In praise of the Envirocycle Composter-Update

UPDATE- The universe has semi-answered my prayers. I must thank friend and sometimes reader of the blog Shawn for giving me his unused rotating composter. It sits next to the composter I bought. It’s sturdy and I look forward to turning it into a turny worm paradise.

_______original post below________

Sometimes you never know what you had until it is long gone and you can never get it back. That is how I feel about my-no-longer-mine Envirocycle composter.

Taking another break from the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle, again. Face it, it’s long and tedious. Also rewarding. Anyway..

When I first moved to Truxton Circle, a co-worker (now department head) gave me his composter. He and his partner had no use for it. They lived a couple of miles where I live now in the Maryland suburbs. He was nice enough to throw it in the back of his truck and deliver it to my Truxton Circle home.

I dumped my old plants in it. I dumped some cherry tomatoes from a house warming party in it. That resulted in having accidental cherry tomatoes growing in the front yard. I put shredded paper from shredded documents in it.

I took earthworms found on the concrete patio in it. At another point I bought some earthworms in the mail and put them in. This resulted in the great worm escape on an unusually hot day where worms were oozing out of the slits en masse. It was a sight.

I used the compost tea and the compost for my container garden. I also donated compost for one of the sidewalk trees Brian and crew placed on 4th St. It was a lovely thing to have.

Did it stink? On occasion, when I failed to balance the ‘greens’ and the ‘browns’. The greens were the romaine lettuce butts, egg shells, whole avocados gone bad, remaining parts of avocados gone good, and all the raw veggies that were composting in the refrigerator. I’ll also include tea bags, loose tea, and lots of coffee grounds from nearby coffee shops, when the neighborhood starting having coffee shops.

The browns were the shredded papers, dryer lint, and maybe the odd batch of leaves.

I took it for granted.

When we decided to sell our Truxton Circle home I had to find a new home for the composter. By this time, 19 years had passed and around year 17-18 some urban wildlife tore a hole in the side.

I suspect it was the big bag of fruit I threw in there.

I put the composter on Freecycle, with pics of the hole, and a fellow with a pick up truck picked it up and took it away.

Fast forward 1 year.

I was in my new suburban home and getting tired of putting food scraps down the garbage disposal drain or in the trash. The place where we moved has a composting program, however, I wanted to get back into gardening, and I want my own compost, where I know what’s in the compost.

So I went looking for a new Envirocycle and holy heck those suckers are $500! I could buy similar tumbling composters and I really don’t need the feature that made it great for my urban back patio, the system that captured the compost tea and kept it from staining the concrete.  But I really like the door for the composter. I like that all I had to do was turn the composter, no lever or having (but I did) to go in and turn the compost myself.

I don’t really like the new style of Envirocycle. The old model had several little slits, and this new one just has a vent at the top. I guess that would prevent the hole problem I experienced.

Since I’m not paying $500, I bought a $80 stationary composter. It’s eh. I’m just happy I’m not throwing perfectly good scraps away. I might break down and buy a tumbler. I just don’t see one that I like for a price that makes sense to me.

I miss my old Envirocycle. I guess you really can’t appreciate what you had until it is gone.

 

In praise of the Envirocycle Composter

Sometimes you never know what you had until it is long gone and you can never get it back. That is how I feel about my-no-longer-mine Envirocycle composter.

Taking another break from the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle, again. Face it, it’s long and tedious. Also rewarding. Anyway..

When I first moved to Truxton Circle, a co-worker (now department head) gave me his composter. He and his partner had no use for it. They lived a couple of miles where I live now in the Maryland suburbs. He was nice enough to throw it in the back of his truck and deliver it to my Truxton Circle home.

I dumped my old plants in it. I dumped some cherry tomatoes from a house warming party in it. That resulted in having accidental cherry tomatoes growing in the front yard. I put shredded paper from shredded documents in it.

I took earthworms found on the concrete patio in it. At another point I bought some earthworms in the mail and put them in. This resulted in the great worm escape on an unusually hot day where worms were oozing out of the slits en masse. It was a sight.

I used the compost tea and the compost for my container garden. I also donated compost for one of the sidewalk trees Brian and crew placed on 4th St. It was a lovely thing to have.

Did it stink? On occasion, when I failed to balance the ‘greens’ and the ‘browns’. The greens were the romaine lettuce butts, egg shells, whole avocados gone bad, remaining parts of avocados gone good, and all the raw veggies that were composting in the refrigerator. I’ll also include tea bags, loose tea, and lots of coffee grounds from nearby coffee shops, when the neighborhood starting having coffee shops.

The browns were the shredded papers, dryer lint, and maybe the odd batch of leaves.

I took it for granted.

When we decided to sell our Truxton Circle home I had to find a new home for the composter. By this time, 19 years had passed and around year 17-18 some urban wildlife tore a hole in the side.

I suspect it was the big bag of fruit I threw in there.

I put the composter on Freecycle, with pics of the hole, and a fellow with a pick up truck picked it up and took it away.

Fast forward 1 year.

I was in my new suburban home and getting tired of putting food scraps down the garbage disposal drain or in the trash. The place where we moved has a composting program, however, I wanted to get back into gardening, and I want my own compost, where I know what’s in the compost.

So I went looking for a new Envirocycle and holy heck those suckers are $500! I could buy similar tumbling composters and I really don’t need the feature that made it great for my urban back patio, the system that captured the compost tea and kept it from staining the concrete.  But I really like the door for the composter. I like that all I had to do was turn the composter, no lever or having (but I did) to go in and turn the compost myself.

I don’t really like the new style of Envirocycle. The old model had several little slits, and this new one just has a vent at the top. I guess that would prevent the hole problem I experienced.

Since I’m not paying $500, I bought a $80 stationary composter. It’s eh. I’m just happy I’m not throwing perfectly good scraps away. I might break down and buy a tumbler. I just don’t see one that I like for a price that makes sense to me.

I miss my old Envirocycle. I guess you really can’t appreciate what you had until it is gone.

 

Seven Reasons Restaurant Delivery- Dining at Home Review

We are in the process of moving to Prince Georges’ County and I look forward to seeing if all the things I disliked about the county when I lived there still apply (car-centric culture, crappy county services, etc).  Part of the process is cleaning out the freezer, eating frozen leftovers and ordering out. Last review was for Masseria, an excellent experience at home. Well Seven Reasons, amazingly topped the Masseria experience.

The Delivery Experience

We ordered for dinner to arrive around the time we normally eat. Normally, I look for something Destructo-kid might eat. Depending on things, we might eat with him or we will decide to wait until he’s asleep and have a nice adult dinner, where we can talk to each other about something other than our dear child. I ordered some Cheese Arepitas, just in case there was nothing for him.

Doordash was the deliver. I got a text… I normally don’t use Doordash. I used to have their app on my phone, but took it off when several delivery companies were overcharging restaurants. Got a text to show where my food was. My food wasn’t picked up until I was expecting it to arrive. We’re in Shaw, the food was in Shaw, so the 10 minutes it took to get to our house.

I’m glad I ordered the arepitas because I was not expecting what came in the two boxes.

Hand over QRC code bc camera wanted to go to website

When I opened the box, my first thought was ‘This looks like fun!” And I wasn’t going to have fun with Destructo and his usual demands on mommy. Continue reading Seven Reasons Restaurant Delivery- Dining at Home Review

Moving to Ward 9

Well. We sold the house last year. We looked at a bunch of houses in PG County Maryland, and after 4 months of serious searching, we’re moving out next month.

We are moving to a place I have jokingly called Ward 9, for the Marylanders in Prince George’s County who mistakenly act as if they are DC residents. We will be unenrolling Destructo-kid. The Help should be doing less driving in our new location (he can walk/bike to work) so no worries about a MD driver in DC. And my goal is that we don’t act like Ward 9 residents getting over involved in DC matters.

So what of this blog? I’m the world’s expert on Truxton Circle history and I get pleasure from discovering what the data and evidence reveals. I’m not giving that up.

What I am giving up is a lot. I’m giving up wonderful Michelin reviewed dining within walking distance for generic Red Olive Steakhouse a mile away. I’m giving up a place with a Walkscore in the 90s (grade A) for one in the 70s (gentleman’s C) and I still have no intention on taking up driving. I’m also giving up seeing you wonderful people in real life. I will miss you.

Well that’s almost over- Still here, just different digs

SOLDOkay, one thing down, some other stuff to go.

Despite plans to blow this pop stand, I’m still here. We’re still here. Our block is so awesome, we’re renting a couple of doors away and will stick around until something better comes around. The usual thing is to go looking for a house, buy it and then sell your house. Having 2 mortgages wasn’t particularly appealing prospect. We’ve got a pretty cool arrangement with our former neighbors/ landlords. Our block has great people on it. I hope our buyer/ new neighbor will be great too.

I look forward to the feeling of being able to just pick up and go.

Anyway, we’re still here to enjoy the restaurants, the Bloomingdale Farmers Market and all the wonderful things DC still has to offer, despite the Covid. I know where we’d like to relocate to and have become acutely aware of what we’d lose when we move. Off the top of my head, quick and cheap Uber rides. Followed by bars with good food. Followed by restaurants with good food. Followed by an embarrassment of grocery store choices in walking distance. Yes, everything revolves around food.

Now that that part will be over in about 30 days. I can get back to figuring out where I am with Church Surveys and Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle and other random bits of Truxton/Shaw history.

Buy this house: The InShaw house going on the market this week

Photo on the day I bought 1618 in 2001.

It’s been a 19 year adventure but now it’s time to start a new chapter. I will leave to the new owner a dehumidifier, all the Ikea window treatments (maybe a 202 land line), and an awesome block in a great neighborhood if they can keep it up. I took this circa 1874 house from a semi-neglected pile of bricks to a well renovated, updated, much loved home.

I’m curious about how our Realtor will sum up the house in a paragraph. The house has been through 4 renovations, this latest $11K update (a list of minor things, painting, and fixing things that didn’t bother us) and a few major repairs and updates we’ve made over the past 2 years. All those renovations, were done with my comfort and happiness in mind, not to make a buck. I’ve gutted this thing down to the joists and brick and had it rebuilt with updated plumbing, wiring, and insulation. Only a few other houses on this block can boast the same thing. I’ll probably do a separate series of posts just recapping those updates.

Red ornament with snow on tree

It’s the people who make a neighborhood, the housing, the structures just do the sheltering. This block has some great neighbors and I know I’m bragging when I say we will be missed. Hopefully, the new people will pitch in for the annual decorating of the trees for Christmas, shoving the sidewalks with neighbors after a big snow, or help Brian keep the street and sidewalks clean. That’s what we did. And the only way to keep the block awesome is for the people who live here to be awesome. The 1600 block of 4th St has it’s own email list, with none of the crazy of Nextdoor. See Brian’s wife or the guy with the Dalmatian to join.

When I moved here nearly 2 decades ago the main things this place had going for it was being in walking distance to the Ghetto Giant and the Shaw metro. Now the Giant is a bit more gentrified, you can still walk to the metro and despite the pandemic there are a bunch of places to walk to that are open and operating. Today, I ran errands with Destructo-kid. We went to the post office to drop some mail in the box at NJ and FL Avenues. Then walked over to the UPS store on 7th to turn in the router for the FIOS (yes, the house is set up for FIOS). After that we walked over to Nicecream but the person had stepped away so we went to a small playground. Then we returned to Nicecream and had a melty cup of carbs at the corner of 8th and Florida. After that we ran into friends from Immaculate at Union Kitchen on 8th. A couple of days ago I went to the Bloomingdale Farmers Market and picked up some Dan Dan noodles (oh, so good) and later the Help got groceries from the new Whole Foods on Florida Avenue.

After a 2-3 week delay the contractors finally finished painting and fixing and replacing stuff. The cleaner has come in and worked a miracle cleaning the kitchen sink (something we really didn’t care about living here). And now that every vestige of our personality has been stripped from the premises, the stager has staged the house, and that place sure as heck doesn’t look like we ever lived there. Maybe Thursday or Friday the house will show up on the MLS and we’ll see what the world thinks it’s really worth.

So you may be wondering will I be keeping up the InShaw blog after this? Yes, but not as a resident. As far as I know I’m the world’s expert on Truxton Circle history, so there’s that. I’ll be keeping up this and at some point in the future updating TruxtonCircle.org.

Paint it Black

I like having an orange (okay more creamsicle) house. In instructions to delivery people, because Google and other map things are screwing it up, is that if you aren’t delivering to an orange house, you have the wrong house. It isn’t like there are a lot of orange houses. But we’re getting the house ready for sale, so the orange has to go.

But something happened. As you can see from the upper (or featured) image it got painted black. This is not a color known to make houses sell like hotcakes, unless the market is full of Goths.

There was some miscommunication.

I’m sure this will get corrected and house painters have to give a wall a few coats of paint. So this one coat should be fine. I hope.

A black house is kind of cool, but not temperature wise. Black absorbs heat and as edgy and cool as I might think this would be (and a fun shock to the Realtor) the air conditioner wouldn’t appreciate it. I’ve seen other black houses in Truxton Circle, okay one. I wonder if those houses were painted black due to some miscommunication.

And I’ll Be Giving Up This?

To go Margarita and BibleSo the weather was nice and I was walking home from picking up some Korean takeout and had stopped to grab a to go margarita. While walking and getting a buzz I thought to myself, “You want to give up all this?”. The Korean place had always had take out as an option and the to-go cup of booze was thanks to COVID-19 and the doing away with rules and laws, I once supported. Seriously, that’s weird. I would have fought tooth and nail against what I was enjoying that moment 15-20 years ago.

Anyway, I was enjoying the coolness of my neighborhood, despite the lockdown.

I’ll have to admit I’ve mentally had one foot out the door for a while now and all the stuff we need to do to get the house ready for sale is making thing real. It has made me see all that we’d be giving up and losing when we eventually move up the Route 1 corridor into Maryland. I’d lose the walkability I’ve enjoyed for years and the semi-reliable public transit. I’d also lose bike lanes that make sense and my choice of CaBi stations withing 1 or 2 blocks from me. and more importantly, I’d lose all the great restaurants.

We’ve decided on some compromise, rent in the TC (’cause baby I still love you) until we find a permanent home in the Riverdale/ Hyattsville area that speaks to us. So for a few months at least we can enjoy our neighbors, this place, and whatever is open, no matter how limited.

Why are we leaving? I’m gonna blame Destructo. After that the lockdown with Destructo. If it weren’t for being married and having a kid, I guess I would have been fine with where my career is. So part is the move to be closer to the place where there is room for advancement. The other part relates to my spouse and my desire for him to walk to work. And then there is Destructo-kid. Being stuck in the house with him for nearly 3 months with no parks and no large yard, and all his massive toddler-boy energy takes a toll.

We aren’t moving to PG County for the schools, I can’t think of anyone who moved to PG County FOR the schools. MoCo yes, PG, no.

Sadly it seems DC is becoming harder for parents of small kids. The city closed the daycares, the schools, the libraries, and the parks and really didn’t provide any real support for parents after taking away many of the things that made urban parenting do-able. Two families on my block already have pulled up stakes, we’d be number 3.

The apparent loss of a functional Pre-K3 that provided education and childcare was the last straw. It was the thing that set Dc apart in the region. I know school districts all over the US are up poop creek for 2020-21. But the point of sticking around longer than we planned is out the window.

But this is still a great place for the childless. You too can walk down the street sipping a margarita while walking home with some super tasty Korean food. My single 30 something year old self would have really like this.

Straw Meet Camel or Buy this house

messylivingroomThis is one of my favorite views of my home. From the stairs, looking down at the bookcase and the floor. This house, what I’ve called a crumbly pile of bricks, has been a joy. But I’ve been pondering a move out of the city for various reasons. The main one was for career reasons that I won’t get into here. Second, I’d like my husband to have an awesome car-less commute. Third, is the kid and that relates to a piece of straw.

A couple of days ago NBC Channel 4 reported on some leaked information about plans for DC schools, including PreK-K. That ticked me off, so much so, I’ve been in contact with Realtors. Maybe it was the thing I needed to finally stop delaying and start moving on. I’d been so looking forward to Pre-K3, getting ready for it. But it looks like Pre-K 2020-21 is gonna be a bust, with alternative schedules and partial in person instruction. I won’t be able to depend on the schools for adequate childcare coverage. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I had thought of offering to sell (by owner) as-is so I can sell it for a lower, more affordable price so a new owner could build some of their own equity. Because staging, hiring painters, landscapers, all that winds up getting paid by the buyer in the form of a higher price. I was toying with that idea for November of this year. But now, probably not, but I’m willing to be persuaded.

If you’ve read this blog, or managed to follow it since the early days, you know I’ve left the house better than when I bought it. I’ve renovated it (with a contractor) several times, going down to the brick and beams. The basement/celler got finished and has 3 french drains. A couple years back I put on an addition in the rear. Last year, got a new fence and now we could theoretically park in the rear. I’ve been constantly improving it and making it my own. But now, it’s time to let go and let someone else make of it what they will.

Bresca Pick Up Review

I don’t know why Bresca did not appear in my initial run down of Michelin starred restaurants offering take out. But looking at the various Tock options I noticed it wasn’t on my radar before. That and it is in Shaw!

Well that has been rectified. Bresca is great and provides a major meal. When all this is over, and we have a sitter for Destructo, the Help and I need to sit down at this lovely restaurant.

Looking-into-a-bag-of-food
Our meal before I ruined it in a bike ride

The above is an image of our meal before I ruined it along the bike ride home. The tarts on the right are at their best, so there is no at home photo because when I secured the bag on the CaBi, the meringue was ruined. I tried to come home on a JUMP scooter, but none were working with my app.

I ordered the BeeHome four course meal, which after the 20% service charge and 10% taxes (was the service charge taxed?) came out to $118.80. Money well spent I say. The four courses consisted of a snack of Brioche Tartine, with foie gras topped with a strawberry-campari puree and black pepper and a green leaf I cannot identify. It’s not mint. Maybe an oregano or kind of basil? Then followed by a starter and main course of our choosing. I chose a green tomato salad and the pineapple and carrot salad as the starter. Then the main of the Brioche Stuffed Chicken and the Duck Leg and Thigh. Dessert was a chocolate tart, which got destroyed on the ride back home. Also thrown in, I gather was an amuse bouche of a two little madeleines.

The meal was wonderful, so much so it kicks the Dabney meal down to 3rd place (Rose’s #1, Bresca #2, Dabney #3, and Kinship #4). And the Dabney was almost even with Rose’s at Home. Even better it was so filling, we’ll have some later for lunch this week.

Several parts of the meal was a big hit with Destructo- the 2.5 year old. He really liked the duck and the carrot and pineapple salad. He inhaled the madeleine. I doubt he appreciated the little flecks of salt on the chocolate drizzle. He really, really liked the duck even though he loves the 5 Little Ducks video and excited to see live ducks and even after we told him the duck he was eating once went “quack”. He didn’t care, he just wanted more duck in his belly.

Bresca mealI can’t tell you anything about the chicken as my beloved spouse ate the whole thing without sharing. So I am left with his impression of “it was good.” He said the meat was tender, and it had a cheesy interior. I don’t know if cheese was in it. I think he’s mistaken. I will never know. But I do know about the fennel sausage that accompanied the chicken in another container. That will survive till lunch and what little I sampled, was oh so good. I think there is a whole stick of butter in it. It’s rich herby and buttery, and a little salty.

Bresca meal-Carrots adm PIneappleHe was supposed to have the carrot and pineapple salad, but was so stuffed with stuffed chicken, he did not really touch it, which allowed me and the 2 year old to eat it. Destructo liked the salad until he didn’t. There were some vinegary undertones that I think built up until he noticed it enough not to like it. The carrots (and maybe parsnips) were sweet and slightly tender. In the grains (the granola) were quinoa and pickled sultanas. And of course, there was pineapple.

Bresca mealMy duck was accompanied with some root veggies, rice and pickled fennel. When I had the fennel, the duck and the rice on the fork they worked together. However, if I had the fennel on its own it was too acidic. Paired that with the green tomato salad, then I was getting way too much vinegar. The other problem was some of the carrots were too woody. Flavor and mouthwise those were my only complaints.

As mentioned, we were pretty stuffed at the end of the meal and had enough for left overs. We saved the chocolate tart for after the days dishes were washed (or placed in the dishwasher) and the toddler was put to bed. It’s a tart with a chocolate shell and a chocolate filling with a layer of passionfruit on top. I ate about 2/3rds of mine and saved the rest for later.

Next, restaurants that do their own delivery.