Monday, March 26, 2007

A Bin for All Seasons

It is not true that I am hopelessly impulsive. I can mull about a piece of writing for days . . . months . . . years. (Someday I really do want to finish that blank-verse adaption of the book of Job.)

But when it comes to things that have any practical use, I admit, it generally happens right away or not at all. One idea floats around in my head for awhile, another one drops in, they collide into an explosion of activity, or they drift off into nothingness.

The idea that had been floating about for awhile was the need for a place to compost. I cannot be truly happy without a compost pile. Without compost, I am a rootless, parasitic lifeform. With compost, I am a valuable part of the cycle of life. This is no doubt one of the reasons I cannot be happy in an apartment, although I suppose I could try doing it with worms.

Saturday DOB and Uncle Steve went up to B2's house to rip out old carpet and cabinets and other nasty, nasty jobs which small children should be nowhere near. So I stayed home with the children and Aunt Bettie came over later to keep us company. We were playing in the backyard when she arrived--I was pulling a few weeds with no grander intentions than a trip to the park--and then, suddenly, I saw her and I saw the pile of scrap lumber that we drug out of the basement when we moved in--and the explosion happened.

"Do you want to help me make a compost bin?" I asked.

"Sure," she said.

So I ran inside and found tools of various sorts and even some large and sturdy nails (which may or may not have belonged to DOB's father) and we got to work. The basic structure used to be something resembling a very rickety table; when we discovered we couldn't get the top off, we turned it on its side, ripped apart the rickety parts and nailed them back together. From other, unidentifiable structures, we ripped off extra wood pieces and sawed them into reasonable lengths and nailed them on.

I supplied the vision and unskilled labor; Aunt Bettie supplied the information on how things should actually be done and pointed out useful concepts like the value of having a sturdy surface and good angle before swinging the hammer. The ducklings were consoled for postponing the visit to the park by being allowed unfettered access to the tools. D1 used them for making mud pies, and D2 tried out all the socket wrenches to see which one would best fit his fingers. They also handed us nails.

In the end we were all hot and muddy and hungry, and D1 was soaked from falling in the pond out back, but I sustained the only injury with a scraped knuckle. Now we have a compost bin, although it is still lacking chicken wire to hold the sides in and keep the two halves separate. I just hope I can pay enough attention to it to keep it from smelling too terribly bad.


Rose said...

Amen to that! I feel so terrible throwing kitchen scraps in the trash, but without a compost bin, wild animals would simply rifle through the piles. I tried just dumping stuff inside our garden area during the winter, counting on the fact that it would decompose by the spring, but Michael was concerned about the risk of attracting black bears, which have been spotted in residential areas around here. Bother. Meat scraps are the worst to throw out, because then you have to empty the trash bag immediately.

Devona said...

Hurray for compost.

The best thing that I inherited from the previous owner of this home was a compost bin behind the garage. It has really old, black, healthy dirt in it.

I didn't realize it was back there until after I had started my garden last year, but this year I'm turning a bunch of that compost into my soil before we plant.

I also compost in a trash can with some smallish holes drilled into it. Once it needs turning I flip the one can onto another. That keeps it from getting stinky.