How to Compost Your Chihuahua’s Doo Doo (aka Poop)

Today I finally built a composter for my Chihuahua’s waste.  She’s only 6 1/2 pounds and on a raw food diet, so her waste is minimal.  We’ve been just piling her doo doo in a corner of the yard for over 2 years now and the pile really doesn’t grow.  However, it really was time to do something a little more attractive.  My intent is not to create compost to use in my garden, but to simply let it decompose and absorb into the ground.

Materials and Equipment

Materials Required

  • Plastic bucket with lid (15 litres / 4 gallons – you’ll need to go bigger for larger dogs)
  • Nylon rope (approx 18 inches)

Equipment Required

  • Shovel, digging bar, crow bar or anything else you like to dig with
  • Drill and bit the same diameter as the rope
  • Utility knife

Optional Requirement

  • Level (to impress your Grandfather with your perfectionism)
  • A little helper for asking questions, getting in the way and minimizing the overall efficiency of your labours

How to Build a Dog Waste Composter

Step 1: Cut the bottom out of the bucket

Step 1: Cut the bottom out of the bucket

Use the utility knife to cut the bottom out of the bucket.  I left a rim all around the bottom simply because it was easier.

Be careful; take your time; avoid cutting yourself.  Keep your phone handy and ensure that your little helper knows how to dial 911.

Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid

Step 2: Drill Holes in the Lid

Drill 2 holes in the lid, approximately 6 inches apart.  These are for the rope handle.

Please do not underestimate the serious nature of drilling holes for a 5 year old boy.

Step 3: Complete the Rope Handle

Step 3: Complete the Rope Handle

Thread the nylon rope through the holes, tying the two ends together in a knot on the underside of the lid.

You can do this; I know you can.

Step 4: Dig a Hole

Step 4: Dig a Hole

Dig the hole wide enough and deep enough that the bucket fits in, with just the brim above the dirt.  You want to be able to put the lid on it, but not really see any more of the bucket, other than the lid.

If at all possible, get someone else to do this step for you; a 15 litre hole is more work than you’d expect.  Holding on to your back, walking stiffling and rattling a bottle of Ibuprofen might help with enlisting aid. In my case, the family hole digger was off gallivanting on trails with his mountain bike , so I did it myself.  If you happen to be using the optional little helper, s/he will probably wander off before this step is complete but will want to come back to “try out” the hole occasionally.

Step 5: Place the Bucket in the Hole

Step 5: Place the Bucket in the Hole

Once the hole is the correct width and depth, lower the bucket into it and then tweak things until it sits nice and level.

If you’d like to impress your perfectionist Grandfather or just be able to sleep better at night, use a level and do it PROPERLY!  Don’t be surprised when you try and teach your perfectionist little helper how to use a level and he ALREADY KNOWS.

Step 6: Backfill the Hole

Step 6: Backfill the Hole

Carefully add dirt back into the hole (on the outside of the bucket), using the level frequently to ensure that the bucket remains level.  Gently tamp in the dirt and continue to fill in the hole to the level of the surrounding dirt, ensuring that the bucket is securely buried.

At this point, you are almost finished.  Resist the urge to stop and have a cold drink because if you stop now, you’ll probably never finish and will end up with a bottomless bucket buried in the corner of your yard for no apparent reason.  This will become a hazard to small children, as well as teens who wander around the backyard, not looking where they are going because they are too busy texting their friends.

Step 7: Clean Up and Admire Your Work

Small Dog Waste Compost (the blue lid conceals a buried plastic bucket)

Once you’ve put away your tools and dusted yourself off, this project is complete. You may want to paint the lid to camouflage it and/or to make it clear to passers-by that it contains nasty doo doo waste products.

Find somewhere to dispose of the rocks and dirt that were removed from the hole.  I don’t recommend that you fling it over the fence into the neighbour’s yard … then again, our neighbour has been known to fling their dog’s doo doo over the fence into our yard ….  My current strategy is to leave it in the wheelbarrow until my spouse needs to use the wheelbarrow and thus, is required to figure out what to do with it’s contents.

While your Chihuahua (or other small pet) may wish to carefully investigate the new structure in their yard, they will likely be VERY alarmed if they are placed inside said structure.

Tomorrow’s plan: Move aforementioned pile of doo doo into the bucket and locate a local source of doo doo composting enzymes.

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Fairy Bath

Yesterday I had a play date with Isaac, my 5-year-old nephew, who’s practically perfect in every way.  Here’s our list of accomplishments:

  • Shopped at a nursery and only spent $6
  • Petted goats, a sheep and a bunny
  • Purchased a Tim Horton’s vanilla dip donut with sprinkles (sprinkles are incredibly important to 5-year-olds)
  • Made perler bead creations
  • Bowled, canoed and dueled with swords on the Wii
  • Made chicken salad sushi rolls (don’t knock it until you’ve tried it)
  • Played Candy Land (I won)
  • Geocached/walked/Isaac rode his bike
  • Made sloppy joes (during which he operated a food processor with great professionalism)

He also wrote a bunch of words and asked me what they said:

  • doxo
  • clo
  • iso
  • coxo
  • xod
  • oxo

He’s apparently fond of x’s right now.  Then he used a high-lighter to “light them up”.

As for photos – I’ll share with you a little something I created Sunday, in my yard.  I only had a small tray for the top level, so it’s for small birds and fairies to bathe themselves.

Fairy Bath Decoration Thingy

Fairy Bath in Context

I’m very eager to get back out there – lots more to do outside, but I don’t think I’m a rainy weather gardener.

 

Not cooking, not cleaning, not shopping

I really let last week’s nasty weather get to me – it was a cruddy week.  But come Saturday, it wasn’t raining (only really cold), so I started working on my front garden.  It was a MESS.  Sunday was the same, so I kept plugging away.  And today was actually sunny!  Three days of gardening (but no cooking, cleaning or anything else).

Those of you who know me know that the last couple of years have been rough for me – yucky family stuff.  Gardening was one of the things I neglected.

But that’s all changed!  And nothing will explain it better than some pictures…

Before it’s finished, but after removing all the hostas and ferns

After!

The small petunia plants (and Miss A’s two strawberries) are the only plants that were purchased (petunia’s were from Miss A for Mother’s Day).  The rest was transplanted from my island bed, which I’m getting rid of.  The lilies and daylilies aren’t at their peak, but I’m hoping they’ll perk up after some tlc.  I think it’s gonna look FABULOUS after everything’s blooming.

I’m VERY excited about my soaker hose.  Mr T bought me the hose for Mother’s Day (it’s what I wanted).  My Grandpa R and Mr T installed a drip system for me a few years back, but it didn’t have enough attachments and it just wasn’t working out.

I made some super fancy hooks to secure the hose … Mr T was skeptical of what I was up to – but they worked!

Soaker Hose Holder Downers (made from coat hangers)

And here’s before and after pictures of the rest of it…

Before (SO MANY WEEDS)

After (NO WEEDS AT ALL)

Maddie keeping me company (can you believe our lawn – what a disaster!?)

Mom, aren’t you proud of me?!  If you don’t go down to the comments section and tell me how great it looks RIGHT NOW I will be very sad.

Did I mention that I did all this BY MYSELF!  Did you see that amazing edge?

Maddie kept me company, of course.

I also used our fancy weed puller outer thingy and sucked 200 weeds out of our lawn.  It doesn’t look like I did anything at all.  It’s just too out of control out there … it’s not safe really.  Since we have some nasty, chemically Killex in the shed, I’m gonna use it.  Die weeds die!

I still have a few more plants to transplant out of the island bed (yay for daylilies) and then I think I’ll let Mr T dig that beast up.  It’s like a solid mat of weeds and turf.

And now it’s time for a cider and an epsom salt bath.  I hurt … everywhere.

Gardening Outfit

But before I go, I thought you might like to check out my ultra-stylish gardening outfit.  Are you jealous or what?  I diy’d that top from a t-shirt.

And can you see that my arms got a bit of sun?  SUN PEOPLE!

Oh dangit, the neighbours are putting out their yard waste … pick up must be tomorrow.  I guess I’d better do that first.

Accidental Landscaping

Tonight I thought I’d just post pictures and video of my landscaping triumph….

A log, a stump, ferns and hostas (this is the scraggliest section)

A trough of red impatience provides contrast…

The big ostrich ferns were already there

The large rock ringed by small rocks marks the grave of a beloved pet (but I can’t remember which one – there’s been two birds, a hamster, a gerbil and some fish)

And now for the promised video…


Tomorrow’s plans include a massage (which will probably be painful), garden work in the front yard (oh my aching back) and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get started on that dang curtain.

Digging holes

Well, I should be good and sore tomorrow.

I didn’t actually get to those holes that I was going to dig last night.  But today I managed to convince my husband that the task would probably kill me and if he wanted me around a few more years, could he please please please dig the holes?  I’m moving the hostas and ferns from the front yard into the back yard, along the fence.  They used to live under the walnut tree, but now that it’s gone, they’re in full sun and a bit upset about that.

Anyhow, I only managed to divide (into three) and transfer one big hosta.  I already gave Mom a big hosta (which we also divided into three).  And I weeded a bunch along the back fence, too.  Gardening is seriously back-breaking work.  And when I see how much needs done, I get overwhelmed and a tad bit discouraged.  But I’ll just keep at it for a bit each day – not putting too much pressure on myself (or my aching back).

“Big Red ” (the super scary evil wheel barrow)

Maddie does NOT like our big red wheelbarrow.  A couple of days ago she barked at it frantically, practically giving herself a heart attack.  Today she just woofed at it menacingly a few times.  Hopefully she and Big Red can come to some sort of truce.

Besides weeding and tidying, the plan includes getting rid of the island flower bed in the front yard.  I’ll take some of what’s in there and transfer it; I just can’t keep up with it all.  The weeding alone will probably take me a couple of months.

And I also picked rhubarb.  Which I just remembered is still out on the lawn (and the rain is now coming down sideways – ugh).  I think I’ll make jam out of it.

And I tended to my sick girl who came home from school with a stomach bug.  Rice crackers, bananas and egg-drop soup seem to be staying down.

And I cleaned out a bunch of moldy food containers that the sick girl had stockpiled at school.  Gag.  Normally she’d have to clean them herself, but I decided to be nice … what with her being pukey and all.  Double gag.

And I read a bit.  I’m reading a Stephen King novel, Cell.  I don’t typically like horror … at all … unless there are zombies or aliens.  I’m having a bit of an obsession with zombies lately.  If you haven’t noticed … zombies are a bit of a cultural craze right now in literature and media.  I’m only comfortable with the kind of zombies that result from some catastrophic event that can be explained scientifically.  I don’t do any type of horror that has a spiritual or super-natural aspect to it.  A girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere.

And Mr. T and I went shopping at Costco and behaved ourselves quite well (unlike my Grandmother R. would have!)

And we’ll be eating leftover chili for the 4th night in a row … so I don’t have to worry about dinner.  Phew.

Transplanted hostas and ferns (photographed from the shelter of my back window)

Plans for the rest of the day:  Eat leftover chili (for the 4th day in a row), sew for a bit on my pantry curtain, read more about zombies.