email: okaybyme at gmail dot com

View My Complete Profile

Compost Happens is a personal blog: part family, part garden, part crunchy green eco-writer. I'm Daisy, and I'm the groundskeeper here. I take care of family, garden, and coffee, when I'm not teaching and doing laundry.

Subscribe in a reader

  • The Garden Central
  • Your Garden Show Interactive Online Community
  • Hometown Seeds
  • Live to Garden
  • WormsEtc; composting, vermiculture, and more
  • Rion Greenhouses - modular kits
  • Rose Gardening A great source for pictures and information on roses!

    website metrics

    My Stats

  • Friday, June 30, 2006

    Just a few fotos

    On the left: One of the pretty flowers that La Petite picked out -- it's in one of the pots on the deck.

    Below, left: one of many that she planted along the south side of the house.

    La Petite is working for the summer in the garden dept. for a major chain store. She bought a few to bring home, and they have brightened the look of the deck area considerably! They need frequent watering (more than my garden), so I empty the last dregs of my coffee into them every day. Just kidding! Actually, I've been watering everything fairly well. Doesn't she have good taste?


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    bonding in unexpected ways

    We spent time and a wee bit of money (grimace) on a bench swing for the backyard in the hopes that one or both of the children would spend more time outdoors than indoors this summer. Husband put the swing together (with the assistance of the yard light and a flashlight to examine the last few bolts) three nights ago.

    La Petite brought Big Bunny, a.k.a. The Beast, to sit with us while El Grande and I were reading in the swing last night. Beast Bunny snuggled up to El Grande with front paws on his legs and big nose in the book. This wouldn't be a problem for most kids, but it meant that El Grande couldn't reach the Braille lines in that corner of the page, which made for all kinds of laughter. By now we had three people, a big Braille book, and a Big Bunny all gliding back and forth at once on the three-seater bench. Then we heard a loud Thump! from the rabbit hutch (rabbit equivalent of Morse Code), so La Petite gave in and brought Tiny out to join us. Tiny is not as mellow as the Beastie one, so we spent more time laughing and trying to hold onto the little bunny than we did relaxing. Eventually the Beast decided that exploring would be more fun than rubbing his twitchy nose in Braille dots, so he tried to jump down. We put both the bunnies away in their hutch for the evening, and El Grande and I kept on reading.
    As we were reading and swinging gently, El Grande decided we should read outside until bedtime. That's easy for him to say -- he doesn't need light! Ah, well, I'm sure I can track down my little book light before the sun starts setting earlier.
    The conclusion:
    Swing + book + bunnies = simple family fun in the backyard

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, June 29, 2006

    Headline: Teenager Prepares Supper (sort of)

    The following dialogue occurred at about 4:00 this afternoon. I've been under the weather all day because it's my turn to come down with a virus after nursing both kids through it.

    El Grande: Mom, what's for supper?
    Daisy: Gee, I don't really feel up to cooking.
    El Grande: Well, you don't have to cook.
    Daisy: Are you willing to make supper?
    El Grande: No, but we could call for a pizza.
    Daisy: I made a pizza in the oven last night. Is it okay to have pizza two nights in a row?
    El Grande: Sure! I'll call for delivery so you don't have to.

    Notice he didn't offer to reach into his wallet and pay for it, though. I guess the rest of the family wouldn't be satisfied with sharing my canned chicken noodle soup!


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, June 28, 2006

    urban herbs -- is that alliteration?

    Yes, even a city dweller can grow herbs, at least in a small way. Mine live on on a small table on my deck, ensconced in their own cappucino mugs. How's that for a place of honor? I am still learning how to add them to various recipes and use them effectively. My hands smell so good when I'm done cooking! This year I have thyme, oregano, and rosemary. There is parsley in the main garden behind the garage, but no sage, for you Scarborough Fair fans. The other two pots (including Kermit) are just there because they're tiny and they fit. No basil this year, darn, because I planted too late. There wasn't any left in plant or seed form. It's kind of like the beans -- but that's another story. Stay tuned!


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Braille Books and the Teenager

    3 weeks into summer “vacation”, and the kid is already bored with TV and surfing the Internet. Yippee!
    Yes, some moms would be at their wits end with that feeling, but not in our house. It’s so nice to walk into the room and ask, “Hey, kiddo, wanna read?” and hear him say yes. You see, reading is a little different for him than for most kids. Everything he reads has to be in Braille.
    El Grande has been blind since birth. He loves a good story like any kid. His reading material, though, takes a little more effort to find and then a lot more space to store. And in his teenage stubbornness, he refuses to read anything his mother or father recommend. When he read a review online of Among the Hidden, the first in the Shadow Children series, and asked me if we could order it in Braille, I said yes. I knew he’d love it – if he discovered it himself.
    We have our own routine for reading, too. He prefers to read together (mainly with me), a habit we got into with the Harry Potter series. He reads his Braille copy while I read silently along in my print copy. I can help him out if there’s an unfamiliar word, and we can enjoy the stories together. We have what the pop psychologists call Quality Time, a time for just the two of us. The only down side to this set-up is that he doesn’t read as much on his own. Well, I’ll have to work on that.
    Braille is harder to come by than print, too. Our local library has a decent-sized collection, but El Grande tends to read slowly when he reads for pleasure, and reading aloud to his mom goes more slowly yet. We almost always end up with overdue fines, and the fines double if the book (like many Braille novels) takes up two volumes. (Grumble, grumble, yes I’ve tried to complain, but no luck). New releases (like the beloved Harry Potter) are not available right away. We have to wait until the book is embossed (Braille printed) and then shipped.
    We buy books, too, and I never begrudge the cost. How could I? Books rule! The storage space though – in a house already short on closets, there’s no spare room for the large boxes of Braille books.
    Well, the big boxes will get stuck in corners until I find a better idea. Reading matters – in print or in Braille. Every kid, blind or sighted, deserves good books.

    In the papasan: print copy and Braille copy of current book, Among the Hidden. And yes, it's about two inches thick. In the corner behind the chair, under the boom box, is the Braille edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, book 5 out of 6 (so far). The other Harry Potter books are in the other boxes, cleverly hidden behind the bookshelf.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, June 25, 2006


    Yes, compost happens. You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again. Here’s just one example.
    I attempted to make a bag of popcorn last night, but backed off suddenly and yelped at the sight of the microwave’s interior. The husband replied, “I told you I hadn’t cleaned that up yet.” It seems that the chicken we’d nuked because the rain was dousing the grill (which is another story entirely) had exploded in major way, spewing chicken juices and BBQ sauce all over the microwave. The next step, of course, was to wipe things out, so I wiped down the oven walls and top while putting the glass tray from the bottom of it into the sink. The tray would take a while to soak, so I put the popcorn in the microwave and hit the magic “Popcorn” button.
    It didn’t sound right and it didn’t smell right, either. Only about half of the kernels popped and half of those were burned. (Do the math. I dare you.) I ran the bag out to the compost bin and threw the ruined popcorn in before the aroma could spread through the house.
    Meanwhile, the adult male in the family decided that he would be chief cook and try again. The aroma and erratic pips and crackles soon made it evident that he’d failed, too. His ruined bag ended up on the deck, waiting until morning to hit the compost bin with mine.
    We decided that the glass tray on the bottom of the microwave must be important. Before you say, “Duh!,” I’ll just remind you that we’re educated people and fairly competent with most technologies. We’re both college graduates and work in highly skilled fields. But the magic of the glass tray just snuck past us, like one of those illusionists and the Metamorphosis trick. How did we miss it? No, don’t answer that.
    The third time was a charm, not a strike out, thank goodness. It was time to celebrate our small success and have a drink to go along with it. We got out the blender for margaritas. Mmmm…popcorn -- at last.

    "Hey, where's mine?"


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, June 24, 2006

    Family Portrait

    Back row: the Groundskeeper's Husband; Daisy (Head Groundskeeper)

    Front row: El Grande, La Petite

    Photo taken by La Petite (wow, how'd she do that without opposable thumbs?)


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, June 22, 2006

    Nursing mothers never forget

    We gathered, a batch of us, to reminisce about work. Well, and about houses, and summer, and families, and memories. Don't women always do that? Five of us, with kids ranging in age from 3 year-olds to "kids" in college, and one almost-married young'un, chatted about everything under the sun in between serious work-related stuff. (If anything called stuff can be considered serious, that is!)

    Many of our funniest stories were from feeding our babies when they were itty bitty babies and we were (gulp) breastfeeding them. A few of us were able to nurse in public without a qualm. We somehow mastered the art of tucking baby under our shirts without exposing too much and therefore not attracting attention. Unwritten (and unspoken) in this statement is an element of confidence that modesty is not an issue when feeding a baby. but when you think about it, is there any modesty left after giving birth? I mean, really, after the delivery room, is privacy even a distant relative any more? But I digress...
    We revived our memories of pumping, too. Who can forget the times people walked into what passed as a "private" room when we had various sizes and types of pumps attached to our lovely anatomy? And what do you say when that happens? Let's see... how about:
    "Aw, busted again."
    "Holy cow!"
    "Don't mind me, I just got separated from the herd."
    " I thought maintenance was coming in tomorrow?"

    So in the meantime, our young single one was enjoying the tales or pretending she was. I hope we didn't scare her off from breastfeeding, if that's what she wants to do. Maybe we can stand guard for her in a few years if she decides to pump on the job. "Holy cow, buster, don't even THINK of going in there, and that's no bull!"


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006

    sticker shock

    Just. Filled. Minivan. With. Gas. Must have coffee...must sit down...


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    bunnies, bunnies, bunnies the sequel

    So what does a mom do when she's trapped at home because the young teenager is home early from camp, lounging on the couch watching game shows because he's sick? Well, Mom blogs, of course!

    We last left our small furry heroes after Bunny #2 had died and Tiny Bunny #3 (a female baby) had joined the Beast (neutered male, very mellow) in our bunny-friendly home. Tiny grew (but not much) and eventually started bugging the Beast a lot and often and neverending by jumping on his back end. We called the vet, who informed us that (prepare for expert advice now) female rabbits don't go into heat like, for example, cats do -- rabbits will keep trying until they get pregnant or get exhausted. (No comparisons to people, please! This is a Mommy blog!) S o... we gave in and brought Tiny in to be spayed. We dropped her off and went out to run a few errands, and a few hours later we got a voice mail message -- when they put Tiny under the anesthetic and started to prep her for surgery, the professionals discovered that She was really a He. Yikes! We weren't at home, so they took a chance and went through with the surgery. After we finished our hysterics and got up off the floor, we called the vet back and reassured him that we would have said yes, please do!
    Yes, indeed, it's strike two. The Beast was thought to be a Beastess, and now Tiny, too. Vet was embarrassed, and so were we, so next time (if there is one) we'll buy a bigger animal so we can tell for sure.

    About this time our local newspaper ran a series of stories on exotic pets. The vet called us and wanted to know if we'd be interviewed for the series. We said bunnies? They're not exotic. They're cute, they're fun, and they're entertaining, but exotic? No, try the boa constrictor next door for exotic.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, June 19, 2006

    Prepare for Pandemic-- or party?

    In 1999, the buzzword was, “Prepare for Y2K! Buy a generator! Stock up on non-perishables and water!”
    After 9/11/01, the government told us to buy duct tape and plastic to enclose our homes in the event of a nuclear disaster, biological warfare, or dirty bomb.
    Now it’s bird flu. This thing hasn’t even mutated to a form that can pass between humans, and only one flu-positive bird has been found in our hemisphere. But the Powers That Be are making public their predictions for a world-wide pandemic (yes, I know, that phrase comes from the department of redundancy department) and its impact on all of us.
    So…break out the generators, folks! Test them to make sure they work! Are your computers up to date and virus-free? Are all of your important files backed up? No need for duct tape and plastic this time, but stock up at least 2 weeks worth of non-perishable food and drinking water in case of quarantine.
    Y2K didn’t bother me – much. It helps to be married to a techie; he made sure our home computers were suitably prepared and backed up. We did set aside enough potable water (that’s drinkable, for you non-scientists) to last a few days in case the municipal people running the utilities were not as ready as we were. None was needed, so I used it for cooking.
    For the next crisis, we had to consider several points. In the Midwest, we’re at least one to two hundred miles from major cities that might be a target of any terrorist attack. We are, however, less than 100 miles from the nearest nuclear power plant. A melt-down or attack would spew radioactive material into the air that we breathe and the water that we drink. Chaos! Confusion! Consternation! Buy the duct tape and prepare window coverings!
    The truth is, our home is so old and leaky (and lovely and historic) that plastic and duct tape would have to enclose the entire thing in a bubble worthy of the one in the movie ET. By the time we could have our home suitably “protected”, we’d already be showered by whatever fallout was blowin’ in the wind. We calmed down and spent our money elsewhere.
    What next? Put in a supply of water and food in case of a bird flu pandemic? I'll think about it. but until then, I'm not going to panic. After all, wine and cheese did more for my family's self-preservation than duct tape and plastic.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    bunnies, bunnies, bunnies

    One pet is enough for most families. We have three. They're not traditional pets, either, because I am allergic to dogs and cats. We have three pet rabbits. The three make for all kinds of short and longer stories in our household. This morning, House Bunny was running laps around GKH as he stood in the living room in his pajamas. Logic? Who knows what a small furry creature thinks while he's running in circles!

    Our first bunny was purchased from a petting zoo when La Petite was 10. She has always loved bunnies, and this one tugged on her heartstrings, even though it looked like a miniature of the infamous Beast Like No Other. Make that Beastess -- we bought and brought home a girl bunny. A few months later, GKH decided that El Grande needed his own pet, so we adopted a small white female rabbit that had been featured on the local News as "Pet of the Week". As soon as this little star entered the household, it became evident that Beastess was really a Beast, and we needed to fix one bunny or the other or prepare for lots of baby bunnies. Yikes! We fixed Beast, and the two became fast furry friends. They snuggled together in their outdoor hutch and in the Rabbit Run we built out of wood scraps and screens. The wild bunnies used to come up and visit them in the outdoor Run -- shades of Watership Down. They honestly looked like they were communicating through the screen walls.
    White bunny #2 took sick and died a few summers later while El Grande was away at camp. We feared this would traumatize him and he'd never leave home again for fear of someone or something dying. We saved the burial for his return, and now #2 is buried in the backyard under a tangled mass of ferns and purple phlox.
    Beast was so lonely we picked up another companion. It was very small, but the vet thought we'd have no trouble with the pair since the new one appeared to be female. The Beast proved once again that he was really a pussycat, and welcomed the tiny one to his humble hutch.

    Hold that thought -- The power is threatening to go out (storms, heat, humidity), so I'd better go offline. The next chapter of Bunny History at the Groundskeepers' home will turn up later.

    time for coffee
    -- Daisy

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, June 16, 2006

    Have coffee, will travel

    I like road trips -- most road trips. That's a good thing, because the phone rang just after 7:00 this morning with the news that El Grande, age 14, was sick to his stomach at camp and needed to come home. The nurse told me that she had already sent home 6 (6!) the day before with the same symptoms. He would be number 7 -- if no one else got sick in the meantime. So I left a note on the table for Sleeping Beauty (La Petite won't rise until she has to) and hit the road.
    The first adventure was getting breakfast. The drive-through worker must have been new; he gave me no napkins. I am a sloppy eater, and eating while driving can be a recipe for disaster, or mass laundry at the least. I am mama, I can cope, so I spread my lap with tissues and continued on.
    5 minutes into the drive, I realized that the highway was much busier than I'd ever seen it. Oh, yeah -- not only am I driving with the commuters, this is the alternate route for the nearby highway which is under construction and down to one lane in each direction. Duh!
    10 minutes in, I saw a scene that looked like it was from a television cop show -- two cop cars, 3 officers in the act of arresting someone. No car for the suspect, though. Well... 2 minutes more down the road and there it was, just like on TV: a car stuck on the steep hill along the highway, no driver, and a third police car sitting on the shoulder of the road with its red and blue lights flashing. The "crook" must have been driving too fast, lost control, and then (in the category of stupid crooks) tried to run for it. And once again, the good guys won. The neighborhood is safe from at least one alleged criminal.
    With the exception of more road construction ('tis the season), the three hour drive was pleasant. I finished my breakfast without a spill, found my Carole King Greatest Hits CD to keep me singing all the way, and reached the sick child mid-morning. He's home now, full of 7-up and a little of the pink tummy medicine, and hopefully all will be well and he'll go back to camp on Monday.
    Maybe I'll bring my own napkins for that trip.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    It's not easy being green

    Yes, compost happens. That's what I like about it -- it'll happen whether I take action or not. You see, I'm a lazy gardener. I love my garden, and I really enjoy harvesting the fruits of my labors in the fall, but I limit the amount of effort I put into it. My friends with their incredible flower gardens are amazing, and I envy them the aesthetics of their lovely yards. but truth be told, mine will never look that good. Alongside the vegetables are "helicopters" from the neighbor's silver maple, some ground ivy sneaking in between weedings, and the clover (that I can never quite get rid of) doing its job in the nitrogen cycle. I prepare the soil (with my own compost), plant, weed, water, weed, water, and then harvest. It works for me!

    And for the compost part, it helps satisfy the Earth Mother part of me. I throw in kitchen waste, garden waste, grass clippings, even dry leaves in the fall, stir it once in a while with my mini-pitchfork, and it all decomposes steadily. It's fun (yes, I enjoy it!) to watch the whole process happening. Coffee grounds and the filters disappear within days. Banana peels? The same. The dirty paper towels after I clean up a spill? Not much longer. This is especially satisfying when I notice how much less kitchen garbage we produce in the compost "season", or our midwestern spring, summer, and early fall. Supposedly the big black container will absorb enough heat to keep the process going all winter long, but it hasn't worked for me. So... I feel a little guilt in late fall when I start throwing the coffee filters in the trash again, but I reassure myself that it's not easy being green, and I'm at least part way there.

    And if you were looking for a different meaning to the phrase "compost happens", like the s*** happens bumper stickers of yesteryear, there's plenty of that in my life, too. I just prefer not to swear about it. I like to think my language capabilities are more creative than that.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Search & Win

    About 1 in 5 child deaths is due to injury. CDC Vital Signs


Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

    Copyright, 2003-2008 by OkayByMe. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval without written permission from Daisy, the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. In other words, stealing is bad, and if you take what doesn't belong to you, it's YOUR karma and my lawyers you might deal with.