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Collecting and harvesting rainwater: tips & tricks

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rainwater

rainwater

Every person consumes approximately 100 liters of water per day. This is drinking water quality, although not all of it is needed for drinking. Because unlike drinking, eating, cooking, and personal hygiene, water for flushing the toilet and watering the garden does not have to be of drinking water quality. Because this can only be achieved with great effort and expense. If you want to save drinking water and drinking water costs, you can collect and use rainwater instead. We’ll reveal everything you need to know in this article.

What is rainwater?

Rainwater is the precipitation that occurs when the water evaporates from seas, lakes, and rivers, i.e. when it changes its physical state from liquid to gaseous. The rising water vapor cools down with increasing altitude, whereby it condenses: Small droplets of water form again, which together form a cloud. If the cloud cools down further, the small droplets become larger and larger, which at some point become so heavy that they fall out of the cloud: It is raining.

Is rainwater clean?

Rainwater contains different substances depending on which body of water it once evaporated from and which path it took when it rose into the cloud and later with it. This is because various dust grains, volcanic ash, pollen, spores and microbes naturally float in the waters and in our atmosphere. In addition, there is man-made dirt, including fine dust from exhaust gases and tire wear from our vehicles, factories and houses, as well as pollutants that we apply in the course of cultivating arable land and forest land, for example. These dirt particles also swim in bodies of water or swirl through our air – and can be detected in the rain.

Difference between rainwater vs. drinking water – a comparison

Rainwater is created in a natural cycle. Drinking water, on the other hand, is withdrawn from nature’s cycle and treated.

While natural rainwater is comparatively soft, the drinking water from our water pipes is rather hard. The reason for the higher water hardness of tap water is the so-called hardness builders, i.e. minerals that are in it, especially calcium and magnesium – both are essential for us humans.

According to the consumer center (VZ), tap water counts in Germany

  • with 0 to 7 degrees of German hardness (dH) as soft water (hardness range I: 0 to 1.3 millimoles of calcium oxide per liter).
  • with 14 to 21 degrees dH as hard water (hardness range III: 2.5 to 3.8 millimoles calcium oxide per liter)

The water hardness of rainwater, on the other hand, is close to zero.

3 good reasons why collecting rainwater is worth it

It was already mentioned above: Rainwater can replace a large part of the drinking water used as service water in the house and garden.

Rainwater saves costs and fees!

Since rainwater falls from the sky free of charge, you also save a proportion of the corresponding water costs, which in turn result from the complex treatment of tap water. And you can also save on the so-called precipitation fee: This is charged for draining rainwater into the sewer (per square meter of the drained area). If, on the other hand, rainwater is retained as desired by law, for example evaporating on a green roof (garden house, carport) or allowing it to seep into the garden soil (both can be achieved with controlled irrigation), you save the precipitation fee.

Rainwater is environmentally friendly!

You should also consider the environmental costs that you collect with rainwater and save using rainwater: Drinking water is of inestimable value, it is one of the most valuable raw and valuable materials of our time. The less drinking water you waste unnecessarily on growing and caring for your ornamental and useful plants and the more rainwater you use instead, the better the ecological footprint of your own harvest.

Rainwater is the better irrigation water!

For watering plants in the house, on the balcony and in the garden, hard, i.e. very hard, tap water is rather unsuitable.

Various plants, for example rhododendrons, camellias, orchids and ferns, cannot tolerate too much lime. In addition, many plants do not get the additives of chlorine, fluorine and ozone, which serve as preservatives in tap water.

And you should also know that: The collected and stale rainwater is usually warmer than freshly tapped irrigation water. This saves your plants a (too) cold shower.

The natural content of minerals in rainwater also has a nourishing effect on plants: it works like a mineral fertilizer.

How can you collect rainwater?

If you want to collect and use rainwater in the future, you need the necessary equipment. Which one depends on whether you collect rainwater from a roof or without a roof.

Collect rainwater – this is how it works with a roof!

The rainwater quality is best as long as the rainwater has not yet touched the ground. It is, therefore, best to collect rainwater fresh from roofs, for example, roofs of houses, garden houses and greenhouses, pavilions, garages, carports, patio covers or sheds. To protect the building fabric, the buildings need a gutter to catch the rainwater and a downpipe to drain it away – into the ground, an existing drainage system or in a collecting container: If the rainwater ends up in one, you can collect it continuously and later use as needed.

The classic is the rain barrel, which is already available in a luxurious version with a cover and tap as well as a sieve/filter. For example in our online shop – take a look!

Our tip: Smaller rain barrels are also suitable for collecting rainwater on balconies and terraces; larger alternatives are rain tanks and rain barrels. You can read more about choosing the right container for your rainwater collection project in our article ” The rain barrel at the garden house: better irrigation water for free “.

For larger collection volumes you need larger collection containers. For example, so-called rain collectors, which also collect rainwater for household consumption, use special underground tanks or cisterns. Both can be installed underground and do not take up any space on the property or in the garden. In addition, the underground rainwater collection slows down the germination of the water.

Rainwater flows from the roof

3 ways to collect rainwater – this is how it works without a roof!

You don’t have a roof to collect rainwater? Then let us show you three alternatives:

  • Collecting rainwater in containers: Place containers on the balcony, terrace, or in the garden to collect rainwater. These can be bowls, buckets and pots. The larger the opening, the more rainwater you collect with it.
  • Collect rainwater in water-repellent tarpaulins: You can also use a so-called tarp, which you buy from an outdoor outfitter, or a sun sail to collect rainwater. You stretch the tarpaulin strategically – with a gradient! – in the garden and let a corner open into suitable collecting containers so that the rainwater collects in them.

Our tip: Are you missing trees or posts to attach the tarpaulin? No problem! Install a rotary clothes dryer in the garden! You can dry your laundry on it in sunny weather and put a tarpaulin on it and collect the rainwater in rainy weather.

  • Collect rainwater on a DIY rain canopy: You can use a self-made frame as a rain canopy to collect rainwater in a targeted manner. Build the frame from four posts, cross slats with a slope and a foil on top, ideally so high that the rain barrel or rain tank can be placed underneath. If you then green the side of the frame with climbing plants, you have created an attractive privacy screen for the bin or tank.

Are you looking for more inspiration around garden design? Take a look at our Pinterest channel . There we have put together a variety of beautiful boards on the topic of house, garden and garden shed for you.

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Food

The History of Italian Pizza

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Pizza

Pizza

When you think of pizza, what comes to mind? Most picture a crispy round pie, laden with grease, cheese, and bright red tomato sauce. Like man and machine, the humble pizza pie has come a long way since its invention many years ago!

We all know that pizza originated in Italy, but do you know how this beloved delicacy got its start? What did the first Italian Pizza look like, and would you even recognize it today?

If you’re curious about the origins of pizza, read on to learn the history of everyone’s Friday night favorite! You might even learn some rustic pizza recipes to prepare the next time you have company!

Ancient Pizza

Pizza has been around in one form or another since antiquity. Not all of the earliest pizzas looked like the pizzas you might order today. Many of them resembled flatbreads, more like open-faced sandwiches with sweet and savory toppings.

Darius the Great of Persia was cooking up flatbread-style pizza as early as the sixth century BC. The Persians topped their pizza with cheese and dates. Without woodfired pizza ovens, they had to bake their pizzas on the shields that they used in battle!

You can even find something like pizza mentioned in Ancient Greek literature. If you read The Aeneid in school, you might have noticed that the characters enjoyed eating a meal of pitas topped with vegetables. This early pizza was even significant to the plot, as it appeared in a prophecy earlier in the epic poem!

Some of pizza’s earliest ancestors still exist today, only with different names. Have you had focaccia, pita bread, lepinja, or coca? If so, you have already experienced a piece of pizza history pre-dating the Italian pizza!

The Early Italian Pizza

Think about the best pizza you’ve ever had. It probably wasn’t a pile of vegetables on top of a pita! The pizza you know today was probably derived from the Italian pizza, which began its life in sixteenth century Naples.

A lot of us use pizza as a survival food while living in college dorms. In the sixteenth century, pizza was food for the poor. It was a “street food,” resembling a galette, and was rarely prepared in the kitchen like a proper meal.

Tomatoes wouldn’t become part of pizza history until after Europeans had come into contact with the plant in the Americas. These tomatoes, along with oil and fish, would top the galette crust.

Believe it or not, the earliest Italians thought that tomatoes were a poisonous plant and would not cook with them! The poorest Italians were the first to take a risk, and that risk certainly paid off. The rumors of the dish were enough to bring tourists into the poorest parts of Naples to sample the delicacy!

Pizza Margherita

It wouldn’t be until about the nineteenth century that all of the components of our favorite modern pizza would combine. Although apocryphal, the first Margherita pizza was supposedly prepared in honor of Margherita of Savory. She was a beloved Italian queen.

The chef responsible was Raffaele Esposito. He decorated the pizza with red sauce, white cheese, and green basil to represent the flag of Italy. The popularity of the monarchy would lead to the popularity of the dish, cementing these toppings as the “default.”

In many pizzerias, you can order a Margherita Pizza by name, even today! It is a simple, rustic slice – and a piece of pizza history!

During the 19th century, there were already about 120 operational pizzerias in Naples. They employed both pizza makers and pizza sellers. The pizza sellers worked on the street, as it was still a street food for many years.

Pizza Sweet Pizza

Even until the early 20th century, pizza looked and tasted different than you might expect. In fact, it was a sweet dish rather than a savory one! Today, “dessert pizza” is a novel specialty, but it used to be the most common iteration of our cheesy favorite!

The first mention of the Neopolitan pizza, the round, cheesy pizza we enjoy today, would be in a cookbook in 1911. The author described Pizza alla Napoletana as a pizza crust topped with mozzarella, tomato, mushrooms, and sardines.

True Neopolitan Pizza and Pizza Today

Did you know that there are strict standards for what we call Neopolitan Pizza today? The True Neapolitan Pizza Association was founded in 1984 to declare specific rules regarding what could be considered authentic pizza.

The rules state that authentic pizza must be baked in a domed, woodfired pizza oven. The dough must be kneaded by hand, without the aid of any technology, including a rolling pin! An authentic pizza also cannot be larger in diameter than 35 centimeters.

Given those strict standards, even the biggest pizza fans may have never enjoyed a “True Neopolitan Pizza.” Some pizzerias are even stricter in their standards. They may only use one specific kind of tomato, or dictate the direction that sauce and oil can be added to the crust!

The thickness and texture of the crust varies regionally. The famous Chicago Deep Dish would not be considered a true Neopolitan, nor would the massive slices served up in your average New York City pizza joint!

Today, you can frequently get a pizza delivered from the oven to your door in thirty minutes or less. On websites like https://wiseguypizzapie.com/, you can even order your pizza online, without speaking to a single human soul! Pizza has come a long way, and it has taken about seven thousand years to get here!

From Antiquity to the Freezer Aisle

No true pizza fan would deny that the Italian pizza has come a long way from its origins in the Mediterranean. Today, you can pick up a frozen pizza from the supermarket and have a hot slice ready in just a few minutes. Pizza is a beloved, accessible food, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon!

Did this article make you hungry? Put your pizza in the oven and then check out the rest of the blog while it’s cooking. You’ll find plenty of articles about all of the foods you love!

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Wedding Day Planning Tips to Make the Occasion a Success

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Wedding

Wedding

Did you know that couples and wedding planners spend 200 to 300 hours preparing for the wedding? Depending on the size, location, and dreams of your wedding, there are many things to take care of.

If you are getting married soon or want to help a friend prepare for theirs, there are certain steps you should follow. Continue reading to discover some of the best wedding day planning tips and tricks that will make your day magical!

Make a Plan

The first step to wedding day planning is identifying what you want and how you will get it.

You can set goals and plans for your wedding at this point to start getting the ball rolling. Keep in mind that your goals and plan should be realistic and achievable. You should start looking at the prices of venues you are considering to determine if you can afford that option or if you need to go another route.

Think about where you want the wedding to be, who you want there, and how you picture the ceremony and reception going. It is okay if some of the details are vague at this point.

Set a Budget

Once you have a plan being developed you can start thinking about your budget and prepare financially.

Take a look at your income and the extra money that you and your significant other have each month. Determine how much money you want to put towards wedding expenses and do your best to stick with your money-saving goals.

You shouldn’t be putting all of your savings and disposable income towards the wedding. Otherwise, you could be unprepared for accidents or job loss. Always make sure that you leave some cushion so that you don’t go broke.

Consider Your Wedding Day Meal Plan

Have you started thinking about cocktail hour snacks, dinner, and wedding cake options?

The wedding day meal plan is an important step of planning that you must take some time to organize. By working with vendors you can create a menu that is unique to your tastes and will satisfy guests.

Many people are getting wedding cupcakes towers instead of cakes because they are easier to distribute and are fun to eat. You should also think about those with limited diets, including a vegetarian option might be a good idea.

Keep Your Guest List Light

If you want to know how to plan a wedding day that isn’t swamped with people, keep your guest list light.

The smaller the guest list, the easier it will be to accommodate everyone’s needs. Having fewer guests attending the wedding will also save you money in the long run.

Think about family members and friends that you definitely want at the wedding. If you have someone on the list that you haven’t spoken to in years, consider leaving them off the list and sending them a note. A smaller wedding is often more intimate and casual.

Ask for Professional Help

No matter what point you are at in the wedding planning process, there is always someone that you can ask for help from.

Professional wedding planners, vendors, and stylists are at your disposal waiting to help you with any issues that come up. Getting professional help can save you time and money, it can also prevent frustration when dealing with all of the details.

Wedding professionals often have inside connections and resources that they are willing to share. These resources can resolve issues that you didn’t think you could overcome and you don’t have to worry about managing everything.

Notify Guests With Plenty of Time

When it comes to wedding planning, you will want to ensure that you give your guests enough notice of the wedding.

Guests may have to take off work or find a babysitter for your wedding. The sooner you can get your wedding day details out, the sooner you can find out how many people will be attending.

Waiting until the last minute to notify guests of the wedding could put you in a situation where you overspend and overcompensate. Be prepared for guests to decline the invite, even with notification in advance.

Determine If Kids Are Welcome

If you want to save money and make things go smoothly at your wedding, you will need to determine if kids are allowed.

Most people recommend allowing kids to the ceremony and not the reception. Reception parties can get crazy and be overwhelming when kids are running all over the place. If you want to save money, notify guests that only adults are welcome.

This is becoming a common trend with weddings because there are fewer details to consider. Without kids at the wedding, you won’t have to ensure they are kept busy with toys and games or that they like the food options.

Be In the Moment

When planning a wedding, it is easy to become overwhelmed with all of the tiny details.

Being in the moment can help keep you level-headed and appreciating each step of the way. Losing yourself in wedding planning can lead to disappointment if things don’t go exactly how you planned. Instead of letting the small things get to you, take a deep breath and remember the love you have for your fiance.

Don’t be afraid to take time away from everyone to relax and unwind. This will make the memory of your wedding much happier and not as exhausting.

Crush Your Wedding Day Planning

There are many steps to consider when dealing with wedding day planning.

By utilizing this guide, you can stay on track with planning and always be prepared for the next steps. These tips can help you take care of the most important factors that guests and you will notice on the big day.

Don’t forget to take time for yourself and be in the moment. This will make the memory of your wedding much happier.

Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more articles about how to plan a wedding day and incorporate delicious foods!

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Food

7 Tips on Cooking Asian Meals for Beginners

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Cooking Asian Meals

Cooking Asian Meals

Asian cuisine is booming all over the world. A 2018 survey revealed that Chinese and Japanese cuisine are two of the top five most popular cuisines internationally.

You don’t have to order takeout to enjoy a succulent Chinese meal. You can start cooking Asian meals in the comfort of your own home.

What ingredients and tools should you have on hand? Where can you go to find the most popular Asian recipes? How should you plan out your meals?

Answer these questions and you can prepare delicious chicken and broccoli in no time. Here is your quick guide.

  1. Get Your Ingredients

Asian ingredients are varied. Asian meals use many different proteins, including non-animal sources like tofu. Grains include rice, noodles, and powders like cornstarch.

Every pantry should have some basic ingredients, and you can buy the other ones you need for particular recipes. Rice wine is essential for adding flavor and removing pungent odors in dishes. Garlic, ginger root, and spring onions are aromatics in many dishes.

You should have several bottles of different sauces on hand. Oyster sauce is savory, while soy sauce is salty. Oils are also important, namely sesame and peanut oil.

  1. Buy Your Tools

A wok has several advantages over a traditional frying pan. Its bowl shape distributes heat evenly, and it requires less oil to fry food.

Find a flat-bottom wok with handles and a lid. You can choose one of any size, depending on the recipes you are making and the number of people you are cooking for.

Many people think a cleaver is for cutting large sections of meat. You can use one for that purpose. But a cleaver does act as a great all-purpose tool, good for smashing garlic and small ingredients.

Find a cleaver made from stainless steel. Buy a sharpener so you can keep the blade precise. You should also get a knife block that insulates the blade from moisture.

  1. Learn Essential Techniques

When you are stir-frying, you need to get your pan piping hot. Stand back and let your burner come up to heat.

Then add your oil. Find a high-heat vegetable oil, like safflower or sunflower oil, and do not use olive oil.

You must defrost your meat before cooking with it. Let it sit out for 20 minutes at room temperature. You can take advantage of this time by marinating the meat in seasonings.

When preparing your vegetables, you should cut them on the diagonal. This exposes more of their surface area, letting them cook faster and absorb sauces. Hold your vegetable firmly, then cut it at a 60-degree angle.

Cook the meat, then cook the vegetables. Never cook them together because the vegetables will not cook evenly. You can toss the meat with the vegetables at the end, but only after everything is done cooking.

Do not overstock your wok. Cook your meat in two batches if you have too much.

  1. Start Storing Asian Ingredients

Some ingredients can be stored in your cupboard after you open them. Rice and its derivatives, like rice wine, can stay in the cupboard. You can also put soy sauce and sesame oil there.

You can put onions and garlic out on your counter. Find a bowl to put them in so their skins don’t fall onto the floor.

Meat and vegetables must go in the refrigerator after they are opened. You should also put oyster and chili sauces into the fridge. Store them separately so they don’t spill onto other foods.

  1. Read About Popular Asian Recipes

Once you have everything you need, you can start cooking recipes. Visit websites like The XCJ that offer recipes and cooking guides. Print out the ones you find and put them in a binder that compiles your favorites.

Make sure that you follow the recipes word-for-word. Adding too much of one ingredient can throw off the flavors and textures of your dish.

If you are a frequent patron of a particular Chinese restaurant, you may be able to get some of their recipes. Ask the chef after you’ve had a meal.

  1. Write a Daily Plan

Don’t decide on a whim that you are going to make a recipe. You may not have the ingredients and you may take a long time preparing the ones you do have.

Sit down at the start of the day and decide what recipe you are going to cook. If you want to think long-term, make a plan for all the recipes you will cook in a week.

Write down the ingredients you need and check to see if you have them. Go to the store as soon as you can to buy the ones you don’t have. If you wait until the afternoon, they may already be gone.

  1. Add Your Own Style

Once you have some skills in making recipes, you can start to add your own flair to dishes. You can top your stir fry with things like cilantro or scallions.

You can do a lot by making Asian desserts. You can mix and match different dishes. You can prepare fried bananas with a side of fresh mango pudding or kulfi.

How to Start Cooking Asian Meals

Cooking Asian meals is not difficult. Stock your pantry with essential items like rice wine and soy sauce. Get a wok and cleaver that let you prepare many recipes.

Master the essential skills of stir-frying, especially with heat management. Make sure your pantry and fridge can hold your ingredients. Then go and get your favorite recipes.

Start preparing your meal well in advance so you have everything you need. Develop your style through mixing and matching ingredients and dishes.

Cooking cultivates the imagination. Get creative by following our cooking coverage.

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