Archive for Sustainable Living

How To Make Cheese From Powdered Milk

A good one to have stored up the sleeve in case of necessity…

http://www.tacticalintelligence.net/blog/how-to-make-cheese-from-powdered-milk.htm

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Cost of Living in Britain Rising Fastest in all of Europe

The cost of living in Britain is rising  faster than anywhere in Europe, new figures reveal.

The big squeeze on family finances is being  exacerbated by wages failing to rise in line with prices.

Increases in energy, food and alcohol prices  are fuelling the high inflation rate in the UK, as political leaders clash over  the effect on household disposable income.

League table: New figures from Eurostat show how inflation in the UK is the highest in the EULeague table: New figures from Eurostat show how  inflation in the UK is the highest in the EU

Official figures from the European Union  today show that inflation in September was higher in the UK than in any of the  28 countries.

One average annual inflation across the EU  was 1.3 per cent last month.

But in the UK the figure was 2.7 per cent,  followed by Estonia (2.6 per cent) and the Netherlands (2.4 per  cent).

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2463143/Revealed-The-cost-living-rising-faster-UK-Europe-soaring-food-energy-bills-blamed.html#ixzz2huHekoxX

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Supermarket Foods containing pestiside residues nearly doubles in decade in UK

I thought this was worth checking out and being aware of…Link is also below. This refers to the UK, but you may like to do your own investigation depending on which country you live in….

‘A massive proportion of our  everyday  food is contaminated with pesticide – with up to 98 per cent  of some  fruits carrying traces of the chemicals.

Almost half of all fresh produce is affected  by increasingly heavy use of the substances, a study of official figures has  revealed.

Overall, the proportion of supermarket foods  with pesticide residues has almost doubled in a decade.

Some 46 per cent of fresh fruit and  vegetables, such as grapes and apples, contained residues, up from 25 per cent  in 2003.

In terms of processed food, residues were  found in almost 97 per cent of flour and 73.6 per cent of bread.

In most cases the traces were below  internationally recognised safety levels, however critics argue many of the  substances are a known risk to human health and warn that the cumulative  ‘cocktail effect’ of even very low levels may be harmful.’ CLIP

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2405078/Up-98-fresh-food-carries-pesticides-Proportion-produce-residues-doubles-decade.html#ixzz2dLYBBNYZ

Chemicals

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The Beauty of Pollination

I am back from my travels and glad to be back, having had a lovely time catching up with family and friends. Here is a quick video for you that I think is very beautiful. I hope you enjoy it…sometimes we forget to wonder at Life in all its infinite variety.

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One Poor Weather Event?

And following on from the last post about the risk of “one poor weather event” to the bees….we know it is happening across the globe right now…I will let you come to your own conclusions …

floods

floods 3

floods 2

The weather has been so unusual over the past few years that the Met Office is concerned that the repercussions of climate change may already be upon us.

The forecaster is concerned by a sequence of increasingly strange weather in the UK, which includes the coldest spring in 50 years this year, the wettest summer in a century last year, as well as droughts and the prolonged winter.

It has called an unprecedented meeting of experts to discuss Britain and Europe’s increasingly unpredictable weather patterns in a bid to determine if the they represent a fundamental shift as a result of climate change or simply come down to variable weather.

Climate scientists and meterologists will travel to the Met Office’s headquarters in Exeter on Tuesday for the summit, which will be chaired by Stephen Belcher, Head of the Met Office Hadley Centre.

Mr Belcher said: “We have seen a run of unusual seasons in the UK and Northern Europe, such as the cold winter of 2010, last year’s wet weather and the cold spring this year.

“This may be nothing more than a run of natural variability, but there may be other factors impacting our weather. For example, there is emerging research which suggests there is a link between declining Arctic sea ice and European climate – but exactly how this process might work, and how important it may be among a host of other factors, remains unclear.“The Met Office is running a workshop to bring together climate experts from across the UK to look at these unusual seasons, the possible causes behind them, and how we can learn more about those drivers of our weather.”

The meeting comes after the National Farmers’ Union reported that wheat harvests are likely to be around 30% lower than last year as a result of the extreme weather over winter, making it the second below-average harvest in as many years.

Beekeepers have also reported that a third of honeybee colonies failed to survive the winter following last year’s wash-out summer and continuing bad weather into 2013, exacerbated by the late arrival of spring.

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83% Of Our Plants Require Bees To Pollinate Them.

What can you say goodbye to in this bee-less new world? Here’s a short list: apples, onions, avocados, carrots, mangoes, lemons, limes, honeydew, cantaloupe, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, cucumbers, green onions, cauliflower, leeks, bok choy, kale, broccoli, broccoli rabe, mustard greens. Turns out one of every three bites of food comes from plants pollinated by honeybees and other pollinators.

More than 83 per cent of the plant species on earth require bees and other pollinators to exist, and these plants include some of the most nutritious parts of our diet. Despite their importance, we continue to see alarming declines in bee numbers. The problem of bees dying out can be traced back to the mid-2000s. Since then these honey bees have been dying out by the tens of millions, according to scientists who are warning that time is running out.

‘Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops,’ the reports says. So what’s killing off the bees? The report states a few different factors may be responsible, from pesticides used in farming to the lack of natural habitats for bees to feed off of. Whatever it is, colony collapse disorder has caused the death of 30 per cent of bee colonies every winter since 2007.

USDA scientist Jeff Pettis estimates, ‘We are one poor weather event or high winter bee loss away from a pollination disaster.’

Bees

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2342069/What-supermarket-look-like-bees-die-Empty-shelves-scant-produce-options.html#ixzz2WIv1NooE

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Cherry Cordial: Packed with Vitamins and Anti-Oxidants

I posted up how to make raspberry and blackcurrant cordial; but am going to experiment this year with a new one-cherry cordial. I have a lot of cherries I put in the freezer, as I read somewhere that if frozen whole with stems intact, they will defrost just like fresh cherries to eat. They do actually, although you need to eat them pretty quickly as they do go mushy after a day. Anyway I have lots left and so this year I think I am going to use them up by converting them to syrup giving them another 2 year life span, as well as using more fresh ones when they come into season. I have just ordered my muslin to strain through, very reasonably priced on Amazon so once that arrives I shall give it a whirl, following the raspberry syrup method.

Looking around though I did find that cherries are packed with goodies to keep us healthy [which is why I froze so many last year], and I am now considering and consulting/negotiating with Granddad about possibly planting some of our own wild cherry trees. Here is the low down on how good they are for us. I always bear in mind these nasty flu viruses and like to have something handy to boost the immune system that is natural and nice from about September onwards here in the UK. Does it work? Well 3 years ago I was staying with my son and his girlfriend; when my son went down with the so-called swine flu. He and his girlfriend were wiped out with it, very very poorly; and I did not get the slightest hint of it. They were prescribed Tamiflu. I was with them before their symptoms and during the flu itself. Luck? Or my boosted Vit C and especially Vit D? I think its worth doing anyway!

  • Cherries are pigment rich fruits. These pigments, in fact, are polyphenolic flavonoid compounds known as anthocyanin glycosides. Anthocyanins are red, purple or blue pigments found in many fruits and vegetables, especially concentrated in their skin, known to have powerful anti-oxidant properties.
  • Scientific studies have shown that anthocyanins in the cherries are found to act like anti-inflammatory agents by blocking the actions of cyclooxygenase-1, and 2 enzymes. Thus, consumption of cherries has potential health effects against chronic painful episodes such as gout arthritis, fibromyalgia (painful muscle condition) and sports injuries.
  • Research studies also suggest that anti-oxidant compounds in tart cherries help the human body to fight against cancers, aging and neurological diseases, and pre-diabetes condition.
  • Cherry fruits are very rich in stable anti-oxidant melatonin. Melatonin can cross the blood-brain barrier easily and produces soothing effects on the brain neurons, calming down nervous system irritability, which helps relieve neurosis, insomnia and headache conditions.
  • Further, they are also mild source of zinc, moderate sources of iron, potassium, and manganese and good source of copper. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
  • The fruits, especially tart cherries are exceptionally rich in health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and beta carotene. These compounds act as protective scavengers against harmful free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease processes.
  • Anti-inflammatory property of cherries has been found effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors by scavenging action against free radicals.
  • Acerola or West Indian cherry has exceptionally very high levels of vitamin-C (1677.6 mg per 100 g or 2796 % of RDA) and vitamin-A (767 IU per 100 g).

Cherries

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