Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's Not Easy Going Green

Nothing says "I love you" more than when a guy buys his wife a composter for her birthday. So when hubby presented me with my very own Thermoquick Express 410 to celebrate another year of living, as I'm sure you all could imagine, I was rendered...speechless.

Seriously though, this is our first full summer in the house, and aside from all the floods, clean-up of fallen trees and infestation of carpenter bees, we're eager to embrace the full country living experience. Trying to be more "green" is a big part of that (nevermind our recent use of pesticides and florocarbons to kill said bees as well as the newly found noxious weeds -- but I''m getting ahead of myself).

As I stood in stunned birthday silence, John quickly assembled the composter and I read the directions, which were a treat:
With compost bins from Remapla, you will get very quickly an effort, if you place the composter at an half-shady place, where the air can ventilate easily. (Okay, I think I got that.) The compost bin must have direct contact to the soil to let invade micro-organisms, insects, larvae and worms. (The area seems to be suddenly popular with squirrels and chipmunks as well.) Do not place the composter to close to the property of your neighbour; a distance of 20 inch might be enough (then again, it might not).
It's been about six weeks since my hopes for a diamond tennis bracelet were dashed, er, I mean since the composter has been in place, and things do appear to be happening. Weeds are wilting and onion skins seem to be decomposing...

But beyond helping me determine what the difference is between diamonds and decomposition, the composter has really given John and me a reason to take a look at our diet. In the daily peering down the compost shoot so to speak, the items we seem to be most composting are coffee grinds, onions and egg shells (we can't compost the accompanying bacon).

Also, we can't compost our cocktail garnishes such as lemon and lime (the rinds are dyed so not good for the "humus") and it turns out we're taking chances in trying to compost potato skins (apparently the skins often have pesticides lingering on them) so there's little to feel good about there. (And for the record, we eat a lot of potatoes. A lot.) But our worst offense seems to be the organic salad greens we never seem to get around to eating. Seriously, it's kind of embarrassing to take an unopened (un-recycleable) box of mesclun and walk it directly to the compost -- but at least nobody's watching. Nobody except that damn squirrel.

Suddenly I'm having serious thoughts about going macro-biotic, or at least buying a copy of "In Defense of Food," so one of my new goals this summer is to look for ways to add more compost-ables to our menu. Fresh corn, local tomatoes and even kale are just several items I'm on the lookout for at the farmer's market.

I'll keep you (com)posted on the outcome.

Above: A peek into our composter...and our diet.

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