Friday, 12 October 2012

Rocket Stoves and Cob

On my PDC (Permaculture Design Course) we made our own rocket stove and I fell in love with this simple and effective bit of technology.

Cob in the Community are running a Cob and Rocket Stove Course and I just booked me a place.

Date: Sat 3 Nov 2012

Location: Canal-side Woodland, Old Oak Common, Acton, London, W3
Nearest Tube/Overground: Willesden Junction, North Acton

Cost: £80

Course info click here

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Man Who Planted Trees

I've heard about this book for ages now, then I hear about the animation. Finally I sat down and watched this.


The Man Who Planted Trees from MrGreatShortFilms on Vimeo.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Honey, a sweet gift

A friend who kicks my ass regularly on the mat at my Brazilian JuJitsu classes blessed me with an amazing gift. A whole jar of mountain honey from Albania.

While the taste is slightly bitter it has a depth and amazing burnt toffee flavour to it. I could just eat the lot in one sitting, but I'll resist.

Time for another spoon full I think.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Coffee on the bus and Walking barefoot to work

Having spent two months in India (more about that in another post) I missed the odd cup of coffee I have. So after breakfast I made me a very big cup, into a thermos, and enjoyed it on the bus. I do enjoy travelling on the bus after the rush hour has passed. On the upper deck in the back. Gaze wondering across the urban landscape and in this case sipping on some coffee. It's the closest thing to being chauffeur driven. The drivers these days do suddenly break hard, which hampers an almost luxurious journey in my opinion. Also travelling at peak is also a chore. Not due to seat availability, or having to seat next another person. But more so due to noise pollution from phone conversations, people talking/ shouting or some adolescent blaring some muzik

Part of my route to work has me walk through a pathway, free of cars and motor bikes etc. I cycle through this bit on most days and always enjoy this section of the journey as both sides of the path have trees and under growth.

Today I walked and enjoyed this short respite from the hustle and bustle of East London traffic. Today the weather was just what I enjoy. Not cold, but having a light jacket on felt comfortable. I had sandals on due to a cut on my heal and my feet weren't cold.

When I came to the grass area I decided to take my slippers off and walk the 100 metres or so barefoot.

I've never done this before, but the grass was dry and I just felt the need to have some contact with the earth.

Now I won't bang on about all the physical benefits of walking barefoot, maybe another time. For now I'll simply say it felt right. I'm glad I did this before I started my work day as once I got into the office it was non stop hustle and bustle till I clocked out, offered my Asr salaat (prayer) and had a cup of tea with Steve.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Enjoying Meals and Social Networking

Me and Mrs Bad were invited to my friends home in South London. To enjoy some authentic Morrocon cuisine. Same firend who I had a goals articulation meeting with back in Nov 2011

We arrived early at Stratford and decided to have a coffee in Westfield. I then decided to defect from the plan and dragged Mrs Bad into the Lebonese cafe on the lowest floor of Westfield shopping centre.

I ordered a mixed platter and some mint tea.
- The customer service was close to abusive
- They didn't have half the things I asked for
- They served the food on a paper plate
- This unforgettable experience cost close to £20

In contrast when we arrived at my friends home.
- we we greeted with warmth and felt welcome.
- we talked and laughed
- got to learn more about each others families
- had the most amazing beef, apricot and prune tagine. Sprinkled with roasted flakes of almonds.
- along with a lovely gorgeous chicken and olive tagine.

After which we drank tea and coffee and I needed a nap.
I wish I'd taken a picture of the amazing food.
I guess this is the difference of experience we can have in relation to food. I know which one I'll be aspiring too.

If we invite other families to dine with our family every so often. They will also invite us to do the same. We then don't need to go through an abusive experience when it comes to dining out.

One part of the goals articulation for zone 0 (home) me and mrs Bad had was 'a place where we enjoy our meals'

As for my 'Increasing productivity' project. Pleasant experiences like the meal I had with K.Z's family are inspiring, heart warming and a form of social networking far greater then Facebook.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Decluttering of zone 0 (home) - books

As part of my Diploma Project for zone 0 (My home) I'll be removing the clutter that's accumulated. My preferred choice is to give as gifts the items I've decided to part with.

I had not completed any fiction book in my life untill my early twenties. The first being Magician by Raymond E Feist. After which I devoured everything he had written. Every one a used pre loved copy purchased on ebay or at an independent store. My younger brother then went through them all.

Now I hoped to re read them all at some point. But decided I'd share his works of fantasy by gifting them all to a work of college who also is a fan of the genre. This act would be covered on the permaculture ethic of fair shares. Also described as returning surplus to people or the earth.

When I decide to reread any of the books. I'll just borrow them from the library.

Money as Debt

While at the guild hookup at the weekend we watched 'Money as Debt'. Some serious viewing for anyone who wants to know how the money system works.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Eco / sustainable alternatives for cotton buds and shower puffs

I need help finding sustainable alternatives to my two favourite hygiene items.

1) the cotton bud. There must be a non plastic version out there.

2) the shower puff, great for making the soap lather up. But again made of plastic. Are natural sponges a possible alternative. Are habitats destroyed in obtaining them, I have no idea.

You Help, and any links to sites which would have alternatives to the above will be very much appreciated.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Diploma Guild Hookup in Bristol

Just on the train back from Bristol (Sunday 8th July 2012) . Been at Adam and April's place in Bristol since Friday night. Joining me was Mrs Bad, who isn't a fan of staying in a tent. Was also with me. Ben and Sarah came down from Colchester.

All 6 of us enjoyed simple organic meals. The non stop rain was very frustrating at this time of year. But as Richard states 'global weirding' is upon us.

For me the purpose of meeting up and paying a ridiculous amount for train fair (£70 return per person) was to decide if I would be dropping out of the assisted diploma route.

Ben woukd have none of it. He sat me down we noted out an action plan on what exactly I needed to do to get on track. Along with the format of project 5 (zone 1: shoe box garden)

What went well:
Seeing how simple Adam and April are living made me put things into perspective.
Ben talking me through a decision making process of my options

What didn't go so well:
Non stop rain, didn't allow us to enjoy the abundance of nature and trees surrounding Adam & April's home.
Lack of a laptop, power source and internet connection limited the type of work we could do.

Lessons learned & action points.
Pack hot water bottle and thermos regardless of weather.
Contact Jesus and ask if he still wants to sell his mobile home.
Request Apple samples from Ben's orchard
Book visit to Ben's in Colchester. Can now identify elder, Hazel, Tried Bulgar Wheat, will add to rotation

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

BBC's Secrets of our Living Planet

As part of my Diploma project to increase productivity I decided to limit my viewing of media which feeds my mind with information which empowers me on my life long journey.

One great find on BBC's iplayer is  Secrets of our Living Planet in summery each episode looks at a different ecosystem and enlightens us to the independents of the plants and animals in that system. Really interesting stuff as a stand alone show. But when viewed from a permaculture lens it only adds weight to the arguments for maximising diversity to build resilient and sustainable systems.

Food for thought: Our bodies will fail us is solely on a diet of junk food. The same applies for our minds, if all we put into it is pap, our thought processes will resemble such pap.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Work crew on the plot at the allotment

With so much on at the moment the allotment has been neglected. I sent out an request for help to the Jnr squad (all of my younger brothers friends). we started work around 15:00 and paired up in two man teams (total of 6 of us). We worked till 20:00

One teams remit was to clear the long grass. Team two went over the brook to collect leaf mould to add mulch to the beds. Team three was to lay cardboard into the beds after pulling up any weeds.

What's working well: 
-The lasagne mulching system of laying card board, manure, then newspaper then mulch is working extremely well. little to no weeds present.
-The group effort makes for a more enjoyable effort.

Not working:
-The paths in between the beds has an abundant amount of grass and weeds.
-No yields.
-Fire fighting. I'm reacting to what the plot is doing.

-Lack of gravel or wood chip in close proximity to cover the paths.
-Lack of man power. I can't keep asking of others without paying them back in some way.
-Going away from end of July to mid Sept.

Next achievable steps.
- Set up the plug production in my home green house.
- Make 18 compost at allotment to have a high quality medium to plant plugs into.

Long term goals for plot. 
- Set an example of permaculture principles in action for a low maintenance and high yield plot.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Ethical food

Dates are a big deal in Ramadan for Muslims. As they are the first food to eat when opening fast.
For those buying dates, please look on the packet for the country of origin. If you don't see it stated. Avoid them.
If you'd like to compound on your feel good factor. How about Zaytoun dates which are a non profit company supporting farmers of Palestine.
Go even further and purchase them from MADE in Europe. A organisation promoting green issues.
Link to buy some triple wammy dates
Nearly forgot to add. If you then spread the love by giving them out to people with the intention they open their fast with them you'll be rewarded for that persons fast also. It just keeps compounding.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

No school, like the old school

Was at my mothers when I decided to chop me up a fruit salad. Now we grew up eating our fruit salads sprinkled with ground cumin and salat. So I put my brother to work using am old school pestle and mortar. Mum brought this back when she was visiting family in India.

No electric needed, and a decent workout.

Leaving gifts at the end of my secondment

My secondment as I.T Trainer has come to an end after 18 months. I really did enjoy my time being a trainer and they'd offer me to stay permanently I woukd have taken it. But in these times of cuts very few teams are expanding.

The lovely folks got me some books as a leaving present. Lovely Jubley p

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Heating water with residual heat

Iuse a stainless kettle to heat water after switching off the oven or electric hob.Then pour the heated water into a thermos to use later on.

Friday, 22 June 2012

East London Chooks

Today I was given a very nice gift of 5 eggs by Haf. His brother keeps some chickens in his garden in Waltham Forest. I'll be cooking these much appreciated back yard self sufficiency yields up for breakfast tomorrow.

And I shall appreciate every egg.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Pineapple Mint

I've used a few varieties of mint as a suppression ground over in one of my garden beds. The idea being I'll decide which varieties I'll keep before I cover the whole bed in cardboard/ newspaper and lasagne mulch it.

The mint turf war is being won by spearmint, which tastes best in tea. Aue de cologne mint in second place. Very strong aroma, not good in tea, peppermint in third place but this is good for tea, but weaker then spearmint and pineapple mint a very weak fourth in the turf war. Chocolate mint did not survive the year. I never got chance to brew a cuppa with this. But seems the least invasive of the lot I planted.

That's what pineapple mint looks like (see pic).
Sipping some green tea with it in. If you're growing for tea, then I recommend spearmint. But be aware it is also the most invasive. So plant in a pot to stop it spreading.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Monday, 18 June 2012

Taking care of hand tools

I purchased my Easter Sickle from Organic Catalogue for about £10.00 but it is also available at Green Shopping or direct from Burgon & Ball for £9.00

If anyone can findan identical one without serrated blade. Please let me know.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Shower Timer

As part of my zone 0 project I wanted to reduce my water consumption. So I searched Amazon UK for a fancy water timer.

In the box we have the timer, instructions, a plastic bag marked with increments of volume in litres and gallons and a lanyard (no idea why)

Simple enough to set up. The timer counts down 10 seconds while you fill the bag at full throttle. Stop the water at 10 seconds when you hear the beep.

Check the side of the bag and input the amount filled into the timer.

You can set the number of minutes you want the timer to bleep at. E.g after 10 minutes it will beep.

Pros: very nice display. Running total of water used during shower. Read out in litres, gallons or U.S gallons. Adjustable time limit.

Cons: pricey for what it is, the lanyard is pointless, the bag isn't needed any measuring jug would do the same.

Zone 0 project -



Sunday, 1 April 2012

Neglected shoe box garden

As part of my zone 1 diploma project I knocked up a lean to green house. When I say 'I knocked up' I mean I had Andrew the handy man knock it up.
In the process the shoe box garden took a battering. It took a good beating before the green house as Andrew was pointing the whole exterior walls.
I finally got myself in gear and got to work today.
I emptied about 5 rubble bags worth of soil which Andrew had dug up from the front garden into the East bed. Covered the lot in newspaper (whole paper, overlapped cover to cover). Stacked out the weaper hose. Socked the newspaper. Which I stack up with all the papers I pick up on the train.
I'd saved some leaves the council had bagged in autumn. Will be covering the lot on Tuesday.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Next Project & Water Harvesting on the go

So I'm cycling to work, and it's a light drizzle, but but the time I get to the office, my jeans are soaked through. More important for health & safety is the rain hitting my eyes, forcing me to blink for the 30min ride. I could just wear swimming goggles next time.

But got in and doodled this.

Over the top? YES, but the problem is the solution.

Thoughts on next Diploma Project include designing zone 0. My one bedroom apartment on the 1st floor. Think a solo mind mapping session, then a joint mind mapping session with Mrs Bad is in order.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Lesson plan done

Two copies of the lesson plan printed. Already emailed to Richard (tutor). Sleeping bag pack. Now to get to bed for an early start tomorrow and to make a few more lesson materials before I deliver 90 minutes of zones & sector analysis awesomeness Mr Bad style.

A good trainer has all the hard work done before the lesson has even started.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Solar Dehydrator

I was speaking to a friend about saving a whole heap of energy by not using an electric hydratoror and maybe we could build one of these.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Teaching Zones & Sector Analysis

OK so I'd due to teach an 90 minute lesson on Zones & Sector Analysis. I need to get a lesson plan together and send this to Richard (my diploma tutor). Lesson planning the bane of my life. This on top of the deadline (Monday) fast approaching for project three output.

Lets see what I can rustle up.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fast food

On a training day and lunch break arrives. While everyone's out looking for a bite to purchase, I've already tucked into a lovely home cooked garden grown spaghetti squash soup and a hot cup of green tea. Piping hot thanks to a drink and food flask, remember to pre heat these with boiling water before adding your hot food/ drink.

Now writing up this blog post, and off to Masjid to pray :)

Designing, implementation and managing the whole food cycles as I go through my Diploma.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

No dig allotmenting, well only a little

This morning me and Zub dug out some heavy weight bramble roots, covered the area with cardboard, placed a 4ft by 8ft bed ontop (made with scaffolding boards). Then covered the cardboard with horse manure (4 wheel barrows), then many layers of newspaper and then topped with leaves.

Next steps include.
1. Start up plug plants at home
2. 18 day compost next week at allotment