earth · save our world · Things and Stuff

Compost Happens

Well, my blog is turning out a bit random – advertising, photos, clothes, SHOES. Have you been longing for a blog with some real substance? Do you reminisce about the days I wrote about the police and roadtripping with the rents and schniedelwutz?

Okay, some real substance is what you are just dying for… about POOP? There’s some (smelly) substance for you. Some of my girlfriends are potty training their younguns and all I hear about lately is poop, pee – riveting shit, really. No really! Seriously ladies, I do love the stories and if I am one day blessed with a little one – you better be all ears for my poop on the potty stories.

All right, so besides poop, here is another subject near and dear to my heart. The ENVIRONMENT. Gone are the days when Amy would look horrified when I threw my Coke can out the window. I know, I KNOW! I still feel horrible. At least Bessie and I collected cans for money in high school (I guess this was after the throwing the cans out the window days). We would drive around in the hot OK summers with the windows down and Shawn Cassidy blaring out the Buick Electra and hop out anytime a can was spotted. The money made from the cans probably paid for the gas driving around looking for them.

There are so many simple ways to have save our environment. Not to be an EPA snob but I recycle almost everything (Spain has an amazing amount of containers for plastic, glass and paper), I bring a large canvas bag to put my groceries in (no more plastic bags) and my latest adventure is my COMPOST PILE. I love it and find it completely fascinating.


I will forgive my NYC friends for not keeping a compost pile (although there are plastic compost bins with lids that you can keep on a balcony) but all the rest of you with a backyard – here are some tips and an easy how to get started. Let’s save this erratic but wonderful world. It’s the only one we got.

  1. Choose a spot where you want to compost. I have only a pile in my backyard that is hidden by the trees but some people prefer to have a bin to throw everything into. You can construct a simple box or bin using stiff wire mesh or slatted wood. The compost pile should be at least three square feet and three feet tall so that it maintains a constant temperature so the organic matter can decompose.
  2. Gather the right materials. (Almost anything organic works.) You should have some “brown” dry material, like fallen leaves, dead flowers, straw, sawdust, shredded paper (especially newspaper), shredded cardboard or paper towels. This provides the “bulk” to a good compost.
  3. Gather some “green” wet material as well, like grass clippings, fresh leaves and nonflowering weeds, barnyard animal manure, chopped leafy prunings, pine needles, coffee grounds, teabags and crushed eggshells. These provide readily-available food to the microorganisms that do the decomposing work. This green material will later be added to your dry mix.
  4. The proportions of “brown to green” are not critical, as long as you have more “brown” than “green.”
  5. Mix and build a pile. Combine your dry/brown material with your wet/green material and add a shovelful of good soil.
  6. Compost also needs the correct amount of moisture to breakdown. Compost with the right moisture level should feel like a damp, wrung-out sponge. Too much moisture can cause temperatures to fall within the pile (and make it smell). Too little moisture slows down the decomposition rate and keeps the pile from heating up. Check your compost pile’s moisture level once a week and adjust it if necessary by adding water to increase moisture or more browns to help dry the pile out.
  7. Turn pile with a pitch fork every few weeks. Doing so gets oxygen in the pile which speeds up decomposition.

Do not add animal waste, meats, oils, dairy, diseased plants, weeds that have gone to seed, or plants treated with pesticides or herbicides to your compost.

Sit back and enjoy the decomposition.

Next up – MADRID!! Off to the city of bull-fighting and flamenco, maybe I will return as one. You will have to stay tuned to find out. Olé!



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