Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday newsday

The great worm bin experiment is working, though not exactly as simply as the way I had hoped it would. I built a "flow-through" worm bin for my kitchen a while back; I've really enjoyed having the convenience of the organic dispose-all right there in the kitchen, and unless I tell folks what it is, they think it is a rather unusual looking waste basket. No smells, and not messy.

I recently tried to harvest the worm castings from the bottom of the device, and that part had gotten quite dried out and kind of solid (the top area where the worms live is still quite moist). Also, not all the torn newspaper was eaten by the worms, there were large dried out clumps mixed in with the castings. Not a problem, I can simply re-moisten the paper and add it to the top of the bin. A visitor this winter, who is a Master Composter, suggested that I lay a damp cloth atop the inside of the worm habitat, to help stabilise the moisture and also that would keep down any fruit fly population. (In the winter, at 55F interior temperature here at Acorn Cottage it is far too cold for fruit flies to be an issue, but last summer when it was 85F+ inside the house they were quite a nuisance.)

I think that I may need to harvest the castings a bit more often. I'm also thinking about maybe making a new worm-bag, one that is not quite so long, so that the end of the bag is not as close to the ground (easier access for harvesting. That might require making a shelf to hold the drip catcher, but since there has been little or no excess moisture, it needn't be very stoutly built.
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I have also fixed a few small things that have been minor annoyances here at Acorn Cottage. After finding a long piece of ball chain on the sidewalk, I got a two connectors and made long extensions for the speed and light switch for the ceiling fan in the bedroom. Now I can turn it on and off without clambering atop the bed. Much more functional.

I also finally Did Something about the side chair in the bedroom. A long ago as-is purchase from Ikea, it had torn black wool upholstery on the back and seat cushions. I had a length of woven upholstery tapestry stuff just draped across it, for the last two years. It took not quite two hours to cut and staple a piece to the seat cushion, and to sew up a "pillowcase" in the shape of the back cushion and hand stitch the bottom edge closed. Much better now, much less like a dorm room. Eventually I'd like to paint the wood frame of the chair, but that is not a 2 hour project...

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Now if I lost ten pounds that would be a good thing, (I've been working on that) but my beloved Smokey has been looking a bit "different" to me... Her Own Darling Self has indeed been losing weight. I took her to the vet's office to use their scale and she has lost ten pounds since her last vet visit. When you only weigh 95 pounds to begin with ten pounds is a lot {{ worry}} Collarbones are not a good look on an Akita.

1PM - update on Smokey
I just got back from the Vet's office and the tentative diagnosis is Cushings Disease. He said that she is not in pain, and that given her age and my finances, that I should feed her somewhat more and love her a lot, she is as old as a human of 108 years. He said that there is no way to know how the disease will progress. I was crying as I walked home. This is hard.
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