Monday, August 27, 2012

nekkie's first bird kill + compost bin

After our butchering our squirrels on Saturday, I decided to treat Nekkie to a small piece of squirrel meat, hoping that it might awaken his predatory instincts beyond moles. Lo and behold, it totally worked and he brought back what we think was either a Downy, Hairy, or Red-Bellied woodpecker (we couldn't see the head to confirm which, because well, it wasn't attached anymore). I always find it funny how he's got to bring the bird to show us first before eating it -- and he eats the whole thing, save for the biggest feathers.

We rewarded him with some well-deserved homegrown kitty crack that I only recently uncovered in a moving box (you can see it all over his head in the monochrome picture). They say only 50% of cats react to the stimulating properties of catnip, but 100% of all the cats we've ever owned get higher than a kite on the stuff.

The previous owners of our property left a very hefty pile of random wood pieces in the barn, so I fished through it yesterday and brought down 16 boards to use for building a compost bin (I had to finally put my kitchen compost bucket outside because it was overflowing, and it's been killing me to just throw perfectly good compostable foodstuffs in the garbage).

Jaybird got to work building our mutually agreed upon design -- it's 36" high and approximately 48" square, with one end left partially open for easier sifting with a pitchfork. There's an approximate 2.5" gap between the boards for good air circulation, but I might line the inside with chicken wire if debris tends to fall through too much. Or I might use black garbage bags to line it if there ends up being too much circulation and to speed up the heating process. Or I might paint it black, but I sorta like the vintage-y look to it. I haven't decided whether to put some sort of lid on it yet.

There's really only one flat part of our yard, and it tends to be shady, plus we don't want it that close to the house, so we decided to situate it near the wood shed where it will get good sun for most of the day and shade only in the late afternoon. I don't think having it unleveled will be a problem.

We think the wood was the siding to the original farmhouse that used to live here, so we faced the painted sides outward in case there's lead in the paint, and Jaybird confirmed it's cedar wood, so it should last us a good long time. And it cost us absolutely nothing! (Jay already had the screws and tools necessary to put it together.)

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