Category Archives: worms

(Occasional) Daily Tips for Living Small ~ ODTLS#1

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This was going to be Living Small Tips of the Day, but that sounded like an odd STD, so I revised it … and, knowing me, it will probably not be “daily”!

This is a bowl of eggshells:

eggshells

So, why would I care about a big bowl of eggshells?

1.  Most of us eat eggs.

2.  It is an easy adjustment to not throw the shells in the garbage.

She said what?  Don’t throw them away???

This bowl is an accumulation of about 4 dozen shells, collected over 2 weeks or so.  (good grief, we ate 16 for dinner last night …)  It is one of my biggest annoyances to send biodegradable stuff to a landfill.  Eggshells, in particular, are extremely nutritious for our environment.  Did you know that chickens can and should eat eggshells to increase their calcium to produce better eggs?  Google it.

http://www.backyardchickens.com is a great resource if you want to keep chickens in your backyard …

… which I highly recommend.

… But I digress …

OK, so what do I suggest you do with your eggshells?

Trust me, they will NOT smell or attract bugs while they dry out.  Even in my tiny RV, I can spare a little counter space for a bowl or some other vessel to hold the shells.  They need a little breathing room, so try not to stack the halves inside of each other.  After a few days – (or less, if you choose to put the bowl on the hood of your car in the sun for an afternoon or two) – they will be dry enough to pound into tiny pieces.  This activity is an excellent way to work out your frustrations.  Kids love to do it, too.  No fancy tools required:  just use the bottom of a glass, or a jar, or a wooden spoon to pulverize them.  (a mortar and pestle will work better than plastic, but i said “no fancy tools”)  Try to get the pieces as much like powder as possible.

When they are not identifiable as eggshells, you can spread them in ANY flower bed or potted plant without anyone knowing what you are doing!  If you have a worm bin, this is excellent food for them.

**And as a bonus lesson, pay attention to where your eggs come from.  Did you know that “cage-free” isn’t necessarily a good thing?  Farmers can cram thousands of chickens in a barn, where they never see light of day – but they aren’t in CAGES.  Many still use antibiotics and most trim the beaks … and I won’t even tell you how short their lives are …  Start in your backyard, or at least your community.  Yes, they are probably more expensive, but they are BETTER!

Hooray!  Look what you learned on the internet today!!

Love, from your hippie friend,

–janis

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worms!!!

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I don’t know why it took us so long to get a worm bin!  I’ve known about vermicomposting for at least 14 years.  I’ve been urban composting for 25 years!  You would think that I would have been motivated to get worms before now, but I guess I’ve been afraid that I would kill the worms.

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Oddly enough, I have intense emotional issues about touching food or messy things like shaving cream, play do, or finger paint), but I will happily dig in the worm bin!

We finally got worms in March.  I couldn’t wait, once I found the right bins in our garage, so I bought 100 at Wabash.  Surely, 100 is enough, right?  Wrong!  Eventually, those worms got happy enough to reproduce, but it took weeks.  And, we all know that I’m not a patient person.  So, while waiting for our worm bin to get happy, we limped along, composting with friends. 😦 I just needed to get on the internet and buy more worms …

Well, 2 weeks ago, I finally did that.  I first found a great worm farm … in Maine … WormMania.  Then, I learned that it’s really best to order worms from closer to your home, so I donated some money to that worm guy (because I did get some great information from him, even if I couldn’t buy his worms).  Off to Google “Texas” worms.  They took TWO weeks to arrive, but at least they arrived safely!

Now, let me tell you that 2 pounds of worms is a LOT of worms.  Not for a meek person.  I love that Molly and Zoe are as infatuated with worms as I am.  Annie – well, she is 12.

While I was waiting for the worms, I realized that we will be driving through California in a couple weeks, and California is really protective of its borders.  We have a lot of bugs in our first worm bin, and from what I’ve read, they do not let you bring bugs into the state.  I just spent $65 on new worms, and the last thing I wanted was to have them confiscated.  I did contact the BPS, and they “say” that I can bring worms for vermicomposting, but the bin needs to be bug-free.  So, we’re starting over, and I’m giving our old worms to Janet.  I’m crossing my fingers that I can keep the bugs out of it this time!  (bugs aren’t a problem for the worms, but they are a problem for California)

The worms were delivered to Ryan’s house on Thursday, and we rushed over to get them.  I immediately opened the box and dug in.  The sheer mass of worms was almost grotesque.  Good thing I like worms 🙂  Zoe immediately started begging to “hold a worm.”  We did the holding outside, out of consideration for Ryan and Dawn (sorry I opened them in your house!)  We still didn’t have new bins for them, so I naively left them in their cardboard box.  Friday was super busy.  Saturday morning at 7:30 am, Zoe woke me up saying, “WORMS!”  I was half asleep and couldn’t figure out what had happened.  My first thought was that she had knocked over the box.  Nope.  A bunch worms had escaped and were crawling all over the floor.  oops.

We did catch the worms, and I don’t think any of them died.  And, the girls who were spending the night didn’t even know what happened.  Thank goodness.  The last thing I need is girls freaking out over worms.  It is quite amazing, actually, that my girls like worms – they are afraid of every other bug in the universe! (I don’t know where that comes from.  I have no issues with bugs, and I don’t usually scream unless a gigantic roach crawls near my toes.)

Anyway, tonight we relocated the worms to their new bin. We got purple bins for them.  Still need to drill ventilation holes, but they should be happier now that they aren’t in the tiny box.

All in all, this has been a fun experience so far!  It’s dubious how much food they have actually eaten, but it has been fun!