Saving the world — While lowering the risk of Bubonic Plague

compostbinThis morning I ran out to get one of these compost bins up near Griffith Park.  They sell them once a month for $20 and they’re made with loads of recycled stuff, both of which make for a good deal.  If you don’t live in L.A., check if your Bureau of Sanitation offers any kind of subsidized compost bins.

They also offer free compost, which is great if you have a raised bed or something to fill.  We may tap that later…

We’ve been composting for about 20 years thanks to my husband, who knew far more about it than I did when we bought our house.  (The first time I saw the finished compost, I asked him why he added dirt.  For those of you who cannot play a banjo yet, the dirt is the compost when it’s finished.  It’s very nutrient dense too.)

Even so, I have a new little brochure that taught me a few new things:

You can compost shredded paper (so long as the ink doesn’t have loads of chemicals I suppose), paper towels, and shredded cardboard.  We do all our tea bags, vegetable waste, fruit peels, egg shells, some yard clippings, and you can do coffee grounds also.  If your clothes are cotton it’s probably no problem to do dryer lint.  No smell from these.  I keep a little bowl or plastic box in the house to collect this stuff for the end of the day.

trashcanWe were using this trashcan, with holes drilled in the lid (and a bigger heap in the far back of the yard), but some wily rats managed to chew a hole in the lid just big enough to allow them entry.  This led to my husband discovering his alto range when the lid was withdrawn to reveal the occasional rat leaping into the air in surprise.

The dog made her way into the larger, open compost — a bid to keep the rats away — returning with one half of the roof of our former gingerbread house, minus a crescent she’d already polished off before attempting to drag the thing, a trail of candies behind her, through the dog door.

And then, the last straw: The dog chased down the wrong end of a skunk last week — at 1 am — and after washing her head 4 times, listening to everyone tell me about tomato juice bathing like it was the first time anyone had figured it out — and waiting for both the backyard and the entire house to air out — it was time for a new compost bin.  Locking Lid.  Removable panel in the front to let out the finished product.  Done.

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