Baby steps…

One of my friends once told me that I would be happier if I started with doing just one percent of something I wanted to do, instead of feeling like I have to do it one hundred percent right off the bat.  That way, I actually start chipping away at my goals instead of allowing them to loom over me until I feel I have time to “do it right.”  I have thought about that for a long time, chewing on it, and taking baby steps into various projects.  This blog for one.  I wanted to get it all set up and beautiful, replete with gorgeous photos and the perfect theme to set off my thoughts just right.  But I wanted to begin more than I wanted make it perfect.  Barely.  Maybe someday my blog will be beautiful, but for today, at least I am creating and sharing something.  Yesterday, I started something else that I have wanted to do for a long time.  I started a compost pile!

Every time I throw away food scraps–banana and orange peels, egg shells, carrot peelings and the like–I feel sad.  I think that those scraps have the potential to morph into rich, life-giving soil for new vegetables, and I feel sick thinking of that rich natural resource remaining trapped in a landfill where it does no good.

I have waited years to compost because I knew I didn’t want it to smell awful, and it seemed complicated to balance the ratio of “brown” and “green” components in the pile to ensure proper decomposition and preclude stench.  Hey, I can’t even keep straight what stuff is considered brown and what is considered green, let alone mix it right!  However, when my lovely family came to visit me last weekend and see my–relatively–new home, my “tiny bird mother,” who has had a compost pile for years, explained something that made composting seem suddenly simple.  She said that the green components are like a fire and the brown components are like the fuel, and both must be balanced for the compost to break down well.  I extrapolated that without the fuel, the “fire” “smolders” and that’s when the stench happens.

To return to where I began, feeling encouraged by the epiphany that I felt at mom’s simplified explanation of the process, I started my compost pile on Thursday.  I chopped up fruit and veggie peels to hopefully speed decomposition and carried them carefully to my selected spot, covered them with the leaves which have sat on the ground waiting for me to get up the guts to finally start composting, and smiled in satisfaction as I walked back to the house.

Friday afternoon, Big Sister helped me carry the scraps to the pile and raced about the yard gathering leaves to spread over them.  Before eagerly enlisting as my helper, she came into the kitchen and saw me chopping.  When she asked what I was doing, I told her about food scraps and leaves turning into new dirt to grow new food.  Seeming to catch the wonder I felt about the process, she said, “It’s like magic!”  Indeed it is.  True, divine magic.

This post on organic farming also inspired me to take my first baby step into composting.