Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesdays are for Making Blisters

I had a load of compost delivered this morning (8 cu yards, which is a LOT of compost). I spent the morning vacillating between filling garden beds, supervising our backyard door construction, and installing the 4 rainbarrels we earned from the Recycling Association of Minnesota. Here's this weekend's Elk River site and Laura "earning" a rainbarrel. It was a tough job, but someone had to do it! In fairness, she did work hard when there was work to be done.

Today was a different story. Talk about hard work! The compost hauling and shoveling nearly did me in today. We have 10 raised beds total - the one that's in the front of the house and the one with the peas & beans were already filled earlier this month. The other eight need some serious filling and will suck up all of the 8 cubic yards of compost - and then some. I filled two of the eight beds completely and got a great start on a third (the long one that stretches all the way across the back of the garden area). So I have five and a half left. My goal is to have them done by the time Laura's friends come tomorrow night. Yikes. My hands ache from today's shoveling and cannot bear the thought of tomorrow morning's job.

What is it about wheelbarrows and shovels that entice ugly, mean blisters to angrily pop out of soft, delicate hand skin? I wore gloves today. I did, I swear! But I still managed to come away with four reddish-white burning mounds of misery protruding from my upper palms.

To take my mind off of the pain, here are some pictures of our rainbarrels and compost bins:

Compost bins: large for everything except food, small for food and bunny poop/dried alfalfa hay mix

One of the rainbarrels, pre-installation.


Next up: How a Window Became a Door: A Story of Courage, Hope and Transformation.


  1. How does one go about earning a rain barrel? I've been thinking about putting in a rain barrel. My plan was to wait for a free 55 gallon drum from CraigsList, but your barrels are much nicer looking.

  2. We volunteered with the Recycling Association of MN at two of their Rainbarrel/Compost Bin events. People purchased the barrel/bin online and then picked them up at a specific location, and RA-MN needed helpers to run the pick-up sites smoothly. Laura & I helped out at the Minnetonka and Elk River events. I worked two shifts, she worked three shifts, so we got a compost bin and four barrels. They are really nice - retail they'd be over a hundred dollars each. They came with everything needed to set them up (except the extendable downspouts, those I got at Menards - I could've just cut my spouts but this way I didn't have to cut anything).

    RA-MN does have a really good discount for people buying them - $55 for the compost bins and $65 for the barrels (there are 2 different designs to choose from). And if you live in certain counties, there are rebates too. Not Hennepin though. But it's still way cheaper than buying one retail.

    Best of luck with finding a free 55 gallon drum on Craigslist - rain barrels / unfinished drums are really popular now and they sell fast, so people don't give the drums away much anymore because they know they can sell them just as quickly as giving them away. Unless they held motoroil, paint, or something else that makes them not good for using as rain barrels. But you might find good drums for cheap, like $20 or $30. Of course then you'd still have to purchase other materials to finish them up.

    Whichever way you do it, rain barrels are a great investment. Each time it rains, I'll be saving about 220 gallons of water. Even if it only rained twice a month every month now through October, that's 2640 gallons of water!