Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Quick Look Into Aquaponics

I have done some research on aquaponics and I wanted to share what I found with you guys. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing scroll down to the bottom for a YouTube video from Purdue University.

What is Aquaponics?

Marvel at my extremely lame attempt at using Microsoft Paint

Aquaponics combines the system of farming fish and plants in a codependent ecosystem. The waste produced by both serves as food for each other. There are many different methods from DIY home use to large commercial farms. This is an amazing alternative to traditional produce and fish farming that is environmentally friendly.

The basic idea is simple. This system combines the use of hydroponics with fish rearing. The fish water contains nutrient rich manure which the plants filter with their roots. It purifies the water which is then pumped back into the fish tank. It creates its own ecosystem where added nutrients are rarely added.

There are many different types of aquaponic styles. One in particular that I am interested in is the deep water culture. Here the plants are placed on a foam raft placed over the water. There seem to be two main types where the rafts are put in the same tank as the fish or where they are placed in its own section.

A flood and drain is a simple alternative. I this method the fish tank water is periodically drained or rather flooded into the plant bed then drained once again into the fish tank. This type in particular is regularly recommended as a low maintenance variety along with the raft system. 

Most plants, that don’t have a large root system, can be grown but the leafy greens do the best. Leafy greens are preferred because they do not need phosphorus to grow. Phosphorus is a chemical needed in fruit producing plants.  According to many forum websites it may not be needed depending the food fed to the fish. It is also warned that when adding phosphorus because it can cause a large algae bloom. It is best to regularly use kits to test chemical levels in the water.

Fresh water fish are easier to farm; however, there are some who raise salt water fish. There isn't as much information on this because using fresh water makes the system simpler and more compatible with a wider variety of plants. There doesn’t seem to be a warning against using any one type of fish only to keep in mind of the size of the fish and tank. I am not much of a fish eater myself but what interests me is that koi are an alternative that thrive in aquaponic tanks.

Aquaponics isn’t a new method either. It was used in China thousands of years ago in rice patties. Today’s systems can be used either indoors or outdoors. In commercial use it has the potential to not only save money but to prevent harmful waste from being released into the environment. 

Listen to the fish, he looks pissed off ...
No matter what style of system used it will use less water and won’t need artificial chemicals. In my opinion the main reason that I believe that the aquaponics system should be greatly encouraged in both home and commercial use is that it uses only two percent of water compared to customary farming methods and four percent to conventional fish farming. This is especially beneficial to areas where water is already scarce. However, water is already becoming a scarce commodity and is taken for granted. According to the U.N. and W.H.O. (World Health Organization) about half of the world’s population will not have enough water by 2080. Today, 70% of fresh water is used for agriculture, so reasonably aquaponics looks to be a much needed alternative to help preserve the world’s water reserves.

This alternative is also much more environmentally cleaner. Fish farms today produce high levels of concentrated ammonia which are drained into existing water channels. Aquaponics doesn’t produce a pollutant and with the solid waste it does leave behind can me used as plant fertilizer.

Later on I also plan on adopting this system in my garden with Koi fish. I probably won’t even start until after we buy a house but when I do start I’ll post videos and how-to guides here.

References & Recommended Reading:

Arizona University: Integrated Systems of Agriculture and Aquaculture,

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Aquaponics Mission 2014,

Alabama Cooperative Extension: Aquaponic -- Integration of Hydroponics with Aquaculture,

University of Kentucky: Recalculating Aquaculture Tank Production System,

W.H.O.: Health Topics – Water,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spartucas Mash Up: German Brother's Revenge

I just wanted to share a mash up video I did on Facebook of Starz Spartacus show. It's called German Brothers' Revenge.

WARNING: Contains Fictional Blood, Gore, & Death

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Blue Skin Toned People

I read this story and I just had to share it with all of you.

Apparently there is a genetic defect out there that makes a person's skin blue. Yes I said blue. Amazing. It is also kinda sad that they are so embarrassed about it but then again I wouldn't want people gawking at me either.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

WebMD Makes Me Think I'm A Doctor

One thing about me is that I am an overly paranoid person, really. I'm also a proud pessimist, I plan for the worst and fall short of being officially labeled as a doomsday prepper. (Too lazy to actually prepare). Have you seen that show on Nat Geo? Lots of amazing stuff on that show like did you now that my rubbing mineral oil on an egg it can help preserve it for up to 9 months. Ya, you never know when you need to know weird survival stuff like that.

Any hoo, back on subject. I should put a block on WebMD on my computer for my own safety. Using it seems to make my brain sudden think I actually got my M.D. Luckily for my self esteem I don't seem to be the only one according to many other bloggers.

A couple of weeks ago I was pretty much convinced that I had some kind of throat cancer. I started going through the stages of denile, acceptance, and planning at a rapid pace before my husband told me I was nuts and don't have cancer. Apparently he has a degree in medicine that I don't know about.

One side of my throat was completely swollen. I was constantly dehydrated from producing too much saliva and from having trouble swallowing because of the pain. Drool is not a good look for me apparently. None of the usual remedies helped even in slightest bit. Over the counter medication? Nope. Throat drops? Nope. Hot tea? Nope. Pain killers? Kinda. Gargling with salt water? Well I think that actually helped ... So .... IT MUST BE CANCER!

Sorry but I have an irrational fear of  getting cancer.

Apparently a viral infection and/or cist can have the same symptoms as throat cancer. It wasn't until it kinda popped (or de-swelled) that I figured that I was in the safety zone on it not being cancer. Maybe. So from now on I'll leave the diagnosing to the professionals. Maybe.

On a completely different note, here is another blog to read: Simply June

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why Seedlings Fall Over Pt2

There are two main reasons for young seedlings falling over. Not enough sunlight and damping off. If they are flat on the soil then they won’t survive, however, if they are slightly leaning over they might be savable.

Tall skinny seedlings that suddenly start toppling over are often called ‘leggy.’ The culprit it lack of sunshine. Placing seedlings near a window doesn’t always provide enough direct sunlight. This can even happen under growing lights if they are not placed close enough to the plants. Many plants need six to eight hours of sunlight.

If placed near a window it is important to rotate the plant every couple of days to prevent leaning. By not rotating it will cause some parts of the plant to not receive enough light. When a plant leans too munch it can weaken the stem which will lead to a leggy plant. Also, make sure that the plant is watered evenly so the roots will expand evenly around.

Damping off is a fungal condition that occurs with high moisture, humidity and low air circulation. Once a plant is infected it is unlikely to recover. The best way to prevent it from happening is to use a sterile well draining potting mix, fresh water, and sowing seedling thinly. Providing good air flow is important as avoiding excessive watering.

Too see what it looks like for seedlings damping off click here.

Constricted root growth can also cause plants to lean over. As long the plant isn’t completely flat then it might recover, however, the plant may have stunted growth. Repotting in a larger pot may help but it may not be worth it.

Did you bury the seed deep enough? Sometimes the solution is as simple as making sure the seed is covered deep enough.

Resources/ Recommendations: 

Looking for another blog to read? Check out:
She has some pretty neat stuff on her blog, check her out =)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Seedlings Falling Over?

One of the most disappointing things that can happen to anyone starting seeds indoors is to have those poor little seedling topple over. It is pretty sad since they look like they could be saved but deep down you just know that they're gonners.

While there could be a number of issues that could have cause its untimely death, the most common error is ventilation.

Most people think that they just need air but there is a tad bit more to it. They need fresh circulated air. You need actual air flow and not stagnant air which is common indoors. Flip on the ceiling fan or place a portable one in the room your starting the seeds in.

This can happen during transplanting and hardening off too. This is why I always suggest using fans and a sunny window (or growing lights if you prefer) to start hardening off your plants indoors first once the seeds have sprouted.

I'm personally not a big fan of starting seeds indoors simply because I'm too lazy and prefer direct sowing. But from experience if you're going to put an effort to starting seeds indoors, do it right the first time or you'll risk having mass casualties on your hands.

So here are some tips for good start:

~ Use a potting mix especially for seedlings!

~ Research the growing instructions for that exact verity of plant. Sometimes those packet labels aren't enough. Just search for "Growing __(type of plant)__ from seed" and you'll find some helpful tips from fellow gardeners on the internet.

~ Make sure your pots have drainage holes.

~ Don't forget to water! For best results water from the bottom, not on top. (If watering from the top then water gently.)

~ Keep an eye on those roots! Keeping seedling in a small pot too long can cause stunted growth.

~ Make sure you have good air flow. If you're using anything to cover the pot to create a greenhouse effect then make sure to uncover it once the seedlings have sprouted; they are for germination only.

~ Sunlight! Once the seeds have sprouted make sure they are getting enough sunlight. (Please note that some seeds need sunlight to germinate, always check growing instructions.)

~ Get the right temperature. Make sure that the room is the right temperature for germination and growing.

UPDATE: Part 2 on why seedlings fall over with more details as to why.

Blog of the day =)

Check out I think the blog is well written and I just so sucked into her posts that I had to give you guys her link. She so far seems to be following the prompts from NaBloPoMo no relatives.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

52 Week Challenge: Computer Desk

My computer desk is the end of a black hole where everything gets spit out.

Stray piece of paper? Bills? Check book? Stamps? My kid's homework? Cellphone? Orange peels?

Basically anything paper ends up there. I don't why and half the time I don't even remember doing it. It's become an automatic response. There's even a broken lamp that still hasn't been thrown out and my husband's deodorant. It's actually been there for a few days. I don't think he even realizes it's there. He just bought a new one and moved on with his life.

The best way to clean this shit up is to just take everything out and up everything back where it belongs! Easy? Not so much if you don't have and organize system for paperwork. Lucky for me before we moved I got some of those box type things that holds files. So all I had to do what put things back to where it belongs.

If you can't afford a nice metal filing cabnit just head over to Staples or any similar store to pick a couple of file storage boxes along with some files. It's a whole lot cheaper! Click here to see what they look like. They work really well and can handle a lot of weight. I used to work at an accounting place and we would fill those things up and stack them right on top of each other and some times those things would get damn heavy.

Sure it's easy now but like I mention, anything paper gravitates to it like it's the messiah for paper.

The only way this is going to stay clean is to stick to the original writer's tips for the 52 Week Challenge. She said that at the end of the day go through all the places that you already organized and make sure that it's still clean and tidy.

Blog of the day: I couldn't just pick one of her posts so I'm just gunna post a link to he blog main page. She has a ton of recipes on there and she gives her opinions on them and is currently on the quest for the perfect enchiladas.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Depression & Addiction Hurts

I've decided not to go strictly follow the writing prompts for the February NaBloMo at the risk of over sharing and offending someone and embarrassing my self to the point I will have to live as a hermit forever. I didn't have the best childhood and most of my fond memories don't revolve around my family, even at a young age.

So instead I would like to make a confession of something that I am trying to get over. I have an addiction. An internet addiction. I'm still pretty bad but I used to be worse. I could spend all day on the computer or cellphone and time flys! My cellphone is like a drug that I must have. I literally feel naked with out my phone.  I actually feel nervous when I don't have it near me. It's like life in closing in on me and I can't breathe.

Pathetic I know.

But what made me realize is that it had taken so much time away from my family. I spent so much time surfing the net that at the end of the day I was at a rush to clean the house, especially on the weekends. So eventually I was either web browsing, writing, or taking care of my youngest child. This was starting to hurt my older two babies, 2 & 5 years olds. Not to mention my poor husband. And my dogs. And my yard. ... And my life.

This wasn't me. I wasn't the type of person who lets the house fall into pieces. Someone who does work half ass. Someone who doesn't take responsibility. I'm not my mother! I look like a wreak. My husband even made a comment about my appearance this morning. It hurt like hell but he was right. I was letting myself go. Then to add insult to injury he told me before he went to work that I had aged mentally. It didn't hit me until now what he meant exactly. I was boring in every sense of the word. I didn't goof around anymore. I wasn't witty or making sarcastic remarks.

Who am I?

The answer: Lost.

The addiction started because I felt trapped. Trapped by world filled with responsibility and child rearing. There was no balance in life for me. That's part of why I started this blog. I want to be happy. Writing what I want makes me happy. Depression hurts. I became addicted to the internet because I was depressed. Depressed because I didn't have the parents I wanted. That my husband has to work so hard. That I'm always too tired to keep up with my two older kids. That money is always tight.

So one day at a time I'm going to take back my life. I'm going to stop obsessing over the internet and face my depression head on instead of hiding.

So if you're in a funk like me, remember the things that made you smile.

Here's one that made me laugh last time I was in Las Vegas =)

On a related note, I wanted to recommend someone's post each day this month. I think it fits the theme of this post a bit:

Check out Buddish Thoughts: Just a Friendly Reminder from the Universe. It's a really nice post to read if your feeling overwhelmed or just having a bad day(s). This is what I needed to read to get me out of this small funk I'm in right now.

Opps ...

This post was meant to go out yesterday but I'm glad that I didn't hit the publish button. Way too much over sharing that what I'm comfortable with.

However, I have decided to keep the last parts of my post. I promise I'll post something better later on today.

So my refection of the day? Don't let evil manipulative people get you down even if its your own mother. Do what's best for YOU. Not what will make your family look good. And one day if hate and disappointment troubles you, you just might find peace in unlikely places and revelations.

Ok, I'm starting to read through the blogs listed on NaBloPoMo and I figured that for this month I'm going to recommend one post each day. Today I'm recommending . It has some very nice Valentine's Day recipes for Gluten Free Peanut butter Hearts and Lemon Cheesecake Pops. The look very yummy and I plan on trying those out soon! Plus check out her post on for a Green Tea Smoothie!!! Smoothies never looked so pretty =)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

NaBloPoMo & Parents

Oook so I'm joining the NaBloPoMo this year. Its kind of like the National Novel Writing Month challenge in November but for blogging. I'm still pretty new at this whole blogging stuff, I'm used to writing informative articles on various websites.

Even if you're not interested in joining check out their blog roll for something new to read. They already have a ton of people listed. I haven't had the chance to look through them yet but I'll give links here and there to any good posts I happen to read.

Today's writing prompt was "Tell us about your mother."

I had a hard time deciding if I should write anything on this subject since I was never close with my mother. When it came to my mother, I hated her. I've been able to let go of the hate but I still haven't let her back into my life. I've never been one to fall for the biological response to make amends, "I will always be your mother." It literally means nothing to me. I am now a mother of three and I still feel the same way. I don't want my kids to love me simply because they are related to me, I want them to love me because I was there for them.

As a gentle reminder to all parents out there and to myself, children will only truly love you if you love them back. I remember reading something that said that no one can truly hate their parents but mourn the loss of not having the one they really wanted. It's not an exact quote but it means that what we feel is a deep disappointment for never having the mother or father we wanted.

I was neglected as a child. It hurt me so deeply that I am still feeling the effects of it today. My general warning for all you readers today is to be careful of what advice you take and to take a step back. Step back and realize what your child might be feeling. If you are a parent and don't get along with one of your kids, don't wait to make amends because you might never get the chance.

Never ask them to "get over it," when they continue to cry. Don't ask for forgiveness, if it was forgivable it wouldn't be a problem. Accept the problem and work with fixing it. Don't try, do it. Don't say just say I love you, show them. Don't say you'll be there, do it. But most of all NEVER ask to start over. There is no starting over. Life is not a video game with a reset button. Mistakes will never go away or be forgotten. They will always hurt.