Not the most glamorous title, I know, but I'll take it! And see the little Compost Princess peering into the wheelbarrow?
For the most part, I followed Martha's Composting 101 guide on her website.
I started by putting a layer of twigs/branches down to provide aeration underneath the pile. The lilac bushes didn't survive their relocation, so I yanked those up and cut off the branches for the bottom layers of the first two bins.
Next, I added a layer of manure. Ideally, a compost pile should have more browns than greens (manure is considered a green) for a better rate of composition but I'm working with what I have. No matter what, this stuff will decompose. Eventually.
I've found that the Little Guy and Little Miss are eager to help Mommy in the garden. I can only hope that this attitude holds over the next ten years. Maybe they'll love gardening so much that they'll insist that their dear, sweet mother go inside to rest and have a glass of lemonade while they take care of all the garden chores. That can happen, right?
After the manure, I added a layer of mostly dead grass clippings. It's my understanding that fresh grass clippings are considered green, and dead grass clippings are considered brown. Can anyone confirm this?
I hope they are brown, because until this fall, all I have for browns are dead grass clippings and shredded newspaper for the piles.
Here's a side view of the bin so you can see how the layered lasagna effect looks:
I'm even adding kitchen waste (veggie/fruit cores, peels, etc. No meat or dairy scraps!) to the pile. For my birthday, I'll probably ask for one of those super-cool small buckets to store scraps for a few days until I can get them outside to the bin.
In the meantime, this system is working out just fine. I never knew I could get this excited over a mixture of horse poop, grass clippings and kitchen waste. All hail the Queen of Compost!