Happy Tracks in the Snow

sustainable parenting working from home children books yoga storytelling Woodcraft environment

Earth plate shifts July 22, 2008

Filed under: environment — paulabrown @ 9:00 pm


Amazing street art… July 13, 2008

Filed under: environment — paulabrown @ 8:55 pm


Creating a herb spiral

Filed under: environment — paulabrown @ 8:47 pm

Hey, not a great picture but a great idea we got from the Centre of Alternative Technology. Basically you build a spiral of earth using upturned bottles, wood, bricks, whatever as the walls. Wet herbs go at the bottom (you can even have a little pond with mints, watercress etc around / in it), dry herbs go on the top like rosemary etc and others go in appropriate places around accordingly as to how much drainage, sun etc it needs. It’s very space saving, cosmic-ly spiral and would be great in schools.

Get the tip sheet on it here for 50p


telephone tubes… March 24, 2008

Filed under: craft,environment,the kids — paulabrown @ 8:31 pm


… top idea we did for Science Week – take about 3m of garden hose (so a 15m length will do about 5) and make cone shaped card cone thingies at either end (preferably different colours so red can be the listening end and blue the speaking) and then attach with gaffa tape.

Get the kids to whisper down one end and listen at the other and they’ll have hours of fun. You can, if you feel confident, explain the basics of sound waves and telephone systems…


The Rubbish Diet March 9, 2008

Filed under: environment,the kids — paulabrown @ 9:54 pm

It’s Zero Waste Week this week so check out this cracking site about reducing food waste – apparently 1/3 of food gets thrown away. The Rubbish Diet is an idea, all about slimming your bin and reducing all the rubbish that ends up in landfill. Also, to get kids in the spirit, have them listen to this Click here to listen

Check out that sites recipe ideas for using up old bits or this for leftover quesadillas – Keep a pack of flour tortillas handy with leftover veggies like sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, etc. Then hunt through the fridge and pull out all those scraps of leftover cheese – the wedge of stilton, the finger of gruyere, the wedge of cheddar, and put the lot together in minutes.
By Jill Dupliex
  • Shopping with waste in mind get your kids to look out for products with little packaging and to be in charge of taking bags
  • Cooking with waste in mind though you should give your kids new tastes, a radically new and different meal is likely to result in more leftovers
  • No-Waste Packed Lunches try to pack the food in reusable containers, avoiding cling film if you can
  • Reducing Food Waste through Composting, lots of fun for kids especially with a work composter
  • Buying gifts with waste in mind If you are buying presents for birthday parties etc, look out for toys that have very little packaging, books of course have no packaging
  • Get your school involved Healthy Schools or Eco Schools initiatives as well as supporting local Zero Waste Week campaign. Some schools plan Zero Waste lunches. All funds raised being directed towards sustainable products such as wormeries, which have both practical and educational value.

Thanks to Karen Cannard, the author of The Rubbish Diet blog, for those tips. Follow her progress to see if she can slim her bin in time for her local Zero Waste Week which starts on 10 March 2008. www.therubbishdiet.blogspot.com. All hints and tips from those with more experience will be gratefully received.


    pesticides March 4, 2008

    Filed under: environment,Tatty Bumpkin — paulabrown @ 9:27 pm


    I have written on the topic of pesticides and fabric before, a pet subject of mine. But here it is in a nutshell – organic cotton clothing saves one cup of pesticides per item (e.g. top / skirt). Reasonably priced organic clothing can be bought from Tatty Bumpkin (yes I know you know this already), People Tree, Bishopston Trading Company, Hug, Seasalt and coupled with as many charity shop purchases as you can muster make for a not unreasonably expensive, reasonably glamorous and extremely environmental clothing option.

    For more on this subject visit a multitude of environmental sites including Women’s Environmental Network, Friends of the Earth, Soil Association , People Tree etc.

    STOP PRESS Yes Dan you’re right it’s a very destructive plant compared with hemp or bamboo for that matter (which Tatty Bumpkin’s children’s clothes are made from). There is a new range of underwear made from wood just out too – spun wood pulp which makes a fabric. Nice


    ABC of your locality – an idea for kids March 2, 2008

    Filed under: environment,storytelling — paulabrown @ 7:51 pm

    ab-leaflet.jpg   i-opc.jpg  

    If you haven’t been badgered by me to visit England in Particular’s site or it’s sister site Common Ground, go visit it! It’s all about your locality and celebrating the vernacular. I’ve just finished a booklet on storytelling and landscape / locality and the author put forward the idea that part of the imminent environmental catastrophe is that we’ve forgotten how to hold the land in any sort of reverance. From their website:
    When you have lived or worked in a place for a long time you may cease to notice it unless something happens to jolt you. It might be the sun glinting on a stone wall revealing the fossils in it, discovering that the street name cheap indicates a market place which explains the wide pavements, the felling of an ancient and much loved tree which makes you look more closely at the remaining mature trees in the place.

    Understanding what makes our place different from the next, what accumulations of story upon history upon natural history give it its uniqueness may help us to maintain a relationship which ensures a future for local distinctiveness. Attachment to place is a prerequisite to endeavour on its behalf.

    Creating an ABC liberates us from classifying things as rare or beautiful to demonstrate what we care about in the everyday. It is useful in that it levels everything, it reshuffles things and juxtaposes them in ways that surprise and make you think. This can change what we see, disperse our complacency, make things we take for granted seem new to us and encourage us to action.