Chapter 1: Compost Rescue
So I’m at Bull City Burger and Brewery (really, really delicious burgers, ps), and i’m sitting outside, enjoying the warm sunshine and a delicious wheat beer, when a nice looking young man wearing an apron walks by. He has a clear plastic bag, and it’s filled with lemon rinds. All lemon rinds. And so i’m thinking, oh, cool, BCBB must have a compost pile, and they save the lemon rinds!
WRONG. He took all those lemon rinds to the DUMPSTER! I was horrified. Twenty pounds of rich, organic, compost-spectacular material, going to a LANDFILL? I stopped him on his way back.
Me: Hey –
Me: Uh, did you just throw all those lemon rinds into the dumpster?
Humphrey: Yes. They’re all the leftovers after they make the fresh-squeezed lemonade every day.
Me: You don’t have a compost pile?
Me: <stares incredulously. what kind of a new hip restaurant in Durham doesn’t have a compost pile???> (to be fair, i dont think any new hip restaurants in Durham have compost piles, but it never occurred to me that they might be throwing all of that amazing vegetable matter away)
Humphrey: Do you want it for your compost pile? I can go get it. It’s just sitting on the top of the dumpster. <all non judgmental-like, as though its tots normal for people to ask him to go dumpster diving for inedible food>
Me: <eyes widen in shock, both at his offer and at his totally non-judgmental demeanor> Why, yes, Yes, I would.
Humphrey: <trots off to get the bag from the dumpster, double bags it in another plastic bag for me, then brings it back to me.
Me: Wow, AMAZING, THANK YOU SO MUCH. <hopping up and down in excitement. Jeremy stares at me like i’m a little crazy. I go to pick up the bag. It’s too heavy. i despair. I can’t carry that back to my car – i don’t have any muscles! Jeremy offers to carry it back for me. SWEET. I knew he’d come in handy one day.>
Humphrey: They fill up at least three bags a day. You can come back and get more anytime you want.
I HEREBY NOMINATE HUMPHREY OF BULL CITY BURGER AND BREWERY FOR EMPLOYEE AND CONSCIENTIOUS DURHAM CITIZEN OF THE YEAR. Thankyouverymuch.
P.S. Someone should really be collecting all of that compost from the restaurants and using it to fortify our gardens instead of adding to the trash problem.
Chapter 2: Caught red-handed
Remember how in this post, I accused my neighbor of murdering my weeds with some inorganic home depot-environmental-killing trickery? Well, ladies and gents, I have caught her in the act. This photo was taken from my living room window. I noticed her out of the corner of my eye while I was gazing lovingly upon my new set of jiffy pots filled with dirt.
I can’t believe it. I mean, I know I sounded pretty confident in my previous post that she was the one responsible for the scorched earth, and I WAS, but it’s a very strange feeling to actually see your neighbor intruding upon your yard to pre-emptively murder your weeds. With a bucket and a spray nozzle, no less. I feel very agitated right now. And sweaty.
IN OTHER NEWS
My tomato seedlings have almost all popped up. They’re beautiful. See here:
the trick is to keep them moist and warm, and talk to them every day as though they’re real people. Both the emotional connection and the carbon dioxide are good for the plants (no joke. This is science — Bradly in my 4th grade homeroom got third place in the School-Wide Science Fair with this little experiment.)
I found a package of tempeh buried in the back of my freezer, so I unthawed it and asked Evan to bring home some red cabbage.
HOW TO MAKE TEMPEH SLOPPY JOES with red cabbage coleslaw: (ingreds: tempeh, onions, oil, brown sugar, tomato paste, salt, pepper, vinegar)
Tempeh is really very easy to make. Just crumble it (which i did by putting the package in a bowl and smushing it with a wooden spoon), then oil your pan, heat your pan, and add the tempeh. Stir it around — it smells soooo good; it has a nutty, meaty aroma, even though its just soy. Add in some chopped onions or peppers, or both. While you’re browning the tempeh, make your sauce by combining a can of tomato paste, add some heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, grind your salt into the mixture until your hand gets tired, and add a few dollops of red wine vinegar. Vigorously mix into a paste, and then dump into your pan with the tempeh. Mix it all around — it gets pretty block-ish, so add a glass of water, and then leave it to simmer. Meanwhile, chop up a quarter of a head of red cabbage, add a couple tablespoons of mayonnaise, some more red wine vinegar, grind salt in until your hands gets tired, then call your husband for help so he can grind some more salt in, then grind in some pepper, and stir vigorously.
VOILA. YOU’RE DONE. Easiest meal of the week. And its SO DELICIOUS … you can’t eat just one. In fact I went back to the store and bought another package of tempeh in the hopes of eating it again this week.
Chapter 5: What to do with leftover cabbage?
Answer: Make more coleslaw (this time only vinegar, no mayo), and add to breakfast tacos. Delicious.
Chapter 6: Some Handy Gardening Tips
1. Your soil should be 1/4 air, 1/4 water, and only 5-10% organic matter. This sounds crazy, but apparently you shouldn’t make a garden out of compost, or even 25% compost. 5-10%. This from my homies over at the manic gardener.
2. If starting tomato seedlings inside, you should keep your grow lamp only a couple of inches above their little tomato seedling heads. The farther they have to reach to get the light, the leggier they get – and the less likely they are to produce fruit. remember, stocky, wide tomato seedlings is the goal.
Chapter 7: My little radish babies are growing so fast, and they have such different personalities!