This page has moved to a new address.

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom

You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 8/16/09 - 8/23/09

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Neat Idea: A Coffee Can Ice Cream Maker

On Wednesday Timmy and I visited the Offutt AFB Community Center for a "Moms, Pops n Tots" (MPNT) Open House/End of Summer Party. Since Timmy was in preschool in the mornings last year, we never made it to the MPNT sessions. But this year maybe we'll show up when we can, since he'll be in afternoon preschool starting after Labor Day.

Timmy had a really nice time, there's a big play room and an arts and crafts area. For yesterday's party, there were a food spread and face painting.

What caught my attention was when one of the Community Center ladies (Ms. Villi, I think was her name, she's wearing a red shirt in the picture below) brought out the supplies to make ice cream using a coffee can ice cream maker! I'd never seen this setup before. It was essentially two coffee cans: a 1 lb. can embedded inside a 3 lb. can. Fill the inner can with the ice cream ingredients. Then you surround the inner can with ice and rock salt inside the outer can. Seal up both cans well -- so the salt doesn't leak into the inner can, and so you don't get melted ice all over the place. Timmy's adding rock salt below.

From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker
From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker

Roll the can back and forth for 10-15 minutes. You have to periodically refill the ice and salt.
From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker

But when it was done, it was no-kidding ice cream! Made with pure ingredients! The kids loved this (although it was hard to keep the preschoolers rolling the cans for the full 15 minutes...we parents ended up taking over).

Considering I have all the supplies for this sitting around the house anyway (well, I'd have to work through a 3 lb. can of coffee, I have a recently-emptied 1 lb. coffee can already), I think this is worth a try!
From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker
From 2009 08 19 CommunityCenterParty_IceCreamMaker

Labels: ,

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Latest HAP Afghan I'm Putting Together: 24th PTE Design V94 - Lisa R.JPG

I just received this afghan in the mail today to put together. I do this in support of The Handmade Afghans to Thank Our Armed Forces Project.

I love the colors on this one!

Labels: , ,

My Latest Cockamamie Hairbrained Idea: Vermicomposting!

"Vermi...what? Okay Major Mom, now what are you trying to do????"

All summer I've been basking in yummy veggies being harvested: lettuce, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and hops! Earlier this season I was using my compost to fertilize things and that really helps -- but over the past month the balance in the compost has been thrown off and now my compost is this nasty slimy stinky mess. I've already had to clean out the sludge a couple times this past month and things aren't improving. Too much moisture, not hot enough, not enough "brown matter" such as dry leaves.

This fall I will be able to work in the leaves as they fall from the trees, but until then, my compost is more or less useless. I can buy stuff to help things along, and I've done that before, but I think it's a bit late in the season to make it worth the $20 cost. Heck, it gets so cold here in the winter, the compost will not really get back to work until springtime.

So here I am, compostless. With little hope until springtime.

It rained a lot this past weekend...and while I was working on my garden just after a 1/2" soaker, I noticed the plethora of earthworms surfacing. And how fabulous the soil is when lots of earthworms are working through it -- the soil remains aerated and rich. The boys and I dug up a couple hundred worms and tossed them into the compost bin -- hopefully there are enough yummies still in there for the worms to help things out some.

That, of course, led me to hopping on the web and learning more about the worm casting process. Fascinating! With little more than a plastic bin and the old bills and papers I shred anyway, I could continue to generate compost all winter long!

So on Sunday I did it -- I ordered a batch of red wiggler worms that should be here by mid-week. In the meantime, I started preparing a bin so that as soon as the worms arrive they can go in.

I found many commercially available household worm bins for sale, usually for $75-150. But really, I think this is something I could do myself.

First I found one of the many storage totes that I tend to break out for PCS time. You'll see that this one was marked "Christmas" and last year was filled with legacy Christmas lights. Over the past couple years we'd converted to LEDs, so I just tossed the old lights into a paper bag. Anyway, I drilled some 1/4" holes into the bin, across the bottom and along the top half.

From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting
From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting

Then I filled the bin with shredded paper and some paperboard, such paper egg carton material. Then wet down the paper to a "wrung-out sponge" consistency. The worms now have a new home waiting for them.
From 2009 08 17 Vermicomposting

I'll be sure to let the world know how this turns out!

Labels: , ,