Making the big move (and how to make a rolling compost bin and rain barrel)

Hi everybody! After WordPress featured me on Freshly Pressed, there’s a lot of new faces. So great to have you, and thank you so much for your inspiring comments and thoughts on my Crafting in Circles post!

Herman the sockeyed salmon pillow, watching us unpack boxes
Herman, the sockeyed salmon pillow watches us unpack boxes

I’ve been busy over the past few weeks with moving into our new home in North Berkeley. Everything here is so luxurious! For the first time ever we now have a dishwasher, new stainless steel appliances, and garden beds all to ourselves.  Our cat Baxter, however does not enjoy the new place.  But then again, he’s hated every new home. The routine has always been that he finds a closet or nook to hide in, and then doesn’t leave (I’m not joking) for sometimes three months.

Baxter find defensive position on the stoveSo this time we shut all of the closets when we moved the cats over so that he couldn’t hide. The poor little guy was terrified, as expected, but decided that the counter next to the stove was his new safe spot, and since then, hasn’t left the kitchen once in over a week, and barely gets off of the stovetop. It’s an improvement. It’s easier to keep kitty litter for him in the kitchen rather than in our closets.

At our last home, our dear neighbors who shared the property with us, were master gardeners / urban farmers. They utilized every inch of the backyard to host high yields of produce. Now I get to try my own luck and learn through experience, and I’m pumped.

Weedy garden bed looking at house

There’s pre-built garden beds in the backyard, so my first project is to made a compost bin. After some research, it looks like this is the one I’m going for (see video below), since for just Brian and me, it will be a small amount of composting, and I’m new to this (so the easier the process, the better). Click here for a clear/simple video explanation of how composting works.

DIY compost bin using a food distribution barrel with a ring-top to secure it while rolling:


What’s cool at this setup, is that instead of a super expensive and wasteful (virgin plastic) composting tumbler, this setup is both cheap, and re-uses industrial waste. I found lots of ring-secured barrels for composting and rain collecting on craigslist. Are they easy to find in places outside of the Bay Area? I heard from others that they found their barrels from food distribution centers, or olive suppliers.

Eventually I’d like to set up a rain collecting system from one of these barrels too (just under our rain gutter spout) in the backyard. There’s so many awesome opportunities in this new home, and I am so excited to share the projects with you!

How to build a rain barrel from an industrial food distribution barrel:

Have any of you built a compost or rain barrel system before? What have you learned from the process? Is anyone else starting a garden, or has advice for the process at this time of the year?

2 thoughts on “Making the big move (and how to make a rolling compost bin and rain barrel)

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