Why I Didn't Harvest More Compost Today

My compost bins sit half-emptied, exactly as I left them yesterday. The bin on the right is the one I emptied first, and then I put the top layers of uncomposted material into that bin. Then I moved on to the center bin and started to shovel out and sift the compost in that bin.

As I was doing that, out of nowhere comes... a yellow jacket. Since I was stung earlier this fall by yellow jackets, I was a little concerned. But not enough concerned to stop what I was doing, because I was so happy about all the compost.

I swatted the yellow jacket away a couple of times, and then got into a wild jousting match with it, which resulted it in getting caught up under the cuff of my glove and, you guessed it, stinging me.

Stung again! This time, I didn't stop what I was doing, I just went about my business, since it was close to the time I needed to stop, anyway.

Later in the evening, I noticed that my hand was 'slightly swollen' and a little bit itchy where I had been stung. I got to thinking about the cumulative effect of being stung. I've heard that the more you are stung, the more likely it is that you will have a strong adverse reaction to being stung.

Then this morning I was thinking about how several people had commented on my previous post about running into yellow jacket nests while trimming or mowing, so I know yellow jackets can and do nest near the ground.

And I thought about it some more and wondered if perhaps there is a yellow jacket nest in or near the compost bins?

So I went out to the compost bins this afternoon and stood there for awhile to see if there were yellow jackets coming and going in that general area. I didn't see any, but still decided to be cautious and wait until colder weather to harvest more compost. In the meantime, I mowed the lawn, which wasn't on my To Do list, but I added it so I can get credit for doing it and have the satisification of crossing it off my list as 'done'. And I know I'm not the only one who has done that!

One other good thing came out of working in the compost bins yesterday, besides all that good compost.

I solved a mystery! I found the gloves I lost last summer, that I swore the garden fairies took when my back was turned. They were in the bottom of the compost bin.
They were weeding gloves that have the rubberized fingers. All the cotton parts composted, the rest was 'well on its way' to composting. Hey, idea! Maybe someone should promote that their garden gloves are compostable when worn out? That's right! Instead of throwing away your garden gloves, throw them in the compost bin! I know it would work with all-cotton gloves.


Here's a final look at my To Do list for this weekend.

1. Straighten up the garage enough so I can start to bring in garden ornaments, pots and summer flowering bulbs that would not make it outdoors in an Indiana winter.
2. Harvest some compost from the compost bins, prep them to be filled again. (On hold until colder weather sets in or the source of the yellow jackets found.)
3. Weed and clean up the vegetable garden, pick tomatoes and peppers. (I did weed two raised beds but decided to wait until after it rains tomorrow to do any more harvesting.)
4. Water trees (which I can do with a sprinkler, so it won't take much time.)
5. Go buy a new tree. Plant the tree. (I've decided to call the best tree nursery in town and see if I can buy a Carolina Silverbell over the phone and have it delivered. Second choice may be a Katsura tree, recommend by Caroline Gail. I'll see what they have.)
6. Check for moles>. (Still didn't trap any! On Sunday I moved the trap.)
7. Take pictures for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day. (My post will be up later this evening.)
8. Read a chapter or more in the current selection for the Garden Bloggers' Book Club, Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden by Eleanor Perényi. (I'll do this tonight before I go to bed.
9. Start to put some stuff away in the garage.)
10. Empty the worst of the container plantings that are more eye sores than anything else. (I didn't empty any, but I did water them all.)
11. Inventory all bulbs purchased for fall planting and determine where to plant them. I won't plant them for awhile yet, and no, it is not helpful for anyone to point out that planning should have been done before buying. (I did buy 50 more tulip bulbs and 25 iris bulbs because they were marking them down 40% as I went past a display of them earlier today while grocery shopping).
12. Dig out the forsythia that came back after I cut it down to the ground.
13. Mow the lawn. (Added so I could get credit for it!)


  1. Now thats composting. Using all the tings you can. Though involuntary. Looks like you got a lot of things done. Unlike me, mower drive belt loose and I can't mow.

    Curtis from Growing Thumbs

  2. Sorry to hear about the yellow jacket sting. They are mean little buggers. I meant to tell you: the weekend after your original post about getting stung, my husband was digging in the one compost pile that I haven't turned yet this year, and a yellow jacket came out, stung his hand, and then landed on his neck to sting again. Luckily, he swatted it away before it did, but his hand was swollen for a couple of days. Not only that, but yellow jackets started swarming out of the pile, and started buzzing around angrily. Needless to say, we all went inside!

    The funny thing is, later in the day I said "this just happened to Carol. She wrote about it on her blog." The funny thing is, even though he doesn't read garden blogs, my husband knew that "Carol" was my blogging buddy from Indiana :-)

  3. You're amazing, Carol! Wanna come and tend my garden for me? Nothing got done here again today, at least outside, but I did write another article, plus my post for today and for tomorrow, and finish my gardening presentation for tomorrow night. Oh, and bought some new bulbs, too.
    I'm sorry about the yellowjacket sting. if you lived nearby I'd give you some Naturally Nancy's Protective cream to put on it.

  4. My, my Carol, you're busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest ! You make me tired just reading about what's on your list !

    Must be the refreshing Fall air. Watch out for those nasty yellow jackets .

  5. I'll admit it...I've also been known to add things to my to-do list that I already did just so I could cross them off also. I really don't know what that says about a person...!

  6. I've added things to my list, too! Things I've already done - crossed them off to make it look better.

    Your list is huge, Carol. Do you ever sit still?

    Be careful around those jellow jackets! They're nasty right now. After the frost, you'll be OK.

  7. Curtis... too bad about your mower. I hope it is fixed soon.

    Colleen... My hand is no longer swollen, but I'm not going out to the compost bin anytime soon! It is funny how we all seem to have similiar experiences.

    Jodi... Hey, you got a lot done, too! Maybe not outside, but indoor work counts, too.

    Carolyn Gail... Thanks, too funny. I am watching out for those yellow jackets. I am tired of being stung.

    Leslie... it must mean we are great, hardworking gardeners.

    Mary... I sit still plenty of times, like all evening this evening. I tend not to do as much in the garden Monday-Friday. There's that working to earn a living thing that gets in the way!

    Thanks all for the nice comments!
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  8. The stings are definitely cumulative! I worked at a fruit and vegetable stand when I was in college, and saw the progression. By the 8th time of being stung I was pretty severely allergic. I would not really recommend getting into a jousting match with them though!! :)

    I recommend just walking away next time... they'll go away. And maybe doing the composting with a rake instead of your hands if you're worried there might be a nest!


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