Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reducing waste at Christmas.

I'm not into Christmas for many reasons, one of which is the over commercialisation of what is meant to be a time of sharing and family. A lot of presents get bought that aren't wanted, a lot of packaging is produced for one off use before it's discarded to lie in the ground for thousands of years.
People put themselves into debt to obtain useless trinkets, stocking fillers that in their production fill the air with pollutants. I realise that there are some people who are more careful about about they buy but overconsumption of goods creates a lot of the western worlds carbon footprint so we need to rein back on buying junk that's just not needed.

The mad rush to consume makes the usually friendly public stressed and highly-strung, so they feel free to harass the person serving them in a busy shop.

There are better ways to show people you love them than creating a pile of rubbish in their name.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I passed my chemistry unit. Second times the charm.

Look, I know it's just Intro to Chemistry and many high school students get by every year, but it was damn hard for me, forcing me to repeat it. It was such a nightmare the first time around, making me feeling depressed and awful the majority of the time. The concepts are so foreign to anything but its amazing to learn how atoms and molecules works.

The second attempt felt much better because I was already familiar with some of the ideas, and the bits I didn't understand first time became clearer and clicked into place as they need to with chemistry. I could feel my brain stretching and its amazing how much better I remember small details. My memory isn't always too flash, so its brilliant to experience the pleasure of retraining my brain and knowing it is working better than before.

The total relief at passing has made me feel good since I got the results. I am more confident now that I know I can learn things I had a really hard time understanding.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Goodbye Rusty Bucket.

I'm feeling really sad today because I had to get my ancient dog put down the other day. My partner has been home the last couple of days to help me get over it, but this is the first day I've spent without Rusty for 14 years (well, apart from the days that he spent away after escaping and going chasing girls).
I met him when he was only 8 weeks old, so cute, little yellow fellow.
He was my first dog.
He was old for so long. I feel somewhat relieved that he's gone, he was sore and really slow for the last couple of years, but today I really miss him.
We have one of his offspring, who is doing a good job of letting me cuddle him when I start crying.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Unseasonally pleasant weather we're having.

Compared to last November and early December it has been extremely mellow weather. I don't think we've hit 35 degrees C once yet. This is having various effects in the garden.
There has been a bit of rain here and there and since it is overcast and not very hot the ground isn't drying out as much. It's great not having to water very often yet; I'm not very good at regular watering, which is my biggest downfall when it comes to vegetable growing.

One of the best ways to reduce having to water as often is to increase organic matter and mineral content in the soil, especially on Perth sands which are weak, lifeless and have no structure. There are more minerals available in the Perth area.

There is the chance though that once the sun does come out properly a lot of plants are going to get scorched. I've seen it already on a few things, burnt on the very few hots days.

In Perth some people are now putting 30% shade-cloth over their vegetable growing areas to reduce scorch in mid-summer. It's the only way to be able to continue to grow soft, leafy vegetables in Perth.

If I'm going to plant in open ground away from regular water I dig in some soil improver with a pinch of water-saving crystals in the bottom of the hole. I just planted a prostrate rosemary plant across the road on the big empty verge near the two other tough plants I put in last winter. They managed to get noticed by the council workers (that is they didn't get mowed down), so I'm hoping to cover the bare area over there with various low-growing tough plants that can cope with dryness and full West Australian sun.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Great Gardens workshops.

Yesterday I attended the Great Gardens workshop at the Fremantle town hall. I was glad to see the content had changed a little. It seemed less like a condensed permaculture course but still had important information on how to set up a low water use garden. They are a lot more into remineralising the ground along with adding organic matter to retain moisture and nutrients.
There were quite a few moments where I was hearing statements I've only heard myself make before, so that was encouraging.
It was good to hear someone else talking about not digging Perth sand, to prevent damage to the soil life and so worms don't get exposed to bright sunlight.

The second part of the talk was about growing food plants, a special interest of mine. They covered hydroponics as well as mentioning aquaponics.
The guy who talked about growing fruit is a wealth of knowledge. His many years of experience shines through. He could have talked about growing food all day and I would have learnt heaps from him. I like to have a few of my ideas challenged and others supported by hearing a true expert explain some point that I have suspected for some time.

Even if people didn't take in everything that was said they would come away fro these workshops with a great start to making their garden happier and less water-needy than before.