Farewell to the ‘Guru of Doo Doo'
December 9, 2019 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Remembering Los Angeles' 'wizard of compost': Working steadily for decades, Tim "Zeke the Sheik" Dundon turned a suburban yard into a green oasis and the base for a massive composting operation before his death this past summer.

From his LA Times obit:

The self-proclaimed “Guru of Doo Doo” peacefully tended to his 40-foot-high and nearly 200-foot-wide compost heap for 35 years. His concoction of animal poop, household garbage and mulch from a neighboring cemetery nourished his lush one-acre jungle and fertilized many of San Gabriel Valley’s organic gardens. He also provided the compost free to the Altadena Community Garden for more than 15 years.

Predictably - and thanks in part to his other passion, growing marijuana (and as an early legalization advocate) - Dundon had numerous run-ins with the law, and his heap was forcibly removed between 2001 and 2005. He continued to live on the property, however, and, despite his eccentricies and thorniness, to provide inspiration to gardeners until his death:

In his later years, Dundon’s body became horseshoe shaped. He curved toward the soil and could barely walk. But friends still found him among the greenery, clippers in hand, telling his plants, “I love you.”

More on Dundon, whose life and personality seemed to provide an equal amount of mulch for journalists:

- 2004 profile in LA Weekly
- 2009 profile in Arthur magazine.
- A 2014 visit by the Esotouric podcast
- Talking compost with Dundon in 2010.
- Interview with Dundon in his yard in 2012.
- A 1990 community effort to prevent the removal of Dundon's heap documented by Media Burn.
posted by ryanshepard (4 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I do firmly believe that composting can save the world. And composters themselves always seem to be really smart, creative, gentle people. Thanks for this post, and shouts out to all the other composters on meta filter.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 10:51 AM on December 9, 2019 [8 favorites]

Never heard of this fellow but anyone with that much compost is alright by me. Altadena is such a nice area, almost more like the Bay Area than LA, and right next door to the beautiful Huntington Gardens. Really good brand of yogurt too.
posted by Bee'sWing at 11:00 AM on December 9, 2019 [4 favorites]

“The pile is my baby,” Dundon told the Pasadena-Star News in 2005. “This is the tower of power, that makes people behind Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, quiver and cower, ‘cause it generates the power that makes a flower.”

This is who I want to be when I grow up.

posted by saysthis at 12:36 AM on December 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

My kind of man. RIP Compost Gentleman.

posted by james33 at 7:15 AM on December 10, 2019

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