Local Heart, Global Soul

March 9, 2019

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowing In The Wind…

Filed under: LIFE,PHOTOGRAPHY,THE NETHERLANDS,Windmills — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The Netherlands is trying to become completely independent from all imported gas for heating, cooking etc. from approximately 2025-2030.

With these dates looming fast, a lot of investment is being made in green alternatives.

Wind and solar are the “big two” of course, with heavy investment into R & D for other possibilities like wave technology close behind.

With the coastal areas averaging 360 windy days per year, it’s no surprise why windmills have been such a success throughout Dutch history.

Large modern wind turbines dotted around the landscape, and even bigger wind farms in the North Sea supply more and more of the countries energy, but there are some smaller wind generation alternatives around too.

This variety of small wind turbine looks perfect for a “local” solution, and personally I’d love one of these on our house, the only downside is that I am not sure how much noise these make and if they therefore would be suitable in a residential area.

The noise of just one single unit, might not be a problem, but if they were especially successful and several sets of neighbours wanted one too, then a string of them in each street might have a cumulative noise effect that may well become a contentious neighbourhood problem. The one I sighted here looks like it’s on a commercial property, so less noise concerns there.

We are totally into the idea of generating our own green electricity, Himself and I are going to be insulating our roof in the next months and afterwards, as much area of the roof as possible will be covered with solar panels.

The cost difference these days is amazing: we bought three solar panels around 15 years ago and they set us back around 10, possibly 11.000,– Euro, Now we can get 25 solar panels for 5.000,– Euro ! Both cases are without subsidy, but in the latest set, we hope to fight a bit harder for our share of the tiny subsidy budget that the Gemeente (city council / Town hall) has, even if it gets paid retroactively in the next years. In the meantime our electricity comes via one of the big wind energy companies, so we are trying to do what we can to keep the planet healthy. Hopefully part of the answer to the global warming crisis is blowing in the wind…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 25, 2018

Christchurch Cycling: The Path Of The Future…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, a webpage was put up by the Christchurch City Council where people could contribute ideas for how the “new” Christchurch would look, feel and work.

The ideas poured in in the thousands, practical, weird, wacky I think everything was there.

Of course the Council’s budget was stretched thin after the quakes so many were just too expensive but there were however a ton of very well thought out ideas, many with accompanying drawings and artwork.

These were ideas that local residents hoped would not just rejuvenate the decimated city, but also set it on the map as a new, innovative, safe, forward looking place to live and visit.

Christchurch residents wanted to not just rebuild Christchurch but to grab the opportunity to rebuild a city with improvements that were functional and practical.  Keenly interested in what was happening in my old home town, I read this public forum of ideas whilst it stood open, wondering which ideas would be implemented.

At the time it was difficult to imagine how the city close to my heart could possibly recover when it stood looking so broken, but seeing the contributions made me realise that many other people were equally concerned that somehow the “New’ Christchurch should be a the silver lining to the tragedy that had befallen the South Island’s biggest city.

Christchurch is the only large New Zealand city that is almost completely flat (the outer suburbs on the Port Hills excepted) so it was brilliant for me to see that several ideas popped up in the survey of ideas over an over and over and over again: The request for cycle paths set apart from regular road traffic and for the city to be as “Green” as possible.

My cousin told us during our 2013/14 Christmas trip that several people from the city council had come to meet with Dutch city planners and experts on cycle paths here in the Netherlands but that not much had been heard at the time about if, how, when or where cycle paths would be implemented. Many feared that there would be token gesture instead of the extensive network that was hoped for. Light rail, electric trams were other alternative ideas that were lobbied  because there are now so many people living further out from the central city and of course the completely demolished suburbs in “red zones”. (More on those in a post coming very soon).

Now, during our visit of January 2018 I was delighted to see evidence of these requested cycle paths springing up as a network in the city. I have no clue how far it all extends from the central city area but this at least is in my eyes very positive start. It also meets the “Green” request of local people whilst providing a safe way for people to commute around the city and get exercise. For the Council it would cut down on the numbers of vehicles in the central city so surely this idea would have been a no-brainer from the very start. One thing is for certain, Christchurch’s cycleways are the new healthy, green transport option, and a definite path to the future.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 27, 2016

Lights In The Darkness Growing Green For The People…

Filed under: ICELAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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One of the things that we learned earlier on in our trip to Iceland was that ninety-eight percent of all energy here is geothermally generated. We learned that energy here is cheap and abundant and that all homes and businesses are able to take advantage of this plentiful green resource. Of course we also see plenty of evidence of geothermal activity: signs for natural hot pools abound and we see steam rising in some areas as natural vents are close to the surface. Whilst we knew these facts it was still a surprise to see many brilliantly lit greenhouses in the darkness, places that use this abundance of energy to grow fresh produce for the Icelandic population. If only veggies could be grown this “greenly” in the rest of the world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 19, 2013

Step-by-Step Indian Cooking Lesson: Green Beans (South Indian Style)

Filed under: FOOD,INDIA,Indian Cusine,PHOTOGRAPHY,Recipes — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Green Beans (South Indian Style)

1 large onion (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves (fresh ones that you then freeze and use as required)
½ cup grated fresh coconut (or dessicated unsweetened  coconut if fresh is not available)
1-2 Tablespoon lemon juice
2-3 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 green or red  chili (optional)
Salt (to taste)

This is an amazing recipe  and one of my personal favourites from the course.

One thing I learnt from our teacher is that she believes that dried curry leaves loose most of their flavour in the drying process, so she believes people should buy fresh and then keep them in the freezer.

I have some fresh curry leaves  that I forgot to put into the freezer for about 1o days  because the kids covered up the bag on the dining room side board with some junk that I then didn’t shift because I have a chest infection and have been in bed rather than doing housework.  On the plus side I noted that they don’t dry out very fast at all,  so if you can’t get them locally then I think it should certainly it should be fine to get them on-line and stash them in your freezer as soon as they arrive.

I found it really interesting that no water at all is needed when cooking the beans, they kind of just steam themselves when the lid of the pot is on. I hate pouring vegetable vitamins down the sink with the cooking water so this is a recipe that probably keeps a lot more of the vitamins  in the beans. Yum! As usual, lots of step-by-step photographs to guide you through the process… enjoy!

Method:

Wash, string and dice the green beans into small pieces.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Heat the oil in a pan (or small wok) …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then add the mustard seeds …When the seeds begin to “crackle”add the curry leaves…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just a dozen or so curry leaves from your freezer stash…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the chopped onion,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the chili (optional) and stir for a few minutes using a medium flame.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the green beans…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then the salt… (no, not the entire contents of this bowl, just a teaspoon!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Then cover and cook for 5-10 minutes using a medium flame until the beans are cooked but slightly crunchy.(Note: it’s not necessary to add any water!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Add the grated coconut and lemon juice, mix well and serve.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our Teacher’s Notes: Serving tips: French beans can be used unstead of green beans. Can be served with rice lentils and roti (Indian bread).

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