Earthing or Grounding for Greater Health

Earthing-&-Grounding

 

Have you heard of Earthing or Grounding?  Do you know what it is?

It is simply the act of walking barefoot on the ground, or lying/sleeping on the ground, gardening with your bare hands or feet in the earth; allowing your body to reconnect with the earth’s natural healing energies and rhythms.

Although it is a very simple and natural thing to do, there are actually many health benefits associated with this. I think we all know about walking barefoot on the dewy grass or riverbank or sea side to reduce or ‘earth out’ any build up of static electricity in our bodies. But now there have been a number of scientific studies done that show Earthing can help relieve chronic pain, reduce inflammation, improve sleep, relieve stress, enhance well-being and much, much more.

Ancient cultures knew about the earths powerful energy and natural rhythmic pulses that keep life running in a rhythm and balance that maintains homeostasis, which is essential to all life, and naturally incorporated them in their everyday lives. But our disconnection from the Earth and Nature has, until recently, meant that Earthing or Grounding ourselves has virtually been overlooked as having any positive impact on our health or well-being, by our modern culture.

During Earthing, negatively-charged electrons transfer from the earth’s surface into our bodies where they neutralize positively-charged destructive free radicals, and also releases any build-up of static energy in the body. These electrons are the most powerful antioxidants known. By scavenging and neutralizing free radicals in the body, antioxidants help to ease inflammation and cell or tissue damage. Earthing also enhances our mood by relieving physical or emotional stress.

So take off your shoes whenever and where ever you can, get your hands and feet back in the earth as often as you can when you’re outdoors, and take advantage of the natural health benefits of Grounding yourself.

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Living Lightly on the Planet

This is a guest post written by a longtime friend of mine, Faye, who hails from New Zealand.  Faye and her husband Don also live A Simply Naturally Life, and in this post Faye tells us about their experience in creating a home , gardens and forest of their own design on what was originally bare acreage in an eco community.

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Living Lightly On The Planet  –  written by Faye

StoneWorkDon and I moved out of Auckland nearly 9 years ago to a bare 2HA on the Kaipara harbour, Northland, NZ. We were committed to living lightly on the planet.

Don had a solar water heating business and I was a school teacher. We were in our 50s, fit and healthy and were committed to living as lightly on the planet as possible. We had enough savings to pay the modest cost of the land and for our shell home and basic infrastructure.

Outside

After that we did almost all the work ourselves and paid for materials as we could afford them from our income. We had a simple shell built professionally, clad in Lawson cypress timber and using second hand doors and windows. Half the building had a concrete floor (garage and office), the rest was mud, – up to your ankles mud. It is now a leather-like earth floor which we love.

Inside

It was an ethical and practical choice to connect to the grid for power but we have kept the option open to go off the grid in future by minimizing our power demand. While our usage has remained at only 2.8kWh per day, the charges have increased over the years. On top of this we spend about $100 per year on LPG for stovetop cooking. I do a lot of preserving of seasonal fruits and we have a very efficient vestfrost freezer but no frig.

Minimising cement use (to minimise greenhouse gas emissions) was important to us so we chose a lightweight construction and used local rocks in many ways. We have planted most of the property in trees to take carbon out of the atmosphere and hope to lock it out of the air through making biochar and building timber. Don has applied 2-3 tonnes of biochar to our soil here though mostly from a generous ex charcoal producer. This has enhanced the soil structure and we hope, in time, to increase fertility and have a drought proof property.

Bottle-Wall

The house is warm in winter and cool in summer due to passive solar design. The insulation is over spec and we use drapes effectively. I love the way the winter sun comes our 4 metre bifold doors, and reflects off the mosaic floor to the ceiling. The earth floor is dark and holds the warmth well into the night. Water is heated by solar energy and we have an efficient wood stove with a wetback, although we really don’t need it. It’s cosy though, to have the fire and we have more than enough firewood. There is always some breeze here and we designed the windows to keep the house cool in summer. Our upstairs loft (our bedroom) has large opening windows which drain heat very effectively when open. We are vegetarian and eat mostly from our garden and trees. The climate here is subtropical so we produce a good variety of fresh vegetables and fruit all year round. We planted over a hundred fruit and nut trees which produce abundantly. Our avocado trees produced for the first time this year. We need to travel to Whangarei or Auckland about every 3-4 weeks for income purposes and buy our basic supplies there. Average grocery spend is less than $100 a month. We have a low – moderate income and live cheaply and simply within that. We try to only use the vehicle if it is for multiple purposes.

Guest-Cabin

Don built two cabins for WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) and guests. They are both under 10 sq metres so didn’t need a permit. We like the idea of building one elsewhere to live in, in the future.

The whole experience of creating a home of our own design, gardens and forest has been rewarding and meaningful to us. It has fulfilled our spiritual need for creativity, kept us fit and in a rapidly diversifying natural setting. One of our joys here is hearing and seeing the proliferating bird life on our once treeless 2HA.

Timbered-SlopeShared on: Natural Living Monday, Homestead Barn hop, Wordless Wednesday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Homeacre Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Thrifty Thursday, From the Farm, Old-Fashioned Friday, Friendship Friday, Freedom Friday

Tread Lightly on the Earth

Lotus  Tread Lightly on the Earth! What does this mean?

A simple explanation of treading lightly on the earth is to have a light eco footprint or to reduce/lighten your eco footprint. And an ecological footprint is a method for calculating your impact on the natural environment by assessing how much land is required to produce the resources you use in your everyday life. It is about the demand humans make on Nature and Earth to supply the lifestyle they live.

Most ‘developed’ industrial countries are consuming more than the earth can provide. Many cities and towns are struggling to maintain a reliable water supply.

To tread lightly on the earth means to respect the earth, and respect our position as caretakers of this land for future generations, but so many of us think it is our right to pillage and plunder as our shortsighted greed dictates.

If we do this to a business how long do you think it will last? What if one or all members of a household do this, how long would it last? Doing this to our Earth home, how long do you think it will last?

Aboriginal people taught themselves thousands of years ago how to live sustainably in the earth’s fragile landscape. But this is something we’ve forgotten in hundreds of years of striving to achieve more, to produce more, to build bigger and better things.
We have forgotten to walk lightly, and instead mine the earth of its natural resources, clear cut forests, pollute water ways and oceans, alter the landscape to fit our needs, pollute the air, turn the rain acidic and the ozone holed, to name but a few.

Whatever befalls the earth befalls the inhabitants of earth as All things are connected.

Treading Lightly takes us on a unique journey back to living in balance and harmony with the Earth, and Life

Make a pledge to do something today!

Be an Example! Help, show, share, teach; talk to children, friends, neighbours, about treading lightly. Let them know why and what you do to create a smaller eco footprint, and share how you do it.

Recycle! Even young children can keep an eye out for items that can be recycled and they can help get those items into the recycling bins. Make it a family challenge to decrease the amount of trash your family sends to the dump. Rather than always using new materials, use recycled materials and items. Giving handmade gifts not only saves money and resources, it is special to those who receive it.   Click and go to the post on recycling. 

Get unplugged! Our world is one of electronic connectivity. Try connecting with your children, family and friends in ways that don’t involve plugging in (even wirelessly). Go for a walk, or try out a board game. You can even make getting unplugged a family challenge. Try spending a day or weekend without connecting electronically. Get resourceful and creative. It can be fun.

Buy locally! Not only will you be supporting your local economy and neighbors, you’ll use fewer resources to get your items home. In many cases, it takes more energy to transport, store and display food than the food provides. What do you think the actual cost on the environment is of a lettuce grown in a large crop of lettuce’ (mono cropping ) in soil that is heavily sprayed with herbicide and then pesticides, then when large enough harvested and transported to a shed for packing and selling, to then be transported up to thousands of kilometers in heavy vehicles to be stored and displayed in a large factory/supermarket/artificial environment to then be sold again. And then transported to its final resting place and the unused parts are then transported to a dumping ground/landfill area. Actually there are even more steps than that in the life of a commercially produced lettuce. Phew, was life really meant to be that complicated, environmentally costly and toxic?

Travel Lighter! Walk more. Start cycling. Carpool. Consolidate trips. Stay home more. Leave your car at home for shorter trips, and make the journey by foot or bike instead. There was a time when people kept fit in their daily life. Now we are lazy and wasteful in our daily life and then pay a gym to keep us fit.

Conserve water! Researchers note that as fast as the demand for clean water increases, so does water pollution. Keep water conservation in the forefront of your mind as you go about your day. Fix leaky taps and toilets, use your laundry rinsing water on the garden and keep your showers short. Only use what you need, not what you greed. When there is no more clean water left, the ability to pay for it will have little value.

Dispose of disposables! Use (multi-purpose) reusable items whenever you can. In our disposable throwaway society what we are throwing away is a Happy, Healthy future; or possibly any future at all.

Live a life of less quantity and more quality; become more sustainable and Tread Lighter on the Earth.

Live Lightly

Untitled-2Shared on: Wildcrafting Wednesday Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, The HomeAcre, Farmgirl Friday, Simple Lives Thursday, Say G’Day, Natural Living Monday, Thrifty Thursday

Natural Homemade Laundry Powder

Laundry-PowderDo you know what is in commercial laundry detergents and what effect they have on your health and the environment? Detergents in all forms – liquids, cakes or powders – are mistakenly accepted as safe, but more and more research is finding they are anything but safe for your health or our environment.

Making your own All Natural Laundry Powder is a breeze and you will know for sure what is in it. This is yet another way you can reduce toxins in the home and save money at the same time.

This is what is in my Homemade Laundry Powder:

Baking Soda – (Sodium Bicarbonate) helps remove stains and any odor. It is gentler on delicate fabrics than Borax.

Washing Soda – (Sodium Carbonate or Soda Ash) helps remove stains and grease as well as softening the water. It can even work as a fixative for some natural dyeing techniques.

Soap – (Plain Soap Bar like Sunlight) cleans

Citric Acid – helps break down grease and stains and is a natural bleaching agent, color brightener and water softener.

Borax –  stain removal, and can also be used on whites as an alternative to bleach. (This can be left out if you prefer to go Borax free and more Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) added in its place) Soap-&-Laundry-Powder My Natural Homemade Laundry Powder Recipe:

1 cup Washing Soda

1 cup plain soap grated or powdered

½ cup Borax

¼ cup Baking Soda

¼ cup citric Acid

Instructions:

1. First slice the bar of soap, using a sharp knife, into smaller pieces. Then put the soap pieces into the blender and blend on high to get it as close possible to powder form. If you haven’t got a blender, you can hand grate the soap as fine as you can. The finer the soap is ground or grated the easier it will dissolve during washing. I wash in cold water so this is quite important to me.

Powdered Plain Bar Soap

Powdered Plain Bar Soap

2. I then mix all the ingredients together and put them in an air tight jar or container ready for use.

3. I use a third of a cup of powder for a load of washing.

4. I often turn my washing machine off part way through the wash cycle for an hour or even ten hours, to let it soak before turning the machine back on to complete the wash cycle. This gives time for the cleaning ingredients to gently get in for a cleaner wash.

All Natural Fabric Softener:

I put 1/3 cup of vinegar in the last rinse cycle to act as a fabric softener. It also removes any soap residue that may still be in the fabric and makes sure the ph level has returned to a balanced level.  My clothes don’t smell of vinegar because any vinegar smell doesn’t linger for more than a minute in clothes.

Have you ever used this recipe?

4 cups Lux Pure Soap Flakes

1 cup Methylated Spirits

1 cup Eucalyptus Oil

Combine and store in a jar.

My mother did and although it is a mix for washing woolens (and seemingly doesn’t need to be rinsed out after washing) she also used it in her washing machine for very dirty, greasy or oily clothes and it worked amazingly well.

What is your favorite Natural Laundry product? Untitled-2 Shared on: From the Farm, Old Fashioned Friday, Simple Saturday, Simply Natural Saturday, Wildcrafting Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday,

Less Money, More Freedom

RidingHave you ever heard it said or written that, “Money is an illusion, who’s only value is that which we agree to.”

Other than the value we give it, it really is just coloured bits of paper and tiny metal disks.

That being said, most of us are tied to the ‘game’ of money (me included) and the financial economy, so we are bound by the rules of the game, but we don’t need to be a slave to it.

Here are some steps we can take now, that will allow us to loosen these ties and gain more freedom, balance and control in our lives.

Create a Freedom fund – or a semi-retirement fund, or a moving off-grid fund – Put the money saved into a bank account or somewhere safe and leave it alone. Forget it’s there.

Reduce Your Expenses
– Cut out the bills that are not really needed or essential.
– See where utility bills can be reduced, by being more aware of their usage.
– Make a point of only spending what you have the cash for. If you don’t have the cash for it, you probably don’t need it. If you do feel you need it, be creative and think outside the box.
– Let go of satellite or cable TV. There are many other things you can do with the time that will be even more rewarding.
– Drive less by combining errands into one trip or car sharing.

Save Money on Food – You can save money by not eating out often, and that includes those small items which add up over the course of a month ie coffee at your local coffee shop, candy bars, snacks, fast or convenience food, and drinks. Not only are they bad for your health and well-being, they cost you more money than you first think. Learn to think ahead, prepare and cook your own nutritious food.

Sell what isn’t necessary to your life now – You know, that shed out back, spare room or closet that’s full of stuff you no longer use. If you haven’t used it in six months to a year, chances are you aren’t going to use it and so it is just clutter. Even if you can only sell the item for a dollar or five, that money can add to savings or go towards something you need now. That is better than collecting dust and using up space.

Grow Your Own Food – Read up and learn how to grow your own food in pots or in your own backyard. Start small, increasing as your skills and successes increase.

DIY and BYO – From herbal remedies, safe homemade cleaning products, changing your own tap washers to cutting your family’s hair or changing the oil in the car, learning to DIY can save you more money than you expect. There are plenty of free resources (ie YouTube and the internet) to show you how to do many different things yourself. Bringing your own (BYO) wine to a restaurant or thermos of coffee and sandwiches on an outing can mean you get more for your dollar.

Trade time and Skills – Acknowledge or brush up on your existing skills or learn new skills that you’ve always wanted to learn. You can then share or trade skills with others. If your main skill is time then you can share or trade that. These are all valuable commodities.

Slow down in the Laundry – It seems so normal these days to throw clothes in the wash after one wear, whether they need it or not. And then to just put them in the dryer, rather than hanging them out. There are great freshening and sanitizing qualities in hanging clothes outside to dry in the sun and wind. Plus it saves lots of money.

The less money you need to live your life, the less you are tied to the money ‘game’.

Untitled-2Shared on: Simple Saturday,  Simply Natural Saturdays, From the Farm, Old Fashioned Friday

The Hippie Legacy

images5The counterculture, labeled “The Hippie Movement”, radically shaped the world we have today and made everyday life more colorful, diverse, open and accepting. Hippies embraced change faster than society could integrate, which caused many tensions and much conflict.

The Hippie Culture began in the 1960s as the Baby Boom Generation was maturing into their teens. Often those who became a Hippie came from ‘well off’ families, but were tired of the oppressive restrictions put on them by society and their conservative parents. They were tired of conforming and began to express themselves in radical ways. They expressed disillusionment with the growing commercialism and by a world being poisoned with chemicals and obsessed with consuming. They often even rejected wearing shoes preferring the freedom of bare feet and the connectedness to the earth this bought. Hippies didn’t care much about money and worked for the ‘establishment’ as little as possible. Instead, many of them shared what they had and lived together in groups, while others just lived naturally & frugally by choice.

Hippies sought to free themselves and find new meaning in life. In their quest for the most natural way of living they tended to reject manufactured food, clothing and products, preferring healthier, more natural alternatives. Hippies believed the dominant mainstream culture was corrupt and inherently flawed and sought to replace it with a Utopian society.

The culture of Hippies was unlike anything people had seen before. They focused their lives around the ideas of peace, love, freedom, and living life to the fullest. To heighten their experiences spiritually and physically, many hippies used hallucinogenic drugs and sex.

There can be no discussion about the Hippie movement without a mention of drugs and free sex. Drug use and illicit or ‘free sex’ were common behind closed doors prior to the Hippie Movement, the Hippies didn’t invent them, they just bought them out of hiding and secrecy, and into the open.

They lived peaceful lives and believed that living together in harmony was possible and necessary. Because of this, they strongly opposed violence, and in particular, the Vietnam War; opposing the lack of freedom to choose to go to war or not.

images4Hippies experimented with living in new ways together. The idea was to live a simple, more natural life. Not because you had to, but because you wanted to. They used candles, saved water, played music, experimented with many art forms, grew their own food and sold or shared their resources. Hippies did not want to be in a job they hated for 40 years to pay off a mortgage or to keep up appearances.

It was a time for questioning the status quo, and questioning the way our culture was being guided to go – not something that was greeted with open arms by a conforming conservative culture. They believed that the government was at the root of this and many other evils in society at the time. Due to this belief in particular, many officials and authorities felt threatened by the presence and radical ideas expressed by the Hippie culture and saw them as a danger to society as they wanted it. Many authorities felt threatened by their presence, so spent a lot of time and effort publicly discrediting them and squashing them as soon as possible. The ‘straight’ culture saw them as a freak of society, and reacted strongly to this defiance of the status quo as well.

By the 1980’s the Hippie culture was all but reduced to a few. The pull of conformity, commercialism and dependence over all seemed to have won the day.

But many aspects of the Hippie Culture were assimilated into the mainstream culture. The Hippie movement did change the way many people viewed life, even if they decided against wearing flowers in their hair, going bare foot and handing flowers out as symbols of peace. The Hippie Movement morphed into the peoples personal ‘Green Movement’, environmentalism, sustainability, nonviolence and social justice concerns.

People’s memory and experience of that time may differ, but we can’t deny the good that came from it. I for one loved it. I have fond memories of the colour, the music and free spiritedness. I loved the vibrancy and the acceptance of life as a whole. I didn’t feel the need to experiment with drugs but did enjoy the feelings of hope and the freedom to express an inner aliveness.

signOffShared on: Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Old Fashioned Friday, From the Farm

Mini Wicking Beds

Herbs-Growing

There are many ways to create a wicking bed. I chose to make these very simple, economical and easy to construct and maintain mini ones.

Wicking beds are a way of growing plants where moisture wicks up from an underground water reservoir that is below the root zone. This encourages the roots of the plants to grown down deeper rather than staying on the surface. The major advantage of a wicking bed is a significant increase in production, due in part to the soil always being moist, never too dry or too wet, thus causing less stress on the plants. Water evaporation, use and frequency of watering are also greatly reduced.

The simplest and most common form of wicking bed is to have a flower pot standing in saucer of water so the water wicks up into the soil.

This is how I constructed my wicking beds:

Setting-Up

 I picked up some used vegetable boxes from our local organic shop, then sourced the piping from our local recycle center.

The box is lined with plastic to ensure it holds water. I used a couple of heavy duty rubbish bags. Drain holes were drilled in the larger pipe I used as part of the water reservoir, and an opening created for the filler pipe.

2-Drain-Pipes

 In some of the boxes I used 2 pipes in the bottom to keep the weight of the boxes down for ease of moving them (while the reservoir is dry) at later dates. I then filled the bottom with gravel.

Gravel-Added

The gravel I used was some I already had. Organic matter can be used instead of gravel, which will have the added bonus of forming a compost tea and feed the plants as well as watering them. If you use wood chips they will reduce the available nitrogen levels so it is best to add extra nitrogen, such as blood and bone. It is best not to use sand around the pipes as it can have a tendency to clog up.

Netting

I then placed shade cloth over the gravel to stop the soil falling into the water reservoir.The extra plastic was also trimmed off.

A hole about a centimeter round was made in the side of the box at the level where the gravel and soil meet – the level of the shade cloth. This let any extra water out to stop the box becoming soggy and water logged.

When topping the wicking bed with water you know the reservoir is full when water starts coming out of the drain hole.

Soil-Added

Choose a nice, light compost soil with good water retention properties to fill your wicking bed with.

The surface of the bed should be dry.  When you plant seeds you can wet the surface, but after they have germinated and developed a root system, you only water from the pipes.

I use a dry bamboo garden stake to dip down the filler pipe to check the water level.

Wicking-BedIt is as easy and inexpensive as that!  In no time the wicking bed is producing lush herbs and veges with very little space or maintenance needed.

Untitled-2Shared on: Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Old Fashioned Friday, Small Footprint Friday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, From the Farm