The bin on the left contains the clippings from this past summer. I am almost finished with putting the garden to bed for the winter; there's quite a bit that was just tossed in there.
The bin on the right once looked like the bin on the left, but everything in there is settled, composted down, and ready for next spring.
I am amazed at how quickly things break down. Honestly, I'm amazed that it works at all! Everything you read about compost bins explains the process in such scientific terms about how to get the ratio just perfect to make the breakdown happen. It wasn't that difficult at all. The only chunks I've ever had in my soils are bits of bigger branches, but I just toss those back in to rot a little longer. I admit, there have been odors deep down in the pile (I check for these things, as I don't want to offend neighbors); but any odors have been taken care of nicely by adding shredded up newspapers to the concoction.
I am happy in putting the garden to work for itself. How pleasing it is that nothing gets wasted: weeds (without seeds), trimmings from shrubbery, kitchen scraps, leftovers at the end of the gardening season, the icky clay soil that gets dug up whenever I have big things to plant . . . all of it spends time in these simple wooden bins and in a matter of mere months, it becomes a lovely, rich, black soil that goes back into the garden.
Such a satisfying process to observe!