Welcome to the Spring Issue of the quarterly Almanac Blog Newsletter!
I always love spring and its new beginnings. Nature never ceases to amaze me. My work comes from the deep love and respect I have for it. Its protection and preservation continues to inspire me everyday.
Immersing ourselves in nature cleanses away stress when we walk in a forest. Taking a ‘forest bath’ allows you to breathe in air that contains volatile essential oils from surrounding trees with active components that have antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties. So wonderful! Learn more here.
One of life’s pleasures is enjoying seeing birds visiting the garden, and as it turns out, Spring is a great time to put birdhouses up for those visitors! Read all about it here.
Spring is such a beautiful time because nature is coming back to life, animals are ending their hibernation, trees are bursting with blossoms and the Monarch butterfly is emerging and looking for a mate, then migrating north and east to lay their eggs on milkweed plants. I have baby Monarch butterfly caterpillars in the milkweed I planted just for them and I couldn’t be happier! The Monarch numbers are dwindling, and the EPA has recently asked for tougher rules on the use of the dreaded weed killer glyphosate, which was first marketed under the brand name Roundup, in order to save America’s most beloved insect from further decline. Join me in signing a petition to protect the Monarchs. Learn more about Monarchs here.
In Out & About, Caroline Gladstone takes us on her latest foraging adventure in the English countryside where she explains how to eat dandelions amongst other things, and Karin Labby is inspired to share her friends’ garden bounty in her post friends with benefits.
Big news: LOLA is going to print this month!
In case you don’t know about LOLA, lots of love always, is a book I’ve written for young women about how to live a sustainable lifestyle and make healthy choices that are good for them and good for the planet. LOLA is available for pre-order here and ships starting in the first two weeks of May. In case you know a young lady who is graduating from high school or college, LOLA is the perfect graduation present.
March 8th, don’t forget to set your clocks forward one hour.
I’m passionate about reducing the amount of waste my household produces, and even orange peels can be repurposed. Learn how from my blog.
March 19th-22nd is the Great Crane Migration, where tens of thousands of Sandhill cranes and millions of waterfowl migrate through central Nebraska during March. Apparently, it’s one of the most extraordinary sights you’ll ever witness. To learn more about it: http://nebraskacranefestival.org
April 3rd- Happy Birthday to Dr. Jane Goodall! Send her a birthday wish by supporting the incredible work that she does: janegoodall.org.
April 22nd is Earth Day when over a billion people in 190 countries take action for Earth Day. Earth Day Network creates tools and resources for you to get involved with Earth Day in your community. Learn how you can participate here: earthday.org.
Do you have Vegetable Warriors in your garden? I have 5! Find out what they are from my blog. I would love to hear from you about which are the vegetable warriors in your garden. You can comment on the blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you a stunning Spring!
All the best
Australia’s first carbon-positive prefab house produces more energy than it consumes because the solar panels on its roof are so efficient. Currently on display in Melbourne’s City Square, the 800 square foot contemporary designed structure boasts airtight indoors to lock in cool air and keep Australia’s intense heat out. Some of the eco-friendly features include a green roof for added insulation; a set of sliding vertical garden walls that shade and cool the building in the summer (plants also clean the air); rainwater recycling; energy-efficient appliances and sustainably sourced materials for the cabinetry. Though the space is rather compact, it does feature one bedroom and a bathroom, a kitchen with an open plan dining area and a sunroom.
Conservation scientist M. Sanjayan takes us on a journey from home to forest, plains to ocean, and then water in Earth: A New Wild. The journey takes us to 29 countries where we see how animals and people can live more in balance.
Earth: A New Wild takes a fresh look at humankind’s relationship to the planet. The footage is stunning as well as entertaining, and I love it because I’m all for learning how to preserve our present and enrich our future.
Karin van der Molen is a Dutch painter and sculptor. Most of her sculptural work is site specific, mostly involving natural materials such as willow rods, hay and earth. She exhibits her work in galleries and international art projects all over the world.
The artist describes her work: “ Nature is without distinction, without prejudice, without good or bad. The trees, mountains, oceans, fields, animals and humans. We are part of the same nature. We breathe, we are born and we will die. Yet to experience ourselves as part of the whole happens to be difficult for the modern individual. My environmental art is my way to open this experience, for myself and eventually for the other as well.”
You can see her work at the Museum Schokland, Netherlands until June 1st, 2015
Previously profiled artists in the news:
Allan Savory is a Zimbabwean ecologist, farmer, soldier, exile, environmentalist, international consultant, and president and co-founder of The Savory Institute.
In 1992, Savory and his wife, Jody Butterfield, formed the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe, a learning site for people all over Africa. In 2010, the Centre won the Buckminster Fuller Challenge for its work in reversing desertification. In that same year he and his wife, with others, founded the Savory Institute in Boulder, Colorado, to promote large-scale restoration of the world's grasslands.
“Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk. And it's happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes — and his work so far shows — that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert. “
“Allan's message is vital to the restoration of the world's grasslands -- a long-ignored component of the earth's lungs.” — Christina Allday-Bondy
Did you know that there is a connection between the Moon and the tides, and planting and gardening? Planting according to the phases of the Moon is the oldest form of gardening known to man. When planting your garden, the Moon’s position has an impact on how well your seeds will germinate, grow and develop based on how much moisture is in the soil.
Understanding this and timing your gardening chores according to the phases of the Moon is the basis of Moon gardening. Calendars are available here for March, April and May, including what to buy in season at your local farmer’s market and suggested vegetables to plant.
Animal Architecture by Ingo Arndt
Every day, all over the world, animals and insects set about the purposeful tasks of designing their homes, catching their prey, and attracting their mates. In the process they create gorgeous nests, shelters, and habitats. Ingo Arndt’s stunning studio photographs and vibrant in-situ shots of nests, forests, and wetlands provide close-up details of these designs, as well as the animals who created them. These compelling images are combined with an abundance of fascinating facts about the evolution of animals and insects, as well as their survival methods, mating habits, genetic dispositions, and more.
The Wild Wisdom of Weeds by Katrina Blair
The Wild Wisdom of Weeds is the only book on foraging and edible weeds to focus on the thirteen weeds found all over the world, each of which represents a complete food source and extensive medical pharmacy and first-aid kit. More than just a field guide to wild edibles, it is a global plan for human survival. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds is about healing ourselves both in body and in spirit, in an age where technology, commodity agriculture, and processed foods dictate the terms of our intelligence. But if we can become familiar with these thirteen edible survival weeds found all over the world, we will never go hungry, and we will become closer to our own wild human instincts—all the while enjoying the freshest, wildest, and most nutritious food there is. For free!
All The Way To the Ocean by Joel Harper
An uplifting story about two best friends, Isaac and James, and their discovery of the cause and effect relationship between our cities' storm drains and the world's oceans, lakes and rivers. It is sure to inspire both young and adult readers alike and teach a timeless life lesson--If we all do our part, a cleaner, safer environment is indeed within our reach.
It's almost Spring, which is a great time to put up birdhouses in your garden, or perhaps set up a chicken coop, or install a bat house to keep mosquitoes away naturally, or possibly you are thinking of planting delicious blueberries which may need protection with a crop cage. All of these can be found in my eco store, including this wonderful zinc candle holder, which includes a drawer for candles:
One of my favorite meals is the kind I make from whatever vegetables and grains I have left in my refrigerator. This meal is not only satisfying in every way, but also nutritious, gluten-free, and reduces the waste my household produces by not throwing out leftover vegetables. The ingredients I always have on hand are olive oil, coconut oil, onions and garlic, and assorted dry spices. I start by slicing half on onion and sautéing it in coconut oil in a cast iron skillet for 2 minutes. Then, I add either broccoli or/and cauliflower florets, bean sprouts or/and zucchini, spinach or/and kale (I pick this from my garden), Brussels sprouts and fresh or dried shiitake mushrooms*, a handful of cooked grains such as lentils, brown or wild rice and a handful as well of chopped walnuts. A pinch of turmeric or berbere spice is always nice.
While cooking, a tablespoon of olive oil added keeps things cooking nicely and not drying up. Add more if you need to. I add the cooked grains, spinach, and chicken at the very end, just to warm them up
Add your favorite vegetables, cut into bite size portions, and cooked chicken for some added protein. I enjoy this with a green salad on this side as well.
Would love to hear from you and what your favorite vegetable combinations are for this dish. email@example.com
*Dried shiitake mushrooms need to be soaked in hot water for 20 mins, before adding to this dish.
*All ingredients used -dried and fresh- are organic.
This dish is easy to make and delicious. Just turn on your oven to 350 and while it’s warming up, add florets from 1/2 a cauliflower into a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs Olive Oil, 1 tsp. Berbere Spice and 1/4 tsp. Turmeric. Mix it up with a spoon. In a glass or ceramic baking dish, add the cauliflower, spreading the florets out. Roast for 20 mins.
Turmeric is a super spice with loads of health benefits! To learn what those are, visit here.
In a cup, combine 1/2 cup baking soda with six drops of your favorite essential oil such as lavender, rosemary, orange or lemon. Rinse the sink well with hot water and sprinkle baking soda mix into the sink and pour 1/4 cup of white vinegar over the top. After the fizzles stop, scrub with a damp sponge and rinse with hot water.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda in your oven. Turn it on to 250 for 10 mins, and heat it up just enough for the grease to melt into the baking soda. Turn it off and let cool down for 10 minutes or so. Using a damp sponge, scrub the inside of the oven, wiping away the grease filled baking soda. Finish off by wiping the inside of oven with a damp clean cloth.
In a spray bottle (preferably glass), fill 1/4 of the bottle with white vinegar, then fill the rest of the bottle with tap water, almost to the top. Add 20 drops of Tea Tree Essential oil, a natural anti-bacterial and 20 drops of Orange Essential oil to make it smell nice. Put the top back on and shake it up. Ready to use.