Friday, September 9, 2011

Farm infrastructure

 I've been working on my materials handling facilities.  I'm starting to handle serious quantities of wood chips, and I'm having to get a little more formal about where I store them so that I get more use out of them.   So I had 36 ecology blocks (why are they called that?) delivered to my driveway.  Actually they came 12 at a time on a semi truck.  I rented a backhoe to unload and move them, as they weigh more than even my big tractor can lift.  These blocks are 6'x2'x2', and weigh between 4 and 6 thousand pounds each.  I really don't know what they weigh; they are very heavy. 
 You can see the pile of wood chips in both of the above pictures -- actually, that's about half the pile.  We had to move a bunch of chips to make a place for the block wall.  The blocks will allow us to stack the wood chips higher and scoop them up more efficiently.  What was happening was that the mountain of wood chips was slowly creeping into my equipment parking area. 
You can see the basic tools I'm using in this picture.  Notice the baling twine at lower right.  I use that so that I have a reference to make a straight line for a neat wall.  The blocks all interlock, so a half-block is required to get a smooth end to the wall.  The key to this is to make sure that the bottom block is level and plumb.  After that one it's just a matter of carefully stacking the blocks.

With a block wall that's more than 2 blocks high, I like to brace them so that when I push on them they don't fall over.  So that I'll do is do a couple of blocks every 20' or so to prevent the wall from getting out of plumb even if I smack it with equipment on the other side. 

Tomorrow I'll write up my pig barn idea using ecology blocks. 

These blocks are $15 each, and it cost about $7 a block to have them delivered.   The backhoe rents for $260 a day, or $1k/week.  Takes about a day to build a 60'x6' block wall, with careful placement of the initial course of blocks. 


Craig said...

Back east we call these blocks "mafia blocks". I use them in my landscape yard and they work very well. That's a very good price for them. I paid $45 for the same size and had to go pick them up. Ihey could act as a good "knee wall" for holding in pigs.

sailj32 said...

They are called ecology blocks because they are made from concrete that comes back to the yard unused from a job site. Before these things were being made, the excess concrete had to be disposed of in a non-eco-friendly way. Now they pour it into molds and make these blocks. Each one uses almost a yard of concrete, and they sell for a small fraction of the normal cost of that concrete.

Anonymous said...

24 cubic feet
3,555 lbs