Friday, January 27, 2012

Screening 2010 Leaf Compost

Yard leaves are a terrific source of soil amending compost. Each fall I rake and collect yard leaves into a large pack pile. In our yard the leaves consist of black walnut, white ash, a variety of maples, red oak, and shrub leaves. Below are several photos and video clips of the finishing process for the 2010 leaves into a fine compost that will be added to this springs (2012) vegetable garden.  
Unscreened 2010 Leaf Compost

Screening 2010 leaf compost removes sticks, nut hulls, stones...etc. 

Screened, finished leaf compost

Removing materials that did not pass through the screen for further screening and/or recomposting.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Two Interesting Winter Reads

Just finished reading The American Chestnut: the Life, Death and Rebirth of A Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel. An interesting read that tells the historical story of the American Chestnut tree and the on going decades effort to restore this tree, that was long gone by my birthday. For a review, click on the link below.

The other evening while watching the PBS News Hour I heard Karl Pillemer, Ph.D., (researching gerontologist/Cornell University) give a  review of his new book 30 Lessons for Living - Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans. You can listen to the interview by clicking on the link below.
Both of these books are available in our local Pioneer Library System at:

...check them out. They are good winter reads!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Notables on the Home Front

Yesterday, I took a little time to review some of 2011's accomplishments.
Here are ten in no particular order -
  1. Walked 1,541 local miles ...average = 4.2 miles/day & collected $69.70 for roadside deposit cans...primarily beer cans. why are Gatorade, Vitamin drinks , Brisk Tea, and chocolate milk product bottles NOT returnable? Got to look into this one.
  2. We drove 1000 miles less this year than last year...let's see @ $.40/mile that is a savings to say nothing of the into town errands saved by walking instead.
  3. $8.36 - the amount of loose change found along side of the roads while walking ...I also found over a dozen, unopened cans of beer ...??? Yes, I know your next question.
  4. The Photo Voltaic system generated 8033 kilowatt hours of electricity or over 100% of our electric power needs for 2011 ... enough energy to light 803, 100 watt incandescent bulbs for an hour...right? Oh, incandescent bulbs will soon be history. 
  5. Turned and screened 6 cubic yards of finished compost that was used in our garden & flower beds ... that is roughly 6000 calories figuring 300 Calories/hour x 20 hours of turning, screening and loading/spreading.  
  6. Collected conservatively 10+ tons of field stone from roadsides, hedges, and the work areas at local cemeteries (NO! not head stones!! ...lets see now ...80 wheel barrow loads @ 250 lbs/load...) used to build a pond and free standing stone walls.
  7. By recycling & composting, we are averaging 0.4 lbs/person of solid landfill waste/day. (...the national average is 4 lbs/person of solid landfill waste/day.)
  8. Volunteered 383 hours over the past year ...or 7.4 hours/week.
  9. We have not purchased any vegetables, salad greens, jams or honey in 2011 ...thinking globally, but acting locally.
  10. I've read 25 books from the local library system. (...mostly non-fiction, many from the NYT bestseller list.)
...It is on to the New Year!
Think I will go for a three hour walk before the rains come today.