Saturday, 25 March 2017
Much as I longed to go the weekly political postcard party, I did not want any of our friends to get our colds. By now, Allan’s was worse than mine as it got passed down the chain.
With the first really nice day all week, I decided to explore the potential compost bin area by our greenhouse.
It used to be a raspberry patch that had not done at all well. Last year, it became an axiliary frog home with a free pond (the sort meant to be dug into the ground) that we had gotten from a friend.
I had started poking at the weeds when Allan emerged and asked if I wanted the pond emptied out. Why…yes! (I had carefully checked for frog spawn and found none.)
We set the waterlogged pots of water loving plants to one side to drain out; they are too heavy to lift into the water boxes right now.
One of the water boxes has a leak toward the top. Having the big pot of water hyacinth in there will hide that problem.
sadly one inch low water box
Many snails had found a home on the bottom of the plastic pond form.
Not long after they were deposited into a bucket, the snails embarked upon a daring escape.
Allan took them to the big field out back.
on the way, standing water in the swale (Allan’s photo)
Devery popped over from next door, and when I mentioned that I was going to give away the preform pond, she happily took it to make a planter. From looking through my grandmother’s old scrap books, I have realized that if I do have a pond sunk into the ground, I would like it to be a simple shape, like these photos that she had cut out from magazines long ago.
Back to the preparation for the compost bins: I was cursing the thick, ropy, hard-to-cut hops roots that coursed throughout the old raspberry patch from the hops and honeysuckle poles at each end. It was not an easy weeding job. Allan helped by hacking clumps with the big pick.
Every time I have assembled pallet compost bins before, I’ve tied them together with rope and let them sit there all wonky. Allan had a different idea.
his tools (and the pick handle)
With the first bin done, I began to fill it up…an exciting prospect.
newspaper base will help keep roots from coming up
I was startled to learn that we only had four pallets, not the five needed to make two bins. Allan had dismantled the fifth one to repair the other four’s missing slats.
The project at a momentary standstill
On his errand to pick up the mail, Allan decided to quest for three more pallets.
He saw this down at the Port:
Soon, Allan triumphantly returned to the garden, carrying a pallet, and began to finish the second bin.
In order to continue to use one of the clotheslines for blanket drying, we had to place the bins so that there is only a narrow space between the back and the greenhouse. I am hoping to reach in with a hoe from each end to get weeds and am aware that it might be a future problem.
The second clothesline will now only work for smalls.
Skooter had emerged to inspect the project and to monitor the frogs in the water boxes.
I had clipped more plant matter in the greenhouse and on the patio to add to my first bin when me legs suddenly seized up, and I had to hobble into the house and have a sit down. Little did I know that Allan had actually acquired three pallets. As he stayed out to finish the project, I felt guilty but incapable. I did not realize he was able to complete the third bin till he showed me the photos.
Eventually, there will be big horizontal boards that slip in along the front to hold the debris in place.
I was well chuffed to have three compost bins, like Mr Tootlepedal. Later in the evening, I caught up reading the last week of the Tootlepedal blog and was reminded that he has four bins: A, B, C, D. It has been his compost turning and sifting exploits over the last few years that reminded me how much I do like having proper compost bins. It’s so satisfying and makes faster compost, something that will be beneficial as we work less and can afford to buy less readymade mulch.
I will be shifting the debris pile from next to Devery’s driveway into the new bins.
the old debris pile, soon to be some sort of garden
It would be fun to have a shared kitchen garden there, but it is outside the deer fence. Perhaps herbs and flowers.
I look forward to the future filling of the bins and shifting piles from one to the other and then the sifting of the finished product through a screen placed over a wheelbarrow.
My mother sifting compost in 2008, age 83
At my house in Seattle, which was once my grandma’s house, I had two compost areas separated by a narrow concrete path, and I still remember the pleasure of tossing the partially decomposed clippings from one pile to the other and then sifting finished compost. As a small child, I dreamt one night that I was one of the wriggling red worms in Gram’s compost pile. That sounds like a nightmare. It was not.
At 3 AM, I could not fall asleep because my mind was so busy imagining the collecting and layering of compostable material into my new compost bins.
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