I love a rainy day!! Not only does it provide much needed moisture for the plants, but offers a day to rest our bodies -- and ponder, with a cup of tea in hand of course.
We talked briefly about compost in a recent class and two attendees asked how you get it to cook properly. They had tried to get manure to cook well enough to kill the weed seeds. Steam did escape from the pile upon inspection but they did not have a thermometer. Upon using it in their garden they ended up with a garden full of weeds which appeared to be on steroids!! (that would be manure actually!)
I realize now that I neglected to ask a few questions. Was the manure added in small portions to another mixture of nitrogen rich garden cuttings, kitchen scraps, possibly some carbon rich straw (also good for maintaining aeration without a lot of turning), or were they just composting manure alone? It has been my experience that better results will be acheived if the manure is mixed with other stuff. The manure contributes the necessary live microbes that will also help to "heat" up a pile. A hot pile should reach a minimum 130-160 degree temperature for six weeks.
We discussed several types of composting including: hot piles, cool piles, sheet composting, tumbler composting, pit composting, etc. Just remember that if you don't cook a hot pile, the existing pathogens and seeds will not be destroyed.
It takes some practice just like cooking in the kitchen, but over time you'll easily be able to judge what's missing. As an organic gardener composting is a skill well worth honing. There are a plethora of good books about composting including my personal favorite, Compost Gardening by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin; published by Storey Publishing, 2008.
now, back to that cup of tea!