Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   debate audio with snuff-film video
Thursday, January 28 2016
The day was sunny and, for late January, warm, but not so in the absolute sense. There was enough solar heating in the living room for me defer lighting the woodstove (particularly given Gretchen's absence). So I took the opportunity to remove a month's worth of accumulated ashes from the stove' firebox. With all the data collection that goes with every ash removal operation, this was a big undertaking that would ultimately consume a couple hours of my day. Removing the ashes and weighing them is no big deal, but then I have to calculate the amount of wood that was burned to produce those ashes, and this requires that I add up the weights of wood from all my salvaging missions, add that to the weight of wood on hand at the beginning of the ash creation, and subtract the weight of all the firewood (and other material earmarked for burning) remaining in the house. Since these days I amass a substantial pile of wood in the living room, the process of weighing it all again is a pain in the ass. Next time I will be sure to burn down my in-house supplies before removing the ash.
Before I proceeded with that, I took the dogs for a nice long walk that included the Farm Road and the entire 1.25 mile length of the main stem of the Stick Trail. On the way home, I stopped at a staging area along the Stick Trail at 41.926564N, 74.103742W, cut some pieces from trunk segments I'd gathered there, and walked it home. Home was a third of a mile away, and over that distance my 108.1 pound load took a toll on my shoulders.
Back at the house, I unstacked my indoor woodpile and measured it 200 pounds at a time. It came to a couple hundred pounds less than I'd estimated, weighing in at only 656.25 pounds. Remember, just two days ago when there was significantly less wood in the stack, I'd estimated the the weight then to be between 700 and 800 pounds. At the time, it now seems, it had probably been only about 600 pounds. Perhaps the wood is just drier now than it was the last time I tallied it all up (just before the Galapagos trip).
The two numbers that all of this crunches down to is this: the ashes removed today came to 10.5 pounds, and the wood burned to produce those ashes was 2133.21 pounds. This is about 5% less ash than was produced for the last ash removal, though the weight of the wood burned to produce it was more than 20% more. It's becoming increasingly clear that ash weights are only somewhat correlated to the weights of the wood used to produce them.

Number of daysAsh
Est. firewood burntEst. firewood/day
Nov 14-Dec 19 20133613.5 lbs0.27 cords29 lbs
Dec 20 2013-Jan 22 20143320.5 lbs0.41 cords48 lbs
Jan 23-Feb 19 20142824 lbs0.48 cords66.23 lbs
Feb 20-Mar 20 20142916 lbs0.32 cords42.63 lbs
Apr 21 2014-Aug 16 201411810.6 lbs0.21 cords6.94 lbs
Aug 17-Dec 12 201411820.8 lbs0.41 cords13.62 lbs
Dec 13-Dec 26 2014145.8 lbs0.116 cords32.02 lbs
Dec 27 2014-Feb 2 201538 (31)13.75 lbs0.275 cords27.96 lbs (34.27 lbs)
Feb 3-Mar 5 20153112.25 lbs0.245 cords (actual firewood burned closer to 0.75 cords)31.12 (inaccurate)
Mar 6-Mar 31 2015268.4 lbs0.168 cords (actual firewood burned closer to 0.25 cords)24.97 (inaccurate)
Apr 1-Jul 25 201511611.8 lbs0.236 cords (much of which was paper ash)7.86
July 26-Oct 1 20156810.35 lbs0.207 cords (nearly all of which was paper/cardboard ash)11.7
Oct 2-Nov 19 20154910.45 lbs0.209 cords (est)
1229.4 lbs (measured)
0.293 cords (calculated)
16.4 (est)
25.09 (calculated)
Nov 20-Dec 23 20153410.85 lbs0.217 cords (est)
1771.67 lbs (measured)
0.422 cords (calculated)
24.66 (est)
52.1 (calculated)
Dec 24 2015-Jan 27 20163510.50 lbs0.210 cords (est)
2133.21 lbs (measured)
0.508 cords (calculated)
23.19 (est)
60.95 (calculated)
Figures in red limit the calculations to days of actual firewood heating. It looks like those estimated firewood burned per day figures (which are calculated from ash weights) are completely useless.

This evening it was my turn to go dog sit over at Susan and David's house, but just as I was supposed to leave, a data integrity issue got dropped in my lap. I would be taking my best laptop with me, and that would allow me to theoretically continue debugging the problem, but this wasn't what I'd thought I'd be doing tonight.
Fortunately the problem was solved by the time I'd connected to Susan and David's WiFi. An automated script hadn't run yet, so I was saved from a night of trying to track down and fix a database using nothing but MySQL running in a shell window.
Susan and David had put snacks in the refrigerator, and I quickly scarfed down a tray of vegan sushi from a deli. It came without any soy sauce or wasabi, and I quickly discovered sriracha is no substitute. I also had a little bottle of Dave's Total Insanity (not the ghost pepper!), and this was better than sriracha, since all it provided was heat. But it's the wrong kind of heat; wasabi heat is like a firecracker that comes and is gone, and the lingering heat from capsaicin is inappropriate to the quasi-druglike eating experience of sushi.
The big thing happening tonight was the last Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses, and Donald Trump was still petulantly refusing to attend. I wanted to watch this on a television, but evidently Susan and David are too modern to have things like conventional cable teevee. I could watch Hulu Plus or anything from Netflix on their smart teevee, but I couldn't find any way to watch anything live. So I was going to have to watch on my laptop instead. That wasn't such a problem; mostly all that's needed is the soundtrack anyway, allowing me to do other things with other windows. I could commiserate about the horribleness of Ted Cruz with Sara Poiron on Facebook or, when it finally appeared, watch the uncut video from the FBI of how they finally caught those militants holed up in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. Since that had no soundtrack, it went well with debate (and it was often more interesting).
There is much said about the incompetence of governments on all levels, but watching this video, it was clear that the arrest was planned by highly-competent law enforcement strategists. The militants were allowed several weeks to let their guard down, and then they attempted a 100 mile road trip through a remote snowy landscape. To trap them, the FBI approached from behind over using two vehicles so that the militants couldn't escape the direction from which they'd come. And then when the militants decided to run for it, they eventually arrived at a roadblock where two large trucks faced oncoming traffic in a V-formation. The militants attempted to drive around the roadblock, but the snow was impossibly deep and quickly stopped their truck. The first man out of the militant's truck ran out across the snow with his hands up but then fumbled for something, at which point an FBI man shot him dead. After that, it looked like there was no more funny business, and all the militants' plans of having a shootout came to naught; they were helpless on that snowy highway. (In addition to the one dead militant, there was also a militant who was injured during the arrest, and I tried without success to find where in the video that happened.)
As for the debate, it was the usual mix of lies and infantile belligerence, and it would have been more entertaining to have Trump in the mix. But in his absence, I became aware of a number of things. For starters, Marco Rubio talks in a bleat (like a goat), and it gets worse the more crazy he tries to make himself sound. I think there's a part of his subconscious that is rebelling against the horribleness he has to affect to succeed in the Republican party. There are no such rebellions going on in Ted Cruz's brain, however. He is like something you want to scrape from the bottom of your shoe.

For linking purposes this article's URL is:

previous | next