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Working in a Greenhouse

Discussion in 'Skulls and Skeletons' started by JRose, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. JRose

    JRose Member

    I work completely outside, which isn't fun this time of year. I never liked bringing "business" into the garage or house. I was thinking of getting a shed or garage though, because water heating costs get fierce this time of year and I'm tired of freezing my hands. Then I had a thought; what about setting up a big greenhouse around my work area? It should drastically reduce my water heating costs, make winter a little more bearable, and keep rogue neighbor dogs from getting into my work/peeing on everything :eek:

    Some fancier ones have ventilation fans, simple ones have screenless windows that can zip open and closed to help with condensation and temp control. Having a setup that keeps the flies at bay while working would be a bonus ;D I drain my maceration water underground, so I'm not worried about smell build up.

    Any thoughts on this? Has anyone tried this?
  2. With a good seal and some nice big black rocks you might not even have to heat anything. My guy is building one that will be partially buried and then have big black rocks in it to absorb heat. All from salvaged materials. If you play your cards right and have some patience it can cost you $0 and just some time and patience. I like the idea, I think it would work well if sealed right in the winter.

  3. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    You will need to build one that has double plastic with air pumped between the layers to serve as insulation. Heating cost at night and on cloudy days is gonna be a sumbitch. I have a friend that grows tomatoes in three greenhouses. He began years go with propane forced air heaters, then went to diesel fired , and now uses burnt motor oil to fire his heaters. Without an adequate heat source, the temp will plummet at sunset. Consider a well insulated building instead.
  4. JRose

    JRose Member

    Grygon: Great idea with the black rocks. There's a portable 20' long greenhouse on amazon for $200, and for what it could provide me I might just buy one pre-made! I've got enough building projects going on right now to add more! Plus it has open/closable ventilation flaps, which would be nice in the summer.

    Joeym: At night it might get cold, but take into account the bins are ALREADY outside 24/7, and right now are in 6" of fresh snow. I think anything would be an improvement ;)

    For the option of doing this under $300, I'm heavily considering. A full-blown heated building isn't in my budget right now (wish it was!), although I was debating a tool shed of some sort, but then I have to deal with maceration crap possibly spilling and all sorts of unpleasant damage to the shed. I like working on grass/dirt, where the ground absorbs goo and grime! I'm thinking that with the portable greenhouse, if it's a flop, I can still use it for veggies!
  5. DeeCee

    DeeCee New Member

    I'd worry about moisture build up, and smell. And remind me NEVER to eat a salad at you house.LOL
  6. JRose

    JRose Member

    Like I said, I drain everything underground, so there's very little smell. I've worried about condensation, but I would think opening the windows if it got bad might be enough, or setting up a little vornado to circulate air!

    My salad greens do well enough in the ground; it'd be the peppers and tomatoes you'd have to watch out for! ;D
  7. joeym

    joeym Old Murphey

    This is the structure I use to macerate skulls. I have a small 110 volt electric heater in it, and it stays at a constant 90 degrees. The water is the same as the air temp after a day or so. I can macerate just about anything in less than a week. When I open the door, buzzards begin to circle. It is one stinking operation, but it gets the job done for me!

  8. JRose

    JRose Member

    That looks like a very nice setup! ...If I had the luxury of not stinking up the neighbors! Very neat that it's recycled, too.
    I work out of 100+ gallon bins. Little skulls macerate in individual containers. I can fit 4 buckets in each for deer and such. Each insulated bin has a lid with one 2.5"~ hole in it, so they're not completely open/releasing stench, but also not producing anaerobic bacteria. I drain the bins directly into the ground before opening them/working in them if they're nasty, so by the time I actually open everything up the water is running clean and clear. It's taken a few years of angry neighbors to work the system out :D
    My setup would not change with the greenhouse concept, it would simply be enclosed, out of the weather, and hopefully heating would be reduced. Having to scrape snow off of everything is not fun..
    I guess I'm looking for insight on possible issues- like the mildew/moisture factor. That's buzzing around my head. I'm trying to think of unforeseen problems...

    If I tried the setup, there's a chance that the heat from the bins would help to keep the overall temp higher inside the greenhouse. A spaceheater is an option as well, but I don't know if it would truly save me more electricity than it would use. I thought maybe tarping off a side or two with black tarps might also help heat it in the winter...
  9. castipher

    castipher New Member

    How?! I've got complaining neighbors. I'm just getting into maceration, so maybe it's obvious. Right now I've got a 5gal bucket filled with heated water, and within that is a smaller container with two raccoon skulls. The other coon parts are macerating cold while I work out the heating issues/smell.

    Is there like a valve or something on your containers? Do you tip them over or ?
  10. krg10

    krg10 Member

    Go to you tube and check out flower pot space heaters. I am getting ready to build one now. If it just knocks the chill off it will be worth it.
  11. Condensation is always going to be an issue so you'll want to make sure whatever structure you macerate in can deal with being wet. At my old house I macerated inside a regular wooden shed. I'd usually have 3 5-gallon buckets going at once, and I covered them all with bags and a lid (with a hole cut for the extension cord). This was still not enough to control the condensation when it got really cold in the winter. The entire top of the shed became COVERED with mold. I mean completely covered. Surfaces were visibly wet/dewey. Not good.

    This time I've got a metal shed I'm going to macerate in (I haven't started yet) so I am hoping that condensation will be less of an issue.
  12. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    There are several threads on here with information on what people do with the bad water and debris from macerating. You need to search and do some reading and digging through threads. I have a three foot deep pit dug into the ground. I use that to pour the containers into and the liquid soaks into the ground leaving behind the solids. I keep the hole filled with hay/straw and remove it before pouring in more liquid. I cover it with the hay again and keep a piece of plywood over the whole to keep dogs and other animals out. There is no odor at all and I have neighbors too. In addition to that, the hole produces some really good fishing worms.

    Your raccoon parts sitting in cold water will pretty much just do nothing for many months. If and when you do clean them, you will find that you have generated a large amount of adipocere (grave wax) that is a real PITA and time waster to remove. Warm water maceration takes about a week and the formation of adipocere is almost eliminated. Adipocere formed in tight areas and inside the bone can not be removed and can be a long term source for odor if there is a lot of it.
  13. castipher

    castipher New Member

    Crap you're right. Sorry I didn't think. I'll do a search first next time.

    The raccoons are just waiting their turn for the warm water maceration. I bought a skull instead of buying another heater for them, however I'll be getting an aquarium heater within the next week or so. Thanks for the info!
  14. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    Rather than let them be sitting in cold water and generating a future problem, it would be better to freeze them until you are ready.
  15. castipher

    castipher New Member

    I figured that out after I put them in water. I'd been given misinformation that cold water maceration was a good, albeit slow, method. Obviously it was incorrect, and I visited these forums about a week after they'd been in water.
  16. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    If you drain them, let them dry out for half a day, wrap them really well in many layers of plastic and bag in three or four zip loc bags (squeeze out the air each time), you can freeze them without much issue and keep them stored. You can also set them into the smallest plastic container you can fit them into, fill with water and freeze. The many layers of plastic or the barrier of ice will contain any odor until you are ready .. Uhhhm .. unless you live in a house with other people and someone might open up the container.
  17. castipher

    castipher New Member

    Hmm. I'm actually just going to keep this for future reference. Thanks for the info, though. I ordered a heater and it'll be here this weekend. Then I can start really getting them warmed up. I think right now I'm going to fill an old ice chest with super hot water and place a few of the containers inside after drilling a couple of holes in the top to prevent any exploding whale scenarios.

    I can maintain the hot water in the ice chest until the heater comes to maintain it for me.

    (Also, OP, sorry for hijacking your post.)
  18. JRose

    JRose Member

    I went ahead and purchased the darn greenhouse. Should be here by Christmas (I hope) and I might just post a few updates! Just in time, too, cause the spigots froze and I've got no fresh water unless I haul 5 gallon buckets from the kitchen sink to the bins 1/2 acre away :( Did that once, don't fancy doing it twice if I don't have to.

    And in regards to my setup; I've tried many things, but the best info I've read on here was about burying a drum in the lawn and draining into it. It's a hassle, but it's worth it if your'e macerating full-time. For passive hobby cleaning it's probably not worth it.
  19. JRose

    JRose Member

    I read about those recently and planned on trying it out in the house in the near future, funny you should mention! I have a couple real nice space heaters I can use too, if all else fails.
  20. Sea Wolf

    Sea Wolf Well-Known Member

    I haul water to my dog pens in winter in 5 gallon buckets. I use a wheelbarrow. Holds 2, 5 gallon pails without sloshing too bad. Beats carrying them by the handles.