To Chip, or Not To Chip?

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here’s a story-in-pix that should be worth a good ten grand:

Woody Waste -> Black Gold

PS to the story: We’ve still got mountains of woody waste lying around… And now we’re back into heavy pruning once again! Little branches of young soft fruit trees are not such a problem, but gnarly old wood like we have coming out of our orange orchard is another story. Of course sheep are happy to have first crack at those branches:

Kelsey gives sheep a treat

Kelsey gives sheep a treat

-but then the real work begins. Of course orange wood is a lovely thing to feed into our pizza oven, but laying it up for such use took a good few days of hauling/ cutting/ carrying/ stacking, just to yield -what, a cord or few of logs & kindling?

fuel for the pizza oven

fuel for the pizza oven

Quite apart from the work involved, it’s just wrong to be burning great quanities of this stuff. No great sin to fire up the pizza oven once/ month (and even if it is… Mmm! :-), but given that we don’t really need fire for anything else around here as we get thermal energy from sun more directly, what we really need to do is create a more efficient pipeline for turning our woody “wastes” into topsoil.

What i’ve learned about chipping thus far, via school of hard knocks (as in that Imgur album above) is: you gotta “go big or go home,” as we say in USA. Only thing that really works in my experience is a tub grinder; search YouTube for one of those, and what you’ll find is mostly massive machines by Vermeer and Morbark that cost a fortune and are stationary. What we need is a trailerable unit that can go wherever the wood piles are, and render whatever woody “wastes” we can feed it into usable soil (precursors) as efficiently as possible. Closest thing i have found in that category of chipper is this reasonably portable unit, which -although pushing the limits of size i would consider acceptable (i.e. 130hp diesel)- is practically too big for hand feeding… And then the end product is not so special, IMHO.