Longleaf Stories

full circle in the hundred acre wood

There it sits, in all its utilitarian ugliness. Dark green, it looks like a mini-dumpster, sitting at the edge of the clearing nearer to the tractor than the house. Looking at it from a distance, I fear it is listing slightly, and hope I tightened all the screws enough to keep it together when it begins to cook.

“It” is my newly assembled composter, arriving last week in a flat box with four panels, a lid and a sack full of screws, washers and nuts. You all would have gotten a good laugh watching me put it together Saturday, first raiding Buck’s tool box for a flat screwdriver and a 3/8″ socket wrench (which I got lucky and found without having to ask). Maggie was quite interested at first until she realized there was absolutely nothing in the bag of nuts and screws that smelled like a taste treat, so she left me for the porch.

Despite several miscues at the beginning, panels upside down, everything falling down, and dropping screws in the dirt, I finally got the hang of holding the wrench with my left hand to pin the nut firmly, while turning the flat screwdriver in the screw head with my right. Ta dah!

Dragging it over to the selected spot, I plopped in the rodent screen to cover the bottom, and started adding a few token ingredients to get the show on the road: a few small branches on the bottom, then dry pine needles, old potting soil from some pots in back of the shed, dry brown leaves, lint from the dryer, and kitchen stuff I’ve been saving for this moment like coffee grounds and peelings.


The compost bin
I used to have a compost bin when we lived on the Williams Ditch Road. I used its “black gold” on a rose, herb and vegetable garden, and will again, here. If I ever get to be a real country gardener, this small bin will seem pitiful, as I hurl brown and green elements around with a pitchfork in some vast dugout. But for right now, I am thrilled out of my gourd to have this beautifully ugly miniature recyling plant, where I can participate in its magical alchemy.

Singer Carole King got it right when she said, “There’s just no telling what a satisfied woman might do.”


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