Monday, July 12, 2010

More compost and more time

We continue to grow our compost. Here's one part:

That's our "lower pile", located below the new plots below the house. The framework is based on the Nearings' model, a series of (mostly) straight stick sticks stacked up to make a wooden cage. Each stick is around 4 feet long.

What's in the cage: when that picture was taken (spring) it was a mix of green (weeds, grass, ferns) and brown (leaves) from this year, along with rotted remains of the same from last year. Since this photo was taken I've shoveled some goodies on top of it:
  • thin slices of chicken poop, excavated from various roosting locations. These bits are glorious heating elements. The pile steamed after they kicked in!
  • heaps of compost from another location, the "upper pile". This stuff is 1-2 years old.
Combined, this pile should be grand for next spring. And also useful to dig into some plots this fall, before frost.

There is such immense satisfaction to be found in compost-making, so much so as to be nearly embarrassing. For one, there's the pleasure in building stuff which is useful, for zero cost. For another, there's learning some very practical stuff - what to add, what to avoid, how to layer. Moreover, the personal connection is, er, intimate, given the power of adding human urine to the pile.

Beyond those immediate and short-term rewards, though, I feel an extension further forward, into several years. I know this stuff will be good in 2011, and some will work in 2012. It feels like a pocket of time, standing next to the compost pile, removed from the schedule of work/Web/ school/etc., feeling that connection into the passage of years.

On top of that (literally), there's the decades-long framework. With each layering of compost into our land we improve the soil incrementally. As decades go by, if we keep doing this, the land itself will be better. What a curve to press oneself against!


Cassie K said...

Nice. I love the stick raised bed idea!
I have a big compost too. My partner and I are vegan so we generate a lot of food scraps to use.
Check out my site and search the blog for "compost" to see my posts on the subject.

Bryan Alexander said...

Greetings, Cassie, and thanks.
Is that URL correct? I'm getting nothing there.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryan, Could I have your permission to re-post the photo above (with credit to you and a link back, of course) on my blog, enclos*ure.
Cindy at enclos*ure

Bryan Alexander said...

Sure, Cindy, if you post a link back here and identify us.