Michael McKay

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since Nov 30, 2018
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Recent posts by Michael McKay

I live in northern Idaho, zone 7A.  I am interested in planting some table grapes this fall.  Please provide some ideas on good varieties as well as where to purchase the root stock.  

Thanks!
3 months ago
I have a lot of cow manure mixed with hay and straw that has been sitting since September.  I tried to spread it out and have my chickens turn it, but they didn't cooperate.  It is quite wet and matted, so I was hoping to add fresh straw/manure/urine from our goats. I layered the old cow manure with the fresh straw in a pile.  My concern is that the old manure has a lot of anaerobic bacteria in it, so I wanted to reactivate it with the fresh material, and turn it the next several weeks.  I checked the temperature and it is not heating up at all.  I started a second pile and it is hot with basically the same material, but sitting in full sun, while this is shaded 1/2 of the day.  
1.  Can I just pull it apart and use the composted material safely on my garden?
2. If not, any ideas on how to reactivate it?  
3.  How do I tell if the material is safe to use without a microscope?

Thanks!
5 months ago
I planned on moving a stove from my shop to my house, but I cannot install the way my wife wants, so am wanting to change the stove to make it better and leave it in the shop.
I was going to take an undersized shop stove and replace it with a batch box. Since I won’t get much for the stove,  I wonder if I can modify it to make it better.  I have 3 barrels and a bunch of brick available.  Can I have the exhaust go into a double barrel to gain quick heat?  It works ok, but the shop is big and drafty.  I just need better output.  

Thanks!
11 months ago
I appreciate all the help.  I checked with hearth.com and the manufacturer.  I’m not able to do the installation, so I will have to wait to buy a zero clearance stove.  
11 months ago
Hi Thomas,

Yes, I understand the ramifications of placing the stove into an alcove, or box so to speak.  The front will extend about 7" into the room, and I will have the stove blower as well as a secondary blower I will buy installed to blow the hot air into the room.  It originally was going to be a corner install in the room, but my wife wants it in an alcove (like inside a fireplace-look at Pinterest for an idea) so she can place chairs to the left and right.  

I'll check the link, but I have a respirator and tyvek suit, so will probably go with the cheaper option.

Thanks again!
11 months ago
Hi Thomas,

The stove is about 2'x2', and I will place in a 4'x4' box.  The stove pipe will be in the back of the box, and will need to go through the hardiboard into a thimble, then will attach to a triple wall chimney. The mantel will be on the on top of the stove, and I will do a noncombustible surround of the stove that the mantel will sit on.  Tell me more about the ceramic fiber blanket.  I see that it is noncombustible, and is used in kilns, etc.  

Thanks for the help!

Hi Andrew,

The stove is 2 yrs old. so will be fine with clearances on the sides and back.  The distance to combustibles on the top is 54", and I need to reduce to 24", and that is the hottest part of the stove.  I will need to have the stove out 7" into the living room as well, so the whole front of the wall will be hot, so the metal studs will be necessary.  I am trying to ensure that I meet code and won't have a fire, so if it's overkill, I am willing.  Even with the noncombustibles, the heat will go through into wood, so I want to ensure that over time, nothing will get hot enough to ignite in the wall.  

Thanks for the help
11 months ago
Good day,

I am installing a wood stove in a soon to be constructed alcove (the structural wall into the garage from the living room).  I need to make the alcove fire proof like a fireplace, but have never laid brick or other rock.  Here's my plan:  Open an area of the wall and frame in the box for the stove using steel studs.  I will then screw into the studs 1/2" hardiboard or similar cement board to create the space.  The top of the stove will be the hottest area naturally, and my wife wants a mantel.  Consequently, the distance will be 24" from the stove top, which is very close.  I think I can wrap the whole box in ceramic fiber wrap (2300 degree resistance), then put sheetrock on the other side of the studs to give a 3.5" air gap. I will put on some kind of stove or brick on the inside of the box with mortar.  On the top, the connector pipe will go into the thimble, which will exit the box into the chimney and have some form of insulation, probably wrapped with the ceramic fiber.

Will that do the job since it will not meet the code for diistance to noncombustibles?
11 months ago
This is very helpful!  Thank you!  As for the super wool;  how do I hold it in place around the riser?  I assume metal wire would just get melted quickly.  

I've never ventured into this area, but want to do it right!  I have about 60 brick on hand, three barrels, and cold weather arriving.  The undersized stove is going into our living room, and the shop needs heat.  
1 year ago
I'm researching the cost of materials for a similar build to Peter van den Berg's 3 barrel stove he made for his shop. I haven't started, so wanted a materials list as well as preferred suppliers for USA (close to Idaho if possbile)  I will make a square 6" riser with fire brick.  This is a link to the build I plan on using.  

http://batchrocket.eu/en/building#masonry


Thanks for any help!
1 year ago
We just got done canning 16 quarts of chicken.  Once done, my wife reread directions and discovered that pressure canners want 2-3" from the bottom, not the top.  We did it like water bath.  Now, she is very worried about food poisoning. Ball and the pressure canner company are outsourcing to India their help line.

Our question:  can we safely keep the contents, or do we need to freeze it?  I need sourcing for my wife from a reputable source!  She won't accept "greatcanning.com" or some such source.

Thanks!
1 year ago