Green Lizard's Blog

The planet is our home; we need to be more responsible. Here's what I do.

Setting the Scene

We live in a suburban part of The Netherlands. Over the last ten years we made a commitment to changing our lifestyle to respect the environment and be greener.

the allotment

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We have an organic allotment that’s about ten by fourteen metres on very sandy soil next to the normal railway line. It has water supplied by a hand pump from a municipal ditch.

On the plot there’s an apple, pear and plum tree, recently joined by a choke berry and elderberry. We also have raspberry, blackcurrant, blueberry, red currant and strawberry patches.

We set up asparagus in a bed about five years ago and expanded the bed last year. Lately we’ve established a prolific Jerusalem artichoke patch and globe artichokes In a cold frame to protect from frost. During the year we create plots of the obvious veg but we often grow up to forty different types.

bees

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Two years ago we took a bee keeping course in Dutch which was challenging and interesting. Then we were given a collected swarm so our first hive was set up at the allotment. It’s a traditional hive in boxes. It’s a spaarkaast literally meaning a savings box. This could be reference to honey or cost!

We also work with an 87 year old bee keeper and his bees at a local garden centre dedicated to employing people with special needs. This centre has a city farm too. Our mentor calls it paradise!

There we managed to collect a swarm ourselves. It’s been installed in our second hive. The hive is an African style horizontal hive. Where the bees generate their own comb in a far more natural way.

home

Meanwhile back in our end of terrace house we are very busy. We grow our seedlings on in the living room. The back yard is a paved square the width if the house about seven by nine metres. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in it.

chickens and quails

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We started keeping quails about four years ago. Using permaculture principles we wanted to be able to feed them kitchen scraps and have them help us convert it into manure for the allotment.

Then we progressed to chickens. The quails were a healthy seven at one point but now there are two. The chickens (Japanese bantams) number three. All five are entertaining and funny.

backyard
The backyard also houses a wormery, bird nesting boxes, a kiwi plant, a solar sink fountain, a temporary green house and cold frame for seedlings, two roof fed water butts, a bee hotel for solitary masonry bees and an assortment if medicinal and herbal pot plants. Those that survive the chickens attention. The bicycles live in the yard as well.

other home aspects
In The Netherlands there is a strong balcony culture. Ours house bird feeders at the front and a rainwater toilet system at the back. We also use them as a nursery area and for covered drying if paper briquettes and of course for a mounted clothes line. There’s no dryer I our house as there’s plenty of wind There’s a bat box too!

The front garden is a tiny scrubby grass patch similar to the back. We try to plant bird and insect friendly shrubs and grow tubs of carrots, beetroot etc in summer. The woodpile for our burner hugs the side wall of the house.

inside

Indoors we also keep busy making jam, soap, crocheting, and building other projects.

Here’s a list of posts in categories if you are looking for something specific.

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67 comments on “Setting the Scene

  1. Pingback: Setting the Scene | Green Lizard's Blog

  2. ontheedgegardening
    February 10, 2014

    I have strong connection to The Netherlands, my brother lives there with his wonderful Dutch family. Look forward to your posts. Especially love the “squatty potty”, that is because I am a mature human being. Ha!

    Like

    • lizard100
      February 10, 2014

      It’s a great place. Glad you liked the repost. I thought it was brilliant too!

      Like

  3. alderandash
    February 10, 2014

    Sounds wonderful. Always great meeting others interested in permaculture and sustainable living. I’ve always wanted to keep quail – I wonder, do they get on OK with your chickens or do they live separately? Best wishes!

    Like

    • lizard100
      February 10, 2014

      Quail are a bit feisty. They fight each other sadly. They so get on with chickens out in the garden but we keep them in separate cages. We are likely to let them due out though as they harm each other and our are now each in their own cage.

      Like

      • alderandash
        February 10, 2014

        Many thanks you for the info! I had heard that quail could be a bit violent to each other…good to know first hand from your experience. Best wishes.

        Like

      • lizard100
        February 10, 2014

        One of our sweetest quail managed to survive a really nasty scalping. Not for the faint hearted.

        Like

  4. beekeeperwife
    February 11, 2014

    Only just found your blog – really interesting. My son and family live in the Hague but apart from biking everywhere and recycling where they can not very green – it took me time to come to it. Look forward to your future posts.

    Like

    • lizard100
      February 11, 2014

      Thank you. The blog is newish. I’ve just posted another bee blog. I was feeling inspired.

      Like

    • lizard100
      February 11, 2014

      I said check my latest post but it’s deciding to schedule itself for an hour later. Not sure why it does that.

      Like

  5. litadoolan
    February 12, 2014

    Enjoying the inspiration of your site enormously. There is so much to learn to keep Green. I expect the honey of your bees is delicious. I look forward to returning many times to your blog to find out more about your brilliant endeavour.

    Like

    • lizard100
      February 12, 2014

      I’m really enjoying writing for the blog. Thank you so much. I decided this year that I need to write. And now I’m doing it. We’ve spent some time now trying to improve our green credentials and it’s tremendously powerful when I write it all down.

      Like

      • litadoolan
        February 12, 2014

        It is impressive and for me as a reader I can pick up a few tips that would work for me! πŸ™‚

        Like

      • lizard100
        February 12, 2014

        Wow! That sounds even more encouraging. You made my day!

        Like

      • litadoolan
        February 12, 2014

        ;-D

        Like

  6. disappearingwoman
    February 13, 2014

    Very neat! I’ll be very interested in reading about your adventures!

    Like

  7. benitachell
    February 16, 2014

    Very interesting – I’m impressed.

    Like

  8. rly1987
    February 24, 2014

    It’s great you respect the environment, but your gravatar doesn’t represent nature. I think of a spaceship as a shiny hovering piece of metal with gears and gaskets.

    Like

    • lizard100
      February 24, 2014

      That’s an interesting point of view. I guess sometimes I feel like an alien trying to change my behaviour on a planet where few others do the same.

      Like

      • rly1987
        February 24, 2014

        Yeah I see what you mean. Native American spirituality like those stemming from certain Canadian Aboriginal tribes have always preached living in tune with nature and the spirit of the earth. Perhaps learning more about their culture would make you feel less alienated. It sucks that in this day and age people who want to be one with mother nature are made to feel like they come from Uranus or something.

        Like

      • lizard100
        February 24, 2014

        Thank you. I will seek out the native Europeans where I live. That’s good advice. Maybe over time I’ll be able to assume human form as I become more familiar with the local cultures.

        Like

      • rly1987
        February 24, 2014

        But the native Europeans have a bit of a different spiritual outlook compared to the aboriginal groups of the Americas; not quite as in tune with mother earth in my opinion.

        Aren’t you technically native European?

        Like

      • lizard100
        February 24, 2014

        I think you’re right. I am native european but there’s a lot of travel in my journey. And we’ve all been pretty hybridised along the way : )

        Like

  9. Regii
    March 1, 2014

    Hi! I’m so happy you came across my blog, and therefore I came across yours! I think it’s great what you do, and I’m hoping to one day in the not so far away future to be able to live more self-sufficiently as well. At the least, once we have kids I’d like them to grow up that way, because that’s how I grew up and I really cherish that today πŸ™‚ Good luck on your journey!

    Like

  10. truckerturningwrite
    March 18, 2014

    I came across your blog via litadoolan. I am only this past two years getting into the ‘growing our own food’ craze. I am from Ireland but you will recognize the theme photo on my bog πŸ™‚ I look forward to learning from your posts.

    Like

    • lizard100
      March 18, 2014

      I went to look at your site. It was curious. That’s a great style you have there. I bet you don’t necessarily do it on purpose that’s the beauty of Irish skill with language. In my view. Thanks for stopping by.

      Like

      • truckerturningwrite
        March 18, 2014

        I am not good with computers. That’s why it looks bare. But I do like writing. You’re welcome.

        Like

      • lizard100
        March 19, 2014

        I wouldn’t worry. Looks pretty good from here.

        Like

    • lizard100
      March 18, 2014

      Great Dutch shot. I’m from Ireland too but born in another land unfortunately.

      Like

  11. napperscompanion
    March 25, 2014

    What a cool deal you’ve got going here. So glad to learn of your blog and life. Thanks for checking out mine. Peace and best, John

    Like

  12. Greenhousestarter
    March 26, 2014

    Your home and gardening projects sound wonderful. We’ve only been to Amsterdam but love the place and people. Are you Brits I wonder? I look forward to reading more of your blog and thanks for looking over at mine ! Happy Wednesday! Emma

    Like

  13. Julie S
    March 28, 2014

    Love it! All the things I’ve been dreaming of (and can’t wait to do when I move this summer!) Homesteading is a dream of mine. Not sure if I’m doing this pingback right… I’m still kind of new at this!
    What? It’s 2:22 am and you just realized you’re out of diapers? (Crisis management) | Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept….

    Like

    • lizard100
      March 28, 2014

      Keep trying though I’m not sure you wanted to link to a post about diapers : )

      Like

      • Liana S
        March 28, 2014

        lol – that’s ok. It’s all about lifestyle changes… I’ll keep the titles in mind next time πŸ˜‰

        Like

      • lizard100
        March 28, 2014

        Next time maybe use the blog home page then when it is clucked you get the current post so it’s up to date.

        Like

  14. sadnesstheory
    April 6, 2014

    Thanks for checking out my blog! So nice to see inspiration for green living!

    Like

    • lizard100
      April 6, 2014

      That’s okay. I read you post about clothing in Tanzania. In Rwanda the president is trying to stop this practice and promote local craft skill and clothing. He wants people to stop aspiring to western values.

      Like

  15. Anne Richardson
    April 10, 2014

    This is awesome! Thanks for being an inspiration for those of us who need a little nudge.

    Like

    • lizard100
      April 10, 2014

      Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Thank you that’s really kind!

      Like

  16. Carol Donaldson
    April 14, 2014

    Really appreciate the choices your making and that you don’t have to live in the country or have a big garden to grow your own or follow your green values. Well done

    Like

  17. mjh333
    July 2, 2014

    Great blog right up my street. I have recently taken over an allotment and am really into sustainability. Some great info here thanks!

    Like

  18. Uncle Spike
    July 5, 2014

    Boo, tis me… How d’ya fancy becoming a Spikey Guest for a day? If you fancy a go, mail me at uncle.spikes.adventures1@gmail.com

    Thanks, SPIKE

    Like

  19. CatRutgers4art
    July 16, 2014

    Fascinating! And many thanks for stopping by at CatRutgers4art.

    Like

  20. kiwidutch
    July 17, 2014

    I signed up for a community garden with a friend for the first time this year, it’s only available from March to October and the learning curve has been steep but we are currently enjoying a bumper crop of courgettes, have tomatoes, sweetcorn, beetroot and beans coming on and had an early haul of peas before this.
    I’m on crutches so can sit on a folding stool to weed, friends and family help with the watering cans and everything else and we share the produce.
    We can only wish for a garden space of our own, our south facing balcony hasn’t been a successful growing spot so far unfortunately.
    I love your philosophy and as a very novice gardener, look forward to following your endeavours πŸ™‚

    Like

    • lizard100
      July 17, 2014

      That’s fantastic! It’s great to do whatever you can manage. You’ll get more ideas the more you do. It’s addictive!

      Like

  21. silverbells2012
    July 21, 2014

    You are certainly doing plenty to protect the environment – and keeping busy πŸ™‚

    Like

  22. gideonwilliams
    August 14, 2014

    Thanks for your kind message. Will be living in Leiden and very keen to do something similar but on a much smaller scale as I have secured a flat with a nice terrace. Any advice over a coffee would be much appreciated.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 14, 2014

      Looking forward to it. I’ve been doing the ICT at vlaskamp ( one of the primary schools) for donkey’s years and as you can see I’m an environmental nut. Looking forward to sharing knowledge and expertise on both : )

      Like

  23. Eliza Waters
    August 15, 2014

    Amazing place you have there. I am impressed!

    Like

  24. permiechick
    August 25, 2014

    Hi! Thanks for checking out my blog. I so glad that you did and I am now aware of yours. Love what I’ve read so far and the way you are living your life. It’s always so fun to hear about journeys towards a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle. There are so many similarities between my site, how we live our lives, etc. I’m looking forward to reading more.

    Like

    • lizard100
      August 25, 2014

      Thanks very much. I’m going to be spending more time on yours too. Permaculture is so smart.

      Like

  25. Cynthia
    September 9, 2014

    Trying to do the same thing here in the US! Exciting to see this movement!!

    Like

    • lizard100
      September 9, 2014

      Thank you. It’s great to find people all over the world doing similar things!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. June
    November 18, 2014

    Not sure how I missed your blog before now but really looking forward to following what you’re doing. We’re only at the start of our journey so I’ll be trying to pick up as many tips as possible!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lizard100
      November 18, 2014

      Thanks very much. Its great to share our road trip! Looking forward to reading yours.

      Like

  27. GreenBazaarAu
    December 30, 2014

    Hello from Australia! I am excited to connect with you πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  28. beeseeker
    April 7, 2015

    Sounds fascinating. I need to know more …
    Cue the “follow” button!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Lush July | CatRutgers4art

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