Friday, May 04, 2007

Red Ox Pyre Of Madness Power Drill!

I came back to my garden to find that a year of neglect hadn't really done much harm. There were the usual monster dandelions and buttercup; that was expected. The thing I was dismayed to see were the giant clumps of canarygrass. They were coming up everywhere I had filled a hole with compost the previous fall.

I use both anaerobic and aerobic cold composting methods. Both methods leave live seed matter in the finished product. The problem is, I'm pretty careful what I put in there and I never, never put grass seedheads in.

Then I recalled the hayfield across the street.

The guy usually hydroseeds, but last year he dry broadcast because the rain came early. I just know that shit blew across the road right into my delicious finished compost potholes.

I take pains with my compost. I'm not one of these yuppie Greens who talk the talk and then heave everything into the trash; I live this shit.

My kitchen waste goes into the anaerobic bin, which has a sealed lid and one drainhole. If I collected my grass clippings instead of mulching them it would be a different story. But as it stands, my garden doesn't manufacture enough green mass (what you need for good hot composting) to be able to put spoiled food in with a regular heap; it wouldn't decompose fast enough, and I sure don't need the possums, bugs, racoons, coyotes, dogs, black bears and Frobishers this would attract, laying all in it and hauling it around.

I tap the juice off and use it in my watering mix. When the container gets full, I dig out a deep hole in the corner of one of my raised beds, tip it all in and cover it up FAST. Oh my God does it stink; it's like dead dinosaur ass. BIG dead dinosaur ass.
But everybody loves it...particularly my punkies and cukes! And since all the cell structures are broken down, in a month there's not a trace to be found and all the worms in the bed are roly-poly. Fortunately, this procedure only needs to happen once a year.

Anyway, all my brown, black and green outdoor biomass goes into a pile. This is built at one end of an enclosure and gets turned month by month until it ends up at the opposite end, by which time it's fall and I have a base of sticks and brown material upon which to build another heap.

Then I pull out the garden waste and leave it all overwinter. Freeze and thaw takes care of that and come spring, once things dry out, I have a knee-high pile of nice wormy finished product ready to be screened.

First it goes through a sheet screen I made out of some hogpen, doubled over and 'sewn' with tie wire which made holes about 1 to 2 inches wide. This slightly dished screen fits over the wheelbarrow. I heave a couple shovelsfull of raw compost into the center and then shake the screen back and forth across the top of the barrow. What doesn't pass through goes back into the heap. Compost at this stage is what I use to fill in potholes in the garden or mix into my raised beds.

Now with this first screening of the year, I'll take the wheelbarrow full of screened stuff and leave it out in the hot sun for a few hours. Meanwhile I go weed the ornamental beds into buckets and dump them onto the new compost pile. When I come back, I shovel off the top half of the compost into buckets or onto a tarp or what have you, and return the rest of the barrowload to the new compost pile I'm building and dump it on top. This stuff is alive with chubby, wiggly worms. They migrate downward to the bottom of the wheelbarrow to escape the heat and dryness, you see. And because they were so smart, back they go into the compost to chow down on the new weeds and make more happy worms and more finished compost.
Works like a charm.

Now I take it another step because I make my own potting mix.

I made myself a hod sifter out of scrap lumber, 1/4 hardware cloth and nails.

I dump a few scoops of the screened compost into this and shake it across the top of the wheelbarrow again. The big stuff goes into one barrel; that's for drain material. The little stuff goes into a bin up on my potting bench. When I get ready to use it, I cut in about 1/3 screened garden soil and some plain washed sand or pea gravel. This makes a neutral-to-barely acid mix, good for perennials. If I need to up the acid I use crushed granite, but we're naturally somewhat acid here so I very rarely have to...If I need medium for veggies or annuals I add some dolomite and keep this sweet mix separate.

Yes, I have live worms in my potting mix. They go right in the pot with the plants. There they travel around and aerate the roots, keep things cleaned up, and peek out the drain holes and wave 'hi'.

When I water potted stock I water with juice tapped off my anaerobic mix brewed up with rotted grass clippings in buckets of water. This is both sick and disgusting, which bothers the animals I find drinking it not one whit. 1 quart of that brew goes into a gallon watering can, I top it up with fresh water, and away I go.

I maybe spend one afternoon a month during gardening season dicking with the compost. The rest of the time? I just wander around bothering the bumblebees.

Which is total bullshit; there's a thousand things to do in a garden, but all of them are things I like to do. Although it does annoy the bumbles.


"Rawk on! Awesome!" were just some of the enthusiastic comments which The Baby Jesus uttered extemporaneously during his reading of Footman's latest effort.

Now go talk amongst yourselves. I have a carrot suit to launder, and the comments lounge is all scaffolding and tarps while Beast replaces the carpeting, paints and refinishes all the furniture. For now the rest of you can just stand around outside in the hallway. Miscreants.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


In fact, Footmans' book is a pretty entertaining read so far.
Wait until I've finished it, then I'll have more to say. It got here yesterday morning and I'm halfway through now.

Still, isn't that great? The guy had me all fucking scared to death because of the way he dogged his own writing down. Jesus Christ, Tim. Fine; you're British. I get it already.

So, anyone who ordered a copy and is still waiting for delivery? You did not spend your money in vain. It's interesting and very readable. I have to brush up on my Radiohead to be able to say whether or not he's full of shit, but his writing passes muster 100%!

my god i am so relieved.

Monday, April 30, 2007

reality redux. deal with it.

All arguments that deal with THE BIG QUESTIONS fall apart at the very beginning...when the hard math people are advancing towards the philosophers' line, both of them slinging Reason just as hard as they can back and forth across the barbed wire.

Isn't that presuming that the universe conforms to order?
Do you really think that?
Grow up.

"Oh, no problemo!" both sides chirrup. "Subjectivity doesn't count! It's not quantifiable."
Arch chuckles all 'round.

One weeps.

Wouldn't it be nice if it were that easy? We could just all plug our ears and sing real loud until stuff we can't explain and can't make fit into our arguments just goes away?
But that irrational, chaotic, unpredictable stuff just keeps on being there, doesn't it.

You know why?

That static? That will-of-the-wisp, here and gone frisson?
That's reality, kids
Reality is the note which still hangs in the air after the string has been plucked.

...Unless I'm wrong.

.......with great big honkin' props to the bravest woman on the internet, Chaucers' Bitch, and her Brave New Blog, Question: Everything!

Think you're bad?