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Moving Mountains!!!

While riding home the other day I noticed something unusual off to the side of the road. It was a huge pile, no more like a mountain of leaves!  They had been bagged and appeared to be headed for the landfill. I pulled in and knocked on the door of the property owner. The door cracked barely open and a small lady with a soft voice said hello. After exchanging greetings I pointed to the mountain in her yard and asked about it. She informed me that I was welcome to take as many of the bags I wished. I thanked her and began to work. I was going to move that mountain!

Equipped nothing but leather gloves, a truck & trailer, and will power I went after my goal. Loading the wet bags on a frozen day was a challenge. As I unloaded the bags of biomass, I staged them in locations that would make it easy to spread. Three large piles sit waiting to be applied. Over 50 bags total is a fair estimate. I plan to use some of them as brown material in compost, sheet mulching, and biotowers. The soil I started with here is sandy and will benefit greatly from the added biomass. Worms, fungi, and bacteria will move in and break them down into beautiful soil very quickly. That beautiful soil will be the foundation of my permaculture food forest. That food forest is going to be a reality!

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Use what you have to get what you want!

What did I want?  A worm bin! 

My path to permaculture has lead me to appreciate what these little creatures can do. Worms help with fertility, proper moisture levels, soil aeration, bacterial and fungal inoculation just to name a few of their benefits.

I took a survey of scraps from previous projects. My rabbit and chicken tractor projects did not leave me with alot of extra materials I knew. Alot of materials thankfully weren’t required for my worm bin. Some old boards, a piece of tin, and some sewing together of 1/2 in hardware clothe scraps made enough materials to make my first worm bin for FREE!)

  1. First, we built a simple box frame from some old weathered lumber.
  2. Next, we covered one side with 1/2″ hardware clothes to prevent predation from underneath. 
  3. Then, we layered in our eggshells, chicken manure, cardboard, shredded paper, and compost.
  4. Finally, we covered it with a piece of tin and a weight.

I had some great help that day that was interested in learning basic carpentry which was great to share. It’s unclear if I’m happier about having accomplished a goal or that it is was upcycled from what most would consider useless!