Am new to most of this and am learning a lot, much faster than I expected. Thanks much for connecting some of the dots for me. Have been reading about good quality compost and it looks like the key ingredient is lignin.
Thinking here is that processed down bark mulch, coffee grounds and compostable kitchen scrapes should get me some pretty good plant food. All I have to do is get it into a form my low maintenance pets (compost piles) want to consume and digest quickly and easily.
I have a decent supply of the ingredients which are not going to be hard to gather. Difficulty is that the lignin I have is contained in firewood-sized chunks of hardwood bark. I know it doesn't break down quickly in my compost piles and I am always hand picking it out and tossing it back into the “active” pile while I am forking over the new “curing” pile. I know I do not want to break up each piece by hand, not beat on it with a hammer or hatchet and spread it all over the place. I also know I need to process it down to a more usable size. I do not own a chipper/shreader, can't borrow one, and am not going to rent one.
Am usually pretty good at figuring things like this out, but not all the time. This is one of this times. First thing that came to mind was a ball mill which is just too much to deal with – would work great but a chipper/shreader would be easier, but neither are accessible nor fabricateable .
Next thing that came to mind was a really big Mortar & Pestle – pouring a big concrete mortar isn't in my future.
That brought the to those sort of paleo corn/rice/grain processor things – rounded over skinny log and a hole in the ground. This would be in my tech range, inside my budget and inside my skill set to fabricate and inside my range of effort and time I am wiling to expel, but I am right back to “No, I am not going to try and pour a big mortar out if high strength concrete.” Also, I don't have generations of daily effort to pound a hole in a rock with a stick.
I thought of a hole lined with round granite stones packed in the white glacial clay (the raw version of the pottery stuff), but a couple 5 gallon buckets of that is maybe a 6 to 8 hour venture, and maybe not so completely legal.
Anyone have ideas?
(Keep in mind I am in New England. The immediate geology is 2” - 8” of top soil and then some fine, sandy bank run gravel with little to no clay/silt in it. “Digging a hole = move the stones and rocks and scrape out the dirt that was in between them and then you hit ledge.)