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Holes Dug and Breads Baked

There is a large pit to the south of the farmhouse. There are some torn cement bags and cartons in there. Clearly, it has been used for refuse before. I throw our kitchen waste in this pit. Funny the Dog visits this lavish buffet twice daily.

I dug a hole. It took me four hours to dig. It’s about 3 feet deep. It was supposed to be 3 feet long too but digging is tiring. The mud straddled a cliff, was compacted hard and was well on its way to becoming more cliff. An inverted spade with sharpened edges, some cute gardening granny’s tools, and lots of stabbing so therapeutic helped loosen the mud.

Tool in the Hole.
As I dug and shoveled, I saw earthworms in the soil; I took this as a good sign for a good spot for a new compost pit. Will this make good compost?

In the city, I tried to make compost with some earthen pots from The Daily Dump. A kind lady home-delivered the pots, along with some bags of weird soil-like substance, some bags of microbes, a minirake, and instructions on how to use all of them in conjunction with divination to generate compost, not from a hole in the ground, but from three earthen pots stacked vertically to simulate holes in the ground.

I chucked the apartment's kitchen waste into the pot along with the packaged dirt and microbes and water. Kept an eye on it. “Watered” it when required. I did all this until the day I found a lizard in there. I didn’t freak out. I calmly closed the lid to the earthen pot and never opened it again. Kika’s lizard, meet Schrödinger’s cat.

I do not have these compost pots with me anymore. Instead, I have a self-dug hole in the ground, its bottom lined with twigs and crushed dried leaves. Too much damp in the pit and it’s a putrefying puddle not compost. Too much dryness in the pit and it’s preserved chunks of kitchen waste not compost. Optimum moistness is key.

The kitchen waste went in next. It’s mostly vegetable peels and eggshells because Funny the Dog, who is not a picky eater, helps with leftovers . I've seen him eat everything from channa to biryani-flavoured noodles. Usually, in one big gulp.

Funny the Dog
He tried the one big gulp thing with the whole wheat bread I baked last week. It didn’t go down well. But then again, it wasn’t very good bread. I hadn’t kneaded the dough enough. So it didn’t rise enough. This meant more time cooking in the oven. The result being a dense bread with a thick nearly-burnt crust. Like a savoury, whole-wheat brownie (which isn’t the worst thing in the world).

I had to try again. I followed this recipe from The Kitchn that I last used when E was wee and content to sit on the countertop to watch me knead. I kneaded it longer. I shaped them into dinner rolls instead of loaves. It came out well.

I haven’t baked with E since I moved out. We made a silly microwave cake once at my old rental but the experience was underwhelming for both of us and neither breathed a word of it again. She was too young to measure and enjoy the experience and I accepted, completely, to myself, that I was a control freak.

I imagine she will no longer want to only sit on the countertop. She’d have many questions and many observations. I imagine she’d want to try kneading. I imagine I’d give her her own bit of dough to experiment with in kneading and baking. I imagine her shock and awe at the finished product.

I imagine she won’t call me the world’s best “cooker” in the world anymore. I hear she’s learnt the word, 'chef.' I also hear she’s conferred the title to my mother.

I wonder if she’ll think I’m the world’s best composter.

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