Right. This is likely old hat for many of ya’ll, but after reading some soil books from the seventies (yes, I know I am that dorky) I ran across an anecdote about a biodynamic farmer talking about building his compost heaps and then covering them with straw to act as a blanket. The epiphany almost knocked me out of my reading chair! Mulch my pile? Of course! It would keep in the water, block the sun to let the bacteria go all the way to the surface, and even keep the yellow jackets off and act as an insulator late in the season!
So I went out, turned my pile (about 30% composted), watered it well, and topped it off with a 4″ layer of wheat straw. I stuck the thermometer in, and the next morning I was chugging along at 154 degrees. The next day? 155. Next? 152, then 150, now 8 days later I am still over 144 with no added water or turning!! ALL THESE YEARS of watching my compost heat up to 140 degrees after it was turned and watered, only to have it fall off in a week to 100 degrees until I turned it and watered it again I had thought the turning was the important part, but it looks like the moisture was even more so.
Mulch your piles! Tops and sides too if they are wire.
So Simple! So Perfect!