Check it out here: www.appletreesustainables.com
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Thanks for keeping up to date on my site and checking back to see what has been happening at Apple Tree. I have just made the switch to an official website and a new blog on that same site. You can also place an order for Healthy Hygiene products or sign up for my new classes in March & April.
Monday, 19 December 2011
The DIY Beeswax Body Product workshop at the Light Cellar in Bowness was SOLD OUT and SOOO much fun! Here are some of the pics from our night together:
Twenty students ready to learn!
Three stations set up to make lip balm, solid lotion & healing salve.
We enjoyed some great chocolate treats by Malcolm and had some laughs too. Thanks to all of you who came to join us! Hope to see you at the next class :)
Friday, 2 December 2011
Sunday, 27 November 2011
What are you giving your friends and family for gifts this holiday season? With any luck it will involve something homemade, made by a local artisan, or grown in your backyard. Not only will you be supporting a more sustainable and decentralized economic system, you will be reducing the amount of energy spent on packaging and transport. As I am thinking about different items I can make that my friends and family would like, here are a few of my ideas:
- jam, jelly, or other preserves
- assorted dried fruit
- infused olive oil and vinegar
- relaxing eye pillow filled with flax seeds, buckwheat, or rice and lavender
- dried and crushed rose hips--it is a good time to collect them any time after the first frost
- locally grown seeds for planting in spring--Harmonic Herbs is my new favourite local company
- organic sugar and olive oil body scrub--super easy to make
- cookie jars
- local herbs for tea and honey
- make and freeze muffins for an quick morning meal for busy families
- make and freeze your favourite soup, lasagna, pie, etc.
- coupon for a free night of babysitting for a couple who could use a night out
- make a donation in a friends' name to their favourite charity
- Here are some ideas of charities that need food and monetary donations:
- Mustard Seed, Inn From the Cold, Women In Need Society, United Way, Inter-faith Food Bank
- shop for needed items for the above charities with a friend and donate at the end of your day together
If you are not inclined to make something yourself, consider shopping at the next Calgary Dollars Market on December 12th at Bow Cliff Senior Center. If you are not yet a member of Calgary Dollars, sign up at the market and receive $20 to spend!
I will be at the next Calgary Dollars market selling toothpaste, tooth powder, deodorant, face cream with sea buckthorn infused oil, ache out creamy oil, and some other surprises. As a strong supporter of the program, I accept 50% Calgary Dollars for my healthy hygiene products. Email me ahead of time to pick up your order at the market.
Leave a comment of your favourite homemade gift to make, local vendor, or charity to donate to!
Saturday, 5 November 2011
It was not too long ago that our garden wrapped up for the year (just yesterday!), but already there are a lot of people talking about next year's garden projects. Living in a very cold climate challenges our gardening techniques and allows us time to learn and rejuvenate during a long winter.
While standing outside in a new dusting of snow, getting colder by the minute, a keen group of parents and interested community members stood in a potential new garden space. Due to the foresight of these members, permaculture was at the centre of our discussions. As a friend reminded me yesterday, there are 100 hours of planning for every hour of implementation in permaculture. Since "work is a failure in design" we want to make sure that our systems, be they water, paths, beds, or structures, will provide maximum output for minimal work input.
Through my experiences helping out getting a community garden established at Mount Royal University, gaging interest in my community in implementing a garden, and in attending various gardening workshops, I learned have learned of many sources of grants and additional information. Here are some sites to get you started on funding your new community garden or other sustainable project in Calgary:
To find out more information about starting a community garden, check out these sites to give you ideas and support:
Start a free website or blog on Wordpress or Blogger like Tuscany did for their garden to document their efforts and raise awareness and support for the project you are embarking on. Print off pieces of paper to distribute to your friends and neighbours in the community and advertise in your community newsletter to drum up support.
If you come across more information for grants or other support, please leave a comment below to help other future community garden supporters!
Monday, 12 September 2011
People Care and Fair share were lessons that I learned under an apple tree last year during a pick for the the Calgary Urban Harvest. My husband and I joined the harvest because we longed for free, organic, local fruit that we grew accustomed to while living in Oregon. Not only did we have access to more fruit than we could eat in a year, we learned so many more things while harvesting.
Now that the fruit harvesting season is in full swing again, it has reminded me of all the lessons we learned picking apples, plums, and cherries. After harvesting the fruit from tree owners that would otherwise not use the fruit (earth care), we leave 1/3 of the harvest for them (if they want it), share 1/3 with the other volunteers fruit pickers, and donate 1/3 to charitable organizations. While picking we were building community, making connections, sharing recipes, life stories, and metaphorically weaving a support network of new friends. People Care.
Donations of fruit were shared with the Mustard Seed, Drop In Centre, Food Bank, and other organizations. There is no better way to start a day than dropping off fresh, organic, local produce to a charity in the morning before work! Fair share.
Have you figured out why I chose the title for this blog and my business yet? I believe than many of the world's problems can be solved under an apple tree and the complicated nature of permaculture can be easily broken down.
Bring your kids, friends, and family on our next harvest to share our experiences with the three main principles of permaculture: earth care, people care, and fair share.
Monday, 25 July 2011
The first main principle of permaculture is Earth Care.
In essence, this principle implies that humans are not inherently destructive to the Earth, we can be mechanisms of repair if given the proper knowledge. One of the easiest things we can do in a city situation is to remove our role as a grass farmer and use that space to grow our own organic food. Here is a great article about lawns from my friends at Verge Permaculture: The Grass Isn't Greener.
In our zone 2 climate, it is challenging to grow melons, hot peppers, and okra. However, we can quite easily grow lettuce, beets, carrots, peas, beans, squash, cucumbers, onion, garlic, strawberries, raspberries, apple trees.... and the list goes on. We can grow more edible plants than most people think! It is important to select varieties of seeds for this climate carefully, as some are better than others. Try to save your own seed from successful plants or barter for some from a friend.
Another easy thing to do to aid in Earth Care is to compost. Composting can be done on all sorts of scales in many different ways, but they all need similar materials: browns (carbon) and greens (nitrogen). Here is a good source for more details on composting.
If you do not have space or ability to start a compost pile, you can vermicompost in your home or apartment with worms. Not only is it a great activity for children to be involved with, it can be maintained with minimal effort. Here is where I get my worms and info from: Worms @ Work and "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Applehof. We have maintained our worm bin for over 2 years, feeding them every other week, without so much as a hint of smell from the bin. Give it a try!
When you are working on a project around your yard or home, think about if you can source the materials you need second hand via Kijiji, bartering with a friend, or check out ReStore. Do you really need to remove your bathroom cabinets, or could you refinish them? Instead of buying new wood to build a raised bed, could you find some pieces that someone is giving away for free or low cost to avoid them being dumped in the landfill. Many construction sites around town now have debris recycling bags that can often be a source of good pieces of wood or other materials.
In summary of Earth Care:
1. Stop being a grass farmer and turn your lawn into a food productive space
2. Plant seeds that are well adapted for your particular climate and growing season
4. Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose
Next topic: People Care