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Abe Coley

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since Nov 13, 2010
Missoula, MT
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Recent posts by Abe Coley

Cabin Porn is a great site for inspiration.
4 months ago
I had a huge citronella plant during college, somehow kept it alive from one dorm room to another, to a frat house, to an off-campus house... the bros never noticed but the ladies always said I had the best smelling room of any male they had encountered at college.
5 months ago
I've had good results germinating apricot pits. Pretty sure they need to be cold stratified.
5 months ago
Looks like a 1940s or 50's. Clean out all the crusties in the bottom if there are any (break them up with an old screwdrive or small crowbar if they are fused together or stuck to the bottom. Start it up with the 1-2-3 method: 1 cup of kerosene, 2 cups oil, 3 little crumples of paper. Wait 15 or 20 mins until it's good and hot before you start the drip. 2-3 drips per second is a good rate.
5 months ago
I like the smell of straw. Had to go out and smell a straw bale just to be sure. Use it as a marketing term when you VRBO it or whatever: "Notes of straw indicate a wild maturity unique to this area yet seldom experienced."
6 months ago

Michael Cox
Post 1/22/2017 2:13:22 PM     Subject: Biochar making - various kiln designs
"[...] I have used open fires "

Two weeks ago I made about 150 gallons of charcoal in two hours using the open fire method aka "when the coals begin to turn white, put more wood on top of it."   I really liked how quickly I could produce a huge batch - much faster than any containerized methods i've tried.

After I hosed the fire out and soaked the coals real good, i drove the front wheels of my truck back and forth over it, picked out the few un-crushed pieces (mostly knots & super thick pieces that didn't char all the way through) with a pitch fork, hosed it down again and drove over it again. End product is a very fine material, largest pieces being about 1/4 inch.

I think open fire / truck crush is my favorite method for making charcoal to go in the compost.

Making dry charcoal for blacksmithing on the other hand... I don't see any way around using a kiln of some kind.
8 months ago

Michael Cox
Post Today 2:01:12 AM     Subject: How do I make this fence?
I notice you are using what looks like milled off cuts. Here in the UK, where these fences are used a lot, the wood is typically split chestnut. Splitting is quick and I believe is supposed to give longer lasting product because the fibers are left intact.

I do love your gearing mechanism though. Quite ingenious!

Phil Gardener
Post Today 5:53:54 AM     Subject: How do I make this fence?
That machine is brilliant!

Thanks, glad you like it.

I'm not too worried about the longevity of sawn pickets here in western MT because the climate is so dry that just about any piece of wood stuck up in the air in a vertical orientation lasts a very long time.

I have access to a coppiced poplar tree plantation where I can cut thousands of round poles that are about 2" diameter at the base and 8' or 10' long, very similar to what the Wheaton Labs people are using in their junkpole fences. Once the leaves drop I'm gonnna harvest some of those coppiced poplars and give them a try. However, I get those mill scraps delivered for free via dump trailer to my house every week, so time-wise i don't think it's going to be any faster or less work to go out and harvest wood myself.

8 months ago
So I watched that video back in March of this year and quickly afterward built my own fence machine for making 8ft tall fences.

Fence machine works good. I have put up 460 feet of fence so far since may 1st or so. It makes 50% shade and cuts the wind noticeably

I use six pairs of 17 gauge galvanized electric fence wire, spaced at 1ft, 2ft, 3ft, 4ft, 5ft, and 7ft. Gearing is 16 teeth on the crank and 32 teeth on the wheels. Easy to turn.

For wood I have been using mill scraps called log jackets that are the D-shaped barky outer pieces first milled off when making a squared beam. I fly them through the tablesaw to make .75" x 1.5" x 8' pickets and always try to get rid of as much of the bark as possible. The first couple rolls I made with heavier, barkier pieces and they didn't come out as nice as when made out of tablesawn pickets.

I make them in 13 foot long rolls for use on 12 foot post spacing. Any longer and they are too heavy for one person to put up.

If fencing an open space it could be wheeled along a fence line, attaching to posts as you go, avoiding a ton of labor in cutting the wires, rolling/unrolling and putting up sections, restringing the machine, etc.

If made to keep out goats you'd need to use some pretty heavy pickets, and you'd need to either build it in place or make shorter lighter rolls.

8 months ago
a flat of moss beneath your dish drying rack
9 months ago
Whatever the fruit and nut trees they've already planted, maybe try to plant beneficial species between the already existing trees to strengthen their connections and interactions.

If there are some benign weeds just let them grow and focus only on the noxious and invasive ones.
9 months ago