Vivacious, Viable Vermicompost

I’m not big on new year’s or birthday resolutions, but there was one big hurdle I wanted to jump before turning 30: my fear of worms. I’ve been absolutely disgusted by earthworms ever since my older cousins put them down my shirt when I was five. With a little encouragement from some gardening pals, I’ve become Sunset Park’s newest worm herder.

worm union

Vermiculture is using worms to compost kitchen, garden, and household waste. It turns stinky trash into nutrient-rich, fresh-smelling worm castings that can be added to potted plants or gardens. If you pay for your trash collection it will lower your costs and, whether you pay or not, reducing the amount of methane-producing food that goes to landfills is good for everyone. While traditional compost requires a large, outdoor space, vermicompost can be housed in a tiny Brooklyn kitchen. And although a worm or two might get antsy and make a wiggle for it when they’re getting used to their new space, once they’re established, no one will ever know they’re around.

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Making Tinctures and Liniments With the Weight to Volume Method

Tinctures or liniments are medicines made by extracting the constituents of plants in a liquid. While they’re made using the same process, they’re used differently. Tinctures are taken internally, liniments are applied externally. Extractions of some plants can be used as both tinctures and liniments. For example, yarrow is used as a tincture to reduce a fever and as a liniment to cleanse wounds and stop bleeding. Tinctures and liniments are particularly beneficial in the winter because they preserve plants’ medicinal properties long after the growing season is over.

If you’ve ever cooked with vanilla or had a cocktail with bitters, you’ve used a tincture. Some tinctures don’t taste so great. Motherwort tincture is almost unbearably bitter. However, this is precisely why we make these plants into tinctures. Can you imagine having to sip a cup of bitter tea?

Tinctures and liniments have two main components: the marc and the menstruum. The marc is the plant material and the menstruum is the liquid that dissolves the plant constituents.


The weight to volume method sounds a little finicky at first, but is easy to master. I like this method because it lets people know exactly what they’re getting, dosage-wise, and can be remade over and over again.

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Making and Baking a Sourdough Loaf

You’ve got a starter, some math knowledge, and all your ingredients and materials pulled together. It’s time to learn the final step: how to build and bake a loaf.

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Easy, Wheezy! Decongestant Salve

Even though it’s officially spring, both the weather and my lungs are holding on tight to winter. It’s all kinds of rainy and cold outside, and I can’t quite shake the stuffy nose I picked up last week.

Easy, Wheezy! Decongestant Salve - MamootDIY.com

I whipped up a little homemade VapoRub (Viva Peru!) to get me through the next few days of this cold, and – BONUS – to help me take on the spring allergies I know are coming as soon as everything starts blooming.

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De-Stress With Homemade Scented Play-Doh

Good folks of the Internet, the last month and a half have been ROUGH. I’m working as a therapist at a high school right now and my clients just seem more scared every day. See, the school where I work is full of brilliant Black and brown kids who aren’t sure what the government is going to do to them and their families. Between the (overturned and forthcoming) Muslim bans, rescission of protections for trans kids, and anti-Latinx sentiment going strong, we’re all more than a little worried.

Scented Play-Doh - MamootDIY.com

To help, I’ve got a Saturday afternoon project that’ll get your mind off the state of the country for half an hour and help you cope with it when real life comes back into focus. Because while we keep fighting, we’ve got to sustain ourselves with moments of joy and silliness. Making playdough is one tiny thing you can do today to give yourself a break from the darker stuff.

I use playdough in sessions with my clients all the time. The shy kid and I play together until they’re comfy enough to talk. The anxious kid gets a ball to take with them to squeeze in class when they get called on. The angry kid smashes playdough instead of plates when they can’t handle their dad’s yelling anymore. The kid who finally feels a little better asks for playdough to share with a friend who’s going through a rough time. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it helps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DpevnLCNYc

There are tons of ways to use your playdough therapeutically, but fidgeting, smashing, and observing are three of my favorite places to start.

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Snowbound Soap

Welcome to the end of first snow day of the year! I’ve been snuggled up inside all day hanging out with my plants and baking cookies (with a quick jaunt into the cold to play capoeira to shake off my cabin fever).

Snowbound Soap - MamootDIY.com

I’ve been waiting this whole unseasonably-warm season for an excuse to post about my favorite new  creation: snowbound soap.

Snowbound Soap - MamootDIY.com

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En Lo Pequeño Radica La Fuerza: Herbalism for Quiet(er) Revolutionaries

For as long as it’s existed, A-Camp has been one of my favorite places. It’s also been a place that turns the worry knob in my brain up to full blast. I worry that I’m too small or maybe pretending to be big but what if I’m too big and then everyone can see right through me and what if seeing through turns into looking past and and and and and.

So this year, after a winter that was more cold than cozy, I wrote a love letter to myself in my application and planned to lead nothing but arts and crafts for four days. Y’all! We made tiny grills, sewed coptic-bound books, and made jewelry out of recycled beer cans, but my favorite activity was the herbalism knowledge share I hosted. We were a ragtag group of queers and damn if every single person there didn’t have something to teach me.

I came home from camp with a low humming calm that my body had known before but forgot the year it first knew blood. I’m not saying I came back perfect or fixed, but I stopped confusing devastation with depth and started to feel the whole way around things. Like maybe the earth is a warm place. Like maybe I make it warmer.

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