end of month 5!

June 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

I realize that I forgot to write a recap last month. I guess I was busy planning for vacation. This month I will reflect on some of the things that have not gone quite as planned since the weeks that I tried them.

Composting

Compton had a short-lived life. After only having him less than a month, he split in two and I had to take him back to the store & exchange him. Bamboo is not a good material for dry climates like Colorado.

He was a good composting bin while he lasted.

Sadly he’s been replaced by a much less attractive ceramic composting bin who’ve I’ve decided will go nameless for now.

Aside from the Compton casualty I am still composting and it has significantly reduced the trash that goes out each week. I actually find it easier and more enjoyable than recycling because I imagine it ending up in someone’s garden.

CSA
I’m mad at myself for this one. I’ve been known to procrastinate from time to time and instead of joining right away, I put it off with excuses. I’m conflicted because I think it is a very worthwhile thing to invest in but for some reason I kept putting it off. I think I wanted to save the $ for our vacation at the time and then I started thinking about the fact we would be gone a number of weeks this Summer. I wondered whether it was worth it ultimately for us. I’ve decided in lieu of a CSA this year, we’ll make a trip to the farmer’s market each week to support our local farmers. If we are traveling less next year, then I’ll revisit whether a CSA makes sense.

Italian

I did not learn as much Italian as I had hoped before going on vacation to Italy. While I would love to speak multiple languages other than English, I think I need to be honest with myself that I should be investing in my Spanish. I used to be fluent and now I struggle to have casual conversations with people. Trying to learn Italian was really just making my Spanish that much worse. At least when I was over there I was able to understand a bit more than I would have but speaking is an entirely different thing that takes a lot of time & dedication. It’s time to get my Spanish back up to snuff because it’s something I’ll actually use here in the US.

I think those are enough confessions for now. It’s easy to want everything I spend time and energy on to work out perfectly but it’s no big deal when they don’t sometimes. For the things that don’t work out from this project, there are 5x as many things that do, so that’s worth it to me. The things that don’t work out also sometimes push me towards the things I’d rather do anyway, like brushing up on my Spanish vs trying to learn a whole other language.

I guess the important lesson I’ve learned so far is that it’s more worthwhile to have something fail when you’ve actually tried it or looked into it than when you’ve just made an excuse not to try in the first place.

meet Compton my composting bin

May 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

For about $30 at McGuckin Hardware, we now have our very own countertop composting container and I decided for some reason it needed a name since it will be prominently placed on our countertop. Compton seemed like a good one for a composting container. It makes it feel a little more badass than the average composting bin…and I’m a huge late 80s – early 90s rap fan.

No, I don’t normally name countertop appliances, but it seems like Compton is going to be pulling more weight around the house than most.

For those who don’t know what in your house is compostable material, you can check your local waste mgmt or there are a number of resources online. We use Western Disposal in Boulder and here’s what they accept:

Compostables are organic materials that will naturally decompose quickly and can be used for enhancing and conditioning soil. These materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, meat and bones, coffee grounds and teabags, food-soiled or waxed cardboard, compostable containers, and plant materials.

Our compost bin they collect is actually about twice the size of the trash can…a subtle hint we should be composting, not throwing organic material out with the trash. Now that I’ve stopped to take a moment to learn more about it, it’s pretty easy and should significantly cut down on our trash.

Here’s Compton already at work on some fruit, veggies, eggshells and tea bags. The container has carbon filters built in that reduce any odor you might expect.

from ancient mesopotamia to williams sonoma

May 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Composting may seem foreign to many of us who didn’t grow up farming or gardening, but as a practice it’s been around for thousands of years. I suppose that makes sense in a time where agriculture was so close to home and trash collection wasn’t the landfills it’s become today.

Composting dates back to ancient Mesopotamia and was a common practice in ancient China as well. There are also signs of its importance from the early Roman Empire from a book entitled “De Agri Cultura” from 200 B.C. Composting was also an obsession of our founding fathers, especially George Washington.

He was originally a tobacco farmer like his father but realized it wasn’t sustainable for the land as a sole crop, so he experimented heavily with not only crop rotation but ways to enrich the land through composting. He even built a “stercorary” at Mount Vernon to serve as a test lab to test out different practices of enriching the soil through compost. This was not only because he was a farmer but because he saw it as important for America to assert itself in the world and agriculture was the first occupation of his country:

“in the present state of America, our welfare and prosperity depend upon the cultivation of our lands and turning the produce of them to the best advantage.”

When you walk into any grocery store it’s easy to see how far away we’ve gotten from that sentiment, but there’s also been a renewed interest not only in knowing how our food is grown but in even growing our own food and being responsible for its nourishment. Anyone who has spent time in Portland, OR or Boulder can see it’s more than just a trend. I suppose it’s also a mainstream sign of things to come when Williams Sonoma starts marketing kitchen composting jars.

President Obama has been busy with a few other things than agriculture, but Mrs. Obama was the first to create a vegetable garden at the White House since Eleanor Roosevelt after WWII. Each year she plants with local schoolchildren to teach them about nutrition. Apparently Obama and I both share a dislike of beets. You can check out their compost here:

you can’t live in Boulder and not compost

May 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

This past month I’ve had kind of a land and sea theme going from gardening to surfing. It’s that time of year you just want to be outside I suppose. From my gardening week, I found myself getting into conversations about composting. We’ve had a bin out back the city manages for a year now, but I had not taken the time to learn what I was supposed to do with it. I’ve been really good about recycling over the years but always thought composting was more for serious gardeners & farmers.

This week I’m going to learn about the different types of composting, the history of it and figure out what we might want to do from here on out. For me, I’m more interested in it from the perspective of eliminating waste than gardening…at least til we have our own house that is.

Luckily I have a feeling my good friends Jess and Alicia will bestow me with their organic farming and composting knowledge this week. At the very least my countertop will end up with another cute container on it.  My favorite composting container was this bamboo one from RSVP International for $38.

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