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Google Images. Hundreds of my photos are there.

 
pollinator
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When I want to look for something, my most common strategy is to put in a few words and go to Google Images. From there I am able to look at things and determine which ones I'm interested in.

I went into Google Images with the search "hugelkultur with excavator".  To my surprise, 11 of the first 28 photos are ones that I took with my cell phone, and posted to this site. All of these photos are of various garden beds that I've built with an excavator.

Somebody is doing something right when it comes to web search optimization.

 I have a total of one full day of excavator time, invested in my four different beds. I'm sure that many others have done at least this much. But according to Google Images, I'm the biggest fish out there in this department. My photos are everywhere. I think this is a good thing, since it drives traffic, but I'm still quite surprised at my standing when it comes to this particular search.

I went back and just searched the single word hugelkultur. I didn't come up in the first 100 photos. This shows me the importance of using the proper wording, when searching for things or when naming things that I want to get attention.

That's all for now. I just thought it was an interesting observation, and it obviously has something to do with the folks behind the scenes here, who know much more about this than I do.
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pollinator
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I just went to your thread - love it! I want to do something similar someday. My land was selectively logged about 5 years before I bought it (10 years ago) and there are three pretty big sized old slash piles near my house. I keep thinking I should cover them with soil and make them into hugels but it just seemed like such a huge project! Bigger than I can get done with our tractor but I suspect if I brought in an excavator I could probably get it done. Just need to find a source of topsoil!

On the topic though, I also search a LOT that way. I used to be more up on SEO and whatnot but haven't kept up with it in recent years. It does make more sense that there's a lot less competition for keywords involving using an excavator to build hugels since many permies don't really like to use heavy  machinery (or they don't have access/funds etc).
 
Dale Hodgins
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It's expensive to bring in an excavator. My tenant owns one, and my use of it is part of the deal. I'll bet if someone went into your slash piles for a few hours with a chainsaw, they could be chopped up so that they settle quite a bit. If this is the case, you may be able to push the edges inward with the front end loader. I hope you have a front end loader. After that is done, the piles could be a repository for all manner of unwanted organic material. It doesn't have to be perfect topsoil. The only stuff that I have, which resembles good topsoil, is the bit of black soil that I scrape from the bottom of the seasonal stream, during the driest part of the year. These beds have to make their own topsoil. I have added a few thousand pounds of used coffee grounds. They are available free, at any place big enough to have a coffee shop.
 
master pollinator
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Yeah an excavator can be pretty expensive to rent, here they are about $750 a day, but the transport cost is what really holds me back. $250 each way means I really want to rent the silly thing for more then a day to take advantage of it being here, but $750 a day really adds up. Even by the week or month it adds up. But a decent machine like Dale is running there (it looks to be about a 28,000 pound class machine) can also do a lot of work in a day too.

Dale is right about the chainsawing of slash too. I bet it is even better where he is from, but foresters in Maine call it the two year rule: Anything 2 inch in diameter or less, less then 2 feet off the ground, will decompose in 2 years time."

It really bothers me that today modern loggers chip everything and take it to the paper mills or biomass. They only pay a buck a cord to the landowner, yet brag about how great "the forest looks". The thing is, in 2 years time all that biomass, 60% of any given tree, would rot and be returned to the forest floor for fertilizer. I know in 20 years time foresters are going to go..."what were we thinking".

I actually have a design in my head for an implement that would allow for mechanized hugel making so that this chipping nonsense would stop.

 
Dale Hodgins
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Although we have an environment that is very conducive to wood rotting, we also have some woods that are quite resistant to rot. Western red cedar and Douglas fir take their time decomposing. Cottonwood and Alder are very quick.

The first mounds that I built were far too airy, and left big voids. The soil ran into those voids, and I had to put more dirt on top. Running the chainsaw through it many times, would certainly make for a tighter pile.
 
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