denise ra

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since Aug 23, 2017
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Avg Rain 23" Hazards: Drought, Tornadoes, Fire, only 7 Venomous Snake Species
Western OK, avg rain 23" hazards: drought, tornado, wildfire
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Recent posts by denise ra

I'm wondering about using them for vigas for a hyperadobe roundhouse.
6 days ago
The family has been absentee landlords on this land for 80 years. The tenant who has leased the land for 20 years is a respected native. When I arrived a few weeks ago he informed me the county was clearing a culvert next to the property as it was impacting the road. To do this the tenant took down 300' of old barbed wire fence which he will replace, and the county came into the cedar infested and treed gully with a massive piece of equipment and cleared everything, piling it up on the hill. It turns out there are some really big Juniperus Virginiana on the property. The one in the photo was 18-24" diameter. I'm wondering if I cover or partially cover this pile with dredgings from the nearby pond it will decompose eventually? In the meantime, it might make a nice windbreak for the horses and cattle :). And provide also something for tornadoes to throw around :( .
1 week ago
The directions suggest testing after 24 hours and I suspect that timing is important. I would not let the sample get close to freezing just in case that affects the results by slowing down the settling of the sediments. Here is a website I found today that has research on other simple soil tests for earthen wall builders including instructions to do compression tests on soil balls using your foot! These tests  look to be based on scientific research as they are for Nepal earthbag builders building in an earthquake zone and the Nepalese government has created an earthbag building code. Build Simple Stronger Natural Walls - Earthbag and More. Go to the Resources page pdfs Soil Testing for Builders and Soil Testing for Designers.

Maybe Miles Flansberg, the Earthbag forum moderator, or Dale Hodgins, the Cob Forum moderator, have something to add.
2 weeks ago
Does water filtration work on solar power?
3 weeks ago
I will be collecting roof water from smack dab in the middle of a gas field. Sometimes I can smell off-gassing from the seven wells on the property. Thoughts?
3 weeks ago
A 4-foot x 2-foot block of earth is going to be very heavy. In Colorado, insulation is probably a good idea for an earth building.  It sounds like someone will be building the house for you. Are you building in tornado country? Lots of good info here about creating a tornado-resistant house: IBHS Creating a Roof the Right Way.
1 month ago
Sam, What did you decide on?
1 month ago
More info on the property - 400 acres, some flat, lots sloped. It's 95% pasture. There's no electric and I am starting fresh so have no tools, no ATV, no pickup, no tractor, no nuthin'. I can only guess that there are 1 or 2 cedars per acre, mostly spread out. They work their way up out of the gullies. I will be there in a week and will ask the rangeland specialist if the trees are small enough for prescribed fire to kill. Much of the acreage is undergrazed and covered in dried standing little bluestem, so those areas might burn hot enough to get the cedars. I'll ask her what works. Maybe NRCS will pay for it too.

Anne brings up a good point about what to do with all the cut trees. I'd love to chip most of them where they stand. Their trunks are generally 4-6" diameter so I'm guessing they are not much good structurally. They were used  for fence on the property at some point, as some are still in the t-post fenceline. I need to go give a few of them a shove and see if they are rotted at the ground. Fence pride is a very real thing around here so I was astonished when I saw a cedar fence - the posts were set about every four feet. That's a lot of digging!

Tyler Ludens, how many trees are you clearing by hand, what size, and how long does it take you? Obviously, you don't get them all if you also hire it done, so you can't keep up?

Chris Kott, As wildfire is a real thing here no one would use cedar siding. I might use some for firewood but I would probably not make debris barrier fences on the prairie as I think that would be creating a fire hazard and asking for trouble. The trees that are in the gullies could definitely be left with a stump, limbed and laid on contour for erosion control.

Bryan Elliot, Good point about keeping up with the small ones. I've got nothing but spare time once I'm on the property. I hadn't thought about a weed eater. I'm on the edge of Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat so I will ask around about that. If I leave the trees where they drop, any idea how long til they decompose? Will chipping them kill pasture grasses?
1 month ago
The red cedar has got to go. In Dewey County Oklahoma in April of 2018 250,000 acres burned, much of it covered in red cedar that was not controlled. So the question is how best to cut it? I'm not particularly mechanical and will be working on my own much of the time, so I'm not sure I want to mess with a chainsaw. The bigger trees are probably 12' tall, 10' diameter, with a 6-8" trunk near the ground. I'm not inclined to snuggle up in the branches to get to the trunk so I'm wondering if I can use a pole saw to cut the trees at ground level? Something like this:
Silky 272-18 Telescoping Zubat PROFESSIONAL Series Ultralight Pole Saw, Extends from 8-13 feet, 330mm/13 inch curved blade, 1.5mm blade thickness
1 month ago
Ron Metz, how are your swales looking - did grass grow on them? Will you make more swales? I'm in Western OK, similar to your area. Thanks
1 month ago