Fun in the mud.

The weather is broken.

Once upon a time, a couple of weeks ago, I had lush green tomato plants with blooms and even fruit already, lounging around in my greenhouse taking up half the south bench.

The sun came out and I thought, “Almost June. Get ’em planted before they lose their self-respect.”  Done.

Then the broken weather kicked in again with rain and 45 degrees at night, and now those tomato plants look like they would give their right leaf to be back in the greenhouse.

cold tomato

“Wish you were here,” they write back to the basil. “Having a lot of fun like if she planted us at the North Pole.”

Alchimella rain

Some plants are special in the rain.

Lady’s Mantle is called Alchemilla because the alchemists thought the glittery dew and rain that clings to its edges looked like an ingredient for mixing up a batch of gold. (Doesn’t work in my Kitchen Aid.)


The cabbage looks thrilled. But cabbage grows in the cold, in winters, in perhaps Siberia.  What’s a little rain to cabbage?


Some people can be chic in rain.

wet dog

Some people can’t.

Max and I decided to go out today anyway, into the dark cold day.

I moved some plants.

Mr. O thinks I move too many plants. He thinks one day I move them one direction and the next day I dig them up and take them back the other way.  The same plants. Which tells you how much attention he pays.

Now this spring I did move and replant a new rhododendron three times. But that is rare. (I am working on a “cut and paste” attachment for my shovel, just to speed things up in this regard.)

I also dealt today with all three compost things. I figured I was all muddy anyway so why not wade into the compost.

compost pile

Our oldest compost thing is an open pile, and today I turned it.  It is my favorite compost thing because I can turn it with wild abandon and also it isn’t plastic.

But I can’t put food scraps out there or it becomes a buffet for skunks, raccoons, possums and the dog. So this spring we got this tumbler composter from Costco.

tumbler composter

The tumbler is great except it doesn’t have a handle– you have to get your fingers into those little indentations and then you have to sort push-push-push and somehow the contents is very wet and weighs maybe eight hundred pounds so sometimes I just give up and the tumbler doesn’t tumble. (Surprise it is my least favorite of our compost things.)

The last compost thing was subsidized by our County waste disposal people so it was pretty cheap at the farm store this spring.


This new composter just sits there, open on the bottom, top comes off and there is a sliding up door to dispense the finished material. But I don’t know how to make compost without stirring things up. So I pick up this open-bottomed unit, which leaves all the contents on the ground, and then I move the bin and pitch-fork the stuff back in to reverse its arrangement inside.

compost bucket

And it came with a groovy little lidded bucket to keep under the kitchen sink for tossing the food bits into and there’s a handle for cheerful carrying out to the bin.

In my experience it is hard to stop organic material from composting, so all these arrangements work okay. (I still like the open pile best.)

Oregon mud

Keeping my chic.

Looks like more rain coming here in western Oregon, most of next week.

Tillie says….



About linniew

Unpublished novelist seeks therapy in gardening. Westie assists.
This entry was posted in composting, Max the Westie and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Fun in the mud.

  1. Greggo says:

    I liked the comment about giving up one right leaf. Enjoyed your post today. Humor is good and warming to the soul.

  2. linniew says:

    Yeah I personify everything: my computer (name’s Hot Flash) my car, bugs, shoes… It’s an interactive life. I love that you came by Greggo!

  3. ronniejt28 says:

    Your post made me smile, thankyou. Love the idea of how the tomatoes are thinking!

  4. Dear Linnie,

    I love your blog. Your writing style is one I envy – cleverly funny – and I can’t understand why your novel would be rejected. Your greenhouse is impressive. Your dog is cute. And I look forward to seeing more of your garden. P. x

    • linniew says:

      Pam! Thanks for the kind words. (I may quote you to Mr O the next time he warns me to stop scaring readers with my posts.) I like your blog too and I’ll be checking in again soon.

      Max sends his best regards to all his British relatives.

  5. Linda says:

    I bought that same flipping Costco compost bin… my husband has to spin it for me, ugh!
    He also had to assemble it ,ugh! But then he did complain I was feeding the rats with the open one…

  6. Grace says:

    I like Tillie!! Love the boots!!

  7. Your display of composters was cute…I have one of those….and, you’re right, it all composts eventually. Love the boots at the end…

  8. linniew says:

    Thank you— Yes those are my trusty winter boots, getting worn out but I can’t find any new ones I like as well. They have a few more miles in them I think!

  9. Oh Linnie you made me laugh. Thank you for that and for this muddy boot dreams post which weaves its way round to the compost heaps. I have the black dalek too but the door constantly flops off and now bumblebees have taken a liking to it, so the door has to be propped half open. Loved the image of wet dog and also the alchemist’s molly.

    • linniew says:

      Yes those plastic composters totally look like alien spaceships or aliens and it just shows you that bumblebees are brave. And I knew that pathetic sliding door thing won’t last. Now I will be watching closely for its demise.
      Lovely to have you here Laura!

  10. Sheila Read says:

    You have a wonderful writing style. I’m glad I found your blog. I’m a new blogger, too.

    I’m wishing I had three compost things about now, after what I recently learned (and blogged) about commercial compost!

    • linniew says:

      Welcome Sheila!
      Yes soon I will have more ground devoted to compost than to gardens.
      Everybody: go to Sheila’s blog and read about commercial compost, it’s just as worrisome as we have always feared!

  11. Lee May says:

    Love reading about your ups and downs, your ins and outs, with composters. I’ve tried them all, it seems, and always go back to leaves and twigs on the ground.

    As for moving plants, I share your habit. Mine ought to be on wheels.

    • linniew says:

      I think that plants just look so different after you sink them into the ground. So often an idea of a better location comes to mind just as I get the plant watered into place. Sometimes it’s “a little to the right” and sometimes it’s “on the other side of the house.” Either way, the wheels idea is good…

  12. bahaha! I love the last pic, priceless granny! Your T’s still look wonderful, sending happy warm thoughts their way. Also, fingers crossed for nice weather in OR next week, I am heading to Seaside with the fam and would love some of that bright shinny stuff! Also, love LOVE your blog, it always makes me giggle. Cheers Julia

    • linniew says:

      Great comments Julia!
      I will be at the Oregon coast on Sunday– yes let’s have some oceany sun for the weary gardeners. –Must go now and finish knitting sweaters for tomato plants. Have fun on your vacation!

  13. Aimee says:

    I am literally cracking up here in my work cubicle – thanks for bringing a huge grin to my face! Your blog is fantastic, and I agree with all the others who have complimented your writing voice/style – add me to the fan club.

    I’m picturing your “compost bin support group” doing progressive compost turns – like progressive dinners, but instead you just make the rounds to everyone’s gardens and belly up to those enormous bins and push away. Max can supervise.

    Good luck with those tomatoes – hope the sun comes back out to warm and dry things up!

  14. linniew says:

    I like it Aimee: Progressive Composting. And no one has to cook! Maybe we could just graze in each vegetable garden a little, and drink. You will be first on my guest list.
    Thanks so much for your kind comments!

  15. garden337 says:

    I think Tillie has a good handle on the situation. 🙂


  16. Cathy says:

    OK, You’ve made absolutely laugh out loud. I snickered until I saw the old dame who said… well, you know what she said. Then I simply guffawed…. one of those great big belly laughs that makes everyone come running. Love it!

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