Middle Aged Modifications: Leaving the Masses to Make Mold - The Making of a Compost Bin



    It’s life.

    It grows.

    It feeds us.

    It dies and decays and grows mold.

    It becomes food for new life.  

    It’s natural!

    It's the cicle of life...

    Time Creates and Destroys...

    so it can Create again.

    I've lived in my house in Downeast Maine for about 3 months now. I feel so at home here. I'm embracing the rural, rustic life with my typical enthusiasm. But there is something Super - Enthusiastic about THIS change.

    I am perfectly full of joy and peace.

      This is what I'm meant to do with my life, at least for now, though honestly it feels like I'm meant to spend the rest of my days here, maybe traveling to England, Scotland and Wales occasionally. 

     I'm beginning to organize my country life. This house came with a large flower, ornamental garden. I’m not a gardener. I have no desire to grow flowers. But this space is really nice. I can’t just ignore it. So I’m thinking I will try to grow some vegetables and herbs in there. I’ve never had any success at growing vegetables OR flowers. But I’m in the country right? And I already have a flippin’ garden, so I’m gonna try. But where can I start in the late fall?


    I LOVE composting. Even when I don’t have a garden, I enjoy saving my food scraps and dumping them in my woods. I hate the idea of adding garbage to a landfull, trashing the earth. Food scraps are FOOD for the soil! When they go to the “dump” they don’t break down, but just add to the garbage.  In my woods they will decay and/or be eaten by a divere universe of living things. In a compost bin they will be saved to feed my garden!

    Last year, when I was in my studio in Indianapolis, I’d save scraps and coffee grounds in a cute little pot. In the winter my studio was too cold to spend much time in, so I abandoned it for a few months. When I came back in the spring and made my coffee, I put the grinds into that cute little pot, only to find it was full of DIRT!!! I mean all of those onion peels and mushrooms and lemon peels and coffee grinds had turned into...DIRT! Real dirt!! 

    Cute Little Pot

    Equipped with that little bit of experience of turning food into dirt, I've decided to make a compost bin, a big one...the biggest one I’ve ever owned! So it’s practically 2ft by 2ft! Ha! I’m learning these country skills. I didn’t use a pattern or instructions but I think it came out alright! I drove my little VW Beetle convertable to Chalais to get a circular saw, which I used to cut down some lumber that was laying in a heap on my property. This wood is so beautiful! It’s been aged by sea breezes and snow. It looks like cedar to me. I have no idea what is was before or why it was in a pile in my yard, but I figured it’d make a great, rustic compost bin! So I cut one piece and used that as a guide for the other pieces. I used one of the rails left over from the deck as a spacer and I screwed the scrap lumber pieces to the deck rails. I made 4 sides with 7 pieces of the lumber for each side.


    Then I took the sides out to the garden in my makeshift “wheelbarrow”. With said wheelbarrow, Leia and I walked the few steps from the garden to the woods to gather up some leaves to mix with the kitchen waste I’ve been saving to start the composting! It felt so good to have my hands in the leaves with my trusty dog by my side. I now have a nice big place to continue to build soil with what would otherwise just be trash.


     Moving lumber around isn’t as easy as it might have been in the distant past. A BIG part of why I moved here was to get back outside, to MOVE my body regularly again. But...I’m 56 and out of shape. So I’m having to make my own accommodations to do the things I want to get done. I'm using a tub meant for my leatherwork as a wheelbarrow. I walk on my trails with a walking stick and pretend I’m Gandalf. I use a power chainsaw and a power circular saw and a power screwdriver. These things are making the life I’m trying to create possible for me.

    I am having the time of my life. And NOW I have a proper compost bin that I’m filling up so I’ll have natural rich soil to add to the garden. It feel so good...so right. So...natural. 

    Ashes to Ashes

    Autumn To May

    "Earth knows no desolation. She smells regeneration in the moist breath of decay." ~ George Meredith





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