Posts Tagged ‘compost’

About a month ago, I had my dog Nanaline put to sleep. Today, I summoned the energy to bury her cremains.

I dug a hole on the right side of this baby gardenia bush and placed her ashes there. The remains of her sis, Bailey, are on the left side.


The remains of both dogs had been placed in a fancy wooden box. I threw away the boxes, preferring that their remains be able to disintegrate back into the earth. Even if I move, this yard was my dogs’ home and I’m happy with it being their final resting place.

So while I sat by the gardenia, contemplating the cycle of life, I couldn’t help but notice the fallen leaves that needed raking!

But before attempting that project, I decided it was past time to flip my compost piles.

Now is the time to admit that I’m a lazy composter. I throw sticks, leaves, food scraps and dead plants into my various piles. The rain will tamp the material down, then I add more. Once or twice a year, I’ll turn the piles.

The photo above is from one of my larger compost piles. It’s hard to see, but there’s some black gold in there!

I used a screen to separate out the already composted material from that which needs a little more time.

I then took the not-ready-for-prime-time material and placed it in a newly emptied bin.

I bagged up the compost to add to one of my beds that still awaits cover crop. My gardening work is never done!

I still have a few more piles to flip, so there will be some compost to place by the gardenia bush. And come spring, when the first white blossoms appear, I’ll once again sit by the bush, enjoy its fragrant flowers, and think happy thoughts about my dogs.


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(photo courtesy of Google)

One of my absolute favorite tools of all time is my hand blender. I don’t know how I lived without this!

MamaNell gave me the hand blender a few years ago, and I use it mostly when I blend soups. And do I blend soups! Bean soups, veggie soups, creamy soups… And because I make such large batches of soup at a time, it’s so much easier to blend in the pot rather than transfer small batches to a stand blender or the food processor.

I say a prayer of thanksgiving to MamaNell every time I use my blender. For you see, the lovely Cuisinart she bought for me was about twice as expensive a few years ago, and she is on a very limited income. But she insisted on giving me something I really wanted (and not just money toward it), so I am ever grateful.

Another of  my favorite tools is my rake.  Yes, rake.  Not … leaf … blower.

There’s something soothing about the act of raking up the fallen leaves onto old sheets, then placing those leaves in one of my many compost piles.   I can spend hours raking, perfectly content while listening to a football game on the radio.   Well, I must be honest:  sometimes the level of contentedness equates to the score of the game.   And seeing as how I’m a Duke fan, those scores are usually not very favorable.  But regardless, being outside on a beautiful day makes most things in life much more enjoyable.


And though it’s not quite a tool, the coffee cup pictured above is one of my favorite material items.    I bought this cup in Ireland, after spending two weeks walking the countryside and connecting with cows.

I’ve always liked cows.  I remember when I was little, living in Connecticut, and my parents driving down country roads.  One of my favorite ways to pass the time on those long road trips was to roll down the window and moo at the cows.

Fast forward to 2010 and my trip to southwest Ireland.  During my long walks, I would often stop to enjoy the views, which included herds of cows. And literally every time I stopped, one or two cows would head toward me and spend time looking me directly in the eye.   Maybe this is normal behavior for cows?

Anyway,  I have felt a bit of a soul connection to cows since that trip.  I don’t randomly moo at them anymore, but when walking by a field of cows, I do stop to say hi.

So when the dog bites or the bee stings and I’m feeling sad, I  simply remember my hand blender, my rake and my cute-as-a-button cow coffee cup, and then I don’t feel so bad.  (Apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein)


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Recipe for compost


To make compost, use the following ingredients:

Browns (carbons): such as leaves, sticks, straw, dead plants from the garden, shredded cardboard

Greens (nitrogen): such as fresh grass clippings, veggie scraps, some food waste, some manures

Place compost pile in a sunny area so it can heat up. Mix ingredients. Stir pile and occasionally add water.

Cat optional.

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