Archive for January, 2008

Stumpin’ II

January 26, 2008

What with all the early snow cover, the hasn’t properly frozen on the North End this winter, and we used that to our advantage.  As soon as we finished the cutting last weekend, Dave called to schedule a machine to pull the remaining stumps.  Dick Holbrook passed away last year, and his family has taken on the operation of the business; Eben sent his guy Will down with a Deere 160 excavator, the biggest they’ve got.  In about 6 hours he moved all the firewood off of the orchard, piled the brush, pulled a dozen or so big stumps and tossed them over the stone wall, dug several large rocks, and moved last year’s rockpile outside the fenceline.  Here he is at work:

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At the end of the day, the orchard was ready for fence and trees.  The fenceline we’ve scoped out will enclose about a half of an acre, with room for at least 22 and perhaps 24 full size trees.  Next weekend we’ll burn three big piles of brush and scope out the situation for the fence; hopefully we can get the fence and gate done in time to move the trees in late April or early May.  Then we can cut trees to the south and east of the orchard at our leisure to let more light in.  Having worked in the orchard during a strong northwest blow, I’m inclined to leave the line of big pines that separate the orchard from the fields down toward the cove, to shelter the trees.  Here’s the scene at the end of the day, with brush, rocks, and firewood piled neatly to the north:

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Clear to the fence

January 21, 2008

Spent two days in Maine with the chainsaw this weekend, and with Dave and Emily took down the last 5 trees inside the fence line. Three big maples, two medium-sized maples, plus some thinning to the south to let in the sun. Next, we’ll burn the brush and have the stumps pulled, then string up the electric fence and build a gate, so when spring comes we can move the trees. Things are finally coming together.

Free Energy Lunch

January 4, 2008

In honor of oil tapping $100/bbl these last couple days, I thought I’d trouble the readers of this blog with some napkin math, of the sort that renewable energy engineering types find themselves doing at odd hours. To begin with, we note that the US uses approximately 20 million barrels of oil per day, approximately 25% of the worldwide total (the US has about 4.5% of the global population). A barrel of the type that is used to denominate oil sales is 42 gallons – approximately a bathtubful. A rough number for the energy content of a barrel of oil is 6.1 GJ – to get some intuitive idea of how much energy that is, imagine filling a bathtub with gasoline and touching it off. Now imagine filling 20 million bathtubs… (more…)