I have about 60 or 70 lbs of material in it now, plus enough water to form a seal at the bottom of the feed sump. Mostly half-rotten pears, apples, dog poo, some leaves, and some detritus from a mushroom growing experiment (a box of wooden dowels for shitake plugs from a project that didn't work out due to someone flaking out on me.) Next up will be a bunch of chipped-up branches and blackberry canes. You can see I'm clearing a corner of the property to place this in what used to be my garden corner. All of those canes and vines need to go, so they'll gradually get fed in over the next few weeks as I have time.
My plan is any kitchen compostables will mostly go in here too, cardboard, plain paper, etc. I have tons of fir and pine cones to rake up in the yard- in they go. Daytime temperatures are fluctuating now down below efficient digestion temps, and we'll eventually get a week or two of freezing temps. I may figure out some kind of heating coil before long, but if all I do is feed it until next spring, I don't really care, as long as my tank doesn't freeze and rupture. The biological action inside should keep it a bit warmer and theoretically safer from freezing, since we don't get too much hard freeze here anyway.
I need a better feed funnel solution, I think I'm going to have to fabricate one from gutter flashing or something similar. I'm making this one with as little mods to the basic container as possible, but I'm already seeing some things that would benefit from a ground-up approach to design. The height is slightly too much for easy feeding, sitting on pier blocks, and I'm 6' tall. Adding a funnel so I don't have to be as precise about dumping will make it even taller. Counter-sunk into the ground would probably be beneficial with a bigger tank.I would prefer to feed from the side, but without a more elegant solution for plastic welding an angled flange onto it, this seemed less likely to leak. A bigger diameter feed sump would be an obvious improvement. It's amazing how expensive large diameter PVC pipe is at retail prices. A 2' piece of 6" PVC is about $15 at Lowe's Home Improvement Store. That's more than I paid for the 10' section of 4". Connectors for the larger sizes are not as easy to find either, and cost a lot.
I'm going to need to block light to prevent algal growth so I can keep it anaerobic. Probably by painting the exterior black or tarping over it completely.