Douglas Alpenstock

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since Mar 14, 2020
Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
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Recent posts by Douglas Alpenstock

I think it would take a match or ember to start a Cape Codder. It uses some form of lamp oil. I'm not sure a traditional flint and steel would do it, but a modern metal match would have a good chance.
34 minutes ago

Mark Reed wrote:Thomas, I see that you are in Montanna where if I'm not mistaken it gets a little chilly sometimes and that your battery is outside. I was worried that exposure to the cold would be an issue for the battery. In reading I found that batteries will not charge if it is too cold and that they might be damaged by trying.

As long as a flooded/wet cell lead-acid battery is kept charged, it will not freeze and will accept a charge. It's trickier if the battery discharges fully and partially freezes; in that case it has to be warmed before recharging. Sealed lead acid batteries, especially gel cells, require more coddling.
3 hours ago
Re Cape Cod firestarter: I wonder if it would work with rancid cooking oil or used cooking fat. I must try this with discarded BBQ lava rock. (The videos I've seen appear to use lamp oil/kerosene. I wonder what they used before that -- fish oil? whale oil?)

6 hours ago
Buildings with tall ceilings usually have ceiling fans to break up the layers of air (warm above, cool below) and keep buildings comfortable and more efficient.

I'm not sure if you have grid power, but a powerful fan set off the side and pointed at the ceiling may be enough to mix up the warm air above.
6 hours ago
I agree with Carl. As soon as I heard "pine forest" I thought "firebreak."
Hey Margaux. Ottawa is a fair way from the ocean; a location update would be helpful.

Still, it sounds like you are in Canadian shield country, and that means your baseline soil is naturally acidic. In that soil, I would dump ash/char from a wood stove everywhere.

Biochar is still worth it; but it's a longer term project to retain nutrients, which is why it was such a big deal in the tropics, with collossal rains washing it all away.

Somehow I have vague recollections of Catharine Parr Traill in this -- pretty sure it's public domain now, and perhaps worth your time. My 2c.
1 day ago
Geez, awesome, do you deliver?

(drooling on keyboard)
1 day ago
... and you have created a winter space where people want to gather.
1 day ago
I didn't see the article as negative at all. They are four years into a 10 year study. The trees haven't shown positive or negative results, but the soil is retaining nutrients better. The beans are showing higher yields and better nitrogen retention. These sound like net positive results to me.
3 days ago
Good stuff, Chris! I have a pile of solder fixes waiting for me -- good mojo in the cold of a long winter.