Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wormy Wednesday - The Habitat

For this Wormy Wednesday I want to talk about the worm habitat - because that seems like a good place to start! The first time I started a worm farm, my husband help me set up a really cool plastic tote with wheels and air and drainage holes. Some day I hope to get that tote back out, but for now I'm staying small.

I use the worm bedding made by Frabil because it's easy and because it's perfect. If you don't want to pay for bedding you can use newspaper (black & white only, no colored ink) that is shredded and moistened (not wet). You can also add some garden soil or top soil. The grit in the soil is good for the worms' diegestion. DO NOT use potting soil. Potting soil has chemicals that are good for plants but really bad for worms. Shredded computer paper also works, but no color ink on the paper and no colored paper. The bedding only needs changed about every 6 to 9 months depending on how many castings (aka: worm poop - that's a later post) you have so my 2 pound bag of Frabil worm bedding will last me at least a year.

A Happy Worm Enjoying The Bedding I Set Up For It
You need to keep an eye on the temperature not only of the area the worm farm is set up in, but also in the middle of the bedding. Currently my worm farm is in my kitchen, but eventually it will be back out in my insulated garage. Some people like to keep their worm farms in their basements or laundry rooms. Where ever you keep your worm farm, you need to keep an eye on the temperature of the room your farm is in. Checking the temperature of the middle of the bedding is also a good way to make sure your bedding stays loose. The worm farm should be between 45 and 85 degrees farenheit, 60 to 80 degrees is ideal. The worm farm should never be in the sunlight because heat can build up very fast and coud kill your worms, cause odors and help other weird stuff to grow in your bedding. A laser thermometer is a great way to take the temperature of your worm bedding.

A Perfect Temp For My Worms' Bedding
Worms need a moist bedding to help them breath, but too much water could drown your worms (still not ready to discuss my experience with that). It's a good idea to spray the top of the bedding once in awhile to help keep the bedding moist. NEVER pour water in, always use a spray bottle! Worms may live down deep in the bedding, but they still require oxygen so if your tote or Frabil Habitat has a lid (which is a good idea for nighcrawlers and any other earthworms), make sure there are small holes so the oxygen can get it but the worms can't get out. Turning the bedding once in awhile helps keep the bedding looseso the air can circulate easier.
Oxygen Holes
Nightcrawlers don't like light, so if you need to leave the top of your worm farm open, a street light outside a window or a nightlight will help keep your worms inside their habitat.
Unhappy worms will try to get out of their habitat, happy worms will want to hang out. Happy worms will also start laying eggs in a couple months! (Hope to have that post some time this fall!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wormy Wednesday - Some Facts

For this Wormy Wednesday I was having trouble narrowing down 1 topic to discuss so I thought I'd give some interesting facts about worm farming. I don't have any interesting updates on my worm farm since it's only the first week. All of my worms have gone down into the bedding so a picture would be really boring right now.

Here are som facts:
  • The technical name for worm farming is called Vermiculture. (I'm going to continue calling it Worm Farming on this blog - easier to spell.)
  • You can start the harvesting process after only 2 months after initial setup and then about once a month after that. (Busy little things!)
  • Each worm has the reproductive system of BOTH sexes, but you still have to have 2 worms for the reproduction to take place.
  • Worms move by stretching and pulling their strong muscles. (Which is why they can burrow into the dirt so easily and which is why they don't slither like a snake.)
  • Redworms are one of the easiest worms to farm and Earthworms are one of the hardest. (I never do things the easy way!)
  • Redworms are the best choice for compost piles because they consume large amounts of organic matter. They also live closer to the surface and reproduce very quickly.
  • There are over 1,800 species of Earthworms!
  • Worms can drown in soil! (I learned this one on my own.)
  • You can not feed worms meat, dairy, fatty foods, citrus, onion and garlic.
  • Worms like to eat: bread, fruit peels & cores (no citrus), vegetables, eggshells, hair, coffee & tea grounds and a LOT more.
Hope you learned some new fun facts on this Wormy Wednesday. If you have any fun facts about worms, let me know so I can share with everybody. Next week we'll discuss the worm habitat and maybe discuss some of the mistakes I made the first time I tried worm farming......unless I'm still too traumatized to discuss them.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Didn't Go As Planned

Have you ever planned something our perfectly and then when it was time for it to happen, nothing happened the way it was supposed to? For Father's Day yesterday, we planned to load up the entire family (minus my brother-in-law who had to work) in the motor home and bus everybody up to the lake for a fun Father's Day fishing trip. One the way up the hill, we heard a BANG. I was sure we lost another tire this year, but then we smelled exhaust. BOTH mufflers blew out!
2 Blown Up Motor Home Mufflers
So we headed back home, unloaded everybody & everything out of the "bus" and into 2 different vehicles and went for take 2 of the fun Father's Day fishing trip. We finally get to the lake and of course since it's noon, all of the good spots are taken. The wind was crazy so we were trying to find a spot out of the wind, too. We finally found a spot and decided to eat lunch before we set up fishing. I made a very yummy pasta salad and realized I was depending on being in the motor home for lunch so we didn't have plates, utensils or cups. My sister brought our sandwiches in individual baggies so picking up the pasta salad "like picking up dog poop" worked out. I'm a little bummed that my yummy pasta salad will now forever be known as "Dog Poop Salad."
When we first pulled up to the lake, we noticed smoke on the mountain and we were trying to figure out which fire it was. It's so dry in Colorado which is why we have so many big fires burning right now. We need the rain really bad, but the lightning that comes before the rain keeps starting new fires. Anyway, here is a picture of the smoke early in our fishing.

 Then we noticed the smoke was getting bigger faster and darker. We were trying to figure out between the 2 fires in the area, which fire this could be. Both fires in the area have been burnign for awhile and are partially contained so they shouldn't have been spreading like this.

 Once in awhile we could see the reflection of the flames in the smoke! We were watching  drop planes & helicopters come and go pretty quickly. When we got home my brother sent me a text that said we actually watching a NEW fire starting! The fire started at noon when we finally arrived at the lake and it was located about 3 miles from the lake we were fishing! It was a weird & creepy feeling knowing we were watching the beginning of a new fire. It was also amazing knowing all of those planes and helicopters were on it so fast even though there are so many other fires in the state and in the country!

 We didn't catch any fish so we were finding ways of keeping ourselves entertained. When my niece and I get bored, we start playing with my camera. She does something cute and/or silly, I take the picture, she says "Let me see!" and we laugh at the picture on my viewer. It's fun for both of us.

The fishing net wasn't being used for fish anyway.

She now has her own "noculars" so she doesn't have to use Aunt Hilary's anymore. (Unless she asks to use Aunt Hilary's.)
Even though the motor home blew up, we watched a new fire start, the wind was horrible, all of the good fishing spots were taken and I'm convinced there are no fish in that lake, we had a fun Father's Day fishing trip because we were all together hanging out. I hope the next trip goes a little closer to plan and I hope the new mufflers get here soon.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Very Proud Moment

A couple weekends ago, we went to one of our favorite fishing spots.  We weren't catching anything which is rare for that spot. My husband got bored so he started to walk around the pond which resulted in him catching 2 carp & some bluegills. I usually stay in the same spot to "watch our stuff" and experiment with my camera when he decides to go for a walk along the bank. (Really, I'm afraid of finding a snake in some of the tall grass areas...or mice...or large bugs...or more snakes.) Anyway, I wasn't catching anything on a worm (not even a turtle!) and nothing was interested in any of the lures I was throwing. I decided to sit down and take a break. I watched this turtle for awhile hoping he wouldn't go after my worm because his nose looked a little sharper than the soft shelled turtle's I usually catch there. I really didn't want to catch him since my husband was on the other side of the pond at this point and I didn't feel like turtle wrestling by myself that day.

I also watched the baby bass that were surfacing. I was trying to figure out why they weren't biting anything. Usually, the baby bass in that pond go after anything, especially if it's twice the size of the bass. I watched what they were doing when they were surfacing and it looked like they were eating something. Then, I realized there were a BUNCH of white flecks in the water that I'm guessing were bugs. I started thinking "MATCH THE HATCH!" You hear fly fisherman talk about matching the hatch all the time and a few years ago my husband bought me this little container of flies.

 I couldn't figure out why he wanted me to have this when he knew I didn't fly fish. I love watching fly fisherman cast, but I get frustrated too easy and then end up in a tangled mess too fast. I've watched my husband put a fly on his spinning rod and catch trout and I have also tried with no success. I thought, "If matching the hatch works on trout, why wouldn't it work on bass?" I went to my day bag to see if I packed my flies and amazingly I did! I NEVER bring those along unless I bring my main tackle bag! I picked out a couple flies that have white "wings" and pulled out a clear bobber and put those on my casting rod.

The first cast I reeled the fly in slow and about 10 feet from shore I could see my fly and underneath about 6 or 8 baby bass rose to the surface all at the same time so I slowed my reeling almost to a complete stop. The baby bass looked at my fly for a few seconds and then 3 went after it and I caught a baby bass! I was so excited! I kept saying "I matched the hatch! I matched the hatch!" There was nobody there to celebrate with though and also nobody to help me take a picture of my matched hatch catch. A few more casts and I had to change out the fly because the original fly was waterlogged and wouldn't stay on the surface anymore. At this point my husband walks up and asks how I'm doing and I replied "I matched the hatch!" He laughed at me and told me good job. I was so excited to show him with the new fly but my excitement energy made me mess up my first cast which made the fly get too wet and I couldn't keep it on top of the water and since it was time to go home, I didn't have time to change flies again.
This story is proof that you don't have to have a fly rod to use flies. What I learned from this experience is, sometimes you have to just sit and observe what's going on in the water and then cross your fingers you brought the right equipment to "match the hatch."

Hope everybody has a fun and safe Father's Day this weekend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The First Wormy Wednesday! - The Set Up

It's finally here! The very first Wormy Wednesday! Prepare to learn more about worms than you ever wanted to know! :)
Okay, first let me explain my experience with worm farming. This will be my 3rd try. The first try I started off way too big and learned a lot. My second try really wasn't a try. We were using the worms from my worm farm for fishing so they never had a chance to multiply. This time I am starting small and the worms in the worm farm are NOT for fishing......yet. Since pictures of the worm farm are going to be kind of boring and there won't be much excitement these first few months, I will also give you lots of facts about worms and explain to you why I'm doing certain things (like starting small). If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section and I will answer them the next week.
I will admit, I did not do all of this today. Since there was so much prep work for this post, I put everything together this past Saturday so my worm farm has actually been going for 3 days already.
I started off with a Frabil Habitat II, Frabil worm bedding, Frabil worm food and 20 DMC night crawlers. I bought all of the Frabil supplies at Bass Pro Shop and the DMC worms at my local WalMart.

 I used 1 pound of the Frabil bedding, but I could have used between a half and 3/4 pound of the bedding. Here is a look at what the bedding looks like coming out of the package. It's actually ground up newspaper, you can see writing on some of the bigger pieces. It is actually kind of dust and messy so I recommend doing these next steps outside if possible. If it hadn't been over 100 degrees outside and extremely windy, that's where I would have done it!
Next, I mixed the bedding with about 3 cups of water. Be sure to use a bucket that has a smooth bottom! I used an old cat litter bucket once that had some sharp pieces of plastic on the bottom and when I mixed the bedding & water, I kept catching my fingers on those pieces of plastic. The picture will still be kind of dry, but that is okay because you don't want it too wet. 
The bedding mixture was finally ready for the Frabil Habitat II. When I change the bedding out, I will definitely use less bedding. 
It's finally time for the worms! I put all 20 worms in without the dirt they came in. The dirt that is stuck to them is fine, no need to wash the worms before adding them to the bedding.
Because they just came out of the fridge, the worms will lay there for awhile until they start to warm up. The lid goes on and the waiting starts.
 Worms need oxygen so I have to make sure these air vents aren't blocked with bedding material on the inside and nothing gets set on top of the vents on the outside.
 We'll discuss a worm's diet a little more later, but here is the Frabil worm food. It is a dry food that you have to add water to.
 Last time I used the food I think I added too much water because I don't remember it being so paste-like. I'm going to read the instructions and measure more carefully for the next feeding and let you know.
 Once the worms have woken up a little and started to move around and burrowing, the food can be added. The food goes in a line across the top of the bedding. You should always put the food in the same spot, not so that the worms know where to go to look for it. If you put the food in the same place each time, you'll know where to look for it every time when it's time to clean out the old food and add the new food.
Now that the setup is done, we'll start getting into more of the details of raising worms. Check back next Wednesday for some of those details! Thank you!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fishin' Wagon

There are a few of our favorite fishing spots that we have to walk into. When we do walk into these places, we always pack lite but there's still a lot to carry. We found this wagon at Harbour Freight Tools and it has worked GREAT!
 We made a few modifications to it like added the spare tire on the back, added some stickers and modified the handle. If you look close at the handle, you can see a silver area in the middle. My husband modified it so we can make it longer or leave it at it's normal length. It has to be at normal length to fit in a vehicle, but is more comforatable to pull with the longer length.
It also makes a good place to store stuff while we're fishing so we don't loose the net, scissors or reel covers. If we forget rod holders we can also lean rods against it.
 Another helpful use is drying lures before putting them back in the tackle box.
We love our fishin' wagon and since we've been using it, we've noticed other people in our area using wagons to carry their fishing gear into .

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pony Tail For Your Helmet

For my wedding anniversary, my husband got me a pony tail for my helmet!! I saw pictures of them online and thought they'd be fun and now that I have one, I know they're fun!

It came as a 2 pack to do pigtails but I decided to start off with a ponytail for now. They stick on with suction cups with a little vegetable oil on it so it won't mess up your helmet if you decide to change the position or from ponytail to pigtails. They also have mohawks, spike mohawks, viking horns and several colors of pigtails & ponytails.

I can't wait to go riding with my new helmet ponytail!

Check out Helmets Inc. Here is a direct link to the page with the mowhoawks & ponytails.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Snack Mix

I have a fun recipe for you to play with. At the beginning of the Spring I was trying to find some snacks to pack in the ATVs that would be easy to pack, wouldn't melt and tasted good. I didn't want to buy store bought trail mixes because there's always something in those mixes one person doesn't like or there's a couple ingredients that there's a lot of and after a couple handfuls you're tired of it. It seems like I always ended up with a bag of peanuts and raisins by the end of a camping trip. I started playing with different ratios and ingredients and came up with a pretty good mix. I've shared my mix with other people and told them to make it their own and let me know some other ideas for ingredients that they added that worked and didn't work. Here is the starting mix:

I usually use 1 part = 1 cup.

1 Part Regular Cheerios
1 Part Honey Nut Cheerios
1 Part Flavor Burst Goldfish
1 Part Raisins
1 Part Cashews
1/2 Part M&M Candies
1/2 Part Reese's Pieces

Some other ingredients I have heard people adding are honey roasted peanuts, Chinese noodles, Pretzel Goldfish, Pecans, Wheat Thins and dried blueberry's.

There are a few ingredients I suggest you NOT use. The first is sunflower seeds. We tried them in our mix because they sounded like a nice salty addition but the seeds are so small they all sink to the bottom of the bag so they won't stay mixed very well. The next is dried cherries. The cherry taste WAY overpowered anything else.

Play with this mixtures and also play with the timing on how soon before a trip you can make the mix. With my mix, I usually make it the day before a short trip. The Cheerios start to soak up the moisture from the raisins. If we are going on a longer camping trip and I need it to last longer, I make the mix without the raisins and bring the raisins in a seperate bag. When we head out for fishing or riding, I mix some of the trailmix and some raisins and put it in a seperate baggie.

Let me know some of your ingredients, mixes and tips.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scouting Trip & Pictures #2

We used to camp up at Cottonwood Lake near Bueña Vista, CO on some of our rock crawling trips at least once a year. We could ride the trails during the day and then come back to the lake to fish the lake and the creek in the afternoon and evenings. Our favorite camping spot was across the creek where not many people could get to. There were a few trails we could ride in that area, too. We haven't been there in about 5 or 6 years so when we started thinking about making another camping trip up there we decided to go on a scouting trip to see if anything had changed and where we could get to with the motorhome. It was amazing how much it had changed! Our favorite camping spot was blocked off along with many other spots. There were a lot new Aspen trees blocking other good camping spots that we had originally thought we could have gotten into with the motor home. We were VERY happy we went on the scouting trip before we went up with the motor home and trailer full of ATV's.
Here are a couple pictures of the lake. It was hard to get a picture without a bunch of people in it because this is the free fishing weekend in Colorado.
It started to rain but we saw a bunch of fish surfacing.

Fishing Piers
 We were going to stay and fish a little but the lightning started and we decided holding a graphite fishing rod up in the air with the lighting so close was not something we wanted to do today. Instead, we decided to go back to Buña Vista for lunch and then go check out the areas we are thinking about riding.
First, I have to tell you about lunch. I usually don't give a place such HIGH rating until I've been there a couple times, but I give Punky's Diner in Bueña Vista, Colorado ALL of the TOP raitings! 10 out of 10, A+, 5 stars!!! I can't wait until our camping trip to the area so I can go back to Punky's! I had the chopped brisket sandwich and my husband had the pulled pork sandwich. I'm thinking about emailing them and pleading with them to open a chain in my town!
Okay, back to the adventures. We headed towards St. Elmo to check out the parking areas for the ATV trailer and where the trail heads were. My husband realized I had never seen the leaning building on the way to Hancock so we decided to drive up that way.

The road to Hancock

Still some snow on the mountains.

Some more snow.

The leaning building! The area used to have a lot of active mines so there are a lot of old mining buildings. The trails are the old mining roads.

It had slid back a little farthur than the last time my husband saw it.
 Going on this trail was a pretty big deal because most of the vehicles on the trail were Jeeps and other SUV's and ATV's and we were in my car. My car is a Kia Rio - frontwheel drive, not much power and not much clearance but great on gas mileage! Here is a picture of part of the trail:

 Next time we'll take the ATV's so we can go further and a lot faster. It was kind of fun getting looks from the SUV owners. I'm sure they were thinking "Why did they bring that little car up here?!?!"
We were very glad we made the scouting trip so we know how to plan that camping trip and because it was a lot of fun. We may have to plan some more scouting trips this summer............and more trips to Punky's.