Magic Compost Pile

I have come to think of this little dirt pile as my “Magic Compost Pile”. It started life out about four years ago as what was purported to be, horse manure. The only thing it had in common with actual manure, was it had particles of straw no larger than one-quarter inch.

Over the years nothing grew in it, or on it. I was starting to wonder if I made a mistake bringing it home and planting two snowball bushes at its foot. This summer changed all that.

I collect vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and anything else compostable in the crock pot insert shown in the picture. It’s maybe a gallon in size. It was taking forever to fill it, before I went on the Whole 30 diet. Since then and changing a little to the paleo Diet, it is filled about once a week to week-in-a-half.

I have another ‘heavy duty’ compost pile that is slowly working its way through collected bags of leaves. Leaves are not unless they get a lot of help, quick compost material here in the southwest. I have lots of time, and am not in a hurry. I let it do its thing, though I add something every once in a while.

I did not want to go through the work of trying to dug through leaves and twigs to deposit my vegetable scraps, so I decided I could do worse than trying to turn the dead horse manure into something useful. That turned out to be an awesome idea. Every gallon of vegetable scraps, tea bags, etc, added over the summer was gone in a few weeks. All that I find are an occasional tea bag tag.

Some of the seeds from different fruits started to sprout, so I dug little gallon size holes around them. In late August, a yam plant poked itself through the compost pile. Some other seeds sprouted as well. Yet the majority of what went into this little pile was gone so quick, I thought an army of rodents were showing up at night and having a feast.

I started carefully smoothing the top layer, and would go out each day and look for digging, or tracks. There were none. The only thing unusual about the process I think is odd are the kitchen scraps. In the summer, by the time they make into the pile, they smell like vinegar, and have a green fungus going to town in the material. It also sort of plops into the hole as a fused piece.

I doubt this amazing compost speed will carry over the winter. As you can see the pile is only a few feet tall at best. It is against a west fence wall, so it does get light most of the day. With the summer temperature in the mid nineties, it probably heats up much more than it would on its own.

As I was adding another gallon of kitchen scraps today, I thought I talk about this mighty little compost pile while I think of spring just around the corner. I got the idea of using a crock pot insert from my post on pot composting. I haven’t used the pots last summer as everything I added to the pile was eaten so quickly, it almost seems like magic. If you look at the categories, I have links to other compost posts under gardening.

Etcher, the Cross Platform ISO Flash Drive Installer You Need

Etcher is the best image flasher you have never heard of? Huh? what’s an image flasher? In plain language, Etcher lets you create a bootable copy of a downloaded ISO to a flash drive in a way that won’t let you destroy your hard-drive in the process.

Etcher lets you painlessly burn iso images to flash (usb) drives.

Etcher is cross platform. I use it in Linux, and here is how I do it:

1. Have a downloaded .iso file. I downloaded Lubuntu to give it a test run as a live ISO. I thought Lubuntu has made great strides in this current release for those interested.

2. Insert a flash drive. This is the most dangerous part of the process! Etcher will overwrite everything on the flash drive, so only use a flash drive where the data on it can be deleted without pain. If your flash drive has information you want, copy it off to your hard drive before using the flash drive with Etcher.

2. Run Etcher. I open my file manager, and open the Etcher folder I created previously.

3. Double click on the Etcher Icon.

4. Etcher starts, asks for an iso and brings up a folder directory. Search and select the .ISO file you want to copy on your flash drive.

6. Enter your correct password.

7. Etcher searches for a flash drive. At this step Etcher gives you the option of picking a different flash drive than the flash drive Etcher found.

8. Click on the label, “Flash” on the right side of the screen.

Etcher does the rest, conveniently copying the selected .iso file to the flash drive making a bootable flash drive in the process. Once completed, Etcher asks if you want to create another.

8. Close Etcher. All done! The flash drive created by Etcher is bootable, and can be used as you want.

One interesting option Etcher offers is to purchase Etcher Pro. Etcher Pro will flash several flash drives at a time. Etcher Pro is for high volume users.

Etcher is cross platform. Etcher is free as in free beer. Etcher is as safe as can be in protecting your hard drive by only flashing a flash drive.

I really like Etcher as it replaces any number of DVD burns. Especially now that CD’s and DVDs are quickly fading into the background.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia article, if you want more detail.

Here is the link to the Etcher website