September 2014 Almanac
What an incredible summer I’ve just had! I spent the month of July managing a successful fundraising campaign on Kickstarter for my book LOLA. Thank you to everyone who contributed to it! I also finished writing LOLA at the end of July (took me three years!) and since then, I’ve been creating the photographs and artwork that illustrate every page. As you know, I love using photography to inspire and educate about living a sustainable lifestyle, and the same holds true for LOLA.
Hopefully, you had a chance to recharge your batteries and are ready to get back on track or are already on track. I didn’t have much of a break this summer but I still managed to see and do some wonderful things. See them on my Pinterest page.
To keep in touch with the latest news, I would love it if you signed up for the once-a-week LOLA newsletter! It’s short and sweet: lotsoflovealways.com
The end of summer always means back to school time for so many kids, and I hope that this new school year is a wonderful one! To make school supplies shopping a little easier, there is a section in my store dedicated to the best and coolest school products. The choices are just getting better and better for products made from recycled paper, pencils made from salvaged wood or pens from recycled plastic. I love these products.
Read the latest posts from the OUT & ABOUT contributors Karin Labby, who writes about ingredients found in her garden for her home cooked meals and Caroline Gladstone’s forays in Scotland where she makes homemade rowanberry jelly.
Have you heard about Local Catch? If you want to be responsible when buying fish, there is coalition made up of fishermen, organizers and consumers from across North America that are committed to providing local, healthful, low-impact seafood via community supported fisheries. To find where your local CSF (Community Supported Fishery) is visit localcatch.org.
And while we are on the topic of fish… In case you haven’t heard that there has been rampant mislabeling of fish, so it makes it even harder for us to make informed choices when the information we are presented with is bad. Buy from trusted sources, such as the CSF.
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I just heard about the drinkable book this summer. It’s an amazing water filter that provides clean water to those in need. Watch how it works here.
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The latest products I added to my store include several I own and others I would like to own such as the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove and Biolite KettlePot, both are great for emergency preparedness. See them all here.
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This is so cool: An online interactive sharing of wild urban spaces. There do exist pockets of green, havens of calm and urban biodiversity that are thriving in our cities. If you love to explore, forage, and observe urban wildlife, you will love this Wild City Mapping of Montreal. Let’s have one for all communities around the world!
The latest canary in the coal mine: Plants that can tell you if the air you are breathing is clean. A specific selection were planted in the Ozone Garden, that react visibly when ozone pollution gets high, warning you that the air you’re breathing is bad for you. Milkweed, snap bean, potato and cutleaf coneflower are particularly sensitive to ozone pollution and show visible damage over time.
NASA listed the best air-filtering houseplants that improve the air quality in your home. These plants produce oxygen from CO2, and absorb toxic benzene and formaldehyde.
Food waste is an issue I care about a lot. A new app called PareUp is hoping to help reduce the shocking $160 billion a year (according to a study done by the U.S. Department if Agriculture) of food waste from breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners, that end up in dumpsters. PareUp wants to connect bargain-hunting consumers with retailers looking to unload, not waste, their surplus stock. Watch their video.
More about redirecting waste: I read about a new certification program that has been launched by the Food Recovery Network, called Food Recovery Certified. Restaurants and businesses can qualify for certification if they donate surplus food to local non-profits and charities once a month. They receive a bright green sticker for the front window where customers can see the business is committed to food recovery. The more of us who start thinking about food waste and take active steps to prevent or reduce it, the better off we’ll all be.
Wishing you a wonderful September and see you back in October!
All the best
Brighton Waste House
Can you imagine a home built with 85% waste?! There is one and it’s in Brighton, England! They used recycled materials like glass bottles, plastics, video cassettes, toothbrushes and carpet tile, all waste that usually ends up in our overfilled landfills. Called the Brighton Waste House, it was designed with the help of an architect and students from the University of Brighton, to demonstrate how we can use unconventional materials salvaged from places like demolition sites.
For example, insulation for the walls was provided by 20,000 toothbrushes, thousands of floppy disks and DVD cases and are shown in ‘truth windows’ as educative displays. All the construction was done with permits and under full building regulations. The Brighton Waste House is a fantastic example of how waste can be reduced just by recycling it for a higher purpose.
Mission Blue is a documentary directed by Fisher Stevens and Bob Nixon, about the life and work of oceanographer, marine biologist, and environmentalist Sylvia Earle. “A world without the ocean is a world without us,” which is why Sylvia Earle is on an urgent mission to expose the dire condition of Earth’s oceans which is due to pollution, over-fishing, and acidification. In the film, you are watching an ecological catastrophe soon to have a devastating impact on all life on Earth.
As heart breaking as it is to watch a wonderful film like Mission Blue, it’s important that we are made aware of what is going on in places we can’t see. Many of those places are in the ocean, where few us of us have ventured but on which we rely on more than we realize. I find that it’s really important that we are informed so we can take the necessary steps to help slow or even better, stop the damage being done to the vital oceans.
One of the ways you can help is by joining the Mission Blue Movement and supporting the work at Mission Blue.
Richard Long CBE is an English sculptor, photographer and painter, and one of the best known land artists. Guided by a great respect for nature and by the formal structure of basic shapes, Long never makes significant alterations to the landscape he passes through on his numerous walks around the world. He uses indigenous materials in his work, such as wood and mud, and his favorite material and the earliest one used by man to make tools, stone.
In his work, he brings together the unevenly shaped raw materials in a geometric structure, and illustrates a recurrent them, the relationship between man and nature, as he explains, “you could say my work is a balance between patterns of nature and the formalism of human, abstract ideas like lines and circles. It is where my human characteristics meet the natural forces and patterns of the world, and that is really the kind of subject of my work.”
Long’s work can be seen in Rome, Italy at the Galeria Lorcan O’Neill until September 6th and opening October 4th, he has a show at the Burton Art Gallery & Museum in Bideford, England.
Previously profiled artists in the news:
Giuseppe Penone won the Japan Art Association’s 2014 Praemium Imperiale Awards - read more here.
Giuseppe Penone has a show at the Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA from September 5th till October 18th 2014 - read more here.
Andy Goldsworthy’s “Earth Wall,” his fourth installation at The Presidio of San Francisco, CA, was unveiled this past August - read more here.
Maya Lin has a show at the Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY, till October 13th, 2014 - read more here.
Sylvia Earle is an American marine biologist, explorer, author, and lecturer. Since 1998, she has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence and at the frontier of deep ocean exploration for four decades. She's led more than 100 undersea expeditions, and is an equally tireless advocate for our oceans and the creatures who live in them. Her special focus is on developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean to safeguard the living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change.
Sylvia Earle is the recipient of the 2009 TedPrize - watch it here.
I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us. - Sylvia Earle
Eco Garden - September 2014
MOON GARDENING BY PRISCILLA WOOLWORTH
Please check out my blog about Gardening According to the Phases of the Moon, where I explain it in more detail.
SEPTEMBER MOON PHASE SCHEDULE:
September 1st to 7th: Waxing
Garden Chores for the month of September are:
Continue harvesting your fruits and vegetables
Fertilize established trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and warm season grasses
Feed roses one last time for a strong late bloom
Fertilize cymbidiums with a high phosphorus formula 15-30-15
To nourish an area of your garden where the soil is nutrient poor: plant clover or alfalfa, which helps make your soil more fertile. Another idea: Dig a ditch at least 3 feet down and however long you need it to be, then bury cut branches from your trees, and cover them back up with soil. Over the next year, the branches will decompose, adding nutrients to your soil and also attracting beneficial insects. Plus, you are reducing garden waste. It’s a win win.
Keep soil cool and protect plants during this hot month by spreading organic mulch up to 4" thick on the beds, making sure to keep mulch away from tree trunks and emerging plants
Sow cover crops, which add nutrients to your soil and wildflowers for the bees.
Prune off or deadhead spent blooms and cane berries
Divide crowded perennials after bloom
Plant and repair lawns
Plant trees now so roots get established during the cooler months ahead
Water trees and citrus deeply
Plant garlic cloves 6" apart, pointed ends up & tops 1" deep
Force summer crops by pinching off new blossoms and growing tips on eggplant, melons, squash, and tomatoes
Turn your compost pile and keep it damp
All around your garden, plant bulbs, spring wildflowers, bee balm, calendula, candytuft, clarkia, cornflower, columbine, coreopsis, dianthus, dusty miller, lobelia, lupine, nicotiana, petunia, foxglove, larkspur, nigella, painted daisy, pansy, poppy, snapdragon, sweet pea, sweet alyssum, salvia, scabiosa, stock, verbena, chrysanthemum, delphinium, hollyhock, lavender, penstemon, pincushion flower, rudbeckia, statice, and yarrow
In your vegetable garden plant: lettuce, peas, spinach, chard, turnips, carrots, beets, parsnip, potatoes, radish, bush beans, chives, parsley, cilantro, arugula, chervil, dill, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, celery, onions, garlic, fava beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, and shallots.
Following is a Moon Gardening calendar for September and which days are best for specific chores:
No urgent garden chores between September 1st and the 8th!
September 1st till September 7th: the Moon is in the Waxing phase, when the lunar gravitational pull brings the water up, which makes it a good time of the month to encourage plant growth and proliferation. Plant seeds, transplant, re-pot, trim and prune for growth. Also, fruits and vegetables that are tender and should be eaten immediately are at their best when gathered at the Waxing Moon, because the water content is higher, salads are crunchier, and juicier.
The 4 days before and also 4 days after the Full Moon is the best time to prune, plant seeds (they germinate faster when planted at the full moon because they absorb more water) and fertilize plants as close to the Full Moon as possible. Cut bamboo and sow a lawn or put down sod.
The Full Moon is when water is at the highest level in the month. Best time to pick tomatoes. Harvest grapes to be used in winemaking as close to the full moon as possible because the grapes will retain more juice and bouquet. Gather any herbs to be used for their essential oils at the Full Moon because oil content is more concentrated at this time.
Recommended days for these garden chores:
Sept. 9th & 10th: Harvest, cultivate and prune
September 9th to the 22nd, the Moon is Waning, and the energy of the earth is drawn down but the gravitational pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil and this energy goes into the roots making it a good time of the month to sow crops that produce their yield below ground and control plant growth by pruning, weeding, and controlling garden pests, as well as dividing perennials. This is the best time for garden maintenance because the growth cycle of plants decreases. Fruit trees do best planted at this time of the month because the position of the moon encourages development of root growth and tree bark, essential to their success. This is also the best time to cut wood, because it resists parasites and cures better. Farmers pick their apples, cabbages, potatoes and onions at the Waning Moon, when water content is lowest and so the harvest stores better and keeps longer. Best time to dry herbs, flowers and fruit and the herbs are at their most potent. Also, add potassium fertilizer to plants that need it because it will be better absorbed at this time. Mow your lawn to slow growth. First time composting, start your composting during this period because the Waning Moon phase helps aid in the decomposition of plant matter.
Recommended days for these garden chores:
Sept. 23rd: New Moon
September 24th till October 7th: the Moon is in the Waxing phase again!
Get ready for October 2014 Gardening according to the phases of the Moon. Subscribe to my Almanac and get your monthly update from me.
Garden product of the month:
Easy-Load Wooden Compost Bin is perfect for all your leaves and garden material but not your kitchen scraps. Layer leaves and garden waste, with shredded newspaper and by next spring, you should have some wonderful mulch for your garden beds.
Eco Books - September 2014
Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms, and Communities Worldwide by Juliana Birnbaum and Louis Fox
I heard anthropologist Juliana Birnbaum being interviewed on NPR and she was fascinating, and so I couldn’t wait to buy her book. This beautifully photographed collection of profiles, interviews, and essays feature 60 innovative community-based projects in diverse climates around the world. It’s a great resource for anyone interested in learning about or participating in the growing network of sites developed with the intention of regenerating local ecologies and economies using sustainable methods.
I’ve often heard that organically grown food is too expensive for most people. In Linda Watson’s book, you’ll learn the incredible secret of how you can eat well every day, averaging less than two dollars a meal. Sustainable living is within everyone’s reach.
With glowing watercolor illustrations and lyrical prose, Claire Nivola tells the remarkable story of one woman’s effort to change the fate of her land by teaching many to care for it. The book is printed on recycled paper.
Back to School Supplies
September means back-to-school time for many kids. I’m so thrilled that every year, there are more eco-choices for school supplies. Choose binders, notebooks and pens made from recycled materials, or for the artist in the family, pencils made from recycled cedar wood scraps.
Red Lentils with Chia Seeds
This spicy flavored dish is delicious, easy to make and packed with nutrients like Lentils, which are a great source of fiber and minerals. In fact, I find that eating just a small amount makes me feel full. The recipe also features tiny sized Chia Seeds which are among the most nutritious foods on the planet because they are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein, Turmeric, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and Ginger which has antioxidant effects, and popular as a relief for gastrointestinal distress.
All ingredients I use are organic
2 Tbsp. of olive oil
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper, peeled, seeded, and minced
3 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
2 cups of red lentils, rinsed
1 14-ounce can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
- Heat oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add cumin seeds, cardamom, and garlic; sauté until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in 4 cups of water, ginger, turmeric, jalapeno, vegetable stock, lentils, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils ate tender, about 10 minutes. Red lentils cook really fast so be careful not to overcook them.
- Add the chia seeds, cilantro, and salt.
- Serve immediately, with either brown rice on the side, a green salad or roast vegetables.
Mason Bee House
We need more trees in our cities! They produce oxygen we need to breathe and remove toxic carbon dioxide from the air. One mature tree can provide enough oxygen for 10 people a year.