How To Digital Nomad

The life of a digital nomad is something of an enigma.

We all hear about those people who somehow were able to build a career online and live in a different country every month.

Bullshit, right?

Well, not so much.

Unlike the real world, the internet world has endless opportunities.

If you are earning money for a blog or selling items it doesn’t take away from other people’s blogs or selling items. Unless of course, you have a competitive product but that relies more on quality than the competition.

Personally, I’ve used multiple avenues to earn a passive income online.

I don’t put as much effort into it as others, therefore, I’m not a millionaire backpacking to Bora Bora.

I study full time so while I could choose to be location independent, my career requires me to be in Oz for at least 9 months of the year.

The other three months I spend travelling.

This works for me personally as I want to spend time with my family and my cat.

How about you?

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Top 5 Digital Nomad Jobs

 

IT – programming and developing

This is a skill that you must have some passion for.

This is hard work and takes some time to get a grasp on.

There are multiple avenues with programming and developing that can get.

Working with programming languages like Javascript or Ruby on Rails is a skill that takes time and effort.

Jobs such as front end developing, software testing and website developing can sustain you very well as a digital nomad if these are skills you learn or have.

Writing

This one is a little more niche.

While it may seem like everyone who is literate can write, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Your content must be new, creative and actually helpful.

If you’re a blogger and you’re regurgitating content, the search engine’s crawlers will ignore you.

If you’re a content creator there are dozens of jobs per minute on jobs boards like the ones listed below.

The trick with this is you may have a particular style of writing and until you have some work behind you, new clients won’t be willing to jump in with your style.

If you have experience and natural style, writing will be very lucrative for you. Every site, every page, and every ad needs a writer.

Graphic Design

This one also requires training and passion.

These days sites like Fiverr sell off graphic designers and promise job after job when in reality they create a hostile space where competition stifles creativity.

You’ll end up underpaid per job if paid at all and no ongoing work.

Upwork and Airtasker are equally poor quality for digital nomads.

Building your own client base once you have the skills and a portfolio will leave you with endless work.

Set yourself up with a landing page and utilize social media.

The first few gigs you may get from cold calling, or you might plunge in and get a whole bunch of responses from Gumtree or Facebook ads.

Online store

This one is kind of an outlier.

There is always money to be made with e-commerce.

If you have something to sell, someone will buy it and it doesn’t have to be a commodity.

People sell macramé sticks and wool for over $300 AUD on Etsy.

Find a skill that allows you to create things and stuff, make sure it will make you a profit and won’t take up too much of your time.

You need to be prepared for a large amount of demand. If you are handcrafting items, make sure that if it’s a lot of work creating, it sells for enough to sustain you until you can create more.

Either way, try and make sure that what you’re selling is not going to create too much of an environmental impact.

The more sustainable your items are, the more likely you’ll be able to sell them for longer.

Language tutor

Teaching a language is a gift.

It can be hard work and you may need to be grounded enough o have regular sessions but all of this can be done online.

If you hold a teachers accreditation that’s even better.

There are dozens of companies that will take you for a ride and won’t actually help set up classes.

Most sites require you to pay to be listed.

The most successful gigs for language tutors are the ones that are self-advertised.

The only issue you will find with this gig is you may be less able to be location independent if you have set times.

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Top 5 Bullshit Jobs

 

Surveys

It will work, to begin with. The best sites are Pureprofile and Octopus group.

After the first $100 it eases off and you get kicked out of surveys before completion.

Not worth the amount of time you spend investing.

 

Customer support

This gig will not let you be location independent.

Even if you think you could do admin work anywhere, you will be tied to the phone, spread-sheets or your client.

Not worth the stress.

Tour guide

Unless you’re from the town and have good pay for it, you will get conned. In my town there’s a lot of tour guide jobs where they start you on commission with the promise of an hourly rate and that day never comes

People can be rude and combative and you’ll almost certainly not have any security or protection on the job.

It may be a nice way to see new places and meet new people but it’s not a sustainable job in the long run.

Affiliate marketing

This one’s pretty easy.

You start up and you advertise the brands you buy.

You get discounts and contacts.

You by more and more.

You get more discounts.

You buy more.

Now you have lots of stuff and not really an income.

Unlike most digital nomad jobs, this one is totally reliant on an entity paying you when they are satisfied and on your looks.

In this day and age, we know very well that being judged on your appearance for monetary survival is detrimental to your health.

Product Reviews

Like affiliate marketing, this one also guarantees you stuff, but not necessarily income.

Most blogs throw this one into their top ten lists to fill out space but this is not guaranteed income.

It can also be very stressful as well as very wasteful.

Save yourself the stress, invest in skills and stay away from get-rich-quick ideas. Like any job, money takes time to turn into savings.

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Digital Nomad Job Boards

I’ll make this easy and quick.

Below are the sites that I have scored successful work on.

Working nomads

Remotey

Jobspresso

Remoteok.io

Weworkremotely

Guru

Flexjobs

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Conclusion

If you’re looking for a way to be location independent as well as jumping out of the rat race without being a bum, try and find skills you could use.

There will always be work and there will always be different ways to do it.

Whether that’s being totally location independent 12 months of the year or only a few.

You can be totally online or just supplementing your income.

What’s worked for you?

Leave us a comment with any questions or your own success stories.

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How To Dye Easter Eggs

Easter time!

While I don’t consider myself religious, I come from a traditionally and culturally rich heritage that has religious holidays and rituals so I like to celebrate them with my family.

This year was the first that I didn’t do the egg preparation with my grandma as she has passed. So this time I was going solo and trying to also show off to my partner of a different background.

This is one of the most entertaining activities though. You can dye all different types of eggs or paint them yourself.

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The background

 

Growing up in a Serbian Orthodox community I was told that Easter eggs were a symbol of Jesus being resurrected and we dyed eggs to symbolise his blood.

Sounds morbid.

To me, it’s always being a part of the traditions of my heritage and spending time with my family while being creative.

The egg has also been a long standing symbol of new life, particularly in pagan spring symbolism.

The oldest example of egg decoration was found by archaeologists to be over 60,000 years ago with the discovery of a decorated ostrich egg.

This was still a time that human artistry boomed and we went from the first humans to the first creative creatures.

Growing up we could draw whatever we wanted and used whatever colours.

Some places in the world keep it more traditional with the images of the cross as well as using the colour red.

In our tradition, we use the eggs to compete for bragging rights to see whose egg is the strongest by cracking them in an egg crack showdown.

How I did it

 

Here’s the fun part.

First of all, you want to use some really good eggs. Like proper farm eggs that had chickens having the time of their life.

Fun fact, there are so many chickens on earth in this point in our history that aeons from now when they describe our time on earth, the remains of all those chickens will make us seem like they rivalled us in population.

Anyway, you want a good set of eggs because they last longer without smelling and have a great taste afterwards. Quality!

Also, you should try and support your local farms.

You’re going to need the following:

Stockings

Food dye (I chose blue)

Some garden trimmings and/ or some candle wax.

First, you hard boil the egg.

Put your eggs in cold water that covers them.

Put them on the stove or fire and leave on med-high heat until it comes to a rolling boil.

Turn the heat to med-low and leave for a good 15 minutes on this lower heat for the eggs to boil through.

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Once boiled put them in some icy or very cold water to cool them down.

Dying the eggs

While your eggs are cooling, set up some warm water with a tablespoon of vinegar.

I reused the water I boiled the eggs in.

Then try and put a few drops of colouring in. this can be hard if you don’t have a dropper mechanism.

If you are using the garden pieces and stocking, you want to put your pieces on the dab dry egg and pull the stocking over it to hold it in place and tie the stocking off like a balloon.

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Obviously, don’t squeeze hard.

If you’re using wax, take a piece of candle wax and draw your won invisible design on the egg.

Once you’ve done your design work, you carefully place your eggs in the mixture.

It doesn’t really matter if they’re touching in the pot just make sure they aren’t crowded.

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The dying process can take anywhere from 10-25 minutes depending on how dark you want the colour on your egg.

Once they’re the colour you like, take them out, dry them off and leave to cool and dry.

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The goods

So my egg was the second strongest.

My sister won by default.

But I clearly won.

Conclusion

The tradition of eggs stems from the pagan traditions from the beginning of humanity.

We use the egg religiously because it symbolises new life and Jesus’ resurrection.

We also do it because it’s a fun bonding activity for the community.

You can include many different designs with garden pieces or drawing on your eggs with wax.

While I didn’t do it this time, you can use natural dyes instead of food colouring, and you can also get some very elaborate eggs happening for Easter.

Stay tuned for next year to see what we come up with.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you and learn some new designs.

Leave a comment or a photo and show of what other techniques are out there.

Or if you’d like to be apart of Jaskulic contact us or become a patron.

Become a Patron!

DIY Shampoo & Conditioner

The history of shampoo is actually quite an interesting one.

Before all modern shampoos, people used soap based cleaners and this would happen seasonally as soap would strip the hair.

Like literally, strip it of all moisture, etc.

The old school shampoo was a mixture of lye-based soaps and herbs for fragrance. Those who had hairdressers or wealth could afford better quality extras and therefore set the class standard for nice and manageable hair.

The term shampoo comes from the Hindi word chāmpo, which means to knead and massage. This process was done using natural oils and herbs that would stimulate circulation, cleanse the hair and scalp as well as being a form of meditative relaxation.

The first modernized liquid shampoo came by the way of German inventor Schwarzkopf in 1927.

The subsequent use of shampoo throughout history has negated the need for conditioner.

Once you strip it down, you have to moisturise.

Add in all the surfactants (detergents) that are used to make every hair treatment unique, and you have a society buying plastic packaged products that they’ve never needed, and in fact, damage your hair more than they realise.

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Really couldn’t find an ad image for actual textured hair to include.

Why I changed

My original reason was because of the cost.

I’m very privileged to have straight, flat hair, which I’ve never dyed and rarely cut. This is mainly because it doesn’t grow much at all and I’ve always felt my hair and its colour are a direct link to my ancestry and I hold this in great importance.

Totally want to shave my head someday though.

So seeing as I was bouncing between products that I’d hoped would make my hair longer, less brittle, not so oily, more shiny, less shiny, more manageable, more able to be styled, more easily to detangle… Bla bla bla.

This cost me on average $7 a bottle every three weeks to a month. So annually I would spend almost $730. So I’ve been buying my own since I was 15, I’m 30 ow, so all up in my lifetime I’ve regularly spent almost $11,000 on regular shampoo and conditioner alone.

This doesn’t include all the extra hair care stuff I’ve bought for styling, fixing, masking and god knows what else.

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This was taken an hour after I got it styled. It was supposed to be curly.

And this is for someone who has VERY manageable hair.

For someone with 4C textured hair, the costs alone could make you a property investor. Hell, you could be a politician with all that spent money!

On top of the costs it seemed no matter what I tried, all the products I used and all the haircuts in the world weren’t making my hair feel healthy or fresh.

I’ve never dyed my hair!

For this reason, as well as the desire to steer away from plastics, I decided to make my own.

What I use

 

This process needed to be as convenient as possible.

Not too expensive, time-consuming or difficult to remember or comprehend.

This is why what I use now is a DIY mixture.

I put it together in a small cup and whisk until liquid enough and then I knead it through my hair and rinse.

So what is actually in my little mixture?

Firstly I needed to know what my hair actually needs.

Moisture.

So coconut oil.

Secondly, it needs to be cleaned.

Soap.

The soap I use is castile soap that I find very cheap, I can get it at my wholesale bulk food shop and I fill a jar with it.

Soap works by being both attracted to water and afraid of it at the same time. Soap molecules like to grab onto non-water soluble molecules like dirt, oil as well as little nasties and by rinsing it out of your hair, (or anything really) it drags the dirt and oil with it.

Lastly, it needs to smell nice.

I chose lemongrass essential oils.

I figured if my pits smell nice so will my hair.

That’s all there is to it.

Sometimes if I’m fancy ill put honey in it. Unfortunately real honey is hard to come by due to industrial farming so I only use it when I go visit the Honey World just outside of town. So not everyone will have access.

Also, some people make use of tee tree oil for its antibacterial properties.

I mainly avoid this because I have a cat and was advised it’s severely toxic for her.

I also trust in my skin and normal bodily processes to protect me from harms that could come through my skin on my head. That’s what skin is there for.

I don’t have a set time that I wash my hair. I live close to the beach so sometimes I go down and dunk my head. When I don’t do that, I wash my hair only when it needs it.

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If it gets too oily and is unmanageable I’ll wash with less oil. I’ll do the opposite if it’s dry.

On average I wash my hair maybe once a week but sometimes I’ll stretch it out to see how long I can gather the natural oils.

 

Disclaimer

 

I know I mentioned this briefly however it needs to be plainly put and very obviously explained that hair is something that is unique to every person. Your type of hair, its colour and habits all derive from your genetic makeup.

This is never going to change.

So know that your hair is unique, learn the origins of this hair type and the types of others. Celebrate all the different types and respect them.

Understand that all types of hair have history, some more than others, and this history has been a base for discrimination and oppression.

All hair is incredible and all should be celebrated.

I will be doing some collaborative work in the future regarding different hair types and solutions for more environmentally as well as economically friendly solutions for different types of hair.

Conclusion

 

Wrapping up, Hair care is expensive and wasteful.

The amount of crap we pour on our hair and down our drains is killing the oceans, our planet, our hair and our wallets.

Seriously how in the f**k did it equal to $11k?!

So with simple cheap ingredients, you can begin to take back your hair’s health and save some casholas.

Natural soaps and oils are what has been the base of every hair care treatment from the beginning of time.

The best thing you can do is try it out. Hair can be very resilient so unless you’re pouring chemicals on your head, your hair can stand some natural oils.

Finally, remember to respect and celebrate other’s hair as well as your own. All types of hair are another person’s story and all should be equally admired.

This is how my hair looks now after it’s been rained on. Very satisfied with its volume and health.

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I’d love to hear from you all and learn what type of hair you have, listen to your hairetage stories and learn from you too.

What have you found works for you and what would like to see more of?

Hit us up in the comments.

Or if you’d like to be apart of Jaskulic contact us or become a patron.

Become a Patron!

Here’s some further reading with a few of my sources:

https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9Z6vCGbf66YC&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=shampoo+history&ots=YM3dB_qbm7&sig=VGYjVOGu34-Le8vQN33BGvjDuS0#v=onepage&q=shampoo%20history&f=false

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1468-2494.2007.00414.x

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/PL00007707

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1467-2494.2001.00057.x

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/18125440903151538

https://patents.google.com/patent/US4919838A/en

https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&lr=&id=oCbSCgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA225&dq=hindi+champo&ots=gZuk8zCnGA&sig=0eytnR6J_9iPvyKQcd2lT_lCmeA#v=onepage&q=hindi%20champo&f=false

http://www.plantsjournal.com/archives/2017/vol5issue2/PartD/5-2-29-448.pdf

http://kccollege.edu.in/pdf/srujan/2013-14_Srujan_V-3_Is-1.pdf#page=54

https://search.proquest.com/openview/750bb418352b2a95fef2b57a95089735/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1096438

The Best Workout For The Perfect Body!

So you want to look incredible huh?

You want to be toned and fit looking. Maybe a golden tan and be able to wear whatever you want whenever you want?

Have fun.

Ever heard of vanity sizing?

This phenomenon has been broadly documented in regards to ready-to-where clothing, particularly for women.

Thought you were a size 4 or 6 or 10?

Too bad, now you’re a 22. Guess you’re too fat for that store.

You’re not going insane.

Yes, the mirrors in the change room are distorted.

Yes, the lighting in the store is overly bright so you feel shit about how you look.

Yes, the sizes are different in every single store and no matter how much weight you lose, creams you apply or diets you go on, you will never look like the photoshopped image on the ad.

Doesn’t take much thought to figure out where the increase in childhood eating disorders is stemming from.

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Sourced from CNN

But we still want it!

Even now I think about why I can’t look like I think I’m supposed to.

Why am I so fat, un-toned, unhealthy looking, pale?!

It’s because the shitter you feel, the more you’ll buy.

Conspiracy of fashion.

 

There are a few methods the beauty and fashion industry employ to make you feel like shit to make you buy more.

The first one that comes to people’s minds is photoshopping.

Yes every brand uses it and the brands that say they don’t are also not rectifying the perfect lighting, background, makeup, clothing, model etc.

Just because there’s no apparent photoshopping doesn’t mean the picture is natural.

You all know how easy it is to filter your Instagram pics.

Secondly we need to consider fast fashion.

In the 90’s Zara opened in New York with the idea that clothing would take less than 15 days to go from design to showroom floor.

It’s mostly shit quality so even if you aren’t buying the $120 t-shirt, you’ll spend that by the end of the year buying pieces that won’t last.

Before this we bought clothes seldomly, maybe for special occasions or because there was one style we liked and it became a piece.

These days you buy clothes at least every fortnight and if you don’t you’ll miss out on the piece you wanted.

In marketing this is called the last chance effect. We buy things we think we might never have the chance to again.

Keeping up with the jones’ is another tactic. Making sure everyone around you is being fashionable every 15 minutes means you have to keep up. It’s out of your control.

In the meantime all your clothes that you donate, go mouldy and rip apart, thrown into landfill where they form a compost heap, emitting carbon emissions and fucking up our planet.

It also means that every item bought is going to be replaced with another. More water for cotton growth, more plastic production for synthetic materials and labelling and packaging, more run off of chemicals, more sweatshops and child labour, more unethical practices.

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It’s our fault this happens.

Vitamins and supplements.

While the production and sale of vitamins and supplements in Australia is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration under our department of health, the companies making them are not going to go out of their way to make sure your health comes before profit.

In any chemist or pharmacy and even health food stores you can find all sorts of pills and powders that claim to heal your every ailment.

snake_oil

We’ve done all this before.

If the supplements you take truly do assist your health, wouldn’t we be healthy now?

Wouldn’t it be the thing the doctor (you know, the guy who studied for over a decade to provide you with the most informed and experienced advice for your health) would prescribe you?

If you do the research you will find an alarming amount of products that have been pulled from shelves because of the harm they cause and companies that have class action suits for the mass effect of their drugs.

If you can’t be bothered, watch Vitamania to get some basic facts. And then fact-check it.

Your body is capable of protecting itself but if something isn’t right, you see a medical professional, you source your supplemented vitamins and needs from actual natural sources, like the sun, salt water etc.

Please don’t fill your bodies with chemicals you don’t need.

The real workout you need to get into shape and look perfect.

So here’s the goods.

You have so many ways of getting fit.

Once you are fit, you will look and feel better.

Once this happens you’ll realise you are fucking perfect!

Your body is your body. You aren’t made to look like anyone else or we wouldn’t procreate.

There is, however, the best version of you.

Not everyone is going to like it or think it’s perfect. But it doesn’t actually matter because there are twice as many who do think it’s perfect.

To gain this perfect body you need to work on more than your physicals, you need to be wholly worked on.

Make sure that as you train you to keep your mental health at the forefront of every workout.

Play music you are inspired by, workout with encouraging people who compete in a healthy manner. Workout in ways that you are comfortable, whether that’s at the gym, going for a bike ride, a sweaty bedroom workout or whatever.

The four main physical things to work on are as follows according to science and medicine.

Cardio.

This is anything that requires endurance.

The point of this is to raise the heart rate and training the body to cope with everyday activities.

The body needs to be kept in check.

We have gone from nomadic and agricultural cultures who ate and lived sustainably to working 30 hours + a week, mostly sitting or standing in one spot or manual labour.

These activities are not natural for the human body.

They just aren’t.

So cardio will keep you’re endurance high.

Try new things; yoga, walking, swimming, tennis, football, softball, jump rope, rowing, stairs, dancing, aerobics, bike riding and the list can go forever. Even playing with the dog or cat counts as cardio.

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Still counts as exercise.

Body composition.

This is the reason two people of the same sex and weight are different is because of body composition.

This is the measure of bone, tissue, water and fat percentage in the body.

Every person is different because we are made differently. It’s as simple as that.

Typical exercise to improve body composition would be burpees, interval training, squats, lunges etc.

This is the way you increase overall strength.

That doesn’t mean you’ll bulk up, that’s a weights routine.

Once your body is balanced in its composition your overall strength increases.

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Yep, still exercise.

Muscular strength.

Building muscular strength isn’t just lifting weights.

Yeah, you can lift weights but you can mix it up with other high energy consuming and strengthening activities.

Examples can be dancing like salsa or ballet that require good muscular strength, hiking, intense gardening, cycling and even yoga cos that shit is hard.

In training the muscles you will be tearing muscle fibres as they contract and release.

To form real muscular strength you must give your muscles rest!

If you don’t rest the muscles after tearing them in training you will have an injury and the work you do is redundant.

Always listen to your body. This is so important. Once you mess you back up you may never recover. Ligament repair surgery is expensive and takes ages to heal.

Only push your limits not the limits of others.

Lastly, muscular endurance.

You want your muscles to be strong all the time. Not just because you’ve done some training.

Once you have the endurance your ligaments, joints, bones and other necessary tissues will allow you to achieve anything.

The improvement of mental health due to fitness is also a major plus.

With muscular endurance training, you want to focus on strengthening exercise like core strength. Planks, lunges and squats are a great starting point.

Yoga and Pilates work wonders for giving your muscles practice with endurance and stretches the muscles too.

Long walks and hiking are good as are surfing, skating, golfing, martial arts, rock climbing and basketball.

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Still going

All these activities are capable of training your body to hold its strength for extended periods of time.

Conclusion

All in all, you must take care of your health. Always discuss your exercise plans and diet with your doctor, that’s why they are there.

Once you reach a certain age, if you have been fortunate enough to reach it, you will become incapacitated.

Either your family or medical staff will be feeding you, walking you, cleaning you up after the bathroom and showering you.

If you maintain your fitness through working your cardio, muscular strength, muscular endurance and body composition as well as focusing on mental health, you will be guaranteed to postpone your decline.

While it has a lot to do with genetics, lifestyle can make the ultimate difference.

Poisoning your body with alternative treatments like supplements and vitamins will deteriorate your body’s ability to function in the long term with almost no short term benefits.

Lastly, remember you are not what you buy or what you wear.

You are created to live your experiences for the time you are on earth and in 10 years you won’t remember what outfit you wanted to fit into.

Don’t let the ads tell you how to be perfect.

You tell you how to be perfect, and the first way is to be healthy in all aspects.

Guaranteed the toned, sexy summer fit body comes along with it without you even trying!

Last but not least, you must have fun. Be silly with it. Rest. Eat sustainable junk food. Be grateful that you have a body that works for you because you never know when you won’t

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If you’d like to be apart of Jaskulic contact us or become a patron.

Become a Patron!

 

Here’s some further reading and most of my sources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1057740811001148

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1016/j.jcps.2013.07.003

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969698916302557

https://content.sakai.rutgers.edu/access/content/user/hollye/Vanity%20Sizing.pdf

https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/jep.28.3.217

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10551-010-0581-3

https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/466564?journalCode=jle

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2561299/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1424733/

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2648.1996.tb00017.x

https://docplayer.net/23885317-Redefining-fitness-for-health-and-fitness-professionals.html

https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8CR5T2R

https://shapeamerica.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00336297.1988.10483898#.XNdBvWQza2w

Aquaponic Lettuce- The Kratky Way

Lettuce is an excellent source of fibre, vitamin C, folate (a member of the Vitamin B group) as well as being recognised to have anti-inflammatory properties, cholesterol-lowering agents and anti-diabetic compounds.

So if the lettuce is indeed dainty you probably don’t want to check out my recipe for my zesty falafel, halloumi and lettuce salad here either.

The thing is lettuce is almost necessary to our natural diets. The fibre alone keeps you digestively regulated that are disrupted by the strain of processing the manipulated foods we eat.

The second best part is that lettuce grows all year round and I have a cheap, no-energy consuming, viable method for growing lettuce for small spaces and produces a high yield.

It’s called the Kratky method.

Say we’re trying to grow 4 heads of lettuce.

Lettuce takes about 9 weeks to harvest from seed planting, so if you set up two seeds a week, you’ll have never ending lettuce.

Like forever lettuce.

So without further ado, here’s the step by step.

The Kratky method

What you need:

  • Jars – one jar per lettuce head
  • Lettuce Seeds
  • Yogurt cups- or similar
  • Drainage- I’m using gravel
  • Water
  • Plant food- soluble nutrients- it’s easier to buy than to source naturally unfortunately
  • That’s all, don’t make it complicated

This method entails empty jars. Mason jars are the size you’re after but any jars will do.

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So the first thing you want to do is grow your seeds.

If you plant your seed in its eggshell and get them grown until they have a little sprout out the top and some nice roots coming down, you’re set.

Secondly, you’ll be cutting up the yogurt cups.

I had leftover seeding trays that I upcycled when I bout some plants from the hardware store so I’ll be using those.

Look around your house or recycling bin for something you can use without having to go out and buy extra.

You’re going to be making slits all around the bottom half of the cup. The idea is to make space for the roots to come out of the bottom to sit in the water but not for the gravel or plant itself to fall in.

This is what the plastic store bought ones look like.

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Next step is to mix your nutrients with the water.

Follow directions on the bottle. The one I got was cheap and had listed ingredients that I researched to make sure my lettuce wasn’t going to get covered in unnecessary chemicals because that slightly defeats the purpose.

The one I got is Manutec’s Hydroponic nutrient. There are two bags inside; one is the fertiliser and the other is calcium nitrate.

So following the directions you dilute in some water and you mix well.

So with your yogurt cups sitting in the jar, you fill the water so just the first cm or so of the cup is sitting in water.

Make sure there’s a little bit of an air gap at the top of the jar.

Next, you transfer your lettuce seedlings into the cup without any soil, and you put gravel around it so they sit flush.

You want the roots to head into the water solution and the gravel acts as a drainage system for the plant.

My fellow blogger http://www.greenandvibrant.com have the perfect graphic to describe what’s going on:

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Finally, you want to cover the jar with something.

The water in the jar is nutrient rich and allowing sunlight to get to it will help Algae grow. These algae will steal all the lettuce’s nutrients.

I’ve wrapped the jars in the newspaper.

Voila. Hydroponic lettuce.

No electricity.

No soil.

Almost no effort.

Conclusion

Lettuce should be a part of everyone’s diet but the price of food is ridiculous. And I call it food, not healthy food, just food. The point of food is sustenance, flavour and bonding.

The going rate for lettuce at my supermarket right now is $3.50.

That’s the price of a full course local meal in Vietnam.

For the price alone, I’ve sent $15 on this setup, using trash items most would throw out, and now I have lettuce forever.

Literally forever.

This method is excellent for kids or anyone trying out hydroponic methods.

It’s economical, it’s super easy and accessible and can be used in small spaces like apartments and share houses as well as maybe having colder winters where frost would normally kill your leafy’s off.

One day I want to try and set up a system with siphons and fish but I travel too much and it’s not fair for the fish.

Let me know how you’re getting on with your garden or if you have any other no-fuss hydroponic systems worth sharing, leave me a comment.

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For further reading on the sources I’ve used:

https://www-tandfonline-com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/doi/abs/10.1300/J484v11n02_04

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157516300230

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/oc/freepubs/pdf/vc-1.pdf

https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/hawaii/downloads/Growing_Lettuce_by_a_float-support_non-circulating_Hydroponic_Method_in_Hawaii_and_Pennsylvania.pdf

My Garden (round 2)

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I killed off most of the first plants. I had a whole tonne of different plants and was determined to be all natural with no pesticide.

I also forgot how important drainage was to potted plants.

So I lost most of them to aphids, White Flies and growth stunting.

ROUND 2!

This time around I made sure I gave each plant it’s space, drainage, enough water and a new pesticide help.

What I’m Growing Now

At the moment we have

  • blueberries (not currently in season)
  • Tahitian Limes
  • Strawberries
  • Parsley
  • Mini capsicums
  • French carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Endives
  • Bulb zucchinis
  • Potatoes

So it’s definitely a full house but it’s lots of fun learning about each plant and being overly excited when a new flower or fruit shows up.

What pesticide I Use

After a couple of weeks of research, I landed on eco neem.

Neem targets sucking and chewing insects specifically like aphids, whiteflies and caterpillars.

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Another name for the tree that produces neem is the Indian Lilac.

This tree is used in many medicinal properties and is part of the mahogany family.

Do not use eco neem for medicinal purposes. Leave that for doctors, chemists and specialists. They know what they’re doing.

The oil is extracted from the bark of the tree and when you buy the bottle from your hardware store, a small amount 5mL to a Litre of water and spray on the plant while avoiding any flowers or fruit.

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While it has rid us of most other pests that were eating our plants it seems to have freed up our garden with these guys who I still haven’t been properly introduced to.

Leave me a comment with the answer if you know it, please.

The main thing I like about eco neem is that it’s a natural property with a small number of chemicals unlike more damaging pesticides on the market.

It is also a safe chemical to have run off into the drainage and further down the track, into our rivers and oceans.

Australia has a very damaging problem when it comes to chemicals in our water supply.

Particularly our mining industry who uses the major water supply from the Great Artesian Basin that is our country’s only source of fresh water. But that’s another story. Our politicians are really corrupt.

Anyway, the last thing I want to note about neem as a pesticide is that it DOES NOT AFFECT BEES!

Bees are absolutely integral to your garden and the ecosystem.

Without them, nothing gets pollinated and the health of your garden diminishes.

This season has been particular barren.

We all know there is a major problem with how we manipulate and destroy the world’s bee populations but never has it been more apparent than now.

To increase bees to our garden we got some viola flowers that bloom most of the year, and I can use them in food if I’m being fancy, and sage.

The most common way to attract bees is to grow lavender but I have allergic family members so sage and viola were the next best things.

So far we’ve had one bee in the last month.

That’s depressing.

Disclaimer

One thing that must be brought up is the importance of land and sustainable living and eating. This point is that of oppression. The withholding or inaccessibility to land and food resources has for centuries been used to disenfranchise people. Having the ability to sustain yourself releases you from that control and your dependence.

Keep this in mind when you grow and think on the people all over the world who are food insecure due to war, man-made famine (Yemen) and greed.

Many areas in major western cities have been put there into ghetto-like situations where food insecurity becomes a major issue and getting fast food is the only option. This diminishes health and keeps people impoverished.

Maybe look into starting a community garden if you are in these areas, or just share your extra harvest with soup kitchens and food banks.

Donate extra plants so people with children can also learn how to feed themselves like we as a species once knew to do.

So what next?

 

At this point, the zucchini’s will have to be pollinated manually but everything else is growing really well.

By giving them the boost with lots of water nutrients, a helpful and constructive pesticide as well as the right amount of sun and drainage, your plants will grow in no time.

We have a big fat tomato that’s almost ready to turn red and every little fruit is like having a new puppy born.

The ultimate goal is to provide enough ongoing harvest so we have no reason to go to major supermarkets to get our food.

Being self sustainable is a feat that most don’t venture. This is sad and worrying for our species.

While technologies are amazing, we have gotten to the point where we have overdone technologies in agriculture.

While we have more food than we need, we dump 40% of it into landfills and people we don’t see across the world have absolutely no food.

Food security is a serious issue. If you are financially struggling, having food can be the be all and end all of your health, making it harder for you to get money.

The pride you get knowing you rely solely on your knowledge and your own resources frees you from being dependant on exorbitant prices (looking at you Coles with your $2.50 capsicum) and poor quality food.

Having a garden can be hard if you don’t have space. Luckily I live in subtropical weather so my plants have a real fighting chance as well as a large area to house them.

In the next article, I’ll be going through how we make our hydroponic lettuce using the Kratky method which will hopefully provide tips for the space challenged.

If you’re looking for new inspiration check out these Instagram accounts. I would love to have a garden area just to be able to do these.

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If you have any tips or advice for me to improve my garden or what to try next, leave a comment and I’d be happy to try some of them out.

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Here are my sources for further reading:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15777222

http://articles.x10.mx/neem_mother_earth_news.pdf

http://www.madr.ro/docs/ind-alimentara/risipa_alimentara/presentation_food_waste.pdf

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rstb.2010.0126

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959652614003680

https://www.pnas.org/content/104/50/19703.short

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/327/5967/812

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5863/607

My Journey

Why I do what I do.

Neuropsychology is the study of brain injuries and their rehabilitation.

The ultimate goal of my life is to become a credited Neuropsychologist and help people with location independence.

The dream to become fully location independent has always been something I’ve played with my whole life. I mean, why would we as a species confine ourselves to a chair and desk for 8+ hours a day.

Why would we focus the majority of our waking life to the labour of someone else’s wealth? All while receiving just enough currency to sustain our lives with expensive living arrangements and low-quality food.

Having grown up in a major western city, the rat race is very real. I cannot remember the time of my working life where I was satisfied with my job.

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I’ve worked in almost every sector, from support work to manual labour.

The hours, the pressure, the claustrophobia wore me down until burnout.

The expense of living is so high in my country that at this point I know far too many people who have multiple jobs just to stay off the street.

One missed paycheck could see them homeless.

That is not living.

I’ve lost friends who had dreams and hadn’t achieved even the first steps to achieve them. Spending their time trying to succeed in a system that was not built to succeed in.

This age we are in now is one of transition. We can either continue to live as we have, ignorant that the odds are in fact stacked against us, or we can escape.

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While I understand it’s impossible to do this in every circumstance there are minor steps that can be taken over time to free yourself.

At this point, I have travelled to 30 countries in my life not including repeat visits.

Without this part of my life, I feel incomplete.

There’s a need to expose my mind to other worlds, cultures and knowledge. In doing this I become more and more aware of my opportunities and the many ways I can create opportunities for others.

This is imperative for my future career.

The way I do this is by spending the majority of my time in my newly inhabited home by the sea on Queensland’s south coast and travelling in between uni holidays.

On my travels, my main objective is to learn about the indigenous people, and ways that they would like their system to work and how the world outside of my bubble really works.

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This part-time nomad life that allows me to earn money based on my own efforts rather than having others dictate my terms has built my confidence and my skills.

I’ve taken up work that has pushed me to learn new areas of technology, I juggle multiple avenues of work according to my schedule and I don’t make allowances for stressors that aren’t conducive.

Through my work with websites, virtual assistance, blogging and writing gigs, this life has been a manageable and creative path to travel.

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This is definitely one life decision I’ll never go back on.

So come along on my journey with me and let’s gain all the knowledge before it’s too late.

Leave us a comment with your journey

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