Conserving Water in the Kitchen


The water in a sink-sized white bucket, in which coconut oil was once packed, after rinsing some dishes and utensils in it, can be saved and given to plants. This pail came with a tight-fitting cover, which I sometimes use if I wish to agitate utensils in the water. A little washing-up soap is welcomed by trees and flowers; soap helps to keep away insects and mould. Be sure there is no trace of animal product in the kitchen rinse-water, though (or in your compost-heap), because it will attract rodents and other pests. I live in the Mojave Desert, where water is scarce and expensive–a little of the precious liquid goes a long way, especially in my dry-climate garden of cacti, morning glory and palm. ©M-J de Mesterton


Cleaning your lettuce and other vegetables with a little hydrogen peroxide or vinegar in the water makes them more sanitary. The rinse-water can be conserved and used in your garden. Plants benefit by being fed a little hydrogen peroxide and vinegar. ©M-J de Mesterton


Elegant Survival: Saguaro National Park

Saguaro Forest Near Tucson, Arozona
In the Saguaro National Forest, Near Tuscon, Arizona: Elegant Cacti Surviving on Very Little Water

Saguaro cacti are elegant and unusually tough plants surviving with very little water and growing very tall. Each one has its own distinctive shape.  Some of the saguaros seem to be gesturing and beckoning, even waving at us sometimes. I have never seen plants or trees that are so individualistic. In my photo, you can see the saguaro cactus’  basic upright habit. These amazingly strong cacti definitely celebrate diversity, as each one mysteriously grows branches in a unique configuration. Look at them, but do not touch–they have very dangerous spikes that cover their surfaces like porcupine quills. In this cactus forest, there are plenty of warning signs for tourists. Just driving through the Saguaro National Park is a fantastic experience.

©M-J de Mesterton

From the National Parks Website, Lightly Edited:

Saguaro National Park near Tucson, Arizona was first established in 1933 for the purpose of protecting the giant saguaro cactus (Carnegia gigantean) and the associated Sonoran Desert and Sky Island ecological areas. Following several park expansions in subsequent decades, the National Park Service continually works to preserve desert, mountain and riparian habitats in the Tucson and Rincon Mountains, as well as the largest roadless “sky island” in North America — all of which comprise a wide range of elevations that support extraordinary biodiversity.  78% of the Park’s 91,327 acres are federally-designated wilderness. Saguaro National Park  is being preserved, its  wilderness qualities protected, while understanding and stewardship of its natural resources are promoted through ongoing scientific research.

The Elegant Aloe Plant: a Natural Healer

The elegant aloe vera plant is perfect for household beauty and medical use. Cut off a leaf and squeeze some aloe juice onto a burn, blemish, wound or sunburn. Keep it in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, for later re-application. An aloe plant will grow strong and have an elegant shape. Aloe vera plants make perfect hostess-gifts, and an aloe plant already set in an elegant piece of crockery is a welcome gift for almost anyone. Water-efficient aloes would be perfect dorm-room plants as well, since they can suffer neglect with great dignity, and may come in very handy for youthful skin maladies and emergency wound-care.

©M-J de Mesterton 2010