Sunday, March 15, 2009

Barn cleaning and composting

I thought today would be a barn-cleaning day, but it wound up being a composting day, as well. That should have been obvious, since the stalls were a very big part of what needed to be cleaned. Normally, we just dump the straw and poop under fruit trees or in the garden, but we decided to try hot composting this time, so we are making a very long pile. It will need to be turned every day or two, and with a little luck, nature will take its course, and the pile will heat up to 150 degrees to kill the bad bacteria in the poop, as well as any seeds in there -- and voila, we'll have compost in a few weeks!

We still have a lot to do. We finished about 25% of the stalls. In the summer, when we clean stalls weekly, it only takes about 15 minutes to clean one. In the winter, however, we can't push the wheelbarrow through the snow, so we wind up just putting clean straw on top of the dirty straw, and after a few months, it's a big, heavy mess that takes a couple hours to clean.

Mike and I also worked on cleaning the pump room in the smaller barn. It's attached to the office, where I spent several nights this winter waiting for goats to kid. There is a stove in there, so we have everything we need to use it as a soap-making kitchen, which is what we'll be doing tomorrow. Late this afternoon, we cleaned it up and got it organized.

Just like yesterday, I'm exhausted, but I love it. I'm getting sun. I'm getting exercise. And I'm feeling more energized than I have in months! No doubt the weather has something to do with it. It was in the low 60s today, and tomorrow's forecast is for the upper 60s! So, we'll have more barn cleaning and will get started with the soap making.


tonya fedders said...

Hey Deborah,
I didn't know that you could compost in a few weeks.. is there anything else that needs to take place other than turning it every couple of days? Glad you're enjoying the change of seasons there, it has been beautiful out!

Deborah said...

At the composting seminar I attended in January, I learned the difference between hot and cold composting. Just piling stuff up and leaving it is cold composting. The key to hot compost is getting the pile up to 150 degrees or so, because that kills the bacteria and any weed seeds. It won't look like compost, but it will be safe to put into the garden at that point. This is the first time we've done it, so I'm not an expert by any means. Usually we just pile it up and forget about it or spread it out and forget about it. I have learned that spreading it out and forgetting about it is bad, because a lot of weed seed survive digestion and start growing. A hot compost pile needs to be 2-3 feet high. I'm sure we'll learn a lot more as time goes on!

Nancy K. said...

OOOOOOOOOOO! I want to make soap!!!

Mom L said...

I'm glad the weather is good for you, but all the work you're doing makes me tired!!!



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