Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Fri 12 Feb 10 14:07
Congratulations Debunix! That makes three happy Can O' Worms users I've encountered! Is the volume of that couple of pounds of food about half a gallon? I tend to feed very large volumes of food to my worms, but I think the average tends to be about 20-25 pounds per five gallon bucket of scraps.
Eric Gower (gower) Fri 12 Feb 10 18:16
I'm actually pretty happy with mine, too. I create pretty large volumes of tasty kitchen scraps, and they seem to keep up. They look happy and healthy, and they crank out lots of poop! I just drain the bottom once every few weeks and dump it on my citrus plants, which LOVE it.
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Fri 12 Feb 10 18:31
I have a small bucket that holds about 3 quarts, and depending on how much I've been cooking, they get 1/2 to 1 full buckets per week, plus a few handsful of avocado leaves scooped up from the usually abundant supply from the tree that shades the bin.
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Fri 12 Feb 10 18:36
Should add that I got mine after first trying a homemade bin using rubbermaid tubs (the OSCR design)--got too stinky too fast; a 'Worm factory'--too hard to keep the fruit flies out; and finally the Can O' Worms, which was easy on the odor enough to keep indoors, although fruit flies were a bit of a problem. Now, outdoors, I don't worry about the fruit flies, and they're not too abundant anyway when the worms are happiest.
die die must try (debbie) Fri 12 Feb 10 19:03
I have the worm factory - 3 rectangular bins. It seems to work ok. they eat a bunch, can also go 2 months with no attention and survive.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Fri 12 Feb 10 19:49
I have a Rubbermaid tub with holes drilled in. I've lost a few batches of worms, first with too much food, second with not enough water. I have a Can o'Worms but haven't tried to set it up yet.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Fri 12 Feb 10 21:55
Let's see... My worm bins are indoors, of necessity, here in Minnesota--the odor problems and the fruit fly problems that plague badly designed bins are really not acceptable here, so my bins are designed to work well indoors! Very few people will put up with stench and fruit flies in their homes. Most of the stacking bins do not have a large enough capacity for my purposes, and grow fruitflies because of the large amounts of air that enter the systems. The other part of the equation is the instructions. With the right bin and the right instructions, a bin should run odor free and without fruit flies.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Sat 13 Feb 10 18:34
Since no one has written anything today, I will write about my dog, The Amaising Maisie, a one year old Australian Cattle Dog, who is as cute as a button, as sharp as a tack, and so friendly that we refer to her as "Miss Congeniality." She loves everyone who is on two legs, four legs, or seated in a wheelchair. Miss Maisie and I have been attending puppy training classes since she was three months old, and she is getting pretty good--unfortunately, I am a much slower learner than she is, so it wasn't until last Tuesday, when the instructor told me for the THIRD WEEK IN A ROW, that I needed to stop giving Maisie a treat every time she performed a trick correctly, because if I kept rewarding her every time, she wouldn't want to do the more complicated tricks. Well, I don't need to be told everything four times, so last Wednesday I began giving Maisie a treat only after she had performed at least four tricks correctly. The difference was astonishing! In less than a minute Maisie went from performing tricks in a rather desultory fashion, since she has been doing the same four dozen or so tricks, with gradual additions, for many months, to being wildly enthusiastic, doing her tricks willingly, speedily, and very, very happily. I believe this technique is called something like "intermittent rewards," and is the reason that gambling is so addictive for many people. If you get a reward every time you do something, that something becomes a job, and is not so exciting. However, if you perform that same task, and are only rewarded every once in a while, that task becomes an exciting game of chance! I'm pretty sure that this works the same for all mammals. I really wish I had learned how to train dogs before I had children! We plan to put videos of Maisie up on YouTube in the relatively near future.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Sat 13 Feb 10 18:56
She sounds like a great dog! You really should join The Well, Ellen, since we have a terrific and lively conference called Pets where we all share stories and pictures and videos of our furred and feathered friends. Some of these guys are just about as fabulous as your dog. You'd find yourself in welcoming company... Back to Green Barbarians, though. The first page of today's San Jose Mercury News had a front page headline ripped right out of your book: "Come clean, activists urge manufacturers of household products"! (http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-living/ci_14382845) "Some studies have linked cleaning product components to asthma, antibiotic resistance, hormone changes and other health problems. The industry's major trade group, the Soap and Detergent Association, assails the research as flawed, says the products are safe if used correctly and notes that cleaning can itself help stop the spread of disease." Sounds like you're riding the crest of the wave! This article mentions Seventh Generation as a responsible manufacturer of cleaning products. What's your take on them, and are there any others we can find in local stores that you'd recommend?
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sat 13 Feb 10 19:08
I'm running low on my dish soap, and always find it depressing trying to buy more. A lot of the 'green' brands seem to appear and disappear rapidly, and trying to figure out which ingredients are both likely to be effective and least environmentally damaging--not just in my use and disposal, but in the production of the product--makes my head hurt.
For Rosetti, wombats held a peculiar fascination (loris) Sat 13 Feb 10 21:15
ecover is supposed to be a good cradle-to-cradle brand --- except i think it is made in europe, so there is the carbon footprint issue...
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sat 13 Feb 10 21:19
Exactly the problem.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Sat 13 Feb 10 21:58
I actually use Ecover products because they have no scent of any kind, including natural scents. My skin tends to react to even "natural" citrus fragrance. There is no such thing as a perfect commercial product... Anything we buy in a store will always have embodied transit costs and packaging of some kind. Unless I grow something myself, or buy it from someone who has grown it herself using no fuels of any kind, and then walked or biked over to get that product, and carried it home in my own basket that I wove myself, there will always be embodied transit or fuel costs in any product that I buy. I do grow a lot of food myself, using my own worm compost for fertilizer, watering it with rainwater dipped out of my own rainbarrels, and without using any machinery at all, so quite a lot of our food actually does have very low embodied fuel costs, until I process it. Our freezer uses electricity, our stove uses propane. We all need to just do the best we can. CJ, I will check out the Pets conference.
For Rosetti, wombats held a peculiar fascination (loris) Sun 14 Feb 10 09:42
i default to the unscented stuff from british columbia: bio clear? bioclean? it seems to work well and as far as carbon footprint, i dont think bc to calif is too terrible.
Lisa Harris (lrph) Sun 14 Feb 10 14:37
FYI, Ellen, your membership does not expire when your two week stint here is up. We hope you stick around. I use Borax for my dishwashing needs. I don't know how it does in the dishwasher, but I love it when I wash dishes by hand. I'll wait around for all of you to tell me if Borax is sanitizing *enough*.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Sun 14 Feb 10 18:48
Loris, The stuff from B.C. sounds great! I haven't seen it here. Lisa, I will stick around for a while, certainly! Borax is great stuff! Actually, anything that gets the grease off, and removes all the food residues from the dishes and cookware is plenty good enough, as long as the dishes are allowed to dry completely before they are put away. Washing dishes in just hot water would be enough as long as all the residues were removed and the dishes were allowed to dry completely before being put away.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Mon 15 Feb 10 16:21
Since there aren't any new posts right now, I will put in my political two cents' worth. Governor Tim Pawlenty, R Minnesota, has just balanced the state budget singlehandedly by taking the sickest, weakest, and most helpless Minnesotans off of general assistance and cutting off their access to health care. He is also cutting state aid to cities. He has pledged that there will be no tax increases, and he is, in fact cutting corporate taxes and taxes on small businesses. The net result is that cities are bleeding to death, property taxes will be increased enormously, and we will certainly see lots of our most hapless citizens freezing to death on the streets. Don't let Tim Pawlenty's Casper Milquetoast looks and demeanor fool you. He is evil incarnate. If he does make a run for the presidency, I plan to write letters to the editor to a newspaper in every state in the Union.
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Mon 15 Feb 10 18:02
In another topic on the WELL, there was a recent discussion about disposable diabers vs. cloth diapers, with the upshot of the discussion and various cites being that it is basically a tie, which is a greener way to go. I often think about this kind of thing. When I lived in the bay area, I had many more options for locally grown produce, year round. Here in Asheville, NC, the farmers' market doesnt even commence till April and then the prices are not always the best value for my tight budget. I would love to buy the locally grown and slaughtered chickens, but at about $4.50/per pound, it is way too expensive for me right now. Sure tastes better though. I have to be content with buying my eggs from a friend who keeps chickens. More expensive than cheap eggs, but a little cheaper than the local free range eggs at the store.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Mon 15 Feb 10 19:05
Ellen, do you have a link to a news story about that? Julie, I think 'from a friend' is the best source in rural areas. I can get eggs for $1 or $1.50 a dozen from a friend, compared to $3 in the farmer's market, and I could get roosters for free from Craigslist and butcher them myself. I have a meat CSA where I get 17 pounds of meat for $50 a month, and a veggie CSA where I get a half share for $18 a week, but in practice I get lots of freebies from each because we're friends. In return, I pass on things I have too much of.
Julie Sherman (julieswn) Mon 15 Feb 10 19:36
Here in Asheville, eggs at the farmers Market cost $3.50/doz, $4.50 for the jumbo eggs. In the store the local eggs are $3.70/doz. I get thme from my friend for $3/doz and the eggs are fresher.
the secret agenda of rabbits (cjp) Mon 15 Feb 10 21:22
My condolences on your governor, Ellen. He sounds like a complete heel. There was a very funny editorial in the New York Times recently about who had the worst legislators, New York or Illinois (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/11/opinion/11collins.html), and people started writing in to talk about how horrible their own states were. What a contest! I did have some questions about your chapter, "Barbarically Healthy," which discusses the use of blowfly maggots to clean wounds, doctor fish to clean off dead and/or damaged skin, and intestinal hookworms to combat autoimmune disorders. To your knowledge, has any American clinic -- perhaps in a university -- undertaken trials of alternative cures like this, and if so, what has been the reaction of medical associations and the federal government? Is there any organization in any country that is championing studies in this area? Is there any way for American doctors to try techniques like these (or even your amazing suggestion to use kefir as an antifungal agent on the skin) without fear of being sued? Finally, the illustrations in this book are outstanding. Who did them? Are they woodcuts? They match the text beautifully and truly complement your words.
(fom) Mon 15 Feb 10 22:45
(I have not yet read the book but plan to not only read it but also buy a copy for a totally green barbarian friend. But -- how different are those hookworm, etc, treatments from the totally mainstream use of leeches? It seems like if using some little helper animal really works, it gets accepted pretty quickly.)
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Tue 16 Feb 10 00:37
I was quite saddened by the results of this trial, because I was rooting for the maggots: VenUS II: a randomised controlled trial of larval therapy in the management of leg ulcers. "CONCLUSIONS: Larval therapy significantly reduced the time to debridement of sloughy and/or necrotic, chronic venous and mixed venous/arterial leg ulcers, compared with hydrogel; however, larval therapy did not significantly increase the rate of healing of the ulcers. It was impossible to distinguish between larval therapy and hydrogel in terms of cost-effectiveness." <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19925723?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed .Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=5> I have higher hopes for the worm therapy for overactive immune system disorders, but haven't heard of any clinical trials yet.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Tue 16 Feb 10 08:38
WOW! I go offline for a little while, and WOW! Okay, let's try this in order: DIAPERS Disposible diapers vs. cloth diapers: I did a lot of research in this aread, for my previous book, "Organic Housekeeping," and in my 'umble opinion, there is no contest for the following reasons: Disposable diapers must be disposed of, unless you are lucky enough to live where they can be recycled.This means either they take up an enormouns amount of space in a landfill, or they are incinerated and the plastic covers can create dioxin. Dirty diapers can be vectors of disease, especially soon after an infant has been inoculated against dangerous diseases (side note: a man from Duluth died a couple of decades ago after contracting polio while changing his newly-inoculated infant's diaper). Cloth diapers are washed, and the effluent ends up in the sanitary sewage system, where it can be properly treated. The studies that compared energy use and raw materials use for cloth and paper diapers made some assumptions about cloth diapers that are just not true--they compared the amount of resources used for a year of diapers, but did not factor in that cloth diapers are reusable for more than a year. Our two children who were born three years apart used the same set of diapers--our son for three years, our daughter for just under two years, before they were, respectively, housebroken. My husband and I are still using those same, 25 year old cloth diapers for every imaginable cleaning job! I defy anyone to do that with disposable diapers! When those cloth diapers finally do give up the ghost, I put the residue in my worm bins. The cost estimates for how much energy and detergent and water it takes to launder diapers are wildly out of date--the newer more efficient front loading washing machines are many times more efficient than the machines that were used when the estimates were made. Researchers have always agreed that the most energy efficient, least wasteful diapers are those that are rented from a diaper service. The diaper service picks up dirty diapers and while delivering clean ones, and yet is still less expensive than disposable diapers, even the cheapest, most toxic kind. And last, but not least, children who are diapered in disposables take much longer to potty train than do children who are in cloth diapers. The difference is measured in years, not in months. So, that throws all the other equations into a cocked hat. PAWLENTY STORY: I couldn't copy the link to the Pawlenty story, but you can Google "Pawlenty's budget formula meets more resistance by Tom Scheck" And don't forget that this is the governor who was in office when the highway bridge collapsed into the Mississippi, and what did he do less than a week later? HE VETOED MONEY TO REPAIR BRIDGES AND ROADS! I'm going to go out and do my chicken and dog chores now. I'll return soon and resume.
Ellen Sandbeck (ellensandbeck) Tue 16 Feb 10 10:07
CJ, HELMINTH THERAPY: Here are a few current websites: The U.S. Government is sponsoring clinical trials of helminth therapy for multiple sclerosis patients at the University of Wisconsin at Madison: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00645749 Dr. Jean-Pierre Kinet (Harvard Medical School) is conducting a study on the use of porcine whipworm (Trichuris suis) to alleviate or cure food allergies, including peanut allergies. This European company sells therapeutic T. suis : http://www.ovamed.org The customer must include a doctors letter with the order. MAGGOT THERAPY: A retrospective study conducted by Ronald A. Sherman, MD, MSC, was published in the journal, "Diabetes Care." Dr. Sherman found that diabetic patients' ulcers healed much more quickly and successfully when they were treated with maggots than when they weren't. Unfortunately, maggot therapy is not universally available in the U.S. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/2/446.full DOCTOR FISH Quite a few American spas imported doctor fish, but they were cracked down on as "unhygenic" and ordered to stop. LEECHES In response to FOM's question: probably the main difference between helminth and maggot therapy and leech therapy is that leech therapy has been around for millenia. In contrast, until relatively recently, most people already had intestinal parasites, thus rendering helminth therapy completely unneccessary and unimaginable. When I want to try an "unorthodox" therapy, I contact our veterinarian, who is always completely up to date on the latest medical research. Our regular old human doctors never have a clue what I am talking about. With the vet's advice, I've tried out all kinds of natural remedies on our dogs, (and occasionally on myself)and very successfully, I may add! We've managed to completely control Maisie's spay-induced urinary incontinence by giving her pumpkin seed and saw palmetto capsules, which are sold in the herbal store as "Prostate Formula." The capsules also worked on my son's girlfriend's family dog. ILLUSTRATIONS: I'm glad you like the illustrations! They are papercuts. Each one was meant to fit in a very specific spot in the text.
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