Carmen Rose wrote:I posted here about my efforts to create an all natural mattress out of moss and wanted to update that post but now I can't find it. Anyone know why?
It wasn't there a minute ago but voila! There it is.
OK, so I slept in my new bed for the first time last night and, as expected, it compacted quite a bit. It went from at least 6" of fluff to about 2 or 3" of packed moss. There are a couple of blankets that I store under it and an old camping pad - why waste that space? - for an additional inch of padding. I slept well (but, then, I like a firm mattress). Of course the edges didn't pack down very much. I'll be interested to see whether they ever do pack down as much.
So, spurred on by the recent inquiry as to how it was going . . . sometimes I need a bit of gentle spurring . . . yesterday was the day to assemble. Thank God I didn't have to make the actual mattress case! With these old arthritic hands I wasn't looking forward to sewing up that canvas! Pretty sure my wimpy sewing machine wouldn't do it so I had planned to sew it by hand, and was regretting the 2 zippers I got to add in along a long edge and part way around the ends. Would have made assembling it so much easier but I just couldn't face it, and the likely pain in my hands for days to come.
Ironically, (that's the word we use when we mean "God provides"), my extremely un-environmentally-friendly job site was throwing away 2 pieces of the densest styrofoam I've ever encountered. It had been at the preschool for as long as anyone can remember but no one knew what it was for. It was the perfect length for a mattress and 5" wide. Amazing! I asked them to 'throw them away' into my car and brought them home.
I had been concerned about the small area of the edge that I get in and out of bed from getting smushed much more than the rest of it and making it uneven. This is perfect! It also keeps the mattress more solid and easier to move around for making the bed.
Also 'ironically,' my niece brought a mattress 'cover' to us that she had planned to throw away but thought my sister might use. It's very heavy with a zipper just across one end (not so easy to load but pre-made and free), a padded surface on the top side (only 1/4" but it helps smooth out any lumps) as if it was really part of the mattress, not what we think of as a cover of thin, padded cotton with gauze around the sides. Except for the backing, which has a small rip and I will eventually replace, it was in very good condition and quite sturdy. It's not all natural but it's old enough to have out gassed about as much as it can and I don't feel badly about reusing something headed for the landfill even if it is synthetic. My thought is to not be responsible for the production of toxicity or uncompostable materials but, if it's already been produced and bought by someone else, I'd rather it be used to its fullest extent than sent to the landfill simply because it's synthetic. That said, it was the perfect size so I snagged it immediately, filled the rest of the small boxes yesterday and assembled it in an hour or so. It looked just like a typical mattress so I covered it with an old wool blanket (fire barrier), put a regular, thin mattress pad over it to hold the blanket on well, put sheets on it and slept there last night.
It feels so great to have finished such a long project! I started collecting the moss, washing and air drying it, last spring. And then to sleep on it - heavenly! I like a firm mattress and it is, indeed, firm but not too firm. The internal boxes ended up being just about exactly a pound each. I numbered them in their upper left corner so that if I move it I'll know where to put each box and avoid mixing them up. It's a little bit sloppy because the boxes aren't packed tight and slides around more easily than I'd like but I'll plan to put more stuffing (weight) in it next summer - when the weather is more conducive to washing and drying it all. I may go with straw if moss isn't readily available. I picked most of the easy-to-get moss this year. Or maybe it will have regrown by next year. This is the Pacific Northwest, after all. Or maybe someone near here has moss they'd love to have removed from their maple trees . . . ? I actually think the fact that it's more fluffy on the edges and sunken in the middle will keep me warmer this winter, a little like a feather bed that comes up around you to seal out cold air, and I expect the sides will pack down more with use.
So that's my lengthy experiment in making my own mattress. I call it a success, and one I can feel really good about sleeping in. One final thought - should I put a spoonful of diatomaceous earth in each box? I wouldn't expect insects to take up residence but I find it comfortable and cozy so might they also? Would that diatomaceous earth just settle to the bottom and be ineffective anyway? Any opinions on that?