the aesthetics of composting
I compost. Not because I garden and not because I want to use the fertile soil I will be creating to make my Eden bloom.
I compost so that I can return to the soil that which came from it. And having no meat in the house makes composting a breeze.
(Warning: if you are an avid composter, do not read on. What follows may be disturbing.)
This is how I compost: I gather the remnants of foodstuffs in a plastic container on my kitchen counter. Pre-cooked food; post-cooked food. Peels, scrapes, leftovers that are otherwise inedible. I then, when the container is sufficiently filled or otherwise looking, uh, ripe for the heap, I take it outdoors and dump it on my compost pile. (I told you this would look coarse and disturbing to trained and committed composters.) Sometimes I cover it with the leaf debris that is lying around; sometimes I don't.
This was working rather well, I thought. But my son and husband thought differently. They were unhappy, shall we say, viewing the compost bowl heap up right in front of their eyes.
Okay. To shield their delicate spirits and sense of cleanliness (dirt is more a cultural definition than a natural one), I tried closed, non-transparent containers. Tin ones with lids seemed promising but rusted. Casseroles seemed too ornate for my needs; and a mis-use of kitchen artifcacts. Other containers didn't have lids.
Then, I had an idea. I was going to Annapolis to participate in the annual Environmental Action Day, where we learn about that year's major legislative agendas, as set by the alliance of Maryland environmental organizations, and meet with our legislators. The good thing about going to Annapolis, besides doing this good work, is that right across from the entrance to the Governor's mansion is the best little pottery shop.
What if I found a great pot with a snug fitting lid that was not too heavy or too expensive or too big that could hold 2-3 days worth of compost, all the while sitting beautifully and stealthily on the counter, hiding the detritus within?
Well, pottery is, as you may imagine, expensive. So none of the wares on display worked for me. But I approached one of the workers, who is part of the coop and thus also a potter, and asked if perchance there were any seconds, rejects, in the back that I could buy for this less-than-presentable purpose. Indeed, she said, there were. So into the back we went. I found a 10 inch high, five inch diameter cylindrical post, resembling a utensil holder that would sit comfortably on any kitchen counter. For the life of me, I could not find the flaw. Except, it didn't have a lid.
No problem. My friendly potter disappeared in the far back from whence pottery rummaging noises came. She emerged, beaming. She had found a lid (they had a whole box back there of orphaned lids, that is, lids whose bases had broken) which she thought might just fit perfectly onto the top of this beautiful but cheap pot. We both held our breath as she gently slide the lid across the mouth of this pot. Voila! A magical, if a bit over-hung, lid nestled smoothly onto the pot.
So I got a cheap but lovely compost container which duplicitously sits beside my flour cannister with a slightly over-sized lip on its lid and a swirl of a handle to ease access to the earthly dankness going on inside.
No one fusses anymore about my composting. And I get double pleasure in its storage and on the trek to return it to its rightly home.