Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another PC!

Lovely new find the other day was a computer

Friday, September 26, 2008

What a Womble I am!

Trip to Baywa builders merchants for supplies for our cellar projecxt were an excuse to visit Vivo. Not much today just a plug cable extender and some funny projector thingy.

On the way back a rather embarrassing cock up which I put down to language difficulties. I had asked at the Italian we frequent for old wine boxes, picturing vintage wooden boxes on my terrace next summer. However the man brought out a load of flattened cardboard boxes with a daft look on his face and I realise we had a miscommunication. His younger chef fetched wooden ones when I told him in German they weren't quite right but they were awful looking things!

What a Womble!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wooden planter

The council or "Gemeinde" sent us a letter to tell us to cut back our hazel tree, so Saturday saw action on that front, but not without saving some decent branches, as inspired by this website . Next year I hope to build some nice arches for my sweet peas which were a star this year in the garden.

Down by the green waste composting area of Vivo I found a lovely big wooden planter which will likely hold a nice Oleander next year.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Agricultural Revolution?

I keep in touch with US affairs through the New York Times pullout in the S├╝ddeutsche Zeitung given to me by in laws or neighbours who read the SZ. I read of new trends in the States like CSA or Community Supported Agriculture and new interest in farmers markets which I must say enthralls me.

My newer interest is in renewable energy and to that end I recently made a toy windmill bur found more links to make a slightly more serious attempt which would light up an LED.

Today's casual surf really got me in a spin when I found this Peak thing.

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Index.html

His argument sounds plausible and I shall watch his site from now on.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Remember you're a womble

For those readers across the pond who don't know who the Wombles were, I enclose this off Youtube

My first foray into alternative energy

I maintain several blogs. My first ever was a free mapping blog in an attempt to keep my hand in when I lost my digital mapping job. I am an amateur astronomer and maintain one called Starhopping when I am out with my telescope. However for those who read this blog of more interest is myother blog "Womblin' Free" which details my daily jaunts round various waste sites and some of the amazing things I've found in them such as telescopes, cafetieres and stickers for children. Recently I've started to see links between my interests. It seems many who are into gardening are naturally into cookery, and also composting and recycling. 'Tis but a short leap into the world of alternative power, and it is to this awakening interest we now turn our attention.

Last night thanks to a fantastic Instructable I had my first ever try at making a wind turbine. Unbelievably simple and fun, the cutting took half an hour. My daughter who loves to cut and paste got a bit upset with me as I got cross with her as she messed up cutting a circle out of card for me. Never mind. I mounted it on a long two foot rhreaded lentgh of metal I had lying around and rushed up to out loft and dug out an electric fan. Success! It's only card but it's a start. Next fun task will be to mount it on our balcony.

Caught the end of GW last night and despite others' comments I rather liked Toby's practical advice and tips. I have been moaning for ages with my wife that they never show how to do basic things at all, just do long articles on someone's specialist gyacinth collection or whatever. Toby gives clear down to earth back to nasics help which is just what we newer clueless gardeners need.

Friday, September 12, 2008

In the Guardian Online recently was an article which I read deeply and found a great idea for plant boxes - old wine boxes. So today on the way home from a Vivo trip I asked in our local Italian restaurant if he had any old wine boxes. Unfortunately he breaks them up but he told me to come back in 3-4 weeks and he'd save me some.

New BBC Gardener's World presenter tonight. Seems promising as he built up a harden from recycled materials so let's see. Poor old Monty, much missed.

Seem to spend a lot of time on treehugger.com nowadays.
In the Guardian Online recently was an article which I read deeply and found a great idea for plant boxes - old wine boxes. So today on the way home from a Vivo trip I asked in our local Italian restaurant if he had any old wine boxes. Unfortunately he breaks them up but he told me to come back in 3-4 weeks and he'd save me some.

New BBC Gardener's World presenter tonight. Seems promising as he built up a harden from recycled materials so let's see. Poor old Monty, much missed.

Seem to spend a lot of time on treehugger.com nowadays.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sticky moments

Today's harvest from the bins was an old floppy disk box full of stickers for the kids, a nice Bavarian style wine decanter and four blue pottery wine goblets, thrown away in their boxes into the "bauschrott" building waste skip.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New recipe from Delia

Tonight's attempt to vary the cauliflower recipe repertoire (one - cauliflower cheese) as a Delia Smith one out of her "How To Cook" book - a soup with potatoes and onions laced with parmesan. Yum!

All munched with Foccaccia using garden herbs rosemary and marjoram.

Yesterday I was at "Firma Wenig" to get the apples from our tree juiced. Three crates gave us 14 litres of still warm sterilised juice. It sank well that evening with cauliflower cheese using spuds and cauli from the Sonnenacker. The grape harvest was 9.5kg - dying to turn it into wine! The plums were poor this year - Won't be making that wine which tasted like sherry this year then.

Taking the "green" thing abroad

I've been lucky enough to have two holidays this year, Corsica and Croatia. We kept them cheap by camping using a tent I found free at the local Vivo recycling place in the first instance, and staying in a local man's 'Apartman' as they are called. in Croatia.

Whilst there I experienced something of a unique culture shock. As an expat in Germany I am used to recycling on perhaps a much deeper level than in certain parts of my native UK. We have no need to compost here as our local recycling centre is so good, both accepting green waste and selling it us back as cheap soil. However in Corsicxa this ethic is taking time to sink in. There are different bins I observed even in hill villages, but the feeling I got was that the separation of rubbish which is second nature here in Germany and rapidly cathing on in Britain didnt exist. Driving through Italy one gained a similar impression. Perhaps it is more a northern Europe thing, this new green way of thinking.

Down in Croatia which is one of my favourite countries, we overnighted in a nice harbourside town and stayed as we do in local people's rooms. We went for breakfast next day and were given friendly service, but everything brought came in plastic containers and it seemed nothing was locally produced. Driving round the island of Korcula where we were based we saw acres of unused farming terraces which our apartment owner told us used to be for wine growing until a virus wiped them out so it was no longer efficient to grow them anymore. I saw huge potential for future food growing as they seem to have almost no domestic agriculture on the island, the chief export seeming to ve wine.

This leads me to a question: when one becomes used to cooking good food, how can one take this new way of thinking down to countries which have still to cat up?

Pass the Pasta!

Latest excuse to visit Vivo was to offload clothes which have lain in our wardrobes for ages never worn. Lots of drilling prompted the question "What's that?" and the answer was intriguing. PV cells on the roof will charge up batteries of well, batteries being hung on the wall.

Today no wooden boxes but one perhaps useful little toy: a pasta machine!