Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pile of c....ompost

I think I mentioned last week that I'd had a quiet word with Dad about the fact that his country pile is missing a compost heap. Since my idea of a compost heap is a pile of grass cuttings, vegetable matter and teabags down behind the barn, I assumed remedying this situation was a simple matter of setting aside the requisite materials and finding a likely spot. Dad, however, is the type of person who takes fifteen minutes to compose a bowl of fruit and cereal of a morning, so as you might imagine, he had something more complicated in mind involving wooden pallets and three sections for waste at differing stages of decomposition.

We agreed last night that today's task would be to build him a perfect composting station.

Despite the fact that we awoke this morning to a classic British winter day - slate grey skies, light drizzle, blowing a gale - we came downstairs galvanized to the task ahead. Mum had noticed pallets at the local hardware store suitable for creating dividers; my brother had emailed links to several composting advice sites, the BBC best among them; and Dot and I were ready to wrap up warm and get digging.

But before we had even set foot in our Hunters, Winchester County Council took the wind right out of our sails. Dad checked their website; apparently they are to start offering residents rather nifty composting bins for £10 (just inder $20) a pop to use in their gardens. A quick call ascertained these would be available two days from now. Oh.

"Hardly seems worth making our own, then," said Dad. And despite noble visions of an honest day's toil, followed by us sitting back with a cup of tea to admire our handiwork, Dot and I had to admit that a) he was right, and b), we weren't exactly gutted we'd swerved a day of hanging round the garden freezing our bums off while waiting for orders.

I thought this was pretty impressive of Winchester Council and was just about to go into one of my rants about how that'd never happen in the US when I thought, remember Pecks and the loo roll and don't be so presumptuous. So I googled 'Pennsylvania, composting' and guess what? Wayne county, where we live, offers the same exact bin. You take a seminar and recieve a free composting bin, courtesy of Penn State. And this has been running since 2002. Oh me of little faith.

So there we have it. I've emailed guy who runs the program - Dave Messersmith of Penn State uni - and hope to have news soon.

Ooh, a whole seminar on composting. The hubby will be so thrilled when I tell him

PS 1 - I know I owe you a post on how to compost if you live in an apartment, Emmy - to come. And PS2, I'm really sorry but we went out today and so I haven't uploaded the pics. Soon, I promise.

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At 12:57 AM , Blogger Emiliano said...

done a bit of research myself. looks like vermiculture (worms) is the best way to compost in small apartments. unfortunately, you either have to love the little devils and keep them in your kitchen, or you have to have a balcony. there are other ways, but not necessarily the most cost effective or convenient. for my part, i plan on forcing my management company to provide some sort of composting option.

At 10:24 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some useful green cleaning hints from February Woman and Home (UK).
1. For baths and basins, use bicarbonate of soda - it's ideal for tougher stains. You can mix a paste or use as a diluted solution depending how bad the problem is.
2. Tea tree, citrus, sage and eucalyptus oils are natural disinfectants. Great for floors, work surfaces and shower tiles. Use 2 - 4 drops in a bucket of boiling water.
3. White wine vinegar cleans glass and tiles and removes stains on cups and teapots.
4. Table salt works as a mild disinfectant and makes a fantastic mild abraisive. Mix into a thick paste for better results.
5. Use hot water and plain soap flakes with a little washing soda as an all pupose cleaner. Simple but effective.

Also mentions that the John Frieda salon uses scrunched up newspaper to clean their mirrors.

Keep up the good work Frey. P.


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