Monday, July 30, 2012

Know Your Food Part 2

Berries are berries are berries? Do you know which are which? Here we have some raspberries and wild strawberries picked from our garden. The wild strawberries are so small but they are almost my favorite berries of all. Which is your favorite berry?

Too bad there is not so much them in our garden. Our neighbours have a whole lot of huge yammi raspberries in theirs and they had picked several litres! Lucky for us they invited us for a coffee on Sunday and we could enjoy some of them! They were awesomely good with cream on top.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Greener Lawn Mover

Found this calculator at Grist webpage. You can calculate how many goats/sheep/chicken/guinea pigs/cows it takes to lawn your mown in one day. I thought it was fun, playing with the idea to have a few sheep! Now I only need to found out exactly how many square meters our lawn is.

Reduce Animal Unemployment: Hire A Goat By Movoto Real Estate

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Our Wedding Music

I thought I'd do a post about the wedding again, let's talk about one of the favorite parts according to me, the music.

As we had a civil ceremony we were lucky to have nice enough weather to have it outside by the river close to the restaurant. It was a family friend of ours who sang and played the violin and she brought a friend from her school that played the guitar.

Our processional was a violin version of Enya's "May It Be". It was supposed to be a fun thing, a little hint for our friend who likes Lord of the Rings. In the end he couldn't make it to the wedding but at that point we had already started to like the idea of having this song so we stuck with it.

In the middle of the ceremony they sang their version of Kent's "Utan Dina Andetag", something like this one. (Original version here).

Our recessional was Colbie Caillat's "I do", I wanted something a bit more happy once the ceremony was over and this one was both cute and makes anyone in a happy mood.

During the dinner they still played Mercedes Sosa's "Gracias a la vida", original version here, I like this version better though, and best I liked the version they played, (awesome!), unfortunately I don't know if anyone has it on video.

For the dancing we made our own playlist in Spotify. We put some time in thinking of the music as we wanted all the people to enjoy the party and we had Finnish, Swedish-Speaking Finns, French and Spanish guests (and few other nationalities like one Hungarian and one English). My criterion for the songs was that we are not allowed to have any songs that we don't stand listening to ourselves and if we can think of songs that remind of us some guests, great! Additionally there should be something all generations like and they should be danceable. Some family and friends we also asked if they had any song they would like us to play but few actually gave us some suggestions.

Our first dance was not a waltz but we compensated by having a waltz as the second song. Our first dance was a song from one of Stefan's favorite band Maná called "Bendita tu luz".

If you have Spotify you should be able to listen to our playlist from here, I hope! I added now also Cyndi Lauper's "Girls just wanna have fun" which we used when I threw my bouquet and Maná's "Clavado en un Bar" which was used when Stefan threw the garter. After that there was a few songs we skipped but I let them be in the list now anyway. They are not necessary songs we would listen to otherwise but they did work for our party, the dancefloor was never empty!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reduce Waste

It's Wednesday again with a new CTTW (Change the World Wednesday) challenge but I'm still gonna talk a bit about last week's CTWW  challenge which was to make a waste audit and try to reduce waste. Since last Wednesday we have emptied the trash can and the compost trash 1 time each so I guess that makes it about once a week that we empty our trash (not counting the recyclables that we have gathered up), which I think is quite ok since our waste bin is not that big. 

The trash makes me feel so hopeless though, there's always too much of it and even if I think it's important to recycle even I can feel that it's not that much fun sorting it out.

Checking up on what trash we have most of our trash comes from food packaging and this challenge reminded me again on how annoyed I am at how food is packed in the store! At least I'm again motivated to look for other places to buy the food than the grocery store. Conveniently we are approaching harvest season and all around Sweden there will be farmer's markets popping up so I will surely do my best to go to the Uppsala one as often as I can! If you are in Sweden you can check where the closest farmer's market to you will be here.

Update: And as this week's challenge is to submit your own challenge I suggest: try to buy food from a different store than a supermarket and try to avoid food with excess packaging and in particular plastic packaging.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blueberries and Allemansrätten

On Sunday we went blueberry picking so now we have a little reserve for the winter in the freezer. That is the cool thing with the Nordic countries, Allemansrätten, the Right to Public Access. In practise it means you are allowed to move around in nature and pick mushrooms and berries as long as you don't trash or make damage, so with the freedom comes also responsibility.

The last years though there have been some problems during berry picking season because it has become commercialized. Since two-three years ago, at least that's when I started noticing this, people started coming from different countries to pick berries with the hope (and the promise?) to get paid a good salary for it (which is usually not the case). This year there has been some trouble in the north Uppsala area because an unexpected +500 people arrived to pick berries, a lot of them from Bulgaria, it was expected that maybe 30 people would come. The company Stora Enso who owns the forest have filed a complaint since they claim these people have violated the Right to Public Access, by cutting down trees and making fires etc. (Article here in Swedish and one post in English more generally on the subject).

It would be such a shame if the Right to Public Access would be threatened because of incidents like this. It's also sad that something that should be enjoyed by everyone for free, like the berries, is instead squeezed for money by whoever gains from this berry picking business, somehow I doubt it's the berry pickers. Additionally, I doubt that this sort of organized berry picking would neither follow the unwritten rule that you should only take so much so that there is left for somebody else to take.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Know Your Food

A little bit sheepishly I had to admit to Stefan that I was not sure of which grain was which of the grains that are growing on the fields behind our house. So I had to come home and google. Let's see if I got this right now.

From left to right; barley, wheat and oat.

There's a lot of talk about the disconnect with food in our society lately. How expecially young people don't realize where the food comes from and how it is produced. I can't but agree. The wheat in the store doesn't look at all like in the picture, right? How many things do you have in your fridge/cupboard that you acctually would know how to grow? Know how it looks like? Know where it comes from? I think that it would do all of us some good to trace a meal's components from the plate back to the field/farm one day. 

In the future though it is not so sure we will have access to so much food, especially exotic food, if the oil prices go up (which they are very likely to do) because the food system right now is dependent on oil. Here's a trailer for the movie Best Before, which explores alternative food sources in London. 

Do you grow any food yourself? I can't say that we grow much more than basilica at the moment (and I'm suprised it survived while we were in away for a month) but it would nice to grow some more stuff ourselves in the future.

If you already grow your own things, here's a real challenge for you; this guy lived on things only grown and produced within 100 metre for a year (link found at Little Eco Footprints blog). Beat that!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Today we spent the day on the veranda and every now and then you could hear the humming of the bees. They like the lavender. I like them, I like the butterflies and the lavender too!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Greener Search Engine Part 3

Found yet another green search engine called EnviroSearch, who helps to save our planet by planting trees.

Now you can choose the one you like best from EnviroSearch, Ecosia and Growyn.

Story of Change

How you seen yet the new Story of Stuff's video; Story of Change?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stop Monsanto!

Why should Monsanto be stopped? Monsanto is the company that is has patented GMO crops and sued a lot of farmers whose land has been contaminated with the seeds, without their choice. Listen to this talk with Vandana Shiva from the Grist webpage on why Indian farmers commit suicide, why Monsanto is standing between our freedom, democracy and choice and why GMO-crops is not the solution to producing more food in the future.

And help out @StopMonsantoMov to make their movie on the subject:

Adoption Again

Soon I finish with this subject, promise! So sorry this link is only in Swedish but I thought I had to share it here since it's on the same subject still.

Listen to Klara Zimmerman on Swedish summer radio and her road to adoption. I thought it was sweet!

Monday, July 16, 2012

More on adoption and the allergy

My friend with whom I talked about adoption the other day contacted me after reading my blog and explained that she's not against adoption, just that she's seen a lot of bad experiences and that she would rather like to have her own kid. I guess it was a miscommunication between us, it was probably not the right time and place to discuss it when we originally spoke about it. A thought that came to my mind though was that, is it easy to blame on the adoption factor the problems you have with an adopted the kid? I have no idea if it is so but it would be interesting to know. Perhaps if it's your own kid you blame it on the teenage years or something else when you are having rough times. In any case, as I said before, I just think it's sad that most reactions you get when you speak about adoption are negative. Any experiences/thoughts of your own?

By the way, yesterday a doctor concluded that my rashes most probably was an allergic reaction and I got some pills, so the itchiness finally got better. What exactly I reacted to is still a mystery but let's hope it doesn't come back anytime soon!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Update

Today I want to send you over to the So Stainable blog to listen to Joel Salatin's talk on our disconnect with food.

And as it's a rainy day in Sweden again I wanted to remind you that a warmer climate brings more rainfalls (link in Swedish).

I myself have some sort of allergic reaction going on so I'm going back to trying not scratch the rashes.....not doing completely well on that. I have no idea from what the reaction has come so far. Can it be that since I've switched to eco-friendly products myself I've become super sensitive towards conventional products? Or is it something I've eaten? Or can it be something at the workplace? Let's hope it gets better soon at least!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Some pics from the Holidays in Finland

We visited the fleamarket.

Also the delicacy store in Loviisa with lots of local and eco food.

Homemade yoghurt.
And fresh eggs from nearby.

When the plants takes over:

Our garden here in Sweden was completely overgrown when we came back because no one has cut the grass or nothing. Stefan was a bit upset our landlord has letten the wildness take over, but I secretely enjoy the lushness. However, I guess we should do something to make it look a bit more representable. Also the ants-nests just outside is not so nice and the long grass is unfortunately a good hiding place for the ticks.

Friday, July 13, 2012

We Found Love

My husband (when will I get used to call him my husband?) just showed me this video. Perfect Friday evening feel-good song. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Anyone thought it was hot today?

I heard some complaints about the hotness (from Finland, here is Uppsala it's raining) and we're in the Nordics! Count +6 degrees by 2100...

I know it's depressing but what to do about it? Sometimes I feel I do absolutely nothing right myself even if I try to think about the choices I make. It also feels like life is on hold even if my studies proceed, because nothing is really sure of where we will settle after that, if we will ever settle completely, so it's difficult to make long-term plans.

And the question of kids now when we're married, how to avoid it or answer it politely? How do parents deal with the information that there might be no bright and beautiful future? Do they ignore it?

I had quite a upsetting discussion with a friend about adoption during the holidays. It's a shame that the first reactions you get if you mention adoption is almost always negative. "It's so difficult" for example. This friend of mine was completely against it because in her opinion adopted children always have psychological problems (since they are not with their biological parents). I thought it was quite a narrow minded statement. I have a bunch of friends with  problems even if they are not adopted. Additionally, there's probably a lot of children out there whose biological parents are not alive, so being adopted they should be better off than at a orphanage, right?

I'm not saying I will adopt but I could consider it. In any case I think the discussion about adoption should be a bit more open. I know that probably all mothers will say that there's nothing like your own child but being over 7 billion people on the planet is not exactly gonna slow down the climate change.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Imagine No Bees (dot com)

I know I've written about the bees before but here comes another video I found here. This summer everytime I've spotted a bee I get a little extra happy. Just last week I saved one poor one that found its way inside our house and kept buzzing against the window. It was a little bit tricky but in the end I got it out trough the door and it continued its journey:-) How you spotted any bees this summer?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Back in Uppsala....

....and starting my summer job tomorrow at an environmental team in a company, will be cool to see how that feels to work in my field. I hope I will like it!

I will try to update a bit more often now when I will be back to routines. I have so much to catch up on though! Blogs, twitter and news. I haven't even properly followed up yet on Rio+20.

Also I will continue with blogging about the wedding but still waiting for some more photos. Our official photographer went on holiday but promised to get back early August with the photos. Here's a sneak-peak, photo by our friend Nipiluu.

The cake-topper was bought second-hand, online, turned out that it was a wedding-store owner selling it and she had only used it for an exhibition before. It's still in good shape so I'm gonna try to sell it further again.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Our Wedding Invitations

My husband got a great idea when we were in agony over all the languages the invitations would be needed to be translated in. Why don't we use only pictures? As none of us has any skills for design or painting we asked a friend to help. He did a great job and he even printed them for us! A lot of the guests later told us they had liked the invitations a lot.

Do ask your friends to help you in with different things as it makes them feel part of the wedding and they are usually more than happy to help you out. 

We asked people that if they wanted to bring us a gift to rather give us some money as we have most things we need. The idea would be to use the money we recieved to go for the honeymoon. We'd like to go to Africa to spend a week or two vonunteering and after a week by ourselves but we'll have to see, I start my summer job next Monday and then I'll be back to studying for a while so it might be we have to wait for a while or do a shorter trip (which is obviously more enviornmentally friendly if we can avoid flying).

We just included our bank account details in the invitations but I saw that there is possibilites to use for examle the deposit a gift webpage for money gifts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The First Steps in the Wedding Planning

On request I'm gonna write about the wedding and the planning of it. It was not a super green wedding already from the fact that my husband is half French and half Spanish so about half of our guests flew over to Finland for the day.  Our last guest, the bestman, left only today so that's why I haven't had time to update until now. However, there's perhaps some details and tips I can write about that you might find useful if you are planning a wedding on your own and I can tell you how we managed with the multicultural part of it.

We started planning already over a year in advance as we knew that it would be a challenge to organize such a multi-cultural event as our wedding. I remember that one of the first thing one of my bridesmaid said when I told her we're getting married was that once you've booked a church and a party place a big chunk of your worries are already dealt with. So we head out looking for different places. During that time we were still living in Helsinki so we decided to start looking around that area for a church and a place for the reception.

It turned out to be quite difficult to find a church for a summer wedding in Helsinki as there is a long waiting list. Also there was some trouble because we don't belong to the same church (Stefan is supposed to be Catholic and me Lutheran). However, in the end we got a time for a church but it was in the island Suomenlinna outside Helsinki and by that time all the places over there for having a reception were booked, so we declined it (even though Suomenlinna could have been cool for a wedding).

Along the same time we finally found the place that felt to us like the perfect wedding place. It was a restaurant which was not exactly what we had planned (we originally wanted to fix everything ourselves) but by then we also knew that I had gotten into studying in Sweden, so we still decided to have the reception in a restaurant in Finland because it would be easier than to plan for food and everything from scratch when we would be based in Uppsala. We also got a timesloth for the nearest church but we felt it was too late in the afternoon so after all the ups and downs we decided to go for a civil ceremony at the restaurant. From then on we kept our fingers crossed for nice weather as a wedding ceremony beside the river close to the restaurant seemed a lovely plan.

Here is a link to the restaurant and photos of the place. It had the perfect rustic feeling that I wanted. The ideas for the theme I got from this site, and we decided to go for a dark red theme as in this wedding.

Other sites I've visited for inspiration are Green Wedding Shoes and Ethical Weddings. I think these three sites were important for me to hang around on to see that we can do a wedding the way we want and not the way it is expected! And it turned out fantastically well!

On this Swedish site I bought quite a lot of second-hand stuff for the wedding (some of them turned out to be first hand anyway), will show you some of the details in the posts to come! and their Facebook site can also be cool for eco wedding inpiration if you're Swedish-speaking!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Just Married

Just a little note to say I'm still here and that I had such a wonderful wedding day yesterday! Will update you soon on the planning and the day once I get some photos...can't wait to see them myself!