waterers and worms and weather

-20° last night.

On to more pleasant things.

Having just finished up modifications on a new heated chicken waterer, I figured last night would provide the perfect atmosphere for seeing what kind of chutzpa it really has.  If the water doesn’t freeze in this, it never will.

So I partially filled it up (a condition which I expect will frequently be the case), ran it out to the poop-coop and plugged it in.  This morning I was actually excited to go outside.

IMG_4301Iced condensation, but the water held!  Success and happiness.

The problem that I hadn’t foreseen was frozen nipples (not mine).  After I tapped them a bit they loosened up, but still no water.  I suspect this is a situation that any poultry nipple user encounters in frigid weather, not just me.  Any tips out there?  It only gets this cold once every few years, so if I can’t come up with anything else I’ll just take off the lid and let them drink directly from the bucket until the nipples defrost.

And yesterday I started a small batch of winter worm tea for the seedlings in the grow room.  It’s the first time I’ve used my new aerator.  Boy is it powerful and boy is it noisy.  I had to tuck the bucket away in an upstairs closet and could still hear it.  But come warm weather it’ll live out in the barn.



vermicompost: behind the curtain

I have a guilty pleasure. AhhhhI’m not sure it would rank anywhere in humanity’s top 1 million. But it’s in my top 10.

This isn’t for public consumption, so please don’t repeat.

Sometimes I go into my grow room, close the curtain, lift the lid of a five gallon bucket, and run my hands through my little stockpile of finished worm castings.

I said it. I’m not ashamed, much. I wish I could convey what they feel like in the dead of winter, or anytime for that matter. I wish I could capture how light and fluffy they are with an image. Screened through 1/4″ hardware cloth, aired out on a board till they contain perfect moisture, lighter than soil, meatier than seed-starting mix…man.

Yeah, a little perverted. But they’re so perfect.


I think it’s as much the aura as the substance; what they do when they’re suspended in bubbling water and molasses for a day, what they do in the bottom of a tomato hole or sprinkled into potting mix.

Such a perfect substance, from waste, to waste, to creation.

I wish I could capture for you how they feel falling through fingers. Light and airy, but full and heavy. Perfect.