Sunday, September 30, 2012

A weekend Hard Work

Saturday, I started mowing the street side with the week wacker. The grass is leaning on the electric fence and will eventually short it. The weed wacker was getting clogged within a minute, due to the thickness of the grass. After a 1/2 hour of efforts, I decided to go get the sickle, which proved to be a lot more efficient a this task, albeit more physical. I stopped after two hours, 1/3 of the way to the end of the street. Next task was to tape the compost ventilation pipe and fan to limit air leaks. A second ventilation system was set, except the fan, since I was missing an adapter. Next, the solar water heating panel support blocks were set in place and leveled. Finally, the hot tub support beams were set, one was leveled, the second still needs to be leveled.

Sunday started with cutting the grass on the street with the sickle, almost half the way. The grass was then collected, which ended up taking more time than cutting it. The chicken house was cleaned, and some of the grass used for bedding. The goat shed was cleaned too, and grass added as bedding. I passed the mover to finish off the grass that was cut by hand. This too was a hard job. I got help setting the solar panel in place, which allowed me to clean half of the garage, and park the car in there. Finally, the hot tub second beam was leveled, but some adjustment will have to be made on the first beam.

Good progress this weekend.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Forced Air Compost System

When I visited Cedar Groove Composting 2 years ago, I really liked how they used forced air to provide oxygen inside the compost pile. They use french drain pipes connected to a ducted fan to force air inside the pile.
A normal compost pile will deplete its oxygen within 15mn, then go anaerobic (smelly), or dry up. I noticed with my compost, that the top layer would compost OK, but then, down 4-5 inches, it would be packed and un-composted. I would have to harvest my compost by layers, then let the top layer compost further, etc. It takes forever. Seeds are not killed by this cold composting system, like they would in a hot compost pile, so I get volunteer plants everywhere I spread my compost. I decided to use forced air, like Cedar Groove, but on a smaller scale.
Information is available on line:
Magic Soil
Aerated Static Compost Pile
Here is my system, in pictures. I bought less than $20 of part, and one part (~$3.50) was not used. The fan and solar panel I already had.
The black pipe is 3" corrugated French drain. It has small holes that are the right size to let air out, while limiting the amount of compost going in.

I forgot to wrap the vertical section with duct tape. This section won't be burried in compost, and will let most of the air escape. This will have to be done later.

The fan is not firmly attached to the pipe, so the pressure inside the pipe may not be enough to push the air through the pile. We will see how that works.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Karen's work:

Attila the barn cat

Attila has been a little more assertive lately, coming around the house, and letting us approach him a little closer, about 10FT. Here is a shot of him taken at the end of the day:
The barn has been free of rodent for a while. Attila, Kaly, and the trapping, have dramatically reduced the rodent population.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

TO-DO Before end of 2012

  1. Finish pasture sheds (screw loose siding panels).
  2. Plant cover crop.
  3. Clean junk along corral.
  4. Run a load to the waste disposal facility.
  5. Get a bid on a roof deck and deck beam repair.
  6. Stain the deck.
  7. Add forced ventilation to compost (similar to Cedar Groove system).
  8. Clean up garage.
  9. Sheetrock garage.
  10. Build shelves and greenhouse window in garage South wall.
  11. Remove old electric water heater. Install solar tank. Install new electric water heater.
  12. Winterize beehives.
Let see how much I will get accomplished.

Saturday, September 1, 2012