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Archive for November, 2010

Nanowrimo 2010

 I’m a winner!  This was my third year participating in National Novel Writing Month.  Last year, I went into labor on November 30th with only 1400 words left to go, and I didn’t finish.  This year, no such excuse, although I did almost not sign on because I felt I was too busy being mommy to Milo.  But I couldn’t use that excuse either because I had a few friends who were also busy moms sign up.  So there I was, cranking away at my word count late into the night.  My “novel” is mostly word vomit, but it does feel good to come to the page daily, even if what I write is utter crap.  Hooray for word vomit!

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Composting Diapers

Being a good, conscientious liberal, I was torn between disposable and cloth diapers for Milo. Daddy is clearly a convenience guy when it comes to diapers and he convinced me to go with disposables when Milo was first born. There were all these changes in our life, nighttime feedings, hormonal changes, no sleep, etc., why make more work for ourselves? Go with the disposables. I agreed at the time, but every week, when I lugged a big bag of used diapers to the transfer station, I feel my liberal guilt weigh me down. All that shit goes to the landfill. All that shit from my one little baby. Wow.

So when Milo was six months old, a friend lent me some cloth diapers to give it a trial run. Prefolds and diaper covers, pocket diapers, al-in-ones. It turned out to be less scary than I had thought; even Daddy had to admit it wasn’t so bad. By this time, Milo was pooping only once a day (as opposed to the 4-5 times a day when he was a newborn), so changing a pee diaper that was cloth was very manageable.

But the problem was laundering. Daddy (who was an environmental economics major) felt the laundering used so much water that from an environmental standpoint, it was almost as bad as shoving disposables into the landfill. I was not as convinced of this as he was, but the laundering was quite time consuming. Using disposables, we did Milo’s laundry once every 5 days or so. With the cloth diapers, we were doing laundry every other day.

The diaper system I chose was a hybrid system, which means you can use both cloth and a biodegradable/flushable insert in the diapers. During the day, we use cloth, but at night, we use the flushable insert because they are much more absorbent. However, since we have a septic system, it’s not possible to actually flush the insert down our toilets. Bummer. It is, however, possible to compost the diapers. (The pee ones, at least. The poopy ones are much more complicated. We just toss those, but since we’re using the inserts only at night, they’re typically not poopy.)

layer of diapers on the compost pile

So a few weeks ago, we build a compost pile and threw in five months’ worth of pee diapers. I’d been keeping the pee diapers in a big paper bag on our porch. We mixed the diapers in with layers of mulched dead leaves, kitchen waste, and soil. We used the compost recipe from How to Grow More Vegetables, by John Jeavons, which calls for 45% mature organic material (like dead leaves), 45% immature organic material (like kitchen waste), and 10% soil.

I had been storing up my kitchen waste for several months and much of it already started decomposing by the time we opened it up to build our compost pile. It seemed like we ran out of kitchen waste quite quickly. But Daddy thought our diapers could be categorized as “immature organic material” because of the nitrogen in the urine, which is what you really want from “immature organic material.” So we went with that. No idea if it will work. According to the book, we should turn the compost pile once, about three weeks after we built it. After that, leaving it alone, we should have cured compost in about six months. In the springtime, we should build another pile. So we’ll see if the diapers actually do compost well and add all that nitrogen to our compost.

Milo had great fun the day we built the pile. A fall day out in the yard with Mommy and Daddy and his diapers. What could be more fun?

Composting is fun!

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