Continuing with our eco-conscious, living slow, eco-friendly 'Year Guide' to making sustainable changes to both your home and personal life - Welcome to March!
The last partial-month of winter has finally arrived! Now is the time to be planning what you can grow in your gardens or planters, dreaming of soon-to-be-had days reacquainting ourselves with nature and the great outdoors and slowly but surely coming out of our hibernation as the earth warms a little and the days get longer.
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.Charles Dickens
This month we will be looking at:
• How to Pay More Attention to Our World Around Us - so that we can make better memories and more sacred, precious moments.
• How to Make a Terrarium. As we yearn for the later vibrant green days of spring we can make these now. A chance to get our fingers in the soil. To smell the earth and revel in the potential that growing plants affords us.
• How to make Seed Starter Pots out of Recycled Paper. We can start some seeds inside now that it is March. Learn how to make tiny seed pots for your seeds.
What a difference a few days of sun makes! To all of us. I have noticed more buds on the trees, hedgerows, and flowers. The vibrant lime green of the fields astounds me! That kinda colour is usually reserved for eighties Day-Glo parties but lo and behold, there it is in all its garish brilliance heralding the onset of spring. And I couldn't be happier about it.
For many of us, it is storm season. As if the earth is struggling to wake up from a long slumber with grey sleepy days, violent grumpy windy stormy days that all seem just too much until.. Until the sun shines, rainbows appear and all is forgiven. No one in our home wants to waste a moment of the sunshine. Doors, windows and arms are flung wide in relief and welcome. The hibernation of winter is ending and the waking up is beginning. Amanda Blake Soule, in her book The Rhythm of Family Rhythm-Family-Discovering-Through-Seasons, speaks of the beloved 'First Day'. In her writing, she describes how this happens every year and marks the tipping point of winter into spring. The first day that is spent more outside than not. The first day we spy spring flowers bursting from the earth. The first day we shed our layers and venture forth unencumbered by layer upon layer of thick cosy clothing. A day that breaks our long winter both emotionally and physically.
After the hibernation of winter and before the work of spring, we are in transition on the First Day. We are simply being, dancing in the sun, and greeting the life in front of us.Amanda Blake Soule
How to Pay Attention To What You Pay Attention Too
How very hard it has become to resist the siren song of a smartphone or another digital device. The lure of a red dot or a notification banner across the screen can send our hearts aflutter as we hear from our loved ones or our tribes on social media. Being without our phones or a TV can be very freeing. Without the irresistible call, we can focus. Focus on what is presently around us, focus on our own thoughts and feelings. We can even regain control over our thoughts and feelings that have maybe become influenced by all the other thoughts and advertizing that is pushed upon us digitally daily.
A digital detox once a week can be a very healing and regenerative process. All you need to do is turn those phones off! (Or if you have kids or others that need access to you, put volume setting to high and leave in another room so that you can be reached but you can't reach the phone too easily)
Within this time, try mentally to collect more details from what is going on around you. Look at how the light falls around the room. Look, really look, at people's faces. Do they have laughter lines or stress lines? Maybe there is a way that their nose crinkles adorably when they laugh that you have not noticed before? I love to see the profile of my children's noses. Growing from a tiny button into a feature that will define their perfect faces.
Collecting details makes moments easier to remember, and life all the better for it.
"The art of memory is the art of attention"Samuel Johnson, Compiler of the Dictionary of the British Language in the 18th century
This is very important as we adopt a life of slow living and mindfulness. It really does encourage us to be present and receive every ounce of joy out of every moment that is offered to us. It can help us regain our perspective after a hard day or a long week.
(An amazing book that is filled to the brim with wonderful ideas all about this is The Art of Making Memories by Meik Wiking https://amzn.to/39wnEg1 the best selling author of The Little Book of Hygee - an absolute fave on our bookshelf and a great way to live more mindfully)
How to Make a Terrarium
Terrariums are a wonderul way to create a magical eco system that is always green and so very alive! When done correctly a terrarium becomes its very own tiny eco system, with the cycle of moisture keeping the plants growing and healthy with very little water or attention. They are a wonderful microcosm of the world outside and a great thing to get enquiring minds involved with.
To make a terrarium you will need:
- Glass containers with or without tops
- Gravel, sand, sea glass or beach stones
- Activated charcoal (found at a nursery or pet supply store)
- Terrarium plants
- Sterile potting mix
- Moss and other decorative elements (optional)
.You can really use any glass container for a terrarium, it is best if it has a wide opening (though it is possible to make them in demijohns with the use of a long stick and a handy youtube video!) Just make sure that it is sterile or has been sterilized and dried. We like to make ours in large glass jars that can be lain on their side and placed in a decorative dish.
Place a thin layer of stones/gravel/pebbles at the base of your terrarium. this is for drainage.
Cover that layer with a layer of charcoal or activated carbon to filter the water and keep it smelling good!
Add a layer of moss to keep the soil out of the drainage area
Place the soil over the moss. Maybe you would like to create an uneven surface and create a little hill etc?
Make small holes for the plants to go in. Shake off excess soil, gently separate the roots and plant, making sure to pack the soil tightly around them. (There are some fab suggestions and tips for doing all of this in the book The New Terrarium by Tovah Martin on Amazon.)
Get creative - add any decoartions and moss around the surface. Maybe a tiny fairy garden would be perfect or some of your favourite shell tokens from holidays past.
Gently spray the plants with water and place the lid onto your glass conatiner.
For the first few days, we suggest spraying the leaves until the terrarium creates its own moisture. Be very careful not to overwater as this could lead to all the plants rotting! If you think it has become a little too wet you can open the lid to air it out a bit. It should become its own self contained little eco system in a few weeks. (If you like, you can check every few weeks or so. If the soil is damp then it is working perfectly, if it is dry - spray in a little water).
Some plants that we recommend for your new terrarium are:
- Creeping fig
- Club moss
- Small ferns
- Lucky bamboo
- Nerve plant
- Prayer plant
How to make Seed Starter Pots out of Recycled Paper
Did you know that you can recycle your newspapers by making them into little seed pots? Well, this is a game-changer and you won't look back from this neat little tip. (It also makes you feel like a bit of an old school granddad who has an allotment and can grow cool stuff.) Not only all of that but this will also save you money whilst being eco-friendly.
What you need:
- A glass jar or bottle
- String (not nessecary)
First of all, find a newspaper. I did a little reserach to find out how safe inks were and found this info so taht you didnt have to:
"In the past, inks were made with petroleum-based ingredients but these days it’s made mainly with soybean oil. That means that the ink and paper are both biodegradable...Sometimes newspapers will include a section telling you about the printer, paper, and ink, so look for that first. If you can’t find anything, see if the ink rubs off on your fingers. If a lot of it does, then it’s old-fashioned petroleum ink that doesn’t completely dry. Modern soy inks don’t tend to rub off"Tanya from Lovely Greens
Next, flatten out the newspaper. Fold it in half lengthwise. Place the jar at one end so that the closed bottom of the jar or glass sticks out by a few cm or so. Roll the paper over the glass so that the sides of your little pot are a few sheets of paper thick. Once you have reached the end of the paper crumple or fold the overhanging paper into the open end of the jar.
Pull the jar out and your plant pot is just about complete! Just push down the crumpled/folded paper at the bottom of your pot so that it is flat and you’re ready to go. Add the soil so that it keeps the paper together with its own weight. Super-duper easy and you’re on to making the next one in less than a minute.
If you would like to be all fancy or create a lovely 'planting' gift box for a friend check out this helpful little tool on Amazon that can replace the glass jar in this project.
I (kinda) promise that next month's guide will be less green-thumbed.. but since we are actively acknowledging our surroundings, this month really is about being aware of the world that is awakening after winter. What better way to celebrate that than joining in and getting our hands into the earth and getting ready for the upcoming growing season?
That sums up this month’s ideas and inspirations for living an eco-friendly (ish) lifestyle. I hope you found a few ways to fill March with the wonderous anticipation of a vibrant spring! Thanks for joining us on this journey - if you would like to connect with us through the month find us on Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #loamandlore to share any makes or takeaways from these month guides.
In love and kindness,
Amy Chadney runs the popular blog thechadneys.com which features many insights into self care, growth mindset and helping families and business owners become more focused and productive.