27. August 2009 · Comments Off on My Worms Are Trying to Escape! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I didn’t get any pictures because I had to work quickly. This morning I lifted the lid to the worm bin and dozens of the worms had dripped off the underside of the lid all over the floor!

Not all of them, but plenty. Timmy got a kick out this!

Anyway, I figured I’d try to improve their habitat a little and added some sweets to the top of the bin. Just a little bit: a couple banana peels and a couple slices of tomato that weren’t used for burgers a couple nights ago.

I put back the strays, added the sweets, and replaced the lid. I’ll check again later this afternoon and see if they’re happier.

According to this website, some escape shenanigans are normal and should subside in a week or so unless there’s a bigger problem that I’ll need to further investigate.

26. August 2009 · Comments Off on The Worms Are Here! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

I’m actually following through with this cockamamie idea!

From 2009 08 26 Red Wiggler Worms in Bin

Yes, that’s my hand holding those worms, and no, I’m not squeamish about it in the least.

I had ordered my 2 lbs. of red wiggler worms from Gardener’s Supply last week, and they arrived this afternoon! It was just a few minutes before Jacob came home from school, so I waited until both boys were home before I put them in the bin.

It’s somewhat anti-climatic. You dump the worms into the prepared bin, and they burrow down out of the light.

That’s it.

It’ll be many weeks before I have anything else to say about this, but here are some pictures of what things are like in our basement for now. After I took these pictures I mixed in the soil-like material with the shredded paper and cardboard, put on the lid and walked away:

From 2009 08 26 Red Wiggler Worms in Bin

From 2009 08 26 Red Wiggler Worms in Bin

From 2009 08 26 Red Wiggler Worms in Bin
26. August 2009 · 10 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

First, thanks for answering the poll — I guess changing/washing linens once-per-week is the standard and I need to be better at it 🙂

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

I’m at it again.

Now that the school year and academic year is in full swing, it’s time to get involved in stuff again.

“What stuff? What else could you possibly pile on?”

Lots. Jacob’s on his way to being the Spawn of the Overachiever with soccer, piano lessons and Cub Scouts all starting up in September. Thankfully soccer is only 8 weeks. I know how much Jacob loves it…he’d give up everything else to fit in those 8 weeks of soccer!

The piano lessons and Cub Scouts will be new for Jacob and I wonder how he’ll do with each of them. I’m certain the scouts will be fun, he loves camping and learning about nature. The piano lessons? Well…as much as Jacob loves music, I predict a struggle when I ask him to practice for 15-20 minutes every day. He’s already gotten a head start on his books (Faber and Faber “Piano Adventures”) but it’s on his own and I think once a schedule is attached to it we’ll see resistance.

Then again, I could be wrong about all this and he’ll embrace it like a champ!

Timmy’s going to be involved in soccer after Labor Day weekend, and I’m debating piano lessons for him, too. He might be on the young side in some respects, but he really enjoys playing with our piano (we have a digital piano) and his teacher still has a couple spaces available.

As for me, I start my new AF Reserves job next month, plus I’ve taken on secretary duties for our local AMS Chapter. Last week I also offered to become webmaster for the Spouse’s Group where Dave works. I’m looking forward to serving all of these functions as well as I can.

Right now I have an evil cold. Nothing super-debilitating, but enough that I can’t fill my days with activity the way I usually want to. This week I wanted to get some items repaired (our cuckoo clock, a necklace), plus sharpen our knives, plus clean out our basement storage. None of that is getting done this week, I’m afraid.

I can keep up with the bare minimum this week (laundry, cooking, keeping the house straight), hopefully next week will be better. Planning for Jacob’s birthday party is forthcoming, along with Timmy’s back-to-preschool activities just before Labor Day.

20. August 2009 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

On Wednesday Timmy and I visited the Offutt AFB Community Center for a “Moms, Pops n Tots” (MPNT) Open House/End of Summer Party. Since Timmy was in preschool in the mornings last year, we never made it to the MPNT sessions. But this year maybe we’ll show up when we can, since he’ll be in afternoon preschool starting after Labor Day.

Timmy had a really nice time, there’s a big play room and an arts and crafts area. For yesterday’s party, there were a food spread and face painting.

What caught my attention was when one of the Community Center ladies (Ms. Villi, I think was her name, she’s wearing a red shirt in the picture below) brought out the supplies to make ice cream using a coffee can ice cream maker! I’d never seen this setup before. It was essentially two coffee cans: a 1 lb. can embedded inside a 3 lb. can. Fill the inner can with the ice cream ingredients. Then you surround the inner can with ice and rock salt inside the outer can. Seal up both cans well — so the salt doesn’t leak into the inner can, and so you don’t get melted ice all over the place. Timmy’s adding rock salt below.

From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker
From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker

Roll the can back and forth for 10-15 minutes. You have to periodically refill the ice and salt.

From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker

But when it was done, it was no-kidding ice cream! Made with pure ingredients! The kids loved this (although it was hard to keep the preschoolers rolling the cans for the full 15 minutes…we parents ended up taking over).

Considering I have all the supplies for this sitting around the house anyway (well, I’d have to work through a 3 lb. can of coffee, I have a recently-emptied 1 lb. coffee can already), I think this is worth a try!

From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker
From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker
18. August 2009 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I just received this afghan in the mail today to put together. I do this in support of The Handmade Afghans to Thank Our Armed Forces Project.

I love the colors on this one!

17. August 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

“Vermi…what? Okay Major Mom, now what are you trying to do????”

All summer I’ve been basking in yummy veggies being harvested: lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and hops! Earlier this season I was using my compost to fertilize things and that really helps — but over the past month the balance in the compost has been thrown off and now my compost is this nasty slimy stinky mess. I’ve already had to clean out the sludge a couple times this past month and things aren’t improving. Too much moisture, not hot enough, not enough “brown matter” such as dry leaves.

This fall I will be able to work in the leaves as they fall from the trees, but until then, my compost is more or less useless. I can buy stuff to help things along, and I’ve done that before, but I think it’s a bit late in the season to make it worth the $20 cost. Heck, it gets so cold here in the winter, the compost will not really get back to work until springtime.

So here I am, compostless. With little hope until springtime.

It rained a lot this past weekend…and while I was working on my garden just after a 1/2″ soaker, I noticed the plethora of earthworms surfacing. And how fabulous the soil is when lots of earthworms are working through it — the soil remains aerated and rich. The boys and I dug up a couple hundred worms and tossed them into the compost bin — hopefully there are enough yummies still in there for the worms to help things out some.

That, of course, led me to hopping on the web and learning more about the worm casting process. Fascinating! With little more than a plastic bin and the old bills and papers I shred anyway, I could continue to generate compost all winter long!

So on Sunday I did it — I ordered a batch of red wiggler worms that should be here by mid-week. In the meantime, I started preparing a bin so that as soon as the worms arrive they can go in.

I found many commercially available household worm bins for sale, usually for $75-150. But really, I think this is something I could do myself.

First I found one of the many storage totes that I tend to break out for PCS time. You’ll see that this one was marked “Christmas” and last year was filled with legacy Christmas lights. Over the past couple years we’d converted to LEDs, so I just tossed the old lights into a paper bag. Anyway, I drilled some 1/4″ holes into the bin, across the bottom and along the top half.

From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting
From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting

Then I filled the bin with shredded paper and some paperboard, such paper egg carton material. Then wet down the paper to a “wrung-out sponge” consistency. The worms now have a new home waiting for them.

From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting

I’ll be sure to let the world know how this turns out!

16. August 2009 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Today we harvested our first batch of hops! We’re expecting 1-2 more harvests before the end of the season. Today we probably got enough for Dave to brew 1-2 batches of beer. It’s in the food dehydrator right now and our house smells like a brewery!

14. August 2009 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

After almost a year of having all my questions in life answered, I’ve a new one.

This one is coming up because I’m getting really sick of maneuvering all over Jacob’s top bunk changing sheets…unfortunately, Jacob sweats so much in his sleep, that’s what drives our changing his sheets more than anything. Nonetheless, it got me wondering, is there a standard for changing sheets that’s regarded as “normal”?


13. August 2009 · Comments Off on Some Summer Color to Enjoy! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

First I thought I’d share some of our new friends in the garden.

From 2009 08 11 BlackSwallowtailCaterpillars
From 2009 08 11 BlackSwallowtailCaterpillars
From 2009 08 11 BlackSwallowtailCaterpillars

Go ahead…say it….

[Blog reader gets up from computer and does a heebie-jeebie dance] “EEEEEWWWWWW!!!!! Stop! Make it go awayyyyyyyyyy!”

For my friends from Florida, not sure how many of you gals realized that I had quite the butterfly garden going in my backyard.

I had planted dill in my herb garden here, not for caterpillar food, but for people food. Dave and I enjoy lemon-dill seasoned fish throughout the summer (although I haven’t made it quite yet this summer). And now that the caterpillars have attacked my dill, not sure whether we’re going to have much dill left by the end of the week.

These are black swallowtail caterpillars, and I currently have about 20 of them, in various stages of their lives, munching away at my carrot tops, parsley and dill. I don’t mind…butterflies are a good thing, and you have to start with very hungry caterpillars to get more butterflies.

The boys are fascinated by this, and every day they’ve been checking on their progress. It’ll be interesting to see if the caterpillars form their chrysalises nearby. I propped some sticks up at the base of the dill/parsley/carrot plants.

And now for something completely different. I thought you might enjoy this slideshow of my summer flowers. I’ve never had prettier flowers, but I have to admit things are getting a bit sloppy in the front yard. I ought to trim things back, but the goldfinches are having a blast with those sunflowers and I’d have to cut it all down before they’ve eaten their fill. Enjoy!

13. August 2009 · Comments Off on What is a Military Wife? · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

This was sent to me by an Air Force wife who’s soon leaving us for (I think) Florida. Or was it New Mexico?

What is a Military Wife?*
By Jane Hubbard Hyde

A Military wife can be tough to describe.

She is a southern belle, a northeastern mets fan, a California 3rd generation re-cycler, a Pacific Islander.

She is short or tall

a tomboy

a fashion diva

a physician’s assistant

a Republican

a Democrat (yes, even THAT!)

A Military Wife is a career gal

a home-schooler

a scrap-booker

an accomplished cellist

an auto mechanic

What is a MILITARY Wife?

They may look different and each is wonderfully unique

But this they have in common.

lots of moving—

moving, moving, moving far from home

moving two cars, three kids and one dog—-all riding with HER of course

moving sofas to basements because they won’t go in THIS house

moving curtains that won’t fit

moving jobs and certifications and professional development hours

moving away from friends moving toward new friends

moving her most important luggage; her trunkful of memories

often waiting-

waiting, waiting, waiting for housing; waiting for orders; waiting
for deployment; waiting for reunion; waiting for phones calls;
waiting for the new curtains to arrive; waiting for him to come home
for dinner—-AGAIN!

They call her “military dependent”, but she knows better

she can balance a checkbook

handle the yard work

fix a noisy toilet.

She is intimately familiar with drywall anchors, and toggle bolts.

She can file the taxes, sell a house, buy a car, or set up a move, —
–all with ONE Power of Attorney.

She welcomes neighbors that don’t welcome her.

Reinvents her career with every PCS; locates a house in the desert,
the arctic, or the deep south and learns to call them all “home”.

She MAKES them all home.

She is fiercely IN-dependent

Military Wives are somewhat hasty

They leap into decorating, leadership, volunteering, career
alternatives, churches and friendships.

They don’t have 15 years to get to know people.

Their roots are short but flexible.

They plant annuals for themselves and
perennials for those who come after them.

Military Wives quickly learn to value each other.

They connect over
coffee, rely on the spouse-network and accept offers of friendship
and favors and record addresses in pencil.

Military Wives have a common bond.

The Military Wife has a husband unlike other husbands his commitment
is unique He doesn’t have a job, he has a “mission” he can’t just
decide to quit he’s on-call for his country 24/7 but for you, he’s
the most

Unreliable guy in town!

His language is foreign






And so, a Military Wife is a translator for her family and his.

She is the long-distance link to keep them informed, the glue that
holds them together.

Military Wife has her moments—-

She wants to wring his neck, dye his uniform pink, and refuse to
move to Siberia.

But she pulls herself together.

Give her a few days, a travel brochure, a long hot bath, a pledge to
the flag, and a wedding picture.

And she goes.

She packs.

She moves.

She follows.

What for?

How come?

You may think it is because she has lost her mind.

But actually it is because she has lost her heart.

It was stolen from her by a man

who puts duty first

who longs to deploy

who salutes the flag

and whose boots in the doorway remind her that as long as he is her
Military husband,

She will remain his Military wife.

*Disclaimer: I’m not your normal military wife, since I’m still part-time military, sometimes my husband has to bear part of this burden.