I finally got around to building a compost bin. This is perhaps the ultimate level of recycling — the waste material I provide will, over time, become soil. This soil will then produce food for my own direct consumption.
The construction was easy. Three discarded pallets (discussed here), some leftover screws from the great kitchen remodel, a cordless drill, and a little sweat and time. It took maybe an hour total, including fetching the pallets and hauling them home. This is by no means a permanent construction... more like a "hold it together until the first frost knocks the bugs out" job. I'm aiming to reinforce everything with L brackets once cooler weather arrives.
So here it is, stuffed into a flat spot behind the corn. It's a bit of a tight squeeze there, but it will be better next year since the corn will be growing elsewhere and I can work around the compost bin. The front of it is open, so are the top and bottom. I may or may not put a fourth pallet on the front to make a door later. There's not enough room to do it now and there's not enough compostable material (nor will there be before the corn is dead) to make it worth pursuing yet.
After building this I dumped in some shredded bills, a few fists full of stray grass clippings from along the edge of the garden, and the contents of a kitchen compost bin we got specifically for this purpose. It's been sitting around collecting vegetable waste for the last week, mostly used coffee grounds along with some more exotic things like avocado peels, and it filled up this morning and actually prompted the completion of this project.
I don't know when there will be enough stuff in the bin for it to matter, nor do I know when it will be fully composted. Compost is basically decomposed vegetable matter, so the secret ingredient is time: waiting for it to rot. Well, that and the raw materials, which I'm sure we'll keep producing. After the rain last week the grass has come back to life, so I suspect there will be a good solid load of grass clippings piled on top in the near future too.