Compost Tetris

Over the last few weeks I have been slowly doing the almost yearly job of moving compost from one bin to the next. Our compost gets turned twice before it is considered ready for use. We have five compost bins and of course there is a system for how we utilise them. We use a sawdust bucket system for our toilet, we’ve been using this system for ten years now and it works really well for us. We make our own sawdust using our power planer, it costs us nothing to make as we have the timber on our land and we have all the electricity we need for using power tools.

We put both cooked and uncooked kitchen waste into buckets until we have two or three buckets filled, then every time we need to empty the compost toilet bucket we also empty the kitchen-waste buckets, covering everything with a layer of cut grass and rushes. We use one compost bin until it is full, the bins are roughly 4foot square. When the bin is nearly full I start the process of moving the compost in the other bins.

Compost Tetris, Garden Fun

Imagine that all the bins are full and that the bins are A, B, C, D and E in that order and they are all built in one row. Bin A is nearly full so I begin by emptying bin C and putting the soil around trees, creating a new fruit bush bed or topping up a fruit bed. I keep some of the soil to close the bin which is almost full. I then shovel the contents of bin D into bin C and then I shovel the contents of bin E into the now empty bin D. Now we are ready to finish filling bin A and when it is full I close it up by covering it in grass and then topping with soil. Bin E is now ready for use.

It takes roughly nine months to fill a bin, sometimes longer depending on settlement in the bin. So every year I get to play Compost Tetris.

We always keep a pile of cut grass beside the compost bins which sometimes needs replenishing. Sometimes this requires cutting grass and rushes however today I was able to move some which had been cut over a year and half ago – quite a workout!

When I was resting between runs with the wheelbarrow I was struck with the beauty of the sunlight glinting in raindrops hanging from the bare whitethorn  (hawthorn) branches in a nearby hedge. Such beauty is never far away here and I am always grateful to receive it.

 

Settling in for the duration

Unfortunately the photos from this old post have been lost

We are getting used to this new way of living, going to town one day a week, working outside when the sun is shining then coming in to work on our computers and read beside the stove in the late afternoon.

Snowy Scenes in North West Ireland
Afternoon Snow

Looking through the food stores to see what’s for dinner tonight and wondering how many more dinners the fresh vegetables will do.

Writing shopping lists that take the long view rather than the assumption that we will be in town again the day after tomorrow.

Putting on boots, a warm jacket and hat before going out the door, even for the quickest of tasks, has become the norm.

Freezing snow crystals
Snow Flakes Freezing

On Saturday we had fresh falls of snow and enjoyed a ramble around the forestry lanes and our land.

On Sunday we retraced our steps, we saw fox tracks and enjoyed watching where the tracks lead, where the fox followed in our footsteps and where he (or she, hard to tell from tracks) walked carefully in his own tracks.

Fox tracks on forest lane, Leitrim, Ireland North West
Fox Tracks

He puts up quite a mileage each night, we can see fresh tracks each morning now that we are on the lookout for them. He criss crosses the fields quite methodically and often walks back in his own tracks.

It’s fun watching the trails left behind by him. We don’t keep poultry or fowl so we have no reason to dislike his visits. At one stage as we walked we were wondering what he finds to eat in this weather and then we spotted hare tracks. I am guessing that hare wants to avoid that fox at all costs!

We don’t know much about this business of tracking animals however we are having lots of fun. Usually we can’t see the animal tracks in the rainy weather 🙂

frozen snow, sparkles, snowy Leitrim
Snow Crystals

Yesterday, Sunday, we had lots of sunshine and the snow started to melt a little. It began to freeze quite seriously again in the afternoon which made for a beautiful effect, the snow chrystalised and flattened out into amazing spikes.

Snowy Leitrim, Ireland north west, freezing weather
Snowy Wonders

Last night we walked about with head torches and the snow sparkled like fairy lights, everywhere we looked, it was the most wonderful sight. On Saturday night as we walked to bed we saw four shooting stars in the night sky and last night the fields were filled with starlight.

Stay warm, stay safe and if you have elderly neighbours please chat with them and see if there is anything they need – or indeed anything they can help you with……