Non-Consumer Mish-Mash — Happiness, Compost Tea and Declutter for Those You Love

by Katy on August 2, 2011 · 9 comments

My sister's "Boat Farm" CSA crew.

It’s time for Non-Consumer Mish-Mash, where I write a little bit about this and a little bit about that.

Vacation Anticipation

I am currently in the lovely mindset of vacation anticipation, where my upcoming trip around Oregon and Washington is swirling around in my head. I’m taking constant notes in a spiral notebook such as fishing permits? and audio books for car. And without spending a penny or even leaving the house, I’m already garnering happiness and relaxation from my trip. And of course, the after effects from said vacation will bring positive feelings far into the future.

Even though my actual trip will only last seven days, the surrounding positive effects are without limit.

So if you run into me today and I look like I’m gardening, running errands or madly scribbling notes, please note that I am already in vacation mode, and should not be bothered with mundane worries such as making dental appointments or scooping out the litter boxes.

Ahh . . .


A Spot of Tea, Compost Tea

I recently noticed that even though my next door neighbor and I both planted our fuschia baskets on the same day, hers were bushier and wow-ier than mine. So being the Nosy Parker that I am, I asked her about it. Turns out that she uses some kind of fish fertilizer on a regular basis. I am highly unlikely to use store bought gardening supplies, (I am a bit on the cheap side) so I decided to try making a batch of compost tea. After all, the only ingredients seemed to be compost and water. Both free and neither requiring a trip to the nursery.

However, making compost tea seemed more finicky than I prefer, (pour through cheesecloth? Again, that is store bought!) so I invented my own method.

Here’s how I made my compost tea:

  • Take two five buckets, one of which is drilled with not-too-tiny holes on the bottom, and the more holes the better. (I already possessed these items.)
  • Put a few scoops of compost into the top bucket.
  • Fit the two buckets together, holey one on top, intact one on bottom.
  • Fill with water.
  • Wait a few days.
  • Lift the top bucket and allow the water to drain into lower bucket.
  • Dump soaked wet compost back into your compost bin.

Ta-da! You now have five gallons of lovely rich compost tea for your garden. I’ve been doing this almost constantly over the past couple weeks, and I can already see that my fuschia baskets are more robust, not to mention the rest of my lucky plants.

And for this girl, who really enjoyed making mud pies and Barbie doll swimming holes as a child, it’s secretly fun as well.


Move it Along

Although I am a big proponent of donating one’s unused goods, it can be a bit of an anonymous experience when it’s just taking a car load to Goodwill. This is why garage sales are kind of fun. You get to see the excitement in the eyes of a four-year-old boy when he spies a bin of Pokemon figures, (Mom, it’s Bulbasaur!) and the young woman who takes home your extra roasting pan, sharing how she can now host Thanksgiving meals for her family.

But even better than seeing your extraneous Stuff go to strangers, is to see your bounty go to someone you love. My little sister Sara, (She’s 16 years younger than I am) lives on a farm in an uber-cool converted school bus. And because she only recently set up this living arrangement, she was in need of a number of household goods. She had wanted to go to Goodwill yesterday, but instead I let her shop from my house. She took a lamp, clothesline and clothespins, a tool box, a knife, a can opener, and a down blanket.

But most importantly, I was able to pass along to her:

Fourteen Rubbermaid totes (with lids) for her CSA. These were leftovers from when my husband was the equipment manager for our local non-profit soccer league, and the board had specifically tasked my husband with getting rid of them.

Such a perfect solution! And maybe, just maybe one of those totes will come back to me filled with fresh eggs, fruit and veggies.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl August 2, 2011 at 7:30 am

Ooh, I will so have to try the compost tea thing. Does it smell icky while it’s, um, brewing?


Katy August 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

No, because the compost doesn’t smell bad at all. I suppose it would if I left it for weeks.



Susan August 2, 2011 at 8:05 am

I use crushed egg shells to keep the slugs off my flowers in my garden! I have a rather large compost bin in my back garden as well. And no, it doesn’t smell!

If I lived nearer, I would probably have some bedding I could donate to your sister as I’m currently making a new patchwork quilt for my bed. Fabric was a gift from my mum…and putting it to good use now!


Lynne August 2, 2011 at 8:39 am

Thanks so much for the tip about making compost tea! I’ve been looking for ideas on the internet and almost everyone seems to use a method requiring an aquarium pump and tubing (right there with you on not wanting buy something to do this!!). Your way sounds much simpler and just as effective.

BTW, a friend looked at me with horror when I mentioned I was thinking of making compost tea–she thought I was planning to drink it!! LOL I forget everyone isn’t a gardening geek like me 🙂


Cathy August 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

Ok, that compost tea is the BEST gardening idea I’ve run across on the internet! I’ve always wanted to be a compost-tea kind of person, but couldn’t cope with the mess. This is an excellent solution and I already have the buckets.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary August 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

I love the anticipation of vacation. I try not to let myself get stressed over the “do I have everything we need” part and just enjoy the flow of it. I’m already looking foward to my own vacation at the end of the month.


Jinger August 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

I love vacation mode and am in it now too…testing out my soda bottle drip irrigation system for my container plants while I’m gone and proud my vacation is all paid for by savings not credit card! Maine…here I come!


Tracy August 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

I thought you might be interested in this
I haven’t tried it yet but what a way to use up those pesky weeds.


Elaine August 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

I remember seeing Martha Stewart on TV a few years ago, making “manure tea” (basically the same way you made your compost tea). I was a little surprised, but she is the kind of woman who likes to get her hands dirty.


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