• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

The Bone Yard  RSS feed

 
S Haze
Posts: 229
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
12
duck forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Today while looking out over my farm I made an important realization. In all of my sketches and lists for site plans I've never included a bone yard or considered its functions or how they could stack up.

Pretty much any farm or industrious business has one, the scrap yard, junk heap, row of obsolete or broken stuff out in the grove, or what have you. For innovators and tinker-ers it's a place where failed or obsolete projects go or where that "good deal" on that thing you plan on making into another thing might sit around in for years. At my place my goal is to keep this to a minimum but I'm willing to face the fact that it might not completely disappear and it probably shouldn't. After all sometimes you might come up with the perfect use for that cast iron tub you've been saving and it's awesome because it saves a ton of energy or helps you produce more food.

I'm not an advocate of keeping around a bunch of crap leaching out old motor oil and toxic slime but having a store of resources kept in a responsible manner for future projects can greatly reduce costs for projects making them possible when they might otherwise not be.

So, again what functions besides being a wonderful store of materials and inspirations (invention is really the mother of necessity you know!) does this sprawling junk heap have? And how can these functions be stacked in ways to improve the bone yard as well as the rest of the farm and it's many inhabitants?

To start the ball rolling I've seen stuff left out in pastures before where the sheep or cows keep stuff from becoming buried in weeds. This has got to be only scratching the surface though!
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
21
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I noticed awhile back that cats would always prowl around the farm bone yard. They make great places for mice to hide out. Bugs and newts and stuff too. I guess you could always use them as bug traps.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
Posts: 1379
Location: northern California
46
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was once complimented by a visitor on having the best organized junkyard they had ever seen. It's been a resource to me for many years, wherever I've lived, for years. A few loose ideas:
* If you live in a naturally forested climate, put the junkyard in the trees. Although you will get a slow mulch of leaves and twigs falling, you will not get nearly such a rank mess of weeds, vines, brambles, etc. completely burying everything which happens all the time with the earlier stages of succession in moist climates.
*Plastics resist rain, and fabrics resist sun. Thus, fabric over plastic makes a great durable cover for perishable items like lumber in long-term storage. The other important point is to keep such items up off the ground. Common pallets will work for a year or two, but they are mostly untreated and will compost away to nothing in a moist climate.
*I would usually keep the area sorted by categories....a pile of lumber, another of miscellaneous metal, an area of long pipes and stakes standing up, a pile of carpets, a stack of glass and windows, and so on. This makes stuff easy to find and your stash will be a lot more useful.
*Periodically, the junkyard would get a purge. If I hadn't had even a plan for something for a couple of years, knew of nobody else that could use it, or it wasn't an item of regular use or had at least a secondary use (like breaking up old lumber for firewood), then I'd move it on. Frequently by inviting all my friends and acquaintances over to go through the "about to go" pile first.
 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 555
Location: Mid-Michigan
28
bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Landon Sunrich wrote:I noticed awhile back that cats would always prowl around the farm bone yard. They make great places for mice to hide out. Bugs and newts and stuff too. I guess you could always use them as bug traps.


Rabbits also love junk, and taste better than cats.
 
S Haze
Posts: 229
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
12
duck forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good tips so far, thank you!

A well organized bone yard by trees can be good habitat for many types of critters. I know that specific functions will depend on what's being stored. Maybe ideas that apply to specific common items would help. What does everyone have?

What I have either at home or the farm I work at: various pieces of farm machinery or parts, auger tubes, plastic tile and sewer pipe, cement blocks, field rocks, "urbanite", vehicles or pieces of, wheels/ rims, tin, wood/poles/brush.

I inadvertently made a perfect home for a mink right next to the barn where the chickens and fowl lived, oops! There are about a dozen pallets of cement blocks and the mink took up residence in tunnels underneath them. What a great life for a mink! Abundant food, the river near by... It got me thinking though that I could get a pond well stocked with fish I could set up mink habitat adjacent to it and have a chance for a happy arrangement as long as I could get the mink to understand what's off-limits. I've learned, according to wiki, that minks are territorial so if I could get one to live on the farm in a benign manner I shouldn't have to worry about any others except during their mating season.

Another bone yard function is that it can be a great place for children to play and imagine in as long as their relative safety is taken into account. I have many fond memories of playing with junk and scrap materials out in the grove with friends or by myself despite the many hazards such as broken glass and rusty nails sticking out of boards that wouldn't need to be there.
 
S Haze
Posts: 229
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
12
duck forest garden trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Revisiting this posting just gave me another idea; a hops yard!

The U-of-M is starting a breeding program to develop midwest hops varieties and there are a few small hops farms starting up. The 10-20 foot tall trellises could make nice outdoor room dividers or stalls to organize the inventory in.

ps

and welcome to permies Al Pine!
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
289
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think that every homestead needs a decent bone yard.
So often, a project calls for a piece of angle iron, a few pipe fittings, or any other whatchamacallit. Besides saving some money, it often can save making a trip to town, which often spells the end of the project for the day.

The closer you live to the suburbs, the neater you will need to keep it looking. This also helps find things 'that I know I have somewhere'. If it looks too junky, neighbors & passer bys will begin complaining. If you have a nice assortment of all sorts of goodies, you may become the go-to-guy for neighbors - I have spent hours socializing around junk piles. You will begin knowing the do-it-yourself, resourceful neighbors, rather than the wasteful ones who are filling our land fills. In fact, many of these wasteful ones may begin calling you when they want to clean out their barn or shed - a great new source of treasures.

Waste not, want not.

 
Tim Malacarne
Posts: 226
Location: South central Illinois, USA
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

I'm lucky to have 2 neighbors, each with Guy Heaven-grade boneyards...
 
Ernie Schmidt
Posts: 82
Location: Olympia, Washington
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm along the same lines as John. Nothing is better then pulling a length of angle iron or pipe out of your boneyard when needing one. I found over the years to be careful not to make the boneyard where I just throw anything made of metal because I "might need it some day" and it becomes a junkyard. Years of farm metal fabrication experience has taught me to have two locations, one as a boneyard and one as a scrap metal area. Sometimes separating the two classes of metal just comes down to a judgment call. I know I will be getting some cash for the scrap metal someday when I go to the local scrap yard so it makes it easier at times to toss stuff on that pile. The scrap metal area also has the aluminum, brass and copper recycle barrels. Even the tiniest pieces of nonferrous metals are tossed into the barrels, it adds up! Every few years a trip to the local scrap yard yields a really nice "chunk of change".
 
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent - Eleanor Roosevelt. tiny ad:
Book Review Grid
https://permies.com/wiki/31762/Book-Review-Grid
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!