One of the struggles with data coming from so far back is that we don't have a lot of context for it. The data may come from NASA, but NASA was founded in 1958. 60 years ago. We only have global weather data from 1880 onward. Only about 150 years. Now — that is not to say we don't have a lot of information for times before that. We can inspect CO2 levels in ice, organic material deposits in fossils, and all sorts of indirect data. Indirect — that's a very key word.
The last time we know weather affected crops in a substantial manner was the Little Ice Age, some time between 1500-1800. Or was it 1300-1800? We're not really sure. People didn't write things down too well back then and they often spoke in riddles. It might have been caused by solar radiation cycles. Well, maybe it was volcanoes. The earth's orbital wobble could have deviated from a comet for a bit. Or maybe it was just the result of a bunch of people dying from the plague. Or maybe it was more people living in northern latitudes. We don't really know. A lot of context was lost.
I listened to about half of that YouTube earlier today and well... who knows? I don't think he provides any evidence compelling enough for me to change my life. At the same time, he could be right. What I do agree with is the need to be resilient to change. Weather is incredibly variable, and changing more and more by the day. We do know that for certain. We do not know which way our climate is headed, but it is for sure changing in dramatic ways. So I kind of look at this way: it doesn't matter if he's right or not. Practicing ways to be more resilient to changing climate is a good way to spend your time.
Sent out my pledge to Orin! And I'd send one to Josiah if I had a paypal address...
BTW — I'd love to remove my Boots pledges from the original BRK thread and just keep the one I have here for simplicity's sake. Also thinking it might be a good idea to remove the Boot's portion of the list in that thread since it's outdated by this one.
The vast majority of land in California is not in a city, and counties often have far more relaxed regulations than cities. Have you been looking into county regulations as well? I believe Siskiyou and Nevada counties allow composting toilets from memory. I will also say from anecdotal evidence that the state is vast, and while you may be required to install septic to get a building permit, there is virtually zero chance anyone is going to stop you from using composting toilets in practice.
One of the coolest things about concrete is that you can make more concrete out of... concrete. A little cement mixed in with crushed concrete will create new concrete. Or you can use it to fill in a new pour somewhere. Maybe you want a new building pad, retaining wall, or walking path. You can smash up the concrete, throw it into the forms, and pour in a lot less concrete to fill it in.
I think I owe Jen some money, but... no idea where to send it! I always feel a bit lost at this part of the BRK. Should I be waiting for someone to PM me? Or keeping up with every thread and proactively asking them for their paypal? (That's a joke, there is no way I could ever be that responsible)
Ringing is a pretty standard practice for killing trees — especially ones you wish to cut down later.
But remember this most certainly kills the tree. The roots start to die back and rot underground. The tree loses its hold on the ground. Wind and ice more easily pull it over. The branches die with the tree, and pine branches have evolved to pop right off when they die (as a means of fire protection — cutting the fire ladder short on branches no longer receiving sunlight). All that makes for a very scary tree to be around, and especially scary to fell. Nothing like the vibration of a saw to pop one of those branches off 30ft above your soft, squish-prone body.
Cutting down a healthy tree and debarking it will achieve almost identical results. Without the bark, insects and fungus will not be able to attack the tree. If in addition, it's raised a couple inches off the ground, the results will be identical to leaving it dead-standing. Except it'll be on the forest floor, and not hanging precariously a hundred feet above our fragile heads.
That's a huge plot! I would be curious what the topography is like. If this were me, I'd be thinking about two things:
1) What sized chicken tractor / animal pen do I want to design for? The plot looks prime for rotating animals around in a circle, maybe building a flat road (pasture) for their primary shelter to travel along. Ridgedale Permaculture has some great examples of designing their landscape for animal rotation efficiency. Work from that base and design tree & earthworks projects around that base. Even if there aren't any animals, having a nice wide track for tractors. / wheelbarrows is always nice.
2) How can I cut this fencing project short and build some next year?
I think you'll be hard pressed to ever come to the conclusion that pressure treated wood is "good" or "natural" in any sense. Similarly, it's hard to say that modern PT wood is "bad" or "toxic". It lies somewhere in between and depends on your comfort level with chemical products. For me: I'm fine with it, but I use it sparingly.
PS — I'd never use a 2x4 for a post, it'll warp like no one's business as it dries out. You'll be happy you went with 4x4s no matter the material you use.
https://www.planet.com/ will give you the best quality, up-to-date satellite photos from my experience. You can get a free trial to get a photo or two. The downside is once your trial expires, you can't really get any additional photos.
elle sagenev wrote:This article popped up while researching something for work and it blew my mind. grow houses blowing transformers. 45% of Denver, CO's new energy use is from MJ growers. Maybe this blows my mind so much because I am already in an energy unstable area. Our power goes out fairly frequently. I cannot imagine what would happen to our power grid if MJ growing was legal here. I do not think it could handle the increased use.
This triggered my spidey sense as a misleading metric so I dug in a bit:
These articles are from 2015, which is the first year it was legal to grow marijuana in Colorado (recreational sales were first allowed jan 1, 2014 and permits to build grow houses went out that year too, and electricity use reports are a year behind). So this growth seems staggering, except it was mostly a one-time hit from building an entire industry from scratch
While increased population has been responsible for most of Denver's 1.2% annual power demand growth, roughly 45% of it comes from pot growing facilities.
So that 45% is kind of a weird number. A more realistic headline would be Denver's power demand grows 0.6% from MJ growers. A little less sensational, unfortunately.
Estimate from that article is that MJ growing consumes 200 million kWh/yr. According to Colorado, the state uses 56,450,480 megawatt-hours/yr. That puts MJ use at 0.35% of the state's total electricity use. For a reference point: about 10% of Colorado's total electricity is used just for residential heating. So if we could improve residential heating by 3%, it would nullify all electricity used by grow houses.
Now is it silly to force indoor growing of a plant that would otherwise grow great in a greenhouse / outdoor? Yes. Am I terribly concerned about a electric source using 0.35%? Not in the least. Especially in a state where about 75% of electric production comes from coal an natrual gas.
I forgot to mention, if this beam is being supported at the ends of the beam (vs two points at 1/3 and 2/3 length), the math works out even better since there is almost no moment (and resulting tensile/compressive) forces at all. Here the bending strength plays no role in the strength of the structure. The more to the ends of the beam it is supported, the less cross-section needed at the support to retain 100% strength (since failure will occur in the middle).
paul wheaton wrote:Here is my primary concern with a saddle joint. I see way too many of the first kind. The second kind has 98% of the notch strength, plus 800% of the beam strength.
A note of clarification — this isn't quite right per my understandings. This type of joint is often used as the way most beams fail is at the point of maximum moment (and thus the resulting tensile/compression forces). Since the beam is being supported at this joint, the moment forces are such that only the top half of the log is of concern (see attachment). In bending, total tensile strength of the cross section is focused at the extremity of the log (forces increase by a square function of the cross-section's height). This is why we have I-beams: tiny little cross-section until the end where the beef lives that carries the real load.
As a more concrete points:
- If you remove none of the cross-section, the beam remains at 100% strength
- If you remove the bottom 50% of the cross-section, the beam remains at 100% strength
- If you remove the bottom 75% of the cross-section, the beam remains at 79% strength*
*Calculated by taking the section modulus of a circle and subtracting the section modulus of the "beam" cut out by the joint (25% of the height, or half the radius). See other attachment. Technically, it is even stronger as I have assumed to remove more material (a complete rectangular section) than would be physically possible since it's a circular cut.
This type of joint reduces shearing stresses most, but beams almost never fail in shear (a beam that fails in shear typically sags in a horror-movie-like way long before it fails) .
All that is to say, it is often a little non-intuitive how much material you can remove from beams without affecting their strength.
A small tractor that runs on multiple fuels and turns on a dime, equivalent to 2 draft horses
I think you may struggle competing here — my tractor (JCB 210S) fits both of these qualifications. It's diesel (+ biodiesel) powered and has 4-wheel steering. As a bonus, the backhoe even slides horizontally to maximize digging in tight spaces. Skid-steers also fit this bill, able to turn 360˚ without any forward movement.
Maintenance is always my struggle with heavy equipment. A small tractor that sees infrequent use always seems to eat up man-hours keeping up the fuel-related systems and batteries. I'd love something that didn't require such babying and could be started up every 6 months would be highly desirable (to me).
I have always found my wooden handles to be the biggest problem in high UV / low humidity environments. A regular application of boiled linseed oil helps, as well as a nice shaded area to store the tools (ideally on the north facing side of a building). My collection of shovel and axe heads says I have ambitions of learning how to turn my own handles, but that hasn't realized yet.
To be honest, I've never had a problem using oiled lubricants gathering dust, and still often use WD-40 to clean/coat my tools for winter storage. It is no doubt toxic — but I can't count the number of cans I've gone through as I don't think I've even gone through half a small can in five years. For sharpening, I tend towards whetstones. But any sharpening system will work great in any environment so long as you take time to learn the best practices — each have their idiosyncrasies. For shovels and blunt-use tools (hoes, axes, etc), I tend to use a bastard file and a puck sharpener. If I had the space & power, I'd use a bench grinder.
I wouldn’t worry too much. My Apple trees sit under 5-10ft of snow for a good 2 months of the year and seem to do fine. Snow is an incredible insulator and helps protect my trees from the cold temperatures. So long as they are braced from being snapped in half, snow is much better for them than the open air. As a bonus, the snow often keeps the trees dormant through warm snaps since it keeps the root zone cooler than the warm air.
Kyle Neath wrote:I think the biggest benefit to Nature's Head vs a sawdust system is the built-in urine diverter. Urine is what makes composting/pit toilets smell and having a built in urine diverter is a godsend. The biggest downside (apart from cost) is that it does take more time to empty the solids chamber. With a sawdust system you can swap out the solids bucket real quick and keep trucking on.
That has not been our experience when using a sawdust system, but I think it depends on the type of sawdust you use. We get very fine dust - mostly from horse chestnut - direct from a local yard that make fencing products. It is very absorbent, and has a very high surface area. A small amount covers deposits nicely as it flows around and over things. When we set one up using pine shaving - bought from a pet shop - it was very different. The shavings covered it, but there still seemed to be air circulation unless you used a very thick layer of shavings. And the shavings themselves seemed pretty much waterproof, rather than absorbent.
When people talk about urine making compost toilets smell I always suspect that there is a problem of some sort with the cover material being used.
I should have clarified: this was pretty targeted at people who don’t live with a sawdust system full time (i.e. guests). They can definitely be managed well by experienced users, especially those who meticulously source their shavings from sawmills and the like. For people who don’t use one every day, I find they never really know the right amount of sawdust to use and almost never use it for just urine deposits. For small numbers of guests (<10) this is usually fixed by a face-to-face chat, but once you leave people to their own will the urine problem always presents itself.
Kyle Neath wrote:The Nature’s Head toilets are probably the most similar to flush toilets that I know of. I have one out at my ranch and no one seems to complain about it. I have a little piece of paper explaining what to do for people, but honestly — it’s extremely easy. You take a poop, turn the handle, and you’re done. For hand washing I would look into RV foot-pump style sink and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
I'm stuck between a sawdust system or the natures head. Originally i was thinking natures head, but now I'm slightly worried people would use it wrong and I would be stick fixing their mess every weekend? What do you think.
Honestly, so long as you or a staff member are in charge of emptying the urine bucket and cleaning it after events (same kind of cleaning you'd do to any toilet), I struggle to think how people could use it wrong. But people can be creative. I'm sure they can find a way to use it wrong. Sawdust systems have similar ways of failing (people using too much / too little sawdust, not telling people when it's full, etc). I think the biggest benefit to Nature's Head vs a sawdust system is the built-in urine diverter. Urine is what makes composting/pit toilets smell and having a built in urine diverter is a godsend. The biggest downside (apart from cost) is that it does take more time to empty the solids chamber. With a sawdust system you can swap out the solids bucket real quick and keep trucking on.
The Nature’s Head toilets are probably the most similar to flush toilets that I know of. I have one out at my ranch and no one seems to complain about it. I have a little piece of paper explaining what to do for people, but honestly — it’s extremely easy. You take a poop, turn the handle, and you’re done. For hand washing I would look into RV foot-pump style sink and a bottle of hand sanitizer.
One of the core tenants of practicing mindfulness for me is battling the idea of blame. Blame is just a manifestation of ego. At the highest level, blame does no one any good. At best, it makes us angry at a person instead of confused at ourselves. At worst... no need for that.
There are endless sources of conflict in my life that I would love to assign blame. My dog for barking at the raccoons who ran way long ago. My s/o for not doing her dishes. The plow driver for not putting the gate down and berming in my driveway. That prius for WHY ARE YOU SLOWING DOWN IN THE SINGLE LANE AND SPEEDING UP IN THE PASSING LANE
I still complain, but when I get a chance to collect myself I try and remember that higher level. What's the use in me blaming someone? I can clearly see how it's going to improve my life to confront my s/o over a dish I can clean in 30 seconds [Narrator: It did not, in fact, improve his life]. And you know, maybe her day was shit and she forgot about the dish.
At work we often had what we called "blameless post-mortems" in which we try and diagnose problems without blaming someone for their actions. The point is that even if someone caused a problem, we are a team and the whole point of this exercise is to stop the problem from occurring in the future. If someone failed, that's because there weren't appropriate safeguards or backups in place. I still love that idea, even though I've never met an organization that actually implemented them. Someone did get blamed, and sometimes people got fired. But it always felt like a great problem solving tool. Before we start to fix this, let's set a precedent that our goal is not to blame a person. It's to improve the process & infrastructure.
When I'm doing good at mindfulness, all this is easy. Blame is obviously a path toward self-harm: arguments, firings, and personal discomfort. But you know, I'm still human. And sometimes it's clearly someone's fault for spilling the milk. But I always wish it wasn't.
The biggest way I know how to save big is to avoid debt. Especially on big items people usually don’t consider to be debt (car, house). A good approximation is that anything you buy with debt costs twice as much as the sticker price. So a $200,000 house will cost you $400,000 with a mortgage.
The second thing that comes to mind is to learn how to cook with raw ingredients. It’s not only a money saving trick versus going out, but it’s a critical skill if you find yourself with no money and need to continue existing. A few pounds of rice and beans can make weeks of meals for almost nothing.
The third thing is to learn how to understand your finances. If you can figure out the skills to know how much and what you spend your money on every month and predict that into the future, combine that with how much income you take home and predict that into the future, you can save untold amounts of money and build up your savings quicker than you ever imagined. This is no easy task with how American taxes are structured, but it’s probably the most powerful life skill I’ve ever developed.
Cristo: I have a heated mattress pad that does what you're looking for. I find that it works really well to heat the bed up about 30 minutes before I climb in, then I turn it off when I'm in the bed. You can theoretically keep it on all night if you want, but I've only ever wanted the extra warmth when I first climb in. It also lets me keep my bedroom cooler during the day since I know I'll have a warm bed to crawl into when it's time to sleep.
I'll be heading out to Maine here in a few weeks to take one of Shelter's Post & Beam classes, and I'd say they are generally a good source of information. I'll try to answer your questions, but take note it's a huge it depends. The timber frame is just the structural piece of a building and what you do after that has tremendous effect on its strength and insulation.
On strength: Oh boy, strength is one of my least favorite words in construction. Buildings never fail in strength. They fail in deflection. A wooden beam doesn't crush (strength), it splinters apart (deflection). The way that most buildings fail is in shear — kind of like pushing sideways on a house until the lumber deflects and splinters apart. Pat described using SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels) for strength, which gives you two layers of shear walls (the OSB on either side of the insulation). This is double the shear walls that a traditional stick framed building has. That being said: you can easily have a traditionally framed house built with extra shearing support, or add in steel/concrete moment frames, etc, etc.
On insulation: The big win he's talking about here is using SIPs and having a perfectly uniform building envelope. In other words: >90% of the envelope is made of insulation (styrofoam). The R-value of styrofoam is about 5 per inch, while lumber is only about 1.5 per inch. In a traditionally framed building I believe the building envelope is about 25% lumber, 25% windows, and 50% cavity (insulation). In a SIP building, it's around 5% lumber, 25% windows, and 70% cavity (insulation). When you calculate the effective insulation of a building, you have to multiply the R-value of all your materials in the envelope. So a traditionally framed house would be something like 25% * 1.5 * 6 (2x6 construction) + 50%*5*6 = R-17.25. A SIP house would be 5%*1.5*6 + 70%*5*6 = R-21.5. In practice it's a little more complicated than that, but the overall theme is that when lumber is part of your building envelope (traditional framing), you will lose a lot of insulating power. You're also going to have a much better air seal in a SIP house since there are fewer gaps to fill.
Now back to the whole it depends angle: there are tons of ways to get these same benefits in traditional framing. One easy way is to pull the studs inside the building envelope just like a timber frame. This is usually called a Perfect Wall.
I was wondering, would taking the time to glue up conventional studs into posts be an option? After all, lumber companies make glue-laminated beams all the time, so...?
You're going to need a jointer, a planer, and so many clamps you're going to want to jump off a cliff. You're better off purchasing engineered lumber like LSLs and LVLs if you want to go down that route. You can definitely screw multiple 2x4s together to make up a post to bear load, but you won't be able to use these in a timber frame engineered house since the members need to be solid to handle the bending forces.
I think what you’re trying to say is that you are interested in building an earth-sheltered outbuilding where you plan to cook and process foods and store your extra bedding materials. Surely not a building for human habitation, because that would involve a lot of expensive engineering work and require many code compliances that aren’t possible with wofati construction methods. That being said, for however strict people make you believe California’s codes are, it’s a big state. And if you have rural land away from neighbors, it’s going to take a lot of effort to get inspectors attention.
Roundwood construction is allowed, but extremely expensive. Wood must be graded to be permitted. If you buy a 2x4 at Home Depot you’ll se something like “#2 or better” stamped on it, grading the lumber. Complete logs are ungraded, and so cannot be approved by permitting processes. Outbuildings, however, are not subject to such regulations. Aren’t they lovely? A nice place to park a tractor in, and maybe even a cot or two.
I don’t think you’ll find the forestry department a source of buildable lumber. I’m sure they didn’t respond because they were confused. Fuels reduction usually results in mastication (woodchips) and small logs (2’-3’ long) that can be moved by 1-2 people by hand into burn piles.
I will second the others who are suggesting a slightly bigger footprint. You usually want two rows of seats (low and high), 12-18" in depth and about 24" of walking space in the floor. At 4' you'll only get a 12" wide walkway, which would be a bummer. One of the problems with saunas is you have to put a stove in there, and no one wants to be squeezing by a red-hot stove. So it ends up taking 3-4 "seats" worth of space. Of course this all depends on the shape of your stove! So I think it's good that you're focusing on that end. Figure out how much space the stove/barrels are going to take up and you can play with the footprint to work around it. I think I'd also agree that insulation is less important with an occasional-use sauna (as opposed to one inside a gym/spa). You're kinda designing a structure for extremes, and insulation helps combat extremes. You're probably better off optimizing for air/vapor sealing than R-Value.
I've just started getting into fermentation, but I've got a small selection going right now. Some carrots, two different types of beets, and some cucumber pickles. I'm hoping to try out some ginger beer here soon since I wasn't able to harvest any elderberries for wine this year (just never got warm enough to form berries).
Some seem to only want to hear "oh, I'm awesome!" and get disappointed with me if I tell them "not great" or that things aren't improving much, and some seem to want entertainment from the trainwreck of "I feel terrible", and pressure me to say how "I really feel" when I say it's been good lately.
I feel you here. For seven years now my father has been diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease. Degenerative meaning it gets worse over time. Despite explaining this to many people (including much of my close family) people get upset at me when they ask me “how’s your dad doing?” and hear it isn’t getting better and there’s no fix on the horizon. Most people’s brains aren’t wired to understand an illness that doesn’t have a curable path and their brains melt down when they hear that sometimes things just don’t get better. So like others have said already, I just lie to them and say he’s doing fine.
As to alternatives to how are you feeling? I think the best way is to re-focus the subject of what you’re saying back on to yourself. What are you prepared to do? Asking someone how they’re feeling puts all the onus on them. Something like I’m here to listen if you need to talk switches the subject around. Another thing I’ve noticed as I’ve gotten older is that vague, negative-leaning questions like “how are you feeling?” end up in boring conversations that neither person really enjoys. Questions like What are you most excited about right now? offer far better conversation paths.
I'm interested in sponsoring the sauna. Especially if it utilizes some kind of rocket heating mechanism. I can't put up any physical materials, but I can put up money to purchase said materials. If someone put some time into creating a list of materials, pricing them out, and committing to do the project, I think it would be pretty likely the funds might show up.
Do you have a source to share for the lack of chaps protwction with electric saws?
My understanding was that material in the chaps was meant to jam the chain, and that ratings are based on stopping chain moving at a given speed.. irrespective of what was causing it to move. I can see how the massive torque of some of the electric saws could be a new issue though...
You can usually find the information directly on the product pages since the UL has yet to rate any chaps for electric saws. These STIHL chaps are a good example:
...material designed to reduce the risk or severity of injury to the body parts covered by the pads in the event of contact with the rotating saw chain of a gasoline-powered chainsaw.
Like you mentioned, the problem is the constant torque. Chaps are designed to halt a chain once and tangle it up. For gas powered saws this works great since the torque is extremely low at low speeds. But electric chainsaws maintain the same torque and can continue to cut through the chap threads even after the chain has been stopped.
That being said still wear chaps! It’s obviously much safer than not wearing chaps. It’s just an element of safety I consider with electric vs gas saws.
I have three saws: Stihl MS461 (big saw, 32” bar), Stihl MS161 (small saw, 16”? bar), and a E-GO battery saw (14” bar). The MS161 and E-GO are comparable in weight and bar length, but it’s hard for me to say one is better than the other. I’ll give you three different comparisons:
1. Safety: Electric chainsaws are much more dangerous than gas saws. The biggest reason is that chaps do not protect against electric saws. They are designed to tangle up saws that work in pulses (like a 2-stroke engine) and an electric chainsaw will just chew right through them. The other reason is that the lack of engine noise makes people think it’s safe, even though you can tap the button and get that chain ripping in an instant. A growling gas saw is a warning in and of itself.
2. Power: There is no comparison at all. The MS161 is at least 10 times more powerful than the E-GO and it won’t shut down from the battery overheating under load (a scary thing when you’re taking down a tree). That being said, the E-GO can get the job done with enough patience.
3. Maintenance: Again, no question — the E-GO wins hands down here. Gas saws take some care, especially if you cannot acquire ethanol free fuel. You’ve got to understand how to start a cold saw, a warm saw, adjust for elevation, clear a flooded chamber, and keep extra spark plugs on hand, and manage the age of your gas cans. With the E-GO you just put bar oil in and you’re good to go.
If you are cutting wood for heat, I wouldn’t even question it — get a gas saw. If you just need to cut down some windfall now and then, a battery saw will probably do you fine.
If you haven't read the book this is from (1491), I'd definitely suggest it. It really opened my eyes as to just how colonial-centric my schooling was. The book is more or less a bunch of theories about what the native landscape was pre-columbus. The theories all center around a central theme: The Americas were heavily populated (perhaps more so than Europe), extremely advanced (especially in terms of food production, the most important technology of the time), and cultivated the "wild" landscapes we talk about today.
And at least for my end, I found his theories far more compelling than "traditional" history of the Americas I was taught in school. It seems extremely likely that early peoples were using the Amazon as a food forest given the other innovations in food cultivation we know came from America (potatoes, tomatoes, corn, peppers). Once I was able to rearrange my perspective from Americans were technologically behind Europeans to Americans were innovating in food while Europeans were innovating in war, it really helped a lot of things click into place in my head.
I am definitely a member of "the 1%." I think the 1% are terribly destructive force. I don't think I'm a destructive force. And I don't think any of those statements are contradictory.
I think the idea of power constructs (the 1% represent the power of capital) can be divorced from the individuals within those power constructs. I can benefit from the power of capital while also abhorring the idea of capital having power. Oddly enough, the most powerful tool I have in this fight is capital itself. So at least personally, I'll continue to campaign against the power of capital (the 1%) while also living a life benefiting from it.
C. Letellier wrote:I am left wondering what the fuss is. The french system using molten salts melted down the steel containment vessel 20 years ago when they had a problem. Was this not something they could do reliably?
I believe the fuss is centered around a ~2x increase in heat compared to previous solar array systems. Molten salt systems generally operate ~500˚C, but this new system can achieve temperatures of around 1000˚C, making it suitable for cement, steel, glass, etc. The other side of it is this new system is designed to produce heat as it's primary output, whereas molten salt systems tend to produce electricity as their primary output. A lot of industry relies on fossil fuels for heat production, not so much energy.
If any of you ever have a chance to see one of these big mirror setups, it's really a mind-bending piece of infrastructure to behold. I'm definitely curious to see where this goes. Replacing fossil-fuel powered heat is a big hurdle in moving toward carbon-neutral manufacturing, and one electricity sucks at.
I would recommend looking into a spring box system. The general idea is to build an underground dam, back fill with gravel, and bury a perforated PVC pipe in the gravel. The water will filter down through the gravel, travel into the PVC pipe which then fills a spring box with water. After that, hook up some 3/4" black poly tubing (potable-grade, direct-bury rated) down to where you need the water. I would try to site the spring box as far uphill as you can, as it will keep the source cleaner and gain you more pressure in the line.
But the fact that they might we in the same weight class makes you nervous.
It’s not just the weight class — it’s the forces at work (the statics equation of a tree). I don’t have a problem pushing upwards from a machine heavier than the tree because it can absorb a moment in tension and not fail. Any jack, be it hi-lift, timber tool, or hydraulic will have a sudden and immediate failure in tension. Let’s say a big gust of wind comes along pushing in the direction of the jack. This has the potential to dislodge the jack, causing it to fall down. When the wind subsides, the hinge tension will rock the tree back toward you. But, now the jack is on the ground providing zero force on the tree at all and the tree is free to fail in the wrong direction — now with the added energy (however minuscule in comparson) from the timber tool swaying back at you.
If you review the same scenario with a wedge, rope, or excavator, the situation is different:
- A wedge will stay in place, and when the tree starts bending backwards it will resume it’s compressive force
- A rope will have some slack, and then when the tree starts bending backwards it will regain tension force
- An excavator will stay in place, and when the tree starts bending backwards it will just hit the machine (which remained due to its weight) and regain its compressive force
It’s true I don’t have experience with this specific jack, so I’m not saying it’s definitely bad. These are just the principles I have learned to respect while felling trees. I wouldn’t use this tool for a lot of other reasons (tripping hazard in the midst of an escape route probably being number one, as mentioned earlier). But I think it’s unfair to say I’m just spooked about it because I haven’t used it personally. Trees are made of wood, a variable organic material. The ground is made of rocks, dirt, rotten logs, and yellow jacket nests. Both are unreliable materials under compression and often have sudden failures. My teaching about felling trees is that the hard part is not planning the fall — but managing unknowns. An unknown knot or rotten section in the trunk. The unknown strength of the hingewood. An unknown balance dynamic in the limbs. An unknown gust of wind. An unknown limb giving way half way through the cut. This tool to me adds a whole slew of extra unknowns and a dose of scary force diagrams for me (pushing upwards, pushing laterally at the bottom).