For the love of dirt

Compost Sifter

This bike powered compost turner let's you get in some exercise while making hay...I mean dirt! Photo:

I’m a romantic, and as such, I love celebrating every holiday in bang-up fashion. I clean the house, break out the decor, make a special meal, and buy presents.

My husband on the other hand, not so much. He never met a holiday he didn’t hate and, when he’s not avoiding them like the plague, he approaches them kicking and screaming.

Mutual influence

Fortunately we’re into communicating well and compromising so over these past three years since we got married he’s begun to take a more participatory role in holidays. And I’ve ratcheted down my expectations of Martha Stewartesque holiday perfection in favor of something that’s nice enough and works for all.

So this Valentine’s Day (no, it is not “just” a retail holiday, it has ancient roots) I decided to make a peace offering that was akin to what we did last summer for our second wedding anniversary. Then, we chose to buy a rain barrel as a mutual gift, rather than something from each of us to the other. It happened to be an especially kick ass rain barrel–a local artisan had converted antique whiskey barrels into rain barrels. It’s now one of our prize possessions, both for making our tiny cobblestone backyard look even more charming and for upping our feeling of resilience exponentially.

In like form, in advance of V-Day I suggested we buy a composter for the back yard, and a counter composter for collecting our scraps to begin the art of composting.

Dirty business

You might wonder how two conservation-minded, low energy, DIY folks have gotten this far and not yet composted, and whether we’re really walking our talk? Well, we do one thing at a time.

We’ve done myriad energy conservation projects, and as I’ve noted before on the blog, we walk everywhere, bike, shop locally, etc. But since we effectively have no yard (two tiny plots amidst a testimony to concrete) in our very downtown house, it was a lower priority than insulation, a Prius, and other reskilling projects.

But now that we’re getting chickens for Easter and practicing vertical gardening this growing season in said tiny plot, we decided to make the leap into composting.

I can’t emphasize enough how thrilling I find our composting project.

My biggest motivation is that I’d like to get us to (or as close as possible to) a Zero Waste household. The feeling of turning what we’ve been given by earth back into earth is truly sacred to me, and has bolstered my Christian devotion to simplicity, gentleness, and creation care significantly. I wish I had done it sooner, of course, but am so glad I am doing it now.

As the Beer Activist writes, “According to the International Soil Conservation Organization, 65% of the world’s soil is degraded.” Jeeze, over half the world’s soil is compromised and climbing?

Yeah, I needed to compost. I even hope to bring to my town a curbside composting program, one of the most inspiring community projects —and job creators and local economy boosters — I’ve ever seen.

Love is as love does

Romantic that I am, it’s clear that I don’t need a dozen imported hothouse roses and a wrapped gift to feel the love of special occasions. And it’s clear that my husband gets that I like special things anyway, even if I don’t “need” them.

He gave me a potted rose plant to add to my herb garden. And a very funny card about how I’m even more special to him than beer! And I researched how he can use his spent beer grains when he’s done brewing. It’s more fodder for compost. We’ll put it on the hops rhizomes I got for him.

Reskilling makes romantics and realists out of us all.

–Lindsay Curren, Lindsay’s List

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About Lindsay Curren

Lindsay Curren has no intention of ending up the Scarlett O'Hara of the 21st century, dizzy and confused as neo-Rome burns. Instead, the Staunton, Virginia based writer, designer and high-heeled survivalist writes Lindsay's List, the women's conservation blog and edits Transition Voice, the online magazine on peak oil and the coming life of sweaty labor and, hopefully, nicer manners.

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