D.W. Stratton

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since Jun 07, 2020
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Recent posts by D.W. Stratton

r ranson wrote:Stainless steel with holes in the lid so the compost can breathe and CHANGEABLE charcoal filters in the lid.  Emptied and rinsed (I use rainbutt water) AT LEAST once a day (full or not) and you only have to clean it and change the filters twice a year.  Emptied every other day or neglect to rinse it each time, and it needs cleaning with bleach AT LEAST once a month.  

We have one like this.



IF the lid is properly closed, and the bin properly maintained, there is no smell - I'm hypersensitive to smell (Hyperosmia due to health issues), so smells (not just bad ones) make me vomit instantly.  So I can say with strong conviction that, if the human element is functioning correctly (emptying the bin AT LEAST ONCE A DAY), then this is the most awesome solution to kitchen counter compost EVER!  If I can't smell it, then a rat cannot smell it.

The advantage of Stainless Steel is that it won't absorb the stink into the bin and can be cleaned.  

If the lid seals, then it quickly begins anaerobic decomposition which is nasty.  We don't want this unless we are using bokashi composting - which is a whole different topic.

Compost is made of dyeing things.  We can choose which process they decay.  Aerobic bacteria and yeast (air loving invisible beasties) produce less smell in this situation.  So having breathing holes for the compost actually reduces the stink.  

The stinky charcoal filters can be boiled for a second use, but they don't last as long the second time.  

We can pour baking soda in the bin, but this doesn't reduce the stink, merely traps it and concentrates it.  Not sure a mouse wouldn't smell this.

Something we did in the apartment when we couldn't get to the garden very often was to have a breathable compost bin in the kitchen and at least ONCE A DAY, we would empty it into a stinky, 5-gallon bin with a tight-fitting lid on the balcony.  When we had a few of these full, we would take them to the garden.  This was great because it kept the stink away from the living space (Rats are a big thing in the city) and started a bokashi style decomposition before it got to the garden.  We trenched it in the garden and it was completely gone in about 2 weeks.  


Mice:
It's good that you are working on seeling up the house for the mice issue.

In my dreadful experience with mice, the compost wasn't their favourite thing.  They loved sugar and starchy foods and would chew through plastic bags, plastic bins, and even metal bins to get to it.  They also carry some pretty nasty illnesses (many spread through touch or ingesting mouse urine) that can cause permanent damage to a human, so it's good to be careful.  We ended up getting rid of most of our food or putting it in the freezer, glass, or ceramic jars until we could get rid of the mice.  

But the compost bin is a good place to start, especially if it's an opportunity to train your household to empty it frequently.  



Alright, getting warmer. Problem is, do those activated charcoal filters have plastic in them? Are they biodegradable? Compostable? Charcoal isn't bad, it will just break down and be reabsorbed by something in nature. I'm concerned about what the charcoal is contained inside of. In your experience are these plastic baggies of some kind? If it is plastic, is it at least recyclable? I find that most often flexible plastic containers are not recyclable so it's immediately a landfill additive. Sooner or later (hint: it's sooner), the landfills will fill up and then we are all boned fish.
5 days ago

Tereza Okava wrote:

Skandi Rogers wrote:Did you start to compost recently? I would expect the time of year rather than any smells to be responsible for an increase in mice. Unless they can get into the bucket I doubt that is the reason they are there.


This is my thought as well.
I would try securing the bucket as best you can (brick on the lid? In the fridge? Empty at night and wash before bed?) and see if you can note the response. I've lived in a lot of mousy old houses and generally there are better places for them to seek food (the-gold-mine-of-crap-under-the-stove, drawers with spilled flour, pet food bowl, bird seed storage, etc) and the compost bucket may just happen to be on the route. Then you can think about traps, etc. I do have mice go after my compost in the garden, but in the house there is so much more in terms of easy pickings that they can't even be bothered.
I would love to have a metal bucket with a metal lid (here everything is plastic) so if I were you I would try to find a way to make your current system work. If the smell is really bothering you you might be able to rig up the lid to close tighter with a waxed cloth between the lid and bucket, for example, or maybe adding some sort of rubber gasket to the lid with an old bike inner tube, etc.



No traps. We don't think it is right to kill a mouse simply for being a mouse and doing what mice do. Can't say more than that because it gets controversial, but we are a no-kill house. Even live traps kill mice because relocating an animal far away and outdoors in the winter when it doesn't know where food and water can be gotten is a death sentence, besides which studies indicate it actually increases the local mouse population, defeating the purpose.

So I'm specifically asking for compost pail recommendations and *only* compost pail recommendations. If we could please stick to that, that would be far more productive and meaningful, pretty please. I realize folks mean well, but tangential commentary is unhelpful.
5 days ago

Skandi Rogers wrote:Did you start to compost recently? I would expect the time of year rather than any smells to be responsible for an increase in mice. Unless they can get into the bucket I doubt that is the reason they are there.



About two months ago. I'm sure time of year has something to do with it too, but I want to eliminate as many other variables as I can since I can't control the weather!
5 days ago
We live in an old country house and so until we can afford to go over every square inch of the place with anti-rodent measures we are going to be porous to mice. I've noticed a major uptick in mouse sightings in our kitchen since we started composting. I suspect it's the bucket of compost scraps attracting the little blighters. We have just a simple metal pail with lid like you get for $10 at a hardware store. Not a good, airtight seal. Anyone have recommendations for a compost pail that:
1. Has a good deal
2. Doesn't smell or seem to attract mice
3. Is 100% plastic-free and gick-free?

And I realize there are other methods than composting, but I want to stick with compost for the time being, thank you.
5 days ago

Bill Haynes wrote:Well...
I dunno if your drawings are to scale but from a cursory look it seems that you have a common wall between the living and the music room that carries through the second floor bedrooms.
If a brick bell was built on the bottom floor with a batch box (preferably in the music room since it has outdoor access) carrying through to say at least 4' above the average floor level on the second floor you would have good exposure to four rooms.
At the least if building a 4' wide bell it would entail removing one stud from the lower wall and half of one stud from the upper wall, and the addition of a steel beam (supported by the bell itself!) to support the upper  floor.
Alternatively it could be built against the wall, and the wall covering removed to expose the second room to the bell leaving he studs in place, but that seems like a far from handsome alternative.

The caveats are;
You need a solid foundation clear down into the earth for that much masonry, no stretch of the imagination will allow such tonnage to depend on framing.
$ 8,000 to $ 10,000 USD does not sound unreasonable if no unforeseen circumstances arise. Average heating costs run $1500 to $4000 yearly so the pay off is well within five years.
A sane man intending to occupy the home for generations would pay an engineer to ensure adequacy.



If the basement hasn't got such a support, can one be retrofitted in place if the basement has a dirt floor?
1 week ago
So what I'm hearing is there is no cheap way to switch to any kind of rocket heater for this property...

I know absolutely zero about house construction. Wouldn't know how to tell you a thing about the walls. And if any engineering needs to be done, we are probably jumping right to the five-digits for pricing. Can't afford that.
1 week ago

Bill Haynes wrote: To my ever so limited mind...
A batch box feeding a bell....used as a wall between two rooms has always seemed like it had great potential,
Both to be aesthetically pleasing, and double your exposure of heated surface to two rooms at one burn!

If, (and mind you I'm stretching past my experience here) multiple floors had common wall lines a multistory bell could potentially expose 6 rooms over three floors to one batch box.
If overcooling the smoke was a concern then a narrow wall say four foot broad with a torturous path to ensure contact could still expose each room to heat.......



Not quite sure I understand you. Any chance you'd draw a simple sketch of this and post it?
1 week ago

Jennifer Richardson wrote:What are the best natural remedies for plantar fasciitis?


Rebel Massage on YouTube has an EXCELLENT and 100% free video on how to massage the plantar fascia. It feels *sooooo* good. That plus doing yoga regularly has completely alleviated ours. We recommend the 26+2 Hot Yoga or Bikram Yoga.
1 week ago