Renew, Reuse, Recycle: Homegrown Mulch and Practical Math

B 4_18_11Stop by the entrance to Beechwood Park or the HP recycling center on Ward Way for a smell of “Christmas Past”! The Harrington Park DPW chipping truck makes the rounds of town year round (weather permitting), larger branches left at the curb are chipped, and some of the chips are brought to the Ward Way location, available for FREE for resident use. The current pile is composed of chipped Christmas trees and smells like a walk in an evergreen forest! B 4_18_8_mod
I guess the title should be homemade chips, but there is also a pile of “homegrown” humus (which can be used for mulch) at the Ward Way site. This rich dark organic material was originally the leaves (and grass and small twigs) that were vacuumed up from the curb of HP homes in 2013 and were composted at the back of Highland Field. The humus is also free for resident pickup and use—and a screen is available to “clean it up” a bit before you bring it home. This humus is available for home delivery by the DPW—stop by the table at History Day on April 25th to place your order.B 4_18_16
The practical math (and physics)? It was a lot of fun to talk with the kids who helped on Saturday at Beechwood Park. How long is the trail? How do you measure it if you don’t have a measuring tape? A: use your feet and pace it off. How many shovelfuls or pitchfork-fuls does it take to fill a wheelbarrow? Depends…How full a wheelbarrow can you lift? Why does sitting on the far end to counterbalance it make it a bit easier to push? (Thank you John Wohner for this tip!) How long will it take to move the ~ 8 cubic yards of (homemade) wood chips that was dropped off for use on the trail? A: about 3 hours with the volunteers and gear we had—the wheelbarrows were the limiting step. B 4_18_3How much weight did we move? A cubic yard is 27 cubic feet (the kids loved that calculation = 3 x 3 x 3 feet) and the weight depends on how fresh or wet the chips are, this could vary 400-600 lbs (!) – so we moved at least 4,000lb and then raked/spread this on the trail. The huge pile was not quite enough so we took two trips to the Ward Way pile to fill 8 large green barrels 4/5 full of the “Christmas” chips. These are now a welcoming and fragrant smelling carpet at the entrance to the park…and we left Sam Francis figuring out the volume of chips that each green barrels can hold (using his arm length!).
Happy trails!

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