Saturday, March 12, 2011

Making Mulch...

One of the very first things we did when we moved out here was to have the tree guys come out and clear the land of overgrown brush and cut the hanging limbs and vines from our trees.  Unfortunately, because we were in a burn ban for the county, I was not comfortable with letting the guys start a massive bonfire to get rid of the debris.  So, the plan was that the crew would come back once the burn ban was lifted so they could burn.    
The burn ban continues and months later, we still have two huge piles of tree limbs and brush in the back yard.  Forget how it looks, the really bad thing is, if a fire were to start, these piles would burn for days.  We have considered a few options like paying someone else to come out and load everything up into a huge trailer and haul it away.  

We had one guy who brings in some sort of chipping equipment and turns everything into mulch but I guess once he saw the piles decided it wasn't worth giving us an estimate.  I suppose there is a fine line of cost versus pain here.  If we simply wait it out, the guys who cut our trees will be happy to come back when the burn ban is lifted and manage the fire.  That costs us nothing since it was included in what we paid them to do the trees, but as the months go by, we have these two large piles of branches.  
We also looked into the idea of renting one of those huge commercial chipping machines, you know, like the landscaping people use.  We decided that for what it would cost us to rent one, we could buy the smaller home version.  Yea, it will take us longer to tackle it but we can take our time and we will have the use of this things for years to come.  So, we are now in the process of making our own mulch.  
All the really huge limbs that could be turned into really good firewood were hauled away by a friend of ours.  He has one of those firewood splitting machines and several barbecue pits that will make good use of it.  The brush that is left has to be sorted before we can turn it into mulch.  You have the small stuff that can be tossed right into the chipper, bigger limbs up to about 2 inches in size that are fed into a different chute and then the stuff that is too big for this machine.  We have started a few other stacks of firewood that we will use for a fire pit we are going to have out here.  That out to make for some good marshmallow roasting and such - once we can start a fire legally!
In the end, we are depositing bags full of mulch into the beds with bushes and such.  I prefer this to just burning it all or filling a landfill with something we can use.
This is me riding off into the sunset with the chipper in tow.  Good times.

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