Let there be nice dirt

Lately my compost bin has gotten pretty darn full. Combine that with the fact that I’m about to break open one of the last “virgin” beds on my hill of nasty rocky backfill (hey that rhymes – maybe I should name the thing Backfill Hill) and I have great need of some good soil amendment. If I had a horse nearby I would just steal all its poop, but my compost will be good for the soil as well. Unfortunately, since we have just the one giant bin, my compost is a heterogenous combination of perfectly beautiful chocolate soil peppered with revolting banana peels, soggy paper towels, and half rotten onion skins.

Enter my latest evening project – a compost screener. I got the idea for the design from this YouTube video – a frame that rests on top of the wheelbarrow so the screen itself can jiggle back and forth on wheels. Rather than having to scrape and scrape the shovel over the mesh, manually shifting stuff around so that all the good bits fall through, I can just shake the thing. I made a few design changes, like having the frame fit down over the wheelbarrow fairly snugly rather than resting on top of it, and using pretty down-and-dirty construction (no mitered corners over here, no sir) but otherwise all the glory goes to gunzmcgraw… or whoever he got his wheel-inspiration from.

Of course I got the wrong kind of wheels from Lowe’s – durn it, I didn’t see that they were swiveling casters – and I’ll have to go back. (Of course. When does any kind of project only necessitate a single trip to Lowe’s? Would that be breaking some universal law of inefficiency?) But I used scrap lumber & nails I had on hand, and so all together this project only cost me about $15. I think I will get about three wheelbarrowloads of compost (and storebought bags of good compost are about $5) so it ought to pay for itself right away.

I just can’t wait to get the right wheels and finish putting it together!

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