Starting a new worm composter.

Do you like to compost and help you garden? Even if you live in a small space you can compost many of your food scraps.

I had to restart my worm colony that I had for over five years, I think it was much longer but I don’t recall how long.

Red wigglers and a worm cocoon (The yellow ball is the cocoon)

Start up costs can vary when you look into worm housing. I have a worm condo. I think it cost about $140 CAD then about $50 for a pound of red wigglers. This time for a red wiggler starter pack it cost $115.35 with shipping and handling.

When we opened the new box with the worm kit it came with 1/2 a pound of worms in damp coconut coir, a small dry brick of coconut coir, shredded paper, a small bag of the finished product called worm castings and some fine powder of rock dust and calcium this helps them be healthy and break down food.

Powder for the worm food and worm castings.

You need a big clean container (rubber bin or bucket) to soak the coconut coir in water, just enough to barely cover it. That will soak up to 30 minutes or until it is damp and broken apart. You don’t want it soggy.

The stacking worm condo came with 5 trays a stand and lid

Then put it into your container. One side will be damp shredded paper the other the coconut coir. Move some of the coir apart make a divot big enough to put all the worms in. Pro tip, freeze cut up food scraps like carrot tops and peels, apple peels, melon rinds, strawberry tops, cut up banana peels, coffee grounds, tea leaves, left over greens (without oils or animal products like meat, bones, skins).

This is the food I have in the freezer, it helps to break it down and makes it easy for them to eat. (They have strong teeth so frozen is no problem) just teasing about them having teeth 😉

They need food every few days, so keep freezing their food. Or feel free to give it to them fresh.

Be patient this process takes months to get enough worms reproducing to use the worm castings. It will be worth the wait with the nutrients that they leave behind. a well kept colony will last years or decades.

You will likely be able to find a company in your area that sells the worms. Many communities have classes that include a set up. Talk to your local garden club or compost centers.

Tea and electronics don’t mix well!

Grab your favorite hot drink for this read, put it far from the electronics. 

Great way to start an Easter long weekend. First I got the virus that was running in the house ( when I get sick, I get extra sensitive and needy.) I was gaming trying to not feel as rundown. I had just been given tea. I put it on my keyboard tray that sits on my lap. I have done this for years without incident. I had my phone in the tray too. Well then I got a call, it scared me so much I jumped causing my tea to overturn over my keyboard, phone and lap. A bit got on my desktop computer that is not on a desk.

I’m ready to cry, I’m filled with frustration and not tea. I think oh the keyboard should be taken apart. Hours later I’m still using it to game against my better judgment. My sick brain is like I just want to play games. Then it starts acting up. So now it is like a melt down, a no tea melt down..

Every keyboard will have some differences. 

Supplies needed

  • Precision screwdrivers
  • Cotton swabs
  • Lighting
  • Kleenex for drying the keyboard (and to be ready for the tears that might come with this mishap.)
  • A small container for the screws
  • A clean work space well lit (mines head light)
  • Someone tech savvy with fine motor skills 

There are about 20 screws in this thing. And they are tiny. Well it was taken apart, my patient human working on it left the screws in the holes to make it easier to get back on. Some of the screws were located between the rows of keys. Not intending to make things more of an ordeal I picked up the keyboard thing thinking I was helping, and knocked many of the screws out all over the floor. I’m sure the frustration just got higher.

We laid down tissue over all the tea moistened areas and pressed the keys on the circuit board to dry tea out of that and release it from the keys. We used a cotton swob for the tight spots 

Now it will be left apart to dry thoroughly.

If this happens to you please unplug your keyboard and receiver.  Take it apart right away. Leave it to dry. You might need a drop of water to clean off sticky or dirt spots. After that we have tested it once and bought a cheap new keyboard after some of the keys were still not working.

If Easter was a long weekend in your area I hope it was more relaxed. If not, I hope you are getting some spring weather.

Spring cleaning tradition

Happy Spring! Have you or your family done a busy spring cleaning, where your whole home gets a detailed scrub down. I recall even our drapes came down to be washed, area rugs were beaten and windows were cleaned until they squeaked. 

https://characterq.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/6a00e54f966a7f88330134831c690a970c-500pi.jpg

Grab your favorite hot beverage, maybe a larger size and get cozy.

Did you ever wonder where this cleaning frenzy came from?

It seems to date back 3000 years ago. The practice was called khaneh tekani. It was carried out by Persians. Spring was the first day of their new year. (خانه‌تکای) khaneh tekani, translates to shaking the house down. The belief of doing this would help prevent illness in the year to come. This was done on or near March 20 as part of the Nowruz festival celebrating the spring equinox. The homes were made of clay and wood, part of the cleaning was to repaint and even clean the grounds around the outside of the home. 

https://basirat.ir/en/news/6870/spring-cleaning-for-nowruz-in-northern-iran

Many parts of the world took part in Spring cleaning, detoxing, removing unwanted energy and things from the home. Buying new clothes and sharing in the energy of new and healing. 

My little tips for spring cleaning

Get a box, large basket or something that will hold your things. I will move everything off a counter to clean. Put it in the box.

Have a cleaning caddy or something that organizes your cleaning tools and supplies 

Set a timer based on your energy, if you can only do 10 mins, set your time 10 mins take a break. 

If you have low energy you might ask for help with tasks or if you have the means, hiring help can take stress down. 

Have a plan for where to start. 

I often make snacks (cut vegetables with hummus) , crackers and cheese, granola bars, cans of fish, and hard boiled eggs. Protein and nutrient dense food will help you to feel better. Stabilizing blood sugar and helping muscles repair. Before a deep clean or make a meal like soup or stew. After I’m done a big clean, the last thing I want to do is cook. 

If you are going to go in a cleaning flurry and you have chronic pain, my guidance is to take control of your pain as best you can before you start. 

Take your pain meds, have ice packs in the freezer and your heat packs handy. If you can plan for recovery days I recommend that.

I have long and light weight extension tools to help do my jobs. Be kind to your body.

May you spring be filled with new growth, I hope you treat yourself to a nice hot beverage after the cobwebs are cleared.

Basics of unclogging a sink drain plug

Have you thought about how to unclog your bathroom sink drain

In my years of being a housekeeper and living in places with the pull up knob style sink plugs I have learned how to take out the stopper. I also can do the more involved process of disconnecting the pipe. 

We will start with the easier one. 

Things you will need:

  • Some rags
  • Old cleaning toothbrush
  • A dollar store bottle brush
  • Bowl, pot or small bucket (that fits under the sink)
  • Cleaner or liquid soap

Now you are ready, clean out anything under the sink. Put the container under the pipes before doing anything. It will catch any water that is left in the pipe.

They advise you to turn off the water under the sink, I did not. (I thought I will not be putting the water on till I’m finished.)You might need a wrench, I loosened mine with my hand. 

Mine had a little plastic hook that needed to be pulled out after loosening. I thought at first it had a broken piece, but that is just how it was. I pulled the plug out and put it in soapy water and pulled off the big stuff with my gloves and then scrubbed the grunge off with an old toothbrush. Then cleaned the drain with an old dollar store bottle brush. It is a very messy job, gunk flings around. I had to wipe the wall and clean around the sink afterwards. The drains at the house I lived at  before moving into this house never got that bad. I do mine normally a couple times a year. Once everything is clean, put the stopper back down the hole notch forward. Then get under the sink. Mine you had to line the hook up with the notches. It took me a couple of tries to get it lined up with the rubber seal in place and back on. Words to know about your sink and information to help maintain it.

Once that was done I left the bucket in place tested that it was not going to leak by putting on the water. Tried the plug, it was not sliding so I redid the bottom lined up the holes in the up position and put it back together. This time everything worked, no leaks.

Video on the (this is the style I have) plastic quick connect pop up sink drain

Look! All clean! I sanitized my bathroom after and tossed the gunk and gloves away, I was making gross faces as I cleaned mine.

Learning new skills can take time. If you feel like you can do it, give it a try. See if your area has a local home repair classes.

Keep trying and learning.

Butter fingers

Have you heard the old saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree? This has nothing to do with apples or trees. The great likenesses family can have is wild sometimes.
Have you had times when you thought you were going to talk about one thing, then life gets slippery?


I thought this week after not being on my game of inspiring thoughts the last 2 weeks I need to write a good topic. I was like I will share food history or something medical.

This week will reflect how much family can be alike. It was the weekend, this means I don’t need to make breakfast. I love getting to enjoy others making food. Eggs are made and a family member wants toast with the eggs. They got out the stuff to make the toast. It comes time to butter the toast and they drop it face down on the floor. Bummer.. life happens. We move on and enjoy food.

Later on I see the butter in the foil on the counter, thinking to myself I should put that in a container. In the process of moving it to the container and trying to scrape the foil, I turned it the wrong way and the butter slipped out of the foil right on the floor. One family member is watching this all I call for the relative that had their buttered toast fall on the floor, we all shook our heads and started to laugh. What else does one do when life is slippery?

When life gives you butter fingers, I hope you can laugh about it and compost the rest.

I can even find science in falling toast.
The whole almost brand new butter. I cleaned up most before thinking “This could be a blog” My mishaps for your reading pleasure!

Building up old Garden beds

If you are a die hard gardener and believe in reusing you might be interested in this blog, take time to get your beverage.

Moving to my new space I was excited with a clean garden slate. There was some dread in building new beds. It can be expensive with wood prices up. I started to source things on the free and cheap online groups in my area.

To my surprise there were (3) 12 feet long by 4 feet wide garden beds and a foot deep. Being the crazy avid gardener I am, I was like we are driving 30 minutes to get them! (If you have been reading my blog sometime you will know I drag my family in to a load of adventure)

Our vehicle is not 12 feet in internal length that we would need to get the beds in. So equipped with ratchet straps and a white pillow case. (Just in the off chance my family needs a white flag to try to end the battle) We get to the front of the place and assess how we are cramming those beasts in the vehicle. Then said we would need a truck.. Bah! All the logistics are in place to make this as safe as we can, white pillow case on the wood sticking 3 to 4 feet out from the back of the van.. We only could fit 2. I messaged the person and told them I would be back. The 2 trips were made and the beds sat a day or so along the side of the house till we were ready to lay them down. 

Standing up by the house

I measured the spot that previously had a very large above ground pool. We laid them down on the blue tarp that laid under the pool. It gave us room for 3 foot walkways in between. That is very good spacing for weeding and harvesting.

Before the tarp was pulled up when we were testing placements.

Another family member and I relooked at the bed and decided to put them on cinder blocks that came with the house. We ripped the tarp off the ground and re-laid the beds. They need to be fine tuned this weekend. 

In between all this I had a friend tell me about a horse farmer selling bags of poop for 50 cents a black garbage bag. So we loaded up 4 bags. When my roller compost bins came I opened the bags and dumped the poo in. Soon we will order 6 or 7 yards of dirt to fill them. I have laid down cardboard as a base and the poo will go next then a foot and a half of dirt. You never want fresh manure near your tender roots. It will burn them.

This is the gardens as on Jan 25 2023 on the blocks with the cardboard lined. the wood around is old fence boards that would have been tossed out. We still need to screw them to the bottom.

Hope your gardens grow beautiful, and you can find relaxation. soon we will be out of winter and in to spring. I have my tomato plants started in the house.

Meals for a small fridge aka hotel living

Many times in my life we are away from home, jobs, conferences and pleasure. We are forced to use tiny hotel fridges to store our meals.

The cooler I bring full for 4 days away.

Being someone with food challenges, I need to bring food with me. This is quite the task. Lugging a huge cooler with me is something that gets me through. Writing this I can’t imagine going abroad.

Hard boiled eggs keep very well as long as you don’t break the shell. I do mine in the instapot. It holds 9 eggs. Not ostrich eggs (rolling my eyes). I cook them on high pressure for 7 mins then get them right into cold water after they are done.

I brought Teff flour wraps, mixed greens, whole tomatoes, 2 avocados and dressing spreadables in a small glass mason jar. Tip to keeping your avocados very fresh after they are ripe. Put them in an air tight container (uncut, don’t do this after cutting they will hold the bacteria) of water and fully covering them, they will last very nicely a week out of the fridge. As a bonus they will not get bruised in travel.

Hardy muffins will last nicely for three days or so, so I brought banana ones. They are better than banana bread, once the bread is cut it can become dry.

My banana muffins

I can make pizza. I make a ground flax seed crust and let it cool, cold is not as nice as hot but when you have no way to heat it, it is nutritious.

Quesadillas on rice, corn or teff wraps or whatever grains you enjoy. 

A tub of cottage cheese can be part of three meals. I added that with my canned fish.

Cheese and crackers are wonderful. There are some lovely non-dairy cheeses out there. 

You can bring a trail mix or nut free granola. Oatmeal in packets. The hotels have coffee pots, run one batch of water through then toss that water, use the next batch. Less likely to have coffee residual taste.

I get fruit smoothies from Costco. They are about 16 dollars for 12. They fit well in the small fridges and your cooler. 

Fruit cups and fresh fruits and veggies are a good thing for shacks.

I always bring my favorite teas.

From the internet

If you have things you enjoy bringing when you are going away I would like to read what you bring and how you preserve what you bring. Hope your week is bringing you many good moments!

After holiday inflammation

Many of us enjoy the holiday foods and beverages. Sometimes our bodies say this is not working for our best. 

More coffee, alcoholic and carbonated beverages, excess  fats and sugars, lower fiber and the things we overindulge in over the holidays with our homemade or store bought foods.

If you’re one of the many that has one of the many inflammatory conditions such as IBS, arthritis, pancreatic conditions, crones, gastrointestinal disorders, heart conditions, migraines or asthma this time of year can lead to flare ups. Some are very disciplined thus avoid tempting foods, I’m not fully that person.

When we have inflammation our brains can have a lower ability to think and regulate our moods. 

It also puts stress on our immune systems. Our bodies are trying to fight off the inflammation when our body is in a state of war with itself we can come down with viruses, fungal and bacterial infections.  

What is inflammation? It is part of our body’s defense system. It brings signals to the brain to protect us, some inflammation is helpful to say “slow down I’m hurt”. Other inflammation is a trigger from other influences. It can become chronic. Cytokines are little proteins that affect the growth of all blood cells.

Inflammation can interrupt our sleep due to painful flare ups because of the chemicals being formed in the body where the inflammation lurks. It sets our body in a state of a stress response. It is a cycle that goes around, and each wrap around the loop gets worse. It can take weeks to recover when our body is overloaded. 

Ways to comfort your body that wants to kill you. Drink more water if your health conditions allow. Go back to your fodmap eating  (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols) Anti Inflammatory diets can really help but this does not happen overnight.

You might need to be on your pain meds more or taking anti inflammatories such as Ibuprofen (advil). I try hard to stay away from this option, it often can make a gut hurt longer.

Baths with Epsom salts or dead sea salt, compresses on your joints, Castor oil compresses for your gut. Caraway seeds for bad gas.

Turmeric (polyphenol curcumin) It has been used in many parts of the world in cooking, drink and topical applications, treating everything from acne to inflamed organs. 

Chili peppers are also anti-inflammatory. Now as much as I love hot food and hot peppers… When my intestines are inflamed, one of the last things I want to do is fill it with spice.. I mean a nice fire after a rich meal can be relaxing till one is sitting rolled up in a pain ball with the feelings of flames rolling around in your guts. I have no use for the joint pain flaring in the first place but adding gut pain is counter productive!

Smaller healthy meals can make a difference. Non jarring exercises with gentle movements can help to heal the problems by lubricating the joints and elongating the muscles and ligaments.

If you are still suffering from the hauntings of holidays past, be kind to yourself, take breaks if you can. Put some non caffeinated beverages together and read a good book, watch a show, game or take a nap to let your poor body rest and heal. Hope your New Year has started with good ideals.

Moving in a snow storm

Have you ever had the adventure of moving in a show storm? I don’t recommend this but sometimes we have to do things that are above what we would normally do. This is a longer read, you might need a bigger beverage and drink slower. 

This 26′ truck got stuck getting out of the driveway, it is not on fire that is just the lighting.

So the adventure started with taking a ferry to spend time with family before the intended move. That was nice and relaxing, it started to snow while we were there. We had come this far and spent more money in total than I wish to think about.

So we left the family before 8 am and did some errands before picking up the truck. At about 9:40 AM we picked up the truck and got to the locker. It was -9 degrees celsius or 15.8 fahrenheit, so anyone that does not understand that it was darn cold..

The ice from clearing out the 12″ of snow.

We were loaded by 4PM and then we drove to the ferry for the 7pm reservations. It had been snowing the whole time. We got to the other side at about 8:40 pm. By this time the roads on the other side were white and the snow still was coming down at a steady rate. We had 3 vehicles going over. Our family van, a family member’s Suzuki and the 26 foot moving truck.

The roads were being sanded and salted as we were moving, this helped some but not enough. I was dreading the one hour and 25 min trip(in good weather). Something I forgot to mention was that the Susuki did not have the right type of tires for the mountain pass we were going through and had a damaged windshield, so extra danger. 

Towels down in the crate so we did not slip.

The trip went very slow 40 to 50 km per hour (24.85 mph 31.08mph). Visibility was not horrible until the snow melted on the windshield. There were streaks of ice on the windshield and ice forming on the wipers! I drove as carefully and white knuckled as any human could.

My family member driving the moving truck drove slow and steady. They ended up being pulled over by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspection police (just to confirm the truck had proper tires). My other family member and I were a bit behind. I was watching them from my rearview mirror sliding a bit now and then, I slid a bit too when changing lanes.

So we come up to where we see the truck and see our family member out of the truck with the emergency vehicle. We panicked thinking something was wrong. So we found a safer area we could pull over and hope to not get stuck. Called to see if they were ok.

Once we knew they were safe and on the road again we continued on the track home. The last stretch might have been the worst. I saw the suzuki behind sliding as they went up the hills and around the roundabout. We got home at almost 11pm. We unloaded the Van before it was covered in snow and had a hot tub and then went to sleep.

Next day we woke up to a foot of snow. Oh joy! For the first part of the offload there was no snow falling, but late in the afternoon it started snowing again. So we get it all done, sweep out the truck, wipe off the headlights then go to take the truck back. Well it got stuck. We discovered it was rear wheel drive! It got stuck just out of our driveway, we did not clear enough of the road! We thought we had. So 3 of us had shovels and my neighbor came over with her shovel and helped us. What a blessing for good neighbors! We dug it out and the Suzuki hooked a tow rope on and pulled the back end in one direction. We got the blasted thing out and went to return it. I realized in the craziness I had forgotten my glasses. I did not get far before I realized I could not see well (raving squirrel brain), stopped about 3 houses from home, put my hazard lights on and walked towards home. The family saw me and I asked for them to grab my glasses. On the way to where the truck needed to be returned I saw the truck in an odd spot and was not sure if they were waiting for a break in traffic or if they were stuck again. They told me after they were a bit stuck but made it out. 

Seen this going to get the truck it only got worse.

Truck was dropped off and my human walked across to where I was and this move was done.

I hope you have a safe and happy winter holiday and that you never have to move in the snow.

Pop Pop Fizz Fizz or Soda

Do you enjoy carbonated beverages? What do you call that sweet drink? Pop, soda, something else?

BY ADRIANNA MACPHERSON/AUG. 12, 2021 2:52 PM EST

Have you ever wondered where the term came from or what inspired the fizzy beverages?

The term soda came about in around 1767 with carbonated water.  It was carbonated with Co2 otherwise known as carbon dioxide. It was bottled in glass jars closed with a cork.

It was originally made by pharmacists. They had this job due to their experience in chemistry and medicine. Torbern Bergman was a Swedish chemist and mineralogy. He became a professor of Chemistry at the University of Uppsala. You might wonder what Chemistry has to do with carbonated drinks. Carbonic acid dissolved with water becomes CO2, you will see bubbles and hear a fizz sound. Phosphoric Acid, is a chemical that can add sharp flavor and burning sensation when consumed. Most of the acidic flavor comes from this. Caffeine was added due to its stimulant effects.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Torbern_Bergman-1849.jpg

The word Pop came from a British poet in 1812 because of the sound it made when the cork was pulled out.

Dr Pepper is the oldest American Major soft drink. It was sold in1885 in a corner drugstore in Texas.

1951 and 2018 Photos by Fred Marlar and GH, The Texas Collection, Baylor University

Soft drinks were defined between hard drinks like distilled spirits, liquors and non alcoholic drinks. To help curb the heavier drinking. It was thought to be healthier than hard drinks. 

Depending on where in the world you are from might be what you call your non alcoholic carbonated beverage. In much of the United States it is called Soda, however in some southern states it is called Coke (after the Coca-Cola brand). In some northern states and Canada it is called Pop.

The name Coke is the shortcut of the form of the company that made some of the carbonated drinks Coca-Cola. This company was well known for their dark Caramel-like soda that contained cocaine. In 1894 a bottle contained 3.5 grams of cocaine. The pharmacist used the drug in many medicines so they deemed a small amount in beverages to be safe 

It often amuses me where my blog topics come from. We where talking about soda in my home and before I knew it is was suggested as this weeks topic. If you have a topic that you would like me to cover feel free to share and I will do the research. Take care of yourself as we come up on the holidays. If you need tips for holiday stress. Holiday Self-care has some good tips.