In 2010 a family of four sold their charming little condo in the increasingly fashionable neighborhood of University Heights. With the money they bought a stripped out house in East San Diego previously owned by human smugglers. Their goal was a radical change in lifestyle that would allow DIY Makerism, self reliance, alternative technology, permaculture, and urban homesteading into their lives in ways their HOA would have never allowed. The ideas that lead them to take this plunge came from the steampunk movement as it was during a brief shining period when art and philosophy seemed at least as important as brass, and great essays, speeches, and letters were written. These days they don't worry so much about what people call "steampunk." They call what they're doing the Greyshade Estate.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Composting Begins on the Estate
I imagined that we wouldn’t start composting until after we moved but a good scavenging opportunity presented itself so I started a pile yesterday. Craigslist had a listing for free bales of straw at Pumpkin Station locations as part of their tear down operation the day after Halloween so I hitched up the trailer just before taking the kids trick or treating so I would be ready to pick them up in the morning. I had imagined nice dry bales that I could neatly stack and have ready for layered mulching. I forgot to take into account how much it rained during October. The bales were pretty soaked and about twice the weight I expected. I’d guess they were about 80 to 100 pounds each. I heaved them on the trailer none the less.
A couple of them were already decomposing on the bottom so I realized that storing them was not a happening thing. So I filled the rest of the space on the trailer with the broken and rotting pumpkins I found in their dumpster and headed for the Estate. Between the two bales, the pumpkins, and some green waste I got from trimming one of our bushing out tree stumps I had a good mix of nitrogen and carbon in large enough quantity to hopefully get some nice hot decomposition going. The white thing on the top of the stack is the shower base from the demolished bathroom that I’m using to help keep moisture in the pile.