Monday, March 3, 2008

green. grey. brown.

compost and greywater have been popping up a lot in projects and conversation lately. my lovely mom is taking a green gardening class with some of her friends and is setting up her very first compost bin and i'm especially proud of my folks in this endeavor. i make a lot of jokes about how my parents are the hippies of delaware because they're the only people who will spend the extra $3 a month for curbside recycling and before that they would actually take their recycling to the recycling center once a week. her last weeks class was on water conservation and we had a quick chat about low-flow showerheads (of which she apparently has some to give away after having one of the plumbers at the contractor she works for order the heads she wanted, and you had to buy at least 8 at a time). I recently picked up a niagara showerhead myself, to replace our previous low flow head, but this new one is even lower flow and has a "pause" button so you can take a military shower and not lose your water temp setting. i love it.

anyway, we talked about rain barrels and such, but the conversation took a turn before we made it to greywater, which is too bad, because i think i could have given her some tips that would've really taken their DE hippie status to the next level. we've got a bucket in our shower and under our bathroom sink, both of which are used to flush the toilet (which we generally abide by the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" standard. tmi? a little? nah.) since we've gotten the washing machine, i've been quite literally obsessing over the idea of creating a greywater wetland to filter the water so we can use it in our garden. they're actually not very complicated to make and since our washer is relatively close to hot tub room, which is where the wetland would live, it would really only require a fairly small hole to be cut through the wall of the house to put the pipe through. i know, i know, this is an over the top absurd idea for a house that we RENT, but if you could see all the, well, we'll just call them renovations, we've already done, this would seem like peas and carrots. i also had the awesome pleasure of seeing the wall to wall skateboard ramp that my friend emily's roommate is building in his bedroom, and just witnessing that someone else is out there fulfilling their bizarro, extravagant, and likely illegal projects was highly motivational. still, my wetland is only in the thinking and planning stage. i've so far resisted any urges to attain supplies so we'll talk about this further as it goes.

we have already set up our worm bin and i finished our new compost bin which doubles as a table made from a large wooden shipping crate, some metal mesh, and an old weathered fence gate door. jill ordered some red wrigglers (which they refer to as red wiggly worms at the hardware store) and got the worm bin going. the worms are now munching away on some delicious broccoli stems, sunchoke peels, and wilty greens. we're still feeling out how much they can eat and how fast, i think we might have overfed them last week, but apparently you can smell ammonia if the food isn't being processed fast enough, so I'll just keep sniffing them out to see how it goes. i'm trying to convince my mom to start a worm bin also, but after my selling point of "you can keep it under the sink" was met with a swift "ew, worms under the sink!" i think i'll have to come up with a new sales tactic.