How to Start a Simple Compost

For those of you that live under a rock, composting is an easy way of creating your own nutrient-rich soil while simultaneously saving your yard & kitchen scraps from ending up in a landfill (or burn pile, if you’re from the country).  This method requires minimal effort and creates excellent soil for your gardens, planters, pots, ect.  Composting isn’t rocket science, but there is a little more to it than just tossing your scraps in a pile.  Here’s the simplest way you can create your own compost.

compostbin2 A great way to start a simple compost operation is to –

1. Get yourself a big rubbermaid container and a lid or two.  This size is perfect for one household and also small enough that it can be indoors if you choose.  Drill small holes in the bin and one of the lids, 1 – 2 inches apart.  If your bin is inside make sure to put it on top of the second lid or something else to keep the bin from leaking gross things directly on to your floor.

2. Dig up some dirt.  There are also several great activating products you can buy and mix with the soil to give it a running start.  These products are not totally necessary, without them the decomposition process will take longer initially but will be just fine.  Before you dump your dirt in add some branches to the bottom to create good air flow.  Fill your bin no more than a little over half way.  You will need the room to mix your compost up and eventually it will get fuller.

3. Purchase tome tiny & slimy tenants for your bin.  I just buy the same worms from the hardware store that you would use for fishing.  I honestly can’t think of any other place you could buy worms.  You could dig them out of the ground if you’re feeling ambitious. Also if your bin is indoors and you don’t want worms in your house, I understand. You don’t have to. (But they help and they also reduce the smell.)

SIDE NOTE: Think of how awesome it is for those worms when they figure out they get to hangout in your compost bin instead of dying slowly on the end of a fishing hook and possibly being eaten.  Heck ya, little dudes!
I might be on my second glass of wine right now.

4. So that’s pretty much it.  You can now add scraps to your bin at will.
It helps to add some brown stuff (leaves,grass) whenever you add some green stuff (kitchen scraps).  It keeps the moisture balance in check.
ALSO shake your bin up or mix it with a hoe or shovel or something after you add scraps OR at least once a week.
When it gets full, shovel some into your garden.

You CAN actually keep your compost bin outside all year round.  If you keep adding to it even when it’s frozen it will kickstart itself in the spring.  Turns out the thawing & freezing it will go through in the fall and spring is great for breaking down materials and will make for speedy decomposition when the temp. is right.

That being said, here are some things you SHOULD NOT put in your compost:
Meat, fat, grease, oil, bones.
Lime.  It will bring your operation to a screeching halt.
Poop. Any kind of poop.
Anything that isn’t biodegradable.
Colored paper. For some reason.
Anything toxic.

For an enormous list of things you CAN put in your compost, click here.

It’s extremely hard to screw up composting.  Just give it a shot and your planet, more specifically, your garden will thank you!

How to Start a Simple Compost

Fave Holiday Bevvies 2015

Merry Christmas readers!

It’s been a crazy and exciting passed week.  So many Christmas parties and gatherings and finishing up house things as well!  Spent last night moving furniture into the container, maybe I’ll move in for Christmas?! Eeeeek, exciting!

Because we’ve had so many Christmas parties this year, we’ve fallen victim to alot more boozing than usual…. But ‘Tis the season!  My boyfriend and I have decided we’re doing a “sober January” coming up.  So in honor of that i’ve compiled a list of my fave boozy Xmas bevvies,  that i’ve got just over a week to enjoy!

 

cranberry-mimosas1

Cranberry Mimosas (recipe)
Super easy to make. Personal fave.  Down for mimosas anytime really…

 

10155_GIB_LWA_CanBtleGlass322x344
Granville Island Winter Ale
Who said this had to be just a cocktail list? I’m loving these brews this year!  I believe they’re in liquor stores Canada wide.

 

321428Gluehwein (recipe)
Tummy-warming spiced wine.  This one is a favorite because it reminds me of last Christmas in Vancouver with my Austrian roommate.  As you can tell by the name it’s an Austrian/German traditional beverage.

 

whistler-chestnut-ale-2

Whistler Chestnut Ale
This was my ABSOLUTE fave seasonal beer when i was on the coast, I could drink 4 shamelessly… but it’s only sold regionally and I can’t get it here in Manitoba 🙁

No Christmas drink list would be complete without…

12.09.11_FA_Eggnog

Eggnog (recipe)
This recipe is from Martha Stewart and is like rum and eggnog on steroids!  It takes a little more time than your classic R&E but is sooooo yummy. I had one (or two..) at a rather uppity Xmas party once, made them once myself, Always delicious!

S&S wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Fave Holiday Bevvies 2015

Warm for the Winter

It snowed today.  I mean, for Manitoba we’re doing better than most years (2013, the last winter I spent in Mb, we were 3 feet under by now) but the inevitability doesn’t make my heart break any less.  This year I have more to lose.  I’m an extremely novice house-builder at best, and nothing makes you second guess your abilities like an impending snowstorm.

2013 When I was living in Winnipeg. This was the winter that put Winnipeg on the map for record snowfall and temperatures colder than Mars!
2013 When I was living in Winnipeg. This was the winter that put Winnipeg on the map for record snowfall and temperatures colder than Mars!

As i’m going about my day today, I noticed the flurries floating around outside the window of my parents place and couldn’t help but wonder “Am I going to freeze my ass of this winter?”.  My plan as far as heating my container house relies solely on the big beautiful woodstove I bought off Kijiji (Don’t let the fact that I found it on Kijiji cheapen it, it really is a million pounds of HUGE BEAUTIFUL CAST IRON).

In my researching and brainstorming of ways to keep warm this winter, I was suddenly aware of how living in a small, moveable structure is a slightly more primitive way of life compared to the large, permanent houses that are the norm.  Thinking along those lines, I went back to basics & created this list of simple, overlooked ways to keep warm this upcoming cold season.  (That you don’t have to be Mike Holmes to understand.)

  • Wear layers & warm clothes made of heat-trapping materials (even indoors)
  • Make sure you’re windows are double or even triple pane…
  • … and seal them! Plastic and hair dryer style.
  • Fire = heat ( a wood stove or fireplace!)
  • Eat warm food and embrace soup season (the most wonderful time of the year if you ask me)
  • Actively look for and correct drafts
  • Sleep with more blankets and/or a hot water bottle
  • Use a variety of insulation solutions for different situations.  (My whole build used a combination of Roxul, spray foam and appropriate air spaces.)
  • Open your blinds and let the sun in during the day!
  • Stop shaving your legs?

Anything I missed?

 

Warm for the Winter

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.

Stevie in Kamloops Lookout point just outside of Kamloops BC. Hands down the most beautiful place I’ve seen in real life.

Early this year, I sold/gave away/abandoned all my belongings that wouldn’t fit in my tiny, red, Ford Focus. Keeping only my computers (necessary to work), clothes (necessary to make appearances in public) and an ungodly amount of protein bars and dried fruit. I’m proud to say that Winter 2014 was the time I finally said “FTW” (fuck this weather), left my beautiful and enormous house in the heart of Franco-Winnipeg and made the road my new home.

I can actually say that for one month (not just any month – but January) I was actually homeless. By day I would drive and by night I slept on the chesterfields of my gracious friends and family (a few times in my car as it got warmer the further west I got, my parents don’t know this). I stretched the almost 24 hour total drive into a 3-week-long depth-of-winter adventure. That’s right – I survived being homeless… in January… in Canada. It turned out to be the most defining road trip in my entire existence thus far.

I was feeling grateful the other day and made a list of the most important things this move has taught me:

– Leaving all that is familiar to you could be the best thing you’ll ever do. The world is full of opportunity and you have to get out there and take advantage. Even though it sucks to leave your friends and family. Which brings me to my next point…

– Real friends will find a way to be in your life no matter what. You’re going to lose friends when you move, that’s a fact. You’ll realize that with most of those people the only thing you really had in common was geographic location (and a soft spot for jagermeister) and to these people you are out of sight and out of mind. Real friendships know not distance. Your real friends are the ones that still text you everything about their day, you still talk on the phone to regularly, and are the first ones to offer to pick you up at the airport. They are the ones that will make an effort to be a constant presence in your life. : )

– Google maps does not always know best. Just because it’s a route on Google Maps doesn’t mean its a road. Sometimes its a fucking dirt horse trail on a cliff on the side of a mountain, mere meters away from certain death at all times. Should you find yourself in this situation, let me tell you from experience – DO NOT CRY. It will impair your vision causing you to pull over (or just stop because you’re not actually on a road) which will cause the locals to ride up to you on their horses BUT don’t be fooled! They don’t want to see if you’re okay as much as they just want to steal your hubcaps. Also no cell service for 5 hours. So if you die out there, you’re just dead. Thats it. Nobody knows.
BTW this “highway” is called the BC- 99 N. So you’ve been warned, it may say it’s 2 hours faster but it’s not worth the emotional distress and premature forehead lines.

– You learn the most about yourself and grow as a person when you are out of your comfort zone. Which leads into my next point…

– When you move to a new place nobody knows you! Take advantage of this and do things you wouldn’t normally do. If you embarrass yourself who cares! Nobody knows or gives a shit about you and this is a blessing.

– The Hills Have Eyes movie may or may not have been based on the small town of Barriere, British Columbia. (Don’t go there and definitely don’t stay at a Knights Inn there)

– Things do not make you happy. It’s a cliche, for sure, but hear me out. Materially, I have almost nothing compared to what I owned in Manitoba. I still have a car, a couple thousand dollars in computer equipment and some other things but I look at them now as a blessing, not a necessity. When you have nothing you are free.

Now, don’t worry. I’m no longer homeless. I have a place in North Vancouver, so basically I live on the side of a mountain and I’ve never been happier in my entire life.
So yeah – suck it Winnipeg.
Just kidding.
I love Manitoba, I’ll be a Manitoban all my life.
I still rock an MB license plate. Partially because my car won’t pass aircare but mostly PRIDE!
Any of my new Vancouver friends would say I’m living proof that you can take the girl out of the prairies… but your Brandon, MB roots will haunt you all your life.

: )

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.