There are many social media sites that can be used to read, follow and share blog posts from the websites that you know and love. After hearing lots of good things about Bloglovin’ I decided to give it a go.
I know that I have mentioned a few times that we are building a home for ourselves. Usually in Ireland when someone self-builds it either means hiring a contractor to organise the job and supply all the labour or hiring all the builders, carpenters, roofers etc yourself.
Well, we don’t usually do things the “normal” way and building our home is no different! We are doing it by ourselves, with a little help from our friends. We also have not taken the mortgage route, preferring to save the money and buy or salvage materials as we go along. Of course this does mean that we are moving slowly and the build is taking some time.
Right now we want to get the roof on and that is what we have been concentrating on this summer. We have put up most of the wall framing posts and the ridgeboard for the roof. We are using purlins which are like ridgeborads and do basically the same work – they help to hold up the rafters. The purlins run parallel to the ridgeboard, either side of the ridge equidistant from the outside walls and the ridge and they act to cut the rafter span in half.
Currently we are putting up the northern purlins and rafters. We have five rafters up and are hoping to get a few more up today. The building space is beginning to feel like a house now. For the last year we have had the floor platform up and covered with the floorboards. We have sometimes used the space as a platform for gathering with friends to drum, I have often brought up a garden chair and sat there with a coffee and a book.
Now that we have most of the wall frames up and we are putting up rafters we can feel the shape of the rooms and it is all becoming a little bit more real. It is great to look up now and really see where the roof is going. There are ways in which the slowness of the build is frustrating and there are ways in which the slowness is an advantage.
We are getting to really feel our home become real and we have the time to change wee things as we go along, make adjustments, see where the evening sun shines in, where the summer breezes come from. We will really appreciate it when the house is finished enough for us to move in – everyone says don’t move in until it is finished however our current home is becoming way too small and cluttered and is getting ready to fall apart – it was old when we bought it and really shouldn’t even have lasted as long as it has! We have been reluctant to put any time or money into repairing it as we really need to be concentrating on our new home so I think that as soon as we can we will be moving into the new house.
I am getting a bit ahead of myself though, the moving time is quite some while away yet, today we need to concentrate on getting a few more rafters up…
I was horrified to read this report, on the Organic Consumers website, about Monsanto being involved in Haiti. Anyone who is a regular visitor to this blog knows that there is no love lost between me and Monsanto. I have long had a strong disrespect for this company and their bullying tactics to further their aims in spreading the use of gm crops and increasing their profit line.
Haiti is a country that once had a self sustaining agricultural industry and I am not talking about hundreds of years ago, until relatively recently there was a thriving agricultural economy in Haiti. For more info on this please check out this link.
Obviously Haitians are now vulnerable and really need to get food growing again as soon as possible. If you do a google search on “sustainable agriculture in Haiti” you will find that there are a lot of projects underway to encourage sustainable agricultural industry there.
The hybrid seeds being supplied will produce crops that will not produce viable seed – the Haitian farmers will be unable to save seeds and go on planting as farmers have done for generations, they will be forced to buy seed every year!
I find it insidious that Monsanto are moving to get a grip on Haiti’s agricultural future and the fact that they are being aided by the USAID is reprehensible.
This is being funded by American taxpayers – whether or not they want to fund Monsanto Americans’ hard earned tax dollars are helping this genetic giant to undermine an already vunerable country. USAID is a tax-payer funded agency that promotes the United States’ interests abroad.
Please read the report about Monsantos involvement and if you live in the States and you are unhappy about this situation please think about taking some action here.
If you don’t live in the States and still want to take some action then look at the end of the page and click on the link for international supporters.
That’s my tirade over for the moment, thanks for reading 🙂
Today is Blog Action Day and this year – yip, apparently it’s a yearly event where bloggers are asked to all write about a particular social issue in order to help raise awareness, I must have missed it last year – I digress, this year it’s to highlight climate change and encourage people to increase their awareness and increase action for change.
I wondered what deep and meaningful essay I could write and decided instead to do a simple list of things that are easy to do – and therefore more likely to happen and may even save you money.
Starting with the obvious energy savers:
* Unplug your power cubes! You know the little boxes that are used to charge phones, laptops, torches, rechargeable this, that and the other…
It is not enough to unplug your device from the end of the cable, you need to unplug the charger or switch it off at the wall socket. The cube does continue to use power all the time that it is connected to the wall socket even though it is not actually charging anything.
* Change your light bulbs for energy saving bulbs. I know that they cost more although they are a lot cheaper now than some years ago. If you are on a tight budget like me then you might like to change over each bulb as the old one blows and needs replacing anyway.
The energy saving bulbs use about 80% less energy and also last a lot longer. However you still cannot use these bulbs with dimmer switches so perhaps just switch to a lower wattage incandescent bulb for your dimmer appliances. Some shops are selling energy savers which claim to be suitable for dimmers – I have been advised that they still keep blowing so don’t waste your money on them, wait for another year or so and they may have improved.
* Do switch off your tv, computers and anything else that “sleeps” or goes into stand-by mode. Unless you absolutely need to have the clock on your microwave or oven tell you the time then switch these appliances off at the wall too when not in use. I don’t know many people who actually use their oven timers anyway. Appliances on stand-by do continue to use power all the time that they are plugged in even when they are doing nothing.
* Clean your fridge regularly and keep your freezer clear of ice (other than cubes obviously) and as full as you can, it will be more efficient that way.
* Barter, swap or buy a multi-pot steamer and a pressure cooker, save energy while you are cooking.
* Eat fresh food in season and buy local. You help local producers, reduce food miles and get fresher food. Remember that some EU states such as Holland irradiate all of the fresh veg that they export!
* Support Irish dairy products instead of imported, buy organic if you can. If you can’t afford organic it is good to know that Irish non-organic yoghurt is still most likely healthier than European produced organic yoghurt.
Its not just about price or about buying local when it comes to dairy products. For me it’s because I have seen a map of Europe with all the active incinerators marked on the map, in fact I helped to create the map and it scared the cr*p out of me.
Incinerators produce dioxins which are belched out with the smoke, yes, even with chimney scrubbers, they spread for about 20kms, dioxins end up on the land, the cattle eat the grass and silage, the dioxins intensify as they move up the food chain stored in fatty tissue and milk – you get the picture.
* Ask your local shops what their stance is on selling products containing GM food stuffs. Write to their head offices too if you can. Consumer pressure does work, it may take some time to see the effects, don’t give up!
* If you have the space and the time why not grow some food? You can grow strawberries in hanging baskets by your window or door in you live in a flat or apartment without a garden.
* Gardening without a garden? Join your local community garden. If there isn’t one get some people together and start a project, see what’s involved in setting one up yourselves, lots of helpful websites out there – just google community gardens and start reading, digging, growing, eating – yummy!
* Feeling adventurous? Why not learn to build your own wind turbine? It’s really not as hard as it sounds, is good fun, you learn lots of skills and when you build one for yourself you will get an enormous amount of satisfaction as you watch it spin and generate power for you. You definitely need a garden for this project though 😉
* Sign up with social justice websites like Avaaz You can do a lot of good by simply adding you name to petitions as they come into your email inbox, I think of it as armchair campaigning!
* Check out Skill Swap. A site where you can barter your skills and receive the benefits of other people’s skills.
* Check out Hopenhagen – it’s all about changing the Climate Change World Conference in Copenhagen into an event of Hope – it will make more sense when you read the site and please sign up 🙂
* Another site for global change is Oxfam – in their own words “As more and more people join the campaign, our voice will become louder and stronger and impossible to ignore. It is time for real action on climate change.”
* Here’s another one – a site you can sign up to and by doing so help to change things – Time for Climate Justice
I just love armchair campaigning 🙂 If you have more ideas to share please let us know in the comments.
Making a change with a flick of a mouse or keyboard…
Go forth and promote change… Don’t forget to smell the flowers along the way…