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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ten things to do to help honeybees


Honeybees are under threat worldwide because of virulent viruses against which they have no natural defences. Nearly all colonies in the wild have died out and without beekeepers to care for them, honeybees could disappear in a few years. Dr Ivor Davis, master beekeeper and past president of the British Beekeepers' Association, suggests 10 things you can do to help

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 13 May 2008 13.11 BST



1. Become a beekeeper

Beekeeping is a most enjoyable, fascinating and interesting hobby – and you get to eat your own honey too. Every year local beekeeping associations run courses to help new people to take up beekeeping and even help them find the equipment they need and a colony of bees. Training programmes continue to allow enthusiasts to become Master Beekeepers. For information on courses visit the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) website

2. Help to protect swarms

Swarming is a natural process when colonies of honeybees can increase their numbers. If you see a swarm contact the local authority or the police who will contact a local beekeeper who will collect the swarm and take it away. Honeybees in a swarm are usually very gentle and present very little danger. They can be made aggressive if disturbed or sprayed with water. Just leave them alone and wait for a competent beekeeper to arrive.

3. Plant your garden with bee friendly plants

In areas of the country where there are few agricultural crops, honeybees rely upon garden flowers to ensure they have a diverse diet and to provide nectar and pollen. Encourage honeybees to visit your garden by planting single flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers - asters and sunflowers, also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Bees need a lot of pollen and trees are a good source of food. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good. the BBKA has leaflets on bee friendly trees and shrubs.

4. Buy local honey

Local honey will be prepared by local beekeepers. This keeps food miles down and helps the beekeeper to cover the costs of beekeeping. Local honey complies with all food standards requirements but is not mistreated to give it a long shelf life. It tastes quite different to foreign supermarket honey and has a flavour that reflects local flora.

5. Ask your MP to improve research into honey bee health

Beekeepers are very worried that we do not have enough information to combat the diseases that affect honeybees. Pollination by honeybees contributes £165m annually to the agricultural economy. Yet the government only spends £200,000 annually on honeybee research. Beekeepers have costed a five-year, £8m programme to secure the information to save our bees during which time pollination will contribute more than £800m to the government coffers. Even the Defra minister, Lord Rooker, who holds the purse strings to finance this, has said that without this extra research we could lose our honeybees within ten years. Write to MPs in support of the bee health research funding campaign.

6. Find space for a beehive in your garden

Many would-be beekeepers, especially in urban areas, find it difficult to find a safe space for their colony of bees. If you have some space contact your local beekeeping association and they could find a beekeeper in need of a site. It is amazing what a difference a beehive will make to your garden. Crops of peas and beans will be better, fruit trees will crop well with fruit that is not deformed and your garden will be buzzing!

7. Remove jars of foreign honey from outside the back door

Believe it or not but honey brought in from overseas contains bacteria and spores that are very harmful to honeybees. If you leave a honey jar outside it encourages honeybees to feed on the remaining honey. There is a good possibility that this will infect the bee and in turn the bee will infect the rest of the colony resulting in death of the colony. Always wash out honey jars and dispose of them carefully.

8. Encourage local authorities to use bee friendly plants in public spaces

Some of the country's best gardens and open spaces are managed by local authorities. Recently these authorities have recognised the value of planning gardens, roundabouts and other areas with flowers that attract bees. Encourage your authority to improve the area you live in by adventurous planting schemes. These can often be maintained by local residents if the authority feels they do not have sufficient resources.

9. Learn more about this fascinating insect

Beekeeping is fascinating. Honeybees have been on this earth for about 25 million years and are ideally adapted to their natural environment. Without honeybees the environment would be dramatically diminished. Invite a beekeeper to come and talk to any local group you support and give an illustrated talk about the honeybee and the products of the hive. They might bring a few jars of honey too Honeybees are a part of our folklore and are one of only two insect species that are managed to provide us with essential services.

10. Bee friendly

When kept properly, bees are good neighbours, and only sting when provoked. Beekeepers wear protective clothing when they are handling bees. If a bee hovers inquiringly in front of you when unprotected, do not flap your hands. Stay calm and move slowly away, best into the shade of shed or a tree. The bee will soon lose interest. It is worth remembering that bees do not like the smell of alcohol on people, the "animal" smell of leather clothing, even watchstraps. Bees regard dark clothing as a threat – it could be a bear! Bees are sometimes confused by scented soaps, shampoos and perfumes, best avoided near the hive.

Ten things to do to help honeybees | Environment | guardian.co.uk

One change at a time « Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

This blog post is not mine but comes from the link below.  It’s an awesomely groovy blog site


One change at a time

June 30, 2009 ·

By Recycla

As you can probably imagine, Recycla is passionately committed to doing her part to save Planet Earth.  She is always trying new things, whether it’s sampling a new product or testing a tip before she posts it here.

Here is a partial list of the EASY things Recycla does day in and day out:

  • Recycles all paper, glass, metal, most plastics, etc.
  • Also, REDUCES use of materials whenever possible.  For example, Recycla has nearly eliminated the use of paper towels in her house.
  • Uses almost all organic personal care products.  (Not 100%, but it’s still a good percentage.)
  • Buys organic foods, shops local, cooks most days instead of eating out, etc.
  • Takes cloth bags to the store.  (Not just the grocery store, but all stores.)
  • Turns lights off when leaving a room and (of course) uses fluorescent bulbs.
  • Bundles errands when driving, so as to minimize outings and save on gas.
  • Walks or bikes to errands when possible.
  • Uses reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones.
  • Uses cloth napkins for dinner almost every night.

That’s the good stuff. Then, there are the areas in which Recycla could do a better job.

For example, Recycla tried to get away from conventional mascara and tried a variety of natural options, but ultimately went back to the Dark Side.

Also, Recycla’s family does not use organic toilet paper.  While Recycla really didn’t care about the rougher texture, another member of her family did notice the difference and HE complained. The family is now back to using conventional toilet paper. Ditto tissues. And, no, cloth handkerchiefs are not an option as far as Recycla is concerned.

Another area in which Recycla could improve is shopping online. Shopping online means that the mailman or the Big Brown Truck of Joy has to make a trip to Recycla’s house to deliver the goodies. Those trucks use gas to get to Recycla’s house, lots of it. Recycla understands that it would be better if she instead shopped at stores in her town — bonus points if they’re locally owned. Recycla TRIES to do this, but she really does not like to shop, and so this is one area in which convenience often wins out over the environment.  To make up for this eco sin, she saves her orders until she has a significant quantity, so as to eliminate multiple shipments.

One issue Recycla wrestles with is the cost difference between conventional and eco products. When two products work equally well and there’s a clear reason why the eco one is better for the environment and/or human health, Recycla is going to choose the greener item nearly every time.  However, she is in a position to make that kind of choice, whereas it’s simply not an option for many families.

As you can see, Eco Warriors are not perfect. They are not 100% eco. The important thing to remember is that EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Even seemingly small changes can have a large impact, especially when lots of people make that change.

Now imagine if you made one change every single month and other people made a change every month. The changes would all have a positive impact on the environment and help save Planet Earth. So this is Recycla’s challenge for you: Try to do one new thing this month. Just one thing. See how it works out. Think you can do that?

One change at a time « Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Worm Composting

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Victory Gardens Symbolize a New Age

Victory Gardens Symbolize a New Age

by Barbara Minton, Natural Health Editor
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(NaturalNews) Victory gardens are popping up all over. Last seen during World War II, these gardens now represent our fight to regain control of our lives and our health. They are the first battlefields against the increasing corporate tyranny, a battle that may end with us throwing off the philosophy of every man for himself and a realization that we are all together in this thing called life.

World War II united people and allowed them to reach into the depths of themselves and pull up a resourcefulness they didn't know they had. During this time of horror and hope people realized that they were living out a great saga in their lives, and in this saga they all had a part to play. The world was a violent and dramatic place, yet also an awakening happened, a vision of unity and understanding. The victory garden has come to symbolize this unity and vision.

What's a victory garden?

It was emphasized to urban and suburban dwellers that the produce from their gardens would help provide the nutritious food needed by the soldiers to keep them fighting strong. It would also help keep the price of that food low, so the War Department would have more money to spend on other military needs. The victory garden would also help solve the shortages of labor and transportation that made it difficult to harvest and transport produce to market. One poster from the mid 1940's reading, "Our food is fighting" portrayed the high sense of patriotism so characteristic of the time.

The Department of Agriculture along with agribusiness corporations distributed booklets providing information about basic gardening techniques. In 1943, 20 million gardens were producing 8 million tons of food. Victory gardens were planted in backyards, apartment building roofs, vacant lots, backyards, and pretty much every available patch of dirt and container throughout the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives, doing whatever had to be done.

Magazines printed stories about victory gardens, and women's magazines provided instructions on how to grow and preserve garden produce. Sales of pressure cookers to use in canning skyrocketed as families were encouraged to can their own vegetables. Home canners used non-toxic glass mason jars. The government as well as businesses urged families to make gardening a group effort. At the peak of the effort, 9-10 million tons of produce was produced, an amount equal to all commercial production. Even children and teenagers willingly took part in the work of the garden.

The victory garden was clearly a victory on many levels.

Why victory gardens are back in style

Today we are again involved in fighting a battle, but this time the battle involves how to stay healthy and live genuine lives in a world where everything is increasing stacked against us.

Today's commercially grown produce comes from soils depleted of the minerals and nutrients so necessary to keep us healthy in our polluted and stressful environment. Plants grown in depleted soils are less healthy and able to resist attack by pests, so the use of pesticides is more prevalent than ever. Much of our big agribusiness produce is now being grown in foreign countries not subject to highly controlled use of pesticide. Today's big food corporations choose the cheapest, most effective pesticides, not the ones that are least toxic to humans and other life forms. Along with pesticide residues, our produce contains residual amounts of soil depleting synthetic chemical fertilizers which are toxic to our livers.

Parabolic gas prices are estimated to increase wholesale food prices by 30 percent in the coming months. We wonder how we will be able to continue buying quality foods to keep us healthy. Fruits and vegetables are on the road for 1500 miles on average, before they reach the supermarkets. Produce is picked without having a chance to ripen so it can withstand the long trip to market. During this process, even more of the nutrients are lost. When it finally reaches the supermarket, produce can sit in cold storage for a week before being put out for sale.

We want to have access to health promoting fruits and vegetables during the winter months without them having to be flown in from other parts of the world. Asparagus from Argentina in January is a luxury few can afford. Yet we are told that our commercially canned produce contains carcinogenic and toxic bisphenol-A.

We're short on money to put gas into the SUV to drive our children around to their programmed activities. At the same time, we are realizing that our children are not really learning what is important in life. We yearn for projects and activities that will bring our families together.

We are stressed out and overworked trying to get the money to buy all the stuff that corporations have decided we must have. Our closets and homes are filled, but our bank accounts are empty. We are so busy that we seldom see our family as a whole or do activities in which the whole family participates. It's time to say 'no' to the big corporate food sellers and big oil. It's time to reach inside ourselves again and rediscover that kernel of resourcefulness. It is still there.

Victory gardens and the new age

A victory garden is a manifestation of new thinking, new vision and an explosion of new understanding. We not only live in this world but we help create it. We can choose to participate in unity and renewal, and to become part of the higher forms of consciousness. We are at the point now where evolution can become conscious of itself.

We can choose to participate in a new age of creative intelligence and love. This new age is like a rising tide which may wash away those who seek to go on working in accordance with that old law of every man for himself. It is a movement just beginning like the emergence of a tiny shoot in spring. You can tear out that shoot or stomp on it, but there is no way that you can hold back the coming of spring.

We have had enough of the old ways of thinking, and we are here to take back control of our lives, our health, our resources, and our futures. We are resisting the control of destructive governmental and corporate forces. We are developing an energy and enthusiasm that characterizes new values, new ways of living, new survival techniques, and new experiences.

A garden that symbolizes our part in this evolution is a challenge and a source of immense hope. If a family or group is able to achieve this, others will follow and the movement will grow. In a time of famine for many and threatened famine for many others, the victory garden is an indication of a new way the earth can be made more fruitful. We must have a vision.

We realize with horror what the human race in its greed and arrogance is doing to the earth, and the life forms on it. Our ignorance of the realities of nature has led us to follow all sorts of practices which hurt and alienate. We are at the juncture where we may either come to be parasites upon the planet, or we may come to a new enlightenment. The choice is ours.

A victory garden can be our symbol of the victory of the decision to be part of the new enlightenment. It can provide us with a way to re-establish a positive relationship with nature as we are called on to love life-giving plants, to cherish and nurture them, to talk to them, and thank them for all their work for us. When we have reached out to do this, we are breaking down barriers within our minds, and our resistance to this new age will dissolve. We are readying ourselves to go forth openly toward nature with a loving attitude.

Remember, this is not somebody's thought out plan. It is a phenomenon and an expression of the living energies for renewal that are sweeping through our society. This is a creative energy to renew in many facets, the garden being just one of them. The garden is an expression of a community filled with energy, enthusiasm and love for all life.

A garden teaches us the secrets of creation in various ways. Once we make the decision to pull back from the getting and spending lifestyle, we learn the power within us to create our world by the choices we make. We realize that we no longer have to be controlled by the power of events, but that by our power of thought, we control events. We can bring about what is in our thoughts.

When this is our direction we will have the confidence to succeed in the garden. Gardening is about the relationship we have with the plants. When we love and cherish them, they will return the favor. Plants are like our children. A child who is loved thrives no matter what the conditions are, but a child who has no love dies. Gardening is never about technique or the color of your thumb. It is about what is in your heart and spirit.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What is the Purpose of Karma?


What is the Purpose of Karma?

Karma is the experience of what you have created. It is the compassionate dynamic through which you learn to create responsibly. Karma is the law of cause and effect through which you shape your life with every decision. Karma is neither good nor bad. There are no good effects or bad effects - only effects. You choose the cause, and that choice includes your choice of an effect. The cause and the effect are one. If you participate in the cause, you will always participate in its effect. There are no exceptions. It is the Law.

You tell the Universe how to treat you when you make choices. When you choose to think of suffering, you create suffering and you experience suffering. When you create joy, you experience joy. Sooner or later, you will make the connection between what you choose and what you experience. Then you will choose differently.

There are very few humans that start a life without any “old” karma. Almost everyone of us has been misled by addictive demands of the ego and as a result have created tensions. In previous incarnations you may have violated the rights of other beings, caused pain, disrespected life and even extinguished life. Many crimes, many wars have happened in the course of mankind’s history. Many of those beings that committed these acts, or are committing such acts right now, are still among us. Such acts are part of our experience and what counts now is to learn from these experiences. Now is the time to forgive all those who victimised you. Only through forgiveness can the karma that connects you be dissolved. When you forgive each other, and you truly do this with your heart, then your karma can be freed, and negative energies dissolved. Though such an expression of love, the negative energies can be transformed.

There will be beings you harmed who will not forgive you. In this case it is you who must ask for forgiveness, either in silence or in meditation. Without forgiveness these tensions can only be removed by reparation, by serving those people in a special way - an expression of love which dissolves the karma. This is no easy path, because it may take several incarnations before the awarness of the other being has grown enough for forgiveness to be granted.

Energy is indestructible, because God is indestructible. However, energy can change and can be brought onto different levels. These are two very basic laws, which have repercussions on many areas of your existence. Energy is indestructible, therefore it has permanently valid stability. The changeability of energy is of utmost importance for the development of souls, because this means that their consciousness can be raised, and brought to a higher level of existence.

However, this also means that all energies that you spread, positive or negative, continue to exist until they are changed. So, when you cause friction among each other and send out negative vibrations during your arguments, these energies will continue to exist and put a load on your karma. Karma is the word for these energetic loads that you cause. All those energies that you send out want to come back to you. There is of course a way to dissolve such negative karma, but for that you have to completely forgive those human beings that you have tensions with.

If you can even forgive those human beings that purposely cause you harm, then you can also be forgiven. The task of dissolving of old, negative karma will be given to you at the right time. Love your fellow humans unconditionally, independently of their behavior towards you.

It is of course not always easy to love those that want to do you harm, but you will find that when you meet those people with unconditional, universal love, they will begin to treat you differently. They will either respond to your love or they will try to avoid you. Acts of unconditional love can confuse them. Such beings have come far off the path and cannot distinguish the good from the bad. For you, they offer to test your ability to love all beings universally and unconditionally.

Compassion or Indifference?

You cannot interfere with another's karma. You can only create your own karma. If you see an act of violence, and you say to yourself, “He must deserve this or it wouldn't be happening. His suffering is not my concern,” what karma are you creating? The indifference. that you show to a fellow soul is the same indifference that you will encounter one day. Is this what you want?

Violent action not be as dramatic as a fight, or a sexual assault. Indifference is a violent action. So is greed, jealousy, and exploitation. Do you want to give to Life? That impulse is nurturing. Do you want to take from Life? That impulse is violent.

If you decide that another's suffering is none of your business, don't think that your understanding of karma will permit your act of callousness to pass without effecting you. The suffering that you see is fair. Every experience in this Earth school is valid and fair, but if you use your realisation of this to ignore the suffering of your brothers and sisters, you create a world in which your suffering, also, is of no concern to others. That is karma.

Your future is yours to create in the same way that you created your present - through your choices. Compassion or indifference is a choice. It is natural for us to be compassionate, but we can choose “not to get involved.” Feeling warmly toward one another is natural for us, but we can choose to be distant and cold. Everything that you do is a choice, and every choice that you make creates experiences that you will encounter. That is karma.

Getting involved does not mean judging. You may feel righteously angry at a sexual molester, but beware if you do. You do not know enough to judge this act or any other. You do not know what is being healed, or coming to completion. Molester and molested may be exchanging roles that were played in another lifetime. It is not your role to be a judge or a jury. If you decide to take on these roles, you create painful karma for yourself. Do you like being judged? Then judge not lest you be judged.

Placing yourself between the molested and the molester is appropriate. Judging the molester is not. Protecting the bullied and the oppressed is appropriate. Judging the bully and the oppressor is not. Do you have the courage to protect without judging? Can you be compassionate even to those who have no compassion? If so, there is no finer karma that you can create. You will live in a world that is compassionate with you, even when you forget to be compassionate. You will be supported when you are weak until you have regained your strength. You will be loved, even if you forget to love.

The New Energies

On the new earth, cause and effect will become a thing of the past. In the past we have connected karma with cause and effect. Up until now, we have been playing in the energies of light and dark to help understand the balancing effect of polarity. In the new energy, cause and effect will be replaced by INTENT and CREATION. Whereas cause and effect was governed by a time lapse between the cause and the effect, the new energies of intent and creation will produce instant manifestation.

It is the birthing of the new existence to come.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Making Small Batch Strawberry Jam

Marge Braker, a retired home economics teacher demonstrates how to make small batch jam using fresh strawberries, sugar, and other simple ingredients.

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Respecting animals means going vegan

Posted by: Vegan Future
Reposted by: ~*TAMMY*~ Chaplain For Animals

Respecting animals means going vegan

An excellent booklet from the Boston Vegan Association which presents the arguments in favour of a vegan diet. It details why vegetarianism isn't good enough if you really want to protect animals from suffering.

The booklet draws primarily on ideas presented in Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog, written by professor Gary L. Francione, Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law & Philosophy at Rutgers School of Law-Newark.

Here are some quotes from the booklet:

There is no morally signifcant diference between dogs and cats and other animals, e.g. cows, pigs, birds and fish, all of whom also have an interest in not being harmed.

Within about 24 hours of being born, calves are separated from their mothers, a traumatizing experience for both the cows and their offspring.

"Pigs down on the kill foor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later, I had to kill them — beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care." Ed Van Winkle, slaughterhouse worker (Gail A. Eisnitz, Slaughterhouse)

To this day, the Humane Slaughter Act, despite extensive activist lobbying, exempts Kosher and Halal slaughter and offers no regulation whatsoever on the slaughter of chickens, turkeys, fish, and rabbits, which means that over 99% of all animals used for food in this country are not even covered.

The value of a sentient life is not measured in its utility to others, but in its immense, irreplaceable value to the being whose life it is. Joanna Lucas (Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary)

What happens to male chicks in the egg industry? Because they are not bred for meat and are unable to lay eggs, over 250 million male chicks are ground up alive, gassed, electrocuted, or suffocated each year.

While vegetarianism may seem like an adequate solution, it is not. As we have seen, both milk and egg production are directly harmful to animals. And as has been established, the only reasons to use dairy and egg products are based in convenience and pleasure.

Becoming vegan will bring your beliefs and your actions into alignment—you will be living in accordance with your belief that it is wrong to harm a sentient being without justifcation. Most importantly, by becoming vegan you will play a direct role in abolishing animal exploitation and working toward the goal of ensuring that no sentient being is ever harmed merely to satisfy our trivial interests.

Respecting animals means going vegan


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