Sherwood Botsford

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since Oct 23, 2011
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Recent posts by Sherwood Botsford

Michael Young wrote:Thanks for asking Jeremy.

I sometimes have a little problem with draft. When I'm first lighting it, and sometimes when I open the front to add more wood, I'll get some smoke inside the house. I was expecting, with good draw, there would be suction to pull smoke up and out. So not sure why I'm having the problem.


Remember that your whole house has a 'stack effect'  In our house, the wood stove is in the 1 story part.  If someone has a window cracked open in 2 story part, that draft wins. Try cracking a window open near the stove while you are starting it up. 
1 week ago
I've had and used several stoves over the last 30 years.  Serious use, too.  3-5 cords a year.  Two came with firebrick.  I removed it to get larger chunks of wood in.  While I can see the argument for firebrick on the floor where hot coals are in contact with the steel, most of the time there is a thick layer of ash in the bottom of the stove.  I noticed no difference in performance on any of them.

Sheet metal stoves -- the kind you use to heat a wall tent hunting -- often had a sacrificial liner pan you used in the stove.  Every couple of years you replaced it.  But generally these were fired up without ashes in them a lot more often than a stove that is permanently in place.

I had a barrel stove made from a kit.  They cautioned that you should keep a couple inches of ash in it for longer barrel life.
2 weeks ago

Eat Alberta Lamb.  10,000 coyotes can't be wrong.

I would have to fence the tree farm off from the rest of the land; I don't know sheep at all, and am concerned they would eat my seedlings, step on my seedlings, leave sheep crap where my customers would step in it.

OTOH it would give something for my dog to do.
1 month ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Is there a particular reason you want to smooth it?  Dips help capture run-off during rains.  Smoothing could cause the field to become drier.

To mow it now is to rattle your teeth out.  Clients risk rolling an ankle. 
1 month ago

I have a tree farm.  The aisles between the trees are lumpy from the activities of pocket gophers, leaving their mounds everywhere, and from their tunnels collapsing.  Due to the narrowness of the aisles, ploughing and re-seeding is impractical.

What implements are there to flatten the bumps? 

This *isn't* like ruts.  A bump or a dip is typically 12 inches to 4 feet across and 1 to 4 inches tall or deep.

I have a  section of 16 inch I beam that I've tried dragging.  If I use this dry, it just bounces around.  If I wait until after a rain, I end up with a mess of mixed mud and grass.

I tried using a blade, but  when the tractors front wheels hit a bump, the blade bears down more heavily. 
1 month ago
It won't be a few poplars.  It will be about 200 - 1000 per acre.  If you have rushes to the hilltops, you have a serious water holding soil.

Bite the bullet and lime the soil if you want grass. Typical doses are a metric tonne per hectare per pH unit, but some of that depends on what is buffering the pH.  Take a soil sample to your local ag chem shop.

Or grow a crop of blueberries.

1 month ago
I've seen a company in Australia marketing bags like this as an alternative to dwarfing root stocks.

I use a smaller bag (40 liters) for my own tree production. 

I've used them for up to 8 years with no degradation.

Gotcha1:  You should at least half bury the bag for stability.  Don't want it blowing over everytime the wind gets frisky.

Gotcha2: With the restricted root volume you have to be on top of watering, but a 40 liter bag will maintain an apple at about 1.25" caliper.

Gotcha3:  Eventually the sunlight on the bag will make it fall apart. Wrap the exposed part of the bag with a sacrificial layer.  The tarps that lifts of lumber come wrapped in work well for this.
3 months ago
Storm windows -- the kind you put up in the fall, and took down in the spring -- often had several 1" holes in the bottom sash.  This was covered with a thin batten.  When the window frosted up, you opened the inner window, opened the batten, and closed the inner window.  The ventilation would defrost the window.

You could do something similar for your window.

Houses move.  In designing your window frame, you want to to allow some room for movement.  Read a book on making your own doors and windows.

If you are willing to work with just ordinary glass, you should be able to get your local glass company to cut you a couple of round pieces fairly cheaply. 

But curved glass cuts are harder to do.  A hexagon or octagon might be much cheaper.

The window cannot be perfectly airtight between the panes.  Air pressure varies by about 3% on a day by day basis.   15 psi = 2200 pounds per square foot.  3% of that is 70 pounds per square foot.  The usual way to deal with this is to use a strip of foam between the edges of the panes.  The foam compresses on high pressure days, expands on low pressure days, so the window changes sizes to accomodate the different pressures.

That said, having one side of it mounted in a way that can be lifted out and cleaned makes a lot of sense.  But making this change means making a sealed unit is impossible.  Make it removeable and you will have to remove it now and then. 

If you make storm window style vents, put them on the outside -- less humid.
3 months ago
I recently ran into this:

We have Ikea butcher block countertops on either side of the stove.  I'm thinking about putting a second sink in the kitchen for initial processing when you come in the door. Probably use a big stationary laundry sink with a counter on either side.  Ikea no longer makes solid wood countertops.  This is the third time that I've gone back to Ikea a few years after buying something and found that they no longer stock it.  That's fine for movable stuff, but not fine for stuff that you use for a couple of decades.  (BTW:  Lee Valley Tools is good that way.  If it isn't a 'special purchase' they tend to have stuff for years.)

I inquired with other places.  A wood counter top would be custom made and cost me a thousand bucks.  Well, for a thousand bucks, I'll go to Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store buy a bunch of hardwood floor remnants and make my own.
6 months ago
I've done a walk through of various greenhouse/solar combinations in a few other places here.

TLR: If you want to keep the fish happy, don't do it in a green house.

Net annual heat requirement for a greenhouse

= 24 * Footprint * DD /2R  with the answer in BTU.

So your typical 2 ply plastic hoop house 30 x67 feet  So Footprint = 2000 square feet.

DD = degree days of heating.  This is normally calculated against a 70 F reference.  So if the temp is 69 for 1 day, that's  a degree heating day.  If it's -30 for 2 days that's 200 degree heating days.

R is the average R value of your greenhouse.  For plastic, it runs about R1 per layer of plastic.

The 2 comes from an approximation that for every square foot of floor there is 2 square feet of roof or wall.  Pit houses, and chinese style ones get away from that.

The 24 comes from the conversion of days from the degree days to BTU/hour that R values are measured in.

A square foot of double plastic green house in my 10,000 degree day heating climate takes 240,000 BTU/year

1 BTU changes 1 pound of water 1 degree F.

So if we limit our temperature chnge to 20 F it takes 12,000 pounds (240,000/20) of water to store a year's worth of heat.

At 60 lbs/cubic foot (yeah, it's bigger than that, 62.5.  Cut me some slack) that's 200 cubic feet of water.

You aren't going to store the whole year's heat.

Let's figure that even on a cloudy day we're getting close to enough sunshine, so we're really only heating it at night.

That cuts the requirement in half.  100 cubic feet.

Let's do a higher efficiency roof -- R 4, isntead of R2.  50 cubic feet.

Let's seperate the greenhouse from the water storage, and try to store water at a differential of 100 degrees instead of 20 degrees.  10 cubic feet.

Let's use this hotwter tank building as the north wall of our greenhouse, and change that 2 factor in a 1.4 factor.  6 cubic feet.

So now for each square foot of green house we want a squarefoot of hot room filled with barrels of water.

That is do-able.  Google "Nick Pine" solar heat storage.

Is it the best answer?


Here's a better one:

Make a high effiency rocket stove type heater and use it to heat a surplus service station gasoline tank full of water.  They are typically 20,000 gallons = 160,000 pounds of water.  Raise the water temp 100 degrees you have 16,000,000 btu.

On a -30 day, you need 2400 BTU/square foot so your 2000 square foot green house needs 4,800,000  So you have to fire up the stove once every 3 days.  If the temp is only down to 20F you fire it up once a week.

How much wood?  Various charts put wood at 20 million to 30 million per cord of wood.  So you'd go through a fair bit of firewood.

A million BTU is about a gigajoule or 10 therms.  Right now I'm paying 3 bucks a gigajoule for natural gas.  So those bitter cold nights would cost me about 15 bucks a night.  Or if I heated strictly with natural gas about 1500 bucks a year.

Sure off grid is worth it?

Maybe a trout pond would be easier.

6 months ago