Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Silent shredder

Good rodents make good neighbors
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As has been pointed out elsewhere (see link), one of the hindrances to efficient backyard composting is that a lot of the high-carbon, dry ("brown") material needs to be shredded to compost well. Mechanical shredders usually make a godawful noise.

There are, however, a lot of rodents that need to gnaw on woody material constantly, and some that shred lighter material. One or two of these in a backyard should be able to work their way through the yard's woody waste, providing compostable manure and a quiet companion at the same time. Probably some of them are edible. (Nutria would work, but are a *bad idea*.)

In dense neighborhoods, a joint composting pen/petting zoo might be practicable where several backyards meet.

hello_c, Sep 19 2000

Better Composting? http://www.halfbake...ng_3f#969304970-2-1
Tumbling drum. [hello_c, Sep 19 2000]

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       Inner city commons? Capital idea.
Scott_D, Sep 19 2000, last modified Sep 20 2000
  

       This is all well and good, until colder weather comes and the rodents find their way into the crawlspace under your house and somehow eventually work their way up through the wall and into the ceiling over the back part of your kitchen at which point they are no longer "silent shredders" but become, instead, a clamorous bane of your existence as they take to shredding the unseen parts of your house, claws skittering over wooden beams and rending the midnight silence with their scratching, always scratching...
PotatoStew, Sep 19 2000
  

       Crossing all the Ts - The *comparatively* silent shredder - rodent gnawing, in a secure backyard pen, is inaudible next to most human activities, e.g. lawnmowers (even push ones) and showers.   

       I have a worse rat story. I once walked into the lab I was to work in for a month and saw a rat run up the side of the radioisotope fume hood, and into a hole gnawed into the vent, to get out of the room.   

       (My city has proto-commons - joint intensive gardens, which always have shared composting, often shared tools. Some of them may have shared livestock, as we are allowed three small and cleanly hens, ducks, etc. per yard. Like a real commons, not the Tragedy misstatement, membership is dependent on maintaining responsibility; they're lovely.)
hello_c, Sep 20 2000
  
      
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