidelines and water only in the early mornings or evenings. Use organic compost. Or start a wormery. Try and find a way to store and use rainwater in your garden. Find organic ways to control pests and avoid pesticides that are harmful to the environment. This book is a great resource: Jane’s Delicious Garden. And it is South African, so it is full of useful and relevant information.
  • Your Geyser: consider installing a solar panel. Invest in a geyser blanket. Turn down your thermostat by 1, 2, 3 degrees. Or more. Switch your geyser off when you go away and won’t be using it.
  • Calculate your carbon footprint and commit to reducing it by this time next year.
  • Finally, if nothing else, consider switching off your lights tonight at 8:30pm.


Earth Hour

12 Mar

I am interested in far too many things. I love a lot of things. But I am truly passionate about only a few things. One of those things is our earth. I would really like to do more to encourage and create earth awareness. If every single one of us did one small thing to take better care of our planet, imagine what could be achieved…

Go on… spread the word. Create Awareness. Be Aware. Be a part of the solution.

Join us for Earth Hour 2010

“We have only one planet. Given what we know about climate change today, it would be foolish not to act. Earth Hour 2010 gives an opportunity to the people of the world to unite in a call for action on climate change and to take the lead by making changes in their own lives.”
– Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO, WWF South Africa

For Earth Hour 2010, WWF calls on all South Africans to switch off their lights on Saturday, 27 March, as a symbolic act to send a powerful message to leaders that the time to act on climate change is now.

The Copenhagen Climate Summit in December failed to deliver the climate deal our planet needs. This year WWF is challenging individuals to take the lead by pledging to reduce their own carbon footprint. We have to show world leaders that we are serious about tackling climate change and that we want them to deliver a fair, effective and binding climate deal – a deal that keeps global warming as far below 2 degrees as possible.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is the patron of the campaign, and Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban have already pledged their support for Earth Hour 2010. Other celebrities, who will be switching off their lights, include The Parlotones, Bryan Habana, Jo-Ann Strauss, Marc Lottering and The Stormers.

Participating in Earth Hour is easy, fun and free. All you need to do is:

  • Pledge your support and commit to reducing your carbon footprint.
  • Switch off the lights of your home on 27 March from 8:30pm – 9:30pm.
  • Spread the message to your friends and family.
  • Show your support by posting the Earth Hour 2010 web banner and widget on your website or Facebook pages, downloading the Earth Hour email signature, printing posters or having an Earth Hour event on the night. Download the Green Events Guide, just click on the events button at the top of the webpage. You can download all of the above from the website. Click on the get involved button for loads of information and fun ideas.
  • Download the complete DIY kit on how to roll out Earth Hour in your city or town.

Save the date: Saturday, 27 March 2010, 8:30pm – 9:30pm.

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