Each morning this week I've come out to find the compost bin open and unidentified compost missing. The raccoons, with their nimble fingers, can slide back the admittedly easy catch on the lid and then flip it off. (In fact, writing this at 9:45pm, I think I hear someone knocking around out there right now. Fucker.) Of course, the sliding catch is intended more as a defense against a strong breeze or random chance, as opposed to a determined omnivore who smells the delicious aroma of coffee grounds atop macaroni and cheese.
But that's not what I'm here to talk about; let's just leave the raccoons to their mischief, shall we? They're welcome to their little bit of rotting vegetation, if that's what it takes to keep them from breaking into the car and stealing the current book on CD. The little scamps. No, I'm here to talk about the joy of composting. Did I say joy? I meant joys.
The main thing is that between recycling (plastic, paper, glass, metal), the cloth diapers, the cloth dinner napkins, and the composted food scraps, we have to SEARCH THE HOUSE to find things to throw in the regular garbage. Actually, that's not true: food packaging, paper towels/tissues, and cat shit will do nicely, thanks. But that's really about it. And as primary garbage-taker-outer, I have to say that it's an improvement over the old forklift and manual labor process. The sanitation guys seem to be happier, too -- they've stopped pelting our car with leftovers, anyway.
Second, though, all that rich foody goodness, plus some leaves and grass clippings, decays into the most incredibly rich, dark, trufflacious stuff, bursting with nutriments for the plants. This year I planted a single tomato plant in a patch of soil dug in with last summer's compost. Okay, yeah, every tomato had blossom-end rot (we ate some anyway), but we got four crossbred pumpkin-zucchini that grew out of the compost. And that's fuckin' spooky.