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Douglas Alpenstock

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

Those wind turbines work well. Unfortunately, they will not stand up to the heat of a wood stove.

However, I have used a rotating chimney cap with some success. Typically for temporary stoves with chimneys that were too short. They use the prevailing wind to create a wing effect (low pressure area underneath) to increase the effective draft.
4 hours ago

Dustin Everett wrote:With the increased incidence and severity of windstorms, I fear its only a matter of time before this tree is blown over or snapped, as its in savanna and is the tallest thing for ~ 100 meters in all directions. It would be great to be able to keep this one growing for decades to come.


I don't know your particular flavour of poplar. A picture would help. My long term observation suggests these general principles:

If it's in the middle of nowhere, leave it be.

If it might come down and threaten buildings, fences, take it down in a controlled way. I have a couple of four-storey monsters that I have to deal with (balsam poplar) because I know from experience that they rot from the centre about 3' up and eventually there is only a living rind. They will fail if the right windstorm comes along, and do serious damage to my apple and spruce trees and fences.

But here's the "fun" part about poplars (in my experience): the rootstock does not die if you take off the main stock. In fact, if you start pollarding/pruning it aggressively, it will trigger the root system to go nuts and kick out an entire forest of clones. You may also trigger this response (deliberately or accidentally) by hassling the root system with various sharp implements.

I have the remainder of a poplar (white/trembling aspen) that I chopped off 10 years ago that keeps invading one of my terraced growing beds, and sucking out all the nutrients and moisture. It is a tenacious and unwelcome little SOB that is mighty hard to kill.

My 2c.
5 hours ago
If there are heavy rains, the use of a first flow/flush diverter may be worthwhile. It automatically diverts the first wash of roof crud (bio, chemical, fallout?) and then moves the rest into your storage tanks. Sound idea IMO.
7 hours ago
Hey all. The cost of various adapters/connectors/reducers for stove chimney piping has had me fuming (leaking smoke out of my ears) for quite a while. It's insane, obscene. I  want to make better use of the stuff I already have or can scrounge.

I came across this Crescent/Wiss crimping tool at Home Depot and bought it on a whim. I never knew such a thing even existed. It has three blades and a compound leverage system.

I figured it would probably only work on the galvanized kleenex that the HVAC guys use.

But today I gave it a try on a heavy gauge 6-5" reducer I had, and needed for my Camp Chef portable wood stove. I had to use all my strength, and go over it twice, but the "outie" connector on top is now an "innie" and it fits the stove hole perfectly. Sweet!
8 hours ago

William Bronson wrote:The idea of a simple and affordable device that turns heat  into usable electricity is so tantalizing.
It is that very allure that makes me doubt it exists.
Not only would I expect to see them everywhere, I would expect to see knock off versions everywhere.
Lithium battery technology is like this, as is solar and in fact these two things may be why the TEG thing hasn't taken off.


I have seen thermoelectric generators installed in remote industrial facilities where grid power is impossible. They use propane as the heat source, which is refilled once a year. So yes, they are out there, in fringe applications.

The problem is always that the power output is very low in relation to the cost. So they haven't made it into the first world consumer mainstream, where people want it all and they want it now.
17 hours ago

Daniel Giddings wrote:Is anyone else a fan of hiking quilts? I was converted years ago and can never use a regular sleeping bag again.


Interesting. I guess I have always used my sleeping bags in a flexible configuration, not just a mummy bag, so it's not a revolutionary concept for me.

And while I'm all for quality goods, the price of the items in your link is frankly eye-watering. Personally, I think I can solve the problem for a fraction of the cost. But then I'm a cheapskate . My 2c.
1 day ago

William Bronson wrote: I'm afraid that the  thermoelectric devices might have a short lifespan, but that is just conjecture.


That's my concern as well -- especially if it's marketed as a gimmick for camping and occasional use. Pretty sexy in the store, but how long before it's in the landfill?

Thermoelectric devices can be built to last a long time. I had a good quality thermally powered fan (peltier junction driving an electric fan) that sat on my wood stove for years and years. It wasn't cheap, but it kept going flawlessly. So yes, it's possible.
1 day ago

L. Johnson wrote:

Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Side note: For those with a good, hard-freezing winter, grasses are much, much easier to remove first thing in spring. All the tiny feeder roots, which are like barbed holdfasts, die off/decompose and you can yoink the whole root and rhizome out.



I have never heard that before. By hard-freezing do you mean like the soil freezes hard? If that's the case here is probably not so... in fact probably no place I've ever lived.


I've never lived in a place where it didn't freeze hard, so I don't know if grass has a dormant period elsewhere where this trick would work.

I can tell you that, first thing in spring, I can pull out 3' quackgrass rhizomes in one piece. The rest of year, they break into a bunch of little rhizomes which of course all sprout.
Side note: For those with a good, hard-freezing winter, grasses are much, much easier to remove first thing in spring. All the tiny feeder roots, which are like barbed holdfasts, die off/decompose and you can yoink the whole root and rhizome out.

Bethany Dutch wrote:

John Wolfram wrote:

Bethany Dutch wrote:This is beyond the "lay them out and run the mower over them" volume level, I think.


Have you considered a souped-up lawnmower like a BCS or Grillo tractor with bush hog?



Oh... a bush hog! Didn't even think of that. That would work, I think!


Around here, you can rent them from Home Depot.
2 days ago