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Monday, 31 October 2016

Guava Moth Traps, Transition Town Seed Swap.

Hi All! Small positives for Plastic Bag Free when I was shopping last week. First I came across this sign in our local library

Then my local New World supermarket have started giving a 5c/bag discount (up to 5 bags) when you bring in your own bags (unless you are already getting their discounted coffees). It's not huge, but at least moving in the right direction.

In my last post I had made a Guava Moth trap - I can now report that it does definitely work - so here's the recipe.

Guava Moth Lure

Mix: 1 litre of boiling water
       1 tsp of vegemite or marmite
       100g sugar
       1 tsp vanilla essence

then add 1 tsp of ammonia (available at the supermarket).

Divide the mixture between 4 x 2litre milkbottles (or similar), with windows cut as per picture.

Tie the bottles into your fruit trees, using a short tie so they don't blow about and spill.

The lure will last about  month, but may need straining every few days.
It reportedly takes two evenings for the moths to find the traps.

This is what Guava moths look like...

and the damage they do...

We went to a Transition Towns Seed Swap in the weekend - Guava moths are ruining everyone's home fruit crops, so the lure recipe was really popular.
I kicked myself for not taking photos of the Seed Swap for you. There were about 20 people, everyone bringing along seedlings, cuttings, seeds and plants to share. It was our first one, and we came away loaded up with tarragon, basil, hydrangea, cherimoya, hellebores, tomatoes, tobacco (to kill chewing insects apparently), seeds of bean,cress and a weird courgette variety.

Yay! free plants

The host's garden, on a standard town section had 50 varieties of fruit trees and berries.
If you've never heard of Transition Towns, and international organization promoting positive grassroots community projects then here is a Wiki link .

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

So, What Have You Been Up To?

Yesterday I had lunch with sixteen of my ex-colleagues, in honour of one who has returned briefly from USA to visit. It was her first time reunited with many of us for about 24 years, so there was a lot of noise and catching up.
Someone asked me what I had been up to - and it's so hard to put it into words, so here is a pictorial.

Mondays are for walks on the local beach, exercising the dog and myself, plus picking up plastic etc.

The garden has been keeping me busy - raising seeds, getting them into the garden. There's corn, beans, garlic, lettuces, spring onions, peas, spinach, beetroot, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries, kale, silverbeet, tomatoes, coriander etc..

The tamarillo trees that I raised from seed are getting planted out

This is a fishing float, a bit worse for wear that I rescued off the beach. I decided to repurpose it, rather than throw it out.

Today I have been making Guava Moth traps. I will wait until these are proven successful, then post the recipe. I'm not sure where else in the world they have these blighters, but they do so much damage to fruit.

Guava moth traps - reportedly very effective

Today I have also spent a couple of hours packaging meat for the freezer. I buy it paper wrapped from the local butcher. It is a way to reuse the small amount of food packaging that I still get. The paper wrapping all goes into the compost. 

An update on my No Junk Mail Signs that I hand delivered (from about 4 posts back) - there are now three up out of the fifteen or so delivered. Yay, three less households getting all that Junk Mail! 

It's a quiet life, but busy enough. Now - on to my sax practice!

My two saxophones - that's a vintage car in behind there at a gig we played in a workshop

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Green Drinks, Black Pools (of Ngawha)

Last night we finally managed to get to Green Drinks. If you haven't heard of this before it is an international movement where like-minded greenies get together to network and socialize once a month.
See here for Green Drinks International
In our instance the convener has a large green top hat so that newcomers know which table to gather at.
There were about a dozen people there, 30's and up, of varying shades of green and degrees of involvement in projects, or not. It was great meeting new people. After someone had inquired after our Plastic Bag Free project and I mentioned that we were really needing more people to help us  - two people volunteered!
The only disappointment was that my drink turned up with a plastic straw in it. Really?! I think that is getting sorted.

A little arrangement that I made for a friend yesterday - totally from my garden plus recycled. I so love being able to do that.

I finally got to deliver those No Junk Mail stickers yesterday that I mentioned here

I delivered about fifteen to my daughter's neighbours' letterboxes. I had to go back there a few hours later and was happy to see that one had been put onto a letterbox immediately. I'll keep you posted, but even one letterbox free of junk mail makes that worthwhile in my eyes.

Ngawha Hot Springs
Those temperatures are celsius of course

That is pronounced Nar-fa. (Maori word meaning a boiling spring).
I have mentioned Ngawha briefly before but didn't have any photos.
Ngawha is about ten minutes drive from the township of Kaikohe in Northland, New Zealand. 
Ngawha's other claim to fame is that it is the site of Northland's prison.
It's a shame you can't smell the place - it has a very strong sulphur odour, which is why people should only use old swimsuits - you can't get the smell out.
The pools are known to be therapeutic for various ailments like arthritis and eczema and lots more.

The evening that we visited it was drizzly - perfect conditions to sit there in the steaming black pools. The bottom of the pools is gravel, the sides are made from old railway sleepers. If you put your hand under the water even an inch you then can't see it, so black is the water.

There's nothing glamorous about these pools, but they are a true Kiwi experience. I wouldn't normally enjoy sharing my bath, but there are often people chatting away to each other about all sorts of things in there. Many are local, some tourists - so it becomes very social.
The warmth penetrates to your bones and stays like that for hours. Bathers are advised not to shower for a day or so to let the minerals do their work. 
When I was young there was a big colonial hotel at the Springs next door (which burnt down years ago) where would stay every year for a few days with my mother and grandmother during the school holidays so that Gran could soak, as did we and much enjoyed it.