Friday, April 20, 2012

Don't Feed The Worms!

After days and days of eager anticipation, the little cardboard box had finally arrived. Tucking it happily under one arm, I practically skipped back from my mailbox and plopped it on the counter. The first order of events was to tell my husband all about it over Skype. This I did, with many exclamation marks and smiles.

Ten minutes later I was sheepishly explaining to him that I was afraid to open my box. It had never even crossed my mind that I might be squeamish about this, but there I was, warily circling the package and completely unable to bring myself to touch it. I suppose it's somewhat understandable. It did, in fact, contain 1,000...wiggling...worms.

I've had an urge to try my hand at vermicomposting for a few years now. It started out as a concept when I lived on 2.5 acres with my family, and is a reality now that I have an adorable little apartment balcony in the city.

Vermicomposting is pretty simple and can be modified to work anywhere. Your kitchen, your balcony, a corner of the garden. It's basically composting with worms. Because the Red Wiggler can consume it's own weight each day, it's much faster than regular composting. The castings left behind create a highly productive fertilizer, which has been referred to as the "richest compost ever known." Compared to average topsoil, worm castings have five times more nitrogen, 7 times more phosphorus, and 11 times more potassium. The pH is also a perfect balance of 7.

I did finally open the box. After my husband informed me that they were merely tiny princes a long way from home with a mind to get some fresh air, I felt much calmer about the whole affair and dumped them into their new home. "Home" consisted of a small Rubbermaid tub with ventilation, bedding, and food scraps I'd buried in there the previous week.

Though I researched like crazy before I even ordered my little colony of worms, I've discovered that the application of my hastily gotten wisdom is a teeny bit more complicated in real life.

For one thing, I could hardly contain my curiosity about everything that was happening in there, so I ended up mixing the system more than I should have. At least, it looks messier than I would like. I may also have over fed them a bit, because my bin has a slight odor and it's a bit too damp in there. Theoretically your bin will be odorless if maintained properly.

As long as I let them be for awhile, without disturbing or feeding them, hopefully everything will be fine. To remind myself not to peek when I have the urge, I've made a sign to hang over the worm bin.

James 1:4

Eventually if I get the system going pretty well, I might try to turn this into a mini business. The finished product is sometimes referred to as "Black Gold" and can be sold at farmer's markets and garden nurseries around the area. This first run is just my little experiment. They're more like pets than resources at this point. It might just turn out to be a crazy idea, but I'm going to have alot of fun in the meantime.

Manual of On-Farm Vermicomposting and Vermiculture By Glenn Munroe

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Birth Plan...Romanticized

The birth of our baby girl is nearing. 

Lord willing, Erin Elizabeth Feehan will be born in our cozy little apartment with only the midwives, my husband, and my sister present. As instructed in childbirth ed  class, this was meant to be a very practical, bare bones birth plan incorporating the pain management techniques learned during the class. What happened was...something else. What follows is a highly romanticized vision of what our home birth may look like. 

Erin's Birth

I imagine...

I begin to feel contractions very early Wednesday morning. It's barely light outside, and my hsband is holding me tight in his strong arms. I wait, and let him sleep. Deep breaths...relax.

I imagine...

7am alarm sounds. This time, we don't roll over and go back to sleep. Quick! Find the timer. Don't get too excited! Relax. Save your energy.

I imagine...

Our foreheads touching. Whispered prayers, sweet Savior listening. Healthy baby, happy baby. It's not time, distract, deny. Don't go to work! Stay with me.

I imagine...

We've covered the clocks. If this takes 40 days and 40 nights...I don't want to know. I want to draw. Paint. I want to splash color on a creamy white page. Laugh, rejoice! Baby is coming.

I imagine...

I'm pacing. Someone is holding my hand. Find a surface, lean...and breath. Visualize Erin's journey. Contractions are massaging my baby. Someone is massaging me. Relax your face, Jessica.

I imagine...

I'm in water. Let's flood the gates, overwhelm the senses. Pouring, you want to push? Out of the bath, kneeling beside our bed. My toes krinkle plastic. Gatorade through a straw.

I imagine...

My husband supporting me from behind. Tells me I can do this, tells me how proud he is. Midwife is checking me...who remembered to call her? Loosen your jaw, breath with me. rock and hard place.

I'm imagining...

One last push! Something little is crying, I'm opening my eyes. I'm finished? They give baby. I'm overwhelmed all over again. Skin, I'm touching her skin! My husband says she is beautiful. She has ten fingers and ten toes. And she is well, and I am well...

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Year of Change

It's quite appropriate that this is the year I've finally decided to keep a blog. Life is kind of exploding right now. In a good way. Whatever inhibitions I've held about putting myself out there are quickly being consumed by sheer excitement. And no wonder.

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of change. It feels like all my "firsts" came creeping up behind me and pounced all at once. My first car sort of found me. I landed and quit my first official job, moved out of my parents home and rented my very own apartment. I met the man of my dreams at afore mentioned workplace, said "Yes!", and flew across the ocean to visit Maui as a happy young bride. In a few short weeks my wonderful husband and I will be holding a sweet baby girl in our arms. There have been bills, and taxes and a whole lot of ups and downs. My life now bears little resemblance to the one I was living last January.

Change is good. The door to all the little interests and hobbies and hopes I've tentatively touched, has suddenly sprung wide open. I am surrounded by opportunity. There is so much I want to accomplish, so many ideals I hope to see fulfilled. It's cliche, but I feel like I've found my wings.

The timing, as I said, is quite right. I have a suspicion that actually putting down my thoughts and projects and ideas will help me to focus, and sift. Like making tiny brush strokes, then stepping back to see what you've made.