24 Carrot Rabbitry

City-fied Self-Sufficiency

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Posts Tagged ‘barrel’

Homemade compost tumbler

I’ve been wanting a compost tumbler.  We generate enough yard, rabbit, and kitchen waste, I should be able to make some slammin’ compost!

Where my uncle works, they get plenty of things in 55-gallon metal drums, so we were able to get one for free (Thank you, Uncle’s boss!).  It had some sort of solvent/denatured alcohol stuff in it, so we let it air for a long, long time.  Months.  I know these barrels aren’t normally favored for this, but by the time Shay started working on it, the residue was gone.  It just smelled of rusty drum.  Some cement, some wood, some wheels, and some hardware, and Shay has turned it into a compost tumbler for me.

My new compost tumbler!

It rides on wheels, and is turned by a handle on the side. I do have to be careful as I am bringing the handle back up and around, that I don't lift it off of the wheels. Occasionally, it does start to roll off track, but, as long as I keep an eye on one of the wheels, I catch it quickly and just reverse the direction until it pops back into place.

Holes drilled in the ends, and in a row along the bottom, ensure good air flow through the contents and also help release excess water.

A file made these edges safe. I don't run my fingers along them on purpose, but I shouldn't get cut on them by accident.

I’ve already filled it up with dropped hay, bunny berries, garden trimmings, and such.  Now I just need to paint it black!

I rotate it every day or two, spraying the contents with water when needed.  We don’t have a lawn mower (my grandmother made my uncle get rid of it so he wouldn’t mow the yard anymore because of his age — so someone else cuts the yard), so I can’t grind the stuff up before I put it in there.  This will make it take longer to turn to compost than if I was able to shred everything up really fine.  Oh, well.

Shay admits that it cost more in the end than he expected because of the hardware (had to be suitable for outdoors), but I have a compost tumbler, and I’m happy! :)

Raising Catfish in a Barrel

Yeah, really, apparently.  There isn’t much record on the internet of lots and lots of people doing this, but we’re planning to give it a try!  From what I’ve read, you can actually raise 40 channel catfish from fingerlings to 1 – 1 1/2 lbs in a 55-gallon drum.

It isn’t easy, and it requires dedication.  For starters, you have to be willing to pull 15 gallons of water from the bottom of the barrel EVERY DAY, and replace it with fresh, dechlorinated water.  This is water you have drawn the day before and allowed to sit for 24 hours, in a place that gets sun in the daytime.  So you have to have something to do with the water you pull out (garden?) and a container to allow 15 gallons of water (per barrel) to dechlorinate.

You also need to make the catfish barrel mobile, so that you can put it in the sun or in the shade, depending on the temperature.  You also need something to oxygenate the water — a bubbler, or sprayer, or something.

You need something to feed to the catfish.  Dog food will foul the water.  But you can feed fish pellets or earthworms.  You can raise the earthworms yourself in worm bins.

Picture this:

  • Our rabbits eat (eventually) greens and such from the garden
  • We take the rabbit manure (bunny berries) and put it into the worm bin
  • We take the rabbit urine and dilute it and water the garden (think NITROGEN)
  • The worms eat the bunny berries and reproduce
  • We feed the worms to the catfish
  • We change 15 gallons of fish water per day, and water the garden (more NITROGEN)
  • We eat the fish
  • The fish water and bunny urine water make the garden go crazy
  • Our rabbits eat greens and such from the garden

Here’s where we’re getting our ideas:

http://www.stevequayle.com/News.alert/06_Prep_tips/Raising.Catfish.in.Barrel.pdf

http://yardstead.com/Urban-Homesteading/raising-catfish-in-a-barrel.html (same page, but not in .pdf format)

http://www.ehow.com/how_4474959_raise-catfish-barrel.html

And for some warning about what happens if something unexpected comes up (like an early baby!) and you can’t take care of the barrel:  http://www.freewebs.com/clarkshomestead2/catfishinabarrel.htm

So we’ll be giving it a shot.  Barrels need to be food-safe, and I hear you can get them from the local dairy.

It’s all about being a little more self-sufficient in uncertain times.  The weak link is the availability of catfish fingerlings.  No fingerlings, no fish to fry.  Or bake.

And, of course, there’s the fact that I don’t yet have a garden from which the rabbits can eat greens… and the fact that I probably don’t have enough yard here to grow all the food the rabbits need, PLUS enough for us.  Not sure on that one.  But I do need to get the garden going.