Just remember the mix for greens/browns is 1/3 to 2/3 and you'll do great. Greens are fresh, green (or orange, or red, etc.) organic material and browns are hay, newspaper, etc.
Just choose a place that is acceptable and begin to pile materials there. Robert is right, turning it is a chore you will have to ask your hubby to perform but it is well worth the effort.
Just plants your seeds in nice soil, water them in and let them grow to seedlings around 2inches or so, then mulch. They should be fine unless soil dwellers take them out. I'd be worried about those much more than the grackles. Just keep an eye on them for roly-polies or snails & slugs.
Go get 'em, Girl!