Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Building of the Poop Deck

Tim has had this project going for awhile.  Anyone who had done hardscaping knows that a lot of work goes in behind the scenes before the finish work gets done.  There were trees to cut, stumps to pull, gravel to add and compact....  then you must wait and let the earth settle.  The object here, is to get our compost area up closer to the garden.  We have stored the manure, and the compost pile back in the edge of the woods out of sight.  Which means, during canning/freezing season, I am generally emptying my scraps at night, in the dark, in the woods, beyond the reach of all outdoor lights... out there, down the lane and around the bend.

Having the compost stored right outside the garden, with no puddles to cross, in the edge of the mercury lights, is a great luxury.  Plus, when we bring in loads of manure, it will be easy to just back in and dump.  We don't compost on a small scale.  My horse is boarded at my mother's farm, and my step father cleans the barn and maintains the manure pile.  He composts it through the year and spreads it on the pastures at the optimum time.  He always saves the best poop for me :) 
When the pile gets home, I just dig a hole in the side somewhere, and throw our fresh scraps into it.  We cover the new material with old material, and periodically turn the pile.

Tim constructed the retaining walls with used railroad ties which were drilled and secured with steel rods on each side of any seam.  They don't need to be high as we have plenty of area and won't have to pile up against them.   He back filled with dirt to reinforce the walls and I will transplant some ground cover back there.

Over the crushed bank run, which was compacted with the two-ton-rock-crusher, Tim dumped sand and he and I screeted it off level with a little pitch towards the back so rain won't wash any debris from the pile into the drive.

Tim's work is always meticulous even when building a patio to dump shit on.  But the more time you spend in the building of something, the less time you will spend in the repair and maintenance.

Neighbor Mike was recruited to help heft the heavy 2'x3' concrete pavers which were salvaged from a local landscaper.

This part went fast.  Many hands make light work.

Shelly and I looked for high spots and jumped up and down on them to seat the pavers into the sand.  The spacing had to be adjusted, so everyone stood on the pavers that shouldn't move while Tim levered each row into the proper spot. 
EveryBody's Doo-O-in' a Brand New Dance Now... Come On Baby, Do the Locomotion!

About this time we decided that the "Poop Deck" was much too nice for a compost pad and that it would make a much better patio.  It affords a lovely view of the garden, and is shaded from the afternoon sun.  We grabbed a couple of the fire pit chairs and tried it out.

To finish it off, I swept sand into all the joints.  Tim laid the last course of pavers and finished the front edge with a row of railroad ties to lock everything in.  He watered everything in well, and after a few more rains, it will have settled permanently.  Then I will go fetch some more horse manure.  In the mean time, I agree... this would make a much nicer patio than a poop deck.  But, if you're going to have a pile of poop, it may as well be properly staged.


  1. My only question is did Tim lay pipes for under-floor hot water heating, and if not, why not ? :) Looks like a perfect place to stack shit or build a house. Can you tell I'm envious ?

  2. No heated floor! That is the shady deck, and if our summer weather is warmer than our spring weather, we will be using it even if we have to sit on the pile... which will probably provide plenty of heat.

    Hmmmm... maybe we should install a geothermal system through the pile to heat the cold frame in the winter...

  3. If you build it they will come. And if you don't like them they'll come whether you build it or not. :)

    I'm a big fan of geothermal. If I get my way our next home will be heated and cooled geothermally. Stay tuned for more on that....hope you've got lots (and lots) of time.