Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Project: Compost Pile

So I decided it was time to turn our plethora of garden waste into a compost pile. We have a very large yard, most of it wild, and there are always some kinds of garden clippings that are just waiting to be turned into mulch. (In waiting, I mean laying around on the ground in heaps.)

Understandably, Ralph didn't want it out in the open as an eyesore, so it got relegated to the space behind the shed:

I beat back some of the weeds and leveled out the slight slope, then marked it off with tree branches from our tree that fell in a storm last year (just lying around waiting...):

Then I got some hay that we had used to insulate the dog house in the winter:

(I swear, I think the dogs are making their own compost pile in the dog house.)

I put some twiggy branches on top of the hay and then added some green branches from the tree from the front yard (which just got shorn):

I think there's also some ice-plant type of plant in there that was growing under our fence from our neighbor's yard. To this layer, I also added some coffee grounds and egg shells I'd been saving:

At this point, Blue, who had been haphazardly supervising me, came over to investigate the new and delicious smells:

After deciding it was too hot (and being scolded for trying to eat the egg shells), he decided it was best to continue supervising from the shade:

Ralph contributed some fresh-cut grass (which also helped cover up the egg-shell scent):

And I scrounged up some dead leaves and twigs:

A final layer of more grass, and a final tamping down by Blue (note the footprints):

and our compost pile is ready to start it's glorious transformation into mulch. I'm going to have to wait a while before I put any more food in there, at least until it's deep enough to where I can bury it without the dogs investigating.

After a long day of composting, we all retired to the house, enjoying a rest after a hard day's work:

Coco decided she needed a rest from the day's events, too. Keeping an eye on every person and every dog and every bird and every insect is very stressful.

Whew! What a day!

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