Posts Tagged ‘guava’

Change the World Wednesday – 10 Sep

goiababranca

White guava

Here we go again. I woke this morning to find two big goiaba branca just waiting to be plucked.

And plucked they were, then eaten for breakfast.

Delicious they were.

And all this before coffee…

I surprise myself sometimes.

I am pleased to report that the coffee situation has been rectified. Coffee is not merely a beverage, it is a cup of liquid sanity.

Last week I extended my foray to the dumping ground and dragged home another lovely piece of wood.

Grotty yard table

Grotty yard table standing to the side

My orignial yard table was a grotty old thing.

It is now the wind break for my latest addition.

My yard now sports a respectable table

My yard now sports a respectable table – the lighting was terrible for the photo this morning.

My new BBQ corner, still supported by one of the grotty old stoves that I replaced. But it’s a great place to store charcoal.

By collecting other people’s throw-outs, my lot improves; little by little.

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Remember my celery butt? Now planted in a pot of its own and thriving.

My celery butt

Okay, it’s time for this week’s CTWW.

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The week we are looking at spreading the good word. Bringing other people into the ‘green’ fold.

All of the green-living activities which we, as Eco-conscious people, adopt help control climate change. But we need more people to climb on board. So, this week, encourage others to take action against climate change. Need some ideas? Write a post about the situation and ask your readers to take on an Eco-friendly activity. Open a conversation with friends and family. Write to officials with your concerns and suggest actions which they can take. The idea, this week, is to get other people thinking about climate change and acting against this threat.

 

Various shades of green

Various shades of green

A great idea. But just a post here, is preaching to the converted. Let’s face it, most of the people are here becasue they are already various shades of green.

So I propose to add an intro on some of my other blogs inviting readers to come and look at this CTWW. It doesn’t sound like a great deal, but some of my blogs have 1,000+ followers, if I can generate the slightest impetus for a few of them to come and at least look at CTWW, then I win.

I agree with the sentiment of writing to officials. But sometimes I feel that we are banging our heads against the proverbial brick wall.

Proverbial brick wall

Proverbial brick wall

And it hurts.

To really make a change, we have to tackle the governments. Once we have tackled the governments, we have to get them to tackle the capitalists. And only then will we see some meaningful changes to the status quo. We have to use our collective votes to ban this ‘two-party’ system; where one is just as bad as the other.

Meanwhile we still have our brick wall.

Here in Brazil we will have elections in October. There were three serious contenders for president. Dilma Rousseff, the incumbent; Aércio Neves, great on economics and infrastructure; and Eduardo Campos, who died a couple of weeks ago in a plane crash. Now on an average, Dilma was polling high, then came Aércio who was catching her up. Eduardo was struggling to get into double figures. His running mate, Marina da Silva has stepped into his shoes. This has changed the game. Dilma and Marina are neck and neck, with Aércio trailing a third.

greenworld

Brazil could become the greenest country

Sorry to bore you with all this political background, but you are about to see why.

If Marina da Silva becomes presidenta, Brazil could become the greenest country on the planet.

Marina, a former minister for the environment, is probably the most conscious politician ever in matters of the environment.

The capitalist agriculture sector is quivering in it’s collective boots; because she will reform, boy how she will reform.

Deforestation in the Amazon could stop overnight.

Ecological and social disasters like the Belo Monte hydro power scheme could have the plug pulled.

When questioned on this, she is keeping mum; a sure indication that she is thinking.

She will aim at showing the world that green is achieveable.

There is a drawback with Marina, she is an evangelical and could take the country backwards in contentious social issues like same sex marriage.

But there is hope.

 

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Change the World Wednesday – 6th Aug

My goiaba (guava tree) is guavaring like crazy. Two, three or four fruit are ready for the plucking daily.

Guava in my kitchen at the moment

Guava in my kitchen at the moment

Unfortunately, they’re nearly at an end, but spring is coming.

In my Monday post Monday Moaning I complained about the insidious invasion of whiteware that is spying on you.  In comments Lois mentioned washboards.

I use a type of washboard typical in areas de servico (laundry) in Brazil. O tanque (washing tub) with a built in wash board.

Tanque de lavar roupas

Tanque de lavar roupas

I don’t have a washing machine. As I said to Lois, washboards don’t tell tales.

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On with this week’s CTWW.

 

This week take a look at your clothing and fix anything which needs repair. This might include darning a sock, sewing up a rip, or replacing a lost button. Perhaps a shoe’s sole needs to be glued or a shoe lace needs to be replaced. The idea, this week, is to repair an item of clothing to extend its life.

 

OR …

If this is something which you regularly do, please offer tips and ideas for extending the life of clothing. This can include mending, laundering, or even buying for longevity.

 

Yes, this is something I already do.

I have posted about this myself, sometime back. Actually, it was more recent than I thought. Check out this Monday Moaning on consumerism.

Here’s my tip:

A few months ago one of my flip flops flopped. It was a left, which left me with a right. I had done the right thing some time back and saved a left, so I had a good left and a good right, although they were odd… Are you still with me?

Any way, I used my odd pair for more than four months, even after the odd left lost a bit at the heel.  Finally the right took a dive as well and they eventually looked like this…

floppedflipflops

Ready to meet their maker

Yes, I finally realised that the left and right had gone, the right thing to do was buy a new pair with a good left and right and behave like a normal person again.

The story doesn’t end there. I put them out with my recycle rubbish; hopefully at the recycle depot the material can be recycled; I don’t know.

The long winded point I am making, and the statement I made to my neighbours, who all know I am an eccentric foreigner, is that you can extend the life of two pairs of flip flops by almost the life of a single pair. Just by hanging on to an old flopped flip flop.

If you have two lefts or two rights, sorry, have to wait for next time.

I wore the odd pair locally, to the supermarket, to town… Pride? I don’t give a shit, I was doing my little bit.

The best part about the exercise was they were a talking point, they got noticed, they got people talking and discussing about my green ideas and efforts. They were a teaching aid.

 

Change the World Wednesday – 16th Jul

Remember my green tomatoes from a couple of weeks ago?

Well, a couple of them actually turned red, small but ripe.

TomatoEnd

Ripening before the plant died off

And this was their fate…

A blurry pizza

A blurry pizza

Yes, they were sacrificed in the name of football (soccer) during the World Cup.

A couple of weeks ago, three actually, I harvested my chilies. Here is the bush again this week.

Chilies4

Ready to harvest again

I also have fresh ginger to pull when I need it.

This is one lot of ginger, there is another

This is one lot of ginger, there is another

And my guava are guavering…

Bunches of guava, soon for the plucking

Bunches of guava, soon for the plucking

I have so many guava, that I have been giving them to the neighbourhood kids, which prompted one of them to comment, “Você não é tal velho caduco),” (You’re not such a grumpy old man at all). Made me grin.

The produce shop has closed permanently, sadly 😦 It is becoming a neighbourhood pizza place…

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On with this week’s CTWW,

Plastic Bags!

Those evil things.

This week, ban plastic bags. Carry a reusable bag, use a box, or simply carry items loose. Say NO to plastic bags and don’t allow them into your home.

 

OR … If your home is plastic bag free, please refuse to buy anything which is packaged in plastic (I know … it’s truly a challenge … but I have confidence in you).

 

OR … Look around your home for plastic items and then, research non-plastic alternatives. If you are ready to replace the item, please do. If not, make plans to do so when the time comes.

 

I don’t qualify for parts 2 & 3.

But I do try to minimise my plastic bags. I try to take reusable bags, but don’t always find myself in a position to do so, my visits to the supermarket are often spontaneous, a decision made while out.

At the moment, one of my supermarkets is out of the paper option, and the girl at the checkout was packing my stuff. Sometimes she would put just two or three items in a bag, I complained bitterly, unpacking and repacking more items to reduce the number of bags.

smplastic

My haul of bags from the supermarket

This girl had no idea. I might have been talking Portuguese (actually I was) and she still couldn’t grasp the idea that I wanted less plastic bags. The concept was totally beyond her. I reduced the number of bags by more than half had I let her do it alone.

I complained to the owner. We have spoken on many occasions, mostly complaints; Brazilians don’t complain, I do. I told him of my experience, and suggested that his staff training was lacking when it came to environmental issues. He agreed, and said he would look into it, and I know he will, he’s not Brazilian, but rather Portuguese and sees management from a European point of view.

So while I suffer plastic bags, I don’t do it lightly.

In this case, I hope that I have raised some awareness.

All those bags will be reused. Mainly as rubbish bin liners; buy plastic trash can liners, that I’d never do, our rubbish collections are not designed for trash cans. Also they are used for my recyclable items on Tuesday’s recycle collection. If I have a surplus, I give them to the botequim for take-aways, so he doesn’t have to buy plastic bags for customers to lug away their bottles.

Oh, and the people who use them to take away their beer, they’ll use them as trashcan liners. Triple and double use is better than single use.

Here in Brazil the lack of education, especially in environmental issues is almost non-existent, although small changes are being made in schools now, but it will be a generation before we see any real improvement.

Public utilities like rubbish collection need to change their ways before these horrid things become unnecessary. Park maintenance rakes up the leaves and mown grass and packs it kerbside in huge plastic bags for collection, the dice are loaded against us.

Meanwhile, here there is no escape from the ubiquitous plastic bag.

So while I fail at the CTWW this week, I do take remedial action.

Update:

Plastic bag use rises for fourth year

 

Change the World Wednesday – 25th Jun

Goiaba branca

Goiaba branca

My first goiaba branca (white guava).

The tree only produced two, but it was late in its first season. I am hopeful for next summer.

White guava are less flavoured than the traditional pinky ones, and they have a short window between ripe and rotten.

Ate it for breakfast this morning.

As for my ‘normal’ guava, I am eating them daily as they ripen.

Exciting news!

My bricks

I have a new brick.

You may remember from a few CTWWs back that I have bricks in my kitchen, which is a bit like having bats in the belfry, but with more purpose.

I am going to try to remove some of the partitions and line them with cardboard to accommodate my knives better and prevent the cutting edge from grating against the harshness of the brick.

Most of you know, that one of my hidden talents is a chef. As a chef, I take good care of my knives and they are finely honed; it doesn’t take much to knock the edge off.

Further good news. I have only one incandescent light bulb left in the house. I changed the kitchen one yesterday (after four days of procrastinating in the dark) to a CFL. A story about that on my EIMDBPFPR post.

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So, what do we have for CTWW this week?

Discovering Nature

This week, go outside and spend some time. Perhaps take a leisurely stroll down a hiking trail or sit in a park. If you have a yard, find a comfortable spot and look at the world around you. Take your time and relish the experience. The idea, here, is to discover and appreciate the natural world around us … to see what we usually miss … to marvel at earth’s inhabitants.

Apt. A comment I made on another blog during the week, that “I don’t have a smartphone, so I am always looking up and around as I walk.”

Oblivious to his surroundings

Oblivious to his surroundings

People have become so enamored with their cellphones, iPhones, Smartphones, etc that they walk around with the eyes on their little touch screens and miss the marvels that surround them.

Up, around, down; there are marvels big and small everywhere.

People have forgotten how to appreciate nature.

Not only IT appliances, but the stress of day to day living, rushing here, rushing there, panicking because the boss wants that report before lunch; directs our attention away from nature.

The praça, park outside my gate

The praça, park outside my gate

When I walk to the gate, I stop and look at my plants, check the acerola bush for any signs of blossom, any guava ready to be picked, is there a new shoot growing in the compost, how are my chillies ripening…

You see interesting things

You see interesting things

Outside the gate, I look around me, I look for possible plants growing on the roadside to take home, I see insects and birds, lizards sunbathing; sometimes I stop merely to marvel at things.

Other times, I just sit in the park across from my gate, Clorinha comes with me and romps in the bushes or sits beside me on the bench for a stroke.

We need to take time out, not only to see what’s around or above us, but to de-stress.

I spend a lot of my day sitting right here, where I am now; a ten minute sit in the park with a fresh coffee and cigarette, I return with a new vigor, inspiration, enthusiasm.

Nature is the great leveler; it brings us back to earth. It stops our egos in their tracks and puts things in perspective.

egonatureIt reminds us of our place in the scheme…

 

Change the World Wednesday – 18th Jun

The world is in the grip of Cup fever

Everything is football or soccer.

Today finishes the first week; a week full of surprises and disappointments.

Australia vs Holland is due to start soon and I’ll be in front of the TV, although after Holland’s performance against Spain, I don’t hold much hopes for Australia. Still the world is full of surprises.

My first tennis ball sized guava came off the tree this morning, it’s a handsome brute and will make a full glass of juice.

Today’s CTWW, is about water, grey water.

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This week, find creative ways to use grey water. For example, Agnes, a true “greenie” and CTWW participant, uses bath water to flush the toilet. Some people take shower water and use it to feed their plants. My grandmother (way ahead of her time) diverted rinse water from her washing machine to a tub. Then, the water was sucked back into the machine for the next load’s wash cycle. The idea, this week, is to prevent as much water as possible from going down the drain.

After having my roof-top water tank fixed last week, finally; it has developed a slow drip. I am waiting for the plumber to come back and fix it. Meanwhile, the drip off the roof is falling into a bucket to be used on my plants.

Does yours just go down the drain?

Does yours just go down the drain?

The used water from the laundry and washing the bathroom and kitchen floors goes out into the yard to help scrub the yard clean before it goes down the drain.

I try to let only well-used or very dirty water to go down the drain.

The water that I rinse the dishes with also goes out for the plants. This is a new innovation for me. I now have a bucket under the sink and instead of rinsing the plates, etc under the tap, they get dipped in the bucket before going on to the dish rack.

With my steps at saving grey water, I now have more water than the plants need. It has been a long time since I have used the garden hose on the pot plants.

Even the water that I rinse the coffeepot with, goes on the plants in the living room.

Living alone, I don’t actually have a lot of grey water, but what I do have, I try to reuse.

Change the World Wednesday – 19th Feb

No major problems this week.

The rain arrived, and we have had three days of cooler weather.

Two nights ago I had my first suco de goiaba (guava juice) from my tree, the ripe guava gave me enough to make a full glass.

Glancing around the tree, I won’t get a fantastic crop, but enough to make life interesting.

no-beefYou may remember a few months back, I rationed myself on beef because beef is the meat that requires more water and resources than other meats. Making the first and third week of each month ‘beefless’. Well, an update; I am not so rigorous with the beefless weeks now, not that I have given up, rather that I find that beef has taken a lesser role in my diet.

Without thinking about it, I rarely have more than two beef meals a week. My meat now is mainly chicken, pork or fish.

Even when I go to my favourite BBQ restaurant, I find myself enjoying the beef, but also eating more of the other offerings.

My trip to the dairy farm yesterday to enquire about fresh milk, led me no further ahead, the guy that does the business wasn’t in. So I’ll have to return. But the plan is still on.

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On with this week’s CTWW.

This week, pick up litter and dispose of it properly. As you go through your day, pay attention to the area and clean as you go. You might see trash as you walk between your car and your office. Perhaps you’ll see plastic bags, etc. in the parking lot of a market. If you enjoy nature walks, browse the side of the trail. Get your kids involved and take litter walks or organize a neighborhood cleanup of a local park. The idea, this week, is to rid the area of litter!

Well, Small must have her crystal ball out.

I have mentioned that we have lixo seletiva (a rubbish collection that just picks up recyclables) that passes each Tuesday. I now collect all my plastic, glass, metal and cardboard for this collection.

Yesterday, as I put my Tuesday rubbish out, I noticed that there was a lot of plastic strewn around my part of the praça (park) and in front of the bar. So I grabbed a large plastic sack and filled it just in time for the truck to pass. It wasn’t a big job, took me all of ten minutes, but it did clean the area up a little.

The orange posts make the bins a little more visible

The orange posts make the bins a little more visible

The job is not complete by any means.

Last week the council came and trimmed all the bushes that line the praça which made the horrible truth apparent; under the bushes it is literally littered with plastic bottles and disposable cups. I talked with the council workers who were cleaning up the praça and and painting the playground equipment and they have painted the posts with the orange rubbish containers orange to help with their visibility.

But as you can see there is a disposable cup right under the bin. Maybe it was an honest attempt to dispose of it properly, maybe just laziness.

There is a lot of work to be done educating the people here. But, things are becoming better, sometimes you see genuine efforts to put the rubbish in the right place.

 

Change the World Wednesday – 29th Jan

I proudly present, my first goiaba

I proudly present, my first goiaba

We are still in the midst of a hot spell, which makes today’s challenge more of a challenge.

First up, my goiabeira (guava tree) has produced its first ripe goiaba (guava).

It’s a bit grotty looking, but what do you expect after falling from high and bouncing through branches before landing on the concrete?

Bit late getting on the go this morning, I had an early morning walk to the dentist, then back again, by that time I was ready for my customary nap.

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On with this week’s CTWW challenge!

Pertinent to both the northern and southern hemispheres for the appropriate cold and hot climates.

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This week, turn down your thermostat by 1 or 2 degrees. That’s 1 or 2 degrees lower than where you’ve had it during this cold season. If you get chilly, put on extra layers of clothing, cuddle under a blanket or exercise.

 

OR …

If it’s warm/hot where you’re at, turn the thermostat up by 1 or 2 degrees.

 

OR …

If you don’t use a thermostat to control your home’s temperature, please share the ways in which you keep comfortable.

The first part doesn’t apply here, as I said we are in the middle of a heat wave with temps broaching  and going over the 40ºC (1o6ºF). So far we have suffered (I say suffer, because beer isn’t always at hand) this for nine weeks with only one welcome storm about three weeks ago. One welcome addition to the botequim (bar next door) is an express ice cream machine, which helps on a sweaty evening.

I don’t have a thermostat, so I enter at the bottom level.

fan50cm

Drawing in the cooler night air

I have two fans, one in the living room and the other in the bedroom. Both are new and have an ‘A’ rating for power usage, and both have a dial speed control. The fan in the living room is only on when I watch TV, because in the evening the house is like a hot/glass house and it is on high mostly drawing in the cooler night air from the open window.

The other is used between my PC desk and bed. I keep the speed commensurate with the temp. It is on most of the time which is necessary for a night’s sleep. I do switch it off if I am out in the garden or off to work.

In addition to the fans, I wear less clothing around the house. I live alone and have few visitors, so underpants are the uniform of the day. Often having a brief show to get wet all over, and sitting under the fans. Principles of refrigeration.

My new fridge makes ice well, and I am constantly drinking chilled tap water, and I make slushies/smoothies during the day as well. Today will be a mamão (papaya) slushie. Does serious damage to the frontal lobe and cortex, but so wonderful.

icebrahmaA visit to the botequim in the early evening for a cool beer also helps on days with no class.

Ah, don’t panic, I do put on my shorts, don’t want to scare the natives. But no T-shirts are the order of dress at the bar.

So that’s how we do it in Brazil.

See you next week.

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