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Reset, he said


"We should reset the compost bins."

Andy commented to me a week or two ago about how the compost bins had stalled, and if I was getting my hands all dirty in the yard planting gardens, maybe I should consider restarting the compost bins. Restarting means taking the top layer of the bins, assembling them into a new bin, rotating all the top dry greens and browns into the new bin, watering appropriately to kickstart the new bins, then sifting through the bottom soil of the existing bins to retrieve the dark, wonderful soil for use on the garden.

Honestly, I'd rather be pulling weeds and planting seeds and watering than sifting compost and turning bins, but I'm game and see the worth of the task, especially with the bald patches in the front yard that could be PRODUCING FOOD.

So, I dug in. I set up the base section of the new bin, and dumped the dry top layers of the old bin into it. I watered, then dumped more green into the new bin from the old bin, cleaning out the old bin until I was down to the delicious, black dirt for the garden. The soil was a little dry, but good.

Next up, sift through the soil to remove large uncomposted organic material (for chipping and/or shredding) and inorganic material (for discarding) from the soil.

The process seems fairly straight forward: shovel the dirt into the sifter, push around the dirt so that the small good stuff falls through the mesh, and process the remaining things left in the mesh. Okay, I can do that.

So, I do exactly that.

Shovel the dirt in, shake the sifter, move the dirt around so that the good stuff falls through, pick out the large sticks to put into "chip these branches" bin. The work is mindless, I listened to a podcast as I was shuffling the dirt around.

In the dirt, there are clods. I'd grab these and squeeze them to break them up. There are a lot of stone-fruit seeds in the compost, peach pits and the like, I think from the Krikitt Downs peach trees, but maybe from squirrels bringing them in, I'm not sure. The peach pits in the pile meant that when I found a clod that didn't crumble immediately, I would squeeze a little bit to confirm there wasn't a peach pit in the middle of the clump, before moving onto the next clump.

After doing this for a while, I came across a clod that didn't crumble immediately, so I squeezed and rolled it in my fingers.

Yeah, I wasn't wearing gloves.

And when it popped, I had a flashback of my visions of the apocalypse, screamed and tossed it aside.

As I had just opened a Japanese beetle's cocoon.

I hate those grubs. Hate them. Hate them. Hate them.

Did I mention I hate those fuckers?

Pretty sure I did.

I hate those grubs.

THIS is what their cocoons look like:

Now tell me when working quickly you can tell that from a clod of dirt or a dirt covered peach pit.

You can't.

And the feeling of squishing a giant grub between your fingers?


I cannot wash my hands enough!

And I tried. Oh boy, did I try.

Hey, did I tell you about the time I ate 99% of a pot pie before I found out the piece of crust I was saving to eat last was actually a dead fly?


Well, this made me nearly vomit in the same way that memory does.

Yeah, so, resetting the compost bins? That reset is on hold for a bit until I reconsider this grub thing.

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