© 2011 Joshua Stark
I'm a sucker for resolutions... yes, even though I rarely keep them. I love lists, first of all, and I love the potential that comes from a new time.
So, I resolve to: make a duck-proof greens garden; tie 10 or so flies per week; make some wooden doohickey per week; get grass growing again in the back yard (long story, suffice it to say that I now understand that topsoil really is only a few inches deep); and bathe my dog at least once per week.
The last one is really important, as Irma is getting on in years, and spends cold nights inside. If I can get her stank under control, as well as her long hair, she stands a chance of getting to stay indoors even longer, and I like that notion. She's been a wonderful dog, maybe the best dog I've ever owned, and I want her last years to be comfortable.
Now for the technical question. I simply cannot hot compost, I've accepted that. We also get pounds and pounds and pounds of duff from our three gigantic trees, which we often just pile in the leaf bin and send away. This breaks my heart, of course. A few weeks ago, then, I tried just a leaf pile, but I quickly realized a problem.
We grow mosquitos.
We live in a wetlands/riparian habitat zone, and mosquitos love it here. The wet leaves are, unfortunately, providing quite the breeding ground, and to make matters worse, we have a problem with West Nile virus.
I'm not afraid of the virus for me or my family - it's as typical, and as potent, as the cold or flu - I'm afraid for our magpie population. You see, California has the only population of yellow-billed magpies on Earth (Pica nuttalli), and magpies are particularly susceptible to West Nile, even for a corvid. As far as I know, there hasn't been found a single magpie that can survive the virus.
So here's the question: For all you leaf composters, how do you deal with mosquitos?
Thanks for any help.