How Not to Compost

There are a lot of “man” things i cannot do.  i cannot fix a car.  i can fix smaller things, like a lawnmower, but if the carb is out of whack, then i am cooked.  Note the quote marks, so don’t start giving me grief about how these aren’t just man things…women do these things as well.  I know.  I was raised during a time these were mostly man things.  So cut me some slack.

i cannot fix a car, but carpentry is a special kind of mystery to me.  i think other men are trained by Keebler elves, or some other magical being, in the art of carpentry.  Seriously.  These guys impress me more than any ninja.  Throwing stars be damned…i want to be able to build a birdhouse.

When i was in a “special magic place” many years ago, they taught us how to make birdhouses.  We put them together and then painted them any colours we liked.  i was proud of my birdhouses.  I think i made about five during my stay.  i had time on my hands.  That is why they teach you to build birdhouses.  Keeps you from picking on the psychotics.

As i said, i was very proud of my birdhouses.  My family…not so much.  This is an ex, i might add, so you don’t think poorly of Sarah.  If i made a birdhouse today, Sarah would praise the shit out of it.  Not so much in “the before times”.  Kids can be merciless, and they pulled no punches until one eventually gave voice to what everyone was thinking:  “Well, you didn’t really build it.  You put it together and painted it.  That’s not building.”

Since i was not doing much anyway when i got out of the loony bin, i decided i would show everyone.  i would cut out my own birdhouses and sell them to people.  i really do not want to describe the whole process, but i used a lot of wood.  A lot of wood.  And nothing was close to flush.  Spiders might live in it.  We were in a good neighbourhood.  Our birds would have nothing to do with it.

What does that have to do with composting?  Everything.  When Sarah and i first moved up here, we left our massive drum composter behind.  It had been neglected, but was full of rich compost.  i can make compost, so we left it behind.

i had not set up a particular location as yet, so we needed a short-term solution.  I bought a small composter, thinking it would be good just outside the door for kitchen scraps.  Here is a picture of what i ordered off Amazon.

Nice looking…good lines…simple…i like that.  And it needed “some assembly”.  No probs.  i’ve bought stuff at Ikea.  So through the miracle of modern marketing, we ordered and it was shipped to us.  This is what was inside the box with the plastic and metal pieces.

Do you see all those tiny nuts and bolts?  Yeah.  It took me ages to get the thing together.  What could and should have been a quick answer to my composting problem was a giant pain in the ass.  This is not how to compost.  Composting is a slow, measured activity that takes know-how and mostly patience.  Kind of like life itself, which is appropriate, since compost is a mass of energy just waiting to vitalize plants.

I will go through some different methods i have tried here in the north.  Composting season is shorter here, mostly due to low nighttime temperatures.  So adjustments need to be made.  Methods which worked down south don’t always work up here.  Any methods i use up here will work even better in warmer temperatures, so go ahead.  i will let you know along the way if i forsee problems.

And i promise to keep it simple.  Who wants a method where you have to go out hunting for ingredients to make the perfect pile?  Just like all those nuts and bolts.  Personally, i find many of the instructions to be daunting.  We can build our soil easily if we let nature do what nature does best.  We just need to understand how nature does this, so we can best help along what the planet has been doing since it came into existence.  Not a big deal.   Trust me.

John the Composter




One thought on “How Not to Compost

  1. I can’t fix cars and I just scrapped my lawnmower which had a carb problem. I do compost. My bin is simple. Made by Rubbermaid. There’s 6 large interlocking pieces. No tools or screws, nuts, bolts. Ideal!


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