Thursday, July 17, 2014

Behind the scenes

is sometimes chaos, trying to find balance between what I love and want to achieve and what is reasonable to other people on the path of conservation. Some days are frustrating when the challenges seem to mount and the expectations appear unrealistic and then the simplest of actions, the smallest of gestures turn everything back on track and the efforts once again provide joy in my daily life.

As someone that has loved, respected and worked with nature for over half my life, I struggle sometimes to adjust to understand those that have seemingly little attachment to the resources and impacts we are having. Feeding and surviving off the resource is one thing but blatantly destroying it is another.

So sometimes I have to reflect on what my goals are and how to achieve them, am I doing this for my own benefit, no, I am doing this because I sincerely believe that people can change when they see a benefit to themselves if not for the sake of the ecosystem and that instead of working against people for the benefit of conservation is to work with them to create better understanding and sharing of knowledge to improve on conservation areas and needs within the island chain.

I do not often write about my work because I am wanting for others to reap the benefits of what we achieve, to give them confidence and skills to continue the efforts for sustainable livelyhoods. We have a great team at VEPA.

I am not looking for likes on Facebook but maybe by writing more about what we are doing and what we are achieving will bring more interest and information to the areas we are working for: conservation of natural resources and improvement on the resources for those whose daily lives depend on them.

I often doubt myself that I am losing my own focus and goals because at times they seem to others extreme, but in the end it is my goals that drive me to make a difference for the environment and through this to benefit others lives.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hot in the kitchen....

firstly Happy New Year, hope everyone had a great celebration, myself I made it till 8.45pm before heading to bed for the night.

2014 is going to be a very busy year, lots going on with VEPA on the conservation front and hopefully reaching some of the targets we have worked on and supported since before VEPA was started. More to come on that later......

Photography wise, 2013 was not my year for photography, shutting down the business and the stress of the previous couple of years, changed how I saw photography, it got to a stage where the photos I did take were snapshots and not to the full potential of neither myself nor the wonderful camera gear I own. 2014, I vow and have already started to rekindle my love of photography and can not wait to share my adventures and pictures through the year.

So, back to the heat in the kitchen...........

I am making more sambal olek, having lived in Indonesia and many other countries that are home to wonderful spicy foods, I have never been able to replicate my favourite, a google search brings up thousands of different recipes and methods to make sambal.

Local bullet chili on the left and bonnet on the right. © Karen Stone

Oooh these are the heat! Use sparingly....

This is the recipe I closely followed because of the fact that I have tried to make sambal before and the recipes I followed all say to boil the chilis, which to me looses a lot of the taste and flavour. I also prefer it being slightly oil based instead of vinegar, to me the oil is smoother tasting. 

Salted and sweating for 2 hours!

I also added garlic and reduced the sugar amount, as we are not sweet chili likers!

The finished product ready to eat!

This is a spicy one!

Always remember when making your own hot sauces, either wear gloves or don't touch your eyes or other sensitive areas for a while!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Mantis - sometimes even when you least expect it you can come across the most amazing things in your garden. Just recently whilst weeding and digging around my vegetables I came across this Praying Mantis. I love Praying Mantis, there are over 2,400 species and they camouflage themselves to the greenery around them.  The word "Praying" comes from the angle of their 2 prominent front legs.

Mantids can turn their heads 180 degrees to spot predators.

Juvenile Praying Mantis on Basil Leaf.

The adult one I had photographed several weeks ago and then yesterday whilst weeding and studying to see if my basil plants were bolting I noticed this tiny little one. Less than a cm in length but has the characteristic front legs.

More fun to be had exploring the garden looking for bugs.