humanure and garlic
Wednesday, October 7 2015
The day was warm and humid and (in my long-sleeved pajama top) I was overdressed as I returned from the north end of the Gullies Trail with a load of firewood that weighed 132.25 pounds (but felt heavier). Meanwhile Gretchen wasn't feeling 100% healthy, and as I ran around the house shirtless, she was wondering if maybe I could kindle her a fire in the woodstove. She eventually went down to the greenhouse, which was plenty warm in the intermittent sunlight.
I took advantage of the day to do some outdoor chores I'd been procrastinating. First I tilled the surface of the garlic patch, and then I dug a series of trenches in it and used this to dispose of the summer's entire production of kitchen compost. This was in various stages of decay, ranging from cardboard with legible writing on it to pungent brown ooze. As I dug, I found the remnants of the compost from when I did this last year. All of the organic matter (except some of the pine needles) had vanished as identifiable entities, though I found a stack of disposable plastic plates and some other plastic matter, and it had been entirely unchanged by its year spent in the ground.
Next I removed all of the composted humanure from the drum composter down near the brownhouse. In total, it came to about 80 pounds and was inoffensive enough to handle with ungloved hands. I put about 60 pounds of this stuff into various excavations in the garlic patch and then planted next year's garlic across the entire surface. It was a variety called Music Hardneck and came from the local seed library. I'd also found a single sprouting bulb overlooked during this year's harvest, and I broke it up into cloves and planted them on the south end of the patch. Unlike in past years, there is no room left in the patch for non-garlic crops.
The planting would have been a lot more pleasant had I not been attacked by mosquitoes the whole time I worked. It seems that the combination of recent rains and warmish weather had yielded one last batch of them. It's hard to swat those little suckers when your hands are covered with dirt.
Later, I removed the shit can from the brownhouse and swapped in an empty can. The removed can contained 96.5 pounds of material (nearly all of which was a combination of feces and toilet paper). It represents the vast bulk of my fecal output since April 21, though I've been on a few vacations in that time and do occasionally use the indoor toilets. Also, my childhood friend Nathan used it once, and I think Gretchen has used it a few times too. After I mix some pine needles into it to bulk it up, I'll be loading it into the drum composter to hopefully break down over the winter.
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