Creating a Worm Bin

Red WormsAnother way to transform waste into gardening gold is a worm bin, in which our favorite little hermaphrodites break down food waste into worm castings. A worm bin acts like a living garbage disposal, transforming kitchen and paper waste into nutrient-rich soil. You can keep one indoors during the cooler months (they do not stink unless something goes wrong0 or outside when above freezing.

In milder climates, you can build one outside from cinder blocks to provide some insulation during cooler temperatures. If you have space for it on an enclosed porch or a quiet corner of your kitchen, an indoor bin can be made out of a 5- or 10-gallon opaque plastic tub. Black or dark plastic or wood is ideal to reduce the amount of light that reaches the worms. To provide your worm colony with air, drill 1/8-inch holes about 1 inch apart all the way around the bin about a foot off the ground.

Red Worms Purchase red worms or brown-nose worms at a local feed, garden, or tackle store to introduce to your bin (regular garden worms will die because there is not enough soil). You will need about a pound of worms per pound of kitchen waste each week. Worms can double their population about every 90 days, so you shouldn’t need to ever buy more. If your bin gets too crowded, help your neighbor set up a bin for her garden.

Fill the bottom of the bin with shredded water soaked paper-newspaper or untreated cardboard works well. Place your worms on this bedding, and then feed them cut up kitchen scraps once a week (no bread, oils, or meat, just vegetables and fruit). Your bin may accumulate excess moisture from decaying plant matter; to absorb this moisture, pile more newspapers at the bottom of the bin. The worms will eat the newspaper as well; it may need to be replaced regularly.

Red Worms About twice a year, when the bedding material has been consumed, remove the castings from the bin. To do so, move the worms and all the bin’s contents to one side of the bin. Pull out uneaten food waste and put these chunks on the empty side. In a few weeks the worms will finish any matter left in the casings and move over to the other side. Carefully remove the abandoned castings, sifting through them to make sure you don’t remove any worms. Replenish the bin with wet bedding and thank the worms for their gift. You can use castings on your garden as you would compost. For more information on worm bins, see Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Appelhof.

This article is composed of sections from the book Sacred Land by Clea Danaan.

All pictures were found on Google.com

A Look into a World where Heterosexuals are Treated like Homosexuals

Hello everyone! I am sorry for not posting on Monday. I kept my blog silent in support of the movement against CISPA which is another internet regulation bill which is trying to limit our online freedoms.

All that aside, I want to address a very serious subject today. As a homosexual, I have never  really felt like I was part of society. It has caused a lot of inner and outer turmoil, but I feel like the worst of it is over. Unfortunately, there are many others who aren’t as lucky as I am. I am posting this video in hopes that it will reach out to people and help motive them to help those in need.

It is a video detailing the life of a heterosexual girl in a society where homosexuality is the accepted norm. It showcases her bullying, struggles with her self, and eventually suicide. It broke my heart as I watched it, because I too have experienced those feelings. I was never harassed nearly as much, but the self hatred and desire for death were still there.

Please take 20 minutes out of your day to see what our society does to hundreds of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, and even those questioning their sexuality or gender. Please be informed, and know that you can help.

Thank you.

An Interview with Lucahjin

Hello everyone! I’m very very excited for today’s interview! It isn’t often that I get to interview my favorite person on YouTube, but I will try to keep my composure.

LucahjinIf you have ever watched a Let’s Play on YouTube, you may have heard of the lovely Lucahjin. She has done Let’s Plays of Paper Mario, King’s Quest, and my personal favorite Pokemon White, among others. She is a very funny and genuine person, and getting a chance to interact with her has been a great experience.

It is because of great let’s players like her that I have started my own let’s play channel. More on that later, however.

The interview today is about a new project she has started on YouTube. It is called Relaxajin, and focuses on soothing voice-overs to atmospheric games, ASMR sounds, and other relaxing videos.

I have personally started watching the Relaxajin videos as well as those on Lucahjin; and they have helped me fall asleep when my body is tired, but my mind isn’t ready for sleep yet. I would recommend them to anyone.

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did.

What is Relaxajin, and what is its purpose?

Relaxajin is meant to be a special channel that pairs relaxing, soothing audio and visuals revolving mostly around gaming. Lots of low key whispers, and ASMR based sounds and patterns frequent the games I plan to play. I hope it will help people sleep, relax, unwind, and de-stress!

 Soothing Scenery 4What was your inspiration behind this new channel? It’s very unique.

I have somewhat of an anxiety issue at times, and have a lot of trouble sleeping. I used to listen to gentle things like Bob Ross and the like to help get to bed. Some time ago on YouTube I noticed there were people making videos of gentle talking, sometimes whispering, and doing relaxing things on camera. I instantly felt relaxed and was able to sleep!

I wanted to somehow combine this relaxing feeling with beautiful, calm indie games (a lot of which aren’t well known) and put my own spin on it.

What sort of feedback have you received from your fans about the new channel?

So far, it’s been very positive. I’ve received a lot of messages regarding people that are finally unwinding and sleeping better, which makes me really happy! A lot of people are also starting to research ASMR, and finding out what those tingly relaxing feelings were all these years. It’s cool!

As a holistic healer myself, I know how vital relaxation and sleep are. Stress and anxiety can lead to hundreds of problems, and are definitely one of the biggest obstacles in our society. It’s refreshing to see people trying to spread relaxation methods that work for them to others. We really need all the help we can get.

Soothing Scenery 3Personally I would like to thank you for helping me fall asleep last night. I watched your Proteus video and I didn’t make it all the way through before I drifted off. You have a lovely voice.

I am wondering however, is it hard to create content for Relaxajin?

Oh thank you! I’m so glad you liked the video.

Sometimes it’s hard. I always have ideas on what I think would be relaxing, but if I’m not in a quiet state, or relaxed enough myself, it can be very difficult.

I agree, it is very hard to help someone relax when you aren’t relaxed and centered yourself. Where did you happen upon ASMR? I had never heard of it until you mentioned it to me.

I never realized that I had anything until I came across a lady on YouTube whispering while she played with jewelry. Suddenly I had an instant relaxing tingle in my head, and tried to find out what it was. She had a lot of things linked to ASMR descriptions, and I then knew 😀

That sounds absolutely lovely, almost like sitting with your grandma as she was making something and telling you stories. I’d be completely relaxed.

Soothing Scenery 5On that note, what are some final words of advice you could share with us when it comes to relaxing and dealing with stress?

I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask, because I still suffer from stress just like everyone else. 🙂 But if you do find you are stressed, try and find a quiet few moments for yourself – JUST yourself.

Turn off everything: phones, social networks, and just be yourself and say something nice to yourself. That helps me!

Check out Relaxajin and Lucahjin on Youtube

Picture of Lucahjin belongs to Lucahjin
All others were found on Google.com

Food Blogger of the Month: April 2013

Hello everyone! This month’s food blogger of the month is someone I’ve been subscribed to on Tumblr for quite some time.

Tango MangoI fell in love with her lovely photographs of the Northwest, and her awesome recipes pretty quickly.

Sue from Tango Mango is as much a photographer as a food blogger, and it’s pretty clear to see. She takes wonderful shots of the food she creates, and always brings her camera along on her various adventures.

If you enjoy delicious recipes and lovely photographs I highly recommend her blog on Tumblr.

Enjoy!

When did your passion for food begin?
I’ve loved to cook as far back as I can remember. I grew up in a nurturing environment and my parents encouraged all of us to cook whenever we wanted. Pretty much everything we ate growing up was made from scratch. My mom loved to cook but I think her primary motivation for cooking with raw ingredients came from my family’s need to save money. As a result, homemade noodles, lasagna, fresh fish from the lake, caramel rolls, corn, beans and tomatoes from our garden, a toothsome gelatin cheesecake are all foods I remember eating as a kid.

Spicy Chicken ChiliOver the years we’ve entertained friends and family, cycled through different sets of cookware, taste-tested scores of recipes, and enjoyed growing food in our gardens. All of these things have influenced my ambitions in the kitchen.

Sometimes cooking is my therapy. I’ve been known to begin cooking a meal at 9:00pm even though I know it will probably be carefully packaged away and eaten the following evening. But the motions of chopping, sautéing, using a favorite spoon or kitchen gadget and enjoying the smells that come from my stove or oven bring me pleasure. I don’t usually even mind doing the dishes.

What inspires you to create recipes?
I tweak recipes pretty often but only occasionally create a recipe from the ground up. Soups, casseroles, salads and stews are forgiving and once you know the basics of food chemistry it’s easy to make something unique. Rarely do I change a recipe when I’m baking unless I’m absolutely sure it won’t compromise the integrity of the end result.

Inspiration for trying different recipes comes from everywhere. It can come from paging through a cooking magazine or seeing a picture in a circular from Williams Sonoma. Sometimes it comes from trying something in a restaurant, or talking to a friend. Finding new foods or foods that are fresh-picked from our garden inspires me, and planning a dinner for guests always gets the creative juices flowing.

When did you begin blogging about food?
August 4, 2011

What is one of your favorite ingredients you use?
Probably shrimp. I try to have at least one bag of raw shrimp in my freezer at all times. I have a multitude of salad recipes that use shrimp. I can stir fry them, or marinate them and then put them on the grill. They cook in no time. A handful of shrimp, some angel hair pasta, fresh herbs and lemon can make a Primavera. If you have shrimp, butter, garlic, white wine and mushrooms you can make magic. They’re high in protein, low in calories and almost everyone loves them.

Breaded Chicken CutletsWhat is one of your favorite go-to recipes on your blog?
I have lots of go-to recipes so I’ll pick two. Next to the bag of shrimp in the freezer sits a bag of skinless, boneless chicken breasts. They’re easy to defrost and I can make multitude of recipes from them. I love to marinate them and grill them, or use them in a salad. The recipe for breaded chicken cutlets is a favorite. Another great recipe is spicy chicken chili. I almost always have everything I need to make it without running to the grocery store.

What is one piece of equipment you couldn’t live without in your kitchen?
I love my kitchen tools but it would be almost impossible to live without my chef’s knife. It’s fairly large but it fits my hand perfectly and has a nice heft to it. I keep it razor sharp at all times and I use it every day. I also have a first-rate paring knife that sees a lot of use. I can cut almost anything with those two knives.

Do you enjoy taking pictures as much as cooking?
I have a BFA in advertising design and have always enjoyed involving some creative aspect into what I do. Combining photography with cooking comes naturally. Sometimes when I’m cooking a dish I’ll consider how I will photograph it. Things I think about are the type, shape and the color of bowl or plate I’ll use and if the shot will be taken at an angle or from above. If the food or any piece of it is translucent such as a potato chip, a lemon, or a lime, I’ll be sure to line up the shot so that the light shines through it. These are a few of the things I think about before I take pictures of food. However, once I get started, I usually see other opportunities and I’ll end up moving the dish into different lighting, shoot it from an odd angle or try a different lens.

Blueberry Lemon BreadA few encouraging words to other food lovers.
I read a story years ago about a young couple who had very little money and hardly any food. One evening they were surprised by a group of friends who showed up at their small apartment unannounced. As the evening wore on, everyone got hungry. Looking for something to feed them, the hostess made crepes out of the few ingredients required. She made a white sauce with a little bit of margarine, some powdered milk and flour. The few vegetables they had were steamed and stirred into the sauce. Candles were lit and everyone ate crepes!
I’ll never forget that story and think about it occasionally. If you know how to cook your world is a richer place. If you can, shop locally. Buy fresh. Experiment in the kitchen. Entertain friends with simple foods. The more you learn the greater your passion will become.

Visit Sue at Tango Mango to see more of her wonderful recipes

All images are from Tango Mango

Essential Oils in the Kitchen

A Beautiful KitchenThe kitchen produces many smells, from fresh baked bread to malodorous boiled cabbage. We all have a trash can, and perhaps this is where the wet coats and muddy boots are left to dry. Litter boxes and animal food bowls are often kept in here as well. There are innumerable sources of aroma in the kitchen; and yet many kitchens are poorly ventilated, so not enough air circulates to clear away the bad or unpleasant aroma molecules.

Essential oils are used to clean the air, rather than merely masking smells. Another huge advantage is that when used correctly they are harmless. It’s not a great idea to spray foods with the oils for taste reasons, but it is safe to do so. They are also great around children for the same reason.

In addition to water molecules from steam, tiny globules of fat are released from frying, roasting, and grilling. What we need are essential oils that are capable of wrapping themselves around the fat molecules, deodorizing them, and leaving the kitchen as fresh and appealing as the food we prepare.

A Beautiful Antique SinkThe following oils make an excellent air spray when used on their own or in combination:

Rosemary
Lemon
Eucalyptus
Lavender
Lime

When washing out the fridge, freezer, or oven add 1 drop of Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Bergamot, Mandarin, or Orange to the final rinse water. This will deodorize without permeating the surface with a heavy perfume.

For wiping down work surfaces, cupboards, sinks, tiles, walls, or stovetops, add a couple drops to your wash water or 1 drop directly to your rag of the following oils:

Eucalyptus
Pine
Lavender
Cypress
Lemon
Lemongrass
Lime
Thyme
Grapefruit
Palma Rosa
Bergamot

Many of these oils are uplifting and even antidepressants, which brings us to washing the floor! Use any of the above oils in the wash water at about 4 drops per pint.

A Beautiful KitchenTo help sanitize dish towels, rags, and sponges, simply soak them in a bowel or bucket full of boiling water to which you have added 1 drop of Eucalyptus, Thyme, Tea Tree, or Lavender. Leave them to soak a while, then after they have cooled enough to handle load them into the washing machine as normal.  The boiling water and oils will kill the bacteria washing machines can;t touch because they don’t get hot enough.

If you’ve opted to using dishwasher detergents without dyes and perfumes or even if you’re using traditional detergent, a couple drops of Lemon added before the detergent in your machine will do wonders for your nose, and helps fight bacteria.

If your dishwasher breathes however, there are many oils that can be used to help the task become less unbearable. They might also encourage everyone in the family to take a turn at the sink. Simply add:

3 drops Bergamot
5 drops Lime
2 drops Lavender
1 drop Orange
per 3 ounces of unscented dish soap

Lovely Kitchen LayoutKeep in mind that most essential oils lose their medicinal and beautifying properties after 2 years. Save those that have expired however, and periodically put 2 drops down the drain throughout the day. Hot water will activate the aromatic properties which last forever and a day. Also use them when washing windows and trash cans to add a lovely fragrance in unexpected places.

This article was adapted from:
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood

All Images were found on Google.com

The Charge of the Goddess

Aradia Goddess of the WitchesThis is one of the most beautiful pieces of prose ever written, and it is surely a result of divine intervention.

It was penned by the wonderful Doreen Valiente from an earlier version by Gerald Gardener. Many others have written different versions of the Charge, but I feel this is the most beautiful.

It is based on a passage from the wonderful book Aradia: Gospel of the Witches by Charles Leland in which the mighty goddess Aradia tells her followers how to honor her mother Diana, gain power, and learn of witchcraft. Small passages from works by Aleister Crowley were also used.

Listen to the words of the Goddess, and learn in love.

The Common Prose Charge
by Doreen Valient
e

Listen to the words of the Great Mother, who was of old also called amongst men Artemis, Astarte, Diana, Melusine, Aphrodite, Cerridwen, Dana, Arianrhod, Isis, Bride and by many other names.

Moon Goddess SeleneAt my altars, the youth of most distant ages gave love, and made due sacrifice. Whenever you have need of anything, once in a month, and better it be when the Moon is full, then shall you gather in some secret place and adore the spirit of Me, who am Queen of all Witcheries.

There shall you assemble ye who are fain to learn all sorcery, yet have not won its deepest secrets; to these will I teach things that are yet unknown. And you shall be free from slavery, and as a sign that you be really free you shall be naked in your rites. And you shall dance, sing, feast, make music and love all in my praise; for mine is the ecstasy of the spirit, and mine also is joy on Earth, for my law is love unto all beings.

Keep pure your highest ideal, strive ever towards it; let naught stop you or turn you aside, for mine is the secret door which opens upon the door of youth. And mine is the cup of the wine of life and the Cauldron of Cerridwen, which is the Holy Grail of Immortality.

I am the gracious Goddess who gives the gift of joy unto the heart of man, upon Earth I give knowledge of the Spirit eternal, and beyond death I give peace and freedom and reunion with those who have gone before; nor do I demand sacrifice, for behold I am the Mother of all living, and my love is poured out upon the Earth.

Hear ye the words of the Star Goddess. She in the dust of whose feet are the hosts of Heaven, whose body encircles the universe.

I who am beauty of the green Earth and the white Moon amongst the stars. And the mystery of the waters, and the desire of the heart of man, call unto thy soul. Arise and come unto me, for I am the souls of Nature who gives life to the universe.

Goddess of the Full MoonFrom me all things proceed, and unto me all things must return. And before my face, beloved of Gods and men, thine inmost divine self shall be enfolded in the rapture of the infinite.

Let my worship be with the heart that rejoices, for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.

And you who thinks to seek for me, know thy seeking and yearning shall avail you not, unless you know the mystery, that if that which you seek you find not within thee, you will never find it without thee. Behold I have been with you from the beginning and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.

All Images were found on Google.com

Beauty from Your Bathtub

A Relaxing BathThe bathtub can be one of your best friends when it comes to relaxation, healing, and even beauty. Essential oils can be added to the water to calm and revitalize you, various moisturizers can be added to help repair tired skin, and salts help to relax muscles and pull toxins from our overworked bodies.

The recipes that follow are special treats for the skin and can also help to calm a frazzled mind and relax a tense body. Simply add these wonderful treatments to your bath, sit back, breathe deeply, and enjoy.

Herbal Bath Sachet

This simple recipe does wonders for skin of all types, but it especially helps troubled skin to recover. Use it when your skin isn’t feeling its best.

Ingredients:
2 bags of unflavored green tea
½ cup Lavender flowers (dried preferred)
½ cup Chamomile flowers (dried preferred)

Directions: Simply add the herbs  to a sachet or wash cloth and tie it closed. The tea bags can be opened and poured into the fabric or they can be left as is. Once it is completed, add it to your bath water and relax.

Milk BathMilk Baths

It is important to note here that only whole milk will do. The reasoning behind this is dairy fats help hydrate your skin. If there is little to no dairy fat in your milk, your skin won’t be able to absorb any.

Now there are three kinds of milk I recommend and all can be used in the recipes below:

Whole Milk– Whole milk provides many nourishing vitamins and minerals as well as a large supply of hydrating dairy fats. It also contains lactic acid which can help to gently exfoliate the skin.

Butter Milk– Butter milk has the same properties as whole milk, but it also has a higher acid content. It is best if the skin needs to be thoroughly exfoliated.

Goat’s Milk– By far the best option. It has a higher nutritional value than cow’s milk, and a beneficial blend of complex acids makes it the most suitable to moisturize and exfoliate. The only drawback is it’s slight pungent odor. This can easily be covered up however with essential oils.

Relaxing Bath 2In addition to using fresh milk, you can find all of these in a powdered form which is best if you want to make up large batches. Simply halve the amount of powder that you would use compared to fresh milk. Likewise if the recipe calls for powder simply double the amount of fresh.

Milk and Honey Bath

Ingredients:
2 cups Milk
½ cup Honey (powdered if you are making large batches to use for later)
¼ cup Rolled Oats (in a sachet or wash cloth)

Directions: Simply add the ingredients to the bath, or if you are making some for later and using powdered ingredients use about a half cup of the mixture per bath.

Hot Coco Bath

Ingredients:
3 cups Milk Powder
1 ½ cups Cocoa Powder
2 cups Corn Starch

Directions: Whisk all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Use ½ cup per bath for a luxurious treat.

All images were found on Google.com