Reuse and Recycle, not sure about Reduce

burning the old shed

Here in Western Pennsylvania, lots of guys are collectors of items that to their wives seem, well, like junk. They are the ultimate recyclers. Their carbon footprint has to be negative because they reuse recycle and I’m not sure about reducing. They look along the road for things that are discarded. Old pipe, old stones, rejected corncribs, falling down structures just make their imaginations go wild. Ray’s latest idea was using old road dividers, for which he traded backhoe work, as the footers for his silage pit. He figured it saved him thousands in cement costs. First we had to burn down the last standing building that his grandpap built.

placing the road dividers

Since we live in a hilly area, it is a challenge to level the area first. Tons of fill were placed in the low areas, followed by large and small grades of stone. The road dividers were placed carefully so they were level and close together.

Completing the second side of the pit.

After the sides were completed, the silage had to be chopped. Silage is chopped corn stalks with the ears still attached. The moisture this year was almost too low, so we are unsure whether the quality will be as good as it should be. We had an extended drought time in August, through the beginning of September.

One of the trucks we used for dumping silage was one we sold to a friend of ours. We bought this truck in Illinois 20 years ago to move back to PA. It was an antique then.

After the silage is dumped, the backhoe will level it and run over it over and over to smash it to smitherines. No air pockets should be left in the pile so anaerobic fermentation occurs. The guys worked well into the night for about a week.

Smashing the silage


After they were finished, we covered the pit with silage plastic, pulling it tight over the pile and anchoring the ends with bricks and old tires. We should know soon if it is a good batch…six weeks and we can open it.  Kind of reminds me of making sauerkraut in a very large scale.


One comment on “Reuse and Recycle, not sure about Reduce

  1. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the information you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, fantastic blog!

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