Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Post: Compost

               File:Mixed Apples for Cider Pressing.jpg
            I'm queen of my own compost heap & 
          I'm getting used to the smell.
         Ani DeFranco

One amazingly bright and sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-October, my son, his family and I attended Portland Nursery’s annual Apple Tasting Festival. Hundreds of folks were milling about; some biting into caramel apples, some dipping into dishes of apple pie and ice cream, and what seemed like hundreds standing in four long lines waiting to taste the 60 different types of apples being diced and put out for sampling.

Lively country music wafted across hay bales and over the several acres of nursery grounds, spurring some to sway and dance to the tunes. After tasting every one of the apple samples, we drifted over to the area where the cider press was pumping out free samples of delicious, fresh apple cider.The fellow manning the press raised his voice over the chattering crowd to announce, “Free bags of apple pulp for anyone who wants it. Makes a great addition to your compost pile,” as he motioned to the stack of five-gallon bags of pulp. Did my son want any? No. Did I? Yes! Why? Well… I have big ideas for a new vegetable garden and probably unattainable plans for extensive flower beds around the home I moved into about a year ago. I’ll take all the free cuttings and plant starts I’m offered and … I’ll take anything at all that I think will beneficially amend the heavy, clay soil on the property.

That’s the reason 10 gallons of apple pulp were graciously toted (by my son and his 11-year old son) from the nursery, to the car, to two beds in back of my house.I didn’t intend that the pulp would sit out there for two weeks, attracting 10-million fruit flies and who knows how many raccoons and possums!? But, it did. It sat there. It rotted and molded and … sat. 

Last Saturday, another blue-sky day, my son and his oldest son, 16, spread a yard of hemlock bark on the side yard (stepping stones to be added). Feeling a bit sheepish at all the work they were doing for me, I decided to do a bit of dead-heading of faded flowers.Clippers in hand, I made my merry way around the back yard. 

Looking deep into a large flower bed, I noticed a perennial plant that desperately needed some tending. I stepped off the grass and into the bed. Oopsie! I slipped and fell with a hard bump on my butt! What did I slip on?