Baby it's starting to get cold outside and you want, nay you NEED to keep the heat on in your compost pile, so why not do it the easy natural way?
Pee in your compost.
Ok, that was a little blunt, but really, not to get all "Dodgeball" the movie on you (j/k), but human urine is really a great method to get your compost hot and bothered and eventually broken down. The urea in urine is chock full of nitrogen and trace minerals (little did you know your were a little fertilizing machine!) and heats up compost like nothing else. In case you were worried about sanitation, do not fret.
OK, there is the issue of cold buns, and while I could talk about men having it easy and methods akin to the doctor's office, I'll get off the topic of bodily fluids/functions and mention the other natural methods because purchasing something labeled: Compost activator? Phhbbbtt. Don't buy those.
Before I continue on to what a person can use as compost activators, let me explain what it is (other than the obvious in its name).
Compost activators are heavy boosts of nitrogen added to a compost pile to get it to heat up and break down faster and thus giving your your pirates booty of black gold quicker, because hey, am I not American? I loves me the instant gratification ;)
So yes, cheap easy activators (other than urine):
Alfafa? I've spoke of it before, and here I'll say it again. It's awesome! And will heat up your compost too, so chuck some pellets in there.
Dry dog/cat food is also considered a good compost activator. Just watch fido/fifi in your garden for a while.
Coffee grounds will jolt things right up, especially if you are a daily drinker or are a Starbucks stalker.
Beer, though this seems like a crying shame to waste a brew on, it's less of an issue if you are poor and have some of the more flavorless type.
Ammonia is a killer of slugs too (and our nasal passages), but did you know that it also is a byproduct of urine? Oh the connections!
Really, there are so many easy, accessible ones there you'd be surprised! This post may seem like a reiteration of me spouting on and on about amendments and such, but this is a great time to get things in the ground/compost bin/pile so that the freezing/thawing of the upcoming seasons will allow for organic matter to decompose and release nutrients more fully.
For the most part, many of you who compost already most likely are consistently keeping your bins hots without trying by inadvertent addition of these elements above, but for those who are trying to figure out why things aren't heating up or breaking down accordingly try the above materials and always remember that you need a good mix of browns and green and sometimes, you may need to water your pile. Don't forget, your in luck, you have an easy source right in you! ;)
Thank Google! (and I am sorry Rodale if this is your bane) but here is an excellent link with more amendment info:
The Rodale book of composting - Google Books