Friday, July 30, 2010

Got milk?

Look what I found: Milk in a glass bottle! How cool is that? It's fresh milk and it has cream on top!


I'm trying to make yoghurt out of it now.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another step

Aaah, what a good day. I found a company that sells big amounts of bamboo poles for a reasonable price. We will need lots of them to construct the frame of the yurt:

And I also ordered all the wood (a lot!) that we need for the floor. If the weather is good on Saturday we will get it to our workplace then.
And then we will finally start *doing* something... ;o)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Staying connected

The week that we spent at the yurt workshop made me think a lot about other topics, too. We spent a week with a group of people in a very different setting than we normally are. Working outside all day, sleeping in the hay, cooking with fire, it felt a bit like "Our little farm". Also, the people we were with were all in some way very alternative. We soon found out that this doesn't mean that we all only had one opinion, left allone the same goals in life. There are as many different kinds of 'alternative' as there are people using this term. Still, the small group we worked in most of the week got very close very quickly. I guess you don't have much choice, things just have to work out. Although I'm not sure how soon and how often I will see those people again, I still think of them as some sort of family members. Working together on one big project feels very uniting.

Maybe you remember me talking about how tiring it sometimes is to define another way of normality inside a social system that doesn't support the life that you chose. This factor fell away almost completely during this week, because I was surrounded by people who had the same or even more extreme terms on normality (some of them didn't use any plastic at all, others brought all their food from home because they want to be self-sustaining as much as possible) than me.
Discussions often turned to alternative communities. There are a lot of them all around europe. Some of the people we met had stayed in one of them for some time, some intended to start their own. It got me dreaming about doing the same. How EASY everything would be if you could life with people who had the same priorities in life. No long researches about where to find a product with the kind of ingredients that you want, organic food as a standard, no complicated explanations about why you want to live that way...

Easy. Just put your freak-hat on and wave the system goodbye.

The sad thing is that you also say goodbye to your influence if you give up all connections to the 'modern' world. There goes another freak, gosh, I can never understand those people. How can they live without pizza?
And nobody is there to explain, that it is very possible to make organic pizza and that it is actually loads better than what we normally get. How can there be any change if people who try to find new ways just go off and stay amongst themselves?
It might sound a bit martyric there, but I really wanna try and make a change and not just go off and live a great life in my mousehole.

Well, maybe I would think about it if there is wireless in the hole. :o))

Friday, July 23, 2010

How does he DO this?

I went to the library to do some reserach and came across a new book from my most favourite author, Sven Nordqvist. It's called "Wo ist meine Schwester?", and it is just gigantic!! I think I spent about half an hour only flicking through this book and looking over the pictures. This guy has fallen in the pot of fantasy and talent when he was a baby!

(Click for whole pictures)

It makes my thoughts fly away just to look at those pictures.
And it also makes me jealous as hell. How come he's just good at EVERYTHING! He draws the silliest things, and technical plans like out of a book (well, ok, they are in a book...), landscapes, people and animals both in and out of perspective, as comical or realistic as you want, and he is just good at it ALL. And all his stories are so great.
Man, if it wouldn't make me feel so good to read his books I would go and pull the cover up over my head now.

How to be a Poet

How To Be a Poet

by Wendell Berry

(to remind myself)


Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.


Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.


Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.

Picture shamelessly stolen from:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

The green bathroom series - continued

I wouldn't have thought that the decision to 'green' (sorry the stereotype expression, but it's just easier) my life would change it so much. I am not only talking about the actual changes that I make, but also how I look at things, what's occupying my thoughts... finding livable, affordable and ecological solutions for my daily life has proven to be some great kind of mind yoga, challenging not only my creativity and abilities of selfcommutation. I find thinking about all the processes behind certain products, links and relationships, and especially social mechanisms which are closely tied to how we consume and live, absolutely intellectually mind-blowing!

So it always feels like a break to just change little practical things like the yoghurt decision. ;o)
One thing at a time, and they can't be forgotten because they keep repeating in my daily life, in small and bigger cycles.
Like the magic time, when girls wear dark underwear... this month it was just so annoying, nothing seemed to work at all, but normally I'm very happy with my mooncup. If you wanna read about how to save money and waste by switching to green menstrual products, here is a great site for you! (It's also interesting for guys. ;o) )

Just imagine the tons of garbage tampons and pads produce every month! And think about how much money you spend on these things. I mean, those producers know exactly we all use them, so they can basically charge what they want, the bastards.

Friday, July 16, 2010

what's your yoghurt profile? ;o)

I don't know how it is in other countries, but I think for swiss people yoghurt is one of the things where they don't make compromises. It has to be that very brand and that certain flavour, or it will sit neglected in the fridge forever.
I, for example, can't stand the coop mix-me bio yoghurts. I don't like the unsweetened kind, and I will not eat any nestlé yoghurt.

But I've only come to think about this because of a much bigger question I have had in my mind for a longer time now. Since I still buy yoghurt (making it yourself is very easy - but that's another story!), and I eat one every morning, I started asking myself which ones would be the greenest yoghurts to buy. Bio makes the decision about the insides quite easy.

But do you know about the outside?

Glass jar or plastic cup???

Glass can be recycled, but it takes a lot of energy to produce. When I was little the jars were washed and given back to the shop and the producers reused them directly, but now they melt it every time.

Plastic is a lot lighter than glass and therefore doesn't need as much energy for transport, but it is unhealthy and I don't have the possibility to recycle it.

After browsing the web I decided to switch to glass jugs, which apparently makes sense, especially if the product is not transported over big distances. And since the only yoghurt producer I know who stores theirs in glassjars is swiss, I think I am pretty fine off there.

It could be so easy - but it isn't. I have yet to find bio yoghurts in glass containers... oh cruel world!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our little yurt

One of the good things about being grown up is that time goes by much faster then you think, even if you are waiting for something awesome to come. Not like when you were five and christmas took years to come round again!
So much sooner than I would have expected we were off and gone to the Glarner alps for the yurt building seminar. I'd rather skip the whole friday until dinner because one catastrophe followed the next and I had a minor breakdown before we were even halfway there. But the place where we stayed lays in a very beautiful countryside, and after a good meal, the troubles were already forgotten. We pitched up our imaginary tent in the hay which is of course very romantic, until the rooster cries at 4 a.m. and flies start molesting your face as soon as the sun comes up.

But we arranged ourselves, and soon started working. Instead of the expected ten it turned out we would be only four people in this week's course, so we had to try and compensate with motivation.

Here the bamboo sticks for the trellis that forms the wall are carefully measured up.

It was very hot, so we had to look out for each other.

Tref proved that his knifes are very sharp on the very first day. Pheeew, there's a lot of blood in such a small thing like a thumb...

The trellis was then put together in a zig-zag shape.

Whilst experts took care of laying out the floor.

Here we fit the pieces for the upper ring that forms the center of the yurt's roof together. If you look carefully you can also see some of the thousands of flies on Claudius' right arm.

Tom and Tref seal the pieces of the roof covering together with an hot air gun.

Roof covering almost finished.

This is the top of the roof with the window part made out of foil that can be lifted to let air in.

The trellis is set up on the floor, the door is fitted in and then the top ring is lifted up to the right hight with tipi posts: The most tricky work of them all.

Then the bamboo poles of the roof are fixed into the ring and on the trellis.

Et voila: The 'skeleton' of the yurt. It is so stable a grown man can easily hang from the ring.

After so many days of hard work we took a little break to cool down.

On friday we finished the 'summer-yurt': The roof covering was brought up

And some tent canvas hung in place on the outside of the wall.
We didn't have time to add the isolation that would be part of the winter proof yurt. Sadly... we had to cut down on a lot of things, partly because there was just not enough time, partly also because the organisation was not the best. I would have expected more out of a course organised by somebody who's been building yurts since mor than ten years...
But I don't want to rant about people on the web, some of you will hear the more detailed story soon enough.
Although it was not at all what we expected, we surely learned a lot, and we have now concrete plans about all the parts of the yurt, so we only need to start organising, and then building. I know now that it won't be easy at all (well, I knew that before, but you know how it is with things you've never done: You only realise what a hassle they are when you're in the middle of doing them. Knowing what expects you often makes it hard to jump in), but I also know that we are able to do it.
The greatest thing about the week was surely to meet so many cool people and make connections that surely will be helpful in the future.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big and silent things

Big things often come on silent wings. I've hardly had time to get back from Amsterdam and started working again, suddenly the big day has come: We're starting the yurt course tonight. I have been looking forward to this for so long that now I am really nervous because I'm scared it won't be as good as I had imagined it.
But in my head I know that as soon as I arrived and we've started, everything will be fine. It just came so suddenly I found myself buried in stuff that had to be done before leaving, and I felt quite stressed.
I've read this somewhere, I sadly can't remember where, but it always helps me when my to-do lists seem endless and the tasks huge: Try to separate the necessary from the important things. Important things are things like writing a book, going for a walk, building a yurt. Necessary things are things like writing an email, bringing back library books or cleaning. And there make yourself aware of what happens if you don't do these things today. If I don't go to work I'll lose my job, but if I don't clean so what? A few dustbunnies more, it won't kill anybody.
It always makes me smile to think about it that way, and it makes handling priorities much easier.

Well, you guys try to have a quiet week, and I'll be back with words and pictures of the field soon!

image source: scrape
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