Tag Archives: Environment

Horse manure as fertiliser

We finally got our allotment after what must have been a 2 years queue. This is how the allotment area looks like (not how our plot of land looks like though 🙁 at least not yet). We would certainly like our plot to look somewhat like that, but it will almost certainly requre a lot of work. Now that the little one is coming out quite soon, I really wonder if we can keep the land at a respectable state!Anyway I went to a stable where my colleague keeps his pony and horse to collect some horse manure as fertiliser for our allotment yesterday. Apparently the horse manure is cleared out together with the horse bedding everyday. My colleague is currently changing the bedding twice everyday! Because his horse has strained one of her muscles or tendons. Really high maintenance to keep a horse is it not? Which in a way makes me a little more committed to do well on the allotment. As surely I can afford to spare some time for the allotment as well?Fortunately the bedding my colleague use for his animals is made up of straws and hays. Because if sawdust or wood shavings are used instead, the manure and bedding mixture is not going to be suitable for use as fertiliser directly. Whilst the horse manure is good to use as fertiliser, the sawdust or wood shavings are not crop friendly. Apparently when wood breaks down in the soil a nitrogen deficiency occurs, which stunts the growth of crops. There are ways to combat this, like adding nitrogen fertiliser. But we obviously are not interested in such extra activities :)Bags of “black gold” that look almost like soil were dug from the bottom of the manure and hay “mountain” yesterday. Very satisfied. Will work on the allotment in anger from next week once we get our car this coming Tuesday!

The 11th hour

Like my friend asked, “When did a documentary last make you cry?”. I certainly could not remember when, if it ever did happen to me. The nature has been for too long far too underrated. To put it in figures, according to David Suzuki, it will cost the world approximately $35 trillion dollars a year to replace what nature does for us for free! Hence it is baffling when we talk about economy, growth, and whatnot, the wonders of nature are not included in the equation. It is as though humans are above everything else in nature, and that we have the rights to take it for granted. Makes me very sad. It really does not matter to me if human eventually extincts. The Earth will survive, so as other life forms, albeit simpler ones. We just don’t deserve to live if we do not change the way we think and live, so as to maintain the Earth at a condition suitable for human to live. Keep living irresponsibly, and keep coming up with theories to justify your existence above everything else.

Groceries packaging

The other day we bought some ready-meals and some groceries. In just one day our bin was filled with an entire plastic bag of rubbish, almost all from packaging, it’s unreal. Most of the time we cook from fresh produce, so it really hit home to see so much waste coming from our everyday consumption of food. My friend is right to point out that nowadays people are so involved in working like a slave to earn a “good” living that they haven’t realised that a lot of what they earn are use to pay for things and services we don’t really need. Let’s face it, apart of the basic human needs of food and shelter, the rest are one of those things that are just good to have, not really necessary. In order to appear attractive, clean and convenient, some companies have a separate department that focus on how to package and market their products. Everything is so value driven that it now gets to a point where it is ridiculous, because the world is becoming so efficient by the year that a lot of the so called “values” are created to merely keep people employed. People thus have to work harder and harder to pay for others to do simple things that they could have done themselves in the old days and luxury items that we hardly ever need! The world has certainly seen a lot of progress, technology wise, standard of living, with better healthcare etc. But our way of life, particularly the Western way of life, is in need of serious comtemplation.

Coffee grounds keep slugs and snails away?

Got two bags of coffee grounds for free from Starbucks to be used as organic fertiliser for my garden. But apparently they are also good for keeping slugs and snails away from plants, according to that branch of Starbucks. Brilliant, if that is true, as the bloody slugs in my garden have devoured quite a few of the Marigold plants we planted this Spring already. I have tried using beer to attract slugs into a trap with good effect a couple of weeks ago. But looks like the slugs are coming back with a vengeance once again. Really annoying. Weather has not been good already recently, has been raining for most part of the week, hence have not been able to keep a hawk eye on my plants. Looks like I’ll have to get some beers again, ho ho ho.An interesting observation when I cycled home recently. Saw quite a few snails crossing the cycle path after rain on a few occasions. Fair enough, snails prefer to crawl on wet surface. But makes me wonder why they bother to cross, to the opposite side which in my opinion is essentially the same. Furthermore, it’s a “long” way for them, and it’s dangerous! 🙂

Cycling in London

I’ve spent the past week commuting to London for a training course. Compared to 10 years ago when I first started living in London, there’s probably 1000% increased in the number of cyclists cycling in London during peak hours. Incredible, considering that London still has the same old narrow roads, with virtually no dedicated cycle lanes. What has improved is probably the traffic load, with the congestion charging scheme having been in place for a number of years now. And of course the public awareness on green issues, and drivers’ attitude to cyclists. I think it does help when some MPs even cycle to work themselves.For me it’s quite pleasing to see as cyclists somehow seem to be able to enliven up a city, making it a bit more friendly. This is what I like most about European cities. People can get to everywhere without having to always go on a car. Plenty of walkways, cycle lanes, parks, good network of public transport etc. Would people like to see cars in the city? I doubt it. I hope less and less people drive in the city, as then there will be more chance that cycle lanes will be built in this old world city.

Compost bin

Compost bin

Ordered a compost bin three weeks ago, yet it’s still not arrived. Have considered buying a wormery like this one, but now looking at it again I also couldn’t quite remember why I’ve gone for the wooden compost bin. I thought it was too expensive, but looks like they are actually about the same price! Anyway I think the wooden compost bin will look much nicer at one corner of my backyard (in fact I’ve done some measurements to make sure that it will fit nicely at the corner!), with a more environmental friendly look as well don’t you think 🙂 And I suppose I can always throw in some garden worms to help decompose the stuff if I want to?! The idea is we’d also like to recycle some of our food waste.

Think I remember why I didn’t go for the wormery now as I thought it is unlikely that we’ll be recycling meat waste and a “normal” compost bin will do. Oh god my memory is getting worse!

Going green, is it worth it?

I am reading the New Scientist magazine and there are yet several more articles on climate change. One of the article raised the question that most of us would probably have considered at one point. Does it make a difference whether I walk or drive? Or if I leave my tv and computers on standby rather than unplugging the power? Or if I just “forgot” to recycle? The conclusion, as you might guess, is: of course it does!It may not be significant if one person does it, but if everyone else does, then it would make an enormous contribution towards reducing our carbon footprint. Of course the obstacle is to persuade everyone to change their habits. If only everyone can do their bit and help, then this would probably be the most significant contribution you can make to the society and the future generations.

Can we do something about climate change?

There will be at least three or four articles on climate change when I read the news everyday. There is no debate about climate change. Only fools who want to find excuses to continue their irresponsible actions will argue that there is no climate change.What annoys me most is the nonchalant attitude that a majority of people take when confronted. A cardinal sin that is rampant in the UK is the amount of plastic bags that supermarkets give out to their customers for free every second! Virtually every single store will provide plastic bags for free even if you don’t shop in the store! Some of the more environmentally friendly countries have already started charging customers for plastic bags so that usage of plastic bags is reduced. Why can’t UK supermarkets implement the same policy? It really puzzles me and what is more embarrassing is that UK is one of the least environmentally friendly country in Europe. Fairing worse than some of the developing nations.With all the cheers and support to reduce carbon emissions, they can’t even implement simple and effective measures that will make significant difference to our environment. Most people seem to recognise that it is a problem but make no effort to do their part to save the planet. This is every bit real. It’s not some blockbuster movies that mislead people into thinking that everything will be fine when it is all over.

McDonald’s to run UK delivery fleet on its own used cooking oil

This makes very good sense, if it’s practical to recycle the used cooking oil. It’s greener to use bio-diesel than petroleum-based diesel a fuel source, as burning bio-diesel apparently produces less net carbon dioxide. It’s definitely an option as an alternative fuel source. However once the production of bio-diesel involves clearing more land, particularly the rainforests which serve as major carbon dioxide sink, then it’s probably not that green anymore. The best way is still to cut down energy consumption and recycle whenever possible.

Transfer to a web hosting service

Couldn’t help but to buy myself a two year web hosting service with hostmonster for less than $120. It gives me all I’m looking for, ssh access, mysql database, hosting unlimited domains etc, and I’m also given a free domain name during this period! Have to say goodbye to using my old home PC to host this blog, as switching on this machine 24/7 mainly just to do that is not very environmentally friendly 🙂 And if I continue to do this it won’t be long before I’ll kill PC. In fact recently the PC switched off itself and had problem booting back up again . I initially thought it was about time to dispose of the PC. But turns out that the power supply unit (PSU) was just clogged with dust, no ventilation, overheated and then switched off itself. I gave the PSU a good vacuum and it’s now back up running again. Anyway, I still need the PC to work as a wireless router as well as a file storage system, so don’t really want to f**k that up.The process to transfer this blog to the hosting server was easier than I thought. I only need to copy the whole web directory to the hosting server, set up a new mysql database (user name, password and database name), modify the corresponding mysql parameters in wp-config.php, change the domain name server and that’s it. Easy peasy.