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Sunflower

Sunflowers!

Don’t they make you smile, my memories of the French countryside are of endless fields of sunflowers. Our small tribute, has been four sunflowers that my son planted along our side fence, what a great success.

For a start they grew and screened our ugly fence. Then when some promising blooms started to erupt we were all excited.

Australian crimson rosella parrots feeding on sunflowers

In the past two weeks we have enjoyed their huge yellow faces and now the local Crimson Rosellas are having a great feast, slowly picking out the sunflower seeds one by one.

rosella bird eating sunflower seeds

Greedy birds!

parrot on flower

If I don’t get in soon, I think we are going to miss out on those sunflower seeds!

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boy looking at worm factory box

One of our more recent adventures has been the purchase of a worm farm (prior to buy nothing new month!). I was really keen to give it a try – just to see how it worked.

Here’s what we did to set it up.

1) Purchased one worm factory and one box of 1,000 worms (some of these are worm eggs and not live worms).tips for use of worms instructions on box

2) Mixed up some worm soup (peat brick and water).boy mixing muddy water in bucket

3) Set up the box and mounted it on some bricks.green worm farm box

4) Lined the inside of the top level with the cardboard packaging.cardboard instructions lining worm factory box

5) Poured in the worm soup and let it slowly drain.two boys with worm farm

6) Then put in the worms.worms in dirt

Voila, one operating worm farm! The boys had fun and we have now had the worm farm for around 8 weeks and it seems to be working well.

I haven’t put in too many kitchen scraps, as it does advise you not to overload it to start with. I have also noticed that you generally need to cut things a bit finer, whereas with the compost bin I often put vegetable scraps in without dicing them more finely.

One of the main advantages of a compost bin is the worm tea (wee) that comes out the tap at the bottom and if diluted 1:10 with water, is a great fertiliser for your garden.

Well what a thrill; yesterday the ‘Hatching Chicks’ arrived – the incubator contained 10 eggs.

One or two of the eggs already had a slight crack and within two hours of arriving the first egg had hatched.

The kids, and myself, were beside ourselves with excitement.  All that was missing was the popcorn, as this was 100% better than watching a movie!

Here are some of the “action” shots.

Yesterday we planted a tree with our children and extended family – a fun activity. We are now all looking forward to seeing it 10 years from now, thriving and big enough to climb!

Hopefully we will be able to teach our children a love of the outdoors and sense of adventure that the planting of  a tree promises.

Would you believe a recent study found that one in 10 Australian children play outside once a week or less! In addition, 70 per cent of parents said they played outside every day as a child, compared to only 35 per cent of their children.

For more information see Climbing Trees: Getting Aussie Kids Back Outside.

I have just bought myself a BPA free drink bottle. If you are wondering what the heck is that? You are probably not the only one.

BPA  (acronym for Bisphenol-A) is a building block chemical used in polycarbonate, a type of plastic that is commonly used in water bottles. Apparently scientific research indicates that BPA may be potentially harmful if ingested in certain quantities.

From what I have discovered:

  • The use of BPA is so profound that it was detected in the urine of 93% of the (U.S.) population over 6 years of age.
  • The highest estimated intake of bisphenol A occurs in infants and children. Their intake is greatest because pound for pound they eat, drink, and breathe more than adults.
  • One thing that many people seem to agree on is that high temperatures can cause BPA to leach into the food or beverage.
  • This concern has led Canadian retailers to pull all baby bottles made with BPA from the shelves. In the United States, many manufacturers and retailers are beginning to do the same.
  • “Food Standards Australia New Zealand has evaluated the safety of BPA and plasticisers in baby bottles and concluded that levels of intake … are very low and do not pose a risk to babies health.”
  • However Australia’s major retail chains have agreed to not introduce new stock of the bottles which contain Bisphenol A (BPA), as part of a voluntary phase out (June 2010).
  • Other sources of polycarbonate (apart from water bottles) are food and drink packaging, including infant bottles, toddler sipping cups, tableware, and food containers. Epoxy resins are also used to line metal products such as canned foods, bottle tops, and water supply pipes.

TIPS FOR USING

  • Keep the heat away from BPA – Don’t warm bottles made with BPA in the stove or microwave, don’t put boiling water in them, and do not place them in the dishwasher.
  • Recycle, do not reuse – Use the product only for what it was intended for. Do not reuse bottles or microwave trays if they were not made to be reused.
  • Buy BPA free – If you buy BPA free products then there is no need to worry about the potential dangers!

For more information see:

MedicineNet.com          

Food Standards Australia New Zealand