Grey water

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Here is an interesting post from a tiny house blog on grey water use.

Greywater Systems

Small worm bin

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I have a large worm bin at my house, but I wanted to make a bin that I can keep safely at school, under my desk. This would also work underneath a kitchen sink or another small space.

My worms are mostly eating coffee grounds and shredded paper, but they also get some leftover vegetables from lunch and from home.

I used two smaller bins that fit under my desk.

After drilling holes for aeration, I covered the boxes with paper (to keep the worms in the dark), added food, soil and dampened paper for the worms to dig in, and put the boxes together.

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clear boxes need to be covered

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adding in organic matter after it is chopped up

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I use a Keurig at work. This kind is easier to add the grounds and filters to the worm bin.

 

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But with scissors and a little effort it is possible to use the regular K cups.

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Poke a hole, dump the grounds, and peel the filter out.

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I drilled aeration holes and then covered the bin with paper. I poked holes through the paper too.

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Here’s my worm bin, expertly covered in leftover scrapbooking paper.

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And here’s the bin, tucked away under my desk.

Biomimicry

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A few weeks ago I was completely fascinated by scientists putting UV threads in window panes in order to prevent birds from crashing into window panes and dying. They’d noticed that birds don’t “see” glass but are able to avoid spiderwebs when flying quickly through a forest. Spiderwebs have, you guessed it, ultraviolet light that birds can see, and know to avoid. So I’ve been talking about these ideas and biomimicry with Cormac, because it’s cool.

This afternoon on NPR we heard a story about hagfish; the slime they create to fight off sharks and other sea creatures has threads in it that are strong, like silk. The hope is that the thread can be used to replaces fibers like spandex, which are created from oil, a non-renewable resource. Hagfish threads are made from proteins which can be created in a lab rather than directly from the hagfish, creatures that are difficult to raise in captivity. ”

“Proteins are a renewable resource because we can get organisms to make them,” says Douglas Fudge the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.

Here’s a link to the NPR story: http://soundcloud.com/theworld/hagfish-slime-could-provide

And a cool video of hagfish being attacked by sharks! Biomimicry is cool for kids.

Ingredients Film

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Ingredients

Watch this film!

This film made by my brother, Brian Kimmel, is about the local food movement all over the world. It highlights farmers, chefs, families, authors, developers and more ,who are starting to challenge industrial farming methods.
Watching this film makes you hungry. Hungry to start your own garden, Hungry to buy from markets and hungry to eat locally grown food. Please share this information.

Green Florida – Loxahatchee

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Loxahatchee is a National Wildlife Refuge located in south Florida, with 221 square miles of Everglades habitat. Small roads take you to different area of the refuge though you’ll want to begin your visit at the small visitors center, boasting several interactive exhibits, including  a simulated airboat.

My dad and Cormac headed out there at around 6 A.M. one morning during our vacation, planning to birdwatch and ride bicycles along the paths to look for alligators. Apparently this is something my dad often does when they’ve gone down there to visit because Loxahatchee, in any given year, has as many as 257 species of birds using the refuge’s diverse wetland habitats, made up of canals and “swamp” areas. My parents have been avid bird watchers for as long as I can remember (and I remember being terrified as we crossed three lanes of Garden State Parkway traffic to sit by the side of the highway watching hawks) and I’ve been to Loxahatchee with them and my grandparents in the past.

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Cormac and Grandpa at the end of their morning wildlife bike ride.

It was too cold to see many alligators early in the morning, but Cormac got in a great ride and visit with his grandfather while testing out his new camera (see slightly blurry photos below) until the rest of us woke up and drove down. It was still a little cool but we had fun walking on the extensive boardwalk system through the cypress swamp and saw one large alligator off to the side of a small access road. On the way out we stopped at a large farmer’s market on the corner, enjoying boiled peanuts, fruit, organic cookies, and hot dogs.

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Big ol’ gator (he was a ways away – I zoomed in)

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Wetland grasses (photo courtesy of Cormac)

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Grasses and bird (photo courtesy of Cormac)

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photo bombed!

A Green Holiday in Florida

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Relaxing by the pool in Lantana

The day after Christmas, I flew 5,000 miles from Anchorage to Fort Lauderdale with our two little boys, ages 3 and 7. Rather than hit the theme parks, we stayed with my grandfather at his condominium complex in Lantana and were joined there by my parents, who flew down from NYC. The trip was the main gift this year from the Santas in our house and the grandparent Santas. Although Florida isn’t high on my list of most attractive states to visit I can’t say a single disparaging thing about the weather, our company on the trip, or the wild refuges we got to visit.
After so much time in Alaska it is a shock to my system to see how developed communities are other places. As Florida is reclaiming its wetlands and attempting to rid itself of invasive plants and animals, more money is being spent on educating people on the special history of their land.
I will write a few posts on Loxahatchee, Green Cay,

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