Make your own country wines – with Heiko Vermeulen

This show was recorded at the end of August – the tail end of summer in Northern Ireland. Blackberries were ripening nicely and growing in a tangle of great profusion. After eating them fresh, or making blackberry and apple pies, the next thing to be done with such a profusion of blackberries is to make your own fruit wine.

I haven’t done a show on making fruit wine before and I feel very fortunate to have stumbled up Heiko Vermeulen who lives not too far down the road from where I am living at the moment. Heiko was born in the Netherlands, grew up in Germany and he’s now very happily living with his wife Susan on a 1 acre farmlet in a lovely rural part of the Ards Peninsula in Northern Ireland. One of Heiko’s many talents is that is he is an experienced wine maker. And what is even more interesting to me is that Heiko makes his wine influenced by his background in foraging and in permaculture.

In this show, recorded on the 24th August, I talked with Heiko Vermeulen about Making our own Fruit Wine.

To listen to this programme aboutMaking Your Own Fruit Wine please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=5b9cc74e-52c6-4720-ada0-4743822f4065

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://oar.org.nz/event/eco-living-in-action-2/

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 8th September 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Herko Vermeulen with the grapes he is growing for wine-making.

Herko Vermeulen with the grapes he is growing for wine-making.

Grape varieties that are fungal resistant and able to grow in temperate climates - being grown near Portaferry in Co Down Northern Ireland

Grape varieties that are fungal resistant and able to grow in temperate climates – being grown near Portaferry in Co Down Northern Ireland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First tasting of the fresh wine. Tastes good at this stage!

Dyeing Textiles Naturally – with Faye Jacobs

Most of the garments we buy are made with dyes that are synthetically produced. Depending on where they are manufactured, excess dye may end up in waterways to poison fish and invertebrates. In contrast, natural dyes made from the plants around us are non-toxic to the environment, and can be obtained for free. Most of us have a little knowledge about natural dyes – such as using onion skins for yellow or beetroot for pink. But what other natural dye options do we have, how can we use them, and how can we help our naturally dyed garments keep their colour.

Coming to Peterborough in Ontario Canada during the month of May 2016, I heard about the weavers guild here and I wondered if someone here might know about natural dyes to use on textiles made from animals and plants such as wool, silk and cotton. Well I came to to the right place! Faye Jacobs is a Textile artist and textile sculpturer. As part of her vocation she teaches a range of workshops on using natural dyes. Faye uses dyes for natural textiles but also for other materials like paper.

Faye is a very active lady who has always had an interest in textiles. She was on the national Canadian Ski team from 1959-62. Even here, she knitted sweaters for members of her team.

On the 2nd June, I spoke with Faye Jacobs about using natural dyes on textiles.

To listen to this programme about Dyeing Textiles Naturally please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=36660711-332a-471f-a051-84234fb867b8

For more information about

This show was originally broadcast on the 7th July 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Faye Jacobs, uses natural dyes give new life to an old silk scarf

Faye Jacobs, uses natural dyes give new life to an old silk scarf

Patterns are obtained by pinching the fabric with elastic bands

Patterns are obtained by pinching the fabric with elastic bands

Beautiful earthy hues obtained from onion skins

Beautiful earthy hues obtained from onion skins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the colours obtained with natural dyes on wool

Some other colours obtained with natural dyes on wool

 

Flowers can be used to great effect as natural dyes.

Flowers can be used to great effect as natural dyes.

 

Don’t buy it – make it! – with Annika Korsten

In the supermarket you will find all sorts of processed products. Many of them we love, or have grown accustomed to having in our lives. But they often come with packaging we don’t want, additives we would rather not put in our bodies, and imported ingredients from who knows where! In addition they are also usually more expensive relative to their unprocessed counterparts. One option is to just do without them – I have done this myself with cottage cheese for example. However for Annika Korsten, sustainable living does not mean doing without. For her, its about being smart, creative and making the product you want – from local, homegrown or foraged ingredients.

In this programme, I chat with Annika about making some of the more unusal processed food products that we can find in the supermarket. Annika also shares a few of her favourites.

To listen to this programme about Don’t Buy it – Make it! please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=da5d93fc-bd4f-460b-ad38-b70c778fd9e2

For more information –

  • about the work Annika does with the Malcam Trust – go to http://www.farmhand.org.nz
  • Some of Annika’s favourite books and websites include –
    • ‘Preserves’ by Pam Corbin
    • ‘Salt Sugar Smoke: How to preserve fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish’ by Diana Henry
    • ‘Around the world in 80 plants’ by Stephen Barstow

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  24th September 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and is supported by Sustainable Dunedin City. The radio show Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard, a Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.

 

 

3D Printing – with Paul Campbell

You will probably have heard of 3D printing – but if you are like me – you will find it difficult to imagine what it is. At least I didn’t have a real idea about what it was until I saw it in action at the North East Valley’s Valley Community Workspace open day in August 2015.

Very briefly, 3D printing, also called additive printing makes a three dimensional object by successively adding layers of a material that are laid down according to the instructions of a computer or 3D model. Its quite amazing to watch it in action.

What can 3D printing offer us in terms sustainability and community resilience? A lot in fact.

In this show, I chat with Paul Campbell who, along with others, is using 3D printing technology at Makerspace in the Valley Community Workspace in North East Valley.

Paul is an engineer. Originally from Dunedin, he spent 20 years living in Berkeley and Oakland and working in Silicon Valley in California writing software and designing chips. Ten years ago when his kids reached high school, he and his family moved back to Dunedin. Paul is also Director of Moonbase, an IT software writing company based here in Dunedin that is serving international markets.

To listen to this programme about 3D Printing please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=ee2b1bac-58a7-4e34-9287-36ee4d668025

For more information about 3D Printing – Paul recommends

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  3rd September 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and is supported by Sustainable Dunedin City. The radio show Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard, a Sustainability Educator and Facilitator.

Paul Campbell, engineer and 3D enthusiast

Paul Campbell, engineer and 3D enthusiast

July 2015 040

3D printer making more 3D printer components

3D printer making more 3D printer components

3D component made using 3D printing.

3D component made using 3D printing.

Weaving Fabric – with Christine Keller

Making our own clothes is something that most families used to do – right from growing and processing the yarn, to dyeing and creating the cloth.

Today the mass clothing industry is very different and unfortunately it has a significant ecological footprint. For example, approximately 25% of chemicals used globally are used in the textile industry. A single cotton t shirt uses approximately 2500-3000l water.

How can we reduce this impact? In general, we can greatly reduce the ecological footprint of a product by doing more ourselves using lower impact processes.

In today’s programme we are chatting about the process of weaving where thread or yarn is turned into fabric. Weaving is an ancient skill and practiced in different ways across cultures. It is a method where two different sets of yarn are interlaced at right angles to form the cloth.

For this programme I chatted with Christine Keller. Christine Keller is owner of Weaving on Hillingdon and the founder of Dunedin’z LOOM ROOM where she makes scarves and other accessorizing garments on her hand loom. Christine did an apprenticeship in Loom Weaving and holds Masters in Product Design and Fine Arts.

To listen to this programme about Weaving Fabric with Christine Keller please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=981f7462-58ae-4d2f-8ed0-e40400d277f2

To find out more about

  •  Christine’s Weaving classes –  email for information to ‘mindmade at hotmail dot com’
  • Products made at Weaving on Hillingdon – go to christinekeller.co.nz
  • Dunedin’z LOOM ROOM – visit King Edward Court, Stuart St, Dunedin

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  9th October 2014 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and this show was supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Christine demonstrating her self made Flying-8 loom

Christine demonstrating her self made Flying-8 loom

A loom - type??

Ashford Table loom and flying-8 loom.

Making a sourdough starter – with Laura Lewis

I love sourdough bread – I like the flavour, I like that it uses naturally occurring yeast and bacteria – and I’m convinced that its healthier than dried yeast breads.

One of keys to making good sourdough bread is getting a good starter – the starter being the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria mix that cause the bread to sour and also to rise. In this programme we talk about how you can make your starter yourself. It may or may not be quite as tasty or effective as the ones you buy but one of the nice things about it is that it will be unique to you and the place you live in.

Laura Lewis is co-owner or Indigo Bakeries – who have a stall at the Otago Farmers Market every Saturday morning. She and her husband cook some fabulous breads, half of which are sourdough breads.

In this show Laura and I discuss what the main principles are for making our starter, different starter types, and she provides a sourdough starter recipe to get you started!

TO LISTEN to this programme about Sourdough Starters please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=98a020e6-0051-4e23-9d59-84b25e1c0a7b

To find out more about

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  15th January 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Laura Lewis and co-owner Alan Lewis

in their kitchen

Making your own soap – with Christine Keller

Recently I went to my third soap making activity with other Sustainable Action Community group members – this time with my recorder and camera so that I can share with you a little of what it is like to make your own soap. It’s definitely the sustainable alternative to buying mainstream commercial soap. In fact most of the soap we buy contains artificial fragrances and synthetic preservatives. Furthermore it is almost invariably made with palm oil – a very unsustainable product as it is indirectly leading to the destruction of our Malaysian and Indonesian rainforest to clear land for the growing of palm oil.

Soap making has been around for 1000s of years – with first records of a recipe in 2800BC in Babylon! In more recent times past, soap was something every family made, containing just three essential ingredients – Sodium hydroxide (otherwise called caustic soda), fat or oil, and water – combined in a process called saponification. It sounds simple, but as you’ll hear soapmaking is a potentially hazardous exercise! Still the outcome of lovely benign eco-friendly soap is definitely worth it!

In this programme, a small group of us get together to make some soap with fellow SAC member and friend Christine Keller. Christine enjoys making her own products including her own soap and is a natural teacher of practical skills.

TO LISTEN to this programme about Soapmaking please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=981f7462-58ae-4d2f-8ed0-e40400d277f2

To find out more about

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  7th May 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Fiona measures the oil

Fiona measures the oils – olive, coconut and castor oil – for our solid shampoo bar soap recipe

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Christine carefully measures out the sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) and adds it slowly to the water. This is done outside with good ventilation to prevent inhalation of fumes. Safety glasses and thick gloves should be worn.

The saponified mix of caustic soda, water and oil is stirred carefully until it thickens

After the caustic soda solution (lye) is added to the warmed oil, the mix of caustic soda, water and oil is stirred carefully until it thickens. The thickening is an indication that the chemical reaction of saponificaton, the formation of soap from lye and oils, as started. This process can be greatly speeded up by using a stick blender.

 

The soap is placed into reused tetrapak containers together to stay warm and to cure for 6 plus weeks. It will then be tested with litmus paper to check the caustic soda has all been converted.

The saponifying soap is then poured into reused tetrapak containers and stored together to stay warm and to cure for 6 plus weeks. It will then be tested with litmus paper to ensure that all the caustic soda has all been saponified. Once this is done it can be sliced into wonderful soap!