Ah, how excited I was to buy a house on a double lot! I envisioned growing lush, green grass along the west yard for the kids to play soccer, edging the entire yard with lilacs and flowering cherries and quinces, planting a border of lavender around the house, throwing in a couple of fruit trees, and planting my garden behind the house, with enough vegetables for lots of salads and lots of canning and drying in the fall. I love vegetables. I love fruits. I love herbs. I love flowers. What big plans I had!

I went out today to remedy my compost problem. I had started a compost pile just behind the house. I had really just started dumping kitchen scraps onto the lawn in a pile. Well, as it turns out, this is not a great idea, especially in a place where there are rodents and burrowing animals. How do I know we have rodents? The pair of shiny eyes I encountered one night in the driveway caused me to do a little googling, and I ended up with some lovely photos of opossums. We’ve got ’em. So, needless to say, I don’t need egg shells and apple cores being dragged across my lawn, possibly to find their way to an unsuspecting neighbors yard.

Also, I had started the pile in the dead of winter, knowing full well there would be no actual decomposing happening with the frozen detritus of my culinary exploits. The funny thing about that is that once it starts getting warm enough for the scraps to decompose, it is also getting warm enough for flies. And yes, the flies do come out, and they do lay their eggs, MAGGOTS, in your compost pile. (Hey Lisa, remember that one time when we cleaned out the trash can full of maggots? Good times!) As beneficial as it may be to have someone eating the compost, it is most certainly not beneficial to have swarms of flies hovering about you back door. Plus, if you don’t add some “brown” to the compost, the smell does tend to overpower. But where do you get brown in the dead of winter, with all the leaves and clippings long gone with the fall clean-up?

I broke down and purchased a black plastic compost bin from Costco. They deliver. The bin has no bottom, so as to more efficiently let in the worms who do most of the work. I de-boxed the bin, put it together, and stuck it right on top of my existing pile, without moving anything. Voila! Except then I read on some internet site that is now linked on my sidebar that you shouldn’t build your compost in full sun, because it may overheat. I don’t know precisely what overheating will do to the compost, but it sounded bad. So today, I went out, removed the bin to a safe location between our garage and the neighbors fence, and trucked our brand new wheel barrow over to the slightly smelly, but already decomposing pile. I shredded some newspapers for the brown (hoping in my heart that they were printed with soy ink), hauled the gunk, dumped it, added more newspapers, some shredded 100% post-consumer recycled cardboard egg cartons, and some mulch that I stole from the edging, and closed the lid.

I covered the old spot with some more mulch, and everything was dandy. Until I started looking around at our HUGE yard. Weeds everywhere. There are more wildflowers in our lawn than lawn. I’m not sure they’re any good kind of flowers, either. The trees severely need pruning, especially the magnolia that scapes against the house all over the place, and has way too many dead branches. We also have one crazy bush of roses that are, I think, tea roses. But they need to be pruned. And the ivy. And the huge weed bushes in the back. And the dandelions. And on, and on, and on.

How am I going to keep up with this? Especially with exactly zero experience in tending a yard. Why did I sign up for this? Oh yeah, maybe this had something to do with it.

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