Bugs getting you down this summer and yet you want to avoid commercial bug sprays? Well, I found great instructions in my "Going Green" desk calendar today for making your own insect repellent!
(I haven't tried this, btw, so if you do please let me know if it works!)
You will need:
- Aloe Vera Gel (from your own organic aloe plant, if you happen to have one growing!)
- Citronella Essential Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
Stir all ingredients together. The mix becomes opaque and you can make it as strong as you like. Because it's made of mainly essential oils I would be careful how much you put on your skin; try a small area first to see if you have a reaction. Adding more aloe gel should minimize irritation.
That is all the instructions say, so my guess is that it's one part each ingredient and you can increase certain components depending on personal preferences.
This entry today is not about gardening.
It's not even about hockey, although the violent passion that sport conjures in many Canadians was in part responsible for what happened last night.
No, this is about the tragedy that occurred in my city on June 15, 2011, following the Canucks loss to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. My beautiful, unique, amazing city became the scene of senseless violence and looting. It was heartbreaking to watch. The plumes of smoke rising over the majestic cityscape of downtown made my stomach turn.
For those of you that may not have heard about the riot in downtown Vancouver last night, you can read all about it here.
I just want to let people know that the real Vancouver is not the small number of people causing destruction last night, but really the thousands of people that turned out this morning to clean up the mess that had been made by those hooligans! Many thousands more are banding together to find the people that committed these crimes to ensure that they will be brought to justice.
Check out these amazing photos by Maurice Li. THIS is the Vancouver that I am proud to call my home. THIS is why I chose to live in this city. I don't live here for the hockey team, the mild weather, or even the beautiful scenery. I live here because it is the most amazing place on earth in every sense imaginable. That includes the people.
The funny thing about Van is that it really isn't the most friendly city. The people are generally polite and less pretentious than a lot of other large cities (probably due to the fact that Vancouver really isn't very large at all) but they are slow to open their hearts to new comers. At first I thought that was because the people here were cold and indifferent. After four years in this city I see it is quite the opposite.
People in Vancouver love their city deeply. They are proud to call this their home, and they develop deep roots that remain unshaken through public spectacles (good or bad). They welcome visitors but are wary of transients. Vancouver, beautiful though it may be, is not the easiest place to live. Many people commute 2-3 hours a day to work, if they can find work at all. Pay is low and housing prices are high. Those that end up staying stay because it is their home, but many leave because the sacrifice is too great.
Those that got up this morning and headed down to the urine soaked downtown to sweep up the broken glass from last night's travesty represent the true spirit of Vancouver. As deeply shamed as I felt last night, I feel just as proud today. THIS is Vancouver and no one, no matter how much destruction they cause, can change that.
And check out this site - this is the way the citizens of Vancouver have responded to last week's events. It makes me even prouder to call this my home!
Recently I have begun reading "The Ages of Gaia" by James Lovelock and it has lead me to some pretty heavy contemplation about the state of life on our planet. Although this doesn't directly relate to gardening, it definitely got me thinking about why the nurturing and growth of plants is so important - not just individually, but on a global scale.
An overview of Lovelock's theory can be found here on Wikipedia, but a brief summary is this: Lovelock believes that the earth is a massive organism, capable of maintaining life through complex geophysiological processes. Essentially, he believes the earth itself is alive.
To me, this idea is very exciting. If our planet is a living thing, then we as people have the opportunity to nurture and support it in its life processes. As if gardening for pleasure wasn't enough, now we can use it to help our entire planet thrive! My newfound belief is making me even more determined to grow healthy, nutritious, and beneficial plants.
As gardeners we are a very important part of the health of our planet. Trees and plants are the lungs of the earth. Growing organically and feeding ourselves through sustainable and positive methods help prevent us from poisoning the ground and waters of the world...just like consuming healthy food, rather than processed junk, helps us better sustain our bodies.
Lovelock's latest book "The Revenge of Gaia", talks about how human society is destroying the delicate balance that allows life to thrive on Earth. If people don't start living their daily lives with more awareness, we will all pay the consequences (at least, according to Lovelock).
I don't know about you, but if increasing the number of things I grow in my day-to-day life is one way that I can help make our planet healthy and vibrant again, than I am more than happy to do it!
If you would like to know more about this interesting man and his fascinating theory, check out his hompage here.