Monday, April 21, 2014

Worm composting is moving outdoors.

Today I moved my little wormies to the little covered area behind my house that has been used previously as a cat playroom. I let Bernie Mac have it through the winter and look what he left me. 
Yuck! Looks like Bernie Mac is taking his job serious. Back to worm composting!

Last year in September I went to Trail to pick up a starter pack of red wrigglers. I paid $20 for an ice cream pail full of worm casings and worms. I put them in a Rubbermaid container along with some hay and all of the compostables the chickens didn't get. By December of 2013, I needed a second Rubbermaid bin. 
I believe that I posted previously about my two step process. The bottom bin contains the original compost, the bin above is a fresh start containing two decent scoops from the original bin, some straw, and some fresh vegetable and fruit leftovers. 
Today, I harvested the original bin. I now realize that this is actually a 3 step process. Box one looked like this
You can just see a few worms at the top. I took this mixture and separated the worms from the compost and casings. I placed the rich humus on a tiered screen set up to minimize loss and allow to break up the fertilizer and dry out a bit.
This is just a couple of trowel scoops of the compost. Look at my amazing worms. And my amazing compost and casings!
I am letting it sit in the Rubbermaid along with whatever worms managed to escape my notice and the thousands of baby wormies. In another month I believe the compost will be ready for use and sale. I plan on making a liquid tea out of this to sell. You add casings to water and aerate. 
What about the worms you ask? 
Well if you have to know.....
Oh yeah, they love them! I think that the trout around here may enjoy them too!
I didn't give them all to the ladies; I placed a few in the garden and the remainder I put into bin 2 to help move it along. 
Now my wormies are out in the cat cage!
Let me know if you want to buy some! 
Worms, worm tea, and worm casings! I got them all.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Be Prepared

This blog post is dedicated to my very brilliant, very creative and talented Uncle Lorne. 
My mothers sister, my aunty Diane, married a wonderfully artistic and resourceful carpenter; uncle Lorne. He is retired now; or rather he will on the occasion cherry pick a job, but for the most part he now putters. And by putter I mean he typically spends time working on miniature wooden trucks. Of course I am simplifying, he makes exact replicas of heavy duty machinery.  Or he's busy working on one of his bows that he crafts by hand. Or, then again perhaps he will busy himself with his custom cabinetry and furniture. Regardless he is certainly not idle. 
On my last visit, I stopped in to see the Nickel family. My uncle suggested that I prepare a modest bag of safety provisions in my trunk for all future road trips. 
1. Pack a blanket for warmth
2. Pack water for thirst
3.  Pack candles for light and warmth
4.  Pack food 
Friday, hayleigh and I travelled down from Kamloops  to Port Moody on the coquihalla. Just before the snowshed there was a grain super B that went down and caused a 7 car pile-up. Hayleigh and I were grateful for all of the above listed items during our 4.5 hour wait. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ymir Snow Festival

Ymir Snow Fest is an annual festival here in Ymir. We have this great Ymir community association here and I think I may try to get on the board this spring when the elections are held. There is an opening for the position of secretary. Maybe...

It was a great day for the festival, even the weather cooperated. Kootenays skies are a brilliant blue during a cold February sunny day. 

Pancake breakfast was the first item on the agenda. Theron; the local artisan bread maker served up some tasty spelt and sourdough pancakes. Delicious maple syrup delivery mechanisms! 

The morning started off with both the arts and some sports. We had an amazing woman come in and do some interpretive dance/yoga for the children. The energy was high and both kids and adults enjoyed some movement after the pancakes. The finale was beautiful as each dancer carried a magnificently coloured scarf and danced rhythmically through the hall; the flow of energy was crazy! Hula hoop workshop was next; they even got me up for a short stint. One hula hoop is tough enough, but the woman leading the workshop was able to keep a incredibly large number of them elegantly twirling from different areas of her body. Almost felt motion sickness watching her!  

All day we had three hardworking teams whittling away at three individual snow forms. The snow was shaped into big square blocks. Two of the three were done by our own locals working in groups of two or three. This is King Kong 

This is the Ymir ragnarok monster

The final sculpture was done single-handed by a Nelson resident. The howling wolf; how appropriate! 

But this isn't just a little hippy town; we also managed to get in the sports. In fact, this town is filled with winter sport enthusiasts; put most vancouverites to shame with the amount of physical fitness that happens around here. But onto the games. We had routabaga (turnip) curling, hockey, snow mobiling, a biathlon complete with BB gun air rifles! It was a blast; and even the weather cooperated! Blue skies and temperatures hovering around -2, a gorgeous kootenay day! One of the neighbours, Doug, brought out a remote control airplane and got it stuck in one of deciduous trees. It may be a while before it gets brought down as it is stuck in the top branches of a 40 foot tree!

In the evening there was a dance that started at five pm for the kids. I went home and recooperated for the Wild Wild West dance starting at 9. 

That's a saddle set up for photo shoots! This town loves themed parties. Here are a couple of dubious characters.

Great evening! I volunteered behind the bar and I thought it was a great way to meet more of my community. Which I did. We finally ran out of booze around 2:30am and then I got to dance to the Dj that was playing between and after the bands jams. Keeping with the theme; the band was The Pernell Reichert Band.
The band was great, they really kept everyone on the dance floor. 

Between the bands sets there was another naughtier bunch performing. A local burlesque group; the lovely Rosie Bitts and her troupe.

Too much fun! This little town has so much heart. I wish a few of you could have been here for it. Maybe next year.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Wine is ready to bottle!

Many of you may wonder what I do up here during the long winters?
That's right! This is the Shiraz from spagnols, it is the best! So yummy with great body, someone said they'd pay $15 bucks a bottle. Hahaha!
We bottled some grape wine from Willy over at Willow Creek Farm. He had some organic grapes he was looking to have drinkable! It was so much work because I didn't have a press and the grapes were so small and filled with seeds. I can still feel the sting in my hands from all the cuts from those seeds while crushing and pressing the grapes by hand! It is a bit tart, I added a sweetener and it's palatable, but will be better with some time. It's very light in colour, like a pink grapefruit colour; pretty. 
We also bottled some crabapple wine, Alex and I picked approx 26 pounds of my neighbours crabapple tree. We would have had more but the evening before we picked the tree was ravaged by a bear. He shared, or maybe he was saving some for later.... Lol it is very tasty, but very hard to get all of the sediment out. Even after clearing with a two part process there is a lot of sediment. We bottled anyways because we need the use of the carboys. 
Alex and I managed to get a dozen each of the Shiraz and crabapple and 7 of the willow creek grape. We also have 8 bottles to go to Wild Willy, 6 bottles to my neighbours with the crabapple tree and 2 bottles to the local bottle collector Bob who keeps me in wine bottles! Yay! 
Now for the enjoyment! Over my lips and through my tongue, look out stomach here the wine comes! Oh, and cheers!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Painting 101

Vicky was the owner of my home before I purchased it in June 2013. It would seem that she was particular for the colour blue. Every room in the house was or still is a combination of bluey and bluey green  hues. No disrespect intended here for Vicky, because it is very apparent that she loved her home; but, the colour scheme was killing me! Once she used each of the tones in different rooms, she then decided to sponge the other rooms in combos of her colour hue. Environmentally friendly for sure!
See, :) isn't it lovely? Ok, so I've been painting since December and have a room almost finished, the living room. I need to paint the bedroom door and frame that leads from the small house. This room was the baby bluey green colour from above; opposed to the greeny blue. Now it looks like this, and that is the door needing paint.
The living room is large so I broke it up with a little quiet library in behind, painted in a nice light grey called pepper tree. The living room it went with a bright golden colour; I figured it might brighten  the long winters here.
Originally I thought that an office would be nice in this alcove, but my nice ikea desk doesn't fit. 
This brought me to a conundrum as I had already envisioned my masterpiece of design without measure. I could try and sell my desk and get a smaller one, but this would defeat my ability to engage comfortably with home bookkeeping on a smaller surface to work with. Plus, my very dirtiest secret of lazy slothfulness was worried with the work of listing on kijiji and pennywise, do I need to put together to photograph? F word, how much bloody work is that? Plus find another? So I've decided to put my desk in the front entrance. The space is larger, plus it comes with a great view of the mountains! 
This area was one of the lucky spaces sponged in turquoise hues. Here it is with just the trim re-painted.
And here is my new office with the first coat of paint done.
I will post again to show it to you with the furniture installed. I like it!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Moose Looks a lot like a Horse!

When it is barrelling down the highway coming straight at you. I said to Hayleigh "that's a horse coming at us." And she said, rather urgently "that's a girl moose!" I was so perplexed that I didn't get a photo. Even when the cow (that's a female moose) slipped on the road frost when she tried to finally swerve from our head on collision I didn't think to snap a shot. She slipped around a bit then managed to get her feet to cooperate and she shot off the road heading to the Salmo River. 
That was by far my coolest experience with wildlife since arriving here. So amazing to see a moose up so close. I really wish I had a photo to share.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Worm Composting 101 v2.0

V2.0? You ask? Many of you might remember that at one time I was the proud owner of the Queensborough sQuigglers. With a little work, even you city slickers with a little work and creativity can own your own. 

Back in September I purchased some red wigglers from a Trail family. They arrived home with me in an ice cream bucket. Immediately I set to work and drilled air holes in a Rubbermaid tote.  I put a wet burlap empty sand bag on the bottom, then some hay, I emptied the worm bucket, added some compost along for the worms to start eating, then finally I placed another wet burlap bag over that and put on the lid.

In 4 months I filled the Rubbermaid and decided to engage a two bin method. See them here.

The bottom bin is the original bin. It now contains 75% of the compost cumulated from September through December. I will leave that bin alone other than an occasional tossing of the salad to aerate it for maximum composting and worm casings. 

The top bin has 25% of the original bin and my recent organic matter. By the time this bin fills, the bottom tote should be ready to harvest for casings. At this point I will spread the bottom bin into my garden in May and split off my top bin to continue this cycle. Next cycle will be ready for September revitalization before the frosts set in. 

Oh and if you look closer you can see the wonderful sloupy tea on the bottom, this shit is a powerful plant food. I learned the hard way that it needs to be heavily diluted before giving to house plants. :( I lost all 3 of my hot pepper plants.