Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red Worm Update

I figure it is about time for a worm composting update but pictures will have to wait for a future update. The inspiration for this update lies in the fact that I have now added a 3rd bin to the lot. This isn't QUITE as amazing as it may seem, because the first bin is just about finished and mostly empty of worms. Although, having said that, I'm glad that this first batch of worm shite is at this stage in the fall because this way I can be sure that as many cocoons as possible can hatch. Having started with such a small amount of worms, I find myself trying hard to avoid the loss of even one this stage of the game anyway.

I am still incredibly impressed with how this little project has been proceeding. My worm population has absolutely exploded considering I started off with somewhere around 150 worms. When all the worms that I have right now have reached maturity, I suspect I should have around 2 lbs of worms. But, having said that, I also have a huge amount of cocoons just starting to hatch in the 2nd bin that I started. Within a month I will be pulling that first set of mature adults which began the 2nd bin, and will be ready to start yet another bin with a significant amount of breeding adults. At that point I will have 3 bins processing mostly optimally and a 4th just about finished to the point that my first bin is now. All this in around 4 months.

At this point, I have pretty much exhausted my stored up supply of shredded paper cardboard (from drink trays and old egg cartons, etc) but that is fine. I moved the first bin out to the farm to harvest so I have started to use materials only from there. Since we have a LOT of old straw and cow manure there is a large amount of the kind of food and bedding that worms love and so I have started using it. I am soaking the old manure or spraying it well, to get it nice and moist and then I am adding a layer of wet straw at the bottom and a layer of drier hay on top to keep moisture down where the worms can use it best. Some other moisture-bearing and partially decomposed vegetable matter are also added, periodically, for shorter term worm food. The worms seem to love this environment and I find them crawling through the straw much quicker than they do through the shredded cardboard that I use here at home. Now I am waiting to see how quickly and plentifully they start dropping cocoons.

I have decided not to attempt an over-winter outdoor worm bin this winter, for various reasons. Instead, I will just do what I can to increase population as quickly as possible, while deciding just how large a scale seems feasible.

Well, that's all for now I think.

As Mick Foley would say, "Have a nice day!!"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vocal Emotional Inspiration

I came across this copy of a performance from the 2005 Juno Awards in Winnipeg that I felt must be shared.

For anyone who doesn`t know, the Junos are basically the Grammy`s of Canadian Music. As such, you`re only going to hear Canadian artists at this music show but we have some excellent artists. This performance combines two of them as it is the stunning k.d. lang singing Leonard Cohen`s "Hallelujah". I am sharing it here because I think it must be one of the finest performances of any song that I have ever heard (and I work in that business so I have heard a lot of performances compared to many people).

Most people are going to be familiar with the song, but anyone who doesn`t know k.d. lang`s singing...really should. I would love to say more, but having just listened to the song I am a bit choked up still.

Peace and comfort to all.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Its Been Some Time

I keep thinking of things to write but then I get home and go into intake mode again. Happens during harvest time I guess. The days start to shorten and the leaves start to change. I know old man winter and a time of low productivity is not that far away, even while I'm still working in shorts, tank top and sandals and just wanting to enjoy the mild weather. I know, I know, sandals are hardly the appropriate attire for driving tractor and other farm work but why get socks that dirty and full of foxtail? Plus, walking around in granaries or grain truck beds full of grain is much easier barefoot, I think. And barefoot is more quickly achieved when wearing sandals than socks and shoes, and far more comfortable when it is hot and hasn't rained in over a month. Anyway, I digress...

Suffice it to say, as we all know, 'tis the busy season for we farming types, or we "making some effort to live as a farming type after a lot of years away from it" types. I'm still not working from sun up to sun down as real farming types do, but I'm making an effort and that means I don't get home til after 10 pm most days. All this whining is basically preamble to my apology for being so quiet for awhile. I have actually taken quite a few pictures that I have been meaning to share here, along with accumulating the aforementioned writing thoughts. Perhaps I will get to them in a series of closing out the "summer" season posts.

Having said that, I saw something at around 8:30 last night that I sooo wished I could snap a picture of but my camera was too far away. I have come to love to take pictures and as many others likely know, it is agonizing to look at a scene just begging to be photographed...and to not have a camera accessible. Anyway, I thought I'd share the image anyway, or try to.

The sun was moving towards setting in a cloudless but dusty/hazy sky over a single line of trees. The beginning-to-darken blue of the sky was a cobalt color, at least through my sunglasses (the actual sunset turned out to be stunning too, a short time later). There had been two hot air balloons in the sky off a few miles a short time earlier but one of them had since landed. The second was a small shape, only just recognizable as a hot air balloon, which seemed from my perspective to be heading directly at the waning sun. I could not help but grin as I thought it looked like some wingless Icarus actually trying to see how close it could get, perhaps attempting to ride it over the horizon.

I was really tempted to make the 10 minute drive to the truck and back but I knew I wouldn't get back in time and the field really needed to get done.

Here is one where I did luck out, I think:

I think you can click on the picture to view the larger version. Without wanting to toot my own horn, so to speak, I feel this might be the best picture I have taken so far. Nature just kind of lined up perfectly right as I happened to be watching with my camera.

Talk to you again soon.

Peace and comfort to all.