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Robert Fairchild

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since Jun 29, 2012
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Recent posts by Robert Fairchild

The venturi is generally misunderstood. It is a constriction used to create low pressure for side suction (like gasoline into the venturi in the air intake throat of a carburetor). Any restriction adds friction to the system and takes out energy. Nozzles and venturis increase flow speed not pressure.

Flues can be lengthened (to a point, eventually the extra cooling reduces draft) or insulated to increase draft.

The best source of information on woodstove draft is Chapter 5 "Chimneys" in The Woodburners Encyclopedia, which is available used from various sources.
3 months ago
"Tropic Sun" is a variety grown in Hawaii. If you search: "tropic sun" crotalaria , you'll find info and apparently the only seed source, on Molokai.
I have taken seed to Haiti and distributed it there for cover crop and goat forage.
There's an article "Sunn Hemp, Sheep and Goats" at:

1 year ago
For more money you could buy a complete thermosiphoning wood burning hot tub heater:

To thermosiphon effectively, the hot feed line needs to slope/flow up. So if you want to use a rocket stove, geometric considerations require the hottub to be elevated and/or the stove lowered. You could plumb the lines through the wall of a (probably aluminum) cookpot (with stainless steel bulkhead fittings with gasket inside the pot) on a rocket stove. It helps if the cold return slopes/flows down, but it is less critical. Bigger pipes have less friction and therefore flow better.
2 years ago
What do you plan to plant next year? How will you manage the crop? Till or no-till? Where are you? Still a little early to plant winter wheat. Vetch and/or crimson clover would be good if you want some nitrogen fixation. You could weaken some of the existing vegetation with a few weeks under black plastic. Tillage would give better soil contact for the seed and weaken the existing cover. That's why tillage is used.
2 years ago
In a constantly cold climate I'd go with a masonry stove. The rocket mass heater bell is to get heat out quick. You don't want that, you want steady output. I built a "Russian" stove (here in Kentucky) with the help of a professional mason for under $1000. Got Basilio Lepuschenko's "Complete Plans and Instructions for Construction and Operation of a Masonry Stove" from Maine Wood Heat. (no longer available) Not quite complete even if it's in the title. Haven't moved into the house yet so can't comment first hand on performance.
2 years ago
"Without detracting from the possibilities described for utilization of Opuntias in the production food and natural additives and the benefits for integrated use of the plant, many other popular uses have been known for centuries. Some of these are only now being studied scientifically. For example, the use of cladodes: to clarify water
(López, 2000); as an adherent for paint when added to lime (Ramsey, 1999); or to increase water infiltration into the soil (Gardiner, Felker and Carr, 1999).

Agro-industrial utilization of cactus pear, FAO, 2013, p.19.

Gardiner, Felker and Carr (1999) reported the first experiments on the use of cactus pear extracts for improving water infiltration in soils. After comparing polyacryl amides (PAM) with an undiluted and a diluted extract of cactus pear cladode, the authors found that use of this extract matched the infiltration rates found using PAM. However, many questions remain concerning this research, including the durability of the effect and how the extracts work in the soil. Again, follow-up R&D is recommended."

Agro-industrial utilization of cactus pear, FAO, 2013, p.99.

Gardiner, D., Felker, P. & Carr, T. 1999. Cactus extract increases water infiltration rates in two soils. Comunn. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 30 (11–12): 1707–1712
2 years ago
There are a couple of sources for the rubber finger type harvesters:
(in Florida)
(in California)
The products appear identical, so pick the closer for lower shipping costs.

Freezing the chestnuts immediately after harvest is supposed to reduce weevil problems.
2 years ago
There's s guy with an solar charged electric golf cart that he uses to run an electric chainsaw. He also has a solar electric tractor. See Chapter 5 at:
2 years ago