Product Review: VOSS still water

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VOSS still water (watercolour pencil) by Emma Crameri

In an effort drink something a little more healthy than soft drinks and juices, I wanted to try VOSS water. It comes in a heavy glass bottle in two different sizes. I found it originally at the health food shop and then saw it stocked in Woolworth’s. As we had the car and could carry it home we decided to give it a try.

The still water is made up of Sodium 6, Calcium  5, Magnesium 1, Chloride 12, Fluoride 0.1 and Sulfate 5. The sparkling water is made up of Sodium 90, Calcium 5, Magnesium 1, Chloride 12, Fluoride 0.1 and Sulfate  5.

I love the taste of VOSS water. It is even better infused with slices of fruit. Why not give this artisan water from Norway a try.

 

Paleo orange ice blocks recipe

orange-ice-block

Citrus and coconut water are a refreshing combination on a hot day. You could add a pinch of sea salt and have these as a replacement for those hydrating ice blocks you get at the chemist, as coconut water helps to replace electrolytes in the body.

Ice block moulds can be found in $2 shops or kitchen shops. Alternatively, you can use plastic cups and paddle pop sticks. You may need to double the recipe if your moulds are bigger.

Paleo orange ice blocks recipe

1 cup of coconut water
1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice

  1. Combine coconut water and freshly squeezed orange juice in a jug. Pour mixture into ice block moulds.
  2. Place lid on moulds and place them in the freezer for a minimum of six hours.

Makes 4 ice blocks.

Notes: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Lemon barley water recipe

lemon barley water

My parents have a glut of lemons at the moment and they gave us ‘as many as we wanted’ when we saw them last. I’m a big fan of lemon barley water as an ideal way to use up lemons. This recipe is an adaptation of the one off the back of the McKenzie’s Pearl Barley packet.

Three or four lemons make half a cup of lemon juice. I like to use brown sugar but it gives the drink a warm orange colour, so if you want a more traditional yellow use white sugar. It’s a refreshing drink either way. We feed the remaining pearl barley to our dog. Although McKenzie’s recommends:

Serve in a jug with lots of ice and fresh mint leaves. Could also be mixed with dry ginger ale for a refreshing alternative. Don’t throw away the cooked barley. Store in the fridge and for a nutritious and filling breakfast, warm through and top with yoghurt and fresh fruit pieces.

Lemon barley water

1/4 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup brown or white sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups water

  1. Rinse the pearl barley well, cover with cold water and bring to the boil in a saucepan. Drain and then remove any discoloured grain.
  2. Place pearl barley back into a saucepan with 4 cups of water. Cook on a simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the pearl barley. Add the lemon juice and sugar and stir until sugar has dissolved. 
  4. Chill in the refrigerator.

Makes 1 litre.

Review: Zazen water filter

Update June 2016: Zazen filters release a high amount of silver into the water, which is not good for your long-term health. I no longer recommend this product.

I strongly recommend you do lots of research and get your water tested before and after any type of filter.

I only recommend reverse osmosis filters from a reputable company.

 

 

Tree planting and watering

Here are a few more steps to assist keeping your trees hydrated:

Add a handful of water crystals to help the plant survive in drought and periods when you neglect to water them. The clear jelly-like crystals absorb and store water.

Plastic aqua spikes or water cones are pushed into the root zone of a seedling or plant to give it a regular watering. A plastic water bottle is added on the other end. You can also add kelp and fish fertilizer to the water to fertilise at the same time.

The local council uses pipes with their road side plantings. These pipes are usually 30 cm long with perforated holes. They need to be inserted into the ground before the seedling or tree is planted in place, and allow water to be directed at the root zones of the plant. This targeted watering prevents water loss from evaporation and is more efficient then watering at ground level.

Tree guards are triangle plastic sleeves that held in place by a three wooden stakes. Other versions are made from pink coreflute plastic. They help increase the success rate of seedling plantings by reducing cold, wind and animal damage. They are used by Landcare in Australia for bush regeneration projects and highway plantings. A smarter version includes a water pouch to provide self-watering to the root zone.

Homegrown Evolution has a great list of self-watering planters.

The Permaculture Path to Sustainability

The Permaculture Path to Sustainability illustrates the steps we can take to transition to a life with a smaller footprint on the earth.

When I was completing my Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), I wanted a simple way to plan the future of our house and garden. I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the different ideas buzzing around in my head. I needed to capture these and create a clear plan of attack.

I started by writing down all of the elements found in a typical permaculture garden and divided them into different categories. The categories are food production, fauna, practices, flora, energy, water, and waste.

I then sorted the elements out in to levels. Each level reflects an increase in the level of difficulty, commitment and/or expense.

  1. Level 1 is what you may find in an average suburban backyard.
  2. Level 2 are practices and elements found in a more sustainable household. Perhaps the owners have been influenced by a book or gardening show on TV, or have been involved in a PermaBlitz. Only a few of the categories are closed loops.
  3.  Level 3 are practices and elements which are found in households dedicated to resilience, self-sufficiency, and sustainability. The owners view their property as a system. These households may be completely off-the-grid.

I love to see concepts come alive as a diagram, so I created a colourful table to illustrate “The Permaculture Path to Sustainability”:

Level 3
Food Production
  • Vegetables beds (with annuals)
  • Fruit trees
  • No-dig garden
  • Mandela and key hole beds
  • Herb spiral
  • Seed saving
  • Bush tucker (native) plants
  • Exotic edible plants
  • Nut trees
  • Perennials
Fauna
  • Native plants
  • Bird bath
  • Nesting box
  • Messy space and logs (for lizards etc)
  • Bee hive
  • Chickens
  • Fodder plants
Practices
  • Mulching
  • Companion plants
  • Crop rotation
  • Crop succession
  • Greenhouse
  • Green manure
  • Shade house
Flora
  • Native plants
  • Wind break
  • Fire break
  • Trellising
Energy
  • Energy efficient bulbs and appliances
  • Insulation
  • Solar power hot water and energy
  • Wood fired oven
Water
  • Buckets
  • Gray water hose
  • Drip system
  • Water tank
  • Grey water system
  • Pond
  • Swales and rain pits
Waste
  • Reusable containers & bags
  • Recycling
  • Compost
  • Bokashi
  • Worm farm
  • Composting toilet
  • Living mulch

Where is your household on the “Permaculture Path to Sustainability”?

Are you doing well in one category and neglecting another?