What's the worst thing you have found in a compost heap? I wasn't looking forward to the prospect of turning up a pocket of fermenting kitchen scraps, or finding that dead frog we threw on there in the summer again. But I wasn't expecting this:
Rats they may be, and no I don't want them living in my compost heap, but we couldn't really help but feel bad for them, all tiny and helpless and shivering and squeaking... What to do? Bury them alive in the compost? Try to push the nest back together and hope they'd be ok? I doubt mum would be back after we'd interfered so much. Drop everything and leave, and hope mum came back to take them somewhere safe? In the end we moved the whole nest down to a dark corner at the other end of the plot - out of sight, out of mind - to await whatever fate nature has in store. Poor little things! It was all very traumatising. (Ok, it would have been far worse to find some creature skewered on the end of my fork - eeeew - but let's not think about that!)
So that's it now; all the compost is turned and suddenly much more compact in the bins, so there's room for another year's weeds. And I sieved a few bucketfuls of good stuff to earth up the asparagus bed too, which is long overdue. It looks so good now covered in new black compost - I can't wait for the shoots to start appearing! I chucked in some manure as well. We missed the site's bulk order, so I've bought some concentrated stuff from a garden centre instead. 'Use handfuls, not bucketfuls', it says, and you can just add it when planting too, rather than having to wait for it to rot down for ages. Sounds good to me.
All that remains on January's to-do list is making a ladybird house, but since that's more of an overwinter thing I'm not in any hurry; next job now is to prepare to plant potatoes and onions (if they ever arrive that is - I'm going to have to start chasing orders soon!).