Condo Blues: zerowaste




Showing posts with label zerowaste. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zerowaste. Show all posts

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Why and How to Sift Compost

I recently upgraded our single tumbling compost bin to this exact double tumbling compost bin hoping to correct some mistakes we made when we started our first compost pile. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)

The mistakes we made weren’t horrible and we did create usable compost that turned our practically all clay tan colored garden beds to earthworm rich dark black soil. But the compost coming out of the bin has always been soggy. It was also full of plastic bits we thought would compost but didn’t break down.

How did this happen? Well for one, since we don’t have access to grass clippings or leaves we used shredded paper and cardboard for brown matter (and any sawdust I made in the garage) and we simply didn’t add enough. The fix for wet or smelly compost is to always have more dry brown matter in your compost pile than green matter (vegetable and fruit peels, coffee grounds, etc.) As for the plastic bits, we’d just empty the entire contents of our home office paper shredder into the compost bin and all of those window envelopes I shredded thinking they would break down because they are made from cellulose where actually some sort of plastic.

There was finished compost  in the bottom of the single compost bin but because it stopped turning and we couldn’t mix it very well with one of those compost turner things that look like this. Our compost was a big wet clump full of unwanted bits that I could easily save by sifting the almost finished compost and chucking a ton of this exact wood chip pet bedding into one side of the new compost bin and let it break down. Adding more shredded paper and cardboard boxes would also do the trick but I didn’t have enough of either in the quantity I needed at the time.

how to fix wet smelly compost

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

Super Silky Oh So Fluffy Coco Butter Body Butter Recipe

My latest batch of liquid soap came together beautifully. That gave me the courage to retry making the coco butter soap recipe from this soap making book that I messed up so horribly it came out like Flubber. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) I learned from my mistakes and had e a perfect batch of coco butter soap cooking in the slow cooker. I also had a wee bit of melted coco butter and coconut oil leftover – too little to use it for soap, too much to throw away. I am just about out of moisturizer and coco butter is one of my favorite types of lotion and body butter. Hey, let’s make some!

Except.

I don’t like how my previous homemade body butters made coconut oil eventually lose their fluffy texture, the oils started to separate,  and coconut oil turn grainy in the jar.

So much so that I told myself the next time I make it, it will not include coconut oil as an ingredient and that I’d make a lotion instead of a body butter. (Lotion= moisturizing oils/butters+emulsifier+ distilled water. Body butter= moisturizing oils/butters only.)

Which I remembered after I had measured and combined the melted coconut oil, coco butter, and vitamin E oil in the measuring cup I use for water. D’oh!

Can these homemade moisturizer ingredients be saved? Yes! Keep reading to find out how!

All is not lost! First up, using a high speed stick blender or mixer (like a like this KitchenAid Stand Mixer) over a hand mixer will help loads but to really keep the ingredients fluffy and from separating you need to use an emulsifier because well, that’s what emulsifiers were born to do.