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  #1351  
Old 12/11/11, 11:54 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Southeast Alabama
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Been waiting for a pic of a used Concrete Truck being used as a compost tumbler. Surely someone with access to one also makes compost.

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  #1352  
Old 12/18/11, 03:54 PM
 
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I once worked on a compost tumbler that was made from a 10 000 gallon tank that was an inch thick. THe waste went in one end and we fabricated a large internal spiral that went to the other end. It was geared with 2 transmissions. It was loaded with materials and the tumbler turned on and rotated at 3 rpm while being loaded. Then when stopped and it sat for a few days a timer turned it on a few revs a per day Then when it was finished it would run reverse and auger the material out.


Im wanting to build a windrow turner like a brownbear skid steer mount.

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  #1353  
Old 12/19/11, 10:44 PM
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Captivating …… I tell you, this thread is captivating. I’ve spent the last few days reading it from the beginning to the end. Thanks to all who have contributed for the inspiration. I love the photos of massive piles and the equipment used to make them.

I’ve been composting most of my life, and agree with the methods discussed here. When I was a kid, I helped my grandfather compost the horse manure from the stables. He had some really big piles and I’ve always thought that was the way to go. I’ve spent the last few decades of my life traveling across this country, living in smaller houses, so my composting efforts have been limited by real estate to relatively small piles. I’ve recently come back to southeast PA to inherit the family farm, and I need to get those big compost piles going again!

I am blessed to inherit my grandfather’s many years of hard work building up the soil, and his old tractor. I hope your descendants will appreciate your work like I appreciate his. When I was younger, I took for granted the great composted soil, until I started traveling and saw how poor the soil was elsewhere.

I’ve also inherited a large pile of scrap wood (probably 20’W x 30’D x 8’H). It’s composed of 3” long pieces of 2x4 ends from the old sawmill. In addition to that, there is a fair amount of brushwood (<4” diameter) that I need to clear. Can anyone recommend a chipper/shredder that I could use to turn this scrap wood into a pile of sawdust for a carbon reserve? I don’t know if a standard hydraulic infeed will properly handle such small pieces, and I wonder about a leaf shredding hopper jamming up. It would be great if the same machine could take care of my brushwood as well. I’d prefer gasoline powered or 3PH PTO so I can make my reserve piles on the spot around the property. Any recommendations would be appreciated.

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  #1354  
Old 12/23/11, 07:16 PM
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We Got Steam!!!

So I ask the little guy, "Would you rather go see the construction truck and forklift that just drove by and is working down the road or go shovel dog poop into a bucket and put it in the compost pile?" He choose the poop. Now we have a little composter on our hands. This picture is taken one month after adding water to the pile. I was glad to see the steam. After digging into the pile it is warm to the touch on a 20 degree day. I am guessing about 100 degrees.

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  #1355  
Old 12/23/11, 08:26 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
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hey forerunner-

Merry christmas, and happy compost filled new year.

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  #1356  
Old 12/24/11, 01:36 PM
 
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3350Snyder, welcome! Glad you found us bunch of crazy composters here.

studhauler, that is awesome!!! both the steam and the young compost lover. Good work.

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  #1357  
Old 12/26/11, 12:45 PM
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WOW!!

What can I say, I started reading this from the beginning and after 7 pages and it was only in the first month I had to see just how many pages someone could post on composting. I'm amazed that in under two years it's up to 45 pages.

I have just purchased 13 acres and built a house on it, I plan to start a small farm and had anticipated doing composting to build it up. It already is fairly good soil but as I am a believer in composting I figured it would only help. I had envisioned a 'grand' scale of composting setting up several bins that would be about 20x40 area. Boy I thought I was going big doing this. Oh, how wrong I was, I am duely humbled. I see that I need to start looking bigger and grander in my endeavors.

I learned about composting as a kid, we had a small garden in the back yard. When we moved in to the newly constructed house we discovered that the builders were nice enough to dig down and bring up the clay below to cover the topsoil. We ended up with a couple of feet of clay on top of what used to be decent farmland. Well the folks decided to start a garden and so we worked it. I can remember my dad fighting with the brand new Troybilt Horse trying to till it up. After some initial backbreaking attempts, he realized that it might be easier if he watered it good and then let it sit for a few days to semi dry. That made it easier but it was still tough work to till that clay up. The garden didn't do all that well for the first few years, however my mother made sure that all scraps from the dinner table and food spoilage went into the garden. I can still remember going out in the middle of the winter to dig a small hole to bury the food. We had orange rinds and such showing up each spring as we tilled for years. Slowly but surely it started to pay off. The soil got easier to till and work, and it got brown and then started going black. By the time I went to college, it was very nice and easily produced a hefty selection of goods. And so I know it works and is the best way to replenish the soil and keep it healthy.

The problem I have is that the county dump keeps the organic matter to compost themselves and then sells it off. I purchased a couple of truckloads this past spring to fix up my old house to sell. At $30 a pick up load it wasn't too bad, but considering that they were charging to drop it off and then to pick it up, they had a decent racket going on. I'll have to start looking for opportunities in my area. I know that there is a dairy farm a couple of miles from the house and so I'll have to go visit them and see what I can get. Sawdust might be difficult to find, but hay shouldn't be too hard as that is a very common product in the area. It'll probably be a couple of years before I get my own manuer producers, but I'll see what I can do for now.

Thanks for starting this Forerunner I have really enjoyed it and will in time work my way through the whole thread to get caught up and learn a bit more.

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  #1358  
Old 12/28/11, 09:06 AM
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Ok, so now after a few days of heavy reading I have finally completed the assigned study material.

I've spoken with the wife about this and she is telling me that I am only learning something she's been trying to get me to recognize for a while. I don't know about that as I have been a believer in composting all along, but I guess it's the methods that she was trying to beat into me. Now I'm trying to figure out how and where I am going to get the necessary components to get started. As I am 8000 miles away at the moment and probably won't be home until spring time all I get to do for now is to dream of what I want to do.

As I don't think I'll be able to get much on to things this year, I am looking to set up the piles that will be used next year. My soil is already somewhat black decent, however I believe that it could use a good shot of compost to really spike it along. I am hoping that by this fall I can establish one or two piles (I'm looking at them being 60-70 yards long) and get them to start cooking for next spring. I hope to do this right where I plan on using it and then the plan would be to just spread it out and then work it in. Now that I've done the hard work I guess it's time to figure out the 'easy' part. That being I am slightly less equiped than frontrunner was starting out. I do have a Ford truck (3/4 ton) and shovels, but not much more. I'm hoping to find me a decent tractor with a frontloader which will make things a lot easier.

Well, I guess I have some big shoes (er piles) to fill as I try to jumpstart my homestead.

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  #1359  
Old 12/28/11, 10:11 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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well, im a little frustrated: I have a nice pile I built about 4 months ago (added to until last month) and its just not getting hot. Its so not hot that I have essentially created a very large red ant hill. I added water last week, since it seemed dry. I spread it a little thinking that might help.

The pile is composed of manure, sawdust, food waste, chicken bedding, shredded paper and more manure (horse and cow). The pile is about 10 x 10 x 3 foot tall. I tried to layer it properly and add fairly equal parts of everything. SHould I turn it and start it over? Thats harder than it sounds with the local ants thinking they own it!

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  #1360  
Old 12/28/11, 09:53 PM
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Heavyrebel, I am new to this myself but, try stacking your pile higher, shovel the ends up on top of the middle. I learned they take ALOT of water.

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  #1361  
Old 12/28/11, 09:54 PM
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Heavyrebel, I am new to this myself but, try stacking your pile higher, shovel the ends up on top of the middle. I learned they take ALOT of water. Good luck.

How do I delete a post?

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  #1362  
Old 12/28/11, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coloneldad5 View Post
Ok, so now after a few days of heavy reading I have finally completed the assigned study material.

I've spoken with the wife about this and she is telling me that I am only learning something she's been trying to get me to recognize for a while. I don't know about that as I have been a believer in composting all along, but I guess it's the methods that she was trying to beat into me. Now I'm trying to figure out how and where I am going to get the necessary components to get started. As I am 8000 miles away at the moment and probably won't be home until spring time all I get to do for now is to dream of what I want to do.

As I don't think I'll be able to get much on to things this year, I am looking to set up the piles that will be used next year. My soil is already somewhat black decent, however I believe that it could use a good shot of compost to really spike it along. I am hoping that by this fall I can establish one or two piles (I'm looking at them being 60-70 yards long) and get them to start cooking for next spring. I hope to do this right where I plan on using it and then the plan would be to just spread it out and then work it in. Now that I've done the hard work I guess it's time to figure out the 'easy' part. That being I am slightly less equiped than frontrunner was starting out. I do have a Ford truck (3/4 ton) and shovels, but not much more. I'm hoping to find me a decent tractor with a frontloader which will make things a lot easier.

Well, I guess I have some big shoes (er piles) to fill as I try to jumpstart my homestead.
I think the best and cheapest tool you could aquire would be a manure fork. It simply beats a shovel to pieces. They're bout $35 and worth twice that. I can load 6-7n yards of material in about half the time it takes someone to load a pick up with a shovel. It takes me about the same time as someone loading 3-4 30 gallon trash cans. Love it when I can get loaded with a 3 to 7 yrd front end loader.
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  #1363  
Old 12/28/11, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coloneldad5 View Post
I've spoken with the wife about this and she is telling me that I am only learning something she's been trying to get me to recognize for a while.
I am totally in tune with this. I've been composting for many decades. Trying to get my DH into the compost frame of mind is another discussion. I'm lucky if I get a sheet compost on the gardens in the fall that I can work into the gardens come spring time.

DH will fill the manure spreader and go out to spread on our alfalfa field or our neighboring seed corn field instead of piling it up and letting it compost.

DH said he 'got it' after Carla Emery's husband explained it to him when Don & Carla were here in '03, but it didn't change DH's ways.

After Forerunner being here a few times, DH finally let a pile of manure & straw sit and stew. It's about half of what it was when DH piled it up... just need to get FR up here to tell him to spread it on the garden (instead of in the west pasture). Yes, I could tell him (and have) but it would mean more from FR ... besides, I need my carder back!!!
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  #1364  
Old 12/29/11, 02:18 AM
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I think I do have a manure fork somewhere, but will probalby have to get a few more so each of the kids can join in (as well as perhaps some of their friends ) I'll also have to look at Mudburns method of clearing for the truck and trailers. As soon as I can get home I'll be scouring the neighborhood for potential sources of C and N. How much C and N does it take to make a windrow 200' long, and 10' high?

I'm thinking a good trailer is in order as well.

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  #1365  
Old 12/31/11, 10:59 AM
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How endearing to see the conversations and progress that ensue in my absence.

I've been in Texas these last two weeks, drawing upon my extreme nature to box in a 16 by 32 cabin for Ernie and his family. Record time if I do say so, and the best job of squaring a steel roof that I've ever done.

The Texas drought didn't impress me much. It rained eight inches around the Brownwood area just before we arrived, and a couple inches while we were there.

There is a watershed ditch, of sorts, that runs through Ernie's land, and the flow from the heavy rains deposited quite a bit of vegetable matter and dried cow manure from the pasture ground upstream....so....presto, instant desert composting operation.
I insisted that we procure some five gallon buckets and pitchfork, ASAP, and we began to haul the moist and rich organic material from the "banks" of the occasional watershed. The pile grew quickly to a little over a pickup truck load. After that, we got busy building the cabin. I hope Ernie and the boys keep their pile going and build several more. There is certainly plenty of potential in the drought-stricken Texas for coming up with materials. There is also no better way to conserve water than to build enough compost mass to handle all the greywater and blackwater that the homestead can generate.....

Waste not/want not. I rest my case.

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  #1366  
Old 12/31/11, 04:35 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
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I cheated

My first compost pile has HEAT. Its only two weeks old and I cheated. All I had was leaves, old wet pinestraw and some small woodchips. No nitrogen other than what small amounts that came out of the kitchen . I bought a bag of ammonia nitrate and sprinkled it in as I built my pile.
It was either cheat or not start until spring and after reading this whole thread there was no way I was going to wait.

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  #1367  
Old 12/31/11, 06:14 PM
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We allow the occasional commercially manufactured catalyst.

Just don't be caught making a habit of it.

Have you looked into sawdust toilets ?
There's just nothing quite like home made......

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  #1368  
Old 12/31/11, 09:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forerunner View Post
We allow the occasional commercially manufactured catalyst.

Just don't be caught making a habit of it.

Have you looked into sawdust toilets ?
There's just nothing quite like home made......
Thanks for the Pass on my first compost pile, I'll try not to let you down in the future.

It was a tough decision to cheat with the ammonia nitrate but could not handle having all the brown carbon and not wanting to wait to start the compost process.
Looking for some sawdust now for outdoor P-bucket for a continuing source of nitrogen.
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  #1369  
Old 12/31/11, 11:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forerunner View Post
...
There's just nothing quite like home made......
I don't know if it has been mentioned yet in the thread, but y'all can download the PDF ebook by googling 'humanure handbook'.
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  #1370  
Old 01/01/12, 06:05 PM
 
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Sorry, I'll stick to the Free advice

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  #1371  
Old 01/05/12, 05:06 PM
 
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new composting pile

Have decided to give up the barrel composting and go bigger. Have some pics but I have no idea how to post them here. Any help?

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  #1372  
Old 01/05/12, 05:18 PM
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Go to Photobucket or another such pic hosting site and follow the yellow brick road.

Looking forward to the illustrations.

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  #1373  
Old 01/05/12, 07:09 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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I hope this works, here are some. The first is of the old barell, after getting some advice and finally listening, I will be giving this up and moving on to a larger pile.


The new bin is 6 ft wide, 5 ft high, and 5 ft wide. I have to keep everything neat and tidy as I live in a subdivision with restrictions.

Here are some of my new ingredients, 4 large truck loads of tree chips delivered for free.


And last is the garden spot. Three raised beds for now, and one more to put in for cucumbers.
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  #1374  
Old 01/05/12, 07:10 PM
 
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http://s1229.photobucket.com/albums/ee473/4crumleys/

cant get the pics to work, here is a link
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  #1375  
Old 01/05/12, 08:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oswego View Post
Thanks for the Pass on my first compost pile, I'll try not to let you down in the future.

It was a tough decision to cheat with the ammonia nitrate but could not handle having all the brown carbon and not wanting to wait to start the compost process.
Looking for some sawdust now for outdoor P-bucket for a continuing source of nitrogen.
Just do a trucker job. It was a real bummer to get dressed to walk 500 ft to the toilet. All truckers have at least one p bottle available. My pile gets a shot weekly of more than just an occasional I'm close to it dose.
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  #1376  
Old 01/05/12, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4crumleys View Post
http://s1229.photobucket.com/albums/ee473/4crumleys/

cant get the pics to work, here is a link
Let's see if I can help....







Glad you finally listened. Where did you get all the good advice ?

Excellent pictorial representations, by the way..........
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  #1377  
Old 01/05/12, 10:24 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Georgia
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adding more tommorrow

Will be going to get some horse manure and shaving mix tomorrow to add with my wood chips. Got any recommendations on a ratio of mix?

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  #1378  
Old 01/05/12, 10:29 PM
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Good question. A lot of the horse bedding I get is already pretty carbon rich.
If it smells like urea, and has adequate moisture, you might get away with a half and half mix with your wood chips. If there is only a light odor, you might try composting it in a separate pile for an object study of your own.

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  #1379  
Old 01/06/12, 11:13 AM
 
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compost pile done

The horse manure was fresh, wet, and mixed with shavings and straw. I mixed it at a 4:1 ration of manure to wood-chips, and supplemented it with 10 lbs of ammonium nitrate. Wet the whole pile down and will wait to see how it works.

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  #1380  
Old 01/06/12, 01:43 PM
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4crumleys, Great pictures, thanks.

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