Our next experiment

We’ve gotten it in our heads that our next experiment is going to be growing  pumpkins and gourds.

Hell, we already have a fairly rich stock of seeds, with more arriving every week thanks to my job. The downside to this is that much of that seed stock was buried in the muckheap of our compost pile. Our compost heap is filled with rotty pumpkins and gourds and fruits and shit, which gives it the unfortunate distinction of smelling like the runny tequila shits that spew forth from Satan’s bunghole the morning after a night of too many margaritas.

This morning, I suited up in some clothes I won’t cry over (much) if I have to burn them to rid them of the scent of Satan’s shithole and waded in. I wish I had gotten some pictures, but there’s no fucking way I’m risking dropping my phone or tablet in Satan’s tequila shits, so you’ll just have to use your imagination to get an image of me knee deep in rotty pumpkin juice and elbow deep in a giant pumpkin collecting the seeds.

While I was in there, smelling the insides of Satan’s colon, I took the opportunity to stabilize the fence panels that keep scavengers (mostly) out of our compost and condense the pile as much as I could with half a shovel and a hip injury that will never fully heal.

Of course, the minute I got done with all of that and closed the newly stabilized fence, Mr B came driving up on his big orange dirt mover machine (I mean tractor with bucket on it). I wasn’t turning down free tractor time just because I was calling myself done with the compost heap, and I opened it back up and let him smoosh and turn the pile. Some of the rotty pumpkins kept rolling away from his tractor bucket, so I had him back out for a minute while I jumped in and tossed them back on the pile to get smooshed. With no gloves on. Which would have been okay except for the damned maggot I felt crawling on my hand after I stepped back to safety.

Mr B got a good whiff of Satan’s morning-after tequila shits and filled his tractor bucket with some spare cellulose left over after his last E.P.I.C. experiment. He was on to something- -part of the aroma wafting forth from that muck hole was rotty pumpkins (which nothing can fix), but part of it was from having too much greens and not enough browns in the heap.

I still haven’t finished collecting all of the seeds. There are some gourds and mini pumpkins that I still need to split open and clean out. I’ll be damned if I was doing that without coming inside to get something to drink and whine to you guys about how awful I fucking smell right now. Besides, I need to do some quick research on how to properly prep these seeds to be stored until next spring.

Someone please send an emergency care package from Bath & Body Works, mmmkay?

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Composting class

Mr B has a friend that is pretty knowledgeable about composting. This guy has invented a large-scale tumbling composter, and he’s found a freegan spool to make an even larger version of it for me.

I can’t reach all the way to the top. That’s how big this thing is!

Side note: this guy says we’re almost composting on an industrial scale, what with all that backdoor fruit my boss sends home with me. Whoa.

I got to pick his brain about composting. He says my compost heap stinks because it’s gone anaerobic.  It’s gone anaerobic because I haven’t been putting enough brown in it. Brown is stuff like sawdust, wood chips, rotten sticks. He and Mr B had some cellulose left over from one of their product testing experiments, and Mr B and I tossed it into my compost heap. I’ve been instructed to keep my ratio of brown to green roughly equal.

This morning, I went out and added some newspaper and egg cartons, toilet paper and paper towel cores, and plain brown paper from deer feed bags to the old compost heap and started a new one with our household compost bucket contents and more of the paper products.

Sunday, when I go to work, I guess I’ll be doing my boss a favor by cleaning up all of the wood chips all and bits of bark around his firewood stacks so I can at least start trying to match the amount of backdoor fruits & vegetables I bring home. 

How does your garden grow?

As I wandered around yesterday morning before work, I noticed some strange shit happening in my garden.

Something is disappearing my corn plants. 

We think it’s dogs. Mr B”s daughter’s new doberman puppy is snazzy as hell, and just romps around wherever the urge strikes him to go.

I also noticed that random shit is sprouting wherever it feels like sprouting.

I even have corn sprouting in my row of peas.

Like, I don’t even know what some of this shit is, because it looks like nothing we’ve tried to plant here since we started trying to grow our own food.

At least my pea plants are thriving.

I guess this random shit is sprouting from seeds of whatever backdoor food got tossed in the compost heap. It’s random, weird, and interesting all at once.

Part of me wants to just spread some compost around a patch of unsowed earth to see what springs up, but I really don’t have time for that. I’ve got Serrano peppers to deal with, peaches to deal with, pears to deal with, laundry to do, and a house to build. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Final note: my boss has returned home, safe & sound. He would probably still be trapped down there or even dead if it weren’t for the kindness of a stranger named Manuel who sheltered and fed my boss and then drove him home to Dallas when no rental cars could be found anywhere. Whoever & wherever you are, Manuel–thank you. You are a shining example of the best of humanity. #houstonstrong

Fall garden

Mr B finally got done moving dirt where we wanted to plant a fall garden. Sunshine, Biff, and I got out there and got the dirt mounded up so we could plant the corn for the sisters method of planting. 

We used some of the old compost heap to enrich the soil. I call it the “ooey gooey”.

We also planted a row of cow peas  (aka black eye peas) and a row of chard.

In a week or two, after the corn has sprouted, we’ll go back and plant the squash, beans, and Rocky Mountain bee plant in the mounds with the corn.

I’m just glad we finally got the fall garden started.  It’s been so frustrating watching the destruction of a garden full of plants that were producing food. I’m ready to see things growing there again, because I’m tired of looking at the giant dirt scars Mr B has left everywhere with his obsession and compulsion to move dirt.

dirt mover

Mr B keeps coming up with ways to use that big orange dirt mover he acquired. It’s kind of become his latest obsession.

Most recently, he used it to dig up the end of the driveway and replace the drainage culvert that connects the ditch from one side to the other. After he did that, he started digging at the ditch and removing the front fence.

front fence is gone

He then proceeded to round up all of the grass and weeds he cut down in the ditch, and he put them in the compost heap.

I added the cabbage leaves that I tore off the outside of the cabbages I harvested late last week. The compost heap just continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Pretty soon, we’re gong to have to start a second one in a new location so that this one can finish the process of becoming the stuff we put in the dirt when we plant things, but I refuse to start a new compost pile until they build me some way to contain it so that the chickens and raccoons and shit don’t scatter it to the four corners of the earth.

final note: that compost heap smells weird.

Musical chairs

We moved the compost heap from its original location a few months ago. We wanted to put it in a more shaded spot. We had it on the eastern side of the front pond. Then Mr B took out the pond and left the compost heap exposed to the brutal Texas sun.

side note: the compost heap was also in an unconvenient location for us to keep it moist. We had to carry buckets of water and fuck that

compost new location again

This past Thursday, Mr B hopped on his tractor and moved it to the front of the property for me. There is a semi-shaded spot under a tree, and it is right next to the new water faucet we put in during the great septic system debacle.

Now all we have to do is get some sort of shade structure in place on the southern and eastern sides of it.