Monday, February 14, 2011

Vermicomposting In Your House or Apartment

Today's post is a Wesley Project.  He is my 6 year old son. He is home schooled and loves anything garden and bug related so this is his big project this year.

He was watching homesteading videos with hubby. They saw that someone was vermicomposting in their tiny apartment in the kitchen. Wesley started out with a $5 tote from the dollar store. He took it to Papaw's house and had Papaw drill tiny holes on all sides including the bottom.  He then took shredded newspaper and dampened it. Fluffed it up and put it on the bottom of the tote. He then put vegetable scrapes (No Onion as this is in the house) and a cup of Red wiggler worms from a bait shop. He then topped it with dried shredded news paper and leaves. He adds worms to this when he finds them in the yard.

 Here are a few worms and some of the compost.

There is a red wiggler worn on top of the potato peels.

He adds vegetable scrapes, tea bags and egg shells. No meat, grease, or plastics. If you do not put onions or garlic in there it has no smell in the house. He keeps it in our dining room (where the wood heater is). He does not let it get to hot or to cold. It he thinks he needs water added to it he will mist it with a spray bottle. He has only had to do that once.

The video they watched suggested that you start a pile on one side under the dry shredded newspaper and when they were about thru  make a pile on the other side. It takes about a month for the worms to move over. Wesley has a theory too. He says just let them go and when you want some dirt pick the worms out and put them back. This gives them more room and they seem to be doing really well and multiplying this way.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hubby's Pop Can Solar Furnace

This is a step by step guide to building your own solar furnace. There are several methods and videos on Youtube. They are all different but they have the same principles behind them. Here is Hubby's.

Here is what it is going to look like when you are thru with it. The size will be different as it changes with your needs.

 Hubby got it up to 225 on a day when the temperature was 32 out side. I could not hold my hand to the hole in the back for very long.
 Here are our drawn plans. The back is 3/4 inch ply wood. The sides are recycled 2x4's he got from work. The head space is roughly 10 inches on his. The boards that hold the cans in place all have holes drilled in them the slightly smaller than the cans so it holds them in place. The whole unit is insulated. All sides even under the cans have insulation. Since hubby used 2x4's he used the insulation that we had left over from our siding. He cut holes in the cans (see description below) and then stacked them together and caulked them. When they were dry he painted the stacks, and the inside of the box flat black. The duct work holes have stiff drier vent pipe on both sides. It is bent down on the inside and left sticking out just enough on the back to attach flexible duct work if needed. He placed a computer fan on the heat out put. This way the cold air comes thru the bottom duct whole and the hot air comes out the top hole. You can make these to sit inside any window that faces the sun. This one was made to be placed out side. The duct work can be ran thru existing duct work or you can remove your screen from your window and place a piece of ply wood with two holes in it for the duct work. The cold air duct work should be on the floor and the heat above the floor. The cover on this one is plexiglass. It is more expensive but it does not break as easily as glass. The top is screwed in with dry wall screws. Hubby has seen a video where they make three very large ones and place them on top of a house. They ran the duct work thru the ceiling and heated the house.
 The cans need to have the top removed. You need to leave the lip on them to make the fit right when you caulk them. Then drill three holes on the bottom. When placing them together try to alternate the holes as this makes the air circulate in a whirlwind effect and heats better.
Once you have them cut and drilled you need to stack them and caulk them together. (I didn't caulk these as I didn't have any caulk open.) Hubby used black caulk. He also sealed any holes in the can that you may get when cutting them with caulk.

You can make them to fit your windows. They sit nicely on the window sill and can be made big or small. His next one will fit into a short long window. Maybe about 5 cans high. Right now he runs the computer fan with a 9 volt battery until we get the solar up and going this summer. (Hopefully)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Banjo Picker, Solar Furnace, And Jose

 Today was use up all the sandwich stuff day. Hubby was at home due to the snow. This is a sandwich made after one I had a long time ago in a place called BJ's deli in Decatur Alabama. I didn't have Rye bread so I used white. It has Polish Kielbasa, Kraut, Swiss Cheese, Mustard and Bacon.
 Here is Hubby's prototype of a pop can solar furnace. It has a hole in the bottom to draw in the cold air. The cans have had the tops cut out of them and a few hole punched in the bottom. They were then caulked together. They were painted black and lined up into this box. There is a computer fan in the top to blow the hot air out. The box is insulated and painted black on the inside too. I will get pictures every step of the way for the next one.
 It got up to 225 degrees this afternoon. I could not hold my had up to the hole at the top very long. There are supposed to be vent pipes that go on the back so the air can be put into your house easier.
This is the newest rooster. I have named him Jose. He is taking over the George line. This will be the new rooster for the flock. We have had a George for 4 times now and since that line has temper issues we are replacing him. George is a Rhode Island Red. Jose is all mixed up. I think Jose will do better as the rooster. He seems to not have the temper of George. His only issue is Crowing at 4 in the morning. At least he is not on our front porch when he is doing it unlike George the 2nd did.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Smokie the Pom

Seafood Gumbo and Gluten Free Cereal

Today I got this Chex Honey Nut Cereal in the mail. They are Gluten free. More important is that they passed Wesley's test. After 4 bowls thru out the day he decided they were great. I decided they were good when he did not ask for more sugar on them and cleared out all 4 bowls. 

 The other big thing with this cereal is that I can pronounce and identify all the ingredients.

For dinner I made Seafood Gumbo.  I started out with shrimp and crawfish shells and a chicken backbone. I boiled them on low all day on the wood heater (yesterday). I double strained this. I made a rue with 1 cup real butter and 1 cup flour. This was what too so long and alot of Patience. I made it on the wood heater. I got it to the color of dark peanut butter. I added it to the broth. I then added one bag of frozen okra, three cans of organic Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, shrimp, crawfish, crab meat, jalapeno sausage, and an onion. I cooked on low on the wood heater all day. Stirring every hour or so. I then added a little Cajun seasoning and salt to taste.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year

Gung Hei Faat Choih. It is the start of Chinese New Year. Tonight we made vegan stir fry and nonvegan egg rolls. The stir fry has broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, onion and tofu in it. It is seasoned with ginger and salt and pepper. The egg rolls had hamburger, cabbage, and onion in them.

There is a story I have got to tell that goes with the saying Gung Hei Fatt Choih. The kids have been studying Chinese New Year in their homeschool group. Rebekka told Wesley Gung Hei Fatt Choih. Wesley replied with Kung Fu Fatt Butt. We are now wondering how long he has been waiting to say that to Bekka.