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476 Composting 2011-09-15

Jake's coffee stained face

In our small household we try to live as green as possible. We continually find new ways to make small change that will help us use less.

For years we had been actively recycling. We have cut our non-recyclable wastes to less than a single kitchen bag per week. To further reduce our waste we decided to try composting.

The composter was placed behind the garage near the back fence. The compost bucket was kept on the backporch. Kitchen wastes are dropped into the compost bucket and then emptied into the composter. Voila! We were composting and without much effort.

Oops, I forgot to mention our mischievous dog, Jake.

When we first set up the composter, we saw the need to fence the composting area off from Jake's territory. We didn't think that he would break into the composter but you never know. He has different tastes than ours.

All went well with our composting but while we were in Colorado this summer, a tree fell on the garage and the composting area. The small fence was taken down to access the fallen trees and we did not re-stake the fence when we were done with the cutting and clearing of the limbs.

So last week, I emptied the compost bucket into the compost. The bucket still had probably a pound of wet coffee grounds stuck to the bottom of the bucket. I placed the bucket on the driveway, in the sun, hoping it would be easier to clean the bucket with sun dried grounds.

Jake was out in the backyard guarding the house against invading birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. I had not heard from him in a while so I went to see what he was up to. His guilty face was stained black. I immediately ran to the back of the yard but found the composter was still covered and untouched. He definitely had gotten into something, but what?

The compost bucket that had been sitting in the driveway had been knocked over. Inspecting the bucket, I found it had been licked almost clean of coffee grounds! Jake had eaten all the coffee grounds. Wow, was he ever ready to play!

Amazingly, Jake did not get sick but he did have to be bathed. I originally set the bucket out in the sun to avoid wasting water on the cleanupfs but then still had to use water on the cleanup of the dog instead. So, we live and learn.

There are so many small things that we can do to help to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We are still learning and would like to someday achieve zero waste. Now, if we could just capture the extra energy from our coffee ground eating dog ... we could probably power our house for a week!

Happy composting trails


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