A Guide to Composting with Tumblers, Sheet Mulching, Worms, Chickens, and Piles

If you have ever struggled making compost in your city garden like I have, this post from The Druid’s Garden gives you some simple easy to implement strategies!

The Druid's Garden

Composting is a very easy way to integrate natural processes and nutrients into your garden, flower beds, and life.  While various statistics exist, most commonly, I’ve seen statistics that suggest that up to 50% of what we throw away in the USA is food items or items that are biodegradable.  These are items, like vegetables or stems, that come out of the nutrients in the system.  Americans also like  to rake up/bag up and throw away their lawn clippings, “weeds”, etc.  By sending them into a landfill, we lock those nutrients away and don’t allow them to cycle through the system again.  So composting is an important part of shifting to a more sustainable practice and allows us to build great soils in the process.  By composting, I was able to reduce what I threw away/put on the curb by almost 50%–and now I know how much I was wasting.

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Happy New Years 2017

NOT LAUGHING…

This filthy window represents the year 2016. Now that it is 2017, I believe it is time to wash this window don’t you think? I say it’s time for some truth telling, some fact checking, and some unveiling of false claims. Whoever you are misrepresenting current events for your own profit or gratification: I believe that most of us would prefer to see clearly so we can attempt to clean up the mess.

The Mess

And what mess do you mean? Naturally Bubbly is referring to American election November 2016. The billionaire class who are loyal to no nation are planning to take us two steps backward, maybe even three steps backward in our fight for survival on this planet. We cannot let greed, hate, and ignorance win. 

Green Goal for 2017

2017 Green Goal is to clean up the People’s House in Washington D.C. as soon as possible! We can do it without poisoning the atmosphere if we open our hearts to love instead of hate. I hope my cleaning analogies make sense. Trying not to offend anybody but trying to make a point. It’s time to clean up our lives and create a healthy, sustainable world with a bright future for our kids and our planet.

Outdoor Mats – Best way to keep your Home Clean!

I know, outdoor mats is kind of a boring topic for a post, but I really love this gorgeous doormat in the photo. Naturally Bubbly Blog and naturallybubbly.com are, after all, about keeping your home (and world) clean and productive in a sustainable way, without the use of petrochemicals and other toxic products. So in the interest of saving time cleaning to do more fun and stimulating stuff, let’s talk briefly about how you can prevent indoor pollution!

Your home is your nest, it’s supposed to be your safe haven, yet many homes harbor more toxic pollution than the air and environment right outside the door.  What to do?  Answer:  Clean up your home, remove as many polluting materials as you can.  These materials are synthetics like vinyl that outgas Volatile Organic Compounds (V.O.C.’s) into your indoor air for years after installation.  Also worrying are chemicals like flame retardants found in most furniture upholstery.  And so much more, it can be overwhelming. But don’t freak out, instead start cleaning up your own personal environment one bit at a time.

Oh, right! That first bit could be getting some effective outdoor and indoor mats for all your entrances.

coral reef

Another World under the Surface of the Sea

Snorkeling and diving a tropical coral reef is amazing. The sea from a distance looks flat. But once you get into the water with your gear you see the most amazing world of coral and fishes and other sea creatures. It’s a bitter sweet experience when you see the massive amount of damaged and dead coral. But then you’ll see new corals emerge providing hope. I don’t know if it is too late to save the coral reefs of this world, but I plan on checking them out while I still can.

If only I could get my snorkeling mask to fit right and remain watertight and fog free while I am in the water! I found some great advice from this cool website: http://www.hawaiisnorkelingguide.com/snorkeling_masks.html

The only thing the article forgot to mention is that you should place your snorkel in your mouth and then put your mask on. It’s a crucial detail that makes your mask stay on your face without water leaking in.

Another really important thing is to not talk, or smile, or make any facial expression, and try not to take the snorkel out of your mouth if you can help it. Snorkeling solo makes this easier : ) Botox could help too haha.

I have had 2 days of perfect snorkeling thanks to the advice from the hawaii snorkling guide, as well as another site that was also helpful: http://www.tropicalsnorkeling.com/snorkel-mask-fitting.html

I can’t wait to see my favorite reef fish the barracuda. No snorkeling vacation is complete without barracuda sighting.  Maybe when I get to Sandy Island, Carriacou, next week we shall meet.

coral reef barracuda

sugar

Sugar by Any Other Name…

Sugar seems to be everywhere. In the news and more importantly in our food. Big Food will keep selling unhealthy food to us if we keep buying it from them. I’m just saying. And so are the new U.S. federal dietary guidelines pointing at sugar as being the biggest problem in the American diet.

Healthy intake: Added sugars include syrups and other caloric sweeteners. When sugars are added to foods and beverages to sweeten them, they add calories without contributing essential nutrients. Consumption of added sugars can make it difficult for individuals to meet their nutrient needs while staying within calorie limits. Naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit or milk, are not added sugars. Specific examples of added sugars that can be listed as an ingredient include brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, malt syrup, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, trehalose, and turbinado sugar. . . Healthy eating patterns limit added sugars to less than 10 percent of calories per day.

http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/#added-sugars

Right now, food labels are not required to reveal the daily percentage of the sugar in the product. That might be about to change:

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2015/07/hopefully-you-will-soon-be-able-tell-how-much-added-sugar-your-food

DIFFERENT NAMES FOR SUGAR on ingredient lists

  • Agave nectar
  • Barley malt syrup
  • Beet sugar
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Brown sugar
  • Cane crystals/Cane juice crystals
  • Cane sugar
  • Coconut sugar/coconut palm sugar
  • Corn sweetener
  • Corn syrup/corn syrup solids
  • Dehydrated cane juice
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Glucose
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Lactose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Malt syrup
  • Maltose
  • Maple syrup
  • Molasses
  • Palm sugar
  • Raw sugar
  • Rice syrup
  • Saccharose
  • Sorghum/sorghum syrup
  • Sucrose
  • Syrup
  • Treacle
  • Turbinado sugar
  • Xylose

Thanks for this list from Laura Olsen lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/whattoeat/a/sugars.htm

What about sugar substitutes? It seems like Stevia, unprocessed could be a good sugar substitute. Brand name stevia products are heavily processed sometimes with icky chemicals, and some ‘natural’ stevia products have added sugar. Foodbabe has a really good article about stevia

http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/25/stevia-good-or-bad/

In terms of other sugar substitutes, there is a lot of discussion about which ones may be okay and which ones may not be good for you. I am not entering into that conversation in this post. To read more about too much sugar in our food read a longer article called Sugar is not so Sweet on Us – Sugar Blues.

The Green Travel Conundrum

woodenhousetropical

Can travel be green or sustainable? Some people are saying we shouldn’t even be flying on airplanes because the fuel is so polluting. I say let me escape from my home country for a month every year so I can keep my sanity. This place is crazy. From my locale, the fastest and immediately cheapest way to get out is by airplane, if I want to go south, not north, that is.

Mother Jones just tweeted a link to an article about eco friendly air travel. Are you personally responsible for more energy consumption and environmental pollution by flying on a packed plane or by driving by yourself on the highway? Despite the increasing fuel efficiency of airplanes, highway driving still wins the green battle.

Greener air travel now involves thinner more aerodynamic planes with no wasted seats and bigger overhead compartments leaving less headspace. I find myself getting increasingly claustrophobic on airplanes. But, I guess it is worth it if it lowers my carbon footprint and lets me get somewhere far away in mere hours. Obviously, flying on a direct flight keeps your carbon footprint lower than using connecting flights (take offs and landings use more fuel).

Okay then I can control how sustainable my vacation is once I get out of the airport. How to keep my impacts on my vacation spot to a minimum? Don’t create waste by buying bottled water! Bring a water filter instead. Many small Caribbean islands have no recycling program. Electricity and government water can be very expensive leading to stupid practices such as on Tortola, where it is so expensive to have fresh, treated water installed and delivered to your dwelling that many people use paper plates and dishes and plastic utensils just so they don’t have to wash dishes. No thought to the landfills apparently.

We as tourists should know better and do better. Try and take buses if there are any. Again, check out Tortola, no public bus service! You have to have a vehicle or you hitchhike around the island. Just because trade winds blow the ozone pollution out to sea, well it still ends up somewhere, like on another island;

Soil is the second-largest repository for atmospheric carbon after the oceans. Soil stores four times the carbon that is contained in all of the Earth’s living, breathing biomass and atmosphere. The place where carbon belongs, its highest and best use, is underground. – See more at: http://3blmedia.com/News/Leave-It-Ground-Carbon-and-Future-Planet#sthash.Vn5EcTd8.dpuf

or in the sea, killing planktons and corals.

The sea does double duty, producing most of our oxygen and dissolving and absorbing most of our fossil fuel CO2 (as carbonic acid). As the oceans acidify, they become super-saturated with this element, a condition detrimental to sea life. – See more at: http://3blmedia.com/News/Leave-It-Ground-Carbon-and-Future-Planet#sthash.Vn5EcTd8.dpuf

Another way I try to keep my carbon footprint small while on vacation is to avoid cruise ships. I really can’t see the attraction of this sort of vacation anyway. Trapped on a possibly virus contaminated giant ship with other holidaymakers who smell like cheap commercial moisturizer and cigarettes, how is this fun? All you can eat I guess, something like that?

My personal distaste for giant cruise ships is really beside the point. The cruise ship industry does not have a great record of environmental responsibility what with dumping sewage  and garbage at sea and dragging anchors across coral reefs.

Nor do they do much to help the local economies of the exotic ports and towns where they disgorge passengers for a few hours. I have heard of cruise boat officials warning passengers before they disembark to only take 20 dollars in their pockets so as not to get robbed? I have even heard of fancier cruise ships making bagged lunches for people to bring with them to shore. The cruise ship pays the government for the right to berth in the port, but then do nothing much for local people’s little businesses.

I don’t want to antagonize cruise ship lovers, but I really believe that we (at least we Americans) would become a more mature society by personally giving better attention to the rest of the world. Instead of traveling on these huge ships filled with people just like us. It would be cool (I speak as an American) if all Americans could be given the ability or maybe even compelled to travel to a foreign country at some point in their twenties, like it’s a civic duty. There would be a real education.

DSC01922

Cruise ship vacations are a kind of sterilized travel that keeps you from interacting with the rest of the world. And they are very polluting!

Check out cruise ship company environmental scores. http://www.foe.org/cruise-report-card

Another way to travel green is to avoid large/posh resorts (or is that because I can’t afford it haha) Large hotels and resorts are often environmentally irresponsible. A huge resort’s oversized carbon footprint is caused by things like using air conditioning instead of implementing better architecture to allow natural cooling to occur, overuse of valuable resources like water and electricity, and, well, basic economic reasons such as the need to make a profit.

Find out more about how to be comfortable and love vacationing in a cheap, affordable Caribbean apartment or guesthouse!