Category: Wormery

Finishing Projects (by )

Ok so sometimes we have problems finishing projects, sometimes we have problems starting the projects we've got the bits for/need to be done. This has been a combo of things including house moves, sickness, changes of work or work regimes and of course the dreaded ADHD.

So to combat this I used to set myself weekly and mounthly goals but it had kind of stopped working so it was time to find a new way. And that way was a Finish Projects Month - I had done these before for writing and drawings but normally they focus on one or two main projects and what we wanted was something to get our A into G on all the small almost finished stuff.

Well my aim was to end up with one finished project a day, Al's was to mainly get the niggling DIY stuff sorted.

We failed but as always with these challenges it is not really a fail. So Alaric has done much metal work and drilling. Preparing our house for structured cabling and server housing in the workshop. These count as two projects that are now much much further a head than they would have been and they need doing URGENTLY. To make our lives easier with DIY he made a contraption so that he could carry part of the compressor into the house but leave the noisy bit in the workshop. That is one FINISHED PROJECT.


1) Compressor mount and pipe carrier = FINISHED

2) Server case = getting there

3) Structured cabling = getting there

Jean now has a bit of trunking for her room and is very excited about the whole process. We also had to sort out craft areas and workshop etc... to make this work well.

4) Attic organised and craft's sorted = FINISHED (though still boxes of paper work to go through)

5) Workshop = one end SORTED

Then there was some paper work/bank bits which we will count as



On top of that we now have a nice rodent proof feed storage box for the chickens which needs to be put in place but is in the garden. This will allow me to sort out the shed and to shore it up a bit more so we can get a bit more life out of it :/ We also dealt with the flooring in the chicken run, which is now all nice though next time I need to dig down further and put gravel in but we are getting there with it!

8) Fed Bin = GOT

9) Chicken Run Flooring = SORTED

We also uped the exercise stuff, so Alaric is doing his runs and though I am not running I will be as soon as we can get me some shoes and me and Jeany are going climbing together once a week.

10) Climbing and running = OWNED!

Writing wise I've been being a bit lame and only managed to finish one flash fiction - which I remember coming up with the concept for in 2007 in Costa's in Cheltenham during the whole flood debacle. I'd typed the intro of it onto Magenta Monster in 2010 combining it with a story starter I'd picked up off of twitter - which had sparked the idea back to life :/ It is at least now finished!

11) Story The Tragedy of Love = FINISHED!!!

Oh and this prompted a bit of a blog clean up/updating session.

12) Blog sorting = SORTED

I made the girls dig out all their library books and we took them back and did all the niggly bits of shopping for the house (ie not just food).

13) Household admin/maintain = GOOD (never ever gets completely sorted EVER)

This then leads on to crafts and the like - so basically I was like arg!!! I have a crate of half finished kids craft project and like 3 of me craft project - this needs to be sorted NOW!!!

For a start there was the sock I had attempted for Al - it has it's problems but it is a nice sock, but fits Jean, has wholes in it and more importantly there is just one of it as I started in in what 2013? And did most of it and it had just been sitting there almost finished for the whole of last year - attic became a no go zone with building works a happening. Basically I've forgotten what I did so there is little hope of knitting another. But it is finished and now a base for something else - Jeany wants to turn it into a new purse/wallet for Alaric.

14) Al's Sock = Done by awaiting full incarnation

Having taken up crotchet and attempting to desperately learn the different stitches at the beginning of the year, I had ended up with lots of half finished squares - I now have 15 finished squares (still need to thread the ends away). They will either be flannels or squares for blankets depending on how square and what size they have come up!).

15) 15 crotchet squares = almost done

I'd sorted out all the knitting and sewing into project bundles and found I had some random pieces that I had no clue about. Fortunately whilst I was finishing off something else I remembered what one of them was, found the pattern, found my place in the pattern once more and finished it off - sadly it is only one side of a duck but I will be knitting the other half shortly - I needed the white wool to finish knitting Mary's Elsa dolly. This was supposed to be her main Christmas present :/ I still need to make some shoes and she needs sewing up and stuffing but I think she is getting there!

16) Duck toy = so not done yet but progress made!

17) Elsa Dolly = all knitted but sewing up, stuffing, hair and face needed

Alaric managed to finish two creeper faces on stuff I'd knitted ages ago.

18) Creeper faces = half done

However I have been creating more work for him in this area - I finally sewed together and stuffed the baby creeper plushy that I knitted for Jean ages ago - it was another stuck due to roof fix project! I should have gone with instinct and used foam except I hate foam so it has wadding in.

19) Baby Creeper sans face = OWNED!!!!

I wanted to finish Mary's fairy outfit that I have crotchet in giant chunky wool but it took me all month to get to the shop to pick up the last ball I need to finish the second shoe!

20) Fairy outfit = not done but materials got

And though I started them during the month there are also crotchet Easter Eggs - six of them 2 giants and 4 little ones. Jean wants more but as that is for the weekend I think she maybe whistling!

21) Giant Crotchet Easter Eggs = DONE

22) Mini Crotchet Easter Eggs = Done

There are also the epic Easter Egg Spoons we made at the weekend and the planter/seed markers.

23) Ester Egg Garden Ornament Spoons = FINISHED

24) Painted knife seed markers = FINISHED

And one dug over bed and allotment tidying (I have many other beds to dig), I also potted up half the seeds I want to grow in pots and fixed the sumps on the wormeries which I'd needed to do for a while.

25) Wormery sorting = DONE

26) Allotment = BEGUN!!!

27) Seeds = STARTED

Within this there was stuff like plant pots that had been painted by me as a teen and never used and grass heads that had been made and never used etc... so it was a job well done I think.

We also had Mother's Day Cake making with the girls which I'm counting as a finished project 🙂

28) Mushroom butterfly cake = BAKED and EATEN

And that leads on nicely to the girls... Jean has made bead eggs, finished off lots of the exercise books she has and been colouring in the felt pictures she had. Mary has been painting plant pots and making books, bits that had been pulled down/never gone up yet in their room have been sorted and THE GREAT CLOTHS SORT and some buying of the new happened. They finished Easter mobiles and we've put up the chinese lanterns that Jean had half made before the flood and have been sitting at the bottom of a crate ever since. We also did crayon rubbings and eater cards for their egg hunt.

29) Bead Eggs = FINISHED

30) Mary's Easter book about Elsa a.k.a birthday pressy for Al = ALmost there

31) Easter Mobiles = FINISHED (except that there is a chick missing but hopefully it will turn up at some point!)

There is still plenty left for them to do as there are half coloured in Easter bags and papier mache eggs and so on and obviously some of this is new kits they got for the Easter Hols. Of course Jean did the huge candle make which over lapped the beginning of this month and was quiet frankly EPIC!!!

32) Easter kids projects = in progress

33) Candle Making = DONE, FINISHED, EPIC NOOODLES!!!!

Alaric also set up opportunistic SMTP encryption for the server cluster, and renewed our self-signed SSL certs - which is for email stuff so I am hoping my email will once again be usable which it hasn't been :/

34) Emails = sorted (hopefully)

I also finished sewing together 2 bags knitted out of fluffy and in one case sparkly wool. One of these I started BEFORE I started going out with Alaric and it was supposed to be a shoulder wrap but I couldn't knit so it was lumpy and bumpy and I ran out of wool and tried to use the same type but different colours and... it works much better as a bag and can now (finally) be sent to the person it is for!

35) Fluffy rainbow record bag = COMPLETED

36) Purple fluffy purse/bag = COMPLETED

Oh and I finished Alaric's new scarf which I did on day one and Alaric has proudly been wearing it for most of the month 🙂

37) Accidental West Ham Scarf = HAMMERED

Ok so maybe that isn't so much of a fail as I had thought! And I now know exactly how many project there are which always helps 🙂

I also drew a portrait of Sir Terry Pratchett and think I now have most of my note books sorted.

38) Drawing of Terry Pratchett = sadly done

Within March I also organised and ran workshops on: mothers day card making, kids comedy night including slapstick and improv, Easter egg hunts including life sized Alaric Bunny - for which I had to make a tail!

Plus a writing meet.

39) Giant Bunny Tail = OWNED

And I almost forgot that Jeany made soaps! And asked for and earnt herself £10 worth of more soap making supplies (the original kit being from a couple of birthdays ago).

40) Jean's Soaps = LOVELY

Eeep! There's more! At the beginning of March it was Downes Syndrome Awareness Day and Mary's pre-school had an event celebrating one of the little ones with them and requested an odd sock day. So I made a mooky - a sock monster like I used to make with nan and uncle (for those of you who met me after I was married Benny was Downes and died a couple of months after our wedding), it seemed appropriate to me, though I've had to explain to several people who were concerned that I was making an "odd monster" for the awareness day. Basically I made a cuddle toy for Mary out of odd socks.

41) Mooky for Moo the Mooky = DONEDID

Ooo also we settled in the new chickens 🙂

42) Chickens!!!! = settled and laying

So what of this coming month April?

I'm doing two writing challenges - one is Camp Nanowrimo which is linked to the novel writing madness I do in November. Script Frenzy is no more so I am doing it for Camp but always I am working on my comic books which are based in my Punk Universe. But also in general I will be catching up on all things comic related stuff including the pending blog posts and stuff about the Wiggly Pets, but obviously main focus is getting the 100 page script written.

The second is NaPoWriMo which is a Poem a Day writing challenge and will be the thrid one for this year - I tend to go with the "I am going to spend 30 hrs on poetry this month" approach which as I am running workshops at the wonderful Poetry Festival as well, should not be a hard one to complete 🙂

Better get one with some of the work I suppose!

The Allotmenting Begins! (by )

Cabbages and leeks and chard

So we kind of didn't get to the allotment in Nov, Dec or Jan except to pick up brussels for Christmas. At the weekend we popped down there to a) pay the annual fee and b) to check out exactly what needs doing.

I picked the last of the cabbages and pulled a leek and eyed up a few of the other things that are supposed to still be there and was very please. Yes it is not neatly rotavated like a lot of the other plots but when I think of what it looked like when we took it on!

We also put out boundary string back up and started forming plans 🙂

I am hoping that it will be good weather this coming weekend so that we can spend one or two hours there again as at the very least I want to move my worm juice stock there (the liquid I drain out of the wormeries is basically plant food and good to mix in with the water for some crops).

The drawings we did on the chair have all come off which is no bad thing as it simply means the girls get to do new fresh designs this year 🙂

Dragon on a chair

Yes that's the little dragon from the weekend Symmon - he is coming on outings and being photographed for some Wiggly Pet Blog stories 🙂 Here's a closer shot.

Dragon on chair slats

Another Hectic Bank Holiday (by )

It started Friday with a friends leaving the country do in Bristol where I chatted about politics, scifi, fantasy, gaming, art and science. Then Saturday it was up relatively early to go to an audition to sing at the Gloucester Pride in June (more on that later), then it was home to work on festival trollies and to bake cakes 🙂

The girls helping daddy build a festival trolly

We found a broken trolly a few years ago and we decided that this year we were going to get it fixed in time for festival seasons 🙂 Al has slowly been buying and finding the bits to do this with. He has spent the weekend welding, sawing and tightening things 🙂

test running the festival trolly

He insists it's not a gokart.

Alaric assuring me it's not a go kart for the girls

I made chocolate orange cake, diary free choc cup cakes and lemon zest cupcakes for the family fun day to raise money for the Play House Theatre in Gloucester (more on this later too as it was a fab day with lots and lots of photos!).

Sunday was pretty much taken up with the Funday which ran from 11 until 4, we had pizza and film time when we got home.

Today I got up, cleaned out chickens and sorted the wormaries a bit - one of them had an ants nest in it 🙁 But fortunately it hadn't done that much damage. I then had a shower and we headed out to the climbing wall for Jean's Rock Mice season. She was in disgrace for wearing her shiny school shoes and the wall don't tend to give climbing shoes out for mice seasons :/

If she wants new shoes before next term she is buying them herself!

I worked on the design and illustrations of the comic book whilst she was in climbing and Mary and Al went shopping for various bits including a drill bit and strawberry plants!

Last week me and the girls cleared up the old grow bags and put the soil in the girls old laundary basic to make an upcycled strawberry planter. Jean then helped me plant the strawberries Al had got.

Jean planting strawberries

They weren't quiet the kind of strawberry plants I had in mind so not sure how well it is going to work but hey ho!

One upcycled strawberry planter

This then lead to the issue that Al had managed to get far more plants than I had expected for the tenner I'd suggested (he actually spent 12 but close enough). So this meant that we had to find homes from the remaining plants - and this meant finally getting around to mounting all the disused cabinets on the wall that I have collected since we moved in.

Alaric rilling wholes in old cabinets to mount of the garden wall Alaric drilling the wall for the old cabinets

As you can only really use good solid furniture for this sort of thing it took two of us to mount them on the wall - this meant I got to play with the power tools too as the cabinets were too heavy for me to hold up for any time.

corner unit as planter

I'm really quiet pleased 🙂

heart cabinet as wall strawberry planter

And I have space for more stuff to happen.

old shelving unit as planter

We were then going to head down to the allotment but alas the weather got in the way so instead we headed to the garden centre to get some planters - we found some galvanized ones on half price sale so got four of them plus some more terracota pots. So it turned into an expensive weekend. But I then spent the evening repotting my sage, tyme, comfrey and sorrel. I also weeded the blue wooden planter I have and put four pots of margaram, golden margaram and oragano into it. The pots I freed up I then used plant out more of my tomatoes that I have grown from seed.

I cleaned the decking up where I've put the planters and am chuffed 🙂 Also though not this weekend - this week I also cleaned the smaller planters I had and brought them in for the window sills. I planted them up with salad mixes as I have been cheerfully eating home grown salad. One night during the week I made basically the whole dinner from home grown stuff - true most of it we have to thank the person who had the allotment before us but still!

Feeling guilty we didn't make it too the allotment though :/ We plan to go after work this coming week.

Putrescible Waste 2 (by )

Having looked into this a bit more I discover that a lady up the hill from us did indeed used to feed resturant waste to her wormeries but that she had to give the business up.


Becuase she could not sell the compost.


Becuase we import stuff cheaper than she could produce it for. Why are we importing compost? And she said it was from the Netherlands I think (well around there somewhere) - this concerns me as I bet it is peat we are actually importing and the peat bogs are a bit of an endangered habitate plus it is the cold climate carbon sink (like the rain forestests only for cold climate - peat is made from moss you see and it takes ages for it to all stake up like that and make peat.)

This is even worse when you think about the fact that we will be using lots of fuel to ship the stuff over - now I like international trade but things like this annoy me - there is no reason to import this stuff 🙁

Someone pointed out we have land which we could use for this perpose - for a start the land is not currently ours it belongs to Al's family but not directly us. Plus having spoken to this lady I think that we'd have trouble doing more than 30 resturants.

Still it is now on my todo list for when we have a) free time and b) money.

I am actually wondering about the practicalities of producing alcohol for non-culinary uses from such waste plus what of the volitile gases like methan etc... Maybe with the help of a chem eng student or three we could design some big ol' bacteria compost muching vats with pipes and what not to syphon stuff of?

This is obviously a new idea so it is not well thought out and there's bound to be fifty million problems but still its worth thinking about surely?

p.s. people feel free to still this idea and run with it though let people know about it and dont get your pantent locked in a safe so no one can do anything please?

Relocating the Wormery (by )

It's that time of year again when we should be neigh already have been potting up seeds, this ment we remembered our poor wormery!

The wormery had fallen out of use for several reasons and Al was concerned that the worms would no longer be alive but they can survive for months with nothing to eat so I wasnt overlly concerned. Why had it fallen out of use?


a) We produce kitchen waste at a rate the new wormery with just one bag of live worms couldnt cope with so we had to take over spill to the compost heap. Last we looked we had filled all three trays (not all with fresh kitchen waste as that would be feast city! You need to stagger the amount that goes in or things get icky as it is the last lot we put in was obviously too much but more on that later!). Thus we were waiting for there to be space again to put new waste - the bottom try was already compost in the autum but we have no were really to keep the compost so it had to stay in there and bide its time.

b) So much random stuff had been piled around it that I personally could not easily get to it and as it tended to be me who did it - it was now relying on me reminding Al - which, well, didnt happen cos I'm a scatty cow.

So we cleared things away from it - Al drianed the 'worm juice' which we store in fabric condition bottles as plant food.

Having refound the camera! Here is a picture of him pouring the worm juice from the old milk tin into the fabric softner box - over the stream incase of spillage!

Worm Juice

We then lifted the insulating bubble wrap that we put on when the temperatures drop to keep the worms munching their little hearts out rather than slowing down to complete inactivity. This when we found that obviously their had been some fruit fly eggs in something we had put in there. Little maggots were wending their merry way out of the little grids for ventualition at the top - then either getting stuck and dying there or not making it out of the bubble wrap which had hundreds of little maggot carcasses in it.


a) YUCK!!!!!

Moggots :( Unfortunatly that was my last pic as the memory card was full!

b) I DON"T DO MAGGOTS!!!! Give me spiders, catipillars, frogs, ear wigs - you name it I'm fine with it (unless the catipillars look like maggots that is!) but MAGGOTS - No, skins itching just writing this!

Unfortunatly Al couldnt lift the wormery by himself so I had to focus very hard on not running away and help him carry it out side so we could extraxt compost and relocate.

Now I was a bit concerned that it was too damp inside from the worm juice we had extracted (there is a sump in the bottom where putrid liquid pools - its conical so worms can crawl up it and not drown). Al took the lid off to risne in the stream. I looked inside - yep lots of fruit flies and it was too damp - it was sludgy mess so we had definatly been putting stuff in it at too fast a rate for the wormies to cope. Funily though it did not smell - I expected it to wreak to high heaven from the look of it but no - no odor at all?!

Lid cleaned, Al lifted the two top layers whilst I removed, the initially stuck, third and bottom layer. This layer was full of worms and nice rich compost, a bit sogger than I would have liked though I did not see any condrities (I think thats their name) - the little white worms that appear when conditions in the soil are too damp. The bizar thing though was that though the leaflet that came with the wormery had said they like egg shells - all the eggs shells we had put in were still there embedded quite prettily in dark compost giving an oolitic type of pattern.

We extracted as many worms as was easy and dumped them into the top layer. Then we put the compost into buckets with garden trowls - rescuing a few more worms on route!

This done I was muttering heavily about the twisted and bent leg on the wormery - Al recons it was were he'd just dragged it over cobble stones - I recon its were a damn great box of rubbish had been shoved next to it in the stable with no care or attention. I found another missing leg when going to get the worm treats from the stable.

We put our current kitchen waste in what had been the top layer but would now be the middle layer - liberally added worm treats and a layer of cardboard - I want to get some more coconut husk matting for it but having to wait for the money situation to settle down a bit at the mo before I can do that. We then put the now empty layer on to added lid and moved it to stand next to the drain in front of the house.

After all its ment for outside but I was initially worried that the badgers would knock it over and eat all the worms or that foxes would smell the rubbish - we'll just have to wait and see as it was pretty useless were it was!

Still the compost looks great can't wait to start growing things in it!

We got the wormery from Wiggly Wrigglers

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