Philip Freddolino

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since Jun 02, 2010
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Recent posts by Philip Freddolino

Rufus Laggren wrote:Been looking at methods/machines for roads and berming. But no experience. Just a question from what I've read in the last couple days:

Do you think a back blade (no box) on a tractor would work better than the box? Survey/mark the contour on the low side, keep the blade about the same depth as the low-side wheels, tilt the high side blade down a bit for cutting... End up w/a swale a litte deeper on the high side. No box sides so would cut into the high ground easier (no riding up); tilts more to cut deeper on the high side to offset the tractor's yaw (lean) on the slope; angled to continuously deposit the cut earth in the direction of the mound on the low side. A big enough tractor to operate a blade wide enough to cut the full width of the swale (after taking account the blade angle). If the blade could be offset to the (high) side it might make the cut easier on steeper slopes. If slope was steeper, more than one pass would probably be needed to cut the bottom of the swale all the way across its width. Not sure about trimming the contour flat-level after roughing in; maybe would self correct after some time if the rough line was pretty good?

It seems for building purposes a swale can be considered a quite narrow (or wide, depending) road cut across the slope on the contour. So some of the same tools and methods seem plausible.

A backblade by itself can work if your ground is soft enough. I use a box scraper because it has rippers that will loosen the soil, remove any roots, and will lift out rocks. Keep in mind that a tractor can't work on much of a side slope.

6 years ago
I use Pex and copper and find they both have their applications. I own my own Pex crimpers and they were not even close to a grand. The 1/2" crimper was $120 and the 1/2, 3/4" combo that uses a pair of vice grips was $60 @ HD. When I had all my trenches dug, I put my poly pipe water lines on one side, a separate poly pipe on the other side (3 feet apart) for future wire runs of UF cable. I put a few inches of fines over the pipes then ran 4 pair direct bury phone line down the middle to help locate later if needed. My advice to anyone is to throw as much pipe and cable as you possibly can into the trench before backfilling. Saves a lot of headache later.
6 years ago
I bought a Country Living mill and mounted it to an exercise bike / ten speed hybrid. I scavenged a stationary exercise bike and a ten speed bike from the county dump, chopped'em up and rewelded them together with the ten speed hub in front. I removed the rim and spokes and bolted a 4 in. V-groove pulley to hub. The mill is attached to a bracket in front of the handle bars so I can feed the mill as I pedal. A V-belt goes from the ten speed hub to the pulley on the mill. I never hooked up the front derailer ( now the rear), so it has five speeds. Low gears for a pastry flour grind, high gears for cracked grain like polenta. It works great. Burns carbs while ya grind them.
6 years ago
I have used red cedar for fence posts for years. I peel the logs after they have dried a bit. There seems to be a perfect range of dryness where the bark peels off nicely. I then char the end that gets buried. This helps preserve the sapwood that would otherwise rot away at the soil line and make the posts loose in the ground. Thinning trees from inside a dense stand will yield posts with the densest red heartwood and least sapwood.
6 years ago
The power that is obtained from any hydro installation is completely dependent on the flow and head available and is many times the cheapest per watt option compared to PV or wind. Even a small yield of 50 watts equals 50 x 24hrs =1.2 kwhs. If you have no head available but you have a large enough stream / river, you would get more power from a tethered prop style hydro unit then you would yield from any pump/storage/hydro scheme. There is just too much loss from energy conversion to make a pump/storage/hydro setup worthwhile. If your curious about hydro yields for different heads and flow , you can use the online calculator at www.powerspout.com
7 years ago
I use a Sunfrost fridge with a 720 watt PV system. It works great until we get into our cloudy winters. I plan on putting a small radiator inside the fridge and one outside and using a water/antifreeze mix and a 5 watt EL-Sid circulating pump. I have been using a 10 watt EL-Sid for my hydronic heating and it works great. I'll use a 12v temperature controller set a couple degrees colder than the thermostat on the fridge so anytime it is colder outside than in the fridge, the pump will turn on. You would need the same type of differential temp controller if you use a fan/air setup but I think it would be harder to prevent reverse leakage when the fan wasn't running.
7 years ago
I've considered building a babbington burner my self. At those temps. plain steel will just burn up pretty fast. I would use cast refractory or fire brick for the burn tube.
7 years ago
That's a tough one. We have lots of western red cedar and it is extremely shade tolerant and alliopathic to boot. I remove all the cedars to create an opening in the canopy and then plant my desired trees ,ie chestnuts, in the center.
7 years ago
I grew painted mountain myself and got a pretty good yield. I found an antique corn sheller on E-bay that works great! It is the hand crank type made in the 1890's and cost me $60. The same design of sheller is sold new at Lehmans for $260. I laughed out loud with delight the first time I used it because of the way it spits out the cleaned cobs as fast as I could feed the corn in.
7 years ago
I have a small pond with a fountain for aeration that uses a 60 watt solar panel, linear current booster, and 12v submersible bilge pump. It works great and is a great demo for solar PV. You can shade the panel with your hand and watch the fountain slow down. It also provides automatic compensation for the need for aeration. More sun= warmer water=lower dissolved O2= faster pumping, more O2
7 years ago