How Does a Mold Test Kit Work?

Many homeowners are making use of a mold test kit to see if the mold in their homes is dangerous. But, how do these mold test kits work?

How Does a Mold Test Kit Work?

And, is this the best and only way to test mold in your home? We all know the dangers of having certain types of mold in your home. Especially, if you have small children and pets at home.

With this guide, you will know how does a mold test kit work, and you will know about which method is going to be the best for testing mold.

Why is it important to know how a mold test kit works?

As you might know, there are different types of mold. And, if you found some mold in your home, you need to make sure that you know if this is the dangerous type or not.

Because there are different ways of testing the mold, you need to know how a mold test kit works. This will give you the insight to see if the test kit is a high-quality kit or if this is just another waste of money.

If you know how the mold kit works, you will be able to know if this is a high-quality test kit or not.

Is mold testing kits the best options to use?

In general, it is a great option to use a mold testing kit for testing mold in your home. However, this depends on the type of mold test that you are purchasing.

When you are purchasing the cheapest mold test, you need to know that this might not be the best way to test mold. However, if you are purchasing the mold test that is similar to the ones that professionals use, then this might be enough to test the mold correctly.

So, there isn’t really a correct answer to the question if mold testing kits are the best option to use or not. It depends on the type of mold test that you are purchasing.  With a high-quality testing kit, you will get the best results.

Different kits have different testing methods

Mold Testing Methods

It is hard to explain exactly how the mold testing kits work. This is because different testing kits are using different methods to test the mold. Some are a lot more complicated to explain than other kits.

Basically, the mold testing kit is telling you what type of mold you have in your home. If this is the dangerous one or not. You should make sure that you know how the testing kit works before you purchase it. And, the best way to know this, is to ask a professional for some insight.

Three different ways that you can test your mold

There are basically three different mold test kits that you can choose from. It is working differently. The first test kit is the indoor air quality mold test. The second test that you can do is the air conditioning and heating sampling method is looking for mold in your air conditioning and heating systems.

The third test that you can do for testing mold is the surface sampling testing method to know what type of mold you have.

The best way to test the mold in your home

You can test mold in your home with a mold testing kit. Some are really accurate and you will know if you have mold, and what type of mold you might have. However, this isn’t the best way to test mold in your home.

The best way to be for sure what type of mold you have, and if there is any mold, is to hire a professional to come to your home and to test it professionally. This is the best way. This is also the most expensive way, but if you want to make sure that you are getting the right information, these guys are the best way to test mold.

By knowing more about the mold testing kits, you will understand better on how these kits are working, and if it is really as accurate as what you might think. With all this information, you will know now, that finding the right mold test is essential to get the right information. And, this might mean that you should hire a professional.

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FREE Backyard Barnyard Workshop Saturday 8/16

Interested in keeping goats or sheep or pigs? As part of the Bernalillo County Open Space Backyard Farming Series, I will be teaching a free workshop on dairy goats at the Gutierrez-Hubbell House this Saturday, August 16th, starting at 9 am, and Robin Miller will be teaching a workshop on sheep and pigs starting at 11 am.

RSVP to Colleen Langan to secure your space and don’t forget to register when you arrive to be entered for our giveaways at the end of the workshop. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Upcoming Events In Albuquerque

Happy new year, dear readers.

It’s true. I’ve been remiss in posting. While you wait for more recipes and farm animal lore, here are some (mostly) FREE events happening here in Albuquerque.

1. Bug Love

Wednesday, February 13th, 6-7:15 PM at Bachechi Open Space. FREE. A fun talk with my favorite entomologist Dr. Tess Grasswitz. Details here.

2. Beekeeping 101

Saturday, March 2. Erda Gardens. Details here.

3. ABQ Beekeepers Meeting

Thursday, March 7, 6:30-8:30 PM. FREE. Details here.

4. Empowering Women in Agriculture Seminar

Friday, March 8th. FREE. MRGCD Agricultural Collaborative. Register and details here.

5. Edible Landscapes

Saturday, March 9, 9 AM-12:30 PM at the historic Gutierrez-Hubbell House. FREE. Part of the popular Bernalillo County Open Space Backyard Farming Workshop Series. Details here on this and other workshops this year.

And don’t forget…now is the perfect time to plant your spring garden (under row cover, of course). Plant lettuces, greens and spring root crops for an early April harvest. While I don’t use straw bales anymore (I simply use two layers of row cover and wire wickets), here is a blog about an easy way to create a quick cold frame to grow spring greens.

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NM Native Pollinator Pocket Guides

My favorite entomologist, Dr. Tess Grasswitz, has published new and FREE guides to beneficials in New Mexico. They are available for download from NMSU’s website and have great photos and descriptions. Go to the above link and scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the link for either IPM for Home Gardeners or the Guide to Beneficial Insects of New Mexico.

There is a ton of great information on Tess’s Integrated Pest Management website, and the information is applicable to more than just New Mexico. Take a look. Thanks, Tess (& thanks, Rebecca, for sharing the link!)!

sunstone dill ladybeetles

Lady Beetles and larvae on dill that’s gone to seed.

Here is one of my favorite tips for increasing beneficials in the garden:

Let plants go to seed. Especially dill, wild carrot, cilantro, basil, fennel, etc. This can be tricky when you have a small garden, but try to include a row for pollinators. The benefit of doing this really hit home a few years back when I let the collards that I grew over the winter go to seed in the spring.

I briefly worried that I would be creating habitat for early populations of the cabbage moths, but what I discovered instead was that although the cabbage moths had an earlier food source, so did the parasitic wasps that preyed on them. What I noticed after a few years of letting collards go to seed was that not only were my populations of cabbage moths reduced, the large branched collard plants provided seed (and insects) and perches for birds, habitat for spiders and lady beetles (which I typically see more in the Umbelliferae plants but perhaps early in the spring they take what they can get). And, I had “free” new collard plants growing without having to do any work on my part.

Again, this is really only practical in a “wild” type garden, but I always keep some wild areas along the micro-managed gardens for beneficials and have noticed very minimal pest pressure on the veggies (except for squash bugs, but that’s another post!). I’d love to hear what others are doing in smaller gardens to encourage beneficials.

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I Wanna Go To Farm Camp!

How cool is it that such a thing as “farm camp” exists? No endless weeks of daycare, uniforms, and kumbaya for the modern set. Now young’uns can learn about farm animals, growing food, and all sorts of things that were, let’s be honest, probably chores way back in the day. I can imagine my 98-year old grandmother who couldn’t wait to get off the farm at 16 shuddering at the thought of actually wanting to do all this fun farm-y stuff. (In fact, I do think she’s a bit amused at how I like to spend my time!).

Desi says she wants to go to Farm Camp!

These days, however, our youth are in critical need of connecting with nature and where our food comes from. Farm Camp may just be one of the more important movements (along with school gardens) happening in the “nature deficit disorder” scene.

Here in Albuquerque, we are lucky to have our own farm camp at Erda Gardens, a biodynamic CSA and Learning Center. In their third year of hosting farm camp, they bring in local experts to make the experience so much the richer. This year’s sessions start the first week in June. Find out more about Farm Camp at Erda Gardens on their website. Looks like so much fun!

Amanda and the Amazing Above Water Farm Camp Basket Weavers

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Cuckoo Marans Chickens

We get a lot of blog hits from people searching for information about Cuckoo Marans chickens, an older breed that is newly popular. There isn’t a lot of information about Cuckoo Marans out there, so I thought I would add a post about my experience with the breed.

Cuckoo Marans Chickens

Cuckoo Marans Momma Hen and Her Just Hatched Chicks: “Oh My Stars!”

I’m not going to write about how this is a heritage breed from France, their history in the United States, etc. I’m going to tell you about my experience with the breed. If you just want the details in a nutshell: they are a good dual-purpose breed, average egg-layers (don’t go for them if you’re looking for serious production), dark eggs IF you get good genetics, good mothers, the roosters are good meat birds, and they’re pretty but don’t have spectacular plumage.

1. I wanted dark brown eggs. After reading about the different dark brown-egg-laying breeds, the Cuckoo Marans seemed appealing, especially since I like dual-purpose birds.

2. I ordered 25 Cuckoo Marans, straight run, from Murray MacMurray hatchery, which is my favorite hatchery. They all survived and were healthy, BUT only a handful of the hens ended up laying the really dark eggs that MM advertises. Some were darkly speckled as opposed to entirely dark. (By the way, when you get the chicks, those with a larger whitish spot on the head tend to be the roosters. The hens tend to be darker).

I think this is because A) MacMurray’s got the breed, but they’re just pumping out the eggs, not raising them up and selecting for egg color and B) word on the street is, over the years, Cuckoo Marans were crossed with Barred Rocks to improve their egg production. So, the breed produced more eggs, but the eggs had an occasionally lighter color. Don’t get me wrong, the eggs are still darker than, say, a Buff Orpington, but I’ve had RIR’s lay darker eggs.

So…if you really want dark eggs right away, I recommend buying from a breeder, not one of the larger hatcheries.

3. Barred Rocks and Cuckoo Marans have similar coloring, but the barring and coloring are really different if you pay attention. There was one hen of the 25 who had coloring more similar to a Barred Rock than a Cuckoo Marans, which reinforced my supposition that there were Barred Rock genetics present.

That hen’s name, by the way, is Chatty Kathy, because she used to make so much noise -cackling at me when I milked the goats. I think she was trying to say “I’m not a Marans. I’m not supposed to be here.” But, unlike Barred Rocks, she stopped laying her first moult and never started up again (I think that was two years ago). That’s an early retirement if I’ve ever seen one! She’s also mean to her fellow hens. She’s been on the list to cull, but Tree likes her, so she’s still part of the flock. For now.

4. So, back on the ranch, I selected the darkest eggs from the hens with the darkest coloring to hatch out. We had good first hatching of chicks. Our Buff Orpington named Crazy raised them up (she was a broody machine, going broody again a few weeks after each clutched was raised…even in January). Sadly of that first clutch, more than half were roosters. More sadness, several of the female chicks drowned in the goat’s water bucket (we’ve since put it up on blocks when we have chicks), so we had a small number of hens that were raised up from that first batch. Many were already promised to friends, so we kept only two.

Those two hens had the dark feather coloring and dark eggs that I wanted, however, when I went to hatch out their eggs, many of the eggs were duds (they didn’t hatch). That has never happened. What that was all about I don’t know: did the rooster really not ever mount them? Or was there something structural or genetic at play?

I ended up being so enamored with a Marans/Araucana cross name Lulu (from a favored white Araucauna (Whitey) who was an incredible layer with a great personality), that I decided to stop breeding the Marans and just raise the offspring of Whitey and Lulu.

The Marans roosters were large and for the most part good roosters (in my book a good rooster doesn’t attack people, is not overly amorous with the hens, good fertilization rate, and takes care of his hens (finds them food, protects, etc.). The last purebred Marans rooster, however, ended up being mean with the girls, so I made the decision to keep a hybrid Marans/Araucauna cross and no longer raise pure Marans chickens. After all, there’s something to be said for hybrid vigor.

So, for all of you who find this blog looking for information about Cuckoo Marans, I hope this is useful to you!

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Goat Cheese Workshop – February 19

[As of 2/16, the class is FULL. If you didn’t get a chance to register, send us your email to be on the mailing list for the next goat cheese workshop!]

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to make your own goat cheese, here’s your chance. Join Jen for a fun morning learning all about making goat cheese. We’ll cover milk handling, rennet, cultures, equipment, aging, and much more.

This camembert-style goat cheese was delicious!

We’ll go through the steps for making the various kinds of fresh chevres and also cover tips and additional resources for learning how to make feta and mold-ripened cheeses. Registration is limited and pre-registration is required for this course. Register online to reserve your spot.

When: Sunday, February 19, 10 am
Where: Sunstone Farm and Learning Center (we’ll send directions upon receipt of registration)
Cost: $20

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Marinated Feta Recipe

I just finished the last jar of aged marinated feta made with homemade feta cheese. Oh my. It was beyond good. The seasoned olive oil is perfect for dipping crusty bread.

Marinated Feta Recipe

Homemade marinated feta. A glass of red wine, a loaf of crusty bread, and friends to share it with: it doesn’t get better than that!

It was so good that I was instantly sad that I had no more. Thankfully I found a few quarts of feta in my spare fridge leftover from the summer. I typically make feta in the summer when it’s too hot to easily make chevre.

Here is a simple recipe for making your own marinated feta. You can use store-bought or homemade feta. Do you have a favorite recipe? I’d love to hear about it!

Marinated Feta

1. Cut feta into 1-inch chunks, or smaller or larger per your preference.

2. Into a clean and sterile pint-sized jar (or jar appropriate to the amount of feta you have), place a clove of garlic, halved or crushed, a goodly pinch of peppercorns and a dash of red pepper flakes.

3. Place feta chunks into the jar, nestling a bay leaf and a sprig or two of fresh rosemary half way up. Fill to cover with olive oil. Cover and let stand for several days to encourage the flavors to meld. You can start eating after a few days, but it’s best after at least a month. I put it in the fridge to age if I can wait that long. The leftover oil is delicious in salads, over bread or vegetables.

Enjoy!

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Local Winter Vegetables and Meat in Albuquerque

Got potatoes? Squash? Beef? Pork? If not, two farmers in our bioregion will be making deliveries in the next few weeks.

Kristen from Boxcar Farms will be making her annual wholesale heirloom potato/squash delivery on Nov. 13. Don’t miss out on your chance to stock up on her gorgeous spuds and squash! Email Kristen for full variety/cost details: kristen@boxcarfarm.com

Local pasture-raised meats are hard to find in Albuquerque (not impossible, but difficult!). Pork especially. Thankfully Kretsinger Farm from southern Colorado will be making their monthly delivery in Albuquerque on November 18, and in Santa Fe and Taos on November 19. Contact Trudi for her complete price list and drop off times/locations.

Retail cuts of NM beef, lamb and local poultry can also be found at La Montanita Coop.

Albuquerque peeps: who’s your favorite farmer for beef and pork and poultry?

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Lacto-Fermented Pickled Beets

This is my favorite way to eat and preserve beets. I eat these almost daily. I’ll sprinkle a few over a salad, or just eat a small bowl. I also like to put them out as part of a tapas spread. I grew up eating the sweet and sour (think sugar and vinegar) pickled beets, but ever since I started making these, I can’t go back to the old version.

Pickled Beets – Delicious and Gorgeous!

I’m down to a quart of pickled beets, so this morning I dug up the remaining summer beets from the garden. These are so simple to make, and even die-hard beet-haters come around with this recipe. Plus, unlike the “canned” vinegar pickled beets, these are good for you. No added sugar and fermented vegetables benefit the digestive system. Enjoy!

Lacto-Fermented Pickled Beets

Fresh beets
Sea salt or pickling salt (no iodized salt)
Water

1. Make a brine of 1 tablespoon salt dissolved in 1 cup water.

2. Scrub beets and remove root ends and tops. You don’t want any sand in those pickles!

3. Chop beets into 1/2 inch dice and add to a quart-sized mason jar, leaving an inch of head space. Fill with the brine to cover the beets. Cover with a lid, but do not tighten the lid all the way down (leave some “give” for any fermenting gases to escape) or affix a paper towel with a rubber band to keep dust and fruit flies out.

4. Let sit on the counter for 3 days. Move to the refrigerator and let sit for at least another week or two. I find that they get better with age, and I prefer them after a few months of aging. Enjoy!

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