Sacred Habitats

...discoveries of living mindfully on the Earth.

Category: Making A Living (page 1 of 2)

Tool Review: In Love With deWit Garden Tools

Last Friday my first set of deWit forged garden tools arrived: a trowel, a 3-tine cultivator, and a handfork. It takes a lot to impress me when it comes to things and I am delighted to say that not only have these tools done just that but I will not give any think to purchasing anything lesser quality.

Even though deWit was established in 1898 in Holland, I only learned about this 5th generation company recently. No part of these tools comes from China and they all have a lifetime guarantee!

After eagerly opening the package I couldn’t wait to lift one out of the box and run my hands over it, the steel feels like no other garden tool. Upon running my hand across the trowel I was instantly beamed back to my childhood, my father had a backhoe and I loved running my palms against the silky smooth blade that only seemed to get better the more it was used.

I was also wondering if these tools would be too heavy for hours of work but that idea was completely erased from my mind the second I lifted the trowel from the box. They don’t have too heavy a weight to them even thought they’re thick, fantastic!

How I wish I had known about deWit garden tools when I had my landscape business, it drives me insane to have to buy new rakes and shovels once or twice a year because they just don’t hold up well, not to mention they are not even comfortable to use. The good news is, I found deWit tools and I am sold for life!

Can you hear me doing the happy dance and singing “I can buy my garden tools once and never need to replace them again”? Such music to my soul.

The wood for the handles is European Ash that comes from FSC controlled forestry. The steel is Swedish boron steel, you can compare this with the same steel that Caterpillar is using for their digging machines.

Sietse deWit told me, “people come to our factory with a 60 yr old spade to get a replacement handle or to show us it is still going strong.”

You can’t say that about any tool sold at box stores in the USA.

The other thing that impressed me was the price, fine quality forged tools that are so tough they’re guaranteed for life, only cost a bit more than the so-so quality. The handles and blades don’t bend when you put pressure on them. These are an investment for the rest of your life.

If you’re like me and prefer to buy things ‘once’ in your lifetime, and Will them to your kids, I highly recommend deWit tools.

~~ deWit garden tools can be purchased here at Garden Tool Company ~~

I can’t wait to order their shovels, rakes, a sickle, their tree planting hoe (what a back-saver that one must be!), a couple of different sized axes… OK I’ll stop here, I know I sound like a kid in a candy store who says, “I’ll take one of these, and one of those, oooo and I can’t live without one of these, and oooo look I HAVE to have…

Try one and you’ll see what I mean, then come on back here and tell me what you think in the comments! I would love to hear your impressions.

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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Community – The wave of the future is here

Shoals Creek EcovillageIt seems as time progresses that an ever increasing number of people are starting to stand up and say “I want to live in a real community!” However, what defines community is somewhat elusive and can be highly variable. The definition of community depends upon the individual, family, or even a group of people.

For some it is just reaching out to and interacting more with their neighbors while others are leaving the cities and joining like minded people to start a whole new village – eschewing what they consider the oppressiveness, the high crime rates to find or build something better. They all want something better for the future. A place where kids can run free and have fun without their parents having to worry.

Toni Morrison was quoted in Essence, July 1981: “I don’t think one parent can raise a child. I don’t think two parents can raise a child. You really need the whole village.”

Two incidents recently came to mind about parenting and children. Once was the police were called, several times, on a mother because she wasn’t close enough to her children who were riding bikes in the cul-de-sac where they lived, while the mother was sitting in a lawn chair in the front yard watching them. The second involved a mother who was actually arrested because she was in the house and her children were playing in the mothers front yard.

When I was young I was like most children in that you respected your parents (even if you pushed the boundaries). You played in the front yard, the back yard, the neighbors yard – but you didn’t dare cross the street unless mom & pop said you were old enough and responsible enough to do so safely and that very act opened up a whole new world to explore while getting bumps, bruises and dirty! Then, when you were old enough to ride your bike without supervision the world was yours for the taking.

The world was decidedly different back then as every adult in your neighborhood kept an eye on you – not spying mind you. Just an eye on you if anything should happen that you needed help.

People are looking to return to those days, at the very least for safety and freedom. The freedom to not have the police called on you because your child was in your front yard and you were inside.

Reflecting back, I guess I could feel the changes that were happening. As I got older and would very often be out on 40+ mile solo bike rides by myself it seems that people were drawing in more to themselves and “hiding” in their homes. Interaction between neighbors was declining. Fewer gatherings – parties, celebrations and such. It has now reached a point where people have become fearful, distrustful and unthinking as they are starting to impose their values, morals and beliefs on others.

In the 1970′s, growing out of the short lived commune movement, a new way of thinking began to emerge. It really wasn’t new as it was how our many generations back ancestors tended to live. By gathering into small communities for safety and for the good of everyone by trading goods and services. Now 40 years out, this idea is once again starting to take root, sprouting from seeds planted long ago.

These communities were pretty self sufficient having most of the goods and services they needed right there, but trading with other villages when something was not immediately available. Economics was not a problem. If one village had collapsed it did not, as a general rule, cause surrounding villages to collapse, but then again, back then there really wasn’t anything called an economy that ran by complex rules. There was no “globalization”.

Evelyn and I are working with a couple of other folks to develop a new community, Shoals Creek Village, around the simple concept of a hyper local economy, but doing it in a way that we will be able to use it as a model for creating and building out other communities under the umbrella of My Eco Oasis. We are involved because we believe all communities could be better and feel that this project will help show the way for them to explore ways, both old and new, to make themselves better, safer and healthier for their citizens.

We are looking for people to help us, in whatever way they feel drawn, to pitch in. Soon we will be calling on people, artisans, agrarians and others to come and live at this new wonderful community. In the meantime join us on Facebook at Shoals Village and My Eco Oasis if the the idea of joining or creating a community appeals to you.

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Curt SitersCurt Siters


Shoals Creek Village - a new build intentional community.

My Eco Oasis - the hub for what will be a network of many ecovillages.

Big fan of living simply

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  ~Albert Einstein

Man's heart away from nature becomes hard.  ~Standing Bear

Taking a Stand on Organic Regulations Again: Organic Fraud

How refreshing it was to watch (see video below) Michael Potter, Chairman and President of Eden Foods, in his testimony before the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). Many are too young to remember that back in the early 1990s there was quite a bit of concern and protest going on in the health food stores and among the organic food co-op’s. The fear back  was that the USDA and the now NOSB would ruin the organics industry in some manner.

Prior to the USDA taking over organic regulation it was actually quite difficult for growers and farmers to meet the very strict organic regulations. While we weren’t certain back then how the new takeover would change the entire industry we did end up seeing the change happen within a relatively few years and it wasn’t good.

Large corporations who have purchased most of the our nation’s organic food industry and farms include: Coca-Cola, Cargill, General Mills, Kraft and M&M Mars, Kellogg’s, and Heinz, to name a few.

With the change in who regulates organics also meant the demise of thousands of small family owned organic farms. Stoneyfield Farms is one perfect example of how a wonderful food product can change virtually overnight and become nothing more than just another average commercial yogurt producer whose product is no longer truly organic, not to mention the fact that the product tastes disgusting as a result.

About 43 years ago, Michael Potter founded Eden Organics, back in the days when the word and label “organic” actually meant that something was super pure and truly natural. During those days, carrageenan, which is a seaweed-derived thickener that has a controversial health record, was not considered organic and was not allowed in a certified organic product. Also on the list of not organic ingredients was synthetic inositol, an ingredient manufactured using chemical processes. Today, those ingredients are permissible in labeled certified organic products. Worse yet is that GMO foods and ingredients are also allowed in labeled certified organic products.

For those of us who remember what food tasted like before the takeover all I can say is what is being sold and labeled today as organic is nothing more than a joke, the entire regulation and certification is shameful. Since the late 1970s I had gone out of my way and spent extra money for organic foods and products. Since 1999, I stopped wasting my time and money. What I’ve done instead is search out local small farms and individuals who practice the old methods and standards of organic. I have trusted their word for years, over the now meaningless certified organic label.

Once again, a few days after the most recent review on May 22, 2012, the NOSB board voted to keep carrageenan on the increasing list of non-organic ingredients which can be used in foods and products with the “certified organic” label.

It is beyond me how any regulatory body can approve known non-organic ingredients to be included in products with a certified organic label. I suppose the only real way we can get the organic industry back to the wholesomeness it was prized for is to stop buying certified organic foods and products altogether, if there is no profits to be made they will stop making phony organic certificates and claims.

To make matters worse, the onslaught of GMO seed is potentially contaminating not only the environment but organic seed and crops as well through cross-pollination. In my mind, the fact that GM soy can and is allowed to be fed to animals in certified organic feedlots is a huge step back in our evolution of maintaining a clean source of food for those who demand better.

Michael Potter says…

“The board is stacked. Either they don’t have a clue, or their interest in making money is more important than their interest in maintaining the integrity of organics.”

Michael Potter refuses to place the certified-organic label on Eden’s product, claiming it a fraud.

I am delighted that Eden Organics is speaking out about this. They are the only larger organic company that I am aware of that farms by the old regulations. Of course there are many beyond organic small farms dotting the county and I encourage you to seek them out through Local Harvest.

Previous posts on the concern and safety of our food:

Growing Flax: a story of beauty, prosperity and ruin

The Trail of Corn: going where no man or woman has gone before

GM Canola Found Growing Along Roadsides

FDA Says GM Salmon, Trout, Tilapia Safe for Human Consumption

Organic Certification: is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Sustainable Beyond Organic Meats: we ARE what the animal eats

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

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National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts: Disappointing and Disturbing News

This past week I became aware of some shocking news: both the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Scotts Miracle-Gro was proud to announce they were partnering. In their press release on January 18, 2012 stating,

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and ScottsMiracle-Gro are announcing a new partnership to advance NWF’s nationwide Be Out There initiative to connect children with nature. As the national presenting sponsor, ScottsMiracle-Gro will enhance NWF’s programs to create green spaces and attract wildlife to backyards and communities across the country.

“During our support of the NWF’s wildlife relief work in the Gulf of Mexico, we realized how many similarities our organizations shared – and started exploring ways to work together,” said Jim Lyski, executive vice president, ScottsMiracle-Gro. “NWF offers a unique perspective that we believe can help shape our sustainability initiatives, and proactively engage thought leaders on constructively developing solutions to environmental and societal challenges. This partnership for us is about building a business that leaves our world better off than we found it.”

Is That Stretching Our Abilities to Believe Them  Continue reading

Evelyn Vincent Evelyn Vincent

Native Plant Landscaper, Gardener, Labyrinth Design, Feng Shui Practitioner,  Aromatherapy / Essential Oils, Big Fan of Nature and Living Simply.

"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller

Follow Me on Pinterest

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