October 2010

5000 Facebook Fan Fest Reminder

Just wanted to quickly remind everyone that we will be down to 6 votes as of November 1st. If you have not yet submitted your entry for the 5000 Facebook Fan Fest, you may want to do so before then.

P.S. The baby is still procrastinating!

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Green Bins

The Green Bins Have Finally Arrived

Hi gang! Sorry things have been so quiet as of late. It’s been…well…an interesting couple of weeks, to say the least. I have a sneaking suspicion that the next few days will end up being even MORE interesting (once our little bundle of joy stops procrastinating! haha).

One very interesting, and SURPRISING, event occurred late last week – and that was the arrival of “Green Bins” in my neighborhood! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, Green Bins are like recycling bins, but instead of serving as a collection for recyclable goods, they are designed for taking away everyone’s compostable “wastes”.

Strangely enough, while everyone else in my neighborhood received only one of these bins, I somehow ended up with TWO! Are they trying to rub it in, or what?

As some of you might imagine, I have mixed feelings about this program. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons as I see them:

PROS of the Green Bin Program

  • Great solution for all the compostable – but NOT composter-friendly – materials like meats, fat, oils, poop etc
  • A great option for those people who will never in a million years start composting
  • Nice, easy “green” option for times when you are feeling lazy, or overwhelmed with organic waste

Cons of the Green Bin Program

  • Results in a LOT more people never bothering to learn about composting
  • Gives people the WRONG idea about organic wastes and composting (when managed poorly these bins are NASTY)
  • Just another mechanized governmental service that only “serves” to create more of a separation between us and our “wastes” – we can go on about all the “Green” benefits until we are blue in the face, but at the end of the day it’s still a garbage truck showing up to pick up our trash!

Nevertheless, I decided to humor them by being a “responsible citizen” (for once – haha) this week. I put out my bin on garbage day, and couldn’t help but feel just a hint of superiority as I surveyed the neighborhood, only to see two or three other green bins out for pick-up. That’s RIGHT – who’s da GREEN MAN in this neighborhood?!?! Whoo!!

Only later did I discover that they weren’t actually doing their first pick-up until next week.


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Worm Bin Guardians

Larry Duke recently sent me great pics of a lizard that hangs out in his big worm bed (Larry lives in Florida), helping to keep the critter population down. Very cool! Thanks for sharing, Larry!

Here is one of the “Badboys” that patrol my bin! This is the smaller one. I’m not sure if the smaller ones are the males or females. I guess I have some homework. But these are what we grow up calling Chameleons where I come from. It is actually I think what they call a green anole. They turn brown for various reasons including temperature.
This is one like I had stated earlier, had jumped on my face. I wish i would have put my camera on video. This one ate a roach and a fly within three minutes apart.
This picture I call sitting down on the job. Hey, my worm bin security guards do get a lunch break!

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My LIFE With Worms

My LIFE with Worms: Thoughts on Passion, Purpose...and Vermicomposting

Some time in July, while I was busily working on other important RWC projects, I was suddenly hit with the urge to start something else. This is definitely not an unusual occurrence for me – and 9 times out of 10 it is simply my way of procrastinating; my way of avoiding the completion of important work (which I’ve determined is largely due to my fear of failure, if you wanna get all psychoanalytical about it! lol).

I’ll be the first to admit that for most of my adult life I’ve been a GREAT “starter” but a terrible “finisher” (or “closer”, in the spirit of making this into a nice October sporting analogy).

But this time was different!

Rather than simply luring me away, only to then lead me off on another wild goose chase, this particular “nudge” stayed with me, and I kept running with it (still not 100% what was going to come of it). Days turned into weeks; weeks turned into months – and still the writing continued! The result, of course, is an eBook called “My LIFE with Worms: Thoughts on Passion, Purpose…and Vermicomposting“.

As I mentioned in a recent post, what started as the “story” behind the creation of the Red Worm Composting website and my vermicomposting journey in general, gradually evolved into quite a bit more (as the title of the book might suggest). While I was writing, it suddenly dawned on me that the last ~ 10 years (how long I have been vermicomposting) has been a hugely significant decade for me in general. Is easy to lose sight of these things while we are busy “living life”, so having the opportunity to reflect on everything has certainly been a valuable experience.

In my mind, the book is ideally suited for those who:

  • have enjoyed reading my writing here at RWC and are curious to learn more about my worm composting (and life) journey
  • have an interest in the entrepreneurial side of vermicomposting
  • have a “soul searching”/personal development side
  • just generally want to support the future development of RWC and related projects

It isn’t really well suited for those who:

  • are looking for practical information about setting up and operating a worm composting system
  • are looking for in-depth “step-by-step” information on how to set up a worm composting business
  • are really put off by my goofiness and general writing style (haha)

“OK, OK – so what’s the dealio, Bentley??!?!?”

Early next week, barring the arrival of our baby over the weekend (lol), my plan is to start with a one week launch special for my email list subscribers. All list members will have the opportunity (for one week) to purchase the eBook for ~ 50% off my planned blog launch price. So if this DOES seem like something you might be interested in, and you are not yet on the list, please be sure to sign up fairly soon.

Just as a reminder – I did include some info about the main sections of the book in a recent blog post (down near the bottom of the post). I will certainly try to provide a decent overview on the actual order page as well (once it goes live next week).

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or send me an email.

UPDATE (Nov. 8th/10): The email launch has wrapped up (thanks again to all those who purchased the book!) and My LIFE With Worms is now publicly available.

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Coffee Grounds Vermicomposting-10-21-10

BOM-6000 ready to go for some coffee grounds vermicomposting action!

I decided that today was the day to finally move my coffee grounds experiment indoors. We’ve been getting some heavy frosts, and it looks as though we might even get a bit of snow tonight. I have little doubt that the worms would be just fine for a while longer, but I really want to get thing moving along a bit faster.

Before starting to transfer materials/worms from the stacking bin I added a decent amount of new shredded (drink tray) cardboard to the BOM. For the last little while I have also been adding all my coffee grounds to that bin in preparation for the transfer.

Not a whole lot has really changed in the stacking system since I set it up back in August. I found a few worms in the second tray, but it was mostly coffee grounds and shredded cardboard. I was happy to at least see lots of worms down in the bottom tray, along with plenty of cocoons.

I should mention that I decided to add some crushed egg shells to the new bin. I saw no signs of the system going “sour”, but I figure there’s no point taking the risk. Coffee grounds tend to be pretty acidic. It’s not as though it’s another food source – it’s simply a means of (hopefully) buffering the acidity a bit.

Interestingly enough the thick layer of newsprint at the bottom of the first tray was still intact! That’s a pretty good indication that things have been moving along at a snails pace in the stacking system. Again, it would have been nice if I had set up the system back in April or May rather than August. Oh well – there is always next year!

Temps down in my basement (where the BOM bin will sit) tend to be somewhat chilly over the winter (15-20C / 59-68F), but at least it’s fairly consistent.

I guess we shall see how it goes!
Stay tuned – I should have another update within the next month or so.

Stacking Bin Coffee Grounds Posts
Wooden Stacking Bin – The Return!
Wooden Stacking Bin-08-06-10
Wooden Stacking Bin-08-17-10
Wooden Stacking Bin-09-29-10

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Grow Dallas – Meet Heather Rinaldi

RWC “Worm Friend”, Heather Rinaldi, recently sent me a link for a really cool video featuring some work she is doing with another Dallas area green business owner. Here is what she had to say about it:

Just wanted to let you know that vermicomposting and using vermicompost for local organic growing are being thrown out as “an idea worth sharing” here at the local TEDx forum at Southern Methodist University. My GROW Dallas partner, Andrea Bithell, and I really tried to make an educational video to help people get their hands around the concept of capturing waste, vermicomposting, and growing their own healthy vegetables. We tried hard to make it educational and a call to action, vs. a commercial. Here is the video (and that is an outdoor worm trench on the side of my house, not a garden in the first scene–some people were saying they wanted to see a little bit of what my “operation” looked like)!

This concept is very similar to a “brainstorm” of my own, and I can’t help but feel that there is SO MUCH untapped potential here. Not only is this a really nifty eco-business idea, but these gals are also empowering the community to grow their own eco-friendly, healthy food! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Thanks Heather, for sharing (and inspiring)!

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RWC Worm Composting Guide

Red Worm Composting Guide to Vermicomposting

Howdy, folks!
Things have been coming along quite nicely with my “RWC 2.0” roll out these past few weeks.

There have been been three interviews: Heather Rinaldi, Maria Rodriguez, Cristy Christie.


One contest: “5000 Facebook Fan Fest” (don’t forget to get your dates in by the 16th if you want 8 guesses!).

Next, of course, is the “Guide”! As mentioned, this is something I decided to put together to reward the patience of all those folks who have signed up for my email list and have been hoping for some sort of “newsletter” to arrive in their inbox (some for many months). I have been planning and working on a much larger worm composting resource (will be more than just a “guide” in all likelihood), but certainly don’t want to keep people waiting for that – aside from that, THIS guide is going to be 100% FREE (including any updates I decide to add).

In case you are thinking this is just some lame 10-page quick ‘n’ dirty overview, let me assure you that it’s not. Right now the guide sits at 60 pages! Not too shabby even if it was totally finished – which it’s definitely not! So why am I even writing about this if the guide is not finished??? I really need to shift my focus back over to the “book” (will talk about that in a minute), but definitely want people to start to benefiting from the guide content added thus far.

I am actually REALLY excited about the guide, and am very glad I decided to start putting it together. While I initially thought of it as compensation for not writing newsletters, I’m starting to realize that it’s likely going to serve as a great foundation for upcoming communication with the (email) group. Apart from letting people know about the updates, I’m sure I’ll write about various topics covered in the guide, and tackle questions people may have etc.

As far as securing a copy goes – the only requirement is that you sign up for my email list (if you have not already done so). I am HOPING to have it ready by sometime tomorrow, but we shall see. I will send out an email with instructions (and more info about all this) when the guide is ready for download.

OK, on to the “book”…

I’m sure all this “free guide”, “ebook”, “upcoming resource”, “RWC 2.0” yada yada stuff has some people confused, and I apologize for that. Again, putting together the guide (discussed above) was a bit of a spur of the moment thing and wasn’t really part of the original game plan (but again, I very glad I decided to go that route).

What I’ve been spending most of my time working on over the last few months (apart from the larger “worm composting resource”) is my very first e-Book. Contrary to what most people would expect (myself included), this first offering actually has very little to do with worm composting “how to” (although there are some sections with practical info). The book is called “My Life with Worms: Thoughts on Passion, Purpose…and Vermicomposting“, and it’s primarily focused on my own worm composting and life-in-general journey during the past ten years.

What’s funny is that I was originally going to call it “Adventures in Vermicomposting”, but the more I wrote, the more I realized that it was about a lot more than just my vermicomposting “adventure”. As you might guess, I tend to be a bit of a philosophical, lifey sorta guy, and that side of me has definitely come out quite a LOT in this book! Given the fact that this is a website about worm composting (and that’s the primary reason people read my writing), I’m not 100% sure what to expect – but nothing ventured, nothing gained! Right?

I’ve included a number of different sections, and am hopeful that there will be at least something for everyone! Here are the main sections:

Life with Worms – This focuses on my actual vermicomposting journey (and is very autobiographical), and basically how the Red Worm Composting site came into existence. It also includes a fair amount of information about my “worm business”.

Thoughts on Vermicomposting – basically some commentary on the wonderful world of vermicomposting

Thoughts on Starting a Worm Business – this is a more in-depth look at my overall worm business philosophy and various ideas I have about entrepreneurial vermicomposting.

Thoughts on Life – this is where things start accelerating away from the world of worm composting and end off in “out there” land! lol I talk about personal challenges, and share some thoughts about various components of personal development, “living a good life” – these sorts of things! Of course, I’ve been constantly fighting with myself about whether I should even include this section – but I reached the conclusion that at worst, people can simply chose not to read it!

So yeah – that basically sums it up! I will definitely be be writing a more in-depth post about the book next week, and hope to actually launch by next Friday (fingers crossed). I really don’t want to rush anything here, but with the imminent arrival of our second child things are definitely getting down to the wire here! Needless to say, I am hoping to take some “family time”, and it will be nice not to leave things hanging!

Just so you know – there will be an email list “launch” (first) and a main blog launch (probably a week or so later). The email folks will have access to a significant discount on the price, so be sure to sign up if this is something you think you might be interested in.

OK – nuff said for now!
Talk soon


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