Monthly Archives: March 2008

Freerice

Tonight I decided that it has been a while since I visited some of the Occupational Therapy Blogs that are out there. One of the first I found when I was first starting to blog was Hosmer School it always has an interesting range of postings. They don’t get a lot of comments but they certainly get a lot of visits. Tonight when I went on they had a link to Freerice. A site where you test your vocabulary and for every word you can define (through multichoice questions) you are donating 20 grains of rice to the United Nations world food programme to help end hunger. They state:

“FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site”.

They point out and again I quote from the site that:

“Learning new vocabulary has tremendous benefits. It can help you:

  • Formulate your ideas better
  • Write better papers, emails and business letters
  • Speak more precisely and persuasively
  • Comprehend more of what you read
  • Read faster because you comprehend better
  • Get better grades in high school, college and graduate school
  • Score higher on tests like the SAT, GRE, LSAT and GMAT
  • Perform better at job interviews and conferences
  • Sell yourself, your services, and your products better
  • Be more effective and successful at your job

After you have done FreeRice for a couple of days, you may notice an odd phenomenon. Words that you have never consciously used before will begin to pop into your head while you are speaking or writing. You will feel yourself using and knowing more words”

To find out more and to put your vocabularly to the test
visit Freerice

It certainly enhanced my vocab more than Gordon Ramsey was doing on the TV.

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A self sustaining garden

As I have said elsewhere in this blog I like the idea of having a garden that doesn’t rely on you to plant seeds or seedlings and reliably continues to crop. Imagine if almost all you needed to do was pull the odd weed, and just a little tending! So far on my list of plants I would have in such a garden are:

rhubarb, multiplying leeks and onions, tree or walking onions, strawberries, potatoes

and last week I learnt about miners lettuce, a perennial rocket bush.

I guess you could add berry bushes such as raspberries as once given some canes these will continue to crop although it’s advantageous to prune.

Imagine if we could get to a point where we could give people a starter pack of such vegetables and with it they could maintain their family in vegetables without having spend money or be overly attentive to the garden – just harvest when needed. Given a lot of people in NZ are struggling with paying their bills it would certainly be one way to help.

Trust yourself, explore, experience

Part of some homework I have for the permaculture course is to work out the microclimates on my plot of land, by moving around the land observing changes of temperature, wind, soil etc. I found myself thinking that it would be helpful to have a probe to tell me about my soil, a temperature and wind gauge etc. It made me realise just how technology and instrument driven we have become and yet our observation (what we feel and see) can tell us such a lot if we tune into it and trust what it tells us. It seems to me that it is easy to forget just how good our senses are and thus we could be in danger of not utilising these skills, not just when we are gardening but in everyday life. Perhaps this is one of the challenges for us as occupational therapists, the utilisation of a range of skills and abilities when we work with clients, taking care to focus in on what we observe. Perhaps we don’t need a test or assessment for everything? We already know evidence needs to be considered along side the clients context before we act. So my tip for today is build up and trust our skills in observation … however knowledge needs to grow alongside observations e.g if I knew the story the weeds in my garden were telling me my observations would be more meaningful e.g clover growing tells me there is nitrogen ? in the soil, but what do buttercups, thistles etc tell me.

Rearranging – Sustainability & Permaculture

Thanks to Leigh 🙂 I have done a quick reorganisation. I had thought I was nicely arranging my site with tabs up the top  to contain my journey into sustainability and permaculture. He pointed out that he couldn’t do an RSS feed into those pages. It was nice that someone wanted to do an RSS feed to my site therefore my vanity or desire for fame (yeah right!) has got the better of me and  so I have moved them into the body of the blog.

My thinking is that I will just keep adding comments into the posts rather than either of them taking over and occupational therapy taking a backseat. The task proved a lot less painful than rearranging a filing cabinet! The only problem was the comments from others that have come into the pages – I didn’t want to loose them so have ended up cutting and pasting them in but in the process lost the link lines (not sure what you call them)  that went with them. So to those people sorry !!.

Permaculture Diary

In the permaculture course I am doing we are encouraged to diary about our site and the things that we observe or discover as we attempt to design and develop our sites in line with permaculture principles. Given I have a blog I thought this would be the best place to keep the diary – you never know you might be able to help me out!

Week 1: 24th Feb

This week we were asked to describe our sites. I have a 1012 Sq metre suburban section in Anderson Bay/Tainui. The house, garage shed, deck and paths probably take up 1/4 of the space. Half of the site which includes the house is level. The rest of the site slopes gently/moderately (but for Dunedin you would probably say gently). The site is fully fenced. I have recently moved in but there are a number of gardens already established although they have not been cared for for some time, bushes and shrubs have become leggy as there has been no pruning for some time and the weeds are well established. Most of the gardens contain flower plants or shrubs. There is a vegetable garden that I have cleared and done some planting in. I made my first no dig garden over one very weed filled garden and transshipped a small berry plot from my old house (a couple of blackberries, 3 cranberries and 2 blueberry bushes). I have one plum tree (also transplanted from the old house).

One part of the garden the neighbours tell me attacks birds in the right season (which one I don’t know – no birds currently) there is a Strawberry Tree and a Lucerne Tree (neighbours description).

I know that down one side of the house in wet weather it sounds squishly again the neighbours tell me it dries out quickly.

the gardens under the eves are very dry currently.

Weather – This week has been mainly fine, a couple of beautiful days and some overcast, a little light rain.

Rain fall- I know that since I put up the rain gauge on the 9th Jan to 23rd Feb there has been 53 ml? of rain (includes the weight of 2 large spiders that got into the rain gauge and died!).

I don’t know which way my site faces – but I know it is not North facing I will have to work it out!

In the vege garden at the moment I have:

Rhurbarb – producing prolifically, Courgettes – Which haven’t done very well only a few small ones – I don’t think I watered them enough now the are nearly done, silverbeet currently being harvested (+6 new plants donated and planted by the neighbour), broccoli – 6 well established but no heads, 6 cauliflower plants, some bunching onions (which seem not to have bunched!), one apple cucumber that hasn’t produced. Some dwarf beans half a row 15cm tall some just coming through, scarlet runner beans about 1 mt high – no beans yet some flowers, lettuces 5 plants being picked regularly, and the cats think the portion of the garden not planted is a good place for a toilet!!

Gardening Activity this week:

Weeded berry plot, Pulled out of pile for the the skip some wood and cut it for the fire, and some twigs for the compost bin – my compost bin isn’t composting well! added twigs, blood and bone and some water ??? still too dry – need to get the lawn mower man to add some grass clippings.

Sustainability

I have set this post up as I am keen to understand more about the concept of sustainability and it’s implications for me and for occupational therapy practice. The Polytechnic where I work has put a focus on sustainability – living sustainably and educating about sustainability. There are changes slowly occurring within the Polytechnic – how we recycle i.e. we now have composting bins in staff rooms (don’t worry they don’t smell!), there are bikes to borrow for the short trips and we are exploring the concept of a Living Garden in the Polytechnic grounds a garden, worked and harvested by the community (particularly the Polytechnic’s staff and students and interested others).

Added to this much to my surprise over the years I have become a gardener. Currently my gardening still feels a bit hit and miss and I am such that there are easier and better ways of doing things than I do at the moment. One of my New Year resolutions (or thoughts over the holidays, when you have time to think) was to do a course of some description related to my gardening. And so last week I began a short course in Permaculture Design which I hope will serve two purposes firstly to improve my garden and to build my understanding of sustainability, as it and permaculture are implicitly linked.

I also hope to explore further the link with occupational therapy practice. I believe that the ethics and principles of both have much in common and that much of occupational therapy practice is already focused on building capacity and sustainable futures and therefore that we have much to contribute especially in the area of social sustainability.

So hopefully this page will follow my journey.

It’s March…already!

I can’t believe that we have got to March and I haven’t posted a post. It has been a busy few months. First there was the holiday which recharged the batteries. Then I shifted house – everyone asks where to and I have to confess to five doors down on the other side of the road! (clearly I like the area). Like like a lot of house shifts there has been work to be done – gardening, wallpaper striping (I couldn’t live with lime green wallpaper) and things to get repaired. Then work was busy getting ready for our students to start the new year. In between the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists said they would audit educators in their Continuing Competence Framework for Recertification and so I needed to ensure everything was up to date in terms of my objectives and actions for the year. I think I am just on ready to start posting again so watch this spot.