Dawn to Dusk

Northern Ireland Government has a wiki! A wiki!

Posted in Uncategorized by acuthbert on August 20, 2006

Well don’t that beat all? Good old Northern Ireland has got itself a wiki! Not much on it except council minutes at the moment (and rudimentary guides to recycling) but how Web 2 are we!

Find it at:


Incidentally – I found an interesting page on the wiki about Mr. Paisley! Seems our governments view is that Mr. Paisley is “an evil senior politician”. Either that are the moderater of the wiki hasn’t checked in for a while!


Soap, marvellous soap

Posted in Living Ethically by acuthbert on August 20, 2006

Replacing shampoo with soap isn’t exactly part of an ethical code I subscribe to, however the general principle of keeping things simple is. Have you ever looked at the back of a shampoo bottle? The list of chemicals is pretty scary. Do we really need sodium-tricloroethane (I made that up chemical fans before anyone tells me so) to keep clean? Hey I thought, if soap was good enough in those olden days why not now.  I got myself some 30p tesco natural soap (vegetable extracts only) and initial reports are good.

My hair does feel thicker and not quite as soft, but it’s clean which is good enough for me.

It’s the long term effects which are unknown as yet. Will my hair fall out, go grey, get dandruff etc. etc. I’ll let you know how it works out.

Looks like the carrots are next

Posted in Veggie Tales by acuthbert on August 20, 2006

After the failed mission to save our lettuces from the mysterious night creature it seems our carrots are next on the menu. I’ve had to restore the netting although getting decent coverage, pinning down all edges tight and giving the carrots room to grow is quite a challenge.

On inspection this morning I think the foe was kept at bay, although I did feel a strange sense of paranoia creeping over me. Were there not carrots in this space before?

I’ve strengthened my resolve now to build a good chicken wire cage for the veggies for next year. Something strong, heavy yet easy to remove.

Interestingly the spring onions and beetroot have not been touched. Maybe they’re dessert.

“Here’s my bright idea”

Posted in Living Ethically by acuthbert on August 20, 2006

Listening to Orson – Bright Idea at the moment and it prompts me to share an idea I had today while in Tesco. Could the supermarkets not provide their staple products in big Vats through which you fill up your own containers. Orange juice, rice, pasta, milk, olive oil, vinegar, detergent, washing up liquid etc. could all be candidates for such a system as it would save an awful lot of wasted plastic and glass. And yes we can recycle these things but a lot of energy is wasted in their production and recycling. Better to reuse than recycle! Here’s how I see it working:

  • You bring your container to the dispenser of the appropriate product
  • You keep the button held until your container is filled.
  • The dispenser prints out a label reflecting the amount of product dispensed (just like the old vegetable and fruit weighing scales)

Hopefully if it caught on even the branded products would be keen to join in.

Of course such as scheme would have its problems:

  • The dispensers would need cleaned and carefully managed so not to mix old and fresh product
  • Advice would need to be given to customers to make sure they clean the containers properly!

But I reckon these would be easy to get around. What do you think?

The joy of composting

Posted in Composting by acuthbert on August 20, 2006

Yes folks composting is a joy. I know what you’re thinking – get that guy an anorak but I can honestly state that I haven’t owned an anorak since I was in primary school. So how come I get a genuine thrill from checking in on the green bin at the bottom of the garden? It’s hard to explain but that thing really is a tardis. Fill it to the top and in a week it’ll be down to 2 thirds, in two weeks it’ll be down to a half full again. This has been going on for weeks now and I literally can’t wait to take out the first pitch fork of home made compost.

Here’s my top tips for the inspiring composter:

  1. Get yourself a proper compost bin. It’ll cost you £20 but it keeps the heat in and the water and vermin out.
  2. Don’t let it get too wet. Regularly add scrunched up newspaper, egg cartons, shredded paper in between layers of vegetable matter and grass cuttings.
  3. Keep it varied. The greater the variety of stuff in the bin the less it’ll smell and the sweeter the smell (really!)
  4. Don’t let things go to waste! If you’ve just been pruning trees strip the leaves and add them to the mix (or make a leaf mulch – that’s on my todo), if someone is chucking out fruit ask if you can have it. Make sure not to waste the teabags, coffee grounds and egg shells.
  5. Keep it turned. Every so often give it a turn with a pitch fork. The bacteria like to respire aerobically, however they will respire anaerobically but it’ll smell and won’t make as great an end result.

I’ve only been composting for about 8 weeks but I’m already hooked. Has anyone got any other ideas of what we can (safely) compost?

Hello world!

Posted in Uncategorized by acuthbert on August 20, 2006

Welcome to my blog! Why ‘Dawn to Dusk’? I guess a blog called ‘acuthbert’ didn’t sound like it would have much to say about anything! I suppose neither does Dawn to Dusk but hey, at least it sounds poetic.

I’m a man of projects. Like all men my projects often get started and never finished. I believe the person who coined the phrase ‘fad’ was a disgruntled wife tired of counting the cost of endless cycle of new projects. Now I wouldn’t call all my projects ‘fads’ however even so a fad can be a good thing. Keeping to the same-old-same-old is not a way to expand the mind and with mounting evidence that you either use it or loose it (mentally speaking) I’m keen to broaden any horizon I can find.

I heard recently that you can tell all about a person from how the organise and manage their email inbox. Well I think you can learn a lot about a man by analysing his fads. Here’s some of mine, past and present:

  • Programming (not really a fad – it’s my main hobby and livelyhood and will no doubt keep me entertained until the wee small hours)
  • Electronics. I used to love building circuits on the old breadboard, especially if it involved ICs (microchips to the uninitiated). I once built a remote control light turning off thing, but alas when they started appearing on the shelves (in packages about a hundredth the size of mine!) I consigned the project to the attic. My electronics hobby went with it.
  • Growing Veggies. I love my veggie patch. Sadly so do anonymous creatures that eat them during the night.
  • Composting. A new one this – and hopefully one I’ll keep up. Totally fasinated watching green stuff turn to em, brown stuff.
  • Ethically living. Okay, okay – I’m not exactly the model green warrior but I’m keen to improve and champion the cause.

So, that’s some of the ideas that churn about in me old noggin. I should also mention that I’m a deep thinker on all subjects philosophical, but more about that later!

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