Friday, January 10, 2014


Hey everyone,
Today is a wet but warm day and I decided that it was trash day!. So I loaded up my trash and recyclables and did the same at Terri's house and made a trip to the dump.
I have been reading a few new Homesteading books the past couple weeks (Leigh Tate's "5 acres and a Dream" and Anna Hess's "The Weekend Homesteader") and they both talk about the use of Biomass on the Homestead.
Wikipedia, The free encyclopedia defines Biomass as "A biological material derived from living or recently living organisms" The article I read was more geared to commercial fuel use of the material. But I want to use it as a way to add organic matter to my poor soil and as a mulch.
When I bough this place 6 years ago, I knew that it was part of an old crop field. But I did not know that the Farmers had misused the land so badly that nothing would grow here but weeds and a little grass. Every ting I put in the ground ether died or was over run by the weeds!
So I have decided to cover the poor soil with as much Organic material as I can get my hands on! There were no trees on the place and I did not want to use the weeds that were part of the problem.
So I have been looking for Biomass at other places that I could load in the truck and haul home. The one requirement was it had to be close and free.
I have read a few Blogs where the local power company and tree service's will bring truck load after truck load of wood chips and other materials to any body that asks. But not here! So I have to go get it my self. And most available material s are leaves.
The small town I live out side of has large trees all over, But the people do not rake and bag the leaves, They instead rake them to the curb and the town vacuum truck come along and sucks them up and hauls them to the dump.
I have tried to get them to bring them here, But because I live just over the county line, They can't! So today as I was coming back from trash day, I spotted a bail of straw that someone had sat out at the curb for the trash man.

Loaded in the truck and brought home.

 I know this is not much, but every little bit helps. I have also been known to go to the local grade school and rake leaves and bag them to bring home. But this is time consuming and a lot of work. I have seen a yard machine on Crag's list that will vacuum up the leaves and chop them up at the same time. It will also eat small tree limbs and turn them into mulch. I saw 3 or 4 of this kind of machine and the price range is $200 - $600. So I will have to start saving in that direction. I know that does not fit in to my requirement of free, But if I can collect the leaves and chop them at the same time, It will help me save time too. Also I will be able to get more leaves each trip if they are chopped.
And what did I do with the straw I got today?

Some of it went into the Chicken yard. They will scratch thou it and pick out any seeds or bugs that are there. Also it will help with the muddy conditions they are living with!
The rest of it went into the compost bin to cover the kitchen scraps I just put in there!
So that's what Biomass is and how I hope to use it.


  1. We're going through the same dilemma. No one delivers to our area. But I am trying to set up some contacts & keep an eye out. Good luck.

    1. DFW,
      It would be so much better if I could get it all delivered! I'm having the same problem with pallets! No place close to home to get them! But I will keep working on the problem!

  2. It sucks when the vacuum truck can't visit you because you live in another county! These trucks can be quite useful from hauling sewerage to sucking up refuse. Still nice to see you were able to do something with the straw that could've been dumped in some landfill and contributed to further pollution. Instead now your chickens are now really grateful.
    Rudy Swanson @ Haaker Equipment Company\