Monday, December 4, 2006

Another composting update

So now I can officially call myself the liberator of leaves. The city has actually dumped over 20 dump truck loads on my property since first coming on 11/29. On only two days did we not get any leaves---one rain day and of course Sunday. Yes, we are starting to loose sight of the lawn and garden area now BUT I am not going to tell them to stop. For two reasons---one is that I hate to see the leaves go to the dump and two: I will regret not having all I can get once they break down into the much smaller piles of crumbly good stuff they will eventually be. Believe it or not they are hot and steamy out there too. Surprise to us. Which is hard to believe since we have never been good at getting quick hot compost piles. We have always had slow cool ones. One difference I can attribute to it though is that they seem to be the perfect moisture, something I rarely seem able to accomplish in my other piles. Another thing is the shear volume of material. I read somewhere once that to make good compost, good hot compost, good quick hot compost (sorry couldn't help myself) that you needed to have a pile at least 4 feet by 4 feet by 4 or 5 feet tall. That, they said, was one of the biggest problems most people had besides not layering well enough. Well, we haven't layered anything with the leaves yet and they are steaming away out there so maybe that was our problem all along: SIZE. Of course now we need to find a good source of nitrogen to mix in and I read in my Rodale book on compost making that about 6 to 7 pounds of human hair has as much nitrogen as 100 to 200 pounds of manure. Wow! Amazing. And just think how easy it will be to carry comparatively! Of course I have a hair place about a mile and 1/2 from me that I am sure will let me pick up their hair clippings---they will think I am a fruitcake but.....I need nitrogen! I think I will probably wear gloves while spreading the hair though---I have to admit I have a bit of a yuk factor about touching some one's hair (some un known someone I mean). I laugh at that thought too since the beauticians don't have a problem touching the hair. And of course I would imagine that they would have a "yuk" factor in regards to touching sheep or cow poo--- which I have absolutely no problem with at all. LOL funny how we get used to certain things. Now do you suppose a septic guy gets used to his job? Hmmm....
I had some good pics to upload to show our mountains of leaves but.....alas our camera doth not worketh.
The same ole same ole as far as that goes. Someday I will acquire a new camera that maybe will not only take a better picture but will have either a rechargeable battery or will work with the chip reader I have. Or will just work in general sometimes. That subject I am sure is for another day.

For my own personal reminder (and friends and family that read our post) here are some of the things we accomplished this weekend:
1. Shifted 30 bales of hay out of one side of the garage to make way for the 4 (yes, four---lucky us) round bales we have been able to acquire. For those of you not in the know on this subject we had a SERIOUS drought this year across much of the country and hay is a precious commodity right now. VERY difficult to find in our area--most of ours has come in from Kentucky since everyone was sold out back in September (or didn't even sell any this year). Our neighbors have sent over half their herd to the auction and they have 250 acres compared to our 6.5 acres. This particular hay comes from a work friend of my husband's (luckily he has more hay than animals and doesn't usually sell it) I think we now have enough hay to make it until March (maybe). The writer winces thinking of this.
2. dug up the rest of the over grown shrubs and poison ivy from the side of the driveway with the tractor borrowed from husband's work and prepped it for retaining walls. Looks good too except its all dirt right now.
3. dug up and removed those wretched, slanting, cracking, dangerously irregular cement stairs coming off the drive to the front door. Of course for a while it will be easiest for everyone to come in through the garage until the new stairs go in along with the driveway retaining wall and new sidewalk. All visitors and family alike will have to drag by all the hay in the garage---- but at least they won't have to climb the hill of dirt.
4. Smoothed all the dirt that was taken from the driveway transformation and put in another area to level it out---we smoothed it by hand since the tractor couldn't get it all the way.
5. Dug out a couple of overgrown shrubs and wild muscadines from the area mentioned in #4.
6. Finally we did some xmas shopping---and boy were we tired! Almost to tired to enjoy our kung pao chicken and twice cooked pork at our favorite oriental restaurant (family owned).

Things we didn't get finished this weekend: One billion and counting :-)


Phelan said...

As a new reader to your blog. . . how did you get them to dump at your house? Does your city pick up yard waste curbside? or is this from the public lands?

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Hi Phelan:
I am actually not in the city---by 50 feet-- BUT I am so close to the center area (1 mile and 1/2 maximum) that I am actually closer than any dump or most others who have space for or want the leaves. Last year I made an "official" call to the city and they said "yeah we'll tell them" but I never saw one leaf. Then in spring I caught the chipper truck and they happily dumped the shreds on my property. So this year---I looked for the truck- and just asked the driver. I also gave them a 20 the first day and said "go have lunch on me---really appreciate you dumping here" This city does pick up leaves, limbs/logs from downed trees and everything else including the kitchen sink for residents and they take it all to the county dump. They don't pick up mine though---I have to take mine 15 minutes away to the dump since I am out of the city. The truck that picks up leaves is one they use just for that--it has a huge vacume attatched to it-- and they will pick up from early in Nov. until the middle/end of december.
By the way--my email is in the about me section if you want more info about anything ever. Have a great day!