Livestock, Urban Homesteading and Self-Reliance

Behind the Bar

Behind the Bar sounds like a movie title, doesn’t it?  Something to do with prisons and lawyers…or perhaps a cocktail waitress who finds love.  Since I haven’t anything to do with any of those, and none of them are in keeping with the theme of this website, this post will not be nearly that dramatic.  The bar I’m referring to here is a 12 pound piece of steel known as a fencing bar.

I’ve gotten to know this simple piece of equipment very well over my years of homesteading.  You could say we have a love/hate relationship.  I love that it allows me to dig post holes in our rocky ground, I hate the process of digging them.  I’ve learned to allow the weight of the bar to do the work.  I’ve learned when to use the pointed end (breaking up rocks that are too big to lever out) and when to use the chisel side (when the rocks are small the chisel side pulls more dirt loose so the digging goes more quickly).  I’ve learned to pace myself and to get lost in the slow rhythm of drop, pull, and turn.  I’ve learned to wear gloves so I don’t blister my hands.  I’ve learned that my wrists and shoulders are going to complain for a couple days after the effort.

The post hole I dug this week is for the corner post of the new compost bins.  We have chosen a spot that gives us easy access from both the paddock and the rabbit shed.  The old compost bin was not well planned, in fact, it wasn’t planned at all but simply a couple of pallets I set up in the far corner of the yard.  I had to carry everything from the paddock through the gate to dump it and the dropping trays from the rabbit shed also had to be hauled over there so I could wash them down every day.  Since there was only one, the newest manure was simply piled on top of the older compost, making it very hard to harvest.  Once my pile began to over flow, the chickens would spread everything all over, so I not only had to shovel the manure once into the pile, but over and over again.  I believe hard work is good for the soul, but there are limits…..

The new area will have two bins.  Once can age while I’m filling the second bin.  Once the second bin is full, the first bin can be emptied and the whole process begins again.  The sides will be high enough to prevent the chickens from getting into it and the fence lined with chicken wire so compost doesn’t fall through the cracks.  The front will have removable boards to allow for easy harvesting.  I have to admit I’m pretty excited to get this project done.  Tony spent Memorial day building the fence and finishing that side of the rabbit shed.  I was so happy.

Some women like diamonds, give me a good compost bin any day.


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