That’s what some might say…but, me? I feel as if I have just created a work of art, built something grand, helped a little fledgling prepare to take flight. Just WHAT, you might ask, could stir such emotion, such a feeling of pride and accomplishment and bring tears to these eyes. What is IT?
Here’s a hint…it started like this about four months ago…
Yes, finally, after four months of feeding, nurturing, hydrating and researching, I have given birth to my first “mature” pile of compost! I am so excited!
As I mentioned, back in April, when I began this little experiment, throwing kitchen scraps down the garbage disposal, to clog our water treatment facilities, or hauling garbage out to the dumpster left me feeling “guilty.” Yes, GUILTY! I had toyed with the idea of exploring composting but didn’t think I had the space or the time and would soon abandon the thought.
However, very early this spring, I began doing tiny bits of research and decided, with this project, anyway, I would start out small. I was NOT going to jump in with both feet and remodel the entire east side of our yard to accomodate my new “hobby.” I was NOT going to spend excessive amounts of money or energy on tumblers or bins. I would “try it out” and see how it worked.
And so, I began asking friends if they compost.
How do YOU compost? WHAT do you compost? Do you have a BIN or a TUMBLER? You would not BELIEVE the titilating conversations that one can generate at an Oregon Banker’s Conference cocktail party when one brings up Composting! Oh my! Second only to a conversation led by a group of Compliance Auditors!
And, so, I started out small. I invested in two inexpesive laundry hampers with lids. Laundry hampers are a good, inexpensive alternative to the high-falootin’ tumblers and what not, they don’t take up much room and have plenty of holes to allow air and moisture in and out. I chose ones with hinged lids in order to deter “robbers”; those critters that may come during the night and try to raid my treasure.
And, the bottom line, boiling the various sources of research down to this simple theory…
You can do all kinds of studies about the microbes, the browns and the greens, ratios and whatnot. Of course, I know there is a much more exact science to all of this, something that might speed up the process, but…my method worked and it’s simple.
I gather my kitchen scraps (primarily produce, no dairly or meat products, but lots of coffee filters, coffee grounds and crushed egg shells) in a plastic bucket (fitted with a tight lid, no smelly bucket in MY kitchen) under the sink. I haul my treasures out to the “compost pile” two or three times a week, I layer equal parts of shredded newspaper (i.e. one bucket of newspaper for every one bucket of scraps) and lawn clippings onto the pile, keep damp and mix thoroughly once a week. This last step serves as my weekly weight training exercise! I shovel the compost into a wheel barrow, stir well, and shovel back into the container. Once the compost pile begins to lose any kind of resemblence to the individual items that make up the contents and my bin is practically full, I cease adding to it. I’ll continue to stir and hydrate, but at this point, it’s time for Mother Nature to just continue “cooking” my creation. And I’ll begin on a second bin of fresh treasures.
It’s amazing how much the contents will continue to “break down.” The whole process is just so darned exciting! Oh! And best of all! When I’m digging around in my flower beds and find some nice, big, fat, wiggly, squiggly worms under the surface? Well, they are off to worm nirvana! Cradling these little babies like they were Faberge Eggs, I carry them to the “almost mature” container and in they go. “Here you go, little buddies! Now work your magic!
And then…voila…when it looks like, well, like compost, it’s time to reap the rewards. With great reverie and ceremony, I shoveled my creation into the wheel barrow and off we went to the flower beds.
And, the process begins again. So, give it a try. Just a little baby step towards reducing YOUR carbon footprint…