Kids, No Chaser

Down With Oxygen

Saturday, July 05, 2008 posted by Henri


Let me just put this out there. I hate the environment. Ok ok environmentalism. I prefer the correct term of conservationism or preservationism because I still hold onto my belief that oxygen was the greatest poison that this world has ever known, and if those poor little anaerobic species had any clout or opposable thumbs, they might have been able to stave off the apocalyptic disaster that photosynthesis brought about, leaving me without the privilege of typing this in my boxer shorts holding a Pall Mall in one hand and some CFL in a spray can in the other.

I believe that cities like Seoul or Manhattan or San Francisco or Los Angeles or London with their monsters and structure and noise and smell and sunlight blocking temples of steel and blinking massive crushing weight are the most beautiful objects in this entire world. They're jewels, bright shiny deadly glimmering stinky jewels. And I love them. I love the man made. I love trees and crap too, don't get me wrong, but when you take a man who in Paris loved nothing more that traveling its subways over and over and over again, c'mon what do you expect.

Graffiti are the city's wildflowers. They spring up spontaneously and in "the wrong place" they'd be called weeds, but in reality they're absolutely magnificent. Beautiful. Amazing.

Ok so I'm not into recycling. I'm not into saving water. I don't bike to work. I don't turn lights off. I don't believe in "letting yellow mellow". I don't do any of that crap.

Until recently.

I live very close, like a hemp hacky-sack throw, to Berkeley. And I live in a magical place called Northern California, which after Los Angeles is my 5th favorite place to live (Los Angeles being 1 through 4). And although I have not changed my political views (Barr '08) I have found oddly enough, some conservationism seeping in. I can't really explain it other than the fact that my buddy Su, who've up to this point I have made the point of preservationismally(TM) canceling out (I put one aluminum can into the waste stream for every can he recycles...and I use twice the amount of cans that he does so I am double-canceling him out), might one day shoot me in the face with an environmentally friendly yet still deadly slingshot if I kept going down the path I was on.

I don't believe in saving this world for my kids. I will let this planet become what this planet will, without putting any pressure on it to become a doctor or lawyer or "saved" or "human friendly". Dear Earth, you can become a total delinquent...I love you unconditionally.

But oddly enough, despite my laissez faire attitude, I am now doing all the stuff that I didn't care for before. I recycle, I let yellow mellow, I'm doing all that crap. And it's not for the Earth or my kids or the betterment of society or to fight global whateverism. I do all this because I am really really cheap.

Yeah, I am cheap and I don't like to waste things. It pains me to no end, and finally, it has caught up to counter my anti-preservationism. I just can't waste stuff's hard to make a can. Might as well try and reuse it somehow.

It's kinda like ants. I don't kill ants. Or spiders. Well I try not to kill damn near anything. It's not because I'm Buddhist, it's not because I believe that this little ant has spiritual value. Its because this little ant is really really really hard to make. Seriously. Can YOU make an ant? Jeeze if I went through all the trouble of making a freaking ant...a tiny complex little biological machine with social structure and wacky strength, do you think I'd be pissed if you nonchalantly smooshed it simply because it committed the crime of "Being in your presence". I mean, doooooooood. Leave that little ant alone.

"Why did you kill that ant?"

"Because it was among many, inside of my house, and within my field of vision."

Damn that's harsh. Just clean your house and stop eating like cookie monster.

Ok ok I'm not trying to tell anyone how to free and take the path you will. I'm ok, you're ok. What the hell was I talking about?

Ahh yes, the point of my story is this....I save all kindsa crap now and am totally getting into recycling stuff because I'm tired of wasting crap. I want to reuse....not because I like the environment. I think we should let the World go where the World in it's little hand basket. Those little anaerobic dudes took the bullet for us, we can only return the favor for anything this planet wants to replace us with....c'est la vie.

OK. Ok. I'm really here to talk about my worms. Yes worms.

Ok me and my wife drink enough coffee to choke a racehorse and make it say "hmmm I'm peeing more than usual". I mean ridiculous amounts of coffee. Juan Valdez has a picture of me taped up on his bathroom mirror and every morning he says "One day bitch".

Sorry Mr. Valdez, you will NEVER get to retire, I don't care how old your donkey is.

So we produce ridiculous amounts of coffee grounds which go directly into the waste stream and one morning I woke up with an epiphany.

"Crap, I can use those coffee grounds"

Yup, I'm cheap. I'm gonna turn those coffee grounds into worm castings and feed it to my lawn and make it grow big and strong and green. I know I know...lawns waste water. Whatever.

I'm building a worm farm. My kids will love it and I will convert a 1 pound of garbage per week into worm food.

So here's the money shot (Continued...)


How to build a worm farm that eats garbage, smells not too bad, and can be used as a behavioral stick (eat your dinner nicely then we can look at the worms son)

You need a bin. 1 cubic feet per 1lb of weekly garbage. And you need 2000 redworms (2 lbs) for every lb of Daily garbage. Hmmm units do not match. OK here we go....

1 cubic foot = 280 redworms eating 0.14 lbs of garbage per day or 1 lb of garbage per week. Expand as needed.

The bin I got at Target....little file bin with a flippy lid. Cool. Drill some drainage holes in the bottom, maybe some tiny little breathing holes in the top. Set it in a pan to catch liquid gold (worm version).

Now bedding....shred an ass-load of paper and soak it in water for about an hour. Wring it out to the consistency of a damp rag. Fluff it up and put it in the bin. I use junk mail and old newspapers.

You're gonna need a bunch of redworms. Stick with redworms because that's what the internet says. No nightcrawlers. The redworms are well suited for composting due to their appetite for organic matter and temperature tolerances. I got mine at a bait shop....costs about twice the amount that you would pay on the internet. But I got to save 250 worms from death row.

Dump the worms in.

Feeding: Pick a corner of the bin and bury your organic waste. Think of the worms as vegans and feed them accordingly, not a lot of meat or dairy or eggs. Make sure they have some gritty stuff for their little worm gizzards such as coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, etc.

They will slowly turn everything into worm casting rich composted lawn gold. When the bedding has been converted you'll need to transfer the finished product out. Smoosh everything over to one side and put fresh bedding in the other side. Add food to the fresh side and wait a few days. The worms should eventually migrate over to the new side and you can remove the compost from the other. Pick out any worms and worm egg things from the compost. Use it in your garden or add it to some water and make worm tea fertilizer. Worms will double in about a months in ideal conditions.


Now a word of warning....I really have no idea what I'm talking about. This system has been cobbled together from various internet postings and I have just started, so I have no idea how any of this will turn out. There is however a book that every worm site seems to mention, so I am going to simply assume that it is good.

Worms Eat My Garbage

It probably has the real way you're supposed to do this....but hell I can usually just figure stuff out so my way is probably still the best.

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Blogger Whit said...

That's pretty cool. We have A LOT of trash, will snakes work?

9:49 PM

Blogger Henri said...

You need to get those Dune worms. I'm not sure what kinda bait shop will carry those though.

11:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about a worm bin, but then I would have to have worms. I don't think I'm as friendly with the worms as the C-man. I don't want to learn all their names.

4:33 PM


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