The weather of the last three days has made me high on life, I tell you what.  Those cool breeze days are coming closer everyday.  🙂  The girls and I are experiencing rocks and gemstones this week with our Little Acorn Learning curriculum, and being outside these last days has been perfect.  While the girls washed some stones we had collected by the creek, I decided to start clearing up the garden, chicken coop, and working on our compost pile.

We’ve made several poor attempts at composting.  The first was dumping old food in the same spot in the back yard.  Our dog would come by and eat it all up, so our pile never grew.  Then, we decided to make a real attempt when we still had our little flock of chickens, so we made the pile bigger.  (Lack of research and thinking you already know how to do something isn’t always a promising adventure.)  John pitched some outdated chicken legs into the pile raw, and in a few days we had maggots like I have never seen before.  The stench was gawd awful.  I would go on to describe it in detail because the image is burned into my brain, but I will spare you.  So, we destroyed that pile.

Lately, I’ve slowly been researching composting a bit more, asking questions of those who know a bit about it, and we have a true compost heap.  I can’t call it a pile anymore because when composting without a container, you need a heap for it to work.  Today, I did most of the work to make it into a heap.  It now is the height of my knees.  I’m 5’8″.

It started like this.

compostThe point is to create enough moisture and heat to turn the organic matter into a rich, crumbly, earthy scented dark soil.  This soil can then be used as topsoil in the garden and around plants to give them more nutrients.  In organic gardening it is a must (we didn’t use it this year) because the nutrients it provides helps plants become strong enough to fight off diseases and naturally repel whatever might destroy them.

It can take quite awhile for compost to be ready, but with daily attention and aerating, you can have compost in 4-6 months.  That’s my goal.  When spring comes again, we’ll have compost.

I was most pleased to find out that you can compost shredded paper and cardboard.  We don’t have a recycling center in our county, so we collect our recycling wherever we can find the room to stash it until we can make a run to the next county for disposal.  It piles up fast.  I hate throwing away anything that could be recycled.  Now, we can recycle the paper stuffs ourselves.

The following websites helped me figure it all out.  There are several different ways to start a compost.  I wanted simple and free.  I can make a pile of layered material.  I can be a brut and turn the pile.  I ain’t afraid of hard work.  I am afraid of technicalities and costs.

Garden Guides – Guide to Composting

Dave’s Garden – Household Composting

We also have good news that we are going to be getting some new chickens soon.  They are just old enough to identify the sex.  Shredded paper is great for their nest boxes, and I’ll then compost the poopy bits. 🙂

I’m excited about trash.

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