Wednesday, March 21, 2012


In the eleven days leading up to the equinox, we in Minneapolis broke high temperature records eight of those days, missing by just a few degrees on two other days. While I cannot confirm it, I would challenge weather record keepers to look anywhere to find a ten+ day stretch in which weather records of any kind were consistently broken. Most people in Minnesota are thrilled about it; temperatures have been between 60-80 most of that period, when they should be between 25-40. I have enjoyed every minute of it, but I am also leery. The weather the past year has been radically different season to season, as it has been for some time now, increasingly so, and I fully expect it to become wilder and wilder with time, season to season. But like so much else, be it the economy, or oil, or water, or population, Humanity seems content to maintain the status quo.

I've been working on my yard and house and garage. Here is some work I did on my compost:

Getting started. Last year's compost on the right, some scavenged lumber and wire fence. If you look close, there's a Laphroaig bottle on the left, but sadly, only filled with water. And a music box, for singing to.

Two posts pounded in, the door, facing the other bin at an angle, for easy movement one bin to the other.

Nailing the cage to the posts with electrical wiring clips.

Do not be an idiot and put said clips in a broken glass container.

I lined the new bin with coffee bags scavenged from Peace Coffee, to keep the pile moist and to prevent the mostly finished compost from falling out of the cage.

Water until moist throughout.

Notice there are two doors for each bin. This makes for easier piling and removal.

I removed the remainder of the first compost pile, and then piled rough plant stems in the center, lining the edges with leaves.

In the wheelbarrow is the kitchen compost, in the plastic bin, the remainder from the compost bin. I mix a little of both, with some regular dirt.

This is three layers, I put two more on the following day, to fill it.

In addition this week, I removed all the strawberries and pulled out the grass runners that had invaded the strawberries, the western sand cherries and the asparagus; replanting the strawberries in the freshly mixed soil. I filled the dumpster, cleaned much of the yard, house and garage, planted the early vegetable starts, and wrote a few thousand words a day. Trying to live the post-peak life, but alas, there will either be income, or the house will have to sell. All this would be easier with a partner, but a job is easier to find than that, and neither a job nor a partner is guaranteed to please. I might be content to let the house go, and lead the vagabond life, moving from farm to farm, doing what I am most useful at, learning as much as I can.

Though a reader last week suggested I am a "whiny wimp", and it may be also that I will take whatever job that pays the bills, pour all excess money into the house, and then sell, to save my father some money. Then again, maybe all the global economy will collapse this year, and nobody will have any money? Perhaps a few billion tons of methane will rise from the bottom of the seas, and all the ice on the poles will melt, displacing 3-4 billion people? Perhaps the sun will knock out the grid? Perhaps the poles will shift? Perhaps the military/industrial/banking complex will expand the holy war of terror, and the nukes will fly? Perhaps at the end of this year, life will shift from a material state to a spiritual state, like the most radical of the 2012 folks are saying? If any of that happens, making someone else wealthy is going to seem like a ridiculous thing.

I don't know. I'm just gardening, writing, makin' compost. Trying to stay open to whatever comes.


Candice said...

Thanks for the informative post. Of all the blogs I have been reading, a lot of them are sounding a bit redundant with the whole peak oil and living with less energy thing. As much as I still enjoying reading that, I am at the point where I would just like some helpful tips on how to live off of less. That mixed in with a bit of humor. I have to admit, I did chuckle a bit when you mentioned cutting yourself on the broken glass. (Not laughing at you cutting yourself, but more you pointing out your stupidity).
Thanks for this post.

William Hunter Duncan said...


If I do not laugh at myself, things get ugly. Thanks for the comment. It confirms some of what I've been feeling, a bit of boredom with the whole Peak meme. And, where I might go with this blog. As long as this third installment of a Canon camera continues to work, there will be more like this, and hopefully, more humor and less stupidity (I can probably add more humor, but I can't seem to fix the stupidity.)

Luciddreams said...

I agree about the whole PO thing...not much left to say about it. We all know the truth so all that's left is to do something about it in your own life, and to share it in the blogosphere if for no other reason then to have a virtual community to help with our feelings of isolation.

I'm setting my compost up similar to's been a continually evolving situation. I started a composter out of box spring lumber but then got sidetracked making a huge pile out of all of the biomass I harvested with my push mower on the nearly 2 acre lot. I'm startin' to think I'm just going to continue with the pile method...just fork it a few times over the course of the year.

I love's a spiritual symbol for me. I like thinking about the fact that there are millions? Billions? of different organisms all turning "garbage" or "refuse" into plant nutrition to in turn become human nutrition...just the necessary components for any life. I always feel the most like a Green Wizard when I'm messin' with the compost.

Question for you. Won't those coffee bags take away some air flow and therefore much needed oxygen? Everything I've read about compost says you can't get it too much oxygen. I know you want to keep it as moist as a "wrong out sponge" as well. What's been your experience with it?

William Hunter Duncan said...


You have considerably more space than I do, and I have the material, so I went with the bins. I also have a pile now, next to them. I think the bins are more efficient, in small spaces esp. but I don't know that it matters. The coffee bags are an experiment, and you may be right about the oxygen, but the compost won't be in their very long. That will all move to the beds in the next few weeks, and the contents of the first bin will shift. The question will be, what happens when I move the first bin, partially finished contents to the second?

Luciddreams said...

one things for sure...nature will have her way and things will decay

John D. Wheeler said...

I concur with the sentiment on peak oil, and I feel the same way about climate change: by now either we get that they are happening, or we never will. The question now is how do we live with these, while trying to stay positive? My answers, of course, are in my blog, but I find reading about what others like you guys are doing to be very helpful, both in terms of information and encouragement.

P.S. 1000s of words a day? Impressive :-)