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I’ve got worms. They kinda tickle. June 5, 2013

Filed under: Community Events/Resources,Uncategorized — beachbumsdiapers @ 5:57 am
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Vermicomposting is the domestication of worms for agricultural use. (Good thing cause I heard they used to bite!). While taming those ferocious worms may seem like a daunting task, it’s really pretty easy, if you follow some simple rules. Is it right for you?

There are several things to look at when deciding to use worms to divert waste. Do you have small children running around? (kids LOVE worms) Are you in a confined space, for instance an apartment or condo? (worm bins can be very small and kept under the kitchen sink) Are you really bad when it comes to remembering to feed your pets? (Perhaps a single lady, on the go) Are you not much for gardening but would like to do what you can to divert your waste away from a landfill? Are cats no longer enough and you really could use a few thousand more pets? Then I have news for you…..You are the ideal worm composter.
Vermicomposting is a fairly low maintenance way to compost on a small or large scale. Remember, Beach Bums composts hundreds of diapers using this method. Although it is important to set up a nice environment for your worms, they are the ones doing all the work. Worms are incredibly forgiving and accommodating. They can go months without a lot of supervision and also enjoy some human interaction. We sing to ours on a regular basis. You do not need to take your worms for a walk each evening or hire a pet sitter when vacationing. They are not very picky and eat just about everything (including diapers). In fact, if I were going to be a decomposer, I’d want to be a worm. They eat their body weight every day. Just saying. I think that’s a gig I could handle.

Many home composters will have a worm bin and a traditional compost pile. The two work well together. Without getting too complicated, let’s set out the basics for vermicomposting and what you need to get started.
What do you need?
Your worms need a house. They like to entertain, throw crazy parties, and have worm orgies. They sell multilevel condo high-rises for your upscale worms or there is the mid-level multifamily worm bin, and the bare bones worm trailer. You can buy all kinds of vermicomposting bins. Google it. Make your own, or have nature take over and move some scoundrels in for you. Since you can look at all the different types of worm bins on your own time and there are a gazillion DIY tutorials on the subject I won’t bore you the details. I will help you furnish you worm house once you have one picked out.
Worms need a bed, a food source, and a place to make babies. Newspapers, egg cartons, coconut coir, shredded paper, (ahem) Broody Chick fully compostable diapers, all make excellent housing materials. Spread these down on the bottom of your worm bin. You want about 5 inches of bedding. Then dampen the bedding. A spray bottle works best.
Now put in some food. Worms eat almost anything. Kitchen scraps, yard trimmings, coffee grounds, left over pizza crust, old moldy pumpkins. There are a few things to stay away from. Pine needles, eucalyptus, Chili peppers, oleander, lots of grass clippings, meat, and dairy. Like I said, the worms will eat their bodyweight in food each day. Beware of overfeeding. The bin will get super stinky from rotting garbage and the worms will die. If you have a pound of worms then they can eat a pound of food. You can’t have too many worms but you can have too few. When in doubt, get some more worms.

Although worms are very low maintenance, there are a few things that will kill off your worm population.
The conditions are too dry- Worms need moisture in the bin in order to breathe.
You are over feeding the worms- a buildup of organic material may cause the bin to overheat or chase the worms away.
The bin is in the sun- worms are like vampires. They hate the sun and the heat. Warm sandy beaches in a tropical paradise is not a nice vacation spot for worms. Think decaying forest floor. They like between 40 and 80 degrees and will die at 90 degrees. So if your bin is outside consider a shaded spot or perhaps the garage.
Once you have created this great environment for decomposition, don’t be alarmed if all the neighbors want to get in on this action. It is perfectly normal to have other worm species, slugs, pill bugs, beetles,
millipedes, mites, or other creatures in your worm bin if your bin is outside. They are welcome to join in on the feast. If you have an indoor bin this should not be an issue and your red wrigglers will flourish all on their own.

Worm bins can be both fun and rewarding for your family and a fantastic alternative to traditional active composting. Do you have a worm bin? I’d love to see a picture of it.

INSIDER TIP:
When adding food to your worm bin make sure your cover it to decrease flies, vermin, and other pests from attacking your compost bin. Also,
remember that worms do not like the sun, if the worms are exposed to light they will crawl away deeper into the soil and at times leave your worm
bin.

 

Don’t look now but there’s a protozoa in your pile! May 29, 2013

expert_biology

Alright peeps so stuff just got real. Like wouldyoupleasepassthehorsepoopandsomemorecoffee real. This composting is serious scientific business. This is soil, not dirt. A group of 20 out behind this office building on the edge of a canyon wielding pitch forks and garden hoses. We brought in trunks full of ‘garbage’ and sorted through it. Nothing like going through peoples’ trash to get to know them.

If you are enjoying the process of composting then congratulations you are on the road to becoming a real farmer. A bacteria growing farmer. Composting is about creating an environment where bacteria can outgrow each other. There are four levels of decomposers that are necessary. The first level are your bacteria and fungus. They are chemical decomposers. The next 3 levels are physical decomposers. Level 1 physical decomposers are beetles, mites, earthworms, millipedes, snails, sow bugs, flies, roundworms, rotifers, and yes, protozoa. Level 2 physical decomposers are springtails, mold mites, feather winged beetles, beetle mites, soil flatworms. Level 3 physical decomposers are ground beetles, psuedoscorpia, centipedes, rove beetles, spiders, predatory mites, and ants. All first level decomposers feed on the organic matter in the compost pile. The physical decomposers feed on the organic matter and the lower level chemical decomposers. The higher levels of the food chain feed on the lower levels and so forth.

The USDA regulations for killing the pathogens in your compost and fostering the most growth of good bacteria is to get your compost pile to 131-150 for 3 days. This is when your seeds die, your pathogens die, and organic matter breaks down quickly. Remember in the last post when I told you the 4 things you need for the hot pile? Greens, browns, water, and air. This is when that ratio becomes real important. In a few days, go out, check the pile, take its temperature, turn it over, aerate it. Maybe add a little water. The temperature should have shot up real high, now just keep it there. One of the interesting things I have learned is that it is not the sun that makes your pile get hot. It is the microorganisms breaking down the matter. It could be the dead of winter in Alaska and a healthy compost pile will still be steaming. So it doesn’t matter where your location for the pile is. It is not necessary to have it in a full sun spot in the yard.

 

So there you have it. Throw a bunch of stuff into a mound and spray it down with water. Bing, bang, boom. Black gold. Sounds super easy right. Uhhh, not so much. Perhaps something a little less maintenance? Stay tuned while I help you determine if a worm bin is a little more your speed.
Insider tip: if you see ants in your compost pile then it is too dry. It is also not hot enough. Stir it up. Add a generous helping of coffee grounds, get your pile nice and wet and the ants will be gone by morning.

 

Using Organic Carpet Cleaners May 18, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — beachbumsdiapers @ 7:03 pm

carpet cleaning

Every time toxic cleaners are used, there’s a heavy impact on our environment. It does not matter whether the cleaners are poured, sprayed, washed, rinsed, or dumped. The negative and harmful effects are the same. When we use these things we risk adding toxins to the air and to the water, both of which come back to us and are shared with the public. If you are not sure whether your cleaning products are harmful to you and the environment, take a look at the product labels to see the various types of chemical ingredients that are listed. What you find might surprise you!

Some products you may want to review are your carpet and carpet cleaners. For many of the cleaning needs today, there are healthier, organic alternatives to the usual toxic products. Carpet cleaners are no different. If you are concerned about this issue, and would like to use products that are more healthful, consider switching to organic cleaning products. Organic carpet cleaners, for example, are generally dry cleaners that are much less harmful on both the human body and the environment, than traditional carpet cleaners.

What to Consider When Cleaning Carpet

The best organic carpet cleaners are biodegradable and nontoxic. You should also look for those that have a pH balance that is gentle on the environment. It is equally important to ensure that a product’s packaging is made from 100% recycled material.

If you want your carpets to be professionally cleaned, you should know that there are professional organic carpet cleaners who specialize in the healthful cleansing of even the dirtiest carpets. If you have trouble locating professional organic carpet cleaners locally, try searching online to see if you can find one that is close to your area.

 

 How to Clean Your Carpet With Organic Carpet Cleaners:

  • The most important point to remember, is to be aware of the harmful chemicals that are typically found in commercially sold carpet cleaners, and make an effort to select organic carpet cleaners for the sake of your family’s health.
  • There are other alternatives that you can consider when you’re planning to have greener home & work environments. There are organic carpets and pads. A very safe carpet to purchase is one made of 100% natural wool fibers.
  • Carpet is not your only alternative for floor covering. Remember along side all-natural carpets made of wool or hemp, you can also elect to have natural wood flooring, not pressed or chipped board.
  • When you’re having new materials put on your floor, whether it’s wood, carpet or some other beneficial covering, be sure to use proper backing, natural rubber is a good one. And then there’s the fixative. Sometimes the glue used can give off toxic fumes that linger for a long time after the flooring is installed. Check with your installer to make certain that he’s using the safest products for everyone.
  • One simple & effective product for deodorizing carpet between major cleanses is baking soda. You can sprinkle this dry substance freely over your carpet. Let is sit for as short as 30 minutes or as long as over night; then vacuum. If you’ve ever used baking soda in your refrigerator, then you know how effective it is at removing odors. It can do the same for your carpet & it’s safe.

This information was provided by Jayson Yavorsky from Peninsula Carpet Care in San Diego

Peninsula Carpet Care is in San Diego Ca. and uses a Special 100% Organic and Green Steam Cleaning process that is Thorough, Dry’s Fast and Keeps your carpet Cleaner Longer! For your Free Healthy Home Assessment and 1 Free Room Cleaning Demonstration contact them soon.

You can contact them at www.PeninsulaCarpetCare.com , email at PeninsulaCarpetCare@gmail.com or phone 619-275-5555

 

Happy Composting May 13, 2013

compost in hands

Compost. The earth returning what it is to where it came. It is a glorious wonderful organic dirty business. A diverse, all consuming, melting pot of organisms coexisting and getting hot together. Pieces from different backgrounds all coming together to contribute what they have to offer in a beautiful mix of elements.

So begins my training of becoming a master composter. A class of 20 specimens of diversity, coming together into a ‘people pile’ on Tuesday nights in a San Diego classroom. Letting science take its hold and return us to our more natural state. Talking, sharing, learning and creating.

One of my classmates (fellow organism) said how cool composting was, like playing God. Taking leftovers and turning them into soil. We can make dirt. That’s a cool trick. Magicians the world over strive to create life but we are doing it every day and guess what? We want to share, no secret tricks here.

 For me the backgrounds of my fellow students were the most interesting component of the class. It was the first day, so we did those standard, around the room introductions. “Hi, my name is…”  kind of stuff. Biologist, biochemist, mom, horticulturist, gardener, rancher, farmer, doctor, professor, student, small business owner, daughter, veteran,  teacher, backyard gardener.

We all came together in a course of events, ready to learn and break down in our own kind of organic way. Like a pile, in need of a little activity, perhaps some stirring up. Recognizing what we have to offer. Ready to get wet and a little dirty.

I can’t wait till next week. We have to work together to start our compost piles.  I’ve been collecting all the compostable things I can find. Dryer lint is compostable and uhh, to say we have a lot of organic cotton dryer lint is an understatement.

Insider tip of the week:

 How_Compost_Happens

What you need to have an active, hot compost pile.

There are 4 ingredients.  Dried up brown stuff-leaves, twigs, newspaper, cardboard, egg carton, etc.

Fresh green stuff- yard clippings, food scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds, grass.

Water-from a hose or the sky, works the same. Not too much, we are making compost here people, not a swamp. Look for the wetness of a rung out sponge.

 And lastly air. So you’re gonna need to get air into that pile somehow. You can turn it, stir it up, poke holes in it….move it around, however you choose.

That’s it. 4 things. Browns, greens, water, air. Start with about 50/50 ratio of browns and greens. Mix them up, keep them damp. In a week or so get some air throughout your pile. And repeat. Pretty basic. You want the pile to be hot in the core, where all the action is. Not hot like burn your skin hot but steamy, like a drinkable cup of coffee. When you stir it all up the temperature will go down but soon the heat in the core will go right back up.

There are endless volumes on the subject and all kinds of problems that could arise, I mean I’m taking a big class on this stuff and getting certified. I’m not here to bore you with that stuff. I’m here to motivate you, encourage you, and get you started to a greener lifestyle.

Happy composting!

~Russella

 

The Problem with Biodegradable April 24, 2013

I am a believer in doing what is right for yourself, your child, and your family. No one should tell you: you must have a natural childbirth, breastfeed, not vaccinate, co-sleep or use cloth diapers.  These are personal decisions meant to be made by you and your family.  However, I am also a believer in knowing all the facts in order to be sure you make the right decision.

I personally chose cloth for many reasons, the environment being just one of them.  It is an important one.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 20 billion diapers go into landfills each year.  A disposable diaper takes hundreds of years to decompose.  That means they just keep piling up.  They are all still here taking up space and will be for generations to come.  What will happen to the lives of our children’s children and their children’s children if we do not take steps to solve this issue?

I hear it all the time.  “I couldn’t do cloth but it’s ok, I am using biodegradable diapers.”  I know the people who say this think they are doing something right for the environment and I hate to be the bearer of bad news but………..

  1. Most diapers, even those that are “green” like Seventh Generation are NOT made of biodegradable materials.
  2. If they are, unfortunately, being made from biodegradable materials doesn’t mean much if you throw something in the trash.  Sure, many things are made of biodegradable materials. Coffee cups plates, garbage bags, dinnerware, etc. But being made from biodegradable materials does not mean they will breakdown because in  landfill the conditions are just not right for biodegradability.
biodegradable  (ˌbaɪəʊdɪˈɡreɪdəb ə l) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]
 
adj
  (of sewage constituents, packaging material, etc) capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other biological means

Capable yes….biodegradable materials are capable of breaking down naturally in the right conditions. However, landfills are designed to hold everything in.  To protect our air, water and soil they line the landfill with plastic and cover up the waste. Nothing gets out (good), no air gets in (not so good).  The waste then breaks down anaerobically, without air, over very long periods of time. This results in the emission of methane, a very dangerous greenhouse gas.

So, even if something is made of biodegradable materials, a landfill is designed to keep it from breaking down. Some may argue, “At least it will break down faster…that’s good, right?”  Maybe not. In fact according to this article, waste made from biodegradable materials that is thrown in the landfill could be causing more harm than good.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110531115321.htm

It states that these biodegradable products do breakdown faster, but emit methane gas in the process because they are breaking down without air. Modern landfills are usually required to burn methane or capture it to use for fuel….but not until about 2 years after it is buried. During this time, those products that are breaking down faster are emitting lots of Methane directly into the atmosphere.

So, what is the solution? Just buy regular, seemingly less environmentally sound products and throw them away?  No! If you choose to use these biodegradable products, you need to consider how you are disposing of them.  Any of these biodegradable products are most likely compostable or recyclable. Composting breaks down waste aerobically, with air, resulting in no methane gas emission if done right.

So how does that pertain to the choice of which diaper to choose? Until recently, cloth diapering was the only option for avoiding contributing to this enormous problem.  Now Beach Bums also has a single use option….the compostable diaper! We love cloth and we think it is a great choice for reusing and contributing to helping the environment. But we hear so often that cloth is too overwhelming, hard, leaky, gross or inconvenient. We understand that it may not be for everyone and  are so excited that now there is a single use option that is just as good for the environment. These diapers actually are made of biodegradable materials and are fully compostable.  If you compost them, they will break down to dirt….naturally, quickly and amazingly! Throw them in your backyard composting bin! Into your vermiculture bin! Or have Beach Bums pick them up and we will put our many worm employees to work making this a better planet!

And for other products? Compost, compost, compost! The city of Calgary made this nifty little video to inform people about the importance of composting. Watch and learn….then go out and get a composting bin!

thecityofcalgary Too Good to Waste

In fact, San Diego has an amazing compost bin voucher program, so there really is no excuse….get composting!

http://www.sandiego.gov/environmental-services/recycling/

Because, in the timeless words of Dr. Seuss…….

Things to Consider

🌱 Amy

 

OUR GUEST BLOG BEING FEATURED OVER AT SAN DIEGO COUNTY’S CHIROPRACTOR April 17, 2013

Local Business Spotlight: Beach Bums Diapers

Guest post by Russella Kobusch

The thing about babies is that they poop, a lot. There is no way around it. No matter how hard you try to avoid those 2 am diaper changes they come at you full force. Everyone knows it. Have you ever been to a baby shower and not seen piles of diapers with bows on them? One baby will go through an average of 7000 diapers. Each year 8,400 babies are born at San Diego’s Mary birch hospital alone. That ‘s  a whole lot of poop.  Most of these diapers are loaded up with chemicals and thrown into landfills. That stinks- pun intended.

There are many harmful chemicals in a standard disposable, single use diapers. Here are a few and why you don’t want them anywhere near your rosy cheeked little bundle of joy.

Dioxin- Dioxin is a by product of the chlorine bleaching process. When it comes to diapers, this is what is primarily used to make them white. Dioxin has been labeled by the EPA as one of the most toxic chemicals in our environment today. It is a known carcinogen. It was the primary chemical used in agent orange.  Exposure to Dioxin has been linked to, are you ready for this?  Cancer, compromised immune systems, nervous system damage, Asthma, Birth defects, inability to maintain pregnancy, decreased fertility, reduced sperm count, Diabetes, learning disabilities, skin disorders, lowered testosterone levels, and increased risk of breast cancer. These Dioxins also released into our environment polluting the air and contaminating water supplies.

TBT/Tributyltin- This chemical alters genes that promote the growth of fat cells, causing obesity. It is extremely harmful to marine life. It does not degrade but remains in the environment, thus interrupting the entire food chain.

Sodium Polyacrylate/SAP- This is a known skin irritant and is a source of respiratory problems. When inhaled or ingested they cause damage to the eyes, skin, and lungs. These super absorbent polymers are used in almost all disposable diapers to absorb liquid and keep the diaper feeling dry. Have you ever seen those little gel crystals on a babies bum when you change them? That is the stuff we are talking about here. It is a chemical that was removed from tampons in 1980 due to toxic shock syndrome but continues to be present in diapers.

Disposable diapers also contain dyes, fragrances, plastics, petroleum, and adhesives . These diapers have a major impact on landfills. They take between 200 and 500 YEARS to break down. Again, that’s a lot of poop!That means every disposable diaper ever used is still present on our planet!

There are a few solutions to this dilemma. One is to go back to the basics. Cloth Diapering eliminates the use of landfills and, if laundered with environmentally sound methods, minimizes the negative environmental impact and completely eliminates chemicals from your little ones tush. For some people this idea is completely overwhelming and  impractical to their lifestyle. That is how single use diapers got so popular in the first place. There are some disposable diapers out there that reduce the amount of chemicals being used, however they are still present. Many use chlorine to bleach the paper, dyes to make them ‘cute’, and super absorbent polymer.

Beach Bums Diaper service is serving San Diego families with 2 all natural diapering solutions. Our cloth diaper service uses the most eco- friendly methods for laundering, including line drying and ‘bleaching’ in the sun. We also are the only service that delivers a completely natural single use diaper! These diapers are compostable and broken down using vermiculture in about 90 DAYS! (that’s like a gazillion times less than other disposable diapers!!)

If you would like to learn more about these super diapers and how you can lessen your environmental impact and ensure less chemical exposure for your baby, please give us a call, at 760-315-3509 or  visit our website. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook for lots more information about diapering and parenting naturally!

 

Check out more from Dr. Steve Tullius’s Blog at

http://sandiegocountychiropractor.com/san-diego-business-spotlight-beach-bums-diaper/

 

How to Care for and Prevent Ear Infections Naturally April 10, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — beachbumsdiapers @ 4:47 am
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Everything is peaceful. You’ve just gone to bed. The little one is fast asleep. Then all of a sudden you hear a piercing cry coming from their room.

If you are like the majority of parents this scenario is all too common or waiting to occur as 75% of children will have at least one ear infection by the age of 3. In fact, ear infections are in the top 10 reasons for admittance to the emergency room in the U.S. with 1.6 million visits in 2006. Chronic recurring ear infections will affect 25% of children and become a huge problem for the child and family.

While the most common method of treating ear infections is the use of antibiotics, various pediatric guidelines recommend a watch and wait strategy as routine antibiotic use has been shown to be ineffective and potentially harmful.

For those parents looking to get to the root of the problem or prevent them in the first place, a trip to the chiropractor is one of the most common and effective methods.

According to Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the Journal of Pediatric, Maternal and Family Health, “With everything we know about the dangers of antibiotic abuse and the side effects of drug use in children, chiropractic intervention makes perfect sense in the case of childhood ear and viral infections. In fact, chiropractic is the treatment of choice for dealing with the structural and neurological aspects of ear infections.”

Chiropractors are specifically trained to locate and correct neurological stress known as vertebral subluxation. In the upper neck, delicate nerves supply the muscles that open and close the eustachian tube. When subluxation is present, altered function of these muscles can cause the tubes to not drain properly. Just like a stagnant pool of water that draws mosquitos, fluid trapped in the middle ear is ripe for bacteria and viruses to flourish.

Once the subluxation is corrected with gentle and safe chiropractic adjustments, normal function can return and the body is able to heal naturally.

Countless children and families have been helped with this natural, safe approach to health and well-being. To see if chiropractic can help your child and family, consult with a chiropractor specifically trained to care for children.

Dr. Steve Tullius is a pediatric and family chiropractor located in Kennsington. He can be reached at (619) 281-1234. Check out his practice’s website at http://goodvibrationschiropractic.com/

For more information about ear infections and chiropractic visit http://sandiegocountychiropractor.com/ear-infections-and-chiropractic/

 

 
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