We’re expanding our garden this week, not a whole bunch–our yard isn’t that big here in suburbia–but some. We’re making more room for the strawberries and to maximize the areas that get good sunlight. The cool thing about it is that this time we’re using compost that we made.
We’ve been composting for about a year now with very slow, unpredictable results – learning as we go. Our compost pile has had lots of ‘greens’ (high in nitrogen) coming from kitchen vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds, and plant cuttings. It hasn’t had enough ‘browns’ (high in carbon) that can come from fallen leaves, hay and straw, or paper and cardboard. You need significantly more browns than greens to achieve the right ratio in your compost pile, and we’ve been short on browns. You wouldn’t think that here in Washington we’d have a shortage of fallen leaves, but the problem is (here in suburbia) all the trees were cleared when they developed our subdivision. We also can’t just pick up someone else’s bagged leaves because they’re all put in large yard waste bins for collection. So I sent Ryan out to an area with lots of leaves on the ground and he collected three big bags. We added one bag of leaves (unfortunately I didn’t shred them first – next time) to some coffee grounds from Starbucks and continued adding our normal kitchen wastes. A a week later our pile was actually ‘hot’, it had never been hot before! There are still good leaves to be had so we’re going to collect some more to have on hand (“One man’s trash…”). We’re also going to buy a cross cut paper shredder to produce more usable browns. (I found good composting tips at compost-info-guide.com)
We also took advantage of Sarah having a few extra days off over the holidays to make a day trip over to the Sequim area and look at potential homestead properties. We had plenty of time so we ambitiously visited all eleven listings we have been loosely following online. It was a long, but fun day. We brought Kate, our four month old Border Collie, and she had the time of her life tramping through the wooded areas as we walked around the different properties. We found one we liked, sure it has it’s issues – there’s a reason why it’s listed so cheap and is still on the market. But it was kind of cool. It feels remote, on a hill in a very forested area, while still being close to services in the nearby small town. When we got home Sarah looked up the plat information and found everything she could about it online, including that it is adjacent to state forest land. We asked our realtor to follow up on it for us and tentatively scheduled a date with him to go back and look at it closer. Is it “The One”? Probably not, but it has potential. We figure the more we look at, and the more we understand the process, the better prepared we’ll be to make that final decision.
As I mentioned in my What I Did This YEAR To Prep post, my wife Sarah is my “biggest prepper asset”. You’ve seen her hand in every post I write because she sits down with me, after I’ve finished writing, and helps me edit it before it’s published. She’s a good writer with very strong technical skills (she gets it from her dad, CJ Booth, he recently published his first book, Olive Park). She and I talked, on our Sequim property search road trip, about the blog and we discussed her writing a post as sort of “guest blogger” (possibly even on a monthly basis). The more we discussed it, the more we liked the idea. Next Wednesday, the 50th TraceMyPreps post, Sarah will answer the question every prepper’s wife gets, “So what do you think about all this?”
What did you do?
(Monday: Product Review: Gerber EAB Lite Utility Knife)