Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I guess maybe EVERYTHING has value...

In response to last week's bitchfest about a local clean-up gig, I got an email from M saying, in effect, "You're dumping that stuff in the boonies? Are you nuts? Bring it to my place and dump it next to the manure pile!"

The thought that this crap, consisting of juniper shards, old straw, dead grass and tumbleweeds and a great deal of mixed-in dirt might have value had honestly never occurred to me. But M's been getting into hugelculture, which is a way of amending "soil" so it would contain nutrients and hold moisture. Once he mentioned it, piling it up and saving it seemed the obvious thing to do. Should have thought of it myself.

So now I'm starting a new pile, next to the manure I bring to M's place every time I take M's tractor to J&H's. Can't hurt, I guess.

Speaking of junk, I wish those neolithic aborigines would stop leaving their busted Tupperware all over the place.

Got an early start this morning, to dodge the heat. On the way to Gitmo the boys got all worked up because it seemed like we scared up wildlife around every corner of the wash. Saw a big bobcat near the target stands and four or five rabbits. Must have been a lively spring in the burrows because it seems like every cottontail is a little one.

Worked at filling the trailer till I was staggering, then drove it to M's place and dumped the load. It's been hitting mid-nineties before noon for the past few days. Yesterday afternoon I rigged a hillbilly shower in my yard because the bath-in-the-sink thing hasn't been getting it done. Fortunately there's always a late-afternoon breeze that cools things right down.

1 comment:

Plug Nickel Outfit said...

I heard about hugelculture several months ago at John Robb's Resilient Communities blog. My first thought was that it might not work as well in arid desert areas - not enough moisture for the decomposition. Of course - the example I saw was the use of entire trees - rather than smaller bits of organic debris.

I did start a brush pile last year near the horse manure piles myself - wanted to get an idea on how fast some of the material would break down. Every other day when I hose down the manure piles to keep the red wriggler worms happy - I give the brush pile a spraying too.

I haven't dug into it yet to see what kind of breakdown is happening - but the smaller local wildlife has been using it for shelter. I keep expecting one day to find some enormous rattler lying beside the pile! So far the most interesting resident of the brush pile is a Madrean alligator lizard. It's somewhere in limbo in evolution between a lizard and a snake - despite having four legs it moves side to side like a snake!

I never really thought of composting brush and organic debris as hugelculture - I tried it more in mind of something Joel Salatin had written about turning traditional outputs back into inputs. Nowadays almost all of the kitchen and garden outputs either go to vermiculture or the brushpile to be used as inputs for the gardening and overall soil improvement. Likewise with ashes from the woodstove and just about any other thing that'll decompose!