Showing posts with label composting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label composting. Show all posts

Friday, May 20, 2011

Compost time is happy chicken time

Another project to cross off my to-do list: Digging out the completed compost and flipping the other two bins over. I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but have been waiting for Jeremy to build the raised bed in the boulevard. He's too busy with mushrooms, so I finally decided just to dump all the compost onto the beds in the back (which need to be dealt with too!)

After I dug all the compost from the middle box and dumped it in the far left box, I decided to treat two lucky chickens to the bugs and interesting bits left behind.


"What, me? I'm busy here!"

"nom, nom, nom"


Finally I put those chickens back and turned to face the last bin. Now, I have a warning here. If you are any kind of animal rights type person you should stop reading now. Just skip to the pretty all-finished picture at the end.
As I started pitch-forking the piles of old veggies, spent chicken bedding, leaves, and chicken poop out of the last bin, I remembered that I'd seen a mouse in the compost bins. I'd especially seen it in this bin. So I went sort of cautiously. About 6 inches to a foot down, I tossed a big pile into the middle bin and a little mouse went flying. She scrambled to the back of the compost bin and gave me a look. Sort of a, "What do you think you're doing!?" look. Hmm. I kept digging out, and another foot down, way in the back, I found a nest with about five brand new baby mice. I looked at it for about two seconds, then picked the whole thing up and deposited it in the chicken coop.

Oh yes, I did. Now you all know how sadistic I am! I ran for it back to the compost bin. I didn't have many qualms about what I'd done, but that didn't mean I wanted to watch the carnage. I figured I didn't want mice in the compost, or eating the chicken food, or in the house, or anywhere around so they had to go. And the chickens L-O-V-E-D the mice. Seriously, I was a major rockstar to them for the rest of the night. Every time I got near the coop they all came running, even more excited than they usually are.

I did feel bad about it when mother mouse came back and hung around for awhile, while I was still there finishing up, staring at me from a distance with a look as if to say, "What have you done!?" Sorry mama mouse. I think she's starting a new nest in the middle bin. Grr.

Anyway, here is the all cleaned up bin!

Monday, June 23, 2008

I've been working on the...compost bin

Moving out here we were excited to pull out our kitchen scraps pail again. Seattle actually picks up yard waste, kitchen scraps, and compost year-round, but at our last apartment they chose not to use that service. It was painful throwing out food scraps for 6 months!

There are two store-bought, black plastic compost bins in the back yard here, but we quickly realized we wanted to do things a bit differently. We planned to build something like this, a three bin compost bin. This way we could keep rotating the compost and hopefully make dirt faster - in time to pile it on the garden in the fall after the crops are in and before it starts snowing! Then during the winter Jeremy is thinking about vermiculture: composting indoors with worms.

Years ago in Seattle, some fellow house-mates acquired a bunch of wooden pallets and constructed some compost bins out of them. It was quite the process but I still convinced Jeremy we could find some pallets and that would be the way to go.

We picked up some pallets several weeks ago and Jeremy was otherwise on the hunt for wood. One day he came home excited that he had spied some wood in a dumpster behind a store. Here he is climbing in to check out the situation:

We didn't end up salvaging that wood, but we had enough with the pallets at home.
Jeremy deconstructed some of them using a big hammer and enormous crowbar. It does sound like someone working on the railroad - which made the family upstairs offer to sing that song to us.

Jeremy designed what the bins would look like, and I helped with the manual labor. After taking apart several of the pallets, we had a few left to patch up:

Then we put them in place in our chosen spot in the backyard:

We tipped all the pallets onto their faces and nailed the back-side on:

Then we tipped the whole thing into place against the fence:

Isn't it beautiful!

Here's Jeremy constructing a bit of a cover for it. The front part of the bin can be removed one slat at a time to make it easier to turn the compost and to get it out when it has become dirt.

By the end of the day on Sunday, we had our beautiful three-bin compost system complete. It feels good being a "weekend warrior, do-it-yourselfer."