I have something called a earth machine, too. it's a conically shaped,
one piece, except for the cover with locks into place and a sliding door
at the bottom. works pretty well, though I've nothing to compare it to.
I guess it's 3-4 years old, doesn't show any signs of sun damage. I have
not noticed any ravenous plastic eating rats in the area (got some wood
eating ones though). mine came with 6" plastic screws to anchor it into
the ground. you're right about the vents allowing enough oxygen, but I
think the manual suggested you turn the pile occasionally. they even had
some ridiculously priced auger contraption to help you do it. I think a
fork would work just as well, but have been too cheap to buy one (been
trying to flip the pile with a old piece of rebar ... yeah go ahead,
laugh, it's good for you, laughing anyway).
Mine might be an earth machine copy, sounds like you've got a better
thing. It was sold as a two piece: top cylinder latches onto a wider
bottom cylinder (whole thing pops off with a kick). The bottom had 4
big screws that pinned down a large thick plastic sieve for the
bottom. A lid capped the whole thing and had adjustable vents
depending on how far the lid was turned. I always turned it all the
way otherwise wind would take it to the nighbour's yard! :)
When turning, I used the lip for leverage. I'm barely 5' so when the
top half pops off, the neighbours gets a laugh. When I got rats in
there, they turned compost for me by their tunneling action.
Unfortunately, we discovered they were roof rats. <ugh!>
hmm, now that you've described it, I think mine *probably* originally
came in two pieces, too. (how did I fit it in my car?) I would check
but it's full of hurricane debris and out in the middle of nowhere right
now. Everything else matches exactly (except maybe the number of screws,
but I don't use them). If yours is really an Earth Machine (TM), it
should have 'earth machine' embossed on the cover (very hard to see,
I usually leave the top barely latched on even though I've also had the
lid blow off [but not the entire top half :-)], because quite frankly
it's a pain to remove esp. when you've got your hands full of
compostables. I find the handle leaves a lot to be desired (grip-wise)
and it's hard to know when you've turned the top enough to unlock it. I
should probably paint some marks on it or something.
(bin is located in SE Virginia, so concerning UV degradation, probably
doesn't have the same problems as TX and AZ).
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