I take our kitchen bucket of scraps out to the compost bin every few days. The bucket is made for kitchen scraps. It seals tightly enough, and it has a carbon filter on it keep the odor down. We don’t usually notice the bucket, except when it isn’t there, meaning I forget to bring it in after emptying it into our outside compost bin. I do need to empty it, or fruit flies set it. The scraps consist of lime rinds and the stale ends of toasted bagels and onion peels and pasta that fell on the deck during dinner and other rot. It is pretty much stuff we don’t want to or really can’t eat. Not everyone feels so timid about digging into the ort, however.
Every time I head outside to the compost bin to empty the bucket, there are bits scattered about the ground. I scoop them up and add them to the top of the pile, but they come back again. Some critter gets in there and roots around and eats stuff and makes a general mess. It is stealing our future dirt. It is a compost bandit. Recently what finds its way out of the wire mesh of the bin is corn husks. We have been trying to eat corn on the cob lately as often as we can. Fresh corn season only lasts a few weeks, after all. I did add a few cobs to the pile the first couple of times we ate local corn, but they take forever to break down, so I often get creative after dinner–read, toss them into the woods. If the squirrels are going to nibble the cobs anyway, why invite them to dig through the scrap pile?
The thing is, although I have to clean up after them, the squirrels (they are most often the culprits, although turkeys have been knows to find the pile as well) do me a service, despite their slovenly ways. Whenever they search for bits to eat, they dig, and digging means they move stuff around, and this means they add air to the pile. They help aerate things so it all breaks down faster. I do stir the pile whenever I add to it, but they make sure it happens more frequently than I might get to that task.
In the end, the animals can have their bits. I will not feed them on purpose; I will always do my best to hide things from them. But if the critters find something upon which they enjoy dining, they can have it, as long as they have to stir things up and help me out in the meantime. I don’t mind tidying up their spills. I can accomodate some quality labor, even if it does make me forget to bring the bucket back inside on occasion.