so I'm doing some work on his barn. it's a corrugated metal barn. ugly. he tore down the old chicken house and put the corrugated metal from from it into the rafters of this new (25 years old) barn along with some plywood and a lot of cardboard. so imagine a ceiling made of those three materials.
then he tossed a whole bunch of wool on top of that ceiling. my best guess is that he did this to insulate a little bit. my uncle guessed that it was to quiet the sound of hail storms. chances are good that only he will ever know why he did it.
on my way to making the barn a more usable space, I'm tearing that ceiling out. it's obnoxious work. I'm about a third done and I've probably got a cubic yard of filthy 20-year-old wool already. so what do I do with it?
my first thought was mulch. then I found a bar of insecticide that my grandpa also tossed up there. can't make out enough of the label to tell what it is, but it does say not to let children play with it. I don't know what else he put up there that might be toxic, but my grandpa wasn't averse to using some nasty chemicals. the wool is absolutely full of grain husks, so I'm assuming it's at least not immediately toxic to rodents.
so, what do you think? safe for mulch? should I compost it? landfill? hazardous waste site? before anyone suggests it, a person would have to be more than a little bit of a nutter to attempt cleaning and carding and spinning this stuff. I am not that kind of crazy.
Most recent insecticide is in the organophosphate family, which is relatively quick to decompose and can probably be composted with the cardboard.
Anything with a Dr. Seuss drawing is probably made with heavy metals. There's some stuff that really does belong in the hazardous waste dump.
what I'm really worried about is what I haven't found a label for. I wouldn't put it past my grandpa to have sprinkled or sprayed some other nasties up there.
Jami McBride wrote:
I don't know . . . how does it smell? Like wool, earth, mold or chemicals?
smells like animal urine.
there's an awful lot of dust up there, too, but it isn't dust. the particles are much bigger, maybe just a little bit smaller than amaranth seed only much lighter and dark grey. strange stuff.
anyhow, I'm leaning toward feeling better about this stuff. 25+ years is a while. not confident enough to mulch with it, but maybe compost it.
there's still this voice in the back of my head: remember the oil filters you dug up. remember the asbestos you found. remember all the buried asphalt rubble. remember you found a streetlamp buried directly over a water pipe junction, for crying out loud. maybe you get the picture; my grandpa got a little... um... funny sometimes.
That sounds like a reasonable amount of potential biomass, seems a bit of a shame to just call toxic -- though it sounds like you have very good reasons to be suspicious of its potential nastiness. Little grey pellets.....geeze.
We found the melted and nebulous remains of a burnt up house digging a hole the other day...rural soil/general biomass remediation is a reality that we need to deal with in active and conscious ways, not just send "somewhere else." In my obnoxious opinion.
I'm all for taking responsibility for this land—that's kind of the whole point—but with limited resources I'm going to have to choose my battles. certainly doesn't feel good to make a dump run, but I'm trying not to feel guilt over the choices my ancestors made, too.
Emerson White wrote:Most of the chemicals that were used as pesticides have some complex ring structures that can't handle the heat of being put through an open flame.
And many others contain halogens, and might produce dioxin or similar if incinerated with the methods you recommend.
It's difficult to be sure your fire is hot enough to do the job properly. Incineration of synthetic chemicals is a job I think is best left to the professionals.
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