mon, 07-sep-2015, 14:12
Thirty yards of wood chips
Every couple years we cover our dog yard with a fresh layer of wood chips from
the local sawmill, Northland Wood. This year I decided to keep closer track of
how much effort it takes to move all 30 yards of wood chips by counting each
wheelbarrow load, recording how much time I spent, and by using a heart rate
monitor to keep track of effort.
The image below show the tally board. Tick marks indicate wheelbarrow-loads,
the numbers under each set of five were the number of minutes since the start of
each bout of work, and the numbers on the right are total loads and total
minutes. I didn’t keep track of time, or heart rate, for the first set of 36
It’s not on the chalkboard, but my heart rate averaged 96 beats per minute for
the first effort on Saturday morning, and 104, 96, 103, and 103 bpm for the
rest. That averages out to 100.9 beats per minute.
For the loads where I was keeping track of time, I averaged 3 minutes and 12
seconds per load. Using that average for the 36 loads on Friday afternoon, that
means I spent around 795 minutes, or 13 hours and 15 minutes moving and
spreading 248 wheelbarrow-loads of chips.
Using a formula found in [Keytel LR, et al. 2005. Prediction of energy
expenditure from heart rate monitoring during submaximal exercise. J Sports
Sci. 23(3):289-97], I calculate that I burned 4,903 calories above the amount I
would have if I’d been sitting around all weekend. To put that in perspective,
I burned 3,935 calories running the Equinox Marathon in September, 2013.
As I was loading the wheelbarrow, I was mentally keeping track of how many
pitchfork-loads it took to fill the wheelbarrow, and the number hovered right
around 17. That means there are about 4,216 pitchfork loads in 30 yards of wood
To summarize: 30 yards of wood chips is equivalent to 248 wheelbarrow loads.
Each wheelbarrow-load is 0.1209 yards, or 3.26 cubic feet. Thirty yards of wood
chips is also equivalent to 4,216 pitchfork loads, each of which is 0.19 cubic
feet. It took me 13.25 hours to move and spread it all, or 3.2 minutes per
wheelbarrow-load, or 11 seconds per pitchfork-load.
One final note: this amount completely covered all but a few square feet of the
dog yard. In some places the chips were at least six inches deep, and in others
there’s just a light covering of new over old. I don’t have a good measure of
the yard, but if I did, I’d be able to calculate the average depth of the chips.
My guess is that it is around 2,500 square feet, which is what 30 yards would
cover to an average depth of 4 inches.
mon, 13-jun-2011, 21:13
Rainbow over the dog yard
mon, 10-sep-2007, 18:59
finished dog yard
Well, we’re still
moving into our new house, but it finally feels like we’ve got more stuff in the new house than the old one. Last night was the first night spent sleeping in our bed in our new master bedroom instead of sleeping in the guest bedroom. The struggle started almost three weeks ago when we bought all the materials for the new dog yard. Fourty-three 4x4’s, 45 2x4’s for rails and the gate, and later a bunch more wood for the gate on the deck and a set of stairs from the deck into the yard. Not to mention 300 feet of six-foot, “no climb”, wrapped wire fencing and 30 yards of wood chips.
My plan called for 4x4 posts sunk between two and five feet in the ground, with notches at the top of each post to accept 2x4 rails that run from post to post. Each 2x4 is also notched so the two 2x4’s fit together, and as a pair, fit into the 4x4 notch. A long lag bolt holds the two 2x4’s together, and attaches them to the 4x4. All that notching took several days after work.
Starting on Monday August 26th, we started tearing out the old dog yard, moving the wood chips around the yard, digging holes with a post hole auger, sinking the posts and attaching rails, hanging the fencing and big gate doors, and building the deck gate and stairs. Along the way we also did some painting, and moving the bare minimum of stuff needed to actually start living in the new place (coffee supplies, dog and cat food, etc.). It took us eleven days to get the whole thing done.
The first photo on the right (click on the photos to see a larger version) shows the completed dog yard from the deck. The yard connects the deck (and thus, the house) with a covered dog shed at the other end. The dog houses are all pretty far from the house, but it’s the flattest, highest ground, so it makes the most sense to locate them there. There’s a double-wide gate near the houses so we can pull in the pickup truck if needed, and so it’ll be easy to get the dogs ready for mushing. At the house end, there’s a gate to keep the dog entrance to the house (a sliding glass door, unfortunately) separate from the human entrance (the front door).
A gallery of all the photos we took during this process is at: Building a dog yard
Finally on Labor Day, we were ready to move in. But the refrigerator we’d ordered was being delivered a day and a half early and instead of moving in, we had to wait several hours while they got their delivery truck towed out of our driveway.
But since then, things have been going well. Yesterday we rented a moving truck and loaded almost all of our furniture, our freezers, and some other larger items that needed to stay dry for the trip over to our new house. There’s still a bunch of work to be done at the old house, and even more work unpacking and trying to figure out where everything will go, but progress is being made. In a few weeks I might even be able to bake a loaf of bread or read a book! I can’t wait to try some of the recipes and techniques from Peter Reinhart’s new book Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
. Possibly even in a new propane-fueled oven.