James Black

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since Nov 23, 2016
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Recent posts by James Black

Here is a quick montage of some of the community gardens in DC, most left over from WWII (our old plot from years ago marked). I know I’ve missed some and the images are not all the same scale.

2 years ago

Jay Angler wrote:I've seen pictures of thick straw covers on Chinese greenhouses, but I got the impression that they didn't roll them up every morning - it was an infuriatingly vague reference.

That said, #2 Son explained to me that due to the way heat moves through glass, if I wanted to insulate a small greenhouse, I would be much better to have insulation on the *inside* to stop the heat from getting through the glass. The danger of this would be the humidity freezing on the glass and then melting the next day which could result in water where one doesn't want it. So much depends on climate - when we lived in Ottawa, this would be a serious issue, but here on the Wet Coast, I can probably design things so the water drained to a suitable location. My sister has some outside metal roller blinds that she puts up and down with the turn of a handle. She can use them to stop sun in the summer as well, and she feels that even though they are by no means perfect, they were worth the cost.

This 2015 article from Low Tech Magazine gets into some of the details and sources of various designs and includes an image where inner and outer mats are deployed at night to minimize radiation loss of heat.
2 years ago
Perhaps you could watch Richard Proenneke‘s efforts that included a solo build of a cabin accomplished with hand tools in a remote location by himself and which he filmed by himself along with a bunch of other stuff.

2 years ago
I’ve used old shingles to put roofs on bird houses, the more eroded the better. Cut into small tiny shingles with feathered edges (dremel tool) they look great on a faux weathered birdhouse. I like a scalloped effect. Judging from your description you have enough for some thousand of birdhouses.
2 years ago
Looking at soil types for that property (I think) along your creek is revealing. Judging by the USDA Soil Map you have a number of areas with a very shallow water table. I can post a map if you want.

BuB—Lamoine silt loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes - Landform: Marine terraces, river valleys - Depth to water table: About 6 to 17 inches
Typical profile: Ap - 0 to 7 inches: silt loam, Bw - 7 to 13 inches: silt loam, Bg - 13 to 24 inches: silty clay loam, Cg - 24 to 65 inches: silty clay

Sn—Scantic silt loam, 0 to 3 percent slopes - Landform: Marine terraces, river valleys - Depth to water table: About 0 to 12 inches
Typical profile: Ap - 0 to 9 inches: silt loam, Bg1 - 9 to 16 inches: silty clay loam, Bg2 - 16 to 29 inches: silty clay, Cg - 29 to 65 inches: silty clay

SuC2—Suffield silt loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes, eroded, - Landform: Coastal plains - Depth to water table: About 18 to 30 inches
Typical profile: H1 - 0 to 6 inches: silt loam, H2 - 6 to 23 inches: silt loam, H3 - 23 to 33 inches: silty clay, H4 - 33 to 65 inches: silty clay

Ls—Limerick-Saco silt loams - Landform: Flood plains - Depth to water table: About 0 to 12 inches
Typical profile: H1 - 0 to 8 inches: silt loam, H2 - 8 to 16 inches: silt loam, H3 - 16 to 65 inches: silt loam

PfC—Paxton very stony fine sandy loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes - Landform: Drumlinoid ridges - Depth to water table: About 30 to 42 inches
Typical profile: Oa - 0 to 2 inches: highly decomposed plant material, H1 - 2 to 8 inches: fine sandy loam, H2 - 8 to 20 inches: fine sandy loam, H3 - 20 to 65 inches: fine sandy loam
2 years ago
I was thinking last night that 3-D printers could be used to print out highly detailed terrain based on publicly available data and used as a table-top planner. I’ve considered creating such out of various materials, but printed directly from data promises to be  far more accurate. The limiting size of a printer could be surpassed by printing the property in sections that could seamlessly be joined together. In WWII terrain models were useful in planning attacks in great detail. Of course as with most of my ideas it is already a thing and there are businesses selling such a product: Solid Terrain Modeling

2 years ago
Driven wells are common in our area due to the extensive lacustrine unconfined aquifer under our area of NY. I use a New York DEC online well drilling database that documents wells driven since the program was instituted. Between Greene & Ulster Counties I think they list something like 1,000 records and scrolling through I saw only a handful of very shallow wells that I categorize as less than 30 foot. I include a screenshot of the only well less than 20 foot which could well be a typo, but this gives you a idea of the data provided. The link on the table under “registration number” provides the name and contact info of the company that drilled the well.

So looking at that I would say that drilled wells are far more common in your area of the Catskills versus my area in the lower Adirondacks due to the local geology. What is better between the two methods is contingent on what they find when they drill, informed by knowledge of the geology and past results nearby, but even that doesn’t guarantee good water at any anticipated depth as two wells 100 yards apart can provide very different results.

The other obvious issue with shallow wells is the concern about surface pollution finding its way to the water table whether it be improperly maintained septic or agricultural pollution, hence many localities no longer allow shallow wells because of these problems. Our point is at 25 foot and provides something like 10 GPM (there is a 100 foot well nearby that provides over 100 GPM from this underground sand aquifer). If I lived on a small lot with nearby neighbors and septic I would be reticent relying on a shallow well depending on the details.

Good luck!

2 years ago
The tree looks like a mature Butterfly Bush (Buddleja davidii) that could use a bit of pruning.