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Mark Yates

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since Sep 24, 2014
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Recent posts by Mark Yates

Nancy, there have been many different generations of concrete; and even to this day many different formulations for concrete.  I would guess that concrete is not so healthy for the soil; and if it breaks easily in freeze-thaw ground it won't be so desirable for nearby roots.  On the other hand, farmers in Wisconsin, especially in the non-glacial part of wisconsin, the "Coulee Region" (in the south called Hallars) would dump their debris down steep slopes and when they were full(er) they would add some top soil to protect their land from further erosion at the slopes.  
4 months ago
Timothy.  I have had my share of "old weathered brick" and concrete block in my yard.  I don't have any solution for you. Everything I have tried to use has essentially broke up on me in a 4-season state bordering Canada; and most failures were on a sloped path through my raspberry beds.

But for others who may consider using old concrete it in some kind of construction, you may want to read an article on "the lack of value"of trying to repurpose burnt concrete, such as from a house fire.  Recently an article was written about this in the Journal of Light Construction (mostly home, garage, and deck  Construction @ JLC ONLINE.COM, JLC / NOVEMBER /OCTOBER 2023. You can register for free.  They usually want to know what is the nature of your work that would warrant them sending you a monthly e-copy of their magazine (and probably to satisfy their advertisers.   This article discusses how to test what parts of concrete may still be good and reusable from what it not good; and how concrete changes color when fired.  It is a short read, but full of useful information; and actually it could be valuable information if you were ever to buy a property with a foundation that may have once was been burnt.
4 months ago
Hi again, Nancy Reading's picture of a metal box spring is different than what I took apart. The springs in that picture were more flimsy than what I took apart. I had wider springs on the outside perimeter, and narrower springs in the center.  There were at lest 4-5 winds on each spring.  Nancy's picture seemed, to my eyes, to have much fewer winds in their springs.  When I saw side-profiles of the covered springs, the ones that show somewhat diagonal lines (of the springs) are similar to what I took apart.  I have no idea what type of spring would have mere horizontal lines (from a side view).

Whatever you try, DO NOT USE A CHAIN SAW (like the picture I saw) to cut a metal spring mattress.  You will have injuries; your saw will have injuries; anyone nearby you will likely get injured.   I did try cutting with a reciprocal saw (the other picture). It didn't work. That carbon-steel heavy wire is really tough; and when I tried, I had not removed enough material, so the blade sort of jammed up, but not in a dangerous type of way.  

When I saw the chain saw picture (and just for trying to cut the 3/8-inch outer frame wire, my mind saw me being attacked by a mattress grabbed upon by the chain saw teeth and throwing me backward onto a cement floor with the mattress laying on my dead body.  Then my mind began to wonder if the jammed saw could throw me up in the air over the mattress (because I hold on to my saws tightly) and I really do think that it could lift me off the ground before I could relax my hold on the saw.  Then I imagined my chain saw flexible blade breaking in-two and flying "God only knows where" in my garage.  Don't even try to use a chain saw.  Don't use a metal hand saw.   Don't use a circular saw.  The steel is so hard that it will be hard to cut that first groove, the blade will slide along sideways.  A neighbor with a grinder (1/2 inch thick "rock-like" blade) saw my difficulty and brought his over, which quickly ground away the metal frame into pieces that I put into my recycle bin.
4 months ago
Hi again.  I did see the pictures of mattress springs in a wooden-frame box; but I have no idea what the springs are made of; and I didn't read the info from contributors that posted those pictures. I am assuming the springs are metal because they looked just like what I tediously cut and tore apart.  Maybe they are plastic; but if so, I doubt that they will last 50 years like the mattress I took apart.   If the springs are a type of bendable plastic, then maybe the clips are plastic too.  So if beds are made differently today than when metal springs were used for 100 years, then I am ignorant about it (and choose to remain ignorant).  I do like the wooden box far better than without a box.  I am just trying to clarify at this point; and I guess I should go back and read the discussion about the newer bed build.  
4 months ago
No, a stud finder would not be helpful to find the clips.  The springs, the thick 3/8-inch wire frame that the springs attach to, and the clips are all metal and would respond to the stud finder.  The clips are generally easy to see since they poke through the fabric-netting surrounding the springs.  But I had to pry up each clip and then use a pliar to pull it through the fabric--that was a pain also, because I had maybe 500 clips to remove.
The mattress also has a fairly thick "quilt" laying over the springs, and clipped to the outer wire-frame-top of the springs (but at the bottom only of the quilt top mattress; and not at the lay-down upper surface of the mattress).  I used a surrogated knife blade to cut through the box springs fabric to be able to get to the clips.  I have never taken apart or found a hole in mattress fabric that showed anything in the mattress beyond metal.   Newer mattresses may have features in them beyond what I am aware of.
4 months ago
Follow the KISS principle: Keep it simple.  Try to sell it to offset the cost of two smaller mattresses. You have an alternative, maybe, if you have a tractor, which is to bury it near your lightning rod “ground” spike (wherever that may be).  Old homes may have deteriorated lightning ground rods, depending upon soils, moisture, etc.  An old bed spring has a lot more surface area for receiving lightning (or Electro-Magnetic-Pulse) energy -- but it maybe should be 20+ feet away from your house (just in case:(I mean ground rods are not trying to attract lightning).
I took apart a 50-yr old Queen Mattress to see how it was made and recycle the carbon-steel springs, to see if they made good flint-steel fire-starters, because each compressed spring-wrap would strike on the stone in a different place from its neighbor wire producing multiple sparks, not just one flash.  I saw this happen with my own eyes at age 5 when the neighbor big-boys threw springs down the street and they sparked plentifully and repeatedly; but back then the street was California pebble-stone, and not blacktop.  
For me it was a miserable job.  (1) First, no saw blade worked for me (if I were to try it again I would buy a grinder; but would that be worth your expense?).  (2) All the saw blades did was grab onto the hard-to-tear-and-cut fabric around each spring with the effect of dragging the mattress and cutting nothing.  (3) The worst part was that every spring has at least three (or four) wire clips (top, bottom, and often middle) to hold the fabric to the spring, but also in the middle to hold the springs together tautly.  Those clips go flying and could easily puncture tires. So factor the cost of one or more new tires for your vehicles (and a garage is a better location than gravel or dirt).  
It would go faster if you burned off the fabric if that was feasible at your location. But the material and smoke would have fire-retardant in it.  
I promise you that you will be SO SO “P.O’d” for trying to take it apart.  If you decide to just dump it, then you can always tear into it a bit, but pick about six inches away from a corner because the corners have lots of metal clips and very tight material.
4 months ago
Thanks for the free watch. I have many of these in my garden; but I mixed up some names watching it.
I have a question for anyone. How do you eat weeds in winter? Freeze? Dry? Can? Make a meal + freeze it?  I will buy your stuff soon, but not now. I have to figure out how i will eat weeds outdoors with bring-along a mortar/pestle. I had most of my teeth removed; and I'm unsure my healing dentures (they are soft) will work well with chewing. I need a way to eat weeds without dentures, should I be camping "way out" and break or lose them. Any ideas besides mortar-pestle?
5 months ago
I have read from several sources that American Maple Tree leaves are edible.  On the Wisconsin/Illinois State line most Maples are Silver Maples, a favorite low cost shade tree planted in newer neighborhoods of the late 1950s and beyond.  Unfortunately, I cannot reach any leaves on my fat-tall Maple trees.  Every year I eat fallen silver Maple "Whirley Bird" seeds raw, shortly after falling as well as within weeks of falling, and I dry them and eat them.  They taste good to me when fresh.  I sweep and fill paper bags of them to feed birds, squirrels and rabbits during winter, and let the same eat the seeds that fall into the grass that I don't bother with.   I also set out a song-bird feeder in winter (cardinals, juncos, small  song sparrows, chicadees), the bird feeder becomes essentially a lure for squirrel and rabbits; many that have birthed new babies in my yard that started my interest in keeping rabbits as alternate food source.  
1 year ago