Decade or so ago, spouse & I started a compost bin. Cool idea, and I wanted in. I never had good luck with it, though. The first time I tried to harvest compost, I found eggshells and orange rinds. I sometimes think I could put dirt in and get eggshells out.
Well, today someone at work threw out an almost dead plant, and since I found it, I had to rescue it and see if it can be nursed back to health. I usually re-pot my plants in December, but I haven't done that for the last year or two, so I figured I'd look at what I had in the bottom of the compost bin. Opened it up.
First thing I noticed was that it was an absolute thatch of roots. No idea what is growing in there. Wonder if I need to empty it and start again. Next thing I noticed was that there were a few places where the roots were less thick. Kind of like trails across the surface. Probably made by the zillion or so ants I then saw scurrying around. I dug through the roots to see what I could find there. After all, there should be SOME compost by now. Along with a cherry pit and what I think might be a walnut stone, I found sand. Lots and lots of sand. Probably lovingly carried there by the ants. I dug in with my trowel to see if there might be some good dirt in there somewhere. Well, maybe. But the molecules of dirt I managed to extract were outnumbered by the ants that came with it. I left my bin filled with ants, sand and a bit of dirt outside, hoping that overnight the ants decide to go home, and leave me and my dirt alone.