2009/03/28–Compost, Road Tripping, Reclaimed Item Dog Bed, and more

Well, I’ve been busy, even if I haven’t posted about it.

This morning I got up and constructed a new compost bin. I had a 55-gallon drum on a pivot that someone made for me right after I moved. The main problem with it is that there are no handles, so once it got more than about one-third of the way full it was difficult to turn. Since I couldn’t turn it, I couldn’t mix the contents very well, so they didn’t aerate and the compost wasn’t a very good quality.

So I used a coupon I had for TSC (Tractor Supply Company) and put it to use buying materials for the bin. I purchased 6 step-in posts for electric fencing ($2.50 each, plus tax). I didn’t use metal posts because they’re more expensive, harder to put in, need additional fence clips to install, and are a bit overkill for this project. If you have a TON of compost to make, they’d probably be better. I also used 2-foot chicken wire (1″ grid). 4-foot would be better, but again, I have a small operation going on here, so it’s unnecessary at this time. 2′ chicken wire is about $10 for a 25-foot roll, and  4-foot was around $15 for 25′.

I made this bin with a single separator in the middle so I could just pull the seperator and rake the contents from one side to the other easily. Another option would be to make one square bin, then construct another square bin off the original bin so you can shovel easily from one side to the other. Do whatever works for you.

The pile has about 2″ of straw on the bottom to allow good air flow under the pile to aid in decomposition. On top of that I piled on the contents of my drum. I have dried leaves and newspaper to mix in with it as well.

The dogs are unimpressed by my handiwork, but I’m happy. I plan to have a small garden this year using flower pots to keep the plants safely up and away from dog pee.

Road Tripping: Ranger got his first camp out with Beau and me when we traveled to Ann Arbor to see Jonathan Coulton, with opening act Paul and Storm. He took it like a trooper and had a lot of fun snuggling up with me. On that trip I also used my REI dividend to purchase a car camping tent to use when I go on the road for dog shows and family visits. Side note: if you have a chance to see either JoCo or Paul and Storm in concert, it is well worth the time and money. At the very least, check out their sites for some fun and geeky music.

Beau and Ranger went with me to Milford, OH last weekend to do another UKC dog show. Beau won Best of Breed in both shows on Saturday, then went on to place Group 4 of 9 breeds under Judge Diana Allen, and Group 2 of 8 Breeds under Judge Joe Allen. On Sunday, Ranger got his second competative win toward his Champion title under Judge Sandra Shaw by winnng Best of Breed. He went on to win Group 3 of 6 breeds. Beau was tired by the end of the day, so I showed just Ranger, but he didn’t place in the Group during the second show. He still needs one more win for his Champion title, but this is really good for his age.

I had an old poly foam mattress pad that had some holes and wear spots. I folded it into the shape and size I wanted, wrapped it up in a dog blanket and–voila. Beau has a nice new pad in the bottom of his wire crate. I started with a full/queen sized pad and foled it to 1/4 its original size and wrapped it in what I think is a twin sized blanket (a thrift store find). It’s about 4″ thick and 42″ long x 28″ wide. He seems to like it–it’s like the orthopedic foam pads you pay $40+ for, but this one was just a few dollars. Even if you bought a mattress pad new it would be much less expensive than buying a commercial crate pad. This might be an option if you have a bed cover with yucky filling that needs to be replaced. Ranger will get one when he stops tearing up his bedding. Until then he gets just blankets.

And a quick reminder, tonight is Earth Hour night. At 8:30 pm local time (wherever you are). I will be taking a picture, but I don’t know yet if I’ll have access to make a live blog post. In any case, it’s a cool project.

*I appologize for the quality of the pictures. I took them with my camera phone because I didn’t have my big camera handy.

Music Compost
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