Monday, 26 February 2007

26th Feb 07

A day with not much on, so a late start and then my usual monday cycle into York to collect compostables from Out Of This World ethical supermarket, via Richard the greengrocer, who was a happy recipient of a super selection of home-made dried fruit, as a thank you for his sorting out materials for me... and keeping them out of landfill. So OOTW had about 40kg for me and on the way back, Richard gave me another 15 or 20 kg. I know the approx weights as when York Rotters got its first funding, DEFRA requested information about weights of materials being diverted away from landfill. I bought a pocket-sized spring-balance from Barnitts and weighed my compostables for months and months, and recorded the weights and types of material (ie from our kitchen; commercial fruit/veg; cardboard; neighbours garden materials; my compost toilet materials) and so I know approximately how heavy any particular bag or brewing bucket is. So today I diverted about 55 or 60 kg from landfill into my lovely compost heaps.

I know I've got OCD (Obsessive Composting Disorder) but at least it's a healthy pro-sustainability obsession. I also love doing my dried fruit on the logstove. I gave Richard a selection including blackberry and apple leather, pomegranate and apple leather, pear slices, apple rings, experimental dried lychee blobs, melon strips, mango slices, a single strip of pawpaw, a jar or stove-dried raisins and ditto of stove-dried bananas. Richard wanted to have a snack which was healthier than biscuits, so he was happy with the delicious fruit.

When I got home I bunged some of the manky stuff on the current heap and then I started to prepare the leafmold for this year's seed compost. I collect aunumn leaves from the side of roads, Windmill Lane is good as I can cycle fast down it and then put my booted foot down in the gutter and scrape up a big pile of leaves as I come to a halt. Then I put this pile in the trailer and do another acceleration and foot down scraping action for another load. All these leaves are collected in a chicken wire leaf-mold holder and left for a year. Before I collect the next year's autumn crop, I put the partly rotted leafmold into plastic sacks, removing 'contraries' as I do this (fag ends, plastic bits, broken glass etc) and also sticks which go into the fruit/veg compost. A year later these bags are rotaseived into a 'dalek' composter, layered with comfrey leaves to add some nutrients. This well rotted and by now very fine material is an excellent alternative to peat, and I use it in seed compost as the major constituent, and in my potting composts as a third of the mix. So I got together a sack of ready-to-use leafmold and also riddled (with the rotaseive) some fresh stuff into the top of the dalek. No comfrey at this time of year, but it isn't essential.

I went to the school with my wife to meet with one of my boy's teachers, to discuss how he was doing. Apparently his behaviour is OK at school, and he keeps his loud outbursts for us at home. This is very common, as other parents have mentioned it. Both boys requested 'bundles' when they got home, so I obliged after a half hour of bow-sawing some oak logs. I like to do a bit of logging fairly often. The bundling was a little rough but tea being served put a stop to it.

Tea was omlette done on the woodstove, even though Gill said it wasn't hot enough and would make a rubbery omlette. If I lived by myself I wouldn't eat omlette, infact I probably wouldn't eat eggs, as I would probably go vegan. A vegan lifestyle is the lowest carbon diet, and of course it's the most respectful of animals. It's funny, I love animals but would prefer not to see them in the fields or being used as pets or for entertainment, unless they were wild animals such as birds in the garden and other wildlife. I like the spiders and the silverfish sharing the house with us, though. But not mice, which I admit to trapping and composting. Mice in the house are not acceptable, mice in the compost heaps are. Rats in the compost heaps are not acceptable and I disturb them to encourage them to go elsewhere. It's odd, I have different standards!

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