Has anyone tried using one of those auger-type things to aerate and turn over their compost, rather than turning over the pile? I have several big piles that are cooking away but the turning-over is heck on my back.
I don't have one of those augers things exactly, but I have the stick-with-wings type of aerator. It has movable wings on the bottom that are supposed to open up once the stick is stuck into the compost, and then you are supposed to turn it to aerate the pile. Unfortunately, more times than not, the wings get stuck on something and I have a horrible time to pull the darn thing out! But as my piles are small (in diameter) as of yet, I can't really turn them any other way. Hoping to build some real (i.e. larger) piles this spring.
I have that too and like it. I used to use a fork and that was brutal. The stick with wings works great, but does occasionally gets stuck and takes some effort to pull out. I am not positive, but I think I got mine from Garden's Alive with their annual spring coupon.
I don't see my compost getting twirled unless I suddenly develop some upper body strength. I turn it from one bin into another with a large shovel. And I do it rarely. Hence I have slow, slow composting.
I'm developing an idea that hasn't come to fruition. I'm going to get a grain auger and cut it in to 3 sections 4' long and weld a gear on the end of each one. The two outer augers will turn to the right and the inner one to the left. This I will power with the electric motor that came with the old auger to a chain rotating the three augers placed off the ground about 4 ". This will be at the bottom of my compost pile and when turned on will auger/cut/mix/and push the lower contents out to the front of my pile where I can lift the contents back into the top of the pile. My fork will do this rather easily I feel with the chopped up contents off the bottom.