Worm bin notes: Brutal Heat, They Live!

Bins 2 & 3, Update 18.  Not much to note for the bins.  The heat wave continues with late night temperatures in the 80’s along with high humidity.  The photo below was taken shortly before writing these notes at about 3:00am.  Doesn’t look like it cools down much at night.

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 2.57.34 AM

July 16, 2019 03:00 hours.

 

The bin temperatures were 86.7 F with an ambient temp of 92, 55% humidity.  Both bins appear to have most of the waste consumed.  There were no odors.  A few spiders are starting to show up as expected.  That also indicates the frogs and lizards haven’t found a way in.  Still cannot figure where the frogs came from.

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Grub in red circle.

There is a new addition to bin 2 I haven’t seen before.  There were a couple of those grub looking things crawling around in there that I’ve seen in the compost bin.  Not sure what they are but hope they aren’t roaches.

AJ's Green Topics

AJ’s Green Topics YouTube Channel

If I don’t make a note about it, it’s not going to happen.  I had every intention to mention AJ’s Green Topics in update 16 & 17 but forgot.  He suggested I check the soil temperature.  Which is why the ambient and soil temperatures are now included in the updates.  As cool as the soil feels to the touch, the 86.7 F temperature cannot be ignored. Seems obvious now huh?  Go over to AJ’s YouTube channel and subscribe he has worm bins and other projects you may find of interest.   Thank you, AJ!

Since the heat is not letting up and it is still hurricane season I plan on ordering some type of mosquito netting to keep the spiders in check and out of the house in a day or so.  I’ll have to search for something that doesn’t have bug repellant in the material.  The video is below. -13

Worm bin notes: Heat Wave! They’re going to cook if something doesn’t change!

Bins 2 & 3, Update 17.  The weather over the last week or so has been hot. High 80’s into the 90’s during the day, in the low 80’s at night.  Last update(16) the bin temperature inside the bins read in the 80 degree range.  I thought there was something wrong with the compost thermometer I was using.  That prompted me to use a digital one from the kitchen.

What a surprise to discover how accurate it was.  The worm bin soil temperature readings were 86 degrees F for both bins.  That might explain why the waste hasn’t been consumed at the rate it usually is.  And also maybe why I’ve seen worms trying to escape the bin several times.

My issue is where to put the worms for a cooler temperature.  I have no other place to put them when it gets hot like this.  Not sure what to do.  I do have a fan blowing on the bins but don’t have much confidence it will help.  Since they aren’t’ consuming at the rate they usually do a lot of items are getting a little foul.

I also noticed the other insects in there didn’t seem to be as active as usual.  I’ve brought these into the living room during hurricanes.  The problem with that are the fruit flies and spiders that invade the house when I do.  Plus there is no space for them. Currently the living room is full of items from storage that we’re sorting through.  I’ll check the temperature in a few days then next week to see how the bins have advanced since this update.  -13

 

 

Worm bin notes: Time Lapse

Part of the Vermicompost Experiment includes managing all the videos and still images that accumulate for the project.  I don’t have enough digital storage to keep most of the files so they get deleted forever.  I had planned on making a video of each bin over a 6 to 12 month period.  That didn’t work out because I’ve been so far behind schedule on other projects.

I was able to photograph a 5 month period of continuous before and after images for bins 2 and 3.  Bin 1 was a little different but I did get enough to make a short video.  The images show what the bins look like with food waste then what it looks like after the worms have their way with it.  When I post the usual updates it’s not always easy to notice how much can change over a short period of time.

The time lapse videos make it much easier to see how capable the worms are turning waste into soil magic.  These have to be my favorite project videos so far.  The bin 1 video has a me explaining the experience.  The other videos for bins 2 and 3 have no speaking, only music.  Back to the video editing. -13

 

Bin 1 video.

Bin 2 video.

Bin 3 video.

Worm bin notes: Update 16 Bins 2 & 3

Bins 2 & 3, Update 16.  It’s been almost a month.  Hard to believe that much time has passed.  Still catching up on other projects.  Not much to report this update.  It was a hot, sweaty day, 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  I did use a compost thermometer to measure the inside temperature, it showed 80 degrees F.  That couldn’t have been correct because the substrate felt cool to the touch.  I’ll use a digital thermometer next time.

The plan this time was to pull all the castings from the bottom to the top.  That way the castings would get aerated and give me a chance to see how many worms are in the bin.  I looks like both bins have plenty of worms, maybe more than the space can handle.  I may have to start a new bin as I had been thinking.  Both bins had that freshly dug earthy smell.  No foul odors of any kind

Since I’ve loaded the bin up with a large amount of food I’ll come back in a week for a checkup. -13

 

 

Dash Cam: More that I thought possible.

103-106 are posted on the South Florida Driving 101 YouTube channel.  Getting this back on track again after the last 8 months off.  I had other projects to finish first that consumed all of my time.  I’ll have a couple of videos and blogs about what I was doing during that time sometime soon.  Over the last two days I’ve watched over 2500 three minute videos for content.  I’ve changed some of the standards for which I’ll post a video section.

In the beginning I’d post most offenses but there are so many of the same thing it would be long and boring.  I’m now trying to keep it to the most offensive drivers, cool sites, oddities.  An example, if I put all the drivers not using turn signals in a video it wouldn’t be worth watching.  However after this session of editing I’m starting to see a pattern among police not using them either.  If the police don’t set the example how the hell can we expect others to use them?  Maybe a supervisor will see a few of these videos and get on their asses to set a better example.

I never thought there would be so many videos when I started this project.  I wish I had more time for it I’ll often have to delete videos I’ve never seen to keep up.  Now that I have a major portion of the other projects I’ll be able to keep up. -13

103 has a jet take off and landing, cut-offs, zombie crossings, more police bad examples.

Video short- Driver almost strikes bicyclist’s

104, cut-offs, jet landing, bicyclist’s cut-off, motorcycle fly-by, last second merge, motorcycle and car close call.

 

105, Has a cool bird fly-by, van with no doors, accident scene, cloud formations, cool jet overhead, some drive-by art, dangerous ladder and South Florida drivers.

 

106, Lincoln cloud formation, peacocks in the city, lots of police not using turn signals, drawbridge, jet fly over, short art break, iguana crossing.

 

 

Worm bin notes: Long overdue follow up

Bins 2 & 3, time for a few updates.  It has been some time since the last update.  Late last year was the last one.  When I recorded update 15 and went to edit I discovered two update videos that had never been edited.  Overall there hasn’t been much out of the ordinary going on with the worms, nothing worth recording.

During the filming of updates 12 – 14 there had been a lot of worm activity at the top of the bins.  Some times there were few, other times many.  I never noticed any foul odors or anything that would seem offensive to my perception.  The soil drains into the lower bin that is emptied regularly so that doesn’t seem like the soil is too wet.  It seems like there is enough food for them.  After watching some of the footage I’m thinking there are too many in each bin.  Also it seems like some food is too fresh, it needs to be more decomposed or something like it.  When it is a more decomposed state they swarm it until it disappears.

Update 13 video

Update 14 video

For update 15 there is a little of how my bins are set up and some video of the current conditions in each bin.  I decided to add some potatoes, vanilla bean and sand to see what happens.  If they don’t flee I’m considering starting another bin and rotating the soil in the bins possibly adding more moss or shredded cardboard.

Before I can do that I’ll need another floor dolly and a better way to cut cardboard the way I want too. Thinking of looking for a cheap bandsaw for the cardboard, the carpet knife is getting a little dangerous. It’s also hurricane season here these bins have to be kept clean and ready to roll inside the house. Not sure I’m ready to start another bin, having enough food will be an issue. Or maybe I can find another local who wants to start a bin and give them a portion of the worms.

This “experiment” has been fun and educational I always look forward to opening the bins and seeing what has changed. The next update should be interesting I’m mostly sure I’ll make major changes to bin 3 to see what is happening below the surface. -13

Austere Medicine: Mega Medic Bag – Kit Contents

I finally got around to finishing this bag and making a video!  On June 3rd of 2016 I posted a product review video of the Mega Medic bag.  At the time it was sitting empty, we had decided our medical supplies and equipment needed to be changed and updated based on how the use of the kits evolved over the previous 5-8 years.  Most of the kits had been used out of a rescue truck for a project we were working on.

When I made the review video I gathered various medical items that fit into the different parts of the bag to demonstrate the possibilities of what could be kept there.  The items shown weren’t a set up ready-to-go kit.  I already had a list for the kit contents but didn’t have everything I wanted.  Some of the items on hand had reached it’s useful life.

Recently after reading a video comment on the kit I had never seen before I checked to see what was needed to finish this kit.  Triangle bandages.  That was all.  Trying to keep track of medical inventory without a computer may put me in a straight jacket.  After replacing and restocking items the kit was finally ready.  How is that for a swift kick in the pants?

BRAVO

B Compartment

The kit is an extension of the aid bag.  This is considered our Trauma Kit and builds on splinting, bandaging, eye, dental, large wounds, burns.  Can be resupply or used as is.  It is based on several kits from past experience.  It may be hard to imagine but nearly every item in this kit could be expended on one incident.

Some of the kits from the past using the same bag had more of the bandaging and splinting materials.  Those kits had been based on, in part, by proximity to a military base and a direct flight path where helicopters and transport aircraft that could hold hundreds of soldiers could and sometimes did go down.

Then there is the, being the only one there and no one is coming. To the rural 20,000 person county, only 5 people qualified to operate two ambulances with the nearest mutual aid unit 30 minutes away, no air support.  Standing there after a mass casualty incident looking around and seeing empty aid bags and bandaging supply wrappers among the carnage leaves a lasting impression.

ALPHA

Alpha compartment, why we use those pouches

During the same time we were updating our kits we were able to find several different type packing organizers on sale at Marshalls store.  After using a few of them we went back to that store and many others within our local area and bought whatever stock they had in the store.

Those finds allowed us to keep items protected in ziploc bags and create mini kits without having a kit full of ziploc bag mess.  Multiples of one type item or a kit made of several different components they’ll work well for many common items.

LG ZIP POUCH

Double side bandaging pouch (Go Travel Packing Pouch no.3)

The bag above was one of the last pouches found.  As it’s packed it works very well, 8 rolls Kerlix, 12 5×9 Surgipads, 20 4×4 sponges.  I’ve looked for more and can’t find them.  The pouch below is what was used before we found the pouch above.  The dressings were packed the same way they are shown, the Kerlix was packed like the double side pouch, 8 rolls in a ziploc bag.

The smaller pouches have items like tape, self adhesive, triangle and elastic bandages.  The bandage pouches are very handy for bandaging purposes or resupply.  Glad we found them when we did.

SM ZIP POUCH

Single side bandaging pouch (Travelon Packing Organizers Set-Small)

CD CASE

CD Case

I’ve been looking at ways to store the instant compresses for years.  When the portable CD cases became available I found out they worked well.  If the internal storage sleeves are removed there is room for two instant compresses.  All I had to do to get this type case to work was remove the sleeves from the rivets that were simple to pull out by hand.

At first I used a metal case but it added weight and was too stiff to fit in multiple spaces.  When these softer type plastic cases became available I tried one.  Discovered that I liked it better.  It has more flexibility and can fit into tighter spaces than the metal case.  For the type of compress and CD case chosen its simple to get them into the case.  First, I arrange the liquid part of the compress in one half of the bag and the dry ingredients in the other then, fold in half.

CASE FOLD

Case open showing how compress is packed

Place both compresses in the case then close it.  As shown below it works good.  The compress is protected from punctures and abrasion and it’s easy to see the contents.  I usually look for things like this at the outlet stores but ordered these off eBay for consistency.

CASE CLOSED

Case packed with 2 compresses

This kit has one 18″ and two 36″ SAM splints that can be used in many different ways and can be custom cut with the trauma shears.  Very handy to have on hand.  They beat the old ice cream scoop, vinyl covered wood, blow-up doll, waxed cardboard splints any day.

SPLINT

FareTec CT-6

REEL COMPACT

REEL Splint

The two photos above show the traction splints kept in or with the trauma kit.  The FareTec and the REEL splints are surplus finds.  If you’re looking to stock your kit check out eBay and the surplus stores.  Make sure all the parts are there before you buy, get new if at all possible.  Couldn’t give a price on either of these.  eBay as I shockingly found out only keeps auction records for 3 years not a running tally like amazon.

EYE DENTURE

Dental / Eye Kit

In the photo above are the contents of the dental and eye kit.  The denture case can be used for dentures, loose teeth or prosthetic eyes.  There is a sclearal cup for removing contacts and prosthetic eyes.  A case for contacts and a 10x magnified mirror.

Two eye shields and two food service 16 ounce cups for covering injured eyes.  Those things can work well for keeping eyes protected.  Some of the eye injuries I’ve seen makes me want these in stock at all times.  Not shown are the sterile eye cups, the Sal-jet rinse 30ml saline vials or the Refresh Plus eye drops.

Most items in the kit have multiple uses.  Dressing like the trauma and surgipad make good splint padding.  The surgical CSR wraps in the kit to make clean working space can be used to protect wounds.  A mylar blanket as an occlusive dressing.  The list is endless.

SEAL

Security Sealed Kit

Security seals are an important part of our medical system.  The seals are tightly controlled and numbered.  A strict system is in place, only a couple of people here are allowed to seal a kit.  That way when one of the kits need to be used and the seal is intact we can be assured the contents will be there.

The seals used in the video are not the same seals used on our bags.  They’re from old stock and are used for training.  They work the same as fire extinguisher seals, twist or pull on the seal and it will break easily.  If you get some, get numbered if possible it will help in case someone else has the same type/color seals.

A word of caution, be careful where they are placed on zippers they can break zipper parts easy.

CASE OPEN

Hardigg AL3018-0905

The Trauma Kit is kept in a cabinet or could be stored and transported in a heavy duty case with the REEL splint, a MOLLE 2 pack frame, various color pack covers, a quick litter in a dump pouch and a small tarp to place the contents onto.  The case is stored with the gasket out, if left in place it compresses under the weight of the other cases and is not as effective over time.

Seems like that covers the items I felt I left out of the video.  I don’t want to repeat the video here.  I would rather people watch the video, then read the blog after to see what was left out.  Clearly I don’t write scripts for these videos, just an item name, maybe a note.  If there are any changes or updates in the future they’ll be posted.  The new video is below.  -13

Other video project featuring the Mega Medic bag are below.

Product review video.

Video of MOLLE 2 pack modifications.

ALICE Magazine Pouch Turned MOLLE

From the Laboratory of Insane Schemes.  ALICE military surplus has been my load bearing choice since the mid 1970’s.  Not perfect for sure but it was a great place to carry my canteens and other items that would fit into ALICE 30 round magazine pouches.  Cut off the grenade pouch and they fit together nicely on an issue pistol belt.

Moving into the 2000’s.  After checking out some of the PALS / MOLLE surplus available I decided to change over.  Although the webbing can be hot and heavy the PALS way of attaching pouches or attachment of any kind to LBE or packs is a good one that almost makes the attached item a part of what it’s attached to.

Moving forward left unused canteen and ALICE magazine pouches packed in boxes and me wishing I had a better way than the adapters made to use ALICE on MOLLE.  The adapter still leaves the pouch flopping around like its on a pistol belt.  Not a very good solution.

I had the idea recently after a resupply to take apart an ALICE magazine pouch and see if I could convert it over to a MOLLE pouch.  If it would work it would fit perfectly on the space fillers on the DF-LCS rig elastic section I’d made from a zippered FLC purchased to salvage for parts.

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Inside view of FLC adapter/filler and “new” MOLLE magazine pouch attached.

First I had to figure out where the attachment straps would be placed near the top of the pouch and where to snap it on.  At the top I chose the hinge point for the lid so it wouldn’t interfere with access.  Snaps on the bottom.  When the snaps are on the back of the pouch they tend to push it out due to the bulk of the snap.  If snap popping becomes an issue they can always be changed to lift-the-DOT.  We’ll see what happens in the future.

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Finished pouch.

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Location of snaps

The web straps were the same length.   Doubled, folded in half and sewn together.  Measuring the magazine pouches for the PALS webbing I discovered that the pouch width could vary as much as a 1/4″ between 4 pouches.  I chose the widest width and cut all the pieces that size.  There are no actual dimensions in here because the variation in pouch width, measuring devices and points of measurement may not be the same as mine.  Duplicating it exactly may cause problems.

After lots of seam ripping and thread picking the pouch was in half and the ALICE webbing was removed.  Laying out the PALS is as simple as can be 1″ x 1 1/2″.  Since the pouch is so small I sewed a center line and the edges like I’ve seen on some issue pouches.  Sew the straps to the hinge point.  Keep it simple.

Although the snaps used and the Pres-n-Snap are designed to cut through the fabric without punching a hole, I did punch because the amount of pouches were small and I wanted more precise location of my snaps.  I’ve had puckering and slight movement of the snap post under pressure from the hand press that the finished snap was visibly off mark times I haven’t punched a hole first.  It’s also much easier on the body with a hand press if the hole has been punched.

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With the holes punched and the webbing sewn on, the stud part of the snap was installed on the bottom of the pouches.  I try to leave them until the end of the project or leave them off for as long as possible.  In the past I’ve put them on early thinking I’m saving time but they were in the way of the sewing machine on many occasions or were scratched up.

Once the snap half was in place the pouches could be sewn back together again.  The top and bottom received four stitch lines and the whole side of the pouch received two stitch lines.  That complete, the other half of the snaps were installed on the web straps and that was it.  Those are the steps I took to convert ALICE to MOLLE.  Now I have some of my favorite pouches to use again.  There’s a video below of the process.  -13

Materials used: Mil Spec DOT snaps, poly webbing, sunbrella thread.

Worm bin notes: Ant Invasion = The End!

Update 12, Bin 1.  Everything was going well, Sept 7th checkup and addition of vegetable waste.  No foul odors, the roly poly population had been reduced, still not much worm activity to see but they were there.  I still think the other insects were beating the worms to the good stuff and that’s what slowed their progress down.

27 Sept, started to set up to film, that involves moving the bin out into the clear space then setting everything up.  As cleared items from around the bin I noticed ants on the lid of the bin.  I opened the bin as soon as I saw them and to my surprise and horror ants had invaded bin 1.

Couldn’t believe it.  How, I was wondering did the ants get past the moat?  After a past lesson, I learned to use and keep them full of water.  Once the ants get in, that’s it, there is no more using that bin. I would never be able to separate the worms from the ants.  Ants haul the food away and will attack the other insects, all the other insects stay on the food supply creating the casting and don’t attack each other.

Didn’t film most of it,  wanted to get that bin out as soon as possible to prevent it from happening to the others.  The only part I did film was evicting a frog and an anole, couldn’t find the gecko I had seen before.  Wanted to get them out so I could explore the substrate before it went into the compost bin.

Based on my experience with other worms and the volume of waste they were offered I would have expected them to be much larger in size and population.  The competition with the roly poly may have had a much larger effect than I expected.  The project is called the Vermicompost Experiment for a reason.

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Reasons! Ant bridge straight to the top!

The best part is the mistakenly taken photo that shows clearly how the plywood bridges the lid to the floor making the moat useless.  The plywood is sat up so it shades it from the sun.  I suspect it slipped over, or was moved by one of our cats chasing lizards, who knows?  Doesn’t matter it was a fun experiment.  Changes have been made to prevent it from happening again.  Maybe it will work.  That’s all for bin 1.

Bin 2 and 3 are still active so the experiment continues.  I’ll have to finish last years video then make an update on those two.  -13

Worm bin notes: No Vacuums!

Update 11, Bin 1.  I’ve killed them for sure.  So much for that plan.   Standing over the compost bin I open the stocking and all I see is a pile of dead roly poly that were as healthy as could be minutes before.  What a sinking feeling.

Simple plan, stick a piece of pantyhose over the end of my shop vac hose, fix it on with rubber bands, suck up the roly polys and kill them.  Not exactly what I had in mind and a surprising disappointment.

Vacuum them up and let them go, alive, was the purpose of the stocking.  Not sure what happened there but it was a miserable failure.  It’s an interesting experience to have.  The feelings created when I didn’t mean to harm something on purpose as opposed to when it is intentional.  After editing the video I see it would have been easy enough to take the cardboard outside and knock them off.  Lesson learned.

It looks like I moved enough out for now.  I think based on what I saw in the bin, that the roly poly are eating the waste before the worms get a chance to.  They weren’t anywhere near the surface that I could see.  I had to move things around to spot a few small ones.

I’m wondering if the worm population is doing well.  I expected to see many worms at the surface trying to get at the avocados.  Have to check back in a few days to see if there will be more worm activity around the waste. -13

Worm bin notes: Fleeing the Ferment?

Bins 2 & 3, Update 12.  This one starts without notes.  The footage was filmed during the WordPress whiteout mayhem.  There are several times where the worms are at the top of the bin on the ledge/lip that the lid sits on.  Also in the recess created by the molded in handhold.

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August 16th, Bin 2, Worm bunch in recess.

The photo above is bin two, from the 16th, when they were bunched up in the recess.  Scooped them out with a flattened plant stem and dropped them back in the bin.  Still hadn’t thought of the fermenting possibility at that point and left the mango like it was.  The photo below shows why.  There is a mess of activity on the salad with the mango close by.

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August 16th, Bin 2, Upper left mango, lower left worms devour salad.

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August 16th, Bin 2, Worms devour salad, mango close by.

It doesn’t look like there is much going on near the mango.  In the video it doesn’t look like any insects are going near it.  Didn’t catch that detail when taking a few quick photos of the progress.  Might not matter.  The video of bin three shows them all around the mangos at the same time.  Days later on the 18th it looks like they’re passing by.

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August 16th, Bin 3, Worms close to mangos.

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August 18th, Bin 3, Worms don’t seem interested.

Not sure what that means if anything.  I’m still thinking they’re avoiding the fermenting gasses while the mango were in that state.  I’ll be paying much more attention in the future.  Will also wait longer before putting in fruits so I can pull the skin off by hand or chop them up.  Won’t be putting whole fruits in like that again.

The other stuff looks good, no unwanted insects or reptiles.  No fermenting or other smells.  Added some Florida avocados to both bins on the 18th.  There are plenty of veg scraps I’ll get in tomorrow for a check-up and add it then.  -13

Current video with accurate Closed Captions below.

Worm bin notes: Check-up

Update 10, Bin 1.  My plan for this bin was to remove as many roly poly as I could, add waste and leave it alone.  I was surprised to find so little of the roly poly I didn’t remove any of them.  That changed after editing the video. In the beginning part of the video while I’m away from the bin the roly polys are moving around and hiding.  After watching that I’ll remove them as planned next time I’m in the bin.

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August 18, Bin 1, Roly Poly

 

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August 18, Bin 1, Roly Poly

There were no roaches or odors.  Everything looked good in there.  The worms were below the surface as I usually find them when there is little waste in the bin.  Below is a short video that shows how the roly polys moved before I could see them and the conditions of the bin. -13