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February 2006

Can-O-Worms Queston of the Day

By Heather 13 years ago

Here's todays question from Ann - a Wiggly Customer and Jo's reply on harvesting wormcasts from your wormery and worm juice production.
Re: Can-O-Worms Queries
1. I have had one of these for nearly six months and the worms seem to have survived the winter so far! My problem is the bottom tray is never free of worms so how do I remove the compost without losing all the worms? I put fresh kitchen waste in the second tray and finally the top tray but the top tray hardly gets touched and just eventually decomposes, especially during the colder weather when the worms are not so hungry! I was under the impression that once the bottom tray was finished with the worms moved up to the second tray and so on.
I do put worm treats and lime mix into the Can o¹worms from time to time as well.

2. Another query is: we are going away for nearly a month in the early Autumn. How do I catch the liquid juice for that length of time as at that time of the year there is almost 3-4 pints a week. How can I put a large container under the tap so that it doesn¹t spill over everywhere? What do other people do?

Thank you for your help. The leaflet does not seem to cover these two problems.

Warm regards
Ann

Hi,

The worms are usually happy to work in all 3 trays. The easiest way to remove them from a tray which is ready to harvest is to move it to the top and leave the lid off (only on a nice sunny day though!).
The light should force the worms to move down into the tray below where your fresh waste is, although if it dense you will need to take a bit off at a time.

With regards to the liquid - is rain getting in as 4 pints seems a lot for a week ?(if it is rain getting in, the liquid will be almost clear).

I would advise leaving the tap open if you leave the can o worms for more than a week.
Make sure you add plenty of dry cardboard with your waste (as a rule aim for about 1/4 of your wastes volume).
When you leave it, increase the cardboard ratio (I would start this a week before you leave, as the liquid draining off, should decrease as well).

Hope this helps,
Regards


Jo

Podcast 20 Show Notes

By Heather 13 years ago

Richard is braless in Belfast this week so Rachel settles herself onto the studio sofa in his place. Our first ever OB (outside broadcast) comes from the Big Apple or is it Strawberry including trips to Manhatten and Staten Islands ...although nobody buys themselves a mandolin. Brother Love shows the Team just how to produce a bumper that really, well, bumps. Farmer Phil capitulates in a mini beef row with the Podchef. Ann returns to talk about flower miles and MP Norman Baker gives her his support. Rosie Boycott urges us to boycott roses. We find out why having small hands is such an asset during the lambing season. Then the Team answer listeners' questions on emPowered Composting with Bokashi and Monty is given a caution over Rach's hole punch.

Country Living

By Heather 13 years ago

As a subscriber to Country Living Magazine I particularly like the nature notes and the gardening section, but this month's is even better than usual.
There's the first part of Sarah Raven's Cutting Garden explaining how to grow flowers for picking - particularly interesting for Wiggly Wigglers as Jodie and Anne went down to Sarah's farm to learn how to put together our cutting patch for the Wiggly English Bouquets, then in the gardening section there's even a piece from Stephanie Donaldson on how she is using The Empowered Composter with Bokashi to ferment her kitchen waste. (The piccy is of my hand you know putting the bokashi into the composter in the Wiggly kitchen). And finally there's a great piece on Alison and David Parker's pick your own daffodil farm in Wiltshire.
As I blog these bit there's a frenzy of bird activity just outside my office window just at the minute. The three feeders are being devoured by sparrows, greenfinches, chaffinches, great tits and blue tits - and one goldfinch. They dont seem to mind eating upside down at all. Favourite food today would seem to be Finch Mix and Peanuts. Hungry work mating - as I understand it all the action started Valentine's Day.

UK Beef versus US Beef

By Heather 13 years ago

On The Wiggly Podcast last week (19) Farmer Phil spoke about how impressed he was with the quality of the meat in Manhatten but how traceability seems to be less of an issue in the US than the UK. Neal responds from The Podchef www.podchef.motime.com
Here is their thoughts - first chef, then farmer.....


Phil,

Great to hear you're all back safe and sound from NYC. Just been listening
to the beef part of Wiggly Podcast #19 and found some of your impressions
curious. Heather seemed to know I'd chime in, somehow. . . .

As both someone who has raised my own beef--grass fed--and who has cooked
with commercially raised beef--both consumer varieties and restaurant
cuts--as a chef, and as someone who has lived and cooked commercially in the
UK and Ireland I must say that American Beef is at a horrid crossroads at
the moment. On the one hand there is commercially raised--factory--beef. Fed
on a feedlot diet of supplements and grains, fattened for slaughter and
sold. Very little hanging time is allowed on this sort of meat. For the most
part it is "aged" in cryovaced packages--even up to quarter steers. Hanging
in this country is seen as somehow evil by and large. And I think the
average age of these cattle isn't over 18 months somehow, although I could
be wrong--it might be 24. They industry simply doesn't want them around
longer.

On the other had there is a small, but growing movement back to grass-fed
beef, raised naturally. Allowed to mature and exercise and develop character
through ranging and then properly slaughtered and sometimes aged--although
not always. There is also a small amount of dry-aged meat available which
has been hung upto 4 weeks, but rarely a day over. These small producers are
being pushed out of the market by the industry giants. And with a new
national animal identification scheme coming into effect sometime by 2009
the costs alone could drive most smallholders and farmers out of business
altogether.

As for traceability, Americans largely don't care because 1) they don't know
about it and don't understand it. 2) The industry doesn't want people to
care about it. That's why they keep telling the world US beef is safe, when
it isn't necessarily so--the USDA has never completely banned feeding
rendered animal parts to cattle. . . .

Now the USDA's idea of traceability involves tracking livestock of any kind
in and out of shows, fairs, around the county for breeding--largely in an
effort to keep a watch on BSE, and Bioterrorism. The UK idea of
traceability, as I understand it, is very much more laudable. A direct line
from farmer to table fully documented, including vet certificated before and
after slaughter and then over to the butcher for hanging. Not so here,
unless it's your own animal for your own consumption. Most US commercial
beef looses any sort of traceability as soon as it enters the
slaughterhouse's feedlot. Once the animal is dead and rendered there is no
tracking it--even under the new scheme. In my mind this is appalling and has
led to much waste as when contaminated meat is made into mince and
distributed throughout the country. And there isn't even a mandatory re-call
for contaminated meats--most is eaten by unsuspecting consumers. . . .

Having learned something of meat cutting in Ireland, I can also say I much
prefer the Irish and English ways of cutting beef. Most US butchers don't
know anything about meats--they attend a month long technique workshop and
then head out to do their jobs. Most meat is cut up in a factory and not at
he point of sale. Anymore it seems that "new" cuts keep appearing and
consistency in joints of meat is rare. Rare too are the local butcher shops
these days which will do custom meat cutting. It's been a number of years
since I had a steer of my own commercially butchered. The frozen packages
always left me wondering what was what--where were the recognizable joints,
and indeed, has the butcher taken all the best bits for himself? There were
never any tenderloins, rib roasts, brisket from my own beef, no matter how
much pleading. And certainly never more than two weeks hanging. Now I know
better.

I won't buy commercially raised meat unless I have to. The quality of what
is available, and the fact that the cryovacing process always leaves the
meat a bit weird, is not the same as anything I can raise myself or source
locally. And in a land where most people don't stop to think, or don't want
to know, where there food comes from is it any wonder? No, some of the best
beef I've ever had--pre or post BSE has been in the UK or Ireland; which
might have to do with breeds too. It is fortunate you landed in NYC and had
some good beef. You were lucky, but for the most part US beef raised for
domestic consumption is pallid, flavorless, and a health risk. No blue steak
or steak tartare here. And somehow we've got it backwards another way too.
Offal is rarely eaten and if you can get it, very expensive. Sirloin strip
is more affordable than shin of beef. And the best cheap cuts--ie, flavor--
are rarely used due to cooking time and most people are mad for filet mignon
and expensive cuts because they cook quickly.

Love the podcast on the whole, but always look forward to the Farmer Phil
reports to hear the traditional wisdom on farming. If we loose our rural
heritage and wisdom, things will go down hill in a hurry.

All the best,

Neal

--
Culinarily yours,

The Podchef
www.podchef.motime.com

Dear Neal
Many thanks for your feedback as predicted by Heather.
We thoroughly enjoyed NY and we had the best of the weather judging by the
TV reports.
Your comments are very interesting and reinforce Heathers thoughts that
Manhatten probably wasn't representative of the rest of the country. It was
interesting to me that it appeared that in Manhatten where you would assume
that consumers could afford to be choosy, traceability didn't seem to come
into it.
With reference to the more"factory" produced meat, I would be interested to
know if the percentage of processed meat consumed in the US was
significantly different to the UK or elswhere i.e. is the cheaper lower cost
meat produced for low quality outlets eg burgers etc. or does the average
american have to put up with substandard meat thro'lack of choice?
With reference to the way meat is cut, the impression I have here is that
most consumers know the 4 or 5 prime cuts and have little or no knowledge of
the others despite the fact that, correctly prepared and cooked, they will
provide excellent eating. Here they market things like "pot-roast" and
"boiling beef" which doesn't exactly infer quality. By calling cuts like
strip sirloin, New York strip I suspect the UK consumer might judge on taste
and texture rather than predjudice. This might apply to many of the lesser
known cuts that supermarkets don't offer. For example how tasty oxtail is
but we would rarely if ever see it available in a supermarket even before
the problems with beef on the bone and BSE etc. We seem to have a whole
generation who only know about topside and sirloin and aspire to Fillet!
I'm pleased to see that we are in total agreement as to how beef should be
grown and served and your corrections to my inaccuracies are interesting and
welcome. As a farmer, it gives me great hope that our industry has such
scope for improvement and most of it will be achieved by education which is
what we're all trying achieve.
Also, cryovaccing or shrinkwrapping meat falls into the same category as my
theories on steak - if you order a blue steak you are much more likely to
get a good piece of meat as even an average chef would't dare send out a
blue piece of saddeflap!
Many thanks again and I look forward to your thoughts in the future All the
best Phil

Aka Farmer Phil!

Podcast 19 Show Notes

By Heather 13 years ago

Entitled Jetlagged due to the fact that we recorded the podcast without any sleep after flying in from New York, podcast 19 discusses how Richard is off to dig a pond without his spade, Farmer Phil has a rollercoaster thrill ride in his cowshed (where the local robin sings at night). Bird of the Month is Robin (or is it the Tawny Owl?). Farmer Phil reports from New York on the differences between American and British beef. Alison brings in Marsh Marigold as her Plant of the Week and Monty has an Egyptian Wormcast. Plus the February competion gets its first outing.
And the BAFTA for outstanding achievment in sound editing goes to Michael Maloney...
www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/podcasts

Wiggly Wigglers in New York

By Heather 13 years ago

Thanks to Karen and The Federation of Small Business www.fsb.org.uk for our wonderful prize for winning Small Business Champion for the UK. The FSB looks after the interests of small business in many ways including lobbying government on behalf of members. One of their latest fights is how the pension policy is going to work for people with their own business. You can find more info at their website, but I can definitely recommend entering The Small Business Champion Award! Go for it.
So Wigglys in New York.......
Yes...of course there was a limo....yippee and with essentials on board.
Podcasting in The Rise Bar - Ritz Carlton with Rob and Brother Love from the fantastic travel guide to New York - The New York Minute Show. www.newyorkminuteshow.com
and www.brotherloverocks.com
Karen from the FSB, with Rob in recording mode.
Top of The Rock - unmissable
Rach really enjoying the company of one of The Blue Man Group. Great show just off Broadway.
Team Photo - it was a little chilly but we did manage to leave the day before the 28 inches of snow.

Skye from The Statten Island Botanical Gardens Compost Scheme explaining what New Yorkers do with their organic waste. Here more on Podcast 20 www.wigglywigglers.co.uk/podcastsCouldn't miss her out - designed by Mr Eiffel, she was gifted to the US by France - her finger is 8ft long and her crown with its seven points represents the seven continents and the seven seas. So there you are. Wigglys in New York with the FSB.