Jun. 3, 2008 at 6:55pm

Composting Fiasco

-- tomorrow I get barrels

Thinking myself clever, I built, by myself, a small compost box out of used wood and used nails, from our old fence. I planned to build two boxes, so that I could add fresh stuff to one while the other one finished cooking. We religiously add all of our non-meat kitchen scraps and some grass clippings and turn the pile regularly.

The downfall of my grand plan has four legs and an appetite for rotten food. And no, she is not a rodent. As you can see from the following picture, she yanked off the boards from the bottom of three sides of my bin and dug the rotting food out.

We placed concrete blocks and other stuff around the bin to try to keep her out. So then she knocked down one of the access boards in the front to, well, to gain better access. We managed to catch her in the act and Rick punished her with a spray of water from the hose, immediately after I snapped this picture. Damn dog.

She was repentant.

Well, repentant for a few weeks, and then she was back at it again. Gorging herself on truly rotten, partially composted food and grass. I was unaware that she had been in the bin again, until she barfed in the house. Lovely.

Tomorrow, Dan Borba is delivering a rain barrel and two compost barrels. Should have used his barrels from the beginning. Would have saved me from cleaning up that massive, utterly disgusting, puke pile from the dining room rug.


comments [10]  |  posted under Compost


by KevinFreitas on 6/3/2008 @ 7:24pm
I made use of gathered wooden palettes for our compost bin. Worked out really well for size and for strength. Might even just be strong enough to keep out hungry pups. ;)

by Heather on 6/3/2008 @ 7:38pm
Those pictures look really familiar, especially the one of the veggie scraps being dumped into the bin. Your blog may have been part of my inspiration this winter when I was scheming about building compost bins. Some of that wire netting would have been an excellent idea and might have saved me from the puke episode.

As for the pallets, I worked in a shipping office for a while and know how valuable those are, so I shy away from using any that aren't ruined already and clearly marked for the taking.

by AP on 6/3/2008 @ 7:40pm
What a precious puppy dog...

by Ann on 6/3/2008 @ 9:01pm
I'm sorry about the rug, Heather, but that was the funniest story I've heard in a long time. Thanks, I needed the laugh.

by Heather on 6/3/2008 @ 9:54pm
AP: Yes, she is a darling. And her breath smells fantastic!

Anytime Ann :)

by Twisty on 6/3/2008 @ 11:17pm
Is that a repentant look? Or is she wondering why her new doghouse doesn't have a roof?

by fredo on 6/4/2008 @ 4:17pm
There's another 4 legged creature that enjoys scrap food and his initials are HKR (that stands for HONG KONG RATS). They don't puke on your carpeting. You see them on your property, then you puke on your carpeting.

by jcbetty on 6/7/2008 @ 9:50am
there's a reason all of my lame-oid container gardening sit out of reach of my two agents of destruction on four legs...

by thriceallamerican on 6/7/2008 @ 2:29pm
Re: HKR, Heather, Dan's composting barrels are covered, right? I think that should help out with the potential rat problem as long as there's no cracks they can wriggle in through. The other option would be to build a worm bin instead. That's really enough for our household, though we only add kitchen scraps, not yard waste (which we just religiously send away in our big brown bin, of course). But yeah, with your original design on a small city lot, I'd be a bit concerned with the vermin problems it might introduce...

by Heather on 6/12/2008 @ 11:06pm
Is this the kind of HKR you mean?
opossum in the back yard
This little guy was in our back yard the other night. Does his nose look hurt to you guys?

Yes, Dan's barrels are covered! They arrived on Friday and I transferred the freshest of the compost to one of them. We add some grass clippings to our compost because we've read that the food scraps will compost better that way.

I was interested in the worm bins, and did some research on them, but I am actually afraid that I'd kill all of the worms. There was a guy at the farmers market today selling worm bins; they looked pretty cool.


Hello! I'm Heather and I'm a bit manic about Tacoma.

I'll probably be blogging about my experiences in Tacoma as they relate to the environment (natural and built), social (in)justice, community building, economic development, bio-diesel, public transit, biking, gardening, home improvement, food & wine, and my little family (me, my husband, one dog, one cat). This is my first attempt at writing a blog - so please bear with me.

Contact: heather.ups@gmail.com

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