Cowgirl Up on LatigoLiz.com

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Shed Before and After

This shed is what we use for our manure composting and also as a run-in shed for horses. Take a look at what it was before we bought the place back in 2003:

The first year we moved here Ariel used the shed as her shelter unless it was super cold and icy. That first winter we ended up eventually putting her in the barn only when the ice and wind didn’t let up for 3 days. That was a long week as our son was only a few months old and we also got Buster, our yellow lab. Buster is exactly one month younger than the Little Man.

Anyway, once we started using the barn in the winter and had more than one horse (we have had as many as 3), the shed ended up being a full-time manure-composting factory. It worked quite well. Only problem...no way to get the compost out without a ton (literally) of manual labor. It worked great for a while since I spent time sifting the compost to use in the flower beds, herb garden, etc.

It became increasingly apparent that we needed a tractor and a manure spreader. The stars finally aligned and we were able to acquire both in the past year. This past weekend we put both the tractor and the spreader to work. After we did some demolition on the shed, we were easily able to extract the compost with the tractor and load it into the ground-driven manure spreader being towed behind GT (Grandpa’s Truck).

The whole system worked like a charm and within a matter of a couple of hours the shed was empty and ready to be converted back into a combination run-in and compost shed. Look for further updates on this project in the coming weeks.

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5 comments:

Leah Fry said...

I haven't had the horses long enough for it to have become a problem before now, but now I REALLY have to figure out some sort of composting plan. I do not have a shed or anything else -- I'd be starting from scratch. Any ideas? Whatever we end up doing, it needs to be free or really cheap. We do have a tractor, don't have a spreader, though we have a drag harrows.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

You know-we have a manure spreader and a little Ford 8N-I never thought about spreading the manure on my pasture. I drug it last fall to break the old poop up-that hadn't ever been done before-so it was kind of like spreading manure by the time I was done. But you just gave me a great idea for my extra poop.

Latigo Liz said...

leah and b.e.c.,

I highly recommend classes and materials from Horses For Clean Water. If you don’t do anything at all with your manure the absolute easiest thing you can do to start with is cover it. Keeps the moisture in when it’s dry out and keeps excess moisture out and water clean when it’s too wet out. Check out the HCW site for more information and pictures. There is a great tip sheet for sale strictly about composting and building bins/systems.

Flying Lily said...

Watch out for any metal on a horse shelter. My Johnnie has had two bad pasture injuries from corrugated metal on the outside of a run-in. I can't tell what you've got there and I hope it is not metal but....I'm just sayin. Great job moving the manure/compost and as LatigoLiz says, keeping all that clean is a nice responsible job. Way to go!

Latigo Liz said...

Thanks for the concern lily. It is metal siding, but edges are not exposed and if they are, they will be dealt with before the fillies get here. Babies are notorious for injuries as most folks know, and these will be our first crack at having youngsters around. Very exciting!