Friday, 29 May 2015

Compost this—AND that? You bet!

Living on the farm, my grandparents have always “composted.” But ever since Grandpa told my mom that compost is “good for the soil”, we’ve had a small bucket under the kitchen sink, where we’re supposed to put…honestly? I’m not 100% sure what.

So, because today is Learning About Composting Day (for real!), I decided to look it up.

Turns out, there are a LOT of things you can compost—not just fruit and veggie scraps (though, they’re important as well.) You can toss in tea bags, newspapers, coffee grounds, egg shells… Chances are, if it’s biodegradable (capable of being decomposed by bacteria and other living organisms), you can compost it.

Sidenote: For a fun and kind of spooky look at those bacteria I mentioned, check out Beneath the SOIL from the Chase Superman Duffy comic series!

Okay, back to composting. Dad says its pretty low maintenance. He takes the bucket to a composting bin in the back yard, adds leaves if it looks wet, and water if it looks dry, and gives it a couple of stirs with a giant pitchfork. I heard you can even compost in the winter, but I don’t totally understand that—wouldn’t everything freeze?

Grandpa says composted soil is perfect for growing stuff because those bacteria and micro-organizes clean (ha ha) and feed the soil. Good soil even smells good—earthy, almost. I admit, I was a bit skeptical until Mom showed me a corner of her garden where she added some of Grandpa’s compost—her tomatoes look terrific!

Does your family compost? Any tips to help me get more involved?

Gotta jet! Have a SUPER weekend!

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 22 May 2015

Whoot! It's bike season!

I think we’ve seen the last of the snow (although, in Alberta there are no guarantees), which means bike season is OFFICIALLY here. Oh sure, I’ve been riding mine a bit (on warmer days), but yesterday, the bike rack at school was FULL—which means, it’s time to remind everyone to pay close attention to the rules of the road.

I know, I know, you ALL know this, but there’s no harm in a yearly reminder, right? At least that’s what my mom says. So—how do you keep safe on the roads? Here are my top five bike safety tips (as adapted from my mom’s rules!):

  1. Wear a properly fitted bicycle helmet. Not only is it the LAW (at least in Alberta), but it could save your life.
  2. Adjust your bicycle to fit. Stand over your bicycle. There should be 1 to 2 inches between you and the top bar if using a road bike, and 3 to 4 inches if a mountain bicycle. The seat should be level front to back. Adjust the seat height to allow a slight bend at the knee when your leg is fully extended. The handlebar height should be at the same level with the seat. (If this is complicated, ask your parents for help!)
  3. Check your equipment. Before you ride, make sure your tires are inflated, and that your breaks and gears work. 
  4. See and be seen. Wear bright colours during the day, and if you’re out at dusk or dawn, consider something with reflective strips or flashing lights. Remember, just because YOU can see a driver, doesn’t mean THEY can see YOU. Avoid riding at night if you can.
  5. Beware of road hazards. Those potholes can cause you to lose balance and fall. Steer clear of broken glass, loose gravel, and even that friendly looking dog down the street. Bicycles can scare animals—which makes them unpredictable.
That’s it! It may seem silly, but these five tips can save your life. Your bike isn’t a toy, it’s a vehicle. Now let’s get out there and start wheeling!

Gotta jet! Have a great—and safe—weekend!

~ Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 15 May 2015

Do April showers REALLY bring May flowers?

You’ve heard the poem before, right? “April showers bring May flowers…” I don’t know about you, but my grandma says it (repeatedly) in the spring, mostly, I think, because she’s REALLY excited about watching her (many) flowers bloom.

But last month, I don’t remember there being a lot of rain…and in fact, just last week we had a SNOW storm.

And yet, my grandma’s flowers—especially her daffodils and tulips—are still starting to bloom. What’s up with that? I researched it to find out.

Turns out, it’s not “rain” that brings May flowers. Blooming is actually triggered by rising temperatures AND water. The moisture flowers need to bloom can come from rain, but often, winter snowfall compacts during March, leading to higher water levels when it melts. And THAT is enough to kick start blooming…well, if there’s enough sunshine, of course.

Cool, right?

Despite this <cough cough> scientific explanation behind the very popular English proverb (yep, I looked that up too), my science teacher is actually using the poem to help teach us about water cycles…like TRANSPIRATION. You know what that is, of course.

Sure, it’s part of the water cycle…but it’s also one of the books in the Chase “Superman” Duffy series. Read about it here or order your copy from

Gotta jet! 

— Chase Superman Duffy

Friday, 8 May 2015

No socks! Missing socks! What's with all the socks?

Wow! Maybe taking a break after last month’s EPIC A to Z Blogging Challenge, was a mistake. I almost forgot HOW to blog…

But then, I realized today is NO SOCKS DAY and tomorrow is LOST SOCKS MEMORIAL DAY, and I started thinking—hey! What’s up with all the days devoted to socks?

My sister isn’t a big sock wearer. Even in winter, she’d rather run around in bare feet than fluffy socks. But me? I’m a sock kid. I have plain socks, striped socks, socks with shark fins on them (no, seriously), fluffy socks, ankle socks, sports socks, even Superman socks (obviously). I wear them with my kicks (but not my sandals, because even I know that’s weird), and my snow boots, and obviously I wear black socks with my dress shoes. I love them! So, I can’t really get behind NO SOCKS DAY, especially since we just had a winter-type blizzard (seriously!) and it’s freezing outside!

But LOST SOCKS MEMORIAL DAY? Oh yeah. I support that for sure. I mean, who hasn’t put a pair of socks in the washer and dryer and then somehow LOST one? I even have a laundry basket of “mismatched” socks in my room. I should probably get rid of them—have a memorial of some kind—but I’m convinced I’ll find them SOMEday. Mom says to check my sheets, because they can get stuck in there sometimes, but I don’t think that can account for ALL of my missing socks.

I checked the Internet, and there are a number of theories behind WHERE socks go—everything from the serious to the ridiculous. (Hm. Seems like there may be some story ideas in there! <grin>) What about you? Where do YOU think lost socks go after you put them in the washing machine? And, will you celebrate NO SOCKS DAY today or hold a memorial for your lost socks tomorrow?

Gotta jet! Have a great weekend.

— Chase Superman Duffy