Shannara Johnson: Banana peels, egg shells, and unintended consequences

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Shannara Johnson, of Morrisville. She is running for state representative for the Lamoille-Washington district.

A couple of months ago, I said on our local Front Porch Forum that I was kind of wary about the mandatory composting that we all have to do as of July 1 here in Vermont. We’ve already seen more black bears coming dangerously close to homes than in previous years, and I figured once everyone started composting, we’d see much more of this.

I was immediately shouted down by the FPF community. Bears and other wildlife raiding compost bins, I was told, “won’t be a problem at all if you do it right.” All I had to do was add a layer of “brown matter,” some dirt or cardboard or leaves put on top of the compost and everything would be fine.

Shannara Johnson

“Today I went into the backyard to deposit the second load of food scraps and found the compost bin smashed to pieces. So apparently now we have bears in our backyard, which we didn’t before.”

I also asked, “What about the people who live in apartments or townhouses/condos and don’t have the wherewithal to do their own composting?”

“No problem at all,” said the compost aficionados. “If you don’t want to compost, you can just have Casella pick up the food scraps, or you can bring them to one of the transfer stations yourself.”

I silently wondered how poor people would be able to afford to pay Casella or a transfer station for this service, and also, how people with a regular job (or two or three) would find the time to do all this. I didn’t ask those questions out loud, though, since my first post had already occupied FPF for about a week.

So I called Casella, and they told me they weren’t equipped yet to pick up food scraps. I later read that they had implored Montpelier to indefinitely delay the mandatory composting, to no avail.

Then I learned that there were several drop-off points where I could drive (again, what about the poor people?) to get rid of my food waste. The closest one in Morrisville is open only on Saturdays. Neither will be any of the others, and being someone who actually works, I can’t drive from town to town in search of a home for egg shells and banana peels.

So I decided maybe home composting wouldn’t be so bad. On July 1, like a good little trooper, I brought out a bin of food scraps to our big black plastic compost bin in the backyard. It hadn’t been used for a long time, so there was ample “brown matter” for me to layer over. I closed the lid and felt kinda good about myself. Like, really earthy and all that.

Today I went into the backyard to deposit the second load of food scraps and found the compost bin smashed to pieces. So apparently now we have bears in our backyard, which we didn’t before — which means I can’t let my older dog out by himself anymore, and my cat, well, I guess he’ll just have to learn to run faster. My son and I won’t be able to hang out in the backyard anymore; what if you fall asleep in your lounge chair and wake up with a big snuffling snout in your face?

Now we have the choice to either break the law by using the regular trash for our food scraps, or dump our food waste on top of the destroyed compost bin and just let nature take its course. Today I did the latter. Tomorrow we’ll figure it out.

Image courtesy of Shannara Johnson
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19 thoughts on “Shannara Johnson: Banana peels, egg shells, and unintended consequences

  1. Thanks Ms johnson…after reading informative expose…am ordering a 1 1/3 hp sink garbage disposal – cost is not prohibitive esp considering the price tag and hassle of locating services expect to pay a bit over $100 for a good one.

    Just had to start bringing in bird feeders as coons and possums started getting mighty brave…I don’t need bear too lol. Composting in a subdivision is not practical.
    Sorry to hear FPF is infested w/selfrighteous jacka***s and rules don’t apply to leftwing bullies. We need a conservative FPF 😉

  2. The idiots who dreamed up this one must have come from Mars. While the objective may be admirable in the eyes of some, the reality is it is total impractical and unrealistic with unintended consequences spewing out all over River City. Only in Vermont??? Why do we always have to lead the stupidity parade????

    • The consequences were always intended, especially the deletion of all of our individual rights, as you well know. You wanted the Constitutions shelved for the sake of “health safety”; well, that opens the door for the irrelevance of those documents (and their authority!) for an host of excuses. We are now living in Marxist socialism and it is our duty to reverse it all.

  3. I remember as a kid, people had in-ground garbage holders. They had a metal lid with a pedal to flip it up on its hinges, and were painted green. The garbage man would come around and collect each week.
    I read a fascinating book, The Meadowlands, by Robert Sullivan, the history of NYC’s garbage dumps in NJ, a whole region for dumping, occupied by pigs. Eventually real estate prices drove them out of business.
    Even where I lived as a kid, there were pig farms. As I recall, Kennedys and Casellas owned those places. You could tell when a storm was coming, because the east wind would bring the smell…but that became prime real estate.
    So the garbage just went farther away where property wasn’t as valuable.
    People create machines called digesters, but technology can’t beat pigs. They are very efficient. And shooting rats at the dump was a time-honored tradition. Maybe it’s good open burning is gone, but nobody has better solutions, except to pay more money for one that will soon fail.
    They were just talking about this on WVMT. SOS.
    At least I have a solution for meat and bone scraps–a neighbor who refused to remove his dead calf which slipped under the wire and died in a ravine on my property. I had to haul it onto his yard. So it seems like fair game to me.

  4. The state of VT told us to take our bird feeders down in the Spring so as not to draw any bears and many did exactly that while now are being forced by law to put food outside???? Vermonters are voting these peopl into office, no excuses as to what we are now seeing from Montpelier.

  5. Life and living is a circle, growing up here in the Queen City as a kid, we had
    Garbage men that would drive around and pick up all the family waste and
    that included “maggots ” and ” Stench ”

    Today you just throw all your waste into a vented plastic container and Viola
    a miracle compost…….sure what about the stench, critter ” skunks, raccoons
    investigating there next meal ……. now that’s smart planning !!

    You can’t make this foolishness up, it comes from a legislative liberal mind,
    welcome to 2020………….

    Hope you don’t own a garbage disposal, they’ll be knocking at your door.

    and now we are moving back around

  6. When I lived in NC, they added to my yearly taxes $57.00… Everything could be dropped off at the dump.. Here in Vt that is the monthly cost. As far as food scraps, I heard you could compost them down the toilet ;o)

  7. “I was immediately shouted down by the FPF community.” “I didn’t ask those questions out loud, though, since my first post had already occupied FPF for about a week.”

    Welcome to the utopian idiocracy of FPF, where neighbors breathlessly admonish you as stupid if you do not agree to baptism in the religion of political correctness. FPF is a sad testament to the uncivil side of human nature, replete with more self-righteousness, condescension, and arrogance than you can shake a stick at.

  8. Oh, an addenda to my previous post. Our emergency trip for our severly porcupined dog actually was a $9,000 bill for ten days at Tufts Vet Center… and a team of neuro doctors operating on him. They reduced the bill from $9,000 to $5,000 because it was such an unusual surgery and they broght in all the Vet School residents to observe the four hour surgery, as a case study. It benefitted the Neuro Doc Residents. Without that break in fee, our bill for the total idiocy of “Composting-For-PORCUPINE- Buffet”….was closer to $11,000. I damn sure wished I could have SUED the horrid “Kumbaya-Tie-Dyed-Dopes” for what they did to us and our beloved dog. EVEN AFTER, they STILL maintained that they are “Saving The Earth”…and we are bad people – for not doing so. Inmates are running the Vermont Asylum now. Wake up. Get out while you still can.

  9. Several yars ago, in my rural central VT area…we had a neighbor all gung ho on feeding teh earth, save teh landfill…open composting. What happend was that at night it attracted every animal in a 2 mile radius for the “buffet”. Skunks, racoons, PORCUPINES etc….During the day these critters went back to the woods. During the day we walked a trail in these woods. Our two small dogs smelled a HUGE porcupine (close by for the night time buffet) and they got into it. they got MASSIVE hits of quills. It was a weeked and necesstated an emergency drive to BTV emergency animal hospital. It was so bad both had to be overnight and sedated. Bill was a couple thousand. They thought they got all out. FIVE months later one of our dogs got all weird, spinning. BACK to the emergency vet. Sedated and an X ray. They found three quills they missed deep in his throat that MIGRATED upward to behind his EYES. He was going to die. They could no way access them to remove. They said put him down. They then called Tufts Univ Vet center in MA, and we drove down immediately…3 hrs. They kept him a ten days and did emergency neuro surgery with THREE doctors to get behind the eye and try to get the quills without removing the eyeball. They were successful in saving the eye, but hollowed out some bone. By the time Tufts was done it was a $5,000 bill. THAT is what idiocy of composting cost us…almost losing two dos, and a $7,000 bill. FOR WHAT? KUMBAYA COMPOSTING – TO FEED PORCUPINES? we left that Socialsit Progressive paradise (hell hole) of VT two years ago….after several decades… I highly recommend getting out. VT is run by idiots!

  10. Whan I was a kid, every farm had a dump. If something wasn’t burned or fed to the pigs, it went to the dump. We used the vermin that appeared for target practice.

    City folks had a town dump. City folks also used the vermin that appeared for target practice (it was encouraged).

    Then we started sanitary landfills and everything had to go to the landfill. No more burning allowed. No more target practice.

    Then landfill consolidation reduced the number of landfills…towns couldn’t afford their own. Fees increased, services declined.

    And now in Vermont, we’re back to the farm dump (ok, compost pile). But most of us don’t live on farms, and those who don’t can’t always shoot the vermin.

    I say, buy pigs and feed them with the food you don’t eat, or go on a diet and eat everything you buy. Free range pigs will keep bears (and bad people) away. Be sure to put your dump downwind and downhill from your house. This is progress, right! And just think how we’re saving the environment!

    Meanwhile, listen to WDEV’s Dump Show every Saturday morning at 9am for inspiration.

    • It is the dictation of every single aspect of our lives that has brought us to this. While we had landfills and dumps, we had no problems. When we had paper shopping bags, we had no need to ban plastics. When we had no need to “save the environment,” we paid far less for gas. The answer isn’t in finding ways to comply with government tyranny. The answer is REBELLION!

      • A rebellion is unlikely since most people in Vermont are eager to be controlled by a paternalistic government. Think about the people driving alone in cars wearing masks. They’d jump off a cliff if their beloved “progressive” politicians told them it was best for them.

        • How about “Parasitic” government? They mandate it, you pay for it. And pay them, too. End fossil fuel power generation – and have all electric cars? It’s in their dreams.

        • Sounds like surrender. Keep in mind that those who rebelled against the British tyranny were a minority, while the rest just got along with what they were told.

          • Today they are known as the Three Percenters! They are still around and probably someday will have to clean up the mess that the professional, career politicians make for the rest of us. 3% of the US population of 325,000,000 is an army of 9,750,000 people. This is why the left wants to disarm Americans!

    • Don’t forget the unintended consequence of having heavy trucks carrying garbage to centralized landfills. We have paved roads that have ruts in them. Particularly noticeable after a rainstorm or when snow has melted and refrozen in the ruts. It brings a new meaning to “exciting adventures” in Vermont as you hydroplane or slide along our scenic highways.

  11. As more and more well-intentioned but woefully misguided laws are churned out of Montpelier by our do-gooder class of legislators, reasonable citizens are becoming increasingly disengaged in the process and will continue to ignore such laws.

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