Turkey Tracks: May 21, 2013
Worms in My Basement
I have worms in my basement.
They eat my garbage.
Actually, they eat the mold my garbage makes at it…ages.
They don’t smell.
They have likes and dislikes. They are not crazy about citrus.
They live in this box in the utility room:
It’s warm in the utility room. They like warmth. See the vent holes on the sides of the box. Screens taped on the inside keep the worms from exploring more of their habitat.
Here’s what the inside of the box looks like:
You can see they’ve disposed of all their food except for some stray egg shells.
See the black dirt? The worms make all that dirt. Worm dirt sells for about $17 a bag. It’s black gold.
Here’s a close-up of the worms in their black gold:
The chickens LOVE to get a handful of worms thrown to them.
I cover the worms with a layer of shredded paper. I keep a shredder in the office, and sometimes I shred newspapers if the supply of shredded paper runs low. I got a decent shredder last year after trying to manage a small, cheap one for some years. When it broke, I upgraded slightly, and I think that’s been a good trade-off as I’m not putting a whole lot of paper into the waste stream.
The new shredder cross-cuts the paper, which means it dissolves quicker:
Here’s the new shredder and TWO bags of shredded paper–all made with no fuss, no jamming, no cuss words…
In the summer, I empty the worm bin onto a tarp. The worms retreat to the bottom of the pile, and I skim off the black gold and put it into the garden. The chickens LOVE to help with this task. I round up some worms to go back into the box and feed them and cover them up again. The rest of the worms go into the veggie garden. These worms live near the surface, so they don’t survive in a really cold winter. I think they might winter over in a milder winter however. At the very least, they aerate the soil and add in protein.
Vermiculture worms are very different from outdoor Maine worms. Those guys can be as long and as thick as a small snake. Vermiculture worms are reddish, smaller, and thinner.
I like having worms in the basement on a cold, snowy day when I don’t want to plow through drifts to get to the compost bins that live back of the garage.
Whatever the reason, I like having the worms in the basement.
PS: there are many web sites about vermiculture.
Interesting Information: May 21, 2013
I’m behind in my reading and reporting.
Blame it on the inherited ipad where I am playing ”Word” with kin, friends, and at least one former highschool classmate. It will keep my brain active, right? And it allows me to stay connected in a whole new way, right? I hope so, as I love language and words and am learning so many new ones.
I finished the winter 2012 WISE TRADITIONS, the journal of The Weston A. Price Foundation, the other day. There is always such good information in it, and it’s free on-line to any reader. (I get a hard copy because I write all over the pages taking side notes, making comments, circling important information, and so forth.) This issue is on the importance of fat-soluble vitamins–and I will write more on that tomorrow. Remember that I am reading so I can report back to you and if you want to read more, you can follow in my footsteps and go to the texts I surface for you.
A letter called “Geriatric Rickets” caught my eye, written by Philip Ridley of London, UK. His mother suffered from osteoporosis–a disease he believes (as I do) that is caused by malnutrition from the diet his (and our) health practitioners have been pushing for the past forty years or so–low-fat, high-sugar, high-carb intake.
First, Ridley’s mother stopped taking the osteoporosis drugs “given for free in the U.K. on the National Health Service.” Ridley notes that
these drugs operate by inhibiting osteoclasts and stimulating osteoblasts. The former break down old bone cells and the latter build new bone cells. The problem with meddling in this process is that strong bones require the renewal of old bone cells with new bone cells. The drugs therefore increase brittleness and they also do nothing about the malnutrition that causes weak bones in the first place.”
Ridley also notes that ”women at the final stages of geriatric rickets are given an infusion of these toxic drugs directly into the marrow. I have heard from families that this is the most painful treatment.”
Ridley’s mother CURED her osteoporosis by eating “bone broths, sourdough bread [fermented foods], butter, soaking of beans and grains, raw grass-fed Guernsey milk, two Royal Blend high-vitamin butter oil and fermented cod liver oil capsules per day, liver and bacon once a week, and an herbal remedy for strong bones.” Ridley’s mother “had always had grass-fed meat, wild fish, and fresh vegetables, but lacked the fat-soluble vitamins as a result of following the lowfat diet since it was introduced into Britain in 1983, when skimmed milk first came available.”
Ridley and his mother spent “the last decade since her diagnosis waiting for the horrid, inevitable broken hip or back bone.” But, Ridley reports that her last bone density test showed that she no longer needed to be followed for osteoporosis. Her diet had healed her bones.
Ridley also notes that the only nutritional supplement given for osteoporosis in the UK is calcium tablets. But, calcium given this way “simply calcifies the soft tissues in combination with the low fat diet they promote.” When people ask Ridley how to strengthen bones he says “eat bones.”
Ridley dams the way doctors and Big Pharma work together to put women on drugs–and what he says is true in America as well:
Geriatric rickets is becoming a silent, worsening epidemic amongst women because the bone density tests kick in for all at around sixty-five years of age, and, much like the cholesterol levels that lead to statin prescriptions, the triggers for bone density treatment are manipulated to catch the greatest number of customers for the drug companies.”
Doctors in the NHS also get performance-related pay based on the number of women tested and the number of women who test negative who hare placed on the drugs. Most women nowadays will, as a result of lowfat diets, suffer low bone density, so a vast number of women are now being put on these toxic drugs, yet they could all be saved anguish if we would only call osteoporosis what it is and treat it accordingly.
That would be “geriatric rickets.”
Ridley also notes that “routine bone density tests most likely also cause cancer because they use radiation.”
I could add that when I came to Maine, I had arthritis in my right hip and terrible back pain. I know my bones are much stronger now as a result of how I eat. My gums don’t bleed when I go to the dentist. And I’ve (knock on wood) had no new cavities–a sure sign of malnutrition. I refuse to get any more bone density tests. Or, mammograms, for that matter. And I’m not going to go through the airport x-ray machines any more either.
I also have well water, which means I am no longer getting any fluoride. For about two years after we came to Maine, I could hardly sleep at night from the pains in my bones. I was restless and twisted and turned. I just plain hurt. I think it was the fluoride coming out of my bones–and fluoride has been shown to make bones brittle, not strong. There are a number of essays on this blog addressing the fluoride–which is one of the biggest scams in our lives today. There isn’t any science behind adding it to the water and a LOT of science showing how dangerous it is. Anyway, I don’t have these pains any more, and I can feel such an improvement in the health of my bones.
Here’s the whole letter if you want to read it: http://www.westonaprice.org/letters/letters-winter-2012.
Turkey Tracks: May 20, 2013
Golden Brook Farm
Old friend and former neighbor Gina Caceci visited last weekend, and I think we talked nonstop for three days. It was so good to see her.
One of the things we did was to go up Howe Hill to Golden Brook Farm to get some spring greens–which are filling Susan McBride Richmond’s hoop houses now.
These spring greens are the best spring tonic I know.
Susan and her husband Chris added two more BIG hoop houses this year, and no one is more delighted than me. I have so loved watching Susan and Chris, little by little, work on their house, their barns, and their land. Truly, Golden Brook Farm is a real farm, selling beautiful produce, eggs, and seasonal turkeys.
Here are two of the four hoop houses. Eliot Coleman of Maine pioneered the ability to grow food year round in Maine’s winter in these hoop houses. That book is, I think, FOUR SEASONS GARDENING. You can’t sprout seed in the darkest winter months, but you can plant fall crops and harvest and eat them all winter long–with the help of interior coverings. The back hoop house is the newest one and was installed just a few weeks ago.
Here’s what the inside of a working hoop house can look like.
Look at this lush planting of pea shoots–a favorite spring green in Maine:
Or, this one–a kind of cabbage:
Here’s Susan herself.
One day last summer I walked into one of these hoop houses that was filled with ripe tomatoes, basil, and other herbs. I have remembered the rich heady smell for all this past long winter. Warmed ripe tomatoes, basil, and herbs… What a treat.
I planted Sun Gold cherry tomatoes myself and augmented with cherry tomatoes from Susan’s crop. I cut them in half and dry them and have them all winter for salads or just to eat. They’re so sweet they taste like chewy candy.
Think what you might be able to do in YOUR yard with even a much smaller hoop house. They come in all sizes, and some are on sliders so they can be moved to new dirt while the old dirt recovers. You can often find used ones.
Here’s a picture of the back side of the forsythia hedge that lines the road outside the farm. It’s spectacular, even from the back side. Forsythia in Maine lasts for weeks and glows against the sky or with the light on it. We know spring has truly come when the forsythia blooms.
Interesting Information: May 20, 2013
Is Vitamin Water Healthy?
My niece Nancy Howser Gardner is passionately interested in healthy food and healthy practices, and it’s been really fun to watch her growing in her knowledge and in her conviction about what is best for her family.
She posted a web site about a month ago that listed and compared unhealthy drinks. I tried to find it again and turned over lots of lists of “ten unhealthy drinks,” but not the one Nan posted.
I wasn’t surprised by the cream-based chocolate/coffee drinks.
I was surprised by three others, however.
The list said that 36 grams of sugar is a desirable daily limit of sugar.
VITAMIN WATER, touted as a healthy drink, has 32 grams of sugar. One drink.
SoBe Green Tea has 51 grams!!!
And Minute Maid Lemonade has 67.5 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of 16 sugar cubes.
I wonder if the sugar form is High Fructose Corn Syrup?
And what kind of vitamins are in the water? Likely they are synthetic, cheap versions of what you should be getting from your food.
Takeaway: If the food industry is telling you they’ve made something for you to eat or drink that is a healthy choice, send up the red warning flags and start reading the label.
Turkey Tracks: May 20, 2013
Finally, a rainy day!
My apologies for not posting sooner, but I have been OUTSIDE for days in this glorious spring, putting the garden back into order.
I’ve been in a planting frenzy, actually, and have really needed this rainy day. With the generous and kind help of David Hannan, many tasks have been completed: putting up the chicken fence and the vegetable garden fence, bringing out all the outdoor furniture from the top of the garage, putting away the boarding walk, rebuilding the rock wall on the drive where the snow plow folks couldn’t see where the rocks were, bringing out all of the container pots (I think there are at least 25) and filling them with dirt and planting them, mulching, mowing, weeding, pruning, edging, seeding, and planting a now-shady bed with shade plants and, in the sunny part, an herb garden that I hope will be more permanent.
Electrician David Dodge came and fixed the back outdoor plug and installed a new plug at the front door–which will make mowing with an electric mower and a LONG cord much easier. And once he showed me how to take out the prong-plug expensive halogen bulbs in an under-the-counter kitchen light, I got new bulbs and replaced them. I’m afraid I had to touch the bulbs though–the oils from your fingers can make them blow–but they were too tiny and slippery to grip and get into the two out of four right holes. Anyway, right now, it’s working.
I’ll take pictures soon. Meanwhile, here’s how the green scrappy quilt is coming along. I’ve been quilting in the late afternoon through the early evening, and that’s been so relaxing. This quilt is a green copy of Bonnie Hunter’s “Blue Ridge Beauty,” in her book LEADERS AND ENDERS. I’m calling my version “Camden Hills Beauty,” and right now, the trees on the Camden Hills are so fluffy and are so many greens that I know this quilt is well-named. The block is a traditional Jacob’s Ladder block, but I love Bonnie’s method of combining color with neutrals. I used light greens, but Bonnie uses true “neutrals” in her quilts and just mixes them all up. I LOVE this quilt!
Here’s a close-up of some of the blocks. You can see I’ve mixed in some color–bits of pink and orange. I like the way they are working in the quilt.
I started sewing together rows in the last few days–and realized I need 14 rows, not 12!!! So, it’s back to piecing more blocks. But that’s ok as I’m really enjoying this project. AND, my green stash is diminishing, diminishing–which is a lovely feeling of usefulness.
At night, in front of the tv, I’ve been appliqueing the “Green Turtles” quilt turtles for new granddaughter Cyanna. I am on the eighth turtle–of nine. So as soon as I get the Camden Hills quilt off the design wall, up will go the Green Turtles. You can see some of the blocks on the left side of the first picture.
The 14 rows will mean the quilt will have the DARK line predominant, which is better visually I think.
Turkey Tracks: May 13, 2013
Pea Soup Fog
Friend and old neighbor (Falls Church, VA,where I lived for nearly 40 years) Gina Caceci visited this weekend. It was so great to see her. And I let her get out of here without getting one single picture of her. But, I think we talked nonstop for three days. And did a little driving around to see the sights.
We had “soft” days while she was here–and they were badly needed. It has been soooo dry here, with fire warnings and “no burning” allowed for weeks now.
May and June can be quite foggy on the coast, and we’ve had a fog bank sitting on the coast for about a week now. I have always been fascinated with how the fog can move in and out, like a slowly flapping curtain in the wind. Sometimes as you are driving along the coast road, the fog will start to come across the road, moving in with long, white fingers. And sometimes it’s really dense, so that visibility is only a hundred feet or so. That would be called a “pea soup” fog, and that’s what we’ve had off and on for two weeks now.
I tried to get some pictures. Here’s Camden Harbor–can you see the island at the mouth of the harbor? Beyond is a solid white bank where you can’t see a thing. And there are islands and boats all out there in the white.
To contrast, here’s a picture I took of Rockland Harbor one day last week. There is nothing so blue as Maine water when the sun is shining. See the light house at the end of the breakwater? That breakwater is a mile long, and people walk it for fun. The white balls in the water are boat moorings, so you can see that boats are not yet back in the water in any force.
Here’s a video of Rockport harbor in the pea soup fog:
And, here’s another, which features lobster traps being staged for use. I love the lone dorry (I think that’s right) tied up to the float.
I love the “soft” days of spring. I don’t know how to describe our Maine woods in spring except to say that tree tops look “fluffy” and soft with the emerging green leaves–that spring green that is probably my favorite color. I didn’t get a good picture this year of a lone tree with the green leaves against the blue sky. Those leaves are like lace clusters. And, I suspect, the moment has passed for the year.
Here’s a picture of a budding tree draping over the Camden Library amphitheater entrance. The picture I took of the library itself came out wonky. I probably had a wrong setting by accident. I’ll get one soon. Our library is gorgeous and has gorgeous views of the harbor.
This picture of our Main Street, taken from the northern end of town, just below the library, is nice. See the church steeple and the trees of the village green at the south end of the street. Camden is a beautiful little New England town. But we are surrounded by little towns that are each beautiful and special.
So, happy spring everyone!
Turkey Tracks: May 13, 2013
“Blossom,” the wedding quilt
Daughter-in-law Tamara Kelly Enright and I wanted to make bride Ashley Malphrus (now White) a wedding quilt. The wedding was April 21, 2013, and it was gorgeous. The ceremony was held with one of the low country rivers as a backdrop–green lawns, big house, big white tent. It was lovely. Ashley and her mother, Allison Malphrus, had thought of so many thoughtful, sweet touches all during the wedding. I’m always in awe of that kind of thoughtfulness as I’m not good at it.
Last Thanksgiving, Tami and I picked out contemporary, colorful Kaffe Fasset fabrics–and Mainely Quilting shopowner Marge Hallowell cut us a big array of the Kaffe Fasset prints. With a “layer cake” design, one starts with a 10-inch square (in our case), cuts off four borders, which leaves a central square. Different borders are put onto different squares, and the result–after using these bright modern prints–is a very contemporary, colorful quilt.
I finished hand sewing the binding just before the wedding and mailed the quilt to Tami. It’s BIG, and I didn’t want to carry it on the plane. Tami and I delivered it the Friday before the wedding, as I didn’t want to have it at the wedding tent. I also wanted to explain that the quilt is an heirloom quilt, to be used and loved, but also to be cherished in the way of being a little careful with it.
Here’s “Blossom”–and it’s not a great picture of it. But you can see how big it is.
Here’s some blocks close up. I quilted it with a bright pink thread, and that is wonderful on both the back and the front. I used a “Sweet Pea” pantograph, but both sides are busy enough that you don’t really see the pattern. It will catch Ashley, some day, when the light falls just right on the quilt. I did the best job ever on the quilting.
Here’s the backing and binding–so you can see how they play with the blocks:
And here’s what “Blossom” might look like folded on the foot of a bed:
The name “Blossom” describes the quilt, yes, but it’s also meant to wish, for Ashley, that she blossoms with her marriage, that her marriage blossoms, that the blossoming creates fruit, that in turn, blossoms, and on and on and on…