Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Compost Pile's About One Half Cubic Yard Now!

I just about killed myself last night turning this pile.  It is huge!  Mostly coffee grounds and paper I took the surely unusual step of throwing sweet pea greens in the pile. Sweet peas are like grass in Bloomington. I think they were regarded as delicately beautiful, nearly virtuous in their bewitching femininity in Hoagy Carmichael's time.  The fact that they are a territorial, voracious, non native weed showed Hoagy's contemporaries were dreaming in vain, for the Sweet Pea's in their yards remained, whereas the people who planted the peas are now Stardust memories.... sorry guys.  So that's why I pick sweet peas like lettuce, where they grow like crazy beneath our titanium dioxide bloom covered aluminum siding (the albedo near that part off the garden makes me want to build a green house there.  There's only one problem:  Robert wants to grow a "grove" of trees there.  It's actually kind of hilarious, because I suspect that Robert only wants to grow a "grove" of trees there, because of the insanely fast growth of the eight year old walnuts and tulip poplars standing thirty and forty feet tall, right next the house.  The neighbors are freaking out that the trees are too close to them (which is completely true) and are going to eventually be ugly (something people in Bloomington in general can't get through there heads.  Trees can destroy your property and aren't good to have close to your house.  I know intelligent people who's houses are completely covered with weeds, which they regard as cheerful as their home rots at an accelerated pace.  Luckily they won't be all there when their home disintegrates.)  Anyway the best part is that Robert's late wife's friends were all half way scandalized after she died and Robert cut down this huge (and fairly ugly) blue spruce that was about twenty feet at it's base on the South side of the house.  My theory is that Robert couldn't help himself and has always had a very conservative attitude toward controllable risks.  It's his property after all.  So the tree had to go.  Cynthia's friends think they know Cynthia wanted it to remain.  I obviously don't remotely care, except that it makes me crack up that Robert thinks you can fit a "grove" into a thirty by twenty foot side yard with an electrical line running through.   I'll try not to mess with the Reverend's trees.)  

So the compost is filled with paper towels, coffee grounds, bananna peel, salad trimmings and  sweet peas and weeds.  They say as long as the pile "heats"  up, the weed seeds (and of course the plants themselves) die.  Its so important to have the compost heat up that certified organic farms are required (and it is absolutely not a joke, you will lose your certification if you fail to comply perfectly) to keep records of their compost temperature by thermometer.  I'll never forget grabbing a pitchfork at a farm and seeing attached to it a long meat thermometer.  I asked about it and after enduring some fairly kinky tall tales from the randy staff at the farm they made their explanation.  Well... I don't use a thermometer.  I am thinking my pile won't truly warm up enough until I have an adequate supply of green nitrogeneous materials.  Seeing the grass start to really get tall and smelling that gorgeous summer smell of cut grass makes me smile for my compost pile.  Remember the piles of grass (if you had them) in your childhood.  They, unlike leaves, rot extremely smelly and hot.  That's just what I need, if I don't want to go out and get urea and other chemicals which threaten to upset my fairly organic practices.  Though, compared to a million other alternatives, even bat guano which I regard as a bizarre thing to want to consider sustainable, urea is basically fine.  Far better than holding piss in a lagoon, or dumping it direct to the watershed.  Man what a nasty world we make for ourselves.  Little by little though, we can make it better.  Compost is like recycling for me.  A little prayer for the folks out there and the people who will call me an ancestor one day.  Garth Brooks thanks God for "Unanswered Prayers", I thank Him for rotten ones.

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