Monday, March 1, 2010

Okay, the mess has been tidied.

*Phew!* I got the crow-picked garbage mess all raked up just in time for a virus to go through the house. I seem to have gotten off easy with just a headache, but Gabe was a puke-monkey all day, and Chris just headed upstairs to have a chat on the porcelain throne.

But back to the compost. Under the midden of moldering bits was gorgeous black dirt! I estimate there to be between five and ten cubic feet of the stuff, including the chunks that the worms haven't finished digesting yet. This represents most of a year's worth of avocado rinds, orange peels, banana peels, moldy bread, uneaten pasta, old leftovers, stale pizza, pizza boxes, junk mail, table scraps, lobster shell, Burger King wrappers, apple cores, paper napkins, mango seeds, squash rind, waxed paper, yogurt, tomato sauce, toddler rejects, snotty tissues, coffee grounds, eggshells, egg cartons, and my husband's constant stream of bloody-nose tissues.

Our kitchen wastes have averaged about a cubic foot a week. That's 52 cubic feet of waste diverted from the landfills. It's also 52 cubic feet of waste that didn't waste power and water being put through the dispose-all.

I'm not finicky about what goes in the pile. Some people don't add meat or cheese; I only keep the chicken bones out because cooked bones splinter, and I don't want to hurt the wildlife that stops by for a meal.

The pile includes last season's weeds, and a few autumn leaves. But just a few; most went onto the flower and veggie beds as mulch. When this pile needs "browns", it gets paper products that are too soiled by food to be recycled.

During the warmer parts of the year, Chris contributes pee. I would do so as well, but as I mentioned before, this pile is in view of the neighbor's house, and there's no way I could squat on it discreetly.

On a gardening forum a while back there was a discussion about strange objects people had accidentally composted. My list now includes a pair of wire cutters and a titanium spork.

My mother doesn't put orange peels in her compost pile for fear that they won't break down. I am happy to report that orange peels were not among the undigested bits. Nor, for the most parts, were the pizza box chunks or ripped fast-food papers, although the bits that got loose admittedly made a nuisance blowing around the yard. The most repetitive whole objects in the soil were avocado pits. These will be screened out when Chris uses the compost, but I'll just leave them in and call them fertilizer pellets.

Poor Chris. He's back on the couch now, moaning. Time for me to administer some hugs.

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