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Installment 3 of ‘Is it Really Trash?’

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I feel like starting this post with something creepy like, “I’m baaaaaaack.” I think it’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve posted anything. Happy Mother’s Day and Birthday to me! We planned very little and did very much – I highly recommend this M.O. to anyone who wants a low stress, high fun day (or weekend…. or week). And in the name of blissful enjoyment I avoided all responsibilities that could be (responsibly) put off until later.

But now I’m ba(aaaaaaaaaa)ck and I’m going to make a lot of quick and easy posts about little things we’ve done, are doing or that are in progress. I also realized that I’ve spoken of some ideas recently (injury exercises and dessert intake reduction) without ever really diving into specifics, so I’m going to go back and highlight some of those specific topics in their own posts. It should be a fun and busy week or so of posting that will rocket things here back to a reliable hum.

Onward!

Yesterday evening I finally got around to working on the compost covering conundrum. As predicted, the ginormous tarp also caught lots of water and attracted bugs. Here is Take 1 on a solution:

All I did was place the tarp under securely under 1-2 layers of brick, cut small holes for each bamboo stake and then cut back the excess tarp. It looks a lot prettier (and less obvious from the street), but I am anticipating this solution will have its own set of problems: still catching rainwater, the tarp ripping where I cut it and difficult access to the compost pile inside for quick dumps and weekly turning. We will solve as we go.

Composting itself is going fine, although it’s really too early to tell much. Right now I’m just building layers until we have a decent base of stuff to start turning, checking temperature, et cetera. Two good signs from this past weekend: the pile from last week had clearly sunk in on itself (a sign that things in there are moving and changing) and the pile did not smell. Woo!

Another fun “Woo!” moment: one of my birthday presents was a compost bin by OXO Good Grips. It’s meant to be left on your counter to collect your kitchen compost-able scraps throughout the day. The Hubby was pretty excited because it takes up a lot less counter space and doesn’t put our largest mixing bowl permanently out of commission. I’m excited because it was a super thoughtful gift by my mother-in-law who is clearly paying attention to our DIY and 100 Thing ranting. While the bowl would have worked indefinitely (or until The Hubby cracked due to lost counter space), this little bucket has a handle and an easy to flip up and down lid that make it ultra functional. Thanks to my mother-in-law! (Aren’t you all just a little jealous that I lucked out on her when I got married?)

I do want to note from my last post that I missed a step in the layering and weekly care process for the pile itself: watering. Compost should be moist but not wet enough for drops to come out if you squeeze a handful. I’m not sure if I’m watering enough or too little yet, but it does need to be done. I’m starting from a ‘less is more’ mindset and just sprinkling each week with a watering can.

If you’re reading this, I hope it’s because you are composting and want to become less idiotic about it (also my goal) or you think it’s cool and want to give it a whirl. In addition to personally feeling satisfied by this and the sum of all our other lifestyle changes recently, The Big and Little Little Ones are REALLY into the recycling and composting thing. The Big Little One said yesterday, “We’re all get much better at recycling because we’ve been practicing.” I am really glad this is the mindset we are instilling in the people in our home.

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4 responses »

  1. It’s been really hard to get composting going in our apartment in Tokyo. It gets pretty cold in the winter (20F) and extremely hot and humid in the summer 100F. We tried to compost with worms and we couldn’t get the moisture and temperature right. I felt terrible when we killed them once after going away on vacation. Now our city has a program where we can bring our food scraps to a composting facility once a week. It’s been great except for keeping all our scraps on our balcony for a week. We need new methods for fruit fly control!

    I’m sure you will eventually find a system that works for you, ganbate!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for reading! Apparently, my great-grandmother used to farm worms in her rose bed, I believe to keep her roses looking beautiful. I hear you’ll get great results, but the process does sound tricky. Community initiatives to compost and garden are really hot right now and I think they are a fabulous idea. What are you using currently to store your scraps on your balcony?

      Reply
      • Currently we are keeping our scraps in a plastic bag in a stainless steel filing cabinet (which I call the garage) out on our balcony. I’ hoping to bring back a stainless steel composting can like the one my mom’s go next time we travel to the U.S. She really loves hers.

      • Indeed, I was going to suggest there are many airtight compost bins you can purchase for just this sort of thing. I know I’m always trying to find ways to get by without buying something new, but occasionally you just need to get the right/best tool for the job. Best!

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