Monday, February 2, 2015

The composter has landed


Here is the composter, at last. Jora JK125. Swedish composting brilliance. I had seen a composter like this on a client's terrace and was seduced by the beautiful compost it made: crumbly, dark, good-smelling. It took eight months to make up my mind, and here we are.

It arrived late at night in a great big box last week, after the snowstorm.

Mostly, assembly went well, if slowly, despite a severely furrowed brow and several expletives, mostly in the ...wtf...? vein: The instructions are not friendly. At the very end I had to take a piece of it apart again and turn the A frame legs around. I was not thrilled. That was around 7pm, having started unpacking the box at about 2pm. Somewhere inbetween, two sourdough loaves were baked and a supper of sorts was throw into (or perhaps at) the oven.

The last hour was a little tense, as Vince really wanted to help and I really wanted to finish it on my own. Which, at last, I did. With the help of the vermouth and cassis he delivered quietly, stepping like a mouse.


Phew.

Yesterday it was taken to a temporary spot on the terrace (till more snow melts) and given its first meal of chopped vegetable peelings. And a hot water bottle to help. The Swedes told me to do it! Once the first compartment is full (or almost) it will take about three weeks for compost. They say. I'll expect it to take longer because of the cold, but once the bacteria get going apparently things really cook. It is well insulated.


My steepest leaning curve? Operating two wrenches, at the same time, in opposite directions.


Greatest revelation? The right screwdriver  makes ALL the impossible possible. Left? Wrong. Right? Right! 

If Vince had not come home when he did and found the yellow for me I might have been booked into the funny farm by now.


                                         Night-night, vegetables. Sleep tight. 


Tell those bacteria to bite.

23 comments:

  1. Fine looking piece of equipment. Very stylish for the Harlem terrace.

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    1. It's sort of like a rotating bomb.

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  2. Ha ha - you funny!
    I am in the market for a composter myself this spring so I will be following your experiences closely.
    And on a different matter: your book! I purchased it when it first came out and have cooked from it a good deal - the road-kill chicken is - well killer - but never sat down to read it. Idid yesterday, the January and February sections. I love your writing so much and reading it got me off my backside and out in the cold.

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    1. Thank you Ingefaer - that makes me very happy! (So does the roadkill chicken; we barbecued a couple in Cape Town, and it works so well, especially with a simple cover, I learned).

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  3. A suggestion. Buy a ratcheting socket set for next time. Hold one nut with your adjustable wrench; turn the other with the socket wrench. Life will be better . :-)

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    1. Life WOULD have been better. Thank you for the suggestion. It was a very sobering learning experience.

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  4. I teach composting classes and--may I suggest-- that you need some "brown" or dry stuff in there with the "green" veg. Otherwise all you will be making is stinky slime. torn up newspaper (soy inks are okay) or shredded mail works very nicely as the dry brown as I don't think you have a bale of hay handy.

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    1. Thank you very much, Joanne. Yes, a little reading informed me (and one look at my mom's mega compost piles, too) about the brown. I have ordered some wood pellets, somewhat to my chagrin, as I don't have enough brown on the terrace to add.

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    2. I agree with Frank--the wood pellets will strip the nitrogen. Dry leaves are excellent. Once the snow melts you can collect as much as you need. I urge people with small homes to wrap their compostables in open pages of the newspaper, wrap and tuck the bundles into the composter.

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    3. Thank you, both. I'm going with what the manufacturers recommend - the wood pellets, vs leaves or straw; I have no access to dry leaves right now, anyway. I'll be using the wood pellets in small amounts (10 parts green to 1 wood pellets). The idea is precisely to remove excess nitrogen generated by all the greens (I know you know that). If I have it I will use paper or compostable cardboard, maybe making the wood pellets unnecessary.

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  5. There you go, see you carrying bags of brown leaves from the park, now! Good job, and you should know veterans of tools curse the slippings of adjustable wrenches. They make locking ones, so much better. Too boot, I have the same brass, matryoshka driver. Used it recently to install tricky airport wifi card on my geriatric mac.

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    1. Now that's an idea. There's a whole park of leaves :-) Yeah, I confess, we have terrible tools. Nice drill, though :/

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    2. Its important to have a fine drill. Do know that wood decay may consume all your nitrogen. Go forth and find leaves!

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  6. I remember a few years ago learning the mysteries of double wrenching and ratching sockets and cursing (although I already knew that one), a great lesson learned. I was extremely proud of myself as I figured it all out on my own. I also now have a pretty amazing toolbox.

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  7. "Have you met Marie? She wraps her pork in mink and gives her compost a hot water bottle...No, really, she's very nice..."

    Have to say your swish steel-y look is much smarter looking than my black-and-green plastic, but the principle's the same.And mine works. The instructions claimed it could be assembled in 20 minutes. My resident very handy man took an hour and he's no slouch!

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  8. How often do you refill the hot water bottle?

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    1. So far every 12 hours. Feeling a bit silly about it. They suggest it is only necessary with a first, winter batch for a day or two.

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  9. Ofcourse beeing a thingy from Sweden you have to build it yeself... I tried to put together a new lamp last evening (Im a Swede, lamp may have been Swedish), my flat got pitchdark... If you ever visit Sweden remember to bring yer tools incase you have to visit the loo... this do it yourself itch may spread all over.
    Gods Peace
    Ann-sofie Kassberg

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    1. That's funny, Ann-sofie. Naturally, being Swedish, it is also very well made and good looking :-)

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  10. You should not believe all you hear.... our looks (mine atleast) is highly overrated, have my theories on why that is - Swedish women are thought to have no no in them, but we do, oh we do!
    :)
    Gods Peace
    Ann-sofie Kassberg

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  11. Marie, gooi die geelkoper skroewedraaier weg. Moer toe. Gaan koop vir you 'n ordentlike stel.

    Vissie

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    1. Nee, Vissie, ek weet. Hoe gaan dit, daar onder?

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    2. Dinge gaan goed dankie, selle daar?

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