Monday, September 20, 2010


Locally famous for being green, Cranky Elementary School showcases shiny awards it has received for recycling. And composting. And installing a rainwater harvesting system in the backyard. Cranky Elementary has been recognized, repeatedly, for its environmental mojo. Last Tuesday, you could have seen Cranky Elementary sixth graders on a local television station demonstrating their classroom worm composting and the playground's vegetable gardens. Name a product produced in China, and Cranky kindergarteners are recycling it. Styrofoam? Check. Capri Sun pouches? They get paid for it. Sneakers? Well, doesn't everybody? Batteries, computer parts, used plastic gift cards. It's kind of a competitive green vibe they've got going on.

So it was completely not weird that Meta Cranky spent multiple e-mails and phone calls today discussing some serious Cranky Elementary business: the 2010 Halloween pumpkin composting situation. Halloween 2009's  composting was fabulous, if a little frightening. MC herself had never seen that many dead pumpkins in one place. But there they were, piled in front of Cranky Elementary. Approximately the mass of a VW. Meta Cranky was sustained by the confidence and enthusiasm of Our Al Gore, the resident composting guru, who could compost anything that had ever formed carbohydrates from CO2 and water. Our Al enthusiastically guided MC and Herr Cranky to whack up hundreds of pounds of pumpkins with axes and machetes. Then, he provided instruction as the Crankies helped layer Dead Pumpkins with bags of leaves, like a massive jello salad. Sprinkle with a little rainwater from your rainwater collection system, and presto! One ginormous mass of carbon and nitrogen. Our Al was an animal when it came to decomposition.

Meta Cranky will never be as talented, compost-wise, as Our Al, whose child has happily moved on to middle school. So Cranky Elementary is leaving Dead Pumpkin 2010 to the professionals. No, seriously. The professional compost company that services Cranky Elementary's lunches will send a special truck for its post- Halloween offerings. This landfill diversion is all as it should be, and Meta Cranky can't believe that any thinking person would let a pumpkin get oozy and smelly in his/her garbage can. Please. But she understands the folks in Cranky Home Town might be scratching their heads over Dead Pumpkin 2010 as part of somebody's business plan. That's because it's much simpler in Cranky Hometown. You start with a pumpkin, like the one pictured above. From Cranky Girls' Farm, 2008 vintage. Thanks for asking. Then you add a varmint. Raccoon. Possum. Skunk? Ok, that'll work.

After that, it's pretty much low impact. No signage. No organized collection system. No whacking with machetes. In Cranky Hometown, Compost Happens, just like the bumper sticker says. Cranky Hometown may be in a red state, but don't say it's not green.--MC

*photo credits to Oldest Older Brother


  1. Who knew how far this composting gig would get you--from tagged grapefruits to a veritable pumpkin harvest. Last year we had squirrels devouring pumpkins all over our Renaissance neighborhood, a slice of wildlife we'd never before encountered. Nothing would stop them--not cayenne nor blankets, which they gnawed right through. So I guess we're just as green as the Crankies, if that counts.

  2. Note "green" white pickup pulling trailer. Small truck, not 1 Ton. Save a tree, save a skunk. What's the green solution to lawn mowing because you need it here in OK!