It is hard to believe that Dirt Hugger has called Dallesport, WA our home for over a year now—especially considering how far we have come at the new site. Many, many long days of strenuous work, in tandem with a dedicated crew have transformed what was once a desolate, barren plot into a 9 acre site of luscious compost glory! We continue to fine tune our systems daily and are learning a ton (for every ton of compost processed, we probably learn about 2 tons compost knowledge!). The big move, and all of the associated trials (and errors) have proven so worth-it considering that our average weekly material processing, and the amount of waste we are keeping out of the landfill, is more than double what it was a year ago!
Here are some recent highlights:
First and foremost, the aeration pad is up and running! Our process involves shooting air into to the windrows to increase microbial activity to properly break down our feedstock material. Before the pad, we would manually insert a blower pump line through each and every windrow. Now the aeration pad, which is essentially a giant air hockey table, allows us to do all of our initial processing on a smooth concrete surface swiss-cheesed with 416 aeration holes. This allows us to more tightly control oxygen and temperature in the piles to create a better product.
Tina Turner- We have wanted a windrow turner or two on site for years, but their typical price tag of 1/2 million dollars (each) has always kept them far out of our reach. This year we struck gold though! While visiting the Compost Factory and the Silver Springs composting facility in western WA, we discovered some long forgotten, abandoned turners. Rusty, broken down, moss covered, and considered scrap metal by most who laid eyes on these ghostly machines–they were perfect! We fell in love. The gracious crews at both facilities were willing to part with these machines so long as we could get them off their sites and make the necessary repairs to keep them on the turner circuit. Well, that is just what we did!
“Tina Turner”, the first machine we received is a real beauty (and a beast). After a few welds, some safety upgrades, and a paint job she was put to use. This behemoth of a machine allows us to literally drive head on into a working pile, pull it up a conveyor belt, and shoot it fifteen feet to the side—this is five times more efficient than movingwindrows with the front end loader. The second turner, which has not yet received a name (suggestions!?), just landed on our site last week. Tater, the Dirt Hugger mastermind mechanic, certainly has his hands full with this one. Still, we are confident that he will get it up and running, and we look forward to seeing these miracle machines catapulting compost windrows for years to come.
THANK YOU to all of our customers and supporters! Throughout 2015 we have continued to establish and maintain great relationships with farmers, orchardists, and gardeners in the Gorge. We look forward to building these relationships even further in the coming year–working one on one with growers to develop application plans and collectively building nutrient rich soils in the Columbia River Gorge.
Dirt Hugger values all of the customer feedback that we can glean. If you have applied our compost or any other material to your operation, please let us know how it worked. Please fill out the survey found here to provide feedback.
Finally, our hours will be business hours will be somewhat truncated over the next couple weeks. Here are some updates- Closed: Thurs. Dec. 24th & Fri. Dec. 25th; Fri. Jan. 1st. No deliveries on Dec. 23rd and Dec. 31st.