Don Dufresne

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since Nov 25, 2014
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Recent posts by Don Dufresne

We inherited 7 Chinese Chestnut trees when we purchased our property 12 years ago. I'm guessing these and others were planted in the 50's or early 60's to help supplement the previous owners income. Once you recognize the tree, I see the occasional one or two around the area here or there.
They seem to like plenty if distance from other Chestnut trees.
With organics, the blight of two different weevils is an ongoing losing battle so far, although I haven't been able to really focus from year to year on the problem.
Harvesting before the hull opens works, but you lose that slight sweetness. If you find a Chestnut in the winter that has avoided the occasional squirrel, chipmunk or groundhog, you experience the sweet flavor this fruit is known for.
We've made flour several times and it's a true gourmet treat.
Soaking the bare Chestnuts in organic liquors has been a great way if preserving them.
Keeping poultry underneath the trees has proved beneficial in increasing the size if the Chestnuts.
4 months ago
Thanks, Paul.  That's always been a question for me.  Pretty amazing.

paul wheaton wrote:

Don Dufresne wrote:  I'm curious as to how a RMH works with poplar.  Is there a build up of creosote?



Rocket mass heaters don't have creosote.  A rocket mass heater tries to create a "chimney fire" every burn.  The chimney (or "heat riser") looks spotlessly clean every inspection.

2 years ago
My experience with poplar in a conventional wood cookstove with a masonry chimney, is an enormous amount of creosote, even after a year of uncovered seasoning outdoors, so I avoid it completely.  I'm curious as to how a RMH works with poplar.  Is there a build up of creosote?

S. G. Botsford wrote:
I don't see a half cord as being impossible.  I'm in Alberta near Edmonton.  We have a similar climate to the plains area of Montana -- what Montana gains by being south of us, they lose due to higher elevation.  We run a heating season of about 10,000 degree F days per year.

We have a 2500 square foot house that is mostly heated with a moderate efficiency (80%) airtight steel stove, and a low efficiency century old cast iron wood/coal range.  (we do not burn coal in it.)  We burn about 3 cords a year.  


Paul is gaining a factor of 2 in efficiency by using a rocket mass heater. Montana isn't as dark as Alberta in the winter.  Longer winter days give him another, what 20-30%.

Wood energy is directly proportional to dry weight.  Hardwoods tend to be denser than softwoods, but larch or tamarack is more dense than poplar.  Spruce and poplar is about the same.

Drying time is important.  I now have covered storage for 16 cords.  I figure 4 cords a year, but usually don't burn that much unless it is a bitter winter.  

I burn mostly poplar.  Not a lot of heat per cord, compared to other hardwoods, but it's fast to cut and fast to split.

2 years ago
Touring our local organic, raw milk dairy several weeks ago, just after releasing the chickens for the day. Sorry , "Files with the extension .mp4 are not allowed as attachment in the message."
3 years ago
One average wind in my area would destroy that one, unfortunately.
I store it inside, in extreme cold, so it's ready to use. The saw heat keeps it fluid, obviously. I set my oiler so it's using a tank of bar oil per gas change. Try to use it up or empty bar oil when finished for the day.
3 years ago

Jesse Grimes wrote:Three and a half weeks straight of working every day, in the cold, tired and sore, but I managed to get my house built and closed up enough to stay dry over the winter. It is certainly not finished yet, and I don't have a stove to heat it, but it is somewhere to keep my stuff protected and dry over the next few months. Even though I didn't get it finished enough to stay in myself over winter, it sure feels great to have built it myself and see it standing there on my plot. I have arranged to stay with Mike Oehler for the winter, to help him finish the amazing ridge house and learn all I can about underground houses and earth sheltered greenhouses. I will be back in early spring to start working on all the plans I have for next year, now that I've made enough mistakes to know what not to do... hopefully. More about all that in the coming videos, but for now I present part three in the saga of building my house.

It's getting Cold! The days are filled with chilling winds and flurries of snow, but I've still got a house to build. Luckily the main structure is up and all that is left is to install the walls, windows, and doors to close it up. As I fill in the spaces the house starts to show its final form, and I develop an appreciation for the Ant Village's cordless electric chainsaw. Close to running out of materials, I get the house closed up and get to experience the feeling of standing inside a house I built with my own two hands...



I use corn/canola oil for my bar oil on my chainsaw, Jesse. It's something I picked up from the Amish, who use chainsaws on their property and depend on pond ice for the years ice supply. It's worked well over the years.
3 years ago

Roberta Wilkinson wrote:We've got some Theron squash out in the field that look like they're approaching 40 lbs, so we've got some squash to eat too.

Squash lasagna is another yummy way to use up a bunch. I mix up mashed squash with some garlic and herbs and egg and ricotta and use a creamy garlic sauce. Layers go sauce, noodle, squash, caramelized onions, walnuts, then a splash of sauce and repeat. Douse the whole thing in more sauce and some grated cheese over the top, then bake until it's hot and bubbly.



WoW!
3 years ago
Interesting concept for movable chicken tractors. I'm curious about the build up of chicken manure in an intensive system such as this, and planting right away after moving the chickens. I would probably go through several cycles of cover crops before planting food crops. Just a thought. I'm seeing issues with my chicken tractor system after ten years with some plants and considering some changes to allow for more time for the chicken manure to be processed and absorbed by the soil micro-biome. Thanks for posting this concept. The biodynamic mention is a plus, as well.
3 years ago