Audrey the Compost Bin

Audrey, bin ALets see, write or work in the garden? Life in the Ozarks is full of such difficult choices. It’s 10 am and I haven’t lifted a finger yet unless you call peeling a hard boiled egg, making toast and brewing coffee work. I don’t. Still in my pajamas on the patio, my feet up in the opposite chair, I nibble on the egg, quaff down the v-8 and savor rye toast before kicking back to enjoy my carafe of coffee. It’s easily an hour long task.

Another beautiful day in the Ozarks and frankly I’m not tired of telling you about it . The morning breeze is gentle as she brushes my bare arms, the trees rustle in her path and the shy is clear and bright blue, not a cloud to be seen. Every once in a while the heavy scent of honeysuckle sets my mind on fire. I do love honeysuckle. Gazing blankly at the shifting dappled sunlight near me I work toward formulating a plan for the day.

Having performed physical labor for about 10 hours yesterday, weeding, raking, digging, hauling, tearing down the old compost bin, and general cleanup stuff, I am hard pressed to repeat that kind of day. But … the lawn, I mean yard, hasn’t been mowed in over a week and it’s starting to look like a jungle again. The garden fence line is getting a bit weedy. The new bed for the asparagus STILL hasn’t been completed. And, ANd, AND … so much to do.

There’s writing calling to me. I haven’t written in over a week, gosh maybe almost two weeks and lots of ideas have formulated in my mind. It would be great to sit at the computer all day writing and exchanging e mails.

So I continue to sip the coffee from my thermos mug, recross my feet and enjoy the birdsong for a while longer.

The ticks are horrible this year partly because my two dogs have been allowed to roam more than they need to and I’m sure they’ve been hanging around with the neighbors cattle, and chasing deer. Dogs will pick up lots of ticks that way. I put those tick collars that work so well on them early in the season but their effectiveness wasn’t that great. I purchased Frontline and applied that. Apparently I forgot how much those two weighed and didn’t get a large enough dose. It’s effectiveness was less than optimal. So, this month I get the correct dose and the ticks have been hurling themselves off the dogs, dead hopefully.

They, Sissy and Rover, snooze at my feet contributing doggy advice on how the day should go. Rest and relaxation being their option of choice.

Once the coffee is gone I feel compelled to make some kind of decision even if it’s no decision at all and settle on some mowing. This means I’ll have to get sweaty and disgusting again today. Jeans, ripped old white t-shirt, stout leather shoes I can get out of quickly, gloves, and a soaking wet white hand towel over my shoulders and neck are the uniform of the day.

You may have noticed I don’t refer to my yard in terms of lawn, except by accident. It could in no manner be considered a lawn, not by anyone’s standards. It’s a collection of grassy spots, weeds, bare places where I burned a stray pile of brush, an old leaf pile that never got moved to the compost. The dogs made it a bed some time ago and have been sleeping there ever since. It’s almost compost all by itself now. Probably full of ticks.

Speaking of compost, it’s my ultimate goal today, contribute to the compost pile. I’ve finally decided.

Audrey, Bin A & BMy compost has a life of its’ own, as it should. Compost should contain gazillions of living organisms to add to the soil. Sometimes it seems though, that I live for my compost pile. It always wants to be fed, needs to be fed in fact. I mow and pile it on. I rake and pile it on. I weed eat, rake and pile it on. Once in a while I water it. If it’s lucky I bless it with a bucket of dilute pee. Over days I watch it breath in and out. Filled to the top with new grass clippings and dried leaves I imagine its’ lungs expanded and a few days later it heats up and collapses in upon it’s self. Empty lungs. Time to do it all over again.

If I’ve been lazy or, heaven forbid, spent too much time writing or cleaning the house it calls me … “Feed me, feed me!” it’s feeble shrunken size calls. So off I go to mow and rake.

I’ve procrastinated long this morning. It’s always tiresome to wonder if the mower will actually start. It’s aggravating to decide to mow and find out it’s out of gas or needs a new spark plug. Even worse realize last time it was used I hit a rock large enough to mess up the blade and don’t have a spare on hand. Ahhh the perils of homestead life and single hood!

I mow most of the downstairs yard as I call it and dump it on the Audrey Bin A. Gather up a huge pile of old leaves to top it off with, pick the peas and lettuce then check on some seedlings sitting in the shade.

At 2:20 in the afternoon while drinking a tall glass of green tea with honey, I realize I need to write!  The best of both worlds … work, write, work. Maybe it’ll rain all day pretty soon and I can lie around the house in my pajamas wishing for sunshine!

How about a recipe.

Stir Fried Snow Peas and Onions

Enough for 1 or 2 people

The amounts are loose, do what you will, it’s just a generality ok.

A hand full or 2 of fresh snow peas
1 onion, sliced wide, vidalia is nice
oil to fry, olive is healthy, peanut will take a lot more intense heat

Heat the oil in a skillet or wok. Throw in the onions and peas at the same time and cook JUST till almost limp but not quite. Add 1/4 to 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Add the prepared sauce makings (see below). Cook just till it thickens, no longer. You want the peas and onions to be crisp and flavorful. I might top it with a small handful of chopped peanuts. Serve over your favorite hot cooked rice.

Include a salad and a grilled bison patty for a hearty meal.

The Sauce

3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup +/- soy sauce
dash red pepper flakes*
2-3 cloves minced garlic
pinch of sugar
1 Tablespoon organic cornstarch

Stir all together in a measuring cup before starting the stir fry so it’s ready and waiting when it’s time to add.

* I make and sell “Lemon Drop Pepper Jam” and it works nicely any time you want some real heat in a dish that benefits nicely from a hint of sweet. Check out my Etsy store to get a jar.

Bonnie Appetite!


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