Solar oven experiments: Further adventures in two-tiered cooking

Solar ‘Spairments continued! Using the inverted lid of the pot as an auxiliary cooking vessel is something I have often done. For example, to cook soup in the main pot while doing a grilled-cheese sandwich or quesadilla in the inverted lid.

Today, I did an additional version of the two-tiered cooking thing.

I had a teeny bit of macaroni and a teeny bit of pancake mix (both left to me by a friend/neighbor who moved back to her home state).

So I mixed up the pancake mix in the top, and put the macaroni to boil in the bottom. Cooking is progressing well. I pushed in the round edges of the pancake to make a more uniformly thick square which will hopefully then finish cooking more evenly.

BTW when people move, often they leave behind a lot of food because the food is heavy and/or doesn’t travel well. I particularly feel sad when people of modest means have to leave behind food. We might as well not let it go to waste! It can be used in cooking, or fed to the garden, whichever is appropriate and most needed.

Other valuables I inherited from my friend’s move back to her hometown included numerous bottles of condiments such as a popular brand of barbecue sauce.

We miss our friend and neighbor very much — she was a light of the neighborhood and always wanting to feed people — but she seems happy in her new-old place, with family and childhood friends nearby. And we are keeping in touch by phone and text.

Valentine heart-art: Pink snow-people snuggling

Facebook memory served up to me this morning, blast from the past! I totally forgot that I had made this whimsical Valentine’s Day cartoon, of two pink snow-persons cuddling, amidst pink, heart-shaped falling snow.

12 years ago, feels like much longer in many ways!

As always: Anyone is welcome to download & print my art for your own use! including printing on a T-shirt or mug or whatever.

If you sell something and make significant money, feel free to cashapp me lunch or a cup o’ coffee or whatever if you feel moved to do so — but it’s not required.

(That offer may change as times change, but I’ve been offering this for years and I am happy to be able to offer it til further notice!)

The only restriction: Just please use the whole image intact, including my signature.

Also please note, this offer applies only to MY artwork. Please do not download, print, or otherwise use any artist’s artwork without their permission!!!

studio 501/Planetary Citizen: Rebirthing useful objects from trash

Sometimes all it takes to save a broken object from landfill — turn it into something that can be used for many more years — is a little cleaning-up, and a needle and thread!

This is a nice little insulated cooler bag that just needs some TLC. (Plus maybe some cute personalized touch like a decorative tag with a flower, astrological sign, person’s initials, favorite animal, etc.)

My latest art project, studio 501 (reviving my Planetary Citizen brand), is focused on creating new value for discarded objects and single-use plastic materials.

And fostering self-expression by showing people how to do after-market embellishing of discarded items, turning them into cherished objects and in some cases maybe even heirlooms!

Stay tuned for more posts like this!

#Studio501 #TrashToTreasure #BeachCleanup #ProtectOurOceans

I wrote the following this morning as some possible text for a “mission statement” to put as a tag or insert on each item that goes out into the world:

(A revised version February 16):

Greetings Fellow Planetary Citizen!

In this throwaway society, we constantly see useful things tossed away. It hurts the planet and hurts our hearts.

Here at our little seaside studio, we give cast-off things new life by turning them into one-of-a-kind pieces: treasure-boxes, potion-jars, bags, key-charms, and more.

If you received this piece as a gift and it doesn’t quite suit you, but you don’t want to send it to landfill, please feel free to re-gift it!

Or, return it to 501. We’ll upcycle it into a new piece for a new owner … And YOU, if you like, can pick out something else from our current selection. Or get credit toward a future item.

With love — for the planet and for YOU,


studio 501

We live by the beach, where we often find single-use plastic containers and other stuff that is still useful.

We take joy and satisfaction in creating cute and useful objects from these materials.

Hope you will enjoy this piece. When you are ready, please consider keeping it out of landfill in one of the following ways:

• Re-gift it

Or, return it to studio 501. We will remake it into a new piece for a new customer — And YOU will receive a $10 credit on future purchases of studio 501 merchandise!

From materials that were thrown away, we create gift tins, medicine boxes, jewelboxes, mini worlds-in-a-tin, friendship jars, shopping bags & handbags, scarves, vial-necklaces & other jewelry, keychains, and other fun & useful items.

(Yes, by the way, we do custom work too! And we offer DIY workshops so you can learn how to make your own!)

It’s amazing what gets tossed up by the sea, blown by the wind, washed by the sun. And what a little creativity and love can add!

Edited version:

Studio 501/Planetary Citizen

Greetings fellow earthling!

We live by the beach, where we constantly find discarded items that are still useful. So many things tossed by the sea, scoured by the sand, blown by the wind!

From these cast-offs, we create decorative & practical one-of-a-kind items.

We hope you enjoy this piece. When you wish to let it go, please consider keeping it out of landfill by either:

•Re-gifting it; or

•Returning it to studio 501. We’ll remake it into a new piece for a new customer.

And you’ll get a $10 credit toward Planetary Citizen merchandise!

Elevator pitch for low-footprint living

Just now, I made a video advocating for the formation of a climate action teams at one of the UU congregations I’m “friends” with.

I made this video at the request of a fellow activist who is working to organize a climate action team in that congregation.

As a bonus, the video also turns out to be a good “elevator pitch” summary of my philosophy of low-footprint living and why it makes a difference.

I uploaded the video to my YouTube channel. Here is the link to the video. The duration is one minute nine seconds.

Hope you find it useful in your advocacy work. Please feel free to use any of it that is helpful to your green mission.

Also for your convenience, I am copy-pasting the transcript below:

Hi! I’m Jenny Nazak, a sustainability educator in Daytona Beach, Florida. I’m part of a global grassroots movement of people who voluntarily cut our eco-footprint to a fraction of the US average. We’ve learned it’s possible to radically reduce our consumption and still have a very comfortable life. In fact, our lives have improved. But individual action isn’t enough; we need systemic change. And governments can’t implement change from the top down; they need buy-in from the people. Just as the government back in World War II had to get emotional buy-in for the war effort, we now need to get widespread emotional buy-in for climate. That’s why I support climate teams in the UU congregations. UUs are in an excellent position to make a difference. Many of us are elders, with financial and political clout. We have the power to popularize climate-focused living. Our kids, grandkids, and future generations need for us to step up.

Carrying water

“Once you carry your own water, you will learn the value of every drop.” (Source unknown; quote & image came across my social media feed this morning.)

Totally! I do it. I mean, I live in a normal city house where we have running water and indoor shower and all.

But I myself largely utilize rainwater, which I scoop and hand-carry to the trees & other plants in the yard, and take “peace corps showers” in my outdoor enclosure, and use for washing clothes in a tub and so on.

Definitely I feel every single drop I carry! Especially in the dry season when it’s starting to get hot and the rains haven’t come yet.

And I’m very conscious of rainfall patterns as well. When a drought comes, and the barrels start getting low, I start to get worried!

BTW this post is also true in a broader sense of opportunity / resources other than water. In my permaculture practice I have observed that constraint sparks innovation, whereas extreme abundance can lead to waste.

Speaking of carrying water, one of my favorite quotes is: “Before enlightenment, carry water, chop wood. After enlightenment, carry water, chop wood.” (It’s a Zen quote, and when I get a minute, I will double check to see if I find a more specific source and also to see if I got the word order right from memory.)

Lessons from a broken drill-bit

Just now as I was attempting to drill pilot holes to screw a multi hanger thing into a board in my garage glamp-partment, the drill bit snapped.

It wasn’t entirely unexpected. I even reminded myself in advance that the finest bit, the one that’s best for drilling a pilot hole into the tough tough wood, is also the one that is most likely to snap. And cautioned myself to take care and go slow. Alas, I didn’t go slow enough or more likely my wrist was floppy and fell into a sloppy angle. And so, snap-eroo!

The drill bit, and it’s broken off state, was still sharp, as often happens when the drill bit breaks. I should mention that this is a punch drill, also known as a Yankee drill. A hand tool that uses mechanical springs to increase leverage.

I’ve always loved hand tools. No batteries to charge; no cords to get tangled, no having to mess with an extension cord to get the electricity out to the place where there’s no electricity. Plus, no matter what people say about how much more effective power-tools are, I just seem to do better with hand tools.

In the tiny metallic universe of my toolkit, my punch-drill has a dear dear place in my heart, equaled only by my ratcheting screwdriver.

Well, I decided to try to use the now-jaggedy-pointed bit to keep trying to drill. And it worked to a degree. It actually worked better than the unbroken bit had worked! And although the pilot holes I managed to create were really little more than tiny divots, I did get my multi hanger thing mounted.

Providing instant relief in the form of a good place to hang my little shopping bags and windbreaker jacket and other daily essentials. It’s amazing what a lifesaver something like a little multi hanger thing can be, when you’ve been using some half-assed substitute (bent wire, floppy hook things, etc.). It’s the little things, it really is. It’s the little daily things that wear us down; and it’s the little daily things that can totally make a difference in our day.

And the difference influences our mood, which in turn ripples out to the people around us, as I’m sure you’ve noticed by some examples in your life! The repaired screen; the door that suddenly shuts smoothly instead of having to be pushed really hard; the key that suddenly actually works without having to be jiggled.

But gosh darn, that wood is so so hard. Old treated wood from a fence. That, or else my wrists have gotten weaker. The latter is rather likely, actually.

But what I learned from this little morning escapade, among other things, is that the jagged drillbit can work too. Not only can work, but in this case actually worked better. There’s a lesson in that for us people. We are broken and jaggedy in our various ways. And yet, we can continue to be of help and to serve the greater good. In fact, sometimes — as happened just now with my drill bit — the jaggedy edges are what make us the most helpful!

I’ve written in this blog before about a Hindu goddess who started captivating my attention some years back. Her name is Akhilandeshwari, the goddess who is never not broken.

Being broken can be an advantage! It can be just the thing for dealing with an obstinate board … or a broken world.

Laura Amazzone sums things up beautifully in this article “Akhilandeshwari: The Power of Brokenness,” in Sutra Journal. This is a deep, intricate, sumptuous piece; a real treat.

USA politics: The importance of the concession speech; how to stop a coup

TED Talk by Van Jones, with transcript. I would like every fellow American, of any and all political stripes, to watch/read this. He said it in advance of the 2020 election, and it is all the more relevant now.

The importance of the concession speech; how to stop a coup