There were quite a few varieties of the homemade type that worked well for those families based on their yard and where they lived. I also saw a cylinder of wire mesh attached to four long stakes driven into the ground, an old trash can with holes punched in the sides, and shipping pallets set vertically and wired together to make a three sided compost bin. I thought the pallet compost bin was very clever. What a great way to reuse pallets.
I seriously considered the pallet-style bin, but then I thought about the pros and cons of these types of casual composting piles for my yard area. After Googling "composting homemade bins," I found some information about the good and bad of casual, or open-style composting. Open-style bins have better air circulation and generally hold a large amount of yard and kitchen waste. It is easy to turn the materials (something I found needs to be done to compost), add new material, and remove the finished compost when it is ready. The downside is rodents or other unwanted creatures using the pile as a buffet. I also discovered that casual composting can take a little longer to break down, because it needs heat to break it down, kind of like baking the compost.