Saturday, October 24, 2009

Making a Compost Box

Finally got around to building my compost box and thought I'd post it since there is a lack of decent plans (at least frugal plans...) available on the internet. This design worked out well for me: 3' wide, 3'tall, and 2'wide. This means all you need is:

2 2x4x6 (4 legs, 3' long)
8 1x6x8 (12 3' front and back, 12 2' sides)
1 small box screws

Be sure to use pressure treated wood rated for exterior applications. Also, screw the sides to the 2x4 legs (do not nail). Use double-dipped or galvanized screws or they'll rust in no time and you'll be re-building the box a second time. I made the front and back portions first (be sure to use a square). Look at the pictures closely wrt how the slats attach to the legs: be sure to leave an overhang on the ends of the front and back so the side slats will fit in snugly. No need for a cover since the box is deep enough to generate good heat without one, plus an open top gives ready access to rain and oxygen, both of which accelerate decomposition. Do not screw the bottom slat on the front because you'll want to shovel out the good schtank from that access point. Also, I left an inch or so around the bottom so that water can seep out.

After you load the box say a quarter full with leaves and whatknot, be sure to put a couple shovel fulls of good dirt in to add the healthy micro organisms which are necessary for proper decomposition. I put my box outside my back door and close to the garden. This allows me to easily recycle kitchen scraps as well as garden material. After I put the spent broccoli, cabbage, and squash plants in the box, I will fill the rest up with leaves, leaving a few inches on top for kitchen scraps. Decomposed leaves are basically potash, and there's not a better/cheaper way to keep your garden and plants well fed. The compost box should be turned occaisionally for uniform decomposition.

Total cost for the compost box was $24.70 - but I already had the screws. Still, the total cost should be under $30 for anyone.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Siding Job is Done, Broccoli Cometh

The good news is after playing hide and seek with the rain for the last 2 weeks I finally finished siding the section of the house which I've been toiling on. The bad news is less than 1/4 of the house is finished. Ever start a job and the idea sounds so good only to realize you're in for a whole helluva lot more work than you envisioned? I bet it takes me another 2-3 years to finish siding the entire house. I could probably finish it next summer if I didn't like fly-fishing so much, but that ain't gonna happen. This section was the worst in that it had six windows and framing the windows really slows you down. However, two of the other sections go two stories high and I still have not figured out how I am going to do those sections without building some sort of scaffolding. All that said, I am very happy with the way the siding looks and it is an air tight seal and ready for whatever winter throws at me this year. The combination of the siding and the insulation I laid down in the attic should mean I burn alot less wood in the ole wood stove this year. Let's hope so! By the way, the gutter in the picture looks screwy because i stuck a couple pieces of wood behind it so she wouldn't fall down when the rain came (and of course it was coming...). The brackets have since been installed.

All the rain we had a couple weeks ago plus the lack of any sun really put the ka-bash on my squash and output has fallen dramatically. However, the broccoli is thriving. We have a slight freeze coming this weekend, but my buddy tells me the brocolli will do ok and slight freezes actually make it sweeter. Him and his wife dip their garden broccoli in Ken's Sweet Vidilia Onion salad dressing. Any worms you may encounter are added protein ;) I still have hope for the cabbage, but unlike the broccoli, it seems to need a little more sun which is something we haven't had much of this year. I sure hope it's not a rainy dreary gray winter!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Simple Plan to Fix America

In this post I will lay out a campaign platform for anyone wishing to run for the House or Senate willing to fix our broken "capitalistic democracy". No country can be strong without a strong middle class and a strategic energy policy. So, the central theme in this strategy is to strengthen the middle class by:

1) Becoming less dependent on foreign oil.

2) Reindustrializing America by leveraging its abundant, clean, and cheap natural gas reserves in the transportation sector and implementing a strategic, long-term, comprehensive energy policy like this one:

3) Implementing a flat income tax. No loopholes, lawyers, or accountants. You make it, you pay it. You make a $25 million dollar reward bonus for bankrupting your company, you pay the tax man. You have 3 kids and make $50k, you don't.

4) A consumption based sales tax. You buy a $2 million dollar yacht, you pay. You buy a $300 canoe, you don't.

5) Pay down the debt by intelligently setting rates on items 3. and 4. such that the very wealthy pay their fair share, and the middle class are not overburdened.

6) Institute term limits in Congress.

7) Campaign Finance reform. Kick all lobbyists out of the halls of Congress when it is in session. We must keep corporate money out of legislation (or at least TRY to).

8) Abolish the Federal Reserve and go back to a gold and silver monetary standard.

9) Break up the NYC/Wall Street Financial "inner circle" that controls both regulation and regulation enforcement. Seek jail terms not only for those outside the government, but those inside as well.

10) Bring the troops home! Stop fighting oil wars and wasting the country's wealth abroad. Scale down defense expenditures abroad and instead strengthen our home borders, ports, and infrastructure.

That's it. That is all there is to it.