First, we should probably deal with the matter of the ducks. Alexis Wilcox (Lexi), the proprietor of Duck Truck Composting, used to bike, walk, or rollerblade most places. One day, zipping along the road, she saw a flash of yellow in the drainage ditch. A squeal of bicycle tires (or perhaps it was rubber rollerblade wheels) and she was stooped over a rubber ducky. Being who she is, she brought the duck home.
Over the next few months she collected several dozen other rubber duckies, finding them abandoned alongside the road or in trash cans or just around. Not knowing what to do with her growing collection of rubber ducks, she did what you would expect and glued them to the truck that often sat in her driveway. Pretty soon the truck was so covered with ducks it got named for them.
Now, Lexi assures me that finding an abandoned rubber ducky is a common experience. I have to cast a little doubt on the story here because I often am studying the ground when I bike or walk and have never once found an abandoned rubber ducky. You can decide how it was that Lexi discovered so many ducks.
Duck Truck met us at a cafe in Chester, Connecticut, to talk about composting. It was raining when we arrived and rained harder while we talked. It was really raining by the time the interview was finished. When Lexi and her partner, Dana, arrived, their jeans were muddy and they looked like they had been working outside all day.
Duck Truck does gardening and yard care, teaches composting, and is hoping and helping to start a farm. Lexi and Dana are always eager to make composting converts and can get the un-intiated started. As far as gardening and yard care go, they operate on an uncommon basis. If the job is within twenty minutes of a place they can get free food, it will cost you less. And Duck Truck knows a lot of people around Connecticut, so there’s often a kitchen that’s open for Duck Truck drop-ins. Rates can change according to how much a person can pay.
Before starting Duck Truck, Lexi used to teach at a school called Common Ground. While she was there, Lexi says everyone knew they could find her playing in the compost pile. And she does know her compost. While we were chatting, Margaret asked her for some tips:
1. Do it. You can be better and worse at composting, but you can’t really fail. It’s a natural process, it’s what food would do if you just left it in a pile in the forest, so anyone who has some food scraps and some space can figure it out. You’ve got no excuse.
2. You definitely need two bins. It really helps compost if you turn it and trying to do that in one bin is simply not realistic. Make sure you have two bins so you can turn it from one to the other.
3. Try for bins that are 36 by 36 inches. This means those black plastic cones aren’t really the best for composting because they are usually only 28 inches in diameter. You need a bigger size so that there will be enough matter to get the compost up to a good temperature.