The upper compost pile needed turning. This involved dismantling the wooden pole structure, rebuilding it next to the pile, then pitchforking the stuff into the new framework. I stuck in some chicken- and goat-amended straw in, to speed the rotting.
|What it looked like last November.|
Two years of piling and rotting, and we now have a cubic yard of fine dirt. Egg shells and coffee grounds, grass cuttings and leaves, rain and urine have transmogrified into something like soil. Slow, easy alchemy. We'll let it mellow for the rest of the summer, then shovel some in to a couple of needful plots for overwintering.
Also this week we worked on the driveway, yet again. If you haven't read here before, our driveway is fine farming earth, unfortunately: soft, eager to hold water. So it becomes swampy during rain season, and quickly rutted and hard to drive on. The default state used to be something like this:
|In good weather.|
My runoff ditch, which runs the whole length from road to house on the uphill side, was partially blocked by fresh dirt. So I dug it clear again, heaping the spilled earth onto the driveway's main rut lines. I pulled out some rocks (always, in New England) to use elsewhere. And I moved ten feet of trench sideways a bit, digging a new and wider path, which widened that piece of driveway.
I feel a child's delight in this work, a sense of gleeful play in making shapes out of earth: a long trench, a cubic stack, humped lines to be flattened by cars. A couple of days after fixing up the runoff trench a squall hit, and I enjoyed seeing the trench fill with muddy, coursing water. There's the playing-in-mud delight, combined with the low tech pleasure of seeing wet kept off of the damned driveway.
Low tech: working on compost and driveway, I could see the tree which holds our broadband radio. I worked with an mp3 player in my pocket, playing podcasts about history, technology, and culture. Yet my mind was occupied with the other end of history: shoving rocks, feeling my back stretch, watching worms wriggle through compost. I thought about each layer of compost added to the earth, the soil being rebuilt and refined year after year, stretching into a dim future. I envied the Romans and their engineering might, and tried to recall what made their roads so sturdy as I plopped dirt onto my little via.