Today it was time to turn the compost heap. For years I've been piling up lawn clippings, pruned leaves and twigs, kitchen scraps and chook manure to produce, well, a pile of stuff that ends up sitting in a corner of the yard for 6 months until I decide to put a garden bed in said spot. This time around, however, I think I've finally got a handle on making a hot compost heap. The secret? Sufficient water on each layer with further added each turn.
My face lit up this morning like that of a wicked witch cackling over her slowly bubbling cauldron while I tore down the compost heap. The steam rose and wafted in my face, the decaying detritus emanating heat as if below it lay a portal to the underworld. Then slowly I reassembled the pile layer up on layer, moving the outer dry covering into the base and centre. With a spade I gathered the straw and leaves strewn by the searching claws of the chickens, adding it to the growing mound. To each layer of dry debris I poured over a bucket of water to ensure ongoing decomposition hot enough to scald even the most insulated insects.
Finally, I raked together a lower ring as a buffer to the onslaught of beaks and claws so that in a few days, there might be sufficient mound remaining for the process to be repeated.
Soon to be destroyed and reborn
Deconstructed heap providing brief forage
The final mound - if you look hard enough it has eyes and gaping maw spewing forth its contents