The barrels are in place. The manure, sawdust, straw, leaves and food waste is piled up. The barrels are full of water with 200 feet of water hose submerged in them. The basic system is set up and in place! So here’s a few numbers for where we’re at:

Water coming out of the hose was 60 degrees on the dot. By the time I finished filling the two barrels, the water at the top of each barrel was 60.7 degrees. We left to go to lunch with Ashley’s sister, Brandy, and their dad. After we got back home and settled in, I finally went back out to check on their status – about 3 hours after the initial temperature readings. The barrel on the right had risen to 60.9 degrees and the barrel on the left had risen to 61.2 degrees. And that’s with compost only about half way up the barrels. So I piled up some compost around some empty spots by the barrels and made sure to cover as much as I could without working too hard. (After all, I just had a root canal re-done on an infected tooth yesterday morning… I’m not really able to do too much at the moment.)

While I was piling up the compost around the barrels, I got out the thermometer and measured some of the internal spots in the compost pile. I was pleasantly surprised to see that some spots in the pile are already up to 117 degrees, even with outdoor temps at only 52 degrees. I’m anxious to get some insulation around the pile to keep the heat from escaping so easily and make the water heating time that much quicker. But even 117 degrees is plenty hot enough to mix with some cold water to wash horses in the winter.