Archive for the ‘Green Festival’ Tag

Compost Trials: From 5-Gal Bucket Compost to 5-Gal Bucket Worm Bin   Leave a comment

Even though I had declared the 5-gallon bucket compost experiment to be a failure back in May, I never emptied the bucket into the compost heap. I had no plans for the bucket; what can you do with a hole-y bucket? So it just sat there, and functioned as one of the edges for the compost heap for the last several months. No longer.

I’ve really been wanting to start vermicomposting, aka, composting with worms.  A while back I had managed to talk the man-who-doesn’t-like-anything-that-doesn’t-have-four-legs into letting me vermicompost as long as it was in the garage and not the dining room like I originally wanted. I’ve heard that if properly managed there’s no odor, and the closer to the kitchen the easier to use, but since I can’t convince him that the worms aren’t going to escape it stays in the garage. However, a worm bin, even one made of plastic storage bins, is pretty far down on the house wish list, and I didn’t have any suitable containers to make one for free. Or so I thought!

Then at the Green Festival in November I acquired some worms for free! I went to a vermicomposting workshop where the presenter was giving away a few containers of worm castings. She had collected the worm castings in a hurry so they still had a few baby worms in them. When I got back home I put the bag aside and wasn’t able to get to it for over a week so I thought I’d probably killed the worms. Lo and behold, though, when I peaked in there were a few full sized worms wiggling around in there. I punched a couple holes in the container and threw in an old piece of lettuce. Fast forward a month to around Christmas and I peaked in again to realize that the lettuce was gone and the worms still alive. But they couldn’t stay in a clear plastic snack-food container forever, they needed a home upgrade.

That’s when it occurred to me that the 5-gallon bucket with holes in it could work as a worm bin. I hope. The original holes are quite large so I’m hoping that I don’t lose my few worms through them. The hole-y bucket has holes on the bottom and sides, and I drilled a few more (much smaller) holes on the side to make sure there will be enough ventilation. I grabbed another then-unused 5-gallon bucket to use as the moisture collector. The outer bucket is wider than the hole-y bucket so I didn’t need to drill ventilation holes in it, but if it had been the same dimensions I would have drilled a row of ventilation holes in the sides below where the bottom of the inner bucket would be. Instead I propped the inner bucket on some scrap plastic bits and there’s a narrow annular space between the buckets. I put a really thick layer of dampened hand-shredded newspaper on the bottom since I didn’t want the worms to fall through the drainage holes, added a few rotting lettuce leaves, strawberries, tea leaves, and a well crushed egg shell (or as well as I could crush it), and dumped the castings container and worms on top. I don’t mind sacrificing that worm gold fertilizer if it means I’ll get a head start on creating my own. After topping it off with some more hand-shredded newspaper and another good misting, I created a lid with a peace of plywood we had laying around.

Now I just have to remember to check on them occasionally. At this point they’re not going to create much fertilizer since I’m starting with just a few worms, literally. It’s more of a test run to see if I can keep them alive before I actually order my first pound of worms. I’m really excited at this.

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Posted January 9, 2012 by mayakey in gardening, unshopping

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Why Do We Not Respect Our Limits?   Leave a comment

This past weekend was the San Francisco Green Festival again. As usual, a good time was had listening to speakers and making some super-discounted (and desperately needed) clothing purchases. I got free worm castings and feel somewhat more confident about the project to turn the plastic drums in the backyard into rain barrels. The day was significantly marred, however, on the drive home when I pushed myself beyond my limits for too long. We left a few minutes later than planned, and encountered an accident that created a long backup, so in order to get back to Sacramento in time for my sister-in-law to watch most of the Sacramento State football game I had to really make up time. As a result, for over two hours I made myself drive faster than I was comfortable driving on the busy freeway at night. Why? I don’t really know. Getting back home quickly was definitely not necessary, and she wasn’t pressuring me. Let me be clear, while my speed was higher than I was comfortable with at the time, it was slower than I sometimes drive during the daytime and I was moving with the flow of traffic, so it’s not an issue of unsafe driving. It’s a question of why not respect my limits and instead push my mind and body to a tension breaking point for no good reason. All it took was a silly trigger just before I reached home to cause me to completely loose it: screaming, crying, shaking, and not being able to take a real breathe. I was a complete wreck. And for what?

This extreme was a new experience for me, but it’s not the first time in my life that I have not respected my limits. You’d think I’d learn since the results are never good. But I’d also guess that I’m not alone in this affliction. Again I ask myself, why do I not respect my limits? It is the exact opposite of the conscious life that I strive for. Why not listen to my body, mind, heart, and intuition in situations like this? I haven’t yet answered my question.

Posted November 14, 2011 by mayakey in conscious living, musings

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Another Successful Green Festival Trip   1 comment

This weekend is(was) the 9th Annual Green Festival in San Francisco. I’ve been going since the first one in the fall of 2002, when I was in grad school. At the time, my long distance phone company was CREDO (then Working Assets), and I got a mailing from them saying that all Working Assets customers got free admission to this event in San Francisco. So I went. And I got hooked. At first I had no interest at all in the speakers, and I just went for the hundreds of vendors. It was the only place all year where I could physically shop (as opposed to shopping online) for fair trade goods, organic goods, recycled goods, etc. And it was a great way to expand my list of online vendors as well. But after maybe four years of that I had acquired a huge bookmark list of online vendors, and I was no longer enticed by the idea of driving two hours each way and wandering the aisles of the festival by myself just so that I could actually try clothes on before buying and get a jump start on my xmas shopping. So I skipped a year. The following year I looked at the speaker list and realized that I had been missing out! So now I have been going with my sister-in-law and concentrating on seeing interesting presentations punctuated by vendor browsing.

This time I listened to presentations on simple living, the fair trade apparel business, vermiculture, the intersection of religion and the “green” movement, a case study for healing an auto-immune disorder through food and environmental modification, and the need for optimism to fuel the “green” movement. The speakers were all very good. Of course I got more out of some of the presentations than others. I didn’t walk away with as long of a list of potential blog topics as I did at the spring Green Festival this past April; but considering that I haven’t made a dent in that list I think that is okay. I had an additional strategy this time of perusing the vendor list in advance and noting the locations of a handful of known vendors that I knew I wanted to visit. That way I wouldn’t miss out on anything that I already like, and therefore didn’t need to rush through the rest of the ~500 vendors to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I did find some great surprises like a new vendor that makes recycled binders and pencils that look really beautiful, another vendor that was selling a perfect lunch bag (I’ve been looking for years now, so actually finding one that I think I would like is a surprise), and a couple seed-saver organizations that had seed packets for sale (I just got lettuce since the future garden is still concrete). And of course I splurged on a new shirt at one of my favorite fair trade clothing companies.

Posted November 7, 2010 by mayakey in conscious living, fair trade, shopping

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