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ellen rosner

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since Aug 14, 2011
central NJ - zone 6
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Recent posts by ellen rosner

thank you very much!
I will check out the article you link to. I have been talking about this to people and learning a lot about bees and flying insects. Fascinating.
2 weeks ago
First off, I did not take close notice of the bee. I will look closer next time I see it, and see if I can identify which kind of bee it is.
I was cleaning up some debris (sticks, a log, grass clippings, and the like) that had accumulated in a pile in my garden. (I was going to make a hugelculture, and changed my mind.) I threw it in a pail. And then I heard a loud noise from the pail! Startled me. When I realized it was a bee, I quickly dug out the stuff in the pail, and the bee flew free. Whew. I continued to clean up. Then I noticed that the bee was continuing to fly around that area.

First I thought I had disturbed a hive. I could not find a hive, and I had distributed all the grass and other compostables all throughout the garden.
Then I thought, maybe a solitary bee, had made a nest. I know some bees nest in rotting logs.
I returned the rotting logs to the area.

So, a week or ten days later, the bee is still buzzing in that area. Course I don't know if it is the same bee, but I assume it is, bec. there are no flowers there.
Is the bee hanging around, looking for its lost home?
I feel bad about that, but surely he/she could make a new home....

Any thoughts?
2 weeks ago
The compost Pedallers

"In Austin, locals can have the best of both words. Using the clean energy of pedal power, the Compost Pedallers will bike to your door, pick up your weekly collection, and haul it off to a nearby farm to do the dirty work for you. Keeping it local and out of the landfill, while producing an abundance of compost, is a winning recipe and business model that’s as green as it gets and growing fast."

1 month ago
I've learned of someone in my town who does that -pedalling compost guy. Love it.
He's out of town, in Nicaragua, will talk to him when he comes back.
I think definitely control is needed.
Otherwise, all kinds of junk can end up in it.

Rebecca Norman wrote:When my sister lived in a condo in Boston that didn't allow composting, she saved her compost for a pedalling compost guy who would come by with a cart on specified days and pick it up.

This kind of system would require much more involvement from you, but also allows you to strictly control what materials you receive. If anyone puts out yucky mixed crap that was on the "Do not include" list, they can be cut from future collections.

It is sad but true that while some people would be conscientious and deliver only truly compostable things, others would think it's just a convenient place to drop off mixed garbage.

1 month ago
that is also one of my concerns -- one cannot rely on people being conscientious about what they put in the bin. Either out of ignorance, inattention, or prankiness  - if it is open, anything might end up in it.

mine is a small town, and there would not be trucks involved. Not too many people would bring their leaves to compost -- because in my town, one just puts bags of leaves on the street and they are picked up. I've been told that the city sells these leaves to another town.

wow-- too bad about the wood chips-- My town at least always has a pile of wood chips.

yes, I have been thinking along the lines of membership. It would need a gate, with a combination that only members had, like my community garden.
One needs to have some control.

thanks for your input.

Marco Banks wrote:The largest concern with anything like this is how will you assure that it will be maintained?  Having the best intentions are not a sufficient guarantee that it will be kept-up and carefully looked after.

1.  People will start use it as a dump for all things organic like their food waste and leaves . . . and then larger stuff like tree limbs and scrap lumber and that giant tree stump that they dug out for two days with a massive excavator.

2.  And then one morning you'll show up and there is an old mattress, a dead washer and drier, and 800 lbs. of waste concrete, brick and shingles from a tear-down.  So . . . someone will need to police the yard, fence it, inspect loads coming in . . . strict limits on what can or cannot be dropped off.

3.  It will smell.  It will.  Maintaining a large public compost facility is very different from a home pile where you just throw in a handful of browns and turn the pile quickly to absorb odors.  You'll want your site downwind from any NIMBY's, and any trucks that are delivering compostables to your site will need access from a non-residential street.

4.  Anything of a decent commercial size (like more than 2 acres) will attract pests.  Sea gulls, rats, raccoons . . . those sorts of friends.  Try keeping sea gulls out once they've found that there is an easy source of food.

5.  Cities are worried about liability.  If there is the remotest chance that someone might be hurt, they run for legal council and wrap everyone up in bubble wrap.  Any plan you present to the city needs to have that base covered.  Have your own legal counsel speak to issues of assumption of risk and release of liability. 

I wish you well.  I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer, but I worked for years to try to get my city to just make the wood chips available from the city tree trimmer.  How complicated would that be?  Just dump them somewhere and let citizens come by of their own free will and pick them up.  10 years later, they are still considering it.  Wood chips.  Nothing stinky, nothing needing to be turned, nothing that would attract vermin . . . and they are still so risk averse. 

Perhaps an alternative would be to start a compost club, with membership, insiders vs. outsiders . . . only the cool kids get to come in.  Membership requires that you show up every two weeks to put in an hour of turning, but membership has its rewards (2 yards of compost every couple of months).  If you can only get into the club by membership or application, it would keep the slackers out and you'd be able to maintain quality and keep the expectations up regarding what gets composted.

1 month ago
thanks, I will look at austin pedallers.

Coincidentally yesterday I was talking to someone about my idea, and he said that there is someone in my town, a bicyclist, who is interested in starting a compost "route". I will talk to him.

wayne fajkus is something you might look into. Their website is down, not sure if that means it is no more. Hopefully just a temporary glitch.

From a permie point of view, its great. People set out their box of compostables. Guys on special rigged bicycles come and pick it up. Its something that would have to be established neighborhood by neighborhood becsuse of the bicycles range.  The great part is the regionality means no 2 acre heaps.

I think its a membership. I think they swap out with you, bringing you a share of the compost.

It recieved national exposure when it was on an episode of "growing a greener world".

City wide is huge and a red tape nightmare, something like this that can be scaled neighborhood by neighborhood seems encouraging.

1 month ago
Thank you very much for your thoughts, and the links...

you have given me a place to start my research...

thanks again,
1 month ago
It doesn't seem like it is that complicated.
People bring their leaves and appropriate kitchen waste to a location.

Objections people will raise:
animals. (I've been composting this way for 17 years, and only once found a mice nest in my compost.)
how to keep out in appropriate contributions?
How to maintain the right balance.

I would love to hear if anyone has done this in their town, or knows of a town that has, or has any links.

I am starting by next Wednesday going to a meeting of the local Sustainable group.
I know people have brought this up before, and it has been talked down, so I want to arm myself with as much data and rebuttal to objections as I can.

thanks very much!
1 month ago
I saw a picture, indeed the leaf mold is crumbly and black like good soil-- so I clearly do not have that. What I have is leaves, lol. old leaves-- kinda crumbly. I think what I  may have done wrong is not pay attention to the amount of moisture. Well, I will keep trying.
2 months ago
I've been saving leaves in a wire bin for 2-3 years. I want to determine if they are ready to use for surface mulch, and to turn into the soil of my new beds.
I read that you can save leaves for 2 years -- more or less-- and they will become leaf mold.
What criteria should I look for to tell if these are ready?
(They were saved as whole leaves, not mown leaves.)

2 months ago