Discussions last lesson centered on one vital reality: nature recycles everything. Deep in the jungle, where plastic is still unheard of, there is no waste. Everything feeds the soil, which feeds the plants, which feeds the animals, which feeds other animals, until the feed returns back to the soil.
Gardeners of all grades in class this week treated themselves to fresh garden grindz. There is something about growing your own food that makes even the most squeemish child ripe for experimentation. Garden Agreement #3 states that students operate in nature "with an open mind." I convienently translate open mindedness as being willing to taste what you grow; and class demonstrates that even a lick or the smallest nibble of fill-in-the-blank-freshly-harvested-from-the-garden opens a child's pallet to a whole meal.
This week we experimented with foriegn greens; spinach masked in basil "green noodles," or noodles swimming in pesto. I haul out the blender, bowls and spoons, mini-table, compostable cups, cooler filled with ingredients. I pre-make noodles. I ask children to harvest basil and spinach. After a thorough hose hand washing, we pick leaves off basil stems and add salt, parmasean cheese, olive oil, garlic, and mac nuts. Kids get to press blender buttons to whip up green noodles their hands helped grow, harvest, and prepare. Kids serve other kids and never fail to ask if they can take some back to their home room teachers.
Student feedback on green noodles ranged from a sixth-grade girl who noted, "That wasn't hard at all and I love it" to a first-grade boy who swore, "I think I'm growing" after just one bite. Many noted the taste was "spicy;" a term I think refered to the raw garlic and pungent basil overtones, as they shoveled in more bites. I say "shoveled" on purpose because we ate "bush style" with clean hands, noodles in cups, and no forks. After all, "reduce" is part of the Three R's.
Seventh and eighth graders had the tough responsibility of trying out a new school recipe; Homemade Vanilla and Lemongrass Ice Cream. The recipe directed cooks to put ice cream ingredients in a container inside of a bigger container packed with rock salt and ice, then roll the container to whip the cream. Instructions said to wrap the inside container with duct tape to prevent leakage. What is the point of reusing containers and reducing energy dependence by employing au natural kinetic energy just to enshrowd a container in duct tape (a strong adhesive, sure, but non-biodegradable and living into perpetuity after just one use)? So, students were given the "Keep it Closed" Challenge, some reusable rubber bands and hemp string reclaimed from an old bean trellis. They created leak-tight containers in five minutes flat.
Gardeners started rolling their ice cream. Students with the container completely surrounded in hemp string tied the end string to the teather ball pole and started swinging. The other group followed recipe directions and rolled their container on the grass. We discovered that ice cream whipped with the kinetic energy trapped in a few gentle rounds of teather ball is just as awesome as the foot-rolled one.
Gardeners flipped over their end result. Creamy, cold, delicately lemony, delicious, made with their own hands; Jr. High mahi'ai (food growers) pert near glazed over with their first slurp of lemongrass and vanilla ice cream. They dubbed it the next Wonder Garden tradition, worthy of weekly indulgence.
You can make your own laundry soap. My alchemist friend, Laurel, and I started making our own laundry soap last November. With my child and her three running around in the backgroud, we made our first batch in 20 minutes, for 5$ worth of ingredients from KTA, and it just ran out last week. So simple, so cheap, so liberating; making your own laundry soap feels like looking The Man straight in the eye and telling him to, um, go away.
Our recipe is off the Duggar Family website - those folks with 18 kids and another on the way. They make their own landry softener, dishsoap, and detergent. We figured if anyone has the laundry thing down it must be Mrs. Duggar. We were right; the soap works great even on my family's ripest clothes. No more plastic jugs we can't recycle either. I want to share laundry soap emancipation with the Western World.
I decided to start small. Yesturday, I hosted two workshops at our school to demonstrate making laundry soap. Both sessions were well attended and recieved, and a dad even showed up. Our society really is changing. We sipped tea, chatted, and made enough soap to send home everyone with samples and a copy of the recipe.
The procedure follows. Liberate yourself from Tide's tyranny. For 5$ and 20 minutes, you can join us in getting your clothes clean from soap made with your own hands. Together, we will take down The Man one step towards sustainability at a time.
Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap- Front or top load machine
4 Cups - hot tap water
1 Fels-Naptha soap bar
1 Cup - Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda*
½ Cup Borax
- Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted.
-Fill a 5 gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda and Borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover and let sit overnight to thicken.
-Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (will gel)
-Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per 2 gallons. Add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
-Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.
-Top Load Machine- 5/8 Cup per load (Approx. 180 loads)
-Front Load Machines- ¼ Cup per load (Approx. 640 loads)
Ms Krista says:
Everyday encounters with real garden sprites; tortuous panorama of the surf; old-growth collards; machete lessons; mantis rehab; pesto pasta. Days as a public school garden teacher on the Big Island are filled with unexpected gems of wisdom and infinite inspirations. Introducing my life as a school garden teacher...