Dale Hodgins

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since Jul 28, 2011
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Dale Hodgins currently moderates these forums:
I've worked in demolition and salvage, construction, real estate, ... Currently developing bus business and expanding my knowledge on a wide array of subjects related to land development and ecologically sound energy and food production. I'm a hard core skeptic and strong believer in science. Athiest, idealist, pragmatist, inventor, thinker, learner. Developing a grand plan for turning my property into a model of energy and resource efficiency.
Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Recent posts by Dale Hodgins

Back in Canada. My return Odyssey from London took a total of 66 hours from when I popped out of bed in London until I was back in a proper bed in Victoria British Columbia Canada. I was beyond tired. It involved six planes and 4 continents. I'll explain that when my head is working. My belly hasn't been right for 2 days.

We had a very productive time in Portugal and it was good to meet Burra and Alan. I trust that Alan is still splitting wood. We watched the video of The Walker stove and went on faith that the wood was more than a foot long. Most of the stuff has been split small enough to fit, although only 15% or so was done by the time I left. I do not envy Alan. But he'll get there.
7 hours ago
I returned to London after doing the tree work at Burra's  place, I arrived at near 1 am expected that Maria would be sleeping, but she was awake and had beef stew and other things ready-to-eat. She was also ready to paint because she thought I was leaving in the morning. But I came back one day before having to head back to Canada, so we slept and finished the paint job in the morning. It was finished and we ran out of paint at noon.

Then I headed to the british museum, because the day was mine.

I hung out with my daughter after she was done work and a ride back at Maria's late in the evening. Took my time, since my flight wasn't until 4 p.m.

It still needs another coat in some areas and her ex husband is going to do that when he arrives. The porous surface sucked up 5 gallons of material.
3 days ago
I am not wearing my hat. Uusual for me. I did some climbing when it was fairly warm outside.
3 days ago
I recently attended a funeral in Homa Bay Kenya which is about half a degree from the equator. It was a hot sunny day, but I was perfectly comfortable while local people sweltered.

I wore a long sleeve shirt dipped in water but not tucked in, along with a broad brimmed hat that was saturated with water. I poured water over the thighs of my pants.  It felt like a cool spring day.  Some people thought it looked uncomfortable. When they touch my forearm they said it looked like I might be cold. That was the point. I asked some of the guys if they had ever gone swimming with their clothing on. They had and remember how refreshing it was. I don't think I started a trend. For them it was just a bit hot. For me, the day would have been unbearable.
4 days ago
The frogs at Burra's place are incredibly loud. They have so many different vocalizations that I thought I was listening to other types of animals at first. High pitch, low pitch reverberating ... these guys have Freddie Mercury beat. They are in the Lily Pond and in every other body of water including a big well that used to be pumped by a donkey walking in a circle. I think that's what went on, I forgot to ask.
6 days ago
I'm back in Lisbon and will catch my plane to London very soon.

We weren't able to determine the length of the Firebox of The Walker Stove. At first, I started chopping things up at 16 in. long, but then went to about 1 foot long. If necessary, Alan will use the chop saw to further reduce the material as it is used. Chainsaws like wet wood but the chop saw likes dry wood.

They get a hot dry summer. This wood will be largely dry in a month. Alan plans to split it all, over the next few weeks and to get it in the shed long before the winter rain. There is unlikely to be any significant precipitation in July and August. The wood is sitting on pebbly rocks that get quite hot in the sun. When I mentioned not picking the wood up until it's dry, Alan mentioned that Paul told him the same thing. They cut some firewood there at the lab and I'm pretty sure it laid in place until most moisture was gone. It dries much faster laid out in the open sun than it would if it were stacked in a shed. But most importantly, it loses lots of water weight.

There are many more little projects that need to be done at Burra's place. I had imagined getting involved in several little projects but instead took on this one large project. She has others coming to help, who would not have been comfortable dropping big trees.

In five or six years, this row of eucalyptus will be ready to cut again, but they won't be nearly as large as they were. It should be fairly easy to maintain them, if they are never allowed to get more than 8 inches in diameter.
6 days ago
I ate 5 eggs and peanut butter and honey on bread, and had a shower. On the way back from the shower house I decided to take some pictures.

There are trees on both sides of the dry stone fence. I didn't do the damage that you see to the fence. I think something fell on it in the past. The tops of these trees are quite tangled together, so it can be difficult to predict which way they want to go. A tree can be leaning one way, but a large branch from a neighboring tree can be pushing it in a different direction.

These trees shed massive amounts of flammable bark. I do a little bit of cleanup around each trunk before dropping the tree. We have also cleared up ground debris so that there is always an Escape Route.

Because this wood is difficult to split I'm cutting all of the large rounds at about 1 foot long.

The trailer or caravan as they call them here, was in the way and there was no trailer hitch, chain or shackle to be found. So we tied it to the tractor with a large nylon strap. It's a rinky-dink system but it worked. Burra has an amazing array of tools of dubious quality.
1 week ago
I arrived in Lisbon too late to catch the last train on Wednesday, so I had to stay in the city. Birds on the runway had delayed my departure from Paris. I went to the McDonald's until it closed and then I walked about the old part of the city which is done in really neat tile on building walls and sidewalks. The part of town where there's a courthouse and other  official buildings, has sidewalks made of marble and other very smooth stone. The underground system is really good.

 After looking at all that, I got my ass to the train station to catch the 5:30 a.m. train. The ticket office was closed and there was no one to tell me which train. So I went around to each one and finally talked to the right conductor. I had to take one train and then another. At the connection point, a man who was also traveling and had very little English, looked at my ticket and led me to a spot where there was a big chart. He determined which train I needed and I thanked him.

 Even the people I met at 3 a.m., who had been drinking we're very pleasant. A group of taxi drivers we're playing music and singing. Some girls came to wait for a bus at 4 a.m. when the bar closed, and two quite rough-looking street guys got out their mandolin and performed many songs, some of which must have been traditional folk songs, because the girls sang along. Every young person I talked to was conversant in English. Very handy for a guy who knows 3 words in Portuguese.
Arrived at 9:45 a.m. Thursday

After examining the many things that need to be done, we decided the most important thing was to get rid of a row of large eucalyptus which are a fire hazard and would only become more difficult to deal with in the future. Eucalyptus coppices well. We are producing enough firewood to last for quite a few years, so by the time it runs out these trees will be ready for another thinning.

We have a brand new 37cc chainsaw. It's a no name brand but certainly not the worst saw I have ever used. Burra's son Alan is a diligent worker, who is naturally organized and safety conscious.  He kept debris out of the way and serviced the saw anytime I stopped for a drink or for some other reason. We got started yesterday afternoon and we are getting close to the halfway mark. I woke up before dawn. I have probably kept the chainsaw running at Full Throttle for 70 or 80% of the time. Speed between cuts is more important than having a great big saw that cuts really fast. I've been going quite small with the firewood, right down to the stuff the size of my wrist. Alan is dragging all small branches and bark to a big pile that will be burnt in the winter. Portugal is a tinderbox in the summer because of the huge amount of eucalyptus and the naturally dry Mediterranean climate. If we manage to get through all of the eucalyptus by the end of tomorrow, that will be the single biggest project out of the way, and both me and Alan will need a rest. I expect that there will be at least 2 weeks worth of work for Alan to do after I leave, just in processing this large batch of wood.

Further updates will show up as we move along.

We ran out of gas and oil just about the time it started getting too hot. I'm tired and lying on the couch, so there's no pictures which is very unusual for me. :-)
1 week ago
The urinal picture reminded me of one I took in Victoria, months ago. You want to be careful taking pictures at urinals. I was the only occupant of this bathroom.

I'm pretty sure that the sign means urinal number 2.

It immediately brought to mind the album cover from the Rolling Stones Beggars Banquet
1 week ago
Apparently this airport in Paris gets some really unsophisticated visitors, who don't know where to get drinking water. They have seen fit to make sure that it's not obtained from the urinals in the men's bathroom.
1 week ago