Fear of Clowns

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
- H. L. Mencken
gozz@gozz.com

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Chili pepper update 

My hot lemon pepper a few weeks ago - came back from having no leaves due to neglect in a flood and drain system - after 1 week in the deep water culture system:

rejuvenating hot lemon pepper

Two weeks:

rejuvenating hot lemon pepper

Three weeks:

great progress - hot lemon pepper

From seeds purchased on eBay, "Punjab small hot". This pepper seems to be low growing and bushy, unlike most hot peppers. At two weeks in DWC:

Three weeks:

Punjab small hot

Naga jolokia, in DWC since seedling stage, a week ago:

Today - dozens and dozens of flowers:

Naga jolokia in hydro

All eight of my hot chilis in hydroponic deep water culture today. I added some bloom nutrients as most are budding now:

hydroponic hot peppers

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Dart frog food day 

Flightless fruit flies are the staple food for most captive dart frogs; I've so far been more successfull with other feeder insects. My cricket ranch is producing hundreds of pinhead crickets.

pinhead crickets

This is the bedding I removed from the main colony - it's now in a 6 quart Seralite container with some dry catfood, powdered milk and damp sphagnum moss. What else could a baby cricket need?

cricket bedding

By the way, I'm watching Dave Letterman interview a very drunk Jack Black at the moment.

I'm not exactly sure what these are - I've read them referred to as bean beetles and bean weevils. They're amazingly easy to culture - all they need is dry black-eyed-peas. No water, no anything else. There were 8 or a dozen individuals in my starter culture - all dead for weeks now. Three days ago, a single beetle emerged, yesterday two dozen, today swarms. I split the "used" beans into two new cultures and added fresh beans to the original culture.

They must emerge from the beans sexually mature as all they do is crawl around and mate with each other.

bean beetles

Here I have a mixture of vermiculite, small pebbles and LECA. On top I've layered damp corrugated cardboard. This is a culture of isopods - similar to pill bugs, rolly-pollies and woodlice - the things that roll up or scatter when you lift up something that hasn't been lifted up in a while. They are all isopods.

isopods

This page and video was really helpful to me. Not sure what to try for food, I'm giving them a smorgasbord: watermelon rind, banana peel, yeast, oatmeal and a tortilla.

isopod food

Covered with a final layer of cardboard as these are the things you see when lifting up something that hasn't been lifted up in a while.

isopod food

Springtails - another animal you'll only see when looking under things. I'm using charcoal as a medium as their buoyancy allows one to harvest them by flooding the container and scooping a mass of them off the top of the water.

springtail charcoal

Food for the springtails: yeast and oatmeal.

springtail food

For my tadpoles, bloodworms. Purchased frozen from a pet store.

frozen bloodwords

I moved my tads to larger containers.

tadpole

I killed two of my three turquoise and bronze and auratus tadpoles by using straight reverse osmosis water. By osmosis, the mineral free water sucks minerals and salts out of the tadpole. Here is the single turquoise and bronze that made it - you can see its eyes here.

turquoise and bronze tadpole

Finally, some food for the human.

human food: Summit IPA ale

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Baby cricket factory 

I learned how to do this here, so just a quick walk around the cricket ranch.

Here's the feeding trough. They're eating cat food and powdered milk. As soon as I placed the lid full of food in the ranch, they started carrying off whole nuggets a third their size and greater in weight.

cricket farm trough

Crickets are pretty stupid and will drown themselves in any available open water so you have to give them something to suck on.

cricket farm watering hole

The egg cartons are just for them to crawl around on and hide under.

The small tub of soil is for the lady crickets to lay their eggs in. The broods arising from the small incubator will carry on the colony. As per the baby crickets born of the large incubator ... well, I'm not going to do anything Pol Pot didn't do, but I won't do it as efficiently and on a much smaller scale.

cricket in cubator

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fruit fly culture experiment 

I'm growing flightless fruit flies to feed my pet plants. About a month ago I bought a culture of them from a pet store for $5.99 - I believe today I bought enough ingredients to make dozens of times more flies for about the same price. First, here is the store purchased culture.

purchased fruit fly culture

Because millions of people without in-sink disposals unwittingly make fruit fly cultures every day I figure it's rather difficult to fail in the venture. I've read that using vinegar instead of water inhibits mold growth so I threw into the blender a small apple, half a package of potato buds, half a package of baking yeast and wet it down a bit with apple cider vinegar.

diy fruit fly food

I kept the apple peels for springtail food. Or more accurately, food for springtail food. More on that tomorrow.

apple peels

After blending everything down to a cookie dough consistency, I used a root beer bottle to mash the mush more or less evenly across the bottoms of a mason jar and pickle jar. I put one in the freezer for later.

mash

I learned a new word today, excelsior,

wood shavings (thin curly wood shavings used for packing or stuffing)

In this case, the source of my excelsior - pods of a Northern Catalpa - proved the first positive about having a nearly all year mess of the foot-long woody pods in the yard. Those woody pods are perfect excelsior material for my pet flies to find a purchase.

mash

I shook 30-40 flies from the original culture into their new breeding grounds and locked them in with a paper towel and rubber bands.

put a lid on it

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