Emergency water filter

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Following the instructions in the video below I made an emergency water filter in front of my AP Language class this morning. Students in AP Lang have been working on a year-long project called CRAVE, during which they investigate an issue they are passionate about and work to answer a research question. My research question has been “How can my family live more lightly on the earth?” and in order to answer it I am taking permaculture classes through the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

I purchased most of my components from the garden section of Lowe’s but one eluded me: large to medium size gravel. I resorted to taking some from around the foundation of my house and though I rinsed it a few times, I did not wash it. Upon completing my water filter the dirty water did not come out clean. So, what happened? My theory is that the gravel from the house wasn’t clean enough. We ran clean water through the filter and it still came out dirty, though sediment sank to the bottom of the lower half of the filter.

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Foraged Salad: Traditional Foods, Contemporary Chef Southeast Alaska – YouTube

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Foraged Salad: Traditional Foods, Contemporary Chef Southeast Alaska – YouTube.

I’m looking forward to the wild edibles poking up in the mud after the snow melts. I will dig out my gardening gloves to harvest nettles.

Here’s last year’s post: Wild Edibles

And Laurie Constantino’s wild edibles website.

40 Bags – 40 Days

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Last year I posted about wanting to get rid of half of my house and though I’ve made progress I’m nowhere near that goal. Laura/art2snow came over a few weeks ago and helped me clean out “my” room. I got rid of boxes of scrapbooking supplies (I brought them and organized them in my classroom for kids to use), about two boxes of demo babycarriers went to the new Anchorage babywearing group, and lots of old business supplies were given to charity or pitched into the recycling bin.

But momentum is difficult to maintain. Somehow my FlyLady emails restarted and I kept randomly reading decluttering testimonials. Neighbors have been moving and I’ve been marveling at what it would take to move 12+ years of accumulation out of this house if we ever needed to. And then I ran across a post and free PDF on a new-to-me blog, Sugar Tot Designs, that finally got me motivated to get back to work on my initial goal.

A quick Google search tells me that 40 Bags in 40 Days is a “thing” that people do as a decluttering challenge. It looks like a lot of people have done it for Lent and others are like me, just trying to have less stuff. So I set last Monday as my official start date and then promptly did… nothing. It’s Spring Break! We had tons of fun this last week, going out with friends, snow tubing, jumpy places, the library, skating, rock climbing, etc. But I did get back to work today and more than caught up. I’ve got seven bags ready and already filled out the online form from The Arc of Anchorage so they can come pick things up this week. I’m a bag ahead of where I want to be but want to pack up a few more tomorrow. It’s very cathartic to be able to just let go of the clutter and the emotional attachment to clothes, toys, purses, etc. that just aren’t needed here anymore. Someone else can use them and we can free up space and peace of mind.

I put some goals in a Google spreadsheet. Since “42” is the meaning of life and the age I’ll be this summer, I set my sights a little higher than the challenge.

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Oh, I am going to do this… in one minute. I always use a box but then the box just sits there, looking at me funny, until I get around to sorting it all out. I’m trying to do 40 bags in 40 days and right now I have one bag when I should have five ready to get out the door.

Trash Backwards Blog

By Liesl Clark

Is the clutter in your house getting you down? Here’s a quick fix that’ll solve your clutter calamaties:

A box.

When I’m overwhelmed by accumulated surface clutter atop counters and other furnishings in our house, I find the nearest empty box and quickly fill it with the items covering my table tops and horizontal surfaces. They’ve been sitting there, I oft realize, because there’s just no obvious place to put them. A box is as likely a place as any.

And where does the box go? In our storage room (husband’s gear room, our workbench, and storage space for things in transition) for a few weeks to see if anyone missed any of the items in said box. If the items disappear without notice or family grumblings, give them away, quickly, before you change your mind and bring them back into your house to start the…

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Ingredients Trailer

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Created by my fantastic brother’s film production crew, Optic Nerve Productions, is the other side of wrap-around farming endeavors that make you want to turn the table and care for all aspects of food making, and growing,witnessing layers and layers of locally grown food movement involvement by forward-thinking genuine souls. Please watch by ordering it from optic nerve productions or http://www.ingredientsfilm.com.

Biomimicry

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A few weeks ago I was completely fascinated by scientists putting UV threads in window panes in order to prevent birds from crashing into window panes and dying. They’d noticed that birds don’t “see” glass but are able to avoid spiderwebs when flying quickly through a forest. Spiderwebs have, you guessed it, ultraviolet light that birds can see, and know to avoid. So I’ve been talking about these ideas and biomimicry with Cormac, because it’s cool.

This afternoon on NPR we heard a story about hagfish; the slime they create to fight off sharks and other sea creatures has threads in it that are strong, like silk. The hope is that the thread can be used to replaces fibers like spandex, which are created from oil, a non-renewable resource. Hagfish threads are made from proteins which can be created in a lab rather than directly from the hagfish, creatures that are difficult to raise in captivity. ”

“Proteins are a renewable resource because we can get organisms to make them,” says Douglas Fudge the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Here’s a link to the NPR story: http://soundcloud.com/theworld/hagfish-slime-could-provide

And a cool video of hagfish being attacked by sharks! Biomimicry is cool for kids.

Ron Finley: A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

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I watched this TED talk with my kids just this morning. It is extraordinary what a few people, a few seeds, and a lot of motivation can do.

GROWtest.org

GFERon Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”

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Winter Adventures

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I’ve been envious lately of the green grass and gardens I see in the Facebook postings of friends. I spent a little time looking through my own photos from this winter to see the outdoor (and indoor) adventures that are available during our extended winter season.

Indoor jumping

Indoor jumping

sledding at a nearby elementary school sledding hill

sledding at a nearby elementary school sledding hill

"I love to be cold, Mom!"

“I love to be cold, Mom!”

watching the Iditarod start from an urban ski and bike trail

watching the Iditarod start from an urban ski and bike trail

a newspaper lets us yell out the names of mushers as they go by

a newspaper lets us yell out the names of mushers as they go by

mush on, doggies!

mush on, doggies!

ice skating at the local school's rink

ice skating at the local school’s rink

indoor rock gym

indoor rock gym

family walk in the wooded dog park

family walk in the wooded dog park

family dog - she was born last year while I was at the Earthship with friends

family dog – she was born last year while I was at the Earthship with friends

snow sculptures during the winter festival, Fur Rendesvous

snow sculptures during the winter festival, Fur Rendesvous

snow sculptures are better with friends

snow sculptures are better with friends

an afternoon of snow tubing

an afternoon of snow tubing

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