>Taking a break from reading instruction and contemplating environmental science

>Or: I’m taking a well-deserved break from correcting Comm. Arts papers, and thinking about my compost bin. The first load of laundry is in the dryer, the third in the washer, and I’ve finished one stack of time-consuming but valuable paper-correcting. I’m taking a coffee & blog break to clear my mind.
We had one frost warning already this week. Soon we’ll get a killer: a killing frost that’ll mean the end of my vegetable garden. We’ll let the bunnies roam freely in the garden and finish off anything they consider edible, and then we’ll leave the garden gate open for the Wild Ones who roam the neighborhood. They can browse and take shelter there when the blizzards hit.
Serious cold weather also means the end of active composting. The black bin absorbs enough heat to keep the process going in cool weather, but not when the snows fall and the thermometer sinks below the freezing mark. This month I’ll add the last scraps to the compost bin, followed by a final layer of fallen leaves if they fit. Then I won’t see it until springtime. Sniff. Sigh.
The environmentalist in me feels more than a little twinge of guilt the first time I throw a coffee filter full of wet grounds into the garbage. I know it’ll decompose quickly in the compost, but there are limits to time and endurance when I know that it’s too cold for the process to work well. By December, I’ll be resigned to the idea and no longer feel guilty. I’ll simply look forward to spring.
For non-composters, here’s an example of how pretty compost can be. The top photo is the “before” picture, complete with leftover carrots (too soft for bunny food), rhubarb leaves, and watermelon rinds.

Isn’t this pretty? Even garbage can be aesthetically pleasing if you know what to look for.
And below is the “after” shot. There are still a few wood chips from the rabbit litter that didn’t decompose completely, but the rest of the former waste has turned into a lovely deep brown that will be added to the garden soil next spring.
The cute pink shovel was La Petite’s when she was a little girl. Cute but sturdy, it still comes in handy for mixing and turning the compostables.

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