Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Compostable Matters

You can't beat taking on Mother Nature's challenges to earn points in my real-man training. For the record, Mother Nature always wins, I'm only trying to stem the flow and buy myself some time.

I mentioned that one of the big projects for spring was to repair and protect the compost bins, and I think I got enough done to at least make it a little challenging for the bear. We produce a fair amount of compost, which I chalk up to eating so many veggies, but inevitably I toss in some meat scraps like chicken or beef. Prime morsels for hungry bears, not to mention raccoons. We have three bins, and the way it usually works is one is composting while we fill the other two. It never works out perfectly, but that's the theory.

I only had enough supplies to protect two of the bins, and they happened to fill up over the winter, so I had to employ an exposed bin, which the bear could rip open with his eyes closed. That's what he did last year, and the year before. One of the bins has a locking lid, which the bear got around by simply tearing off with his claw. It broke a big piece of the wall, compromising it's ability to hold in compost. My first goal was to fix that piece, transfer the degraded compost to make space for fresh stuff, and then re-build the barrier.

Fixing the bin was easier than I thought. I first transferred the compost to an open bin, and let me tell you, that stuff smelled horrible. It was like shoveling a latrine, the entire yard smelled, but I managed to empty it out. I glued the broken piece on with Gorilla Glue, which worked beautifully, and I screwed in metal brackets to reinforce the hold. Next I had to transfer the newer compost from the exposed bin into the protected bin, and then put the structure back together. With that done, I could re-locate the exposed bin and build a barrier around it, though it will require obtaining some pallets, but one thing at a time.

Plus, moving the exposed bin was quite a chore. This was the first bin we got, and we had some issues in years past with critters getting into it. For whatever reason I was not so keen on this, so over the course of one summer I gradually added barriers to prevent the critter from getting in (I think it was a raccoon). This involved driving stakes around the perimeter and using big rocks to fill in holes. It worked, but it only protected it from small burrowing animals. Big ones like bears would have no problem getting into it. I only mention this because in an amusing twist of irony, all my efforts made it extremely difficult to move the bin. It was locked in like a vault, and I spend an hour digging the thing out. Like all projects, it ended up being more work than I thought.

Oh well, such is life of a real man in training. At least I got it done. As opposed to ruminating and stressing over something that I wasn't doing, I just did it. I love when that happens.

Until the next time, thanks for reading, and thanks to Matt Montagne for the pic.

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